It’s a day after the elections.
If you are reading this paper then it is true Uganda has not imploded on itself like the prophet of doom’s apocalyptic script should have run. The elections went peacefully. There were some incidents here and there but no widespread breakdown in law and order.
I imagine the results are coming in fast and thick from every corner of the country and I imagine we are all holding our collective breaths especially early in the morning as it is not yet clear which side the pendulum will swing.
So yes, we may not be out of the woods yet.
But at what point would we be sure that the threat of chaos will go away?
If the naysayers were to be believed the police crime preventers were going to be scouring the country disrupting opposition campaigns.
If the naysayers were to be believed some candidates would be arrested and hampered from mobilising the people. Well on that count they were right. On the last day of the three month campaign perennial campaigner Kizza Besigye was detained and released without charge after a fracas at edge of the city center.
If the naysayers were to be believed by now the country would be enveloped in a cloud of terror we would be crawling around for fear of raising our heads and having it loped off by some crazed vigilante.
The only terror I felt was the fear of turning the corner and come face to face with the hordes of one opposition’s candidates supporters. I even had a mental checklist to do in that event – roll windows up, turn off ignition and hide key in under tongue!
"The problems of Uganda are real and any attempts to gloss over them should be treated with the contempt they deserve...
The issues of income and wealth inequality, poor service delivery and bureaucratic impediments to strategic thinking or execution of forward looking plans are holding back the country from rising to its full potential.
However it can be argued too that the leaps in progress registered in the 1990s maybe hard to come by now, as the base of which we are working is much larger.
In 1986 we had a GDP of $4b today the economy is about seven times larger. It is easier to get a 10 percent or $400m growth from $4b economy than it is to squeeze $2.8b improvement from today’s economy.
However in an ideal situation – world economy ticking along, commodity prices behaving themselves and an enabling government bureaucracy, compounding should have kicked in more strongly ensuring an exponential lift off at some point in the last decade or so.
The figures show of course that our economy’s progress over the last quarter century has outstripped many contemporaries on this continent or Asia, we have worked out what it takes to achieve economic growth.
The trick now is how do you spread that growth more equitably among the population?
Because the truth is while the economy has grown spectacularly since 1986 our population is not seating still having more than doubled from the 15.8 million it was 30 years ago.
"It can’t be emphasised enough that growth has to continue – in the 1990s the World Bank calculated that the economy needed to grow by at least seven percent to half our poverty figures, but more importantly that growth has to be seen by everybody in the way of improved services and an economy which allows for increased opportunities for advancement...
Instability and insecurity would only throw a spanner into those plans.
But for now in the words immortalised by former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, “Kazi iendelee!” (Let work continue)