By Jason Mugizi
Any growing society can’t be delinked from elites. They possess a disproportionate amount of privilege, power, wealth, education and skill.
Because of their advantaged position, they are revered as more powerful in the societies compared to the rest. They have means and access to opportunities unlike the downtrodden hordes that form the vast majority.
In some ways referred to as an oligarchy, they sit atop and within the layers of the socioeconomic and political spaces in the institutions of our country like several others.
But the current absurd reality in our country is that, the more these elites have occupied spaces in our institutions, their unpleasantness hasn’t been left unearthed.
A related observation was made in the book, ‘Twilight of the Elites’ where the Author Christopher Hayes argues that meritocratic elites may rise on the basis of grades, effort and merit, but, to preserve their status, they become corrupt. And to me corruption is evidence of stinking.
Therefore in Uganda, one can only feign ignorance of this open ended glaring reality if you are one of them or their cohort. And in the recent past, we have witnessed a prodigious surge of elite unpleasantness and it happens with impunity.
Last week, we were treated to discomposure when Lira Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Mark Tivu and engineer Hudson Omoko made a revelation that Uganda shilling 665 million that was meant for the construction of Aki Bua memorial stadium had been used to build a toilet and clear land. Apparently, there is no architectural design for the stadium. Don’t such elites stink?
Some stinking elites handling government road construction projects have shamelessly claimed to have compensated people staying in swamps, forest reserves, rocks in other cases paid non-existent (ghost) land owners.
Several foul-smelling government functionaries including ministers and mealy-mouthed spokespersons have on several occasions elected to impudently rationalize state excesses, defend inhuman and degrading broad day torture of innocent civilians.
A stinking minister came close to maddeningly argue that Hon Kyagulanyi Ssentamu was faking an injury after the violent Arua Municipality bye election; that torture is a process!
Mukono municipality MP, Betty Namboozi has not been spared by the proponents of this unintelligible gibberish.
Some stinking elites in security agencies have binned the basic tenets of security enforcement. The way they pounce on suspects, hit them with guns while clobbering them to pulp is alarming. How can such degrading acts be done by someone who isn’t high on weed like in the case of Yusuf Kawooya?
It has also become routine for some elites in police and security agencies to provokingly hold suspects incommunicado, deny them access to family members and lawyers while in the end preferring trumped-up charges against them. Such charges aren’t sustainable and quite often dropped as sufficient evidence can’t be adduced. Stinking police officers, stinking charges and stinking evidence (if any)! What went wrong?
Trust in some government institutions such as judiciary has plummeted due to odoriferous legal elites that solicit bribes from the accused, some deliver yellow, predictable judgments and issue fake orders.
Some disgusting elites in powerful government offices have dropped merit based recruitment. They have opted for cronyism hence creating a network of kinsmen. How did we get here?
Wetlands and public spaces have been seized and used for private gain by dishonest, powerful and seemingly immortal people in government who I think believe that they will buried on square miles of land. To the extreme, they mercilessly displace poor people from their land, sometimes with fake court orders.
Stomach-churning elites have hijacked the education sector. They no longer care about proper training of the next generation. They charge rooftop tuition, require students to go with a ragbag of items such as cement, sugar, dozens of toilet paper, paint, brooms among others. One can be prompted to think that these students are going to set up mini supermarkets and shops.
Some elites in regulatory and standard bodies aren’t remorseful for regularly reassuring the public of how some goods on the market are substandard. There are stories of plastic cabbages, fake eggs, fake medicine, fake electronics among others.
Deceptive adverts by some stinking elite herbalists that tag almost all their herbal medicine to be a remedy for low sexual activity among men are a common feature in our media space even when many could be fake.
Furthermore, some perfidious elites hiding under being men of God sale fake miracles, holy water, drive expensive vehicles as their followers struggle to make ends meet yet Jesus lived a modest life.
The disregard of principles and values in politics is at play with God sometimes appearing to powerful citizens to ditch their beliefs like Saul. We also can’t forget political manipulation.
Some of our elites stink in many ways than I have mentioned. They are corrupt, dishonest and fraudulent.
For our country to make strides, elites need to be more articulate than vague, candid more than dishonest and more explicit than imprecise. They need to be moral than immoral.
There should be honest conversations on what went wrong, how it went wrong, when and where. If not, our impressive visions may only serve academic purposes while the stinking elites continue to stink more.
Elite unpleasantness is also a time bomb. When the obsession with the elite oligarchy reaches crescendo, the reaction and repercussions from the disadvantaged may not be the best.
The author is a student at the law development centre, Kampala.