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Congratulations to the people of Rwanda and their leader President Paul Kagame on the launch of a new vehicle assembly plant in partnership with Germany's VolksWagen company! A good development is a good development, and surely national pride must be soaring. Being myself a concerned enthusiast of clean energy, I was also particularly content to hear about the mass production of electric vehicles by the same plant in the near future. It is an area where Africa lags behind even in understanding its basic necessity in terms of climate change, the environment, and the many other cost-benefits of progressively switching to products that run on sustainable & renewable green energies. So our African governments should partner firmly with the manufacturers and other stakeholders to educate, market, and promote mass consumption of clean energy products. I understand that this is one of the main purposes of the Paris climate fund.
But now in the spirit of building intra-African trade, can all Uganda government procurement departments, corporate companies, private citizens and NGO's do a comparative price/bidding study with the view of acquiring the modern, international standards vehicles assembled in Rwanda, just as we have always been purchasing good Japanese Isuzu buses, Bhachu trailers, and other vehicles assembled in Kenya?
In the 70's Uganda always purchased brand new Peugeot vehicles that were assembled in Gabon and Nigeria, both in West Africa, rather than the ones in France. Part of supporting intra-African trade and industrialisation of our fellow African brothers and sisters. The vehicles were of the same good French quality, yet better priced. And in those days there was not a single second-hand product in Uganda. Whether clothes, vehicles or electrical appliances, everything was willingly purchased brand new. I was shocked to return to Uganda a decade later in the 90's and find literally everything, including possibly the underwear that local leaders wore, was second-hand straight from some European behind. Something they wouldn't even dare give it to you as a gift face to face, but here were Ugandans not only scrambling for such items, they are now being forced by developed countries to continue wearing them. Exactly how and when did we Ugandans stoop so low? Who or which group of people brought this second hand behaviour here? If they were better leaders and better administrators, why did they need to bring that market here? That is one issue that I need World Bank and IMF experts to tell us. Especially since they claim that the economy was bad in the 70's. How did everyone back then afford everything brand new, yet from the 80's people found themselves grappling exclusively for second-hand items and simultaneously living in abject squalor under a dollar a day.
Some people never accept their mistakes, their ignorance, or their political and socio-economic misrule. The same people have made corruption the order of the day in Uganda. Now it's even the default culture of the nation and we wonder how do our neighbours progress so fast yet they were literally in hell two decades ago when we were claiming to be in peace. As if it is a word we eat and get satisfied when someone utters it. What about developing faster economically and without the infestation of nepotistic corruption so that jobs and opportunities are available for all and living standards are uplifted, and then peace is automatic?
But I can't sign off on this meaningful Rwanda economic mile stone without honestly asking President Kagame that as part of a genuine new day for his country, kindly grant a sweeping Presidential pardon especially to two poor women, Victoire Ingabire and Diane Rwigara, plus any other local politicians who are in jail. Here in Uganda we have just released Nambooze. She is even on her way to India for specialized treatment.
Kindly also consider a constitutional restoration of the countries cultural heritage and its traditional custodianship. I say this after assessing the real political and socio-economic benefits of such a gesture even just as part of your own overall political legacy and/or that of your country as it proudly marches on in its bright and globally appreciated socio-economic transformation journey towards an even brighter future.
I hope you do not dismiss my heartfelt good wishes in anger by saying "Oya! Now listen to this 'Idi Amin the 2nd' character without vision from neighbouring Uganda."
Thank you and again congratulations! God bless your country, and all its people.
God bless the East African Community.

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