Recently, President Museveni declared that “living in villages in backwardness.”
In a country where the vast majority of people, an estimated 30 million, reside in rural areas, it is very clear that Museveni is not making the statement as part of his campaign for the 2016 elections. Why should he? The Electoral Commission with its armed guards and barbed wires in every office of the country insulates him like a well-dug castle moat.
Museveni made a strategic move earlier in his three-decade presidency by aligning himself with the West, promoting ideals of security, stability, and “economic development.” His regular lingo associated with such values has scored him an overfunded militia, excessive private assets, and a seat at the table with world leaders in the business and political arenas.
“If you see that you are having more people in agriculture than in industry and services, and more people in rural areas than in towns, those are characteristics of backwardness….you Africans, you are still backward and the Europeans are lenient – they can’t tell you that, but for me I have told you.”
The rudeness of his statement speaks for itself. Yet the statement is not only rude to the upcountry residents, but the dwellers of Numowongo slums as well. Having been allured by the illusion of urban opportunity, thousands of families are literally swimming in their own feces in the nation’s capital during rainy season. What reason exactly do they have to be grateful for their residency?
Agrarian societies are by far the most human societies.
They are the most sustainable. Many can be continued forever with little or no change.
They are the healthiest. The virtual absence of pollution combined with a life of physical labor and fresh natural foods straight from the garden gives life to the body.
They are spiritually free. Children run and play and cross into neighbors’ compounds without a quarrel. Farmers and peasants are not bound by the wristwatch. Animals, plants, terrains, and human beings coalesce into a life pattern which gives birth to joy and peace.
On the other hand, one is hard-pressed to find any indicator of human life at State House.
Gaudy decor and absurdly bright security lights determine self-worth, and the ongoing operating expenses for such a manufactured environment demand more and more theft from a taxpaying populous which does not rely on currency as its primary form of exchange in daily life.
Rainbow-colored liquids and bursts of grey gases overwhelm one’s senses when moving anywhere in the community. The sounds of motor vehicles and construction sites cloud the meditative panorama and subtle reverberations of Lake Victoria.
Every seemingly living thing must adhere to a rigid schedule, based on nothing but artificial things: clocks, meeting minutes, governments, “orders from above.” No space for “life” is allocated on the agenda. Running and playing are prohibited. Digging is scorned upon. Laughing can only be performed to develop political clout. No verb should be enacted without resulting in enhanced prestige and power.
At the root of Museveni’s statement is a failure to understand the joy of being human. I feel so bad for that poor, poor man living in a backward condition.