So, Mo Ibrahim.
He’s the Sudanese mdosi who is offering five million American moolahs to “a former head of state or government from sub-Saharan Africa who has left office in the last three years and has demonstrated exemplary leadership.” The lucky bastard will also get $200,000 every year from Mo, just for good measure.
Don’t panic, my post isn’t about Mo or his bizarre prize. Some guy (who I seem to be quoting with more frequency than I should) blogged about Mo last year and I have no business challenging the musings of a ‘political refugee.’
This post is about Uganda’s fairly bleak performance Mo’s Index of African Governance that measures performance on Safety and Security; Rule of Law, Transparency, and Corruption; Participation and Human Rights; Sustainable Economic Opportunity; and Human Development.
The index, released yesterday, placed Uganda in 25th position in a list of 48 African countries. The government’s scores in four of the five sectors hover at about 50 percent, only breaking through to 71 percent in providing safety and security for the population. A little ironic considering the Ugandan army is abusing human rights in the Karamoja region, cattle rustling in the northeast continues and the Lord’s Resistance Army has just recently agreed to a ceasefire.
Uganda’s performance seems quite good until you consider the positions of other countries in the East African Community. Tanzania was in 14th place, Kenya came next at number 15 and Rwanda followed three places down at number 18. The region was only let down by Burundi, which trailed in the 40th position. But we all know about Burundi, so we forgive her, no?
I had a long altercation with my workmates over Uganda’s performance on the Mo Index of African Governance. The loud arguments ranged from the method of ranking and level research undertaken to claims of neo-colonialism and marginalization. The fight only ended when someone asked if our salaries had arrived in the bank, making us turn our wrath from each other and on our long-suffering accountant.
I’m all talked out, so let me just say this.
Uganda’s average position is just another confirmation for me of its average citizenship, its average government and its average development. Many Ugandans are not ones to ruffle feathers unnecessarily or to work harder than their peers. Ambition is largely frowned up and excellence often goes unrewarded.
Been to a public office at ten minutes to five in the evening? Don’t expect to get special treatment … if you are lucky to find anyone in the office that is. Ask your Member of Parliament to account for the Constituency Development Fund? Expect to be satisfied by an evasive answer and the lack of receipts. Want a salary raise or a job promotion? Fly under the radar and don’t go gabbing on about your ‘dreams.’ Caned by Mondo Mugisha and his gang of goons during a public demonstration? Nurse your wounds in the quiet of your home, silencing any calls for retribution.
Cram and don’t bother to study if you want to pass your exams. Encourage the growth of the economy by buying stolen spare parts. Tolerate substandard work. Learn to live with mediocrity. If you’re not dead, you are okay.
What is most depressing for me, is that Uganda won’t even have the opportunity to shine when Mo hands out his Prize for Achievement in African Leadership next month. You see, President Yoweri Museveni only manages to rise above mundane when it comes to holding onto his chair. And we Ugandans shrug our shoulders, accept our fate and continue our humdrum existence.