Political commentators are tiptoeing around the solution to the democratic deficit in Uganda and most of sub-Saharan Africa – understandably so since it is politically incorrect to admit what needs to be done.
Until a person is informed well enough, it is dangerous to give him/her responsibility for anyone else, much less him/herself. It is why parents are expected to look after their children in the home till the age of 18 or so. Kids are kids and their parents must make decisions for them, only gradually relenting as their charges grow older, else you have bedlam in the household.
So it must be with the African voting masses. It is, for instance, incongruous that someone as knowledgeable, educated, well-traveled and intelligent as me has his leaders chosen by illiterate, uniformed, non-tax-paying rural dwellers simply because they make up 70% of the voting bloc. But that 70% is all Uganda’s cynical politicians have to appeal to with a bar of soap, a poorly constructed dirt road, pretense at education in the form of Universal Primary Education (a potentially freeing but poorly executed, half-baked education initiative in Uganda that provides unsound education for everyone who uses it) and a catchy jingle via text messaging.
Please note that my rant excludes rural dwellers that make a decent living from farming etc, and pay taxes.
City and town dwellers, blue-collar, middle and upper class people (20-30% of Uganda’s voting population) pay the nation’s taxes and so we should be the ones to choose who the leader of the country is. Villagers spend on average barely 1/10 of 1% of what we do on anything, meaning that even their consumption levels are inconsequential to Uganda’s economy. In addition, villagers usually depend on us for their own sustenance through the remittances we send them because their subsistence maize crop has failed, their 10th kid’s dysentery is playing up, or the 35-year-old son who’s never put in a decent day’s work in his life is days away from the grave due to his chronic alcoholism.
The 70% are thus comparatively irrelevant to the productive sector of Uganda’s economy. Yet they hold the numerical advantage, and their ignorance makes them easy targets to manipulate by tired, cynical, corrupt, megalomaniacal politicians, and so they continue voting back in miscreants and incompetents on account of receiving a tin of paraffin and a tawdry tee-shirt with a politician’s mug shot on it.
It is an utter disgrace that my informed intellect and tax-paying clout is deemed to be at par at the ballot box with the parasitic masses who contribute nothing to the national coffers. Until all Ugandans are educated to the level that makes them informed enough, people like me should be given the vote to decide who the country’s president and parliamentarians should be. That would leave the masses with plenty of time to choose their village representatives (RDCs, LCIs etc) because those work at the level these people understand. Whoever wants to be able to vote at a higher level must get informed, get a trade and pay taxes.