Somewhere between Uganda and Rwanda is paradise on Earth.

An ever perfect union

trucks-border

If there was ever a perfect nation, it would be somewhere halfway between Uganda and Rwanda, with just enough rules but also, just enough crazy to make life fun. The ancient Greeks were torn between Athens and Sparta, both had virtues and setbacks. The Athenians had their democracy, free thinking, philosophy and hedonism – the pursuit of pleasure as a lifestyle. The Spartans were cold and militaristic, self-denying, arrogant and dismissive of weaker opponents, pleasure was seen as weakness, philosophy was seen as intellectual bullshit and lies, strength was in unity and sacrifice. You see this as you cross the border, two separate mindsets on display, austere hostility on one side and relaxed fun on the other. You have roasting chicken by the customs, Rolexes by the immigration, you can eat while they stamp your entry. Which system is best? Both have merits and setbacks, and even today in most modern countries, the democratic government is Athens and the military is Sparta. So it was with this Laconic tendency that I started to understand Rwanda and Uganda, a militaristic elite dominate the political scene. Athens is under control of a Spartan elite, they let Athens be Athens provided the Sophists and Oligarchs did not challenge Spartan power. Back in Laconia, the Spartans were able to keep a strict hold over society, to regulate in minute detail all the behavior and rituals of the Perioikoi, to make clean streets, to build huge public works, to strengthen the military and cement power.

 

“Corruption is good!!!” Said my taxi driver, climbing pavements without a fear in the world “at least the policeman gets to eat, and I don’t go to court.” I asked what if someone else knocked his child and was able to pay a bribe to escape, how would he feel? “Then it is a big problem. But I lived in Rwanda, you cannot make a living, too many laws and rules, here they leave you alone.” Growth is everywhere in Uganda, exploding off the pavements, pure unregulated growth, organic growth. In Rwanda we can only pray for that organic growth, it is mostly government spending driving growth, organic growth is stifled by regulations and interference. Uganda just needs order, some kind of control, and a brand-new concept they have barely heard of – consequences. You can kill a fellow drinker in a club and get away with it, you can commit murder and never be charged when there were 113 witnesses. All witnesses are dismissed as drunk, then you have several powerful people all wanting to protect you for money. Uganda is Jazz, they make it up as they go, Rwanda is a tightly-arranged symphony with every note in place. Ugandans say they can never be tamed, Rwandans are naturally slow and can be easily governed, unlike the Unruly Ugandan. In 94, Murder was acceptable, Rape was acceptable, it was total chaos but order emerged.

 

Rwanda is a reaction to Uganda, the RPF vowed never to make the mistakes of NRM, Kagame vowed to never make the mistakes of Museveni, but he made entirely different ones. Such is life, every decision will have its downside, every path its own obstacles. The Relaxed Approach of Museveni is now destabilizing the system and allowing Chaos in through the back door. The Iron Fist approach is also strangling Rwanda, killing our creativity, making a nation of mindless zombies who cannot think for themselves. Ugandans have industriousness, their dirty streets are a sign of clean money, even New York has litter everywhere, when Kigali truly has an economic boom we’ll have litter too. Even if Rwandans had the same industriousness of Ugandans, they are stopped by the overzealousness of local officials who use regulations to stop growth at grassroots. In Uganda people can start-up just like that, the inflation is high and money is worthless but everyone gets a piece of the pie. I wonder what happened to the idealism of Museveni? He let the political class plunder the state in return for staying in power. That is a warning to us in Rwanda, when the political class strikes a grand bargain to allow state capture in exchange for extending rule. I just wish there was a happy medium between the two, the freedom of UG and order of Rw, they say you cannot have both. I would pick order over free chaos, but it shouldn’t be a binary choice, development happens when economic freedom and personal freedoms are balanced. The price of Liberty is eternal vigilance, Uganda has to be more security conscious and fight corruption which is killing the nation. Rwanda has to stop choking itself to death with regulations, these regulations lead to corruption to avoid them. We should ask “Is it beneficial, does it harm (how can we limit harm) and allow it.” Moderation is the key, moderate laws, not too lax, not too extreme, somewhere between Uganda and Rwanda is paradise on Earth.

 

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5 Responses to Somewhere between Uganda and Rwanda is paradise on Earth.

  1. rwandareview says:

    Kiprop Katya – Interesting. China, Singapore are controlled like Rwanda but they are doing fine. Uganda compares to Nigeria-both are cases of chaos that work. There is order in Botswana but not out of stifling control.
    Rwanda’s is control borne of fear. Fear of losing power to a genocidal opponent. I wish they could limit it to politics like in China,Singapore and many SE Asian countries. Citizens are free to do business, travel, be rich but never to interfere with the functions of state. But also, this has to be premised on a benevolent government that has the interests of all catered for. Museveni has opened the doors of hell for Uganda in exchange for continued stay in power.

  2. rwandareview says:

    Peter N. Wanyonyi Kiprop, Botswana is largely homogeneous. The batswana all buy into the dream of their leader. They also have huge natural resources that are used to provide them with a comfortable life as a quid pro quo – and since the vast majority are from the same ethnic community, the competition for resources that characterises places like Rwanda and kenya is absent.
    The same situation can be seen in Japan and South Korea, for example.
    Back in 1986, the then Japanese prime minister Yasuhiro Nakasone visited the US. America was then beset by unemployment and high levels of crime. Nakasone told a press conference later that this was because of heterogeneity – he contrasted the large numbers of black and Latino and Chinese citizens in America against the absence of such groups in Japan. The US media were outraged, and he was forced to apologise, but he had made his point.
    Like · Reply · 1 · 13 hrs
    Peter N. Wanyonyi
    Peter N. Wanyonyi There’s no real freedom in chaos. Lack of order robs you of the civil predictability required to live a happy life. Kenya has ‘freedom’ in utter chaos – the result is what you see. Everyone is corrupt. Money meant for public services is stolen all across the country, so the services are never delivered. Legislators are elected competitively, so political seats are fiercely fought for – and are lucrative to those who win and can then steal public funds. Nothing that should be freely available actually is: entire Nairobi housing estates are without water 24/7 yet are connected to water mains and there’s no water shortage. Reason – water cartels cut off supply illegally at choke points so they can then sell the same water to those estates at higher prices. Profits are shared with water department employees.
    And so on.
    Give me order anytime – I absolutely enjoyed living in Saudi Arabia. No freedom like kenya, but no blackouts and no water issues, no landlord drama and so on.
    Even heaven as described in the holy books is a dictatorship, as Satan and his freedom-loving demons found out. You toe the line or get ejected.

  3. rdarev says:

    When anyone compares Rwanda to anything, one thing should be taken into account. Rwanda has a very unique story of all nations in the world. You should have known that.
    @Peter most of your arguments are lame. Chaos is not equal to good economic progress. I don’t think Uganda has chaos because they want it, it’s just because of their inability to put things in order. Simple as that. The lack of chaos in Rwanda doesn’t mean that Rwanda’s economy is bad. If it’s like that, then every good/booming economy has to be in chaos, which I couldn’t help but disagree.
    @Peter do me a favor and think and re-think about my first two sentences.

  4. rwandareview says:

    Peter is the biggest fan of Kagame, the RPF and Rwanda, in that order. He means no harm in his statement. He wishes the Rwanda model was repeated in all African countries, as is, without any alterations the full Rwanda model. So he should not revise his position as he is a loyalist 100%

  5. Thanks for the article. Corruption Kills – http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/688334-1239230-a5asqjz/index.html

    The most needy suffer most – http://allafrica.com/stories/201006090410.html
    http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/President-Museveni-directs-cabinet-to-dissolve-Naads/-/688334/2327968/-/ihdhhb/-/index.html

    Let us have a look at this:
    Who innovated Iron-Rich Beans?:

    (A1). 2012 Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) using conventional breeding methods. high yielding and resistant to major diseases and pests. They can also harvest and share seeds with others in their community amplifying the nutritional benefits. By the end of 2013, more than half a million household members are expected to be eating iron-rich beans. – https://www.ifpri.org/news-release/rwanda-releases-iron-rich-beans-improve-public-health-millions

    (A2). 2016 Uganda, Earlier this year, National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) released bean varieties, which have higher levels of iron and zinc for production by Ugandan farmers – http://www.monitor.co.ug/Magazines/Farming/More-iron–zinc–New-beans-have-an-edge/689860-3496054-slcjl3z/index.html

    On January 15 2010, Rwanda scientists at the Institut de Sciences Agronomiques du Rwanda (ISAR) released 15 new bean varieties that are going to benefit thousands of farmers in the central and east African region.
    http://newsciencejournalism.com/01/2010/rwanda-releases-15-new-beans-varieties/

    I will conclude this way, Uganda as a whole has been benefiting from Rwandan Scientists for 4 years when it comes to Iron-Rich Beans. I say it as someone who comes from Kisoro. The climbing beans (known as Umushingiriro and indigenous to the region around the Muhabura mountains) have been barter traded with Sorghum, Irish potatoes or maize by Bafumbira and Banyarwanda since time immemorial. Monday is the biggest market day in Kisoro, while it is on Saturday in Ruhengeri, Rwanda (unless it changed recently).

    Rwandan Scientists innovate improved and added value seeds/crops and give them to the public to cultivate and share with neighbors in communities to kill two birds with one stone, namely (a). the new varieties a multiplied quickly as well as (b). a deterrence to Fake seed business.

    Irrigation:
    – Rwanda does it: http://en.africatime.com/rwanda/articles/rwanda-tags-irrigation-better-yields

    – Namulonge Crop Resource Research institute (NACRRI) does it (2nd photo). Drip irritating “Drought Tolerant Maize!!!” – See more at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1442117/mps-biotechnology-concept-unpacked#sthash.0iTLYb3l.3BmkTb99.dpuf

    – The President is trying, but his scientists are not pushing the bicycle.- http://dailypost.ng/2016/10/31/uganda-president-museveni-fetches-water-bicycle-photos/

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