My fellow East Africans and Africans here
Representatives of Diplomatic community here in Kampala
Before making these remarks, I heartly send to all Ugandans in general,
Parliament of Uganda and the family of the late Cerinah Nebanda, MP my
condolences for the shocking loss of the latter. As young legislator from
the death of Cerinah reminds us the death, in unexplained circumstances, of an
outspoken young MP Ms. Amina Chifupa in 2007. Amina and Cerinah shared one
fundamental principle, telling the truth as it is. As Amina, Cerinah has died very
struggle for a transparent and accountable government shall be the cause all
legislators in the region must carry. It is not an option. It is a duty.
On the 7th of December 2012, I landed at O R Tambo International Airport. As it
is my routine, I went around bookshops and saw a book titled Why Africa Fails.
I smiled, picked it and turned to its back. I quickly glanced at it. The Author was
an African from
could never stop. The next day I was travelling to
author. I didn’t hide my happiness. Within a week today I am here in
officiate the launch of this very critical book about our own development,
development. Thank you Elly for making this possible as through this we are
enhancing the spirit of East African Community.
It is unfortunate that
social issues. The continent is extremely rich in natural resources and potential
for competent human resources. However, this richness has only remained on
paper and inside the pockets of some few individuals connected to the powers.
The continent, as we all know, has been experiencing poverty, civil wars,
epidemic diseases, corruption, dictatorships, and coups. All these have led to the
conscience of the world’ among many other negative phrases. The continent
forms largest part of what Prof. Paul Collier calls The Bottom Billion.
Since late 1960s there have been many scholarly and political attempts to
explain the poor state of
World System Theory (which blames Capitalism and the Western World - as
masterpiece titled ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’, which analysed the
adverse impact of slavery, colonialism, and other European intervention on
undemocratic regimes, and failing states. The World Bank and IMF, for example,
link the problems of
market economy and democratic ideals. Of late, Prof. Acemoglu and Prof.
Robinson published a book ‘Why Nations Fail’ which attributes success and
failure to the type of institutions a state has in place. Thus, from their arguments,
exploitative to its people. By and large, the kind of policies that Acemoglu and
Robinson recommend are those that conform to the market economy or in
modern times, we can call them neo-liberal policies- These, according to them,
are inclusive institutions.
All these explanations for the failure of
The attempts to explain the failure of
recommended policies that often comes with strings attached- which, at best,
perpetuate the same issues. The World Bank and IMF, for example, came up with
the Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs), which, by and large, did not work.
Efforts to solve African problems have been numerous and most of them do not
result in sustainable improvements. Thus the question remains - Why
This is why Dr. Kamugisha’s book is timely and of extreme importance to the
development of our continent. This is especially so because Dr. Kamugisha is an
African, full of insight into what the African problems are, hence he is equipped
with all rounded knowledge to recommend relevant and sustainable solutions.
As a result of his education, research, and experience as an economic adviser, Dr.
Kamugisha brings us an analytical book that, if taken seriously, can help
change its status from ‘a scar’ to ‘a beacon of hope’.
Dr. Kamugisha stops the syndrome of ‘apportioning the blame’ and call upon
Africans (ourselves) to deal with our problems. He argues that African malaise
is due to our own blunders. Indeed there are a number of mistakes made by
African governments that cannot be attributed or blamed to external factors.
These are such as corruption, illicit money transfers, unfair contracts, and brain
Many a times, as a Member of Parliament and a Shadow Finance Minister, I have
moved private motions in Parliament as an attempt to deal with issues that are
stagnating our economies. The latest motion I moved was on the illicit money
transfer. This issue, for example, has nothing to do with external intervention,
and so we cannot blame anyone apart from ourselves. Millions of money are
transferred from the government/country to private accounts abroad by
our fellow Africans. Such malaise actions are facilitated by poor policies and
corruption that is rampant in our governments. We can correct this ourselves
through right legislations and policies.
Studies have shown that billions of US dollars are illicitly transferred from
around USD 560 billions are transferred from
figure with the total amount of foreign Aid as well as Foreign Direct Investments
average of USD 37 billions every year as FDI. Similarly around USD 37 billions
coming to Africa, seven US dollars illicitly leaves
It is our duty as Africans to end this through strengthening institutions that
oversee our economic sectors especially extractive sectors like minerals and Oil
I have learnt that in
govern its Oil wealth. It is very disappointing that Ugandan Parliament has
vested the management of the sector to an individual in the name of the Minister.
and the whole upstream and midstream as well as downstream sections of the
The sub-title of the book ‘The Case for Growth Before Democracy’ is the
catchiest. I asked Dr. Kamugisha if he advocates growth before democracy as
I didn’t find this argument in the book. The sub tittle is supposedly a question
mark rather than an argument. Democracy and economic development have to
go together. Most of the African countries tried dictatorship for almost three
decades and it didn’t bring people out of poverty. I always tell my colleagues
In light of the above, Dr. Kamugisha challenges us all to look inward and come up
with the right policies that will make
such a timely book. I urge everyone to read it so as we can be a change we want
in our continent.
Thank you very much for listening and I wish you a good read.
Sourche: Mjengwa blog.