A Uganda of peace and prosperity is possible - Birungi Denis - Whisper Eye

A Uganda of peace and prosperity is possible – Birungi Denis

A glimpse into a possible future.

We start the year 2045 with something to show.Uganda has made strides. “Somethingthatseemed impossible is now a reality”, says Okello, the chairperson of the Senate, the top governing council of the country.Itis,thanks to the patriotism of leaders who chose to put aside differences, and unite around collective aspirations of Ugandans.

Youth unemployment is just 15%. Swift economic reforms, and the easing of political tensions ensured investor confidence, resulting in massive investment in agro-industries boosting agricultural production.

The agriculture sector now directly and indirectly employs 70% of the workforce. Large-scale mechanised agriculture, which became possible after sweeping land reforms, has increased agricultural productivity.It is predictedthatUganda will be in position to satisfy demand for organic food in Africa and Europe.

Tourism flourished as a result of eased political tensions and massive investment in tourist sites. Tourists now equate the well-built and modernized Kalangala islands to Cape Town. The World Tourism Organization opines that Uganda will overtake South Africa as the leading tourism destination in Africa. Uganda Airlines revived 18 years ago, and currently rivalling Ethiopian airlines, has been a key factor in the tourist boom.

Analysists reckon that the drastic rise in foreign tourists is linked not only to peace, respect for human rights and cooler political heads, but also to the general sweeping reforms undertaken since 2022. For example the modernization and decongestion of Kampala, now boasting a modern transport system of its kind on the continent, and the building of five other regional cities, all with state-of- the art airports.

The UN now refers to Uganda as “Africa’s model country”. Development experts compare it to the Asian tigers.  There is evidence for this. Take for instance, the rise of the shilling from one of the weakest currencies to the second strongest in Africaor GDP per capitawhich has since increased from about $ 620 in 2020 to $6000 now. Income inequality has been slashed bymore than half.Economic growth is sustained at an annualised rate of 12%. Wages are rising. By World Bank estimates, only 10 %of Ugandans live below the poverty line.

Schools produce workers with hands-on skills. Kira electric Motors, invented by Ugandan students 30 years ago, now produces and sells electric carsat large scale in Africa.

The Ugandan miracle was an act of deliberate transformation of leadership and a paradigm shift in the conduct of public affairs. It is traced to the national dialogue held twenty five years ago in 2019, when political leaders agreed to a new national agenda; one that advances the collective aspirations of all; one that clearly diagnosed the obstacles that stood in the way of the country’s progress: corruption, patronage, disunity, nepotism, politics of self-interest as opposed to national interest and providedworkable solutions for them.

Leaders agreed to “people first” as the guiding principle of government. A new constitutional framework agreed upon and implemented, reduced and reorganized government. To safeguard againstarbitrary rule, major decisions were to be taken by a council of 21 senators, elected from all the regions of the country.

The councilhas a chairperson, which position is held on an annual rotation basis from one region to another.Since then, political tensions are unheard of, and all decisions at least reflect public interest.

There was a crackdown on corruption. This year’s Transparency International ranking placed Uganda at number 4 of the least corrupt countries in the world.Huge monies that once leaked arenow put to good use.

It was a dream! It could turn into reality, but only if we are desirous of changing the trajectory of this country. The participants of the planned national dialogue should start with an end in mind; a clear vision of the type of country we want to leave to our children and then address how to get there.

With the start of 2019, we can start seeing anew, and imagine what we can achieve by 2045, if we address the obstacles standing in our way.

Birungi Denis is a lawyer, bdeniso4@gmail.com