By Oweyegha -Afunaduula
Labour Day for who? Ugandan workers today are far more abused than they were 60 years ago. If they were treated as slaves then they are far more treated as such today.
They have not had a minimum wage almost as long as President Tibuhaburwa Museveni has been in power. They are just a labour reserve, to be hired and fired, or else facing the reality of decreasing opportunity for meaningful employment, however educated and skilled, or however healthy enough to be employed.
The youthful segment of the Uganda population is instead being exported to slave markets, particularly in the Middle East where slave traders operated for centuries, trading the black man as a commodity between themselves and other human races, especially the Caucasians. The youth have been told by the Uganda government that they are getting employment; not that they are modern slaves to the age-old slavers.
The question now is: what are Ugandan labourers celebrating today, May 1? What are the modern slaves in the Middle East celebrating? What are the exploited labourers locally celebrating?
Apparently, it is the politicians who have turned themselves into the most lucrative labourers, and who pay themselves highly for no production that will celebrate most. Today they will lead the exploited Ugandan labourers to celebrate an increasingly meaningless Labour Day.
This year’s Labour Day comes when what used to be called labour unions are a shadow of their glorious past. They have been integrated in the movement politics of the ruling party and are no longer relevant to the poorly remunerated member labourers.
The same is true of labourers who used to organise themselves, and still organise as Associations. These too have been so politically penetrated that they too are no longer relevant to their members. Their leaders serve the political status quo, not the public interest for which they were set up.
This problem of irrelevance is most detectable among the Associations of knowledge workers at our more than 50 universities. They no longer spend time and energy organising to improve the quality of life of the members but to agonise, or else please the status quo by not contradicting it.
Besides, the regime in power will not allow the labouring members to demonstrate peacefully to express their dissatisfaction with their condition, and the I don’t care attitude of power.
If there has been deterioration of human mind, spirit and body, and if there is mismatch between these, it is among the labourers of Uganda. Despite the mismatch the labourers are everyday told by the non-productive politicians to produce.
It is not like before when labourers on the farm, in school, in University, and in factory, would be inspired by an announcement in the increase of the prices of crops, or in wages and salaries. It is just speeches of the politicians, which are increasingly like disorganised music.
All the same , let me appeal to my countrymen and countrywomen to reflect on what went wrong and why, and begin thinking about a new trajectory to the future, delinked from the greed and selfishness of politicians who will continue to exacerbate their greed and selfishness by diverting resources, goods and services to their personal gain and satisfaction.
They are so mired in their greed and selfishness that they are turning the country into a closed society in which an increasingly diminished labour force is sustaining an increasingly consumptive, unlabouring population, dominated by a small greedy and selfish political elite.
This political elite has captured everything conceivable for itself and no longer cares about what befalls the country so long as they have all the money, all the natural resources, all the opportunities, and all the future. They seem to be unbothered about what is happening to the once secure, peaceful and progressive Sudan where Labour Day will be marked by blood and tears.
For God and my country
The Writer Is a Ugandan Scientist and Environmentalist
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