Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Dad is a good doctor and a practical politician....


I CAN NOW SPEAK OUT AFTERALL THE DUST HAS SETTLED .....

Uganda's Vice President, Prof Gilbert Bukenya, who happens to be my Dad is an unhappy man. In a revealing interview with The Monitor newspaper, he disclosed that some unkind people have been taking photographs of his pigs, paw paws and mangoes. Now everyone knows that pigs are not the most beautiful creatures around, especially when they have been rolling in the mud. In our younger days, before the advent of e-mail, we used to send post cards to friends almost every day. Do you recall ever seeing a post card of pigs? Elephants, yes; lions, yes. Even butterflies and lifeless hills and beaches. But pigs? Never. But SOME Ugandans are obsessed with other people's property. So they hire a photographer to go and shoot pictures of his pigs. Just to be sure they can describe his property properly! You only need to live in Kampala for a week to realise the depth of their interest in other people's property. They simply have no other way to define a person other than bywhat he owns. It must have something to do with the unofficial curfews that spanned the two decades from the 1970s to the 1980. Our days became shorter and we stopped engaging in activities like reading. Our evenings became stretches of nursing hard drinks in the dark to numb our brains to sleep. Now things that require mental effort tend to tire us quickly. SO WHEN they see a Cabinet minister, they do not want to know what new programmes are coming up in his ministry, how he has performed against the last budget or how much he has facilitated linkages between his department and those of his colleagues. What they want to know instead is which house he has bought on Kololo Hill and which hotel he co-owns with which Asian trader. They like describing people in terms of what they own. If it is a poor man, we count the only thing he has ý children. We even have a saying that when you go visiting, concentrate on eating the food you are served and stop counting your host's children. When they see a successful businessman, they don't ask so much about his trading networks and try to project the direction his empire is taking. No. They just say that he recently acquired a dark blue Mercedes and a "brown" girlfriend. It gets to minute details ý we even talk about his new phone. Hence if a top lawyer returns after several years abroad, they don't ask what certificates he got, the big cases he handled or how many seminar papers he presented; they want to know what car he brought back and what house on Muyenga Hill he has made a down payment on. "You know the other lawyer who drives a red Beemer, the one who bought Colonel X Muyenga's house?" It is through these lenses that they see a TOP MEDICAL researcher who made a name for himself in the southern hemisphere, was decorated by Case Western University for his contribution to medical science and recently became Vice President of the republic. They don't care about the groundbreaking research he has done, his restoration of the Makerere University Medical School and his pacesetting rural modernisation project that involves growing rice on hills instead of swamps, and introducing housing mortgages in villages before they even catch on in towns. THEY DON'T care about the $2,000 houses he is promoting while the government values a primary school teacher's house at $20,000. Oh no, that is boring stuff. We want to know how fat his pigs are and how yellow his mangos. That is the stuff they prefer. It doesn't tax their brains and they can all sound like experts while discussing it. Its high time we Ugandans ignored these THEORETICAL EXPERTS and backed practical politicians like Prof. GB This is Uganda, Dad, you'd better get used to it. Thank you so much for the good work well done for your family and the nation.
May the Lord richly reward you Dad

BRIAN BUKENYA

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