When President Kizza Besigye left Uganda for an official foriegn trip nearly 12 days ago, he left behind a country gripped with fears of an economic downturn.
Economic managers, analysts and the media were too cautious to openly discuss the subject of an ailing economy. It was seen to be sensitive because of the ripple effect it would cause and mainly fear among the people.
However the largely unregulated social media and unedited, got people talking. The people who engaged in an online debate about the state our economy were brutally honest, because they live the Ugandan life of an underperforming economy and others caused panic.
Rumours of a cash strapped Crane Bank were summarily dismissed by the Central Bank. Bank of Uganda was rightly engaged in damage control on behalf of Crane Bank, rightly or wrongly perceived to be the fourth largest bank in Uganda. BoU executives were postponing a problem until the Central Bank moved against Crane Bank, seized it, appointed a statutory mananger to run the crippling bank’s operations and dismissed the Crane Bank Board with immediate effect. What an embarrassment to Crane Bank!!
The management of the fourth largest financial institution was taken over by the same central bank which had consistently defended it as solvent and financially solid. The reason for the take over was said to be Crane Bank is “significantly undercapitalised….. posing a great risk to the depositors savings and stability of the financial sector. “
More worrying is that the World Bank and Exim Bank of China were closing development funds to finance infrastructural projects or threatening to cut off finance all together.
City traders went up in arms against land lords for over charging on rent while street vendors, trading on downtown streets for survival faced eviction from KCCA authorities.
Simply put, all these events happened when President Besigye, having projected that the economy was in free fall, had gone abroad to meet Ugandans in the diaspora and other international players to find a solution to the inevitable problems.
Ugandans, regardless of their political affiliation, have come to realise that Uganda’s economy is irreversibly on the way down. Others already admit that it is down although some NRM apologists are talking of a soft landing.
The return of a generational bouyant leader Kizza Besigye causes unquantifiable excitement within the business community, with many traders willing to share their financial plight with a man they feel they elected to end 30yrs of Mr. Museveni’s lack of planning.
There is a belief within the business community that fake economic policies promoted by Mr. Museveni over the last three decades have been absolutely disastrous. They have been so bad that people’s savings have literally been wiped out.
The hope of the business community lies in overhauling the political establishment by instituting a new government that plans for the financial stability of the country. President Kizza Besigye is seen as the candidate of choice, owing to his strong economic proposals contained in the FDC manifesto that was the basis for his election.
Unknown to many Ugandans, the idea of showering Kizza Besigye with gifts, even from distressed people, is a show of support for his ideas and those proposals he has made to revive the nation Uganda.
It is this hope that gives Ugandans confidence that with Besigye’s foresight, reviving Uganda’s economy is a burning desire Ugandans are willing to die for, and if need be known as martyrs.
Statement by Kizza Besigye’s media team (Katonga Express)