By Oweyegha-Afunaduula

According to the World Happiest Report ” The 20 Happiest Countries in 2022″ released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the top 10 happiest are Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Luxemburg, Sweden, Norway, Israel and New Zealand in that order.

The report comes two years after Covid 19 ravaged the World and in the wake of Russia’s insensible military invasion of Ukraine. The two countries together, have some of the largest grain fields and many of the World’s natural resources, perhaps next to Africa.

The said World Happiest Report puts Afghanistan, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Botswana in that order in the bottom 5 saddest countries if the World. It is of great relief that Uganda, known for many negatives, is not among the saddest 5 countries of the world, but its neighbor, Rwanda, with which it has resolved diplomatic problems recently, is second from the bottom among the saddest countries.

If, however, there is tightening global despondency trap there is even more tightening Uganda despondency trap, just like there is a poverty trap, debt trap and enslavement trap.

The more despondency one suffers, the more sadness one suffers and the more unhappy one is. When one is despondent one is very unhappy because one has been experiencing difficulties one thinks, believes and is convinced one will not be able to overcome. “One” can be a country as well.

For example, depending on its policies, choices and strategies of development, Uganda may not be able to overcome poverty, illiteracy, inequalities, injustice, human rights abuses, undemocratic practices, corruption, ill-health, insecurity, et cetera even if you gave its leaders 100 years.

Before, I delve into despondency, with accompanying fear and loss of hope and courage in the face of numerous, interconnected problems, and issues, let me define three interconnected words within the context of this intellectual discourse: despond, despondent and despondency.

There is no doubt that there is proliferating despondency among all communities all over Uganda to which, unfortunately, Government is responding militarily and exploiting as a political weapon, or innovating a myriad of economic programmes, such as Myooga and Parish Development Model that promise no grain of success, and will most likely end up dividing people further and generating even more despondency.

To despond is ” to be dejected and to lose confidence. To put it another way, to despond is ” to be in low spirits from loss of Hope, courage or confidence”. It is dangerous when people collectively despond in a country. They are angry and hungry for change.

When one is despondent one relapses into low spirits from loss of hope, courage and confidence, and when one is despondent one is unlikely to be interested in call to be patriotic or nationalistic. One sees no value added.

Despondency, therefore, is relapsing into low spirits, from loss of hope, courage and confidence.

There are many synonyms of the word Despondency, including: heartache, disheartenment, discouragement, dispirited, despair, wretchedness, melancholy, gloom, gloominess, downheartedness, hopelessness, glumness, desolation, disappointment, depression, melancholia, misery, dolefulness, dejection, sorrow, sadness, defeatism, greed, the blues, unhappiness, distress, doldrums.

There can be individual despondency and collective despondency.

Individual despondency has compelled so many of our young people into external slavery, where they are paid peanuts (though better than being out of employment at home), exploited, or are forcibly losing their organs to the rich, while others are willingly selling their organs (principally kidney), ostensibly to escape poverty for ever.

Collective despondency is the reason a country is in the bottom 50 in the World Happiest Report. It explains rebellions and coup de tats in some countries, or threats of rebellions or coup de tats, however armed a regime in power is.

Africa shows how despondency may lead to either collective action, or action of armies, to remove regimes that fail to deliver in terms of happiness. Nowhere have coup de tats been so common as in Africa.

By 2012 there had been 200 coup de tats and attempted coup de tats in Africa, from the time most African countries got their political independence from their former colonial masters. Most of the coup de tats have been in West Africa. Even as late as 24th February 2022, there was a successful coup in Burkina Faso.

As the title of this article implies, and as I have mentioned elsewhere in the article, despondency is proliferating in Uganda. Those opposed to the regime in power believe the despondency is manufactured by the regime to create a psychosocial environment that encourages the spread of fear, whereby fear is then used by power as a political weapon to keep the population and Opposition in check.

One thing is true. So many factors are interacting to generate despondency in the whole country among all communities: academic, intellectual, cultural, politic, judicial, legislative, executive, military, police, student, business, fishing, farming, et cetera.

They include Lake Victoria grabbing, land grabbing by mostly people who were nomadic pastoralist and are seeking to be modern day settlers where are get have no cultural attachment, environmental collapse, human rights abuse, torture, injustice, lack of welfare services, unequal opportunities, climate change, insecurity, unfair prices for crops and commodities, lack of minimum wage, withholding pensions and erosion of professionalism.

Others include food insecurity and hunger, elections that never produce the choices of the people, deep State, preference of foreigners to indigenous people, over taxation and multiple taxes, using extrajudicial killings, stealing of public funds, corruption, ethnic cleansing, the rising and spreading belief that foreigners have accessed our citizenship, nationality and resources unfairly, and uncertain future.

The greatest threat to sociopolitical and socioeconomic stability in Uganda well into the future is not rebels, such as Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) , but proliferating despondency. This will turn the people that have been peaceful and hospitable into enemy number one of the regime in power. Public-State relations will continue to deteriorate and the centre will fail to hold.

For God and My Country

The Writer Is a Uganda Scientist And Environmentalist

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