It has been a busy few weeks. And there is a lot to get off one’s chest and hands. Uganda throws up so many questions that it has now become necessarily to act as a spectator to some of the drama that passes off as national debate ( like that “Save the Miniskirt” episode) Most recently,for example, was the heavily debated image of President Yoweri Museveni handing over a “sack of money”. Long time ago when this writer had fresh hands un-calloused by the bruising of repetitive headlines, such a story with its visual appeal may have caused a flutter, a rush of blood to the head and some time spent pondering what can be done?
Yes. What sort of imagery does receiving a sack of money carry? Sharing of the loot? Why is presidential charity necessary? And why as we have learned is it soexpansive?
As someone who enjoys some of the comforts of state administered services ( my power has been going steady for a while) I can see why I rather partake of the clean road, water and power than the fiction that even with thrift some youths in Busoga will turn their sack of money into a money maker. I suspect that like the golden goose story they will kill the bird – well fritter away the money and put out their hands for more.
There am told is now a demand by young people around the country – to their Mps to set up appointments with the President, for their own sack of money. The reason this story does not excite nor disappoint is that, as a friend put it, remarkably the same old story. This friend, a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government referred to the serialization of “corruption” as self propelling as the popular TV soap here in the 90’s “Sunset Beach”.
So sacks of money, oil bribes, job bribes, visions of Uganda in 2040 and so forth are simply the rehashing of old plots re-written for the news cycle.
One may ask then where the new ways are of looking at how condition will change? What in the language of tech will cause the disruption? Population explosion? economic collapse? or progress? oil rents? political succession? Perhaps something more basic.
Is there new language to go along with rethinking the orgy of corruption and inertia of the state institutions? Can such a language be progressive, cause folks to look hopefully to the next episode? To digress when UTV, then the only major television station announced the last episode of Sunset Beach, shops closed at 5 as the town evacuated for that turning point event.
Maybe. Moving on. Below is a copy of Uganda’s new upstream petroleum bill. I plan on blogging a bit on the goings on in the sector over the next few weeks as the commercialization negotiations continue between the government and the oil companies.
The last two weeks indicated some common ground. Uganda wants a refinery and the companies want a pipeline. They have agreed in principle to do both but the negotiations for sequencing these investments are a technical marathon so I have taken the view that there is still no deal until some of the investment decisions are finalized.
The bill however is real and will be the frame of reference for the sector. Its worth discussing. Pass it along.