The silent side of unity

I’ve been thinking somewhat about the history of Europe in relation to that of the merging unions being formed by African countries. Namely of European history since it is what I have grown up observing in addition to studying at school. The fact that I studied part of European history albeit not taking it any further than my secondary school requirement, would appear to come as news to some of the European persons coming to reside in the UK. I don’t suppose it is easy for some of them either to find themselves residing amongst a black race of individuals of whom for centuries they’ve been taught to disregard as a low form of the human race.

I guess when the European Union was set up with the aim of ending the frequent and bloody wars between neighbours, that had culminated in the Second World War in 1945, nobody would’ve envisaged that the caucasian race wouldn’t remain to be the only resident humans within Europe. The fact that many Africans, including my great, great grandfather had been drafted in this second war, was never something taught in our history lessons back in the early 80′s here in the UK. The result being that some of the caucasians in Europe find it unpalatable to find themselves sharing what they see as their rightful gains with the African race. Let’s face it, most of the news that surfaces about the African race tends to border on negative acts that range from civil wars and disease, give or take a mix of corrupt regimes that find it more of a game to squander any resources for personal use. To be fair, bad news tends to be the driving force in today’s society and it just simply isn’t fun to report good news unless it involves charity of some sort.

In Uganda – charity as is known in the developed nation is not the same thing – so it goes unnoticed or unreported. It simply is seen as a “right” of being responsible for others within the extended family. There is no such thing as “state” to offload the sick, disabled persons, orphaned or elderly relatives. Yet taxes are definitely collected but what they actually account for is up for discussion by parliamentalists alone I think. This is not to say that there hasn’t sprung up some semblance of charity-run homes often affiliated to the religious establishments – however the government as a whole in Uganda has not set aside any funds to undertake such long-term ventures. They haven’t yet figured out how profitable they can be but Ugandans are sharp and are quickily taking lessons from those willing to offer them short-cuts on how to!

The Chairman of the African Union Commision Jean Ping (from l. to r.), Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni and African Union Chairman President Bingu Wa Mutharika of Malawi attend the opening the AU Peace Hub in Uganda's capital Kampala, July 24. Leaders at this week's African Union summit in Uganda pledged to strengthen the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia. Xavier Toya/Reuters

Where I start getting confused (and I find these days it doesn’t take much work to get my dementia rolling on a high) is with talk of AU (African Union) or the EAU (East African Union). Ugandans as a whole have a history of being very welcoming of persons from all over the world. Indeed many have come to work and/or reside in her land and to later call Uganda their home.

Aside from the Asian debacle during the Idi Amin regime, there has yet to be reported or cited brutal forced detention and repatriation of citiziens from other countries within Africa. This is not to say that Ugandans have not been at the receiving end of brutal treatment from other African host countries such as Kenya or even South Africa.

From merely observing the impact of what opening up the borders to other European states especially from the Eastern blocks has had on the unskilled labour force and working class communities within UK – animosity and simmering tension is quite a common theme here already. The persons in power are often shielded from the realities of such tensions and most often give a watered down version of the possible causes of social conflict to the country as a whole in order to gain support of bringing in cheap labour from abroad. We hold our breath as Romania and Turkey prepare to join the EU…

Which brings me back to the following questions: How is the Ugandan government going about evaluating or even monitoring the impact of the AU or EAU? What kind of unity is being contemplated or worked at when talk of AU or EAU is flagged up. Already there are Ugandan farmers and florists who are suffering from lack of government assistance that has not been accorded them as they see Kenyans take up most of the juicy sectors of the grocery chain stores in supplying. At this rate, this indeed seems to be a unity of silence on the part of the Ugandan population.

CRS-provided oxen help northern Ugandan farmers rebuild income and expand the amount of land being used for crop production. Photo by David Snyder for CRS

One comment on “The silent side of unity

  1. I would say the jury is well and truly out there on the purpose of the AU especially whether it can truly serve/benefit the man on the street!

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