After the February elections, I talked about rethinking Ugandan priorities and in it I noted that the Government clearly ignores some essential indicators which if continuously ignored may lead to a crisis sooner than later
The Level of inflation is higher than it has ever been. Statistics have it that Ugandan inflation has hit a record 6 % in February 2011 alone. Rumor has it that one of the reasons for the inflation is the unmonitored government expenditure of gigantic sums during the old man with a hat’s campaign leading to the recently concluded February 18th Election. The campaign was characterized by massive rigging, bribery and intimidation of the electorate, legislators and an outrageous budget cut out directly from the tax payer’s pocket.
Excessive circulation of money into the public domain without the corresponding economic growth devalues the currency causing a rise in the prices of goods and services since one needs more money to buy the same or less quantities of an item. This is what we know as inflation (the bad kind).The value of the shilling is depreciating like a rolling stone against international currencies making it harder to trade both domestically and internationally
If my memory is still good, the bus fare to Mukono from Kampala a 20km journey used to cost about 1000 shillings 5 years ago but now oscillates between 2000 to 6000 shillings depending on the time of day, the current events or circumstances, the market forces or how the taxi drivers feel that day. This case is similar when it comes to transportation country wide. I actually had to pay 120% increase in the bus fare to go vote in my village (usually 13,000 Ugx, I was now required to pay 30,000 Ugx for the same journey)
The price of fuel has been steadily ascending for the past few years and has never come down. Petrol used to be 2400 and it’s now between 3500 – 4500 per litre with diesel at 2900 from 2000 a little while back
The effect of this has been an increase in the transportation costs of everything else especially food and services. Basic foods like rice, posho, beans, sugar among others have sky rocketed making it harder for the common man to afford food and basic necessities as he is the one who finally shoulders the burden of increased prices. It’s daily becoming harder to afford food, house hold items, medicine, electricity, charcoal, gas, housing or even education. Basic necessities are becoming a luxury.
Essential service provision is left in the hands of an unmonitored private sector consisting of ruthless capitalist criminals who are government allies and stooges leaving only the economically affluent in a position to afford necessary services
Meanwhile despite the increase in inflation fuel and food prices the taxes I pay do not reduce and my salary does not increase either. I don’t see better roads or better schools or more medicine in the hospitals all I see is the rich minority getting richer and the poor majority getting worse
The bee has been comfortable in its hive collecting pollen and making honey to feed its own but now there is less pollen and water and the farm owner is inconsiderably harvesting what he didn’t sow and the bees are being forced out of their hive – The smoke is too much it’s choking them they have to come out and face the harvester.
Could this be a blessing in disguise? May be hunger will take the Ugandan people away from their comfort zones and appeal to their conscience to stand up and demand for a more accountable government. I expect nothing from the so called middle class who prefer talking about things and never resolving anything. They are comfortable where they are as beneficiaries of the status quo. It’s you and me who are the victims of this circumstance; the question is, what are we going to about it?
One fine day the bees will take it no more.