Under NRM Died – The Concept Of Work & More

Under NRM Died:- After January 1986, several changes took place in Uganda. One of the most fundamental of all was the attitude towards honest work as a means of earning a living. The masterminds behind the NRM were far-sighted in that they understood the centrality of the concept of work in a democracy and, by extension, an autocracy.

Work gives a human being not only a source of sustenance which is economic progress but also makes him progress socially as he can progress in the acquisition of material goods like good houses, cars and education; get married and have children. It also helps them grow and mature mentally as they think they are more productive.

Above all, it makes them extremely sensitive to political power, governance, and its absence. When you work in a formal setting where your salary is taxed, you learn to make a mental connection with what’s going on around them. When the government misuses taxpayers’ money or watches its cronies steal it and accumulate wealth in a primitive way, they will eventually develop an antipathy towards the government.

This is why the NRM government does not work well in urban settings and gets a lot of baton from the working class – on social media. This class bears the most tax burden.

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But because they won’t take the risk of taking to the streets to voice their grievances for the obvious reason that they will be sacked, they have devised other means. They just sit pretty and only offer a small amount of their effort. They spend the rest inventing ways and means to cheat. They work against any system in place to slow it down and make service delivery as difficult as possible. For you to access a service afterward; as they normally would, they have to bribe and oil the system. Therefore, no matter how good a system the government has in place to weed out inefficiency, there are still glaring loopholes that the corrupt can exploit and enrich themselves.

In fact, in this way, many earn more than they earn with the official salary. So people who are paid very little money end up with serious wealth this way. They enjoy the whole setup, which they wouldn’t if they were walking the right path.

Ultimately, they take a nonchalant view of bad governance and pray that the status quo remains in place. They may even sponsor certain NRM candidates to defeat opposition contestants looking to shake up the drinks table. In this way, the NRM government benefits enormously.

As far as rural people are concerned, Uganda being an agrarian country, the deliberate destruction of cooperatives has suited the NRM. The farmer lost the benefits of bargaining as a group for purchasing inputs. Similarly, they could not sell their products in bulk as a group and have a say in pricing.

The middleman made a killing dealing with individual farmers and squeezed them really hard. This ultimately meant that farming lost its viability as a business. Some have sold their land to corrupt people and sent their children abroad to do all kinds of work to save the family. Others sent them to school in hopes of getting white-collar jobs. Some simply decided to join the transport sector as truck, taxi and Boda Boda drivers.

The white-collar, if he had the chance to become such, found the obstacle above. He has no serious voice threatening the government even under the much pampered foreign investor who fears politics for fear of being deported.

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He must also show his gratitude for having had the opportunity to work in a country in a conducive environment where they get away with exploiting the inhabitants.

Then you have the business class whose success depends on the favors of important people in government. These are the “tender contractors” and people who get lucrative contracts to do government work and win contracts. In many cases, these are just conduits through which money is stolen under the guise of paying a contractor when the work is shoddy or no work is done. The latter like to swim in troubled waters and will fight tooth and nail to perpetuate the regime.

The taxi/truck driver, Boda Boda driver, and market vendor are under the weight of regulation and licensing. They must therefore align themselves politically.

The majority who have not found employment are left to fend for themselves in the amorphous world of politics.

In this world that has become so famous under the NRM government, you find so many people doing so many things that lack definition. First, of course, you have the group that holds political office and gets paid. Then there’s the group that’s still fighting to come into office and eat those fruits as well. They are either supporters, violent hands for hire or cheap bodies for sale to the highest bidder; in this case, the NRM government.

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These will always be present like the people who moved from one group to another after seeing the light. etc The large informal sector welcomes them and this is the group with which the government likes to deal. They are given money that is not enough for everyone, so they spend a lot of their time and energy fighting to get it.

The government loves this lot because they are like the Stalinist chicken whose owner has painstakingly plucked out all of its feathers. It then continued to drop small grains of rice in its path and the chicken gratefully swallowed them to survive. In this way, the chicken forgot its predicament and the cruelty of the one who plucked its feathers.

As such, he was controlled. The working and business class who profit from corruption without doing meaningful work added to the informal sector who are encouraged to focus on politics where they get free money in the form of handouts and the political class who earn without really providing meaningful work is what constitutes the majority of the labor force today. It is a workforce that is easy to manipulate politically and keep on a leash.

It works well for the NRM which, by all indications, wants to stay in power forever. It doesn’t bother much that productive citizens are the source of the family’s money as there is a community of donors who, in a quest to play the piper that sets the tone, fund most of the budget.

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