A person can have a moment of clarity, those profound moments of a deep understanding or epiphany where the truth is played out. Not only in your own mind, but in words to the people around you. I think that Foreign Minister Henry Okello Oryem had such a divine moment yesterday. Where he spoke the truth. A truth that the regime, the government he represents and the friendly allies doesn’t want to associate with. Even if it is true, because that undermines their efforts and their message ahead of the 2021 elections.
Just read this excerpt from the Daily Monitor:
“In an interview with Daily Monitor yesterday, Mr Oryem attributed the “change of mind” to the wellbeing of Ugandans living in China. The minister said no Ugandan who had travelled abroad to look for better life wishes to return to poverty [in Uganda] from which they ran away. “Even if they (Ugandans abroad) come back, they will come into poverty. And if they come back, no one will welcome them back into their homes and they will also have nothing to do,” Mr Oryem said” (Tonny Abet – ‘Ugandans in China refuse to come back home’ 25.06.2020, Daily Monitor).
The National Resistance Movement, the State House and all the arms of government cannot be happy. That the Foreign Minister says this and get this in print. No matter if this is the truth or not. This is bad image and bad storytelling. These sort of things are maybe said in the corridors of power and between friends. However, public officials wouldn’t say these words without consequence.
Especially, when this government is promising middle income country status. Growing and expanding industries, wealth creation and extensive exports of produce. These words from the minister will hurt the pride of the government. Yes this is a known fact of the poverty and lack of development. Which haven’t changed substantially since the government took power in 1986. They might want to claim that, but in the end. The same problems that was there in the 1980s are still their in 2020.
The Minister was honest about the issues. He spoke the truth. A truth the government usually don’t want to reveal. Even if the government is high as a kite on loans. They are deficit financing and recycling debts to cover old debts. The state is loaning for everything, anticipating grants, because the state doesn’t have enough revenue for its operations. That is why the poverty is true.
However, the Minister isn’t supposed to say this. Especially, when the state wants to look like a success story every day ahead of the polls in 2021. Peace.