Op-ed: Why not prepare for the Robert Kyagulanyi presidency?

Bobi Wine. Courtesy photo.


By James William Mugeni

My key point: Bobi Wine is a holding center of potentially dangerous young people and if Uganda is wise, should nurture him.

U.S.A—29, July 2020: Editor, the claims by some people in the elite circles that Bobi Wine cannot lead Uganda is rubbish. Uganda has had multiple systemic failures (if I can use my familiar medical language). Citizens are expressing “unparalleled levels of discontent, distrust, and anger of those in higher offices.”

There is no higher office that is not paralyzed by fear of the state and the state being President Museveni. Orders from above which run along unprofessional lines have turned state institutions functionless.

The elites have become the most despicable of men, though they are needed as vultures are needed, but one hardly admires vultures whom elites so strangely resemble. In my life of public service in Uganda, I’m yet to meet someone in public administration who was not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid; an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little power in which he delights as a boy delights in possessing a vicious dog. Who can trust such creatures?

Initially, administrators were of the elite, educated class, those of the right class with the knack for governance in their blood and breeding. It is with this mentality that people see Kyagulanyi as not capable since they are not seeing a lineage in him. Many debates show that people would rather have someone who has a history with the army, or history with those who have led Uganda before. (The Muhoozi project)

Ugandans should wake up and prepare to the Kyagulanyi presidency. Let us avoid a situation of “where were you kind of leadership” from coming into our midst again.

Bobi Wine has created a niche out of what is presumed to be the ghetto, bringing them to reality. With the notion that Ugandans have that the presidency runs institutions, some see Bobi Wine as not capable of being the president. Social justice demands that citizens have equal rights and chances of being the best they can.

To downplay Bobi Wine is to simply confirm our mistakes of denying citizens’ equal rights. We didn’t have plans on how to deal with the young people the country neglected until today when they now challenge power that be in Uganda. The young people are a national emergency. Those who were armed and used as LDUs have even turned into a more serious menace.

Our big parliament still does not accommodate the growing demands of young people.

Public administration is multi-disciplinary, and it is for this reason that I find claims that Bobi Wine cannot lead Uganda as wrong. Recently, I wrote that the medical professionals do not follow presidential directives and I mean it. We are at a loss in having functionless institutions.

The medical profession as an example has a hierarchal leadership that is in itself an authority. From the director general of medical services, to district directors of health services down to hospital directors. Government ignored this as it hired junior doctors to head ministry in health, something that has totally messed up the way health professionals respond to administrators in the ministry of health. Senior army generals have expressed similar sentiments, maybe this can be for the army but in health we are hitting a dead end.

We health workers find ourselves completely without leadership. So sickening to be in a medical system that subscribes to the whims of politicians. Working with orders from above and those orders being from uniformed politicians in the medical field is killing the medical field.

“Public administration consists of getting the work of the government done by coordinating the efforts of a different institution in a multi -disciplinary manner. Professionals from different sectors coordinate so that they can work together to accomplish set tasks…managing, directing, and supervising the activities of thousands, even millions of workers so that some order and efficiency may result from their efforts.”

Holding key positions as innovators in political science, Medicine, Engineering, Psychology, Logistics, Sociology, Law, Management, Economics, Academia, and the private sector, public administrators’ duties are manifold. Each of these disciplines is supposed to produce a leader that helps steer the discipline into quality performance. It is the aggregate performance of such leadership that informs and directs the action of elective government. Improving healthcare and education systems; pursuing equality and social justice; supporting industry and economic growth; and promoting community sustainability and environmental protections, to name a few, all depend on the superior performance of professionals.

While public administrators influence many areas of civil service, their efficiency is especially valuable in the following six disciplines:

Community Development. Community development has long been within the purview of local governments, planning boards, businesses, and civic groups, but public administration also has a role to play. Communities are developed through a network of stakeholders—residents, business owners, developers, and so on—each with different needs and goals. Public administrators support and network between stakeholders, allowing them to address the details that improve a community (economics, housing, social and medical services). Public administrators facilitate activity by creating networks within multi-organizational partnerships, not necessarily partisan politics but diverse community organizations that serve different interest groups. This can be women groups, farmers groups, young people groups, etc.; this is dead across Uganda, all you have is politicking. You can’t almost find communities that are united, even tribes are so disintegrated with individualistic pursuits.

Sustainability Sustainable development is the process of meeting society’s current needs without compromising future generations’ ability to do the same; this means promoting economic development that does not deplete natural resources. As part of this effort, public administrators oversee the stewardship of lands, urban infrastructures, healthcare delivery methods, and many other complicated systems, ensuring their efficiency and stability. In this way, public administrators play a key role in developing sustainable community infrastructures. Uganda currently runs a consumer society that only has dependants, the young people we call thugs have no sense of belonging and responsibility that we seem interested in eliminating them from the sustainability cycle and what used to be said that they are the leaders of tomorrow is a dead dream. Everything is about today’s people.

Environmental Management: Public administrators are tasked with protecting the interests of the average citizen, and as the population has become increasingly concerned with the harmful effects of climate change, public administrators should orchestrate policies related to environmental management. Environmentalists, small businesses, corporations, and the average worker all have ideas as to how the environment and natural resources should be used. While individuals and groups lobby for their own interests—ranging from unencumbered use, complete conservation, or something in between—public administrators must find a compromise where environmental resources are responsibly managed and economic interests are satisfied. Public administrators working in environmental management careers must have a working knowledge of laws and policies regarding water, land management, and other natural resources. Within the realm of environmental protection.

There is no place in Uganda that is not having thieves in the names of investors; those stealing sand in Lake Victoria to those stealing fish. Those stealing rocks in Karamoja to those stealing gold in Busia. Nobody is preserving anything with the view to the future for young people.

Leadership: The public administrator’s role in leadership—especially in grooming governmental and political leadership—is dwindling rapidly. As the population grows and the government expands to meet the needs of its citizens, so too does the need for special programs to groom young people. The clashes we are having in Uganda are basically gaps in public administration. Why is it that hooligans are becoming a defined part of our country? Why is Kyagulanyi having these rapid growing unguided young people? How come we are not having public space for them?

Crisis Management: Though government leaders and public administrators would prefer to avoid crises entirely, they must possess the ability to predict and plan for potential catastrophes if they come to fruition. During a crisis, efficiency and accountability can mean the difference between life and death for thousands of people. Time is of the essence in a crisis, and public administrators need to have the organizational skills and knowledge to deploy necessary aid rapidly, safely, and efficiently.

Covid-19 could have taken us by surprise, but it is not over. UN predicts over 135 million children face starvation from Covid-19. From such information how do we get public administrators to work within all levels of crisis management and disaster relief—both within the private and public sectors—to ensure that people in need receive much-needed aid and care in a timely fashion during and after a major crisis. Public administrators are also responsible for overseeing the inevitable recovery and reconstruction period that follows a crisis, where the guidance and supervisory capabilities of administrators reduce the economic impact of a disaster. The Covid -19 crisis into its 6th month has still left Uganda on no recovery path. The country is in tatters, like a country whose foundation is built on sand.

Public Safety: A hard reality is in public safety. Our security concerns have been exaggerated and we have a narrative that has made us to believe that our safety depends on the military. This narrative is constructed on those who went to the bush and came back as our liberators. This unfortunate history will take forces of change to do away with a whole generation mind-set and this will take transformative leadership. We have an army that creates imaginary enemies out of us for the public they are supposed to protect.

What reasons do we have for increasingly having the police turn patrol vehicles into weapons? Why are the police running vehicles over people? Why are we harming so much with tear gas, bullets, and guns for a small country like Uganda? How do we get bullets for books?

Increasingly one feels those in public administration are not Ugandans. Why so much fear? How do we protect the president more than the people he leads? How do we get the president and the rest of public administration to know that they come from a popular vote not out of a war?

Right now, we have a young people’s crisis; it is not politics and those who even thought they cannot take a political shape, shame upon you now that they are an Umbrella.

The author is a Medical Clinical/Certified Public Manager living in the U.S.A.

Email: wmungadi@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of this publication, and or its management.

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