Last week President Yoweri Museveni addressed the African Union parliament at the event to commemorate a decade of its existence.
Museveni spoke on why Africa despite its rich endowment in people and natural resources continues to not only lag behind the rest of the world but also struggles to pull itself out of this endless spiral of poverty and “helplessness”.
Imagine a home with parents and kids. Top of the mind of the parents is to guarantee the long term sustainability of this family unit. They do this by guaranteeing physical security, which may take the form of a sturdy house and good security fence. They also work towards “soft” security by ensuring the family is fed, healthy and is growing in economic value through furthering education and work/business experience.
Whether this family succeeds will be judged years even generations down the line. We will be judged by our fruits against a criteria of whether we have advanced the human specie.
Imagine now that this family will not be left alone to chart its own path into the future. Outsiders are always looking in, coveting the family’s resources, not only property but he parents’ source of living, the children for all sorts of labour.
The covetous outsiders decide that in order to get access to the family’s endowments they need to weaken it at worst and break it up totally at best.
They use any number of ruses to achieve this – bribery, temptations of the flesh, alcohol and drugs and sometimes do away with the subtlety and use outright brute force to take what they want.
"For the family to weather all these storms and still prosper into the future it needs to maintain a common purpose anchored by a long term view of their ambitions for the “family name”....
What makes this struggle particularly difficult is that the dangers may not show themselves from onset, they are masked in good intentions and maybe promoted by the most trusted members of the family out of ignorance or treachery.
Scale this scenario up a million fold and you are talking about Africa.
Museveni is right when he says we are our own worst enemy in this fight, slanted against us by historical factors and weak technology.
Sadly our governments are often at the forefront of selling the continent down the river, just as the tribal chiefs of yesteryear did for a few trinkets and guns. The more things change the more things remain the same.
Zimbabwe is a classic case in point. The leadership there may huff and puff all they want how they are at the forefront of black empowerment but in hanging in on to power at all costs they weakened the economy to the point that only foreign currencies are respected in the former southern Africa food basket.
"When a government relinquishes control over the national currency, its ability to direct the economy is lost and its claims to be working in the service of its people are empty...
How did Zimbabwe come to this.
When politicians feel threatened by the productive sections of the economy, attack and bring them down in order to assert their authority, it’s only a matter of time before that county will be overran by interests other than those with an interest in the long term viability of the nation. We saw it in Uganda with the expulsion of the Asians in 1971.
But an attack on the productive sectors of the society need not be a physical one.
Hobbling them with high production costs due to poor infrastructure and cumbersome red tape can do just as thorough a job.
Uganda will be sold – is being sold down, the river by corruption, clichéd as it may sound.
Corruption defined as employing public resources for personal enrichment is chipping away at the walls of our home, dribbling in through the tiles on the roofs and the bashing determinedly at front door.
The figure of sh500b lost a year is gross understatement of the true state of affairs.
The natural instinct is that when you have been attacked in your house and in danger of being overwhelmed by your assailants, is to make an alarm for outsiders to come to your aid.
In the last week I have been reading the book, “Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World” by Nicholas Shaxson, it traces the rise of the off shore financial industry and fingers it as the reason for the recent global financial collapse.
This industry which, facilitates the evasion of trillions of dollars in tax, launders hundreds of billions of dollars could only do so if it had control of the political processes of the west.
"Driven by corporate greed, the industry and its agents score the earth for profit, co-opting governments or getting rid of them altogether. Its appetite grows exponentially every year and despite western citizens' protests against them and the institution of some token regulation on their activities, they are not only alive and kicking, but thriving and expanding...