“But isn’t a Shs120m too little from the Ugandans in North America?” the minister’s maid asked as she sank into the chair next to her friend who was watching a footage of the Katikkiro in America.
“I also think those guys are so mean,” supported my maid.
“Did you want them to give a billion or what?” I asked irritably, angry that they were belittling the sacrifice and contribution of our brothers and sisters in North America to the reconstruction of Buganda’s royal sites.
“At least-ko Shs800m nawe mzee,” said the minister’s maid. They were hundreds of thousands of them and even 50 dollars from each would have raised much more than that.”
“Wamma you are right,” added my maid. “Those people make a lot of money that is why they don’t come back. Katikkiro has been getting bigger toffaali than that from our poor towns.”
“I think he even got less from Dubai,” recalled the minister’s maid.
“I think Ugandans abroad are simply broke.”
“But these people remit hundreds of millions of dollars to our country every year, so don’t underrate them,” I warned.
“So are you saying they are just mean?” asked the minister’s maid.
“They are contributing in different ways and as their remittances increase economic activity here, the relatives can contribute to toffaali better,” I argued.
“I don’t buy that,” she shot back. “Those guys are simply too broke to contribute. Didn’t you see how excited they were to greet the Katikkiro? It means if they had the money, they would have given more, but they are simply broke and I feel sorry for them.”
“They are also feeling sorry for you,” I quipped. “Many of them earn in a day what you earn in a month.”
“Yes but something must be happening to their money that makes them unable to contribute as much toffaali as the people in our small towns here,” she answered.
“How else can all that happiness not yield more money than their small toffaali?”
“Never belittle someone’s contribution,” I warned her sternly. “Everybody donates according to their ability”
“Thank you for agreeing with me,” she said even before I could finish.
“So their ability is smaller than that of the people here back home!”
I did not like the trap she had manoeuvered into so I hit back, “People have different priorities!”
“So you mean the ones here at home are more generous,” she said triumphantly.
“But the people at home are in the millions while the Uganda in America are just tens of thousands” I countered. “So the millions here are bound to collect more money.”
“But even here at home it is not all the millions who contribute,” she argued.
“I have followed all these toffaali sessions on TV and it is hundreds of people who raise more money that those in America have raised. So the Ugandans abroad are either worse off than we at home, or they are more mean, what you call different priorities.”
“But still the little that they contributed is something,” I said.
“And it is not little, only that it is less than what the local tycoons have contributed. And not every Ugandan in North America attended, that was a just a small fraction.”
“But in America, do they have to attend physically,” she asked. “You have been there and I haven’t, so tell me. Couldn’t they mobilise and send the money from their phones?”
“I haven’t asked them,” I said as I excused myself.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor