AFRICANGLOBE – At last month’s African Union Heads of State Summit in Ethiopia, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni alleged that Africans had stopped worshipping God, and instead they were worshipping the United States.
To an extent, he was right. But not in the sense of worshipping the way we do God.
That the US behaves like a god is common knowledge. I think we Africans give so much attention to what the US says that we forget what is important to us. That is why President Museveni thinks Africa is worshipping America.
But why should what the US thinks or wants be at the centre of our national issues? Why should President Barack Obama’s visit to Africa be so important that we have to debate for weeks why he has chosen to skip certain countries?
The only problem with President Museveni is preaching to Africa as if he is the model of good leadership — as if he is the king of the continent.
Egypt Should Stop Beating War Drums
Ethiopia has said nothing will prevent the Blue Nile hydropower project from being implemented, even as Egypt threatened to carry out certain “hostile activities” if the project is not stopped.
The 6,000-megawatt Grand Renaissance Dam was conceived by former prime Minister Meles Zenawi to make Ethiopia a functional industrial country. Power costs in the country are poised to go down drastically when the project is completed.
Kenya is about to start building power pylons to import power from Ethiopia to satisfy the high demand at home. It would probably back Ethiopia in the project, as would Rwanda, the source of the White Nile, and Uganda.
That the Democratic Republic of Congo is building another giant dam means Africa is going to be the world’s manufacturing hub in the future, as most countries will share cheap power and this will attract foreign investments.
It would, therefore, be prudent for Egypt to talk with all countries on the Nile Basin and come to an agreement, instead of beating the war drums.
Uganda Taxes Poor to Protect the Rich
GROWING UP in a coffee growing village in Uganda, one of my biggest days of the year would be Budget day, when I would sit surrounded by old men anxious to know the new price of coffee. And almost every financial year, there would be a price increment.
Fast forward to 2013. One of my grandpas was visiting the day Maria Kiwanuka read the budget. When grandpa learnt that there would be nothing about coffee, he strolled to his bedroom. No sooner had we started our analysis of Mrs Kiwanuka’s budget than Grandpa stormed the living room.
While he was in his bedroom, he had watched the budget speech on the “home” channel, Tanzania’s ITV.
His findings were astounding. After watching the Tanzanian budget, he realised that while Uganda levied Ush200 on kerosene, for the sole purpose of preventing adulteration of diesel, Tanzania levied Tsh50 per litre of petrol to finance the Rural Electrification Agency.
Tanzania taxes the rich to offer services to the poor, while Uganda increases taxes on essential goods to protect the rich.
Grandpa further noticed that Tanzania has a Skills Development Levy for the youth, similar to Kenya’s National Industrial Training Authority levy, while Uganda has no specific budgetary provision for this.
The Tanzanian minister, in his budget speech, cited 10 items that have been addressed by the amendment of the EAC Customs Management Act. Key among these are several duty remissions on raw materials for soap and plastics used in the production of gas energy.
Uganda’s minister hides these in a report before parliament. Why not lay them open so that wananchi can know what how they are affected by such remissions? Is the secrecy meant to serve a specific purpose?
By: Matsiko Kahunga