Uganda’s Poorly Kept Secrets by Charles Onyango-Obbo

18 08 2006

ISBN #: 9970-02-137-0

With a title like this, you might expect an expose of all the corruption in Uganda’s government. Onyango-Obbo (hereafter OO) does give some insight into the culture and the way Ugandans perceive some things that occur, but this isn’t The Sun.

To be frank, I walked away with one thing from this 63 page easy read. One of the last essays in the book is titled “President Wanted; Only Foreigners Need Apply”. This very short piece was a political awakening for me as I ponder Africa today. Let me quote one small piece of it:

“I think being president in a continent like Africa, where a president doesn’t have to decide whether to throw the switch for a nuclear weapon, is not much different than being a butcher or milk man.”

After visiting a country where corruption is evident and where political favors are how things get done, when someone poses something like this, I listen. OO points out that he doesn’t ask the nationality of his grocer, taxi driver, butcher, etc. Why should it matter what nationality the president is? Shouldn’t the person who can do the job the best be put into that position?

This would be a political experiment that would be an absolute joy to try. Take an African country and have it run like a business. Don’t put an ethnic tribal leader into power who will play favorites and only help his tribe or district, but put someone into power whose salary is based on results. What if the president started acting like a CEO?

Let’s try it. I nominate myself for CEO of Zimbabwe. The name will be changed to JDesia, effective immediately.


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