Cry The Beloved Country: How Museveni Turned Uganda Into the Nation of Bribers

-A +A

Gen. Museveni--long live the King! Photo-Facebook

[Letter From Gulu]Today, I want to take you dear reader inside Uganda, into the lives of the ordinary citizens under Gen. Yoweri Museveni's dictatorship. I want to show you the pain, sorrow, suffering, disappointment and frustration that ordinary Ugandans go through every day.

Recently, in characteristic African courtesy, I escorted up to her home, a friend who had paid me a courtesy call in office. It was already past office time so I decided to close the office and walk with her up to their place of abode.

Shortly thereafter, as I returned home, a man on a motorcycle rode fast towards me, and, before I knew it, he had with maximum force, grabbed my laptop bag and sped off. My screams and shouts did not help. It was done. My laptop, National ID, internet modem, flash disc and a pile of documents had been robbed. Just like that.

I was lucky because I was unscathed. Thousands of Ugandans go through these kinds of robbery every day. Many of them get harmed or even murdered. Interestingly, police and other security agencies are not usually helpful. Whether in a city suburb, a village, a highway or in somebody’s house, thugs will rob and harm innocent citizens and the police will arrive many hours later at the scene of the crime.

When ordinary citizens report such cases to police, ironically, police ask them to provide transport to go to the scene. In some cases, they ask for money to buy telephone airtime to help with the investigations. In my case, police asked me to provide money to photocopy the complaint forms I needed to fill. That is how ill-equipped, incompetent and unserious the Uganda Police are.

That is what ordinary Ugandans go through every day when they seek government services. Corruption, bribery, outright theft, armed robbery, fraud, cyber thieving characterize Ugandans’ lives on a daily basis. When one goes to the hospital, he or she pays a bribe to the medical personnel to be served. It starts from the front desk to the laboratory to the theater to the x-ray or scan machine to the doctor’s cabin.

It is survival. If one doesn’t pay a bribe, it doesn’t matter how sick they may be, nobody will serve them and death is assured. After paying a bribe at many of the service chains, you will meet with incompetent, discouraged and unmotivated personnel who will barely pay attention to your medical condition, let alone prescribe a solution.

And, the machines, like the only radiotherapy machine in the country, which is at the National Referral Hospital, Mulago, will be dead. The medicines too, will not be there. To gain admission in an elite primary or secondary school, tertiary institution or the university, one must pay a bribe. In order to pass with good grades, one must sleep with, cheat or bribe the examiners. To get away from a traffic offense, one simply needs to pay the traffic officer some money and he or she will be set free.

Youth unemployment is over 80 percent. In the job market, one must pay a huge sum of money to be shortlisted for an interview. Then, he or she must pay another huge sum in order to get the job. Here, the highest bidder takes the day. If one wants a promotion, a trip abroad or other privileges that come with a job, they know what to do. For girls, there is an additional procedure; the carpet interview. In other words, one ought to sleep with the prospective employer to get the job or sleep with the boss to get a promotion.

If a village lacks clean water and wants the local government to sink a borehole, they must be ready to part with some money. If a road infrastructure plan, according to the local authorities is likely to pass through one’s courtyard, they should grease the hands of the local authorities and the road will be diverted, without delay.

We are such a broken country; we don’t hold any values or principles to guide our thoughts and actions. In our country, anything passes. Government employees steal huge sums of money and go scot free. We lie, we cheat, we steal, we bribe, we corrupt, we murder, without remorse. We are dishonest and unaccountable to our families, clans, ethnic groups and country.

Ineptitude, incompetence, inefficiency characterize almost every sphere of our lives. We are so gifted in natural resources and yet so poor in morals, values and or principles. That is the country that Gen. Museveni will bequeath to our generation-- The Republic of Museveni. The work of rebuilding it will have to start with reconstructing our morals and value systems.    

The sooner we get rid of the tyrant the sooner begins the task of moral recovery and socio-political and economic repair.


Submit commentary to to be considered for publication



Also Check Out...

South Africa's top court on Friday dismissed a bid by former president Jacob Zuma to overturn his 15-month jail sentence
South Africa: Court Rejects Zuma
Coalition To Back Black Businesses is now accepting applications for its 2021 grant program.
Coalition To Back Black Businesses
Bahamians voted for a new government (including electing new Prime Minister Philip Davis) in General Elections
Bahamians Vote For Change of
For legendary documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, profiling Muhammad Ali, perhaps the greatest athlete of all-time,
“Muhammad Ali” 4-Part Documentary
killed the leader of Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, (above)
France Says It Killed Islamic
 practical resources to help Black business owners grow and scale their businesses
BOSS Network Offers Free Coaching