OP-ED

The Poor Getting Poorer in Uganda-A repeat of the French Revolution

By Muwanga Onesmus K

With the rising fuel prices, covid lockdowns, many businesses are collapsing, it is like from  flying pan to fire. Whereas many people had thought they had survived the lockdowns with  their negative impacts on businesses, hoping to recover, now with the rising cost of living  especially the fuel prices many businesses are not moving well and are actually collapsing. 

Amidst all that, is that while the people of Karamoja and other areas are starving to death, in  contrast the people in government are enjoying luxuries, buying cars of 2(two) billion, giving  Members of Parliament surplus of 40 million, and also some religious leaders/ bishops or  priests are receiving gift cars worth 200 million-400million shilling at the expense of the poor  thus working up the wrath of the lay people to a boiling point. 

The enriching of the few at the expense of the poor, the over taxing the poor and middle  class to sustain the noble MPs and first family, the discrimination in job allocation where  only relatives and people from a certain region get jobs in key positions, the evil efforts to  make boda boda riders unemployed, the displacing of the street vendors, all these are similar  to the very conditions that existed prior to the French revolution, the Clergies and Nobles  were making themselves richer while oppressing the poor, Today you can replace nobles  with MPs and the First Family and Clergy replace with priests and pastors who receive  bribes to oppress the poor. What followed in France after such horrible conditions is sure to  follow in Uganda or any other country that practices such horrible conditions. 

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Consequences of Horrible conditions in Uganda. 

With the horrible conditions affecting businesses and the employees who cannot manage the  cost of living, of course chaos and unrest may be delayed but a repeat of the French  revolution is sure to follow because people are experiencing starvation while those in power  are enjoying luxuries at taxpayer’s money. Theft and crime are also likely to follow amidst  communities. When anarchy breaks out, death targeting a particular group of people seen as  the oppressors is sure to follow. From such revolts, good reforms may result if good people  take over but in case bad people take over, bad reforms like fascism, communist ideologies may result which rob people of their private property which they have genuinely worked  hard for and their wealth is re-distributed to satisfy the vengeance of the previously oppressed and conditions such as were in the reign of terror result, both the innocent and  the guilty suffer together in passion for vengeance. 

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Solutions. 

To spare Uganda from a likely bloodshed like that, that happened in the French revolution,  it is high time government reduces its extravagant expenditure, create income generating  projects for the poor, give employment opportunities to people from other regions of the  country, implement business policies in favor of local businesses. Bribing a few leaders will  not work, it will only postpone the turmoil and the outburst will be greater.

In conclusion, while those in power may think that by making people poor, only employing  relatives they are safeguarding power, history and psychology tells us it will backfire, there  are limits beyond which people won’t tolerate oppression, if nothing is done, the situation  will inevitably end up like the French revolution and those in power will realize late that their  puppet masters were only deceiving them into implementing such policies that impoverish  the poor. 

Muwanga Onesmus is a socio-political commentator and an Advocate of Freedom and Justice

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