Uganda needs fuel stations,guest houses more than schools

But in which country do these MPs of ours live?” asked my maid in confusion.
“Ate what have they done?” asked the minister’s maid as she returned from the kitchen holding her cup of tea gingerly.
“Mbu they are going to summon the Minister of Education to explain why land for several schools in Kampala is being sold to investors,” answered my maid.
“hehe heeee!” laughed the minister’s maid. “And why ask when they know the answer?”

“What do you mean they know the answer,” I asked gloomily, for it annoys me when these girls start talking about our ministers without much reverence.
“Who doesn’t know the answer?” she asked me defiantly.
“I don’t,” I answered challengingly.
“If you don’t know I can tell you,” she said.
“Tell me then,” I responded. “In fact you sound as if there is a standard reason why different investors need land at different locations.

“The reasons are not one, they are about three,” she answered.
Now this was becoming interesting so I asked her to name the reasons she claimed the MPs know and should, therefore, not ask.
“One reason an investor may need city school land is to build a petrol station,” she said. “The other one is to turn the school land into a car washing bay without investing even Shs2 million.”
“And the third?” I asked sharply, not wanting to sound amused at her wild answers.
“To build a guest house,” she answered without hesitation.
“And for that you think there is no need for MPs to ask?” I asked.

“Unless they want to be given some creative answers, but whatever they are told, the reality is that those are the three main reasons the land is needed,” she answered. “A guest house might be given some decent sounding name and appearance, but it will remain a guest house. And washing bay will be washing bay even if the stated reason for acquiring the land is for building a hospital or hotel, until the so-called investor sells his concession for the stated reason to a real investor, for a few million dollars.”
“Then why doesn’t the education ministry give the land to the final investor who will in the end use it for the stated reason?” asked my naïve maid.

“hehe heeee!” laughed the minister’s maid again. “And you expect the final investor to get the land directly? There has to be some value addition first.”
“Value addition?” we both asked in unison, my maid and myself.
“Of course a Chinese or muzungu cannot get the city land free of charge as if we are still a colonised country,” the minister’s maid explained. “a local, indigenous Ugandan has to first add value of a couple of million dollars. Then the foreign investor can have it.”
“But why should an investor take the land as if we need the petrol stations or guest houses more than schools?” I ask angrily.
“You are playing right inside the answer,” she said in direct translation of the popular Kampala saying. “We need those things more than the schools.”
“Is your head okay?” I asked.

“Of course it is,” she answered. “Just ask any Ugandan if given a chunk of school land in Kampala they would reject it saying mbu because the children need a good learning environment he cannot accept the land!”
I excused myself to go fix a cup of coffee, but I did not return to the sitting room.
buwembo@gmail.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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