All around us are uniting for causes, about time Ugandans took up stance [Daily Monitor, The (Uganda)]
(Daily Monitor, The (Uganda) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) David Oringa failed to travel to Bujumbura at the weekend to compete in one of the ITF Futures tournaments because of 'financial constraints', and I am tearing at my hair in fury. Who is that, I hear you ask? Exactly. That and all it encompasses is the cause of my fury, an accumulating frustration with our failure to fight for causes, emotions about which have been triggered off in me by tragic events that I am sure you have already figured out.
Oringa is one of the most talented young tennis players to hit the Ugandan scene in recent times, a boy who if guided along the course of what is natural progression elsewhere in the world would without a doubt go places. His failure to travel to Bujumbura is instead symbolic of what happens to almost all the great sporting prospects that emerge from our schools and neighbourhoods as we watch on without a care in the world.
The other day, on that quite bubbly social media forum I am privy to and to which I occasionally refer here, there raged this debate about the colonial partition of Africa and with it several questions about what else made us feel Ugandan apart from living together within the same boundaries forced upon us by the white man.
Some of the arguments put out that day came across as individual struggles to justify the selfishness we have acquired over the years, which has turned us into a loosely knit society of 'everyone for himself' types. I don't hear too many I don't cares when Stephen Kiprotich crosses the finish line ahead of outclassed pursuers as he is making a habit of, just collective euphoria and elation from millions of people clearly proud to be Ugandan. Those who retain the 'I don't care' stance in moments like those are a countable few, and if they exist at all none of them cares to say as much at such times.
Yet Kiprotich himself has confessed severally that he feels lucky to have got to the top because he could easily have joined the long list of faceless and nameless Ugandans of similar or greater potential who have fallen by the wayside over the years, a scrapheap so high it would dwarf Mt Elgon. All because we didn't care when they need us to, but are all too glad to 'stuff their sacks' some more when they are already 'bursting at the seams'. It is not just a sports thing for Uganda but a cultural one that requires a paradigm shift in thinking and application across all walks of life.
Isn't it common belief for example that Ugandans will not 'pull each other up' in the world of business, and yet a foreign investor will walk in here, receive unequivocal support from the relevant government agencies (from URA through Lands and the National Bureau Of Standards to the police), get the required financial boost from our banks, the goodwill of the community (from security to cheap labour), and a ready market for their products at the end of it all? It is not entirely true and government is working hard to change that perception, but where did it come from in the first place?
The Indians, as one example, operate on the principle of the 'cobweb theory' in boosting each other. Even here in Uganda the Indian manager of a hotel and all his Indian subordinates will buy their medicine from a fellow Indian's pharmacy whose owner will take his kids to an Indian school which will book all its visitors in that Indian hotel I mentioned …
Different set-upsYet a new Ugandan hotel owner will hire a Kenyan general manager, and will have other Kenyans managing everything else from foods and beverages to Information Technology, because "Ugandans don't have experience". Where are these increasingly well trained Ugandans in those areas of expertise supposed to get that experience in the first place? The Kenyans they hire first acquired that experience managing Kenyan hotels you know …
In the same breath we will ignore the guys on Nasser Road for print jobs, and send out artwork to Nairobi, Johannesburg or Dubai, even for simple calendars, brochures and diaries. How then are the Nasser Road fellas going to buy upgraded machinery, train staff and improve quality control? Why not give them the print jobs and the money, then demand quality work? If we did that 10 years ago it wouldn't be an issue now. If we do it now, it will not be an issue in 10 years …It is all well and good that a phone call from Robert Kabushenga will get Uganda's corporate world to hastily reach for their chequebooks and contribute to a grand prize for Kiprotich whenever he wins, because these corporate are sure that word tagged to the superstar marathoner will travel, and that they will also stay in the good books of a man who runs a media empire they will always need.
Yet I am sure that most if not all the proposals that Kiprotich's mentor Godfrey Nuwagaba sent to these corporate bodies just five years ago were thrown in the bin without even being read, as must be the case with Oringa and hundreds of potential young champions whose desperate calls for help fall on deaf ears.
Like some of my mates and their 'everyone for himself' stance, our corporate bodies will tell you they are under no obligation, and yet drum on about corporate social responsibility they only pay lip service too.
The guilt spreads to the federations that run these sports disciplines (how can Cedric Babu's tennis regime explain away Oringa's plight?); the government that has up to now still not drafted, legitimised and institutionalised a modern-day sports policy complete with development programs and clauses to entice/coerce the corporate world into obligation; the general public who as customers of these corporates and citizens of the said government and can push the agenda; the media who, as they have done with Kiprotich, will dedicate entire sections of their papers and broadcasts for lengthy periods to Oringa were he to become world tennis champion, but tucked his Bujumbura debacle into a small corner with a few lines I almost missed it …
It doesn't matter who first drew out Kenya's borders centuries ago, right now they are being united by tragedy. Before that, the realisation that they needed to come together despite their marked differences (tribal and all), had culminated in that new constitution. All around us countries are being united in fighting for causes, big and small, serious and trivial. And Oringa cannot raise an air ticket to Bujumbura? Damn, I am mad!
Full name: David Oringa Date of Birth:October 9, 1993Nickname: Number Emu Education: Diploma in Business Admin, UCU Mukono.Sponsors: Uganda Charity Trust Fund, Mr. Muhumuza Mpeka
HONOURSl 1st 2012 Uganda Open Singlesl 2012 Uspa Tennis player of the Yearl 2nd 2012 Tanzania International Open
(c) 2013 Nation Media Group. All Rights Reserved. Provided by Syndigate.info an Albawaba.com company
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]