This week Ugandans saw and participated in different dramas that can only give you a glimpse into a nation in a moral dilemma.
Businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba was arrested at Entebbe International Airport as he attempted to leave the country after a four nights of a cat-and-mouse chase and several police summonses. For a week our intelligence couldn’t ascertain whether Basajjabalaba was in the country as his lawyer and also my shameless Member of Parliament Michael Mawanda lied to courts!
Basajjabalaba is wanted over fraud in connection with alleged forgery of a consent document, which led to payment of Shs142 billion by the government. This arose from the reversing of the then Kampala City Council decision to sell Nakasero, Shauriyako, and St. Balikuddembe (Owino) markets, and the Constitution Square to Mr Basajjabalaba.
2011 was quite a year. It saw the fall of 4 dictators, three of them on the African continent. Many waited to see if the Arab spring that North Africa enjoyed would cross the Sahara and come down. There were a few protests in Uganda, Swaziland, Gabon, Cameroon and Senegal which didn’t yield a lot. Nonetheless, many African citizens had learnt a great lesson from the Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. They learnt that they could stand up to their leaders. Now that Nigeria, the largest (population) country on the continent has kicked off 2012 with #OccupyNigeria we wait to see how the government handles the situation after today’s strike and what lessons we can draw.
The protest against President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to remove fuel subsidies has united many who say this will suddenly more than double the cost of living for most Nigerians. This year the Ugandan government has promised to start work on an oil refinery and the sector is already hit with corruption and bribery allegations. At the heart of the subsidies debate in Nigeria is why hasn’t government invested in refineries instead of selling crude oil and import fuel at a much higher price. I asked two Nigerian friends, both are taking part in today’s protests, about the issue because Uganda government has to learn from African countries like Nigeria that have been producing oil for five decades. Here is the two responses. Continue reading “Why Occupy Nigeria?”→