November 16, 2007
BBC African Perspective yesterday broadcast an interesting discussion that I would like to continue on this blog. The crux of the discussion was the rising cost of living in Africa and the (in)ability of people to live comfortably within their means.
Take Uganda as an example. Fuel prices have nearly doubled in the past year and the cost of essentials like soap, salt, sugar, flour and oil is on the rise. Electricity has increased, water has increased and bus, taxi and bodaboda fares have increased. Inflation is also on the rise, the shilling is unstable and the economy isn’t growing as fast as it did a decade ago.
On the other hand, new housing estates are mushrooming all over Greater Kampala, the road network is unable to support the hundreds of cars imported into the country every month. The Ugandan middle class is growing and more young professionals can afford to go abroad on holiday at least once a year.
So … what do you think?
How are you able to live on your salary every month?
Do you supplement it by moonlighting, investing in the stock exchange or running a business?
Are you merely a product of your nations with large debt and insurmountable balance of payment problems?
Are there ‘easy’ ways to survive this economic stranglehold?
Is the prosperity of your country merely superficial with an inevitable crash in the near future?
October 18, 2007
So, did anyone go for the public forum on Wednesday?
Anyone apart from a couple of MPs, NGO types and Gerald Tenywa who reported about the excitement of the parliamentarians “when they watched an Oscar award-winning film on climate change acted by the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former US vice-president, Al Gore”?
Did they get answers as to why, despite the fact that I have been working for the past nine years, I am still as poor as the day I was born? I have no property to speak of, I am constantly broke and if I died, only the bats in my ceiling would contest my will.
Did they find a solution to the increasing number of children dropping out of school before Primary Seven because they are forced by their parents to join the family trade? Did they discuss the fine balance between child labor and child exploitation and the declining household wealth?
I wonder if my uncle from Kanungu was a case study at the public forum? Did they talk about how his 10 acres of land are somehow not enough to feed him and his family of five? How his formal education is of no greater use to him that shouting English expletives when he gets drunk?
A group of men who participated in a workshop by the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative last weekend asked for a law to declare women part of their personal property. They reasoned that since they spend millions on bride price, they deserve to have their wives listed as an item of their wealth. Maybe this was on the agenda at the public forum … but maybe not.
Did they (re)define poverty? Did they speak of poverty of the mind?
Or did they merely use the event as a networking opportunity and an excuse to miss work for the day, rushing to the organizer’s table at the end of the forum for the Ushs. 50,000 delegates’ allowance?
Did anyone go for the public forum on Wednesday?