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Census enumeration indicates moral collapse

Ikebesi Omoding

Census enumeration indicates moral collapse

Stories coming out of the recent census count have exposed the national collective disrespect for the NRM regime.


Stories coming out of the recent census count have exposed the national collective disrespect for the NRM regime. This may be because the moral psyche of the nation has been severely seared by the manner in which the regime has inculcated the non-values in the lack of ethics, corruption, lies and the form of disreputable and callous behavior that emanate from the leaders. What they do and say are at variance from the correct form of behavior that the top echelon of the leadership should show the citizens.

In Mitooma, Mbarara, we are told that a census official was raped: this is absolutely silly. In another place an elder berated a young census official for asking him for his age. The elder instead told the young man to go and tell his father to come and ask the age of the elder so that he would accept to be enumerated; and not this young fellow. In other words the census official had no business inquiring the age of the elder whom he (the elder) considered as disrespectful.

Yet again, when asked whether another respondent has three meals in a day, the response was that since the census official could not have provided food for the respondent, she had no business knowing whether the fellow had not had meals for the last three days or so.

For these cases, at least, the census officials had the chance to be given an audience. In the north in Adjumani, the official was lucky to have escaped with his life since he was chased away with threatening weapons, for having violated the border between Uganda and South Sudan. In certain cases the citizens merely ignored the census officials preferring to go about their daily activities to earn a living.

And where the officials determined that they might encounter hostile receptions, doubtless after having got similar stories from other census officials, they did not venture to go and carry out the count at all. This may also explain why many places, homes and people have not been enumerated, requiring officials to refer those uncounted to the LCs.

This left the exercise as inadequate. It could show that there was a lack of preparation.  In the previously census exercises, we have gone through, nothing of this nature materialized. Indeed, the citizens were anxious to be enumerated and eagerly volunteered the information the census required.

There are varied reasons for this apart from the lack of ethical behavior cited, or preparation. In the last census carried under the NRM regime, information emerged that there was a concerted effort from the echelon to doctor the results of the count that affected other ethnic groups. In effect what happened was to alter the results of other tribal groups to reflect that they had less numbers than they actual were counted.

Conversely, the numbers of other favoured tribes were upped beyond their actual count so as to bend the favours that the national economic planning would accord those particular tribes. This is no less than tribal (ethnic) cleansing. With this kind of rumoured information, some citizens, particularly the older generation that had gone through such an exercise, saw no point in being counted, since the results are going to be altered, anyway.

Such reflection goes directly to the lack of the moral fibre that the leadership of this country has shown its citizenry. One of the glaring common behaviour among the top echelon is the theft of public funds that has defined the NRM regime. Alongside and actively being promoted with this behavior is the talk that the government is trying to stop the theft by the putting in place of certain institutions to fight it. Yet it is clear that these same institutions are meant to cover up, smother and protect the leadership so that certain members of the echelon continue to steal unabated.

There is a sense of active denial for this; then the leadership turns round to expect the people to listen to them. It thinks and regards that the people are stupid and are gullible to accept any explanations coming out of the mouths of the corrupt. Also the leaders think that the people are ignorant to the extent that they cannot garner the information coming from the social and other media in the way they conduct themselves.

The result of ignoring the census to such an extent is therefore the reaction of the people to all that they are perceiving as the manner in which the political echelon is treating them. It will be illegitimate for the leadership to ignore this reaction for the manner in which they have brought this country to its moral knees.



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Ikebesi Omoding is the acclaimed author of a weekly column titled: From the Outside Looking In

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