I had an extremely enlightening conversation today, surprisingly, it was with my mother.
You know how I was bitching about how messed up the system is and African politics is in my last post?
Well, Willpress had rightly mentioned in the comments that: “Unfortunately the most important term in African politics is "the grassroots".”
That’s true, and the reason I thought someone like me, despite how passionate I am about the matter, would never have a chance to ‘fix things’ in politics in my own country.
However, after talking to my mum, I suddenly realized that the situation may not be as hopeless as I first thought it to be…although it could just be my mother talking (you know how mothers are, with their comforting lies).
She stated that perhaps the biggest reason African politicians are as selfish and apathetic to problems of poverty and corruption is because they know it all too well.
Most African politicians, especially here, are from humble backgrounds and have experienced poverty, on a personal level, so that once they are in power, the do as much to disassociate themselves with it. They reach a point where seeing their people suffer in familiar poverty stricken situations, it simply no longer touches them! It sounds absurd at first (seriously, these are the people who should know very well what issues the common man is faced with) but it makes perfect sense if you think about it.
Its like how we (well, the TV generation) are apathetic about things like violence, because we see it all the time on TV, from a young age, such as in cartoons like Tom and Jerry (which is an extremely violent cartoon, amongst others children find delight in), pre-teen slap stick comedy (I never found the humour in this by the way) to adult action movies, so by the time you see a dead person on the road in the midst of an accident or mob justice scene, its (sometimes) shocking at first but you forget about it after you edge past the small crowd and commotion!
By the time you reach home you’ve most likely forgotten about it! No big deal, after all you’ve seen worse and more dramatic on TV!
I often laugh at my mum when she gasps in shock when watching an action flick, or when she crys during a sad true life drama! LoL, I mean, its not that I don’t feel the moment, its just that I’ve seen too many to make me jump or shed a tear. I’ve become used to it. Apathetic, even. ( I now have to watch horrors and thrillers at night inorder to feel the least bit spooked!)
It’s sorta the same thing with our current politicians.
Perhaps then there is hope; for the new generation of educated suburban youth (like myself), who are just acquaintances of poverty. Who have always had what they wanted (in moderation of'course) so they are not greedy once in a position of wealth, who are still shocked and horrified at stories of famine, most importantly who have new green ideas on changing and redirecting their nations!?
Today’s headlines read:
“FAMINE KILLS 35, Three million on the brink of starvation as crisis deepens” (Daily Monitor July 8 2009).
And to think, I skipped dinner today because I was full…
As expected, these areas were in the north and east, I say this because where I’m from (the west) people may not be that wealthy, but they always have food to eat. I also can’t ignore the fact that the big shot politicians and people in government (President included) are also from the west. You just can’t help but get the feeling that they don’t care…which is a damn shame and beats the point of having a government! I mean really, if a government cannot deal with basic need such as hunger, then really what are they doing?
Some claim the problems lie with the locals of that area, or that the harvest seasons have not been good due to climate changes, but that is not the real cause of this.
My mum was telling me how when she was at university, brimful of ideas and concepts (much like me these days) she did her final thesis on appropriate land use, focusing on how the locals could use the land, and various soils to grow different commercial produce to sell and make a living. Great idea, no?
Well, at the end of her project, an irritated muzeyi enlightened her that despite her concern and ideas, it wasn’t gonna change much. He assured her; “Don’t you think we’ve tried that? we have, and produced a lot of produce but it all perished! Look at our roads! Which pick up will bother to travel this far to collect our produce to take to sell?”
And rightly so pointed out that the REAL problem was not with land use but with the lack of infrastructure and available markets, which really is something they can’t do much about!
The issue of climate change too can be blamed on our governments!
The rate of deforestation and use of unsustainable methods of living is not given enough importance, yet it’s so vital!
Even more saddening is that Africa still hasn’t really caught on to this! I’ve heard people blame the big European countries and USA for causing global warming, and although they have greatly contributed to it, so have we!
When are we going to stop blaming the white man (I admit, there is indeed a certain thrill about doing so) and take responsibility! I mean we can continue to blame them, but it’s not like they will be tried in the international courts of justice (for one they run the courts-lol), and at the end of the day, they are still way better off than us!
In the recent past, Africans have taken up the role of their white masters and yet still continue to rape Africa! WTF is up with that?
Before the independence era, many of our ‘white masters’ thought we wouldn’t be able to run things without them, sadly, it seems we keep proving them right!... But that’s another topic for another day…
So back to the issue at hand, there are numerous sustainable environmentally friendly methods the government can use to battle famine and poverty, for instance instead of cutting down firewood, like in most Asian countries like India, they use biogas digesters, which turns human excrement, cow dung, or kitchen garbage into fuel that can be used for cooking or generating electricity.
I mean if the government could afford to buy brand new expensive cars for CHOGUM, they surely can afford giving each village household a cow and these biogas digesters?! Its cheap, sustainable, and environmentally friendly, it not only tackles the issue of producing energy, but also is an excellent way to deal with waste (Which is another problem most African countries face). This would help reduce the rate of deforestation, which would stabilize the climate too.
Things have changed. We've been fucked and have fucked up too, and we need to fix it; originally most indigenous peoples (all over the world) rarely would stay in one place for long, because it would deplete the resources of the area, so they would move around, give the area time to replenish itself, and so a balance was kept. Now that civilization has forced us to settle, you find that people over use their land and do not give it time to replenish itself, and by altering this system, we cause problems such as famine. Now we need to fix it.
Its not rocket science. Hell if I can see this, I wonder why they can’t. Or perhaps they do, but just don’t care?? …Famine in Uganda? How? When the solution is so clear…?
You know I would rather live under an effective dictatorship for a few years than a so called democratic government that doesn’t do much. I know this is random but despite Hitler and Stalin’s harsh policies and crazy ideologies, they did what needed to be done, and neither Germany nor Russia can deny that they wouldn’t be where they were if it wasn’t for them.
Is it just me or is Uganda messed up?
Perhaps we need a dictator, not as absolute or crazy like Hitler or Stalin, but an enlightened dictator …like Paul Kagame…
Are we (yes you and me) really that helpless or have we just gotten too used to the way things are?
Have we reached a state of “Ichabod”??
(Yeah, new word 4 your ass!)
I know I've been blogging some long-ass-heavy-shit recently, bare with me as it get it outta my system! i shall be back to my triva shallow self soon...lol!