Saturday, May 8, 2010



By Hassan Islow
It is very chilly inside my room as I write this column intended to catch the attention of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. My fingers are freezing with cold, my pen keeps flipping off my fingers, it is a painful experience to stay awake during winter, but I have a point to make, so I’m not worried.
Mr. President, it’s high time you started listening to cries of the desperate. Let me remind you that, in the past years of your many presidential campaigns, you promised to improve the lives of poor citizens -especially those in rural areas. But the situation has not changed much, despite the introduction of a ministry responsible for poverty alleviation. People are still poor to the extent that, some can not afford to buy Paraffin or salt which are basic necessities in rural areas. Now that we have discovered Oil and other minerals, citizens want you to share part of these proceeds with them, but not your friends in Tehran!

Sir, you might be aware that most rural dwellers are your biggest supporters, but shockingly most of them have not drawn a single benefit from the developments of your 24year old rule. My Grandfather for instance was one of the richest Ugandan’s when you came to power, but has gradually lost his wealth during your leadership, yet he has remained a loyal supporter of the ruling party. I know several businesses which have closed in Uganda as a result of your Governments high taxation policy and weak control of foreign investors who come in and compete with the locals.
Regardless of this, rural Ugandan’s have not given up hope in you as their President. Even after being told by your carders to many times to be patient –but it will not be for long.
Peasants are bound to loose their patience, because they have seen people who are supposed to serve them, getting richer and fatter in the “tummy” by the fall of the night.
Most Ugandan’s I have interacted with, keep on asking, " But why are we told there are no funds to equip our health centers, build water wells and offer other services, when Members of Parliament, LC V chairpersons, Civil Servants among others are getting richer by the night".
The feeling of frustration and hatred is so high among these disgruntled Ugandans. We, who interact with them, feel so guilty and ashamed of our top leadership for the unfulfilled promises they made to the people.
These desperate Ugandan’s want to know, why they can not get proper services at Public hospitals. People in some rural village have never known what a public hospital is. Most women in these villages give birth at their own homes. There is no decent hospital in some of the Counties, yet you’re creating new districts on a daily basis.
Some Ugandan’s have concluded –correctly that the public health care system will never improve because our so called leaders go to private hospitals. If our leaders have no confidence in the Public health institutions they run, then who will?
Whenever they catch flu, they are flown to expensive hospitals in South Africa, Kenya and Europe.
If we are to count how many popular Ugandan’s have died in foreign hospitals, then this page wont be enough to fill.
How many times have our leaders flown their close relatives to give birth abroad as if Uganda has a shortage of mid wives? Do we really have a shortage of midwives in Uganda? Some one needs to answer this!

Your Excellency, it does not make any sense to continue having a ministry in charge of Poverty alleviation, when poverty is wide spread! Similarly what sense does it make to have a health minister when the Public health system it self seems to be non-existent. The Public health system should be treated from getting sicker every day. May be the health system needs some injection-or Pandol which Doctor’s in Uganda love prescribing for any ailment.

Your Excellency, in your remaining 8 months time, we request you to bear in mind that Poverty, Unemployment, lack of proper service delivery, declining standards of Education and crime should be your priority.

When you start your country wide campaigns, remember to hear THE CRIES OF THE DESPARATE, may their voices sing in your head when your hear praise singers and sycophants praising you. Please, Keep in mind that thousands of Ugandan’s go to bed without food on their tables, thousands of graduates are unemployed and our roads are filled with pot holes.
Please hear the voices of disgruntled Ugandans

Yours in truth