For many Ugandans, this period of implementation of the Presidential health emergency response directives to curb the spread of COVID – 19 has been the worst experience of their lives, largely because it was sudden and unexpected as justified by His Excellency.
So far, the lockdown has produced the desired results for which it was ordered, but this at a very high price to the social-economic fabric of society both in the immediate and long term.
There are critical takeaways for government, businesses and individuals, particularly concerning individual responsibility and preparedness for the rainy day(s) as surely this is bound to happen at some point in time.
At a personal level, the majority of us were caught pants on heels purely because of our inert lack of planning and personal responsibility. We are a population that is accustomed to taking a laissez-faire approach towards our financial security and that of our dependants, and yet all essentials in life depend on how much one has, to be able to exchange the same for these essentials, later on the luxuries. It is not uncommon for Ugandans to call on the government for help for even the most mundane and personal needs. Phrases such as “tusaba gavumenti” (we ask the Government) or “gavumenti weyayu” (Government where are you) have become a part of our day-to-day conversations, even when most of these shortcomings are entirely at a personal level and our own responsibility.
However, this isn’t surprising given that ours is a society that is forever accustomed to blaming their neighbours, co-workers, bosses, spouses, friends, the media, the economy, the astrologer or seer, or anything that can move past, but ourselves!
A story is told of a man who, in fear of soiling his bag, left his luggage a few feet outside of the bus and boarded to Kampala. On arrival at Kampala bus terminal, he alighted and immediately proceeded to pick up his luggage, but it was nowhere to be seen. When the bus conductor asked him if he had loaded it, the man said he had placed it a few feet away from the bus, and hence why he was now standing in the same position hoping to locate it, albeit hundreds of miles away in a different location.
Much of solutions to our life problems inhibit within us and we should stop looking elsewhere but within ourselves to discover the quality of life we so desire.
If each of us took a fair share, if not all, of their personal responsibility and stop blaming anything and anyone for what didn’t go right in our lives, not only would the quality of our individual lives be enriched tremendously, but so would the workplace, the neighbour and the country at large. Suddenly, transformation from peasantry to prosperity would not be a dream that disappears at daybreak, but a reality to bask in our day-to-day lives. We must be willing to take 100% responsibility for the quality of our lives, and just as America’s foremost business thinker, Jim Rohn put it, “ You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.” We can change ourselves from individuals who wait for handouts where seasons change or pandemics strike, we can change ourselves from a country that sticks out its hand to beg companies for donations in such situations as now, to one that instead gives them tax waivers, cash bailouts and cash stimuli.
Hard lesson learnt!
Photo by Dominic (Daily Monitor)