Monday, December 17, 2007

"I" annihilates 'We"

In one of his remarkable speeches, the renown American president, JF Kennedy warned that: "If mankind does not bring an end to war, war will bring an end to mankind". At his hindsight was the explosive possibility of the Cold War and the arms race.
Today, if JFK passed in Africa, i am sure he would caution: "If Africans do not put an end to greed, greed will put an end to Africans".
Look, an investigation reveals that people charged with the duty of distributing drugs freely to public health facilities have decided to ferry the drugs to private centres and sell them.
Obviously, this reduces accessibility to drugs and consequently deaths are imminent. For those of us who have access to health cover and rush to the doctor even with the slightest migraine, we may not actually know the impact of some of these things.
When a national paper runs a story that drugs worth sh100m have been diverted, we may just look on and brush it off as the next of the corruption scandals we have gotten used to. True, but for how long should mankind, in the crave for personal aggrandisement, subject other people to misery?
But as i posted earlier, we need to ask: why is man descending this low? Why would anyone with a conscience divert funds meant for HIV/AIDS victims to putting up personal mansions and shopping a fleet of cars for his concubines and himself? Surely, where has the word 'shame' gone?
Before you weep, like i do a great deal; stop and think---these people are products of our society. They are responding to standards and expectaions the rest of us are setting. The former Kagoma County MP, Dr. Frank Nabwiso, was voted out in 2006, and one of the reasons given by a section of his constituents was that he embarrased them by driving an old car. I listened to Dr. Nabwiso address a meeting in Makerere University in 2006 (after the elections) and he admitted that with his salary and family committments, he could not afford a 4-wheel-drive car. He actually rode a bicycle a couple of times!! To voters, this was a shame.
So, with a mindset like that, what do we expect people to do when they access positions that previlege them to handle big sums of money (even if it is not theirs?).
Just ask yourself, how many times have you judged a person by the car s/he drives or by the suit he wears, just because s/he holds a certain position? How many times does someone walk up to us and the first thing we do is look at the shoe type they have on or the wrist watch they are wearing?
It is common knowledge today that if someone ascends a 'top' position whether in politics or public office, a lot in terms of material flamboyance is expected of them. It is our expectation as the public that they build a mansion, acquire a state-of-the-art new wheels and manage a harem of concubines.
It is these standards we set that are driving men into vampires. That are turning people into blood-suckers. That are transforming man into a proponent of the "I" at the cost of the "We".
Of course this does not work in isolation. Some people are just greedy. Many of our 'liberators' today exhibit that. For a group of people who assumed power 20 years ago to have a bank balance of sh4 billion is total daylight robbery, when we know that all these years, these people have held public offices with clearly defined salaries that no amount fo saving can create such colossal bank balances.
I know that Capitalism has never left us the same. We have jumped onto the wealth bandwagon. but stop to think: before you pocket those millions, you are authoring the slow death of millions others. That before you divert those billions into buying a state-of-the-art benz, your action maybe subjecting thousands to a life of bad roads.
Lets just for once remember the "We" and dispose the "I".

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