It’s unfortunate when any part of your body is amputated, but it’s just awful when you’re already an adult. It takes some getting used to, and those of us who’ve lived with amputees know, for example, that when they want to get something done quickly they take off their prostheses and put them back on just for appearances.
In a way, they become standouts Personalities become so much a part of a society that members don’t want to think about leaving them.
Fortunately, however, the advancement of science and systems of government is forcing society to rely on them at large personalities less and less. So the era of legends is really coming to an end.
For example, if Queen Elizabeth II leaves anytime soon, Britain will remain great.
Angela Merkel retires and Germany is getting stronger, although many of us don’t even know the name of their successor.
Any person of average education can recognize John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama, but many people, myself included, wouldn’t choose Joe Biden from a group photo of wise old white men, but the US remains the most powerful nation with him as President.
In the arts, stars are now made by marketers and producers with computers, and when they fade they will not be overlooked.
In sports, athletes are indeed breaking records set by true legends, thanks to coaches and doctors overseeing their computerized training programs and diets.
Soccer players today are making practically billions of times more money than Pele ever did s, and are followed by half a billion people on social media, but they’ll ott fake as soon as their expiration date is reached.
In science, teams and companies invent life-saving solutions as fast as they need to and the days of individual scientists saving humanity seem to be over. Systems and science—read, artificial intelligence—close the curtain on legendary inventors.
It is societies that have not nurtured strong systems that find it difficult to consider moving from one strong leader to another draw. For example, since the early 1990s, many Kenyan businessmen, particularly those of Asian descent, have cautiously moved some of their capital to other neighboring states as the country neared general elections. Today they don’t, because as chaotic as their politicians are, Kenya’s institutions of democracy and constitutional accountability are real and reliable.
Interestingly, it is the Ugandan business community that is fearful of the upcoming elections in Kenya gets and divert their goods away from Mombasa port. But that’s understandable, because they’re too used to channeling their imports (which are usually three times their exports) through Kenya and haven’t done much to develop their own industrial production, despite the fact that they have enormous potential mineral and agricultural inputs.
To understand these Ugandans’ penchant for things that can ‘drop down’ from the outside with minimal outside effort, you need to know about our delicacy of choice, a small seasonal grasshopper that is locally grown Nsenene, and shiny roofing sheets.
When the seasonal soaring insects pass for a day in May and again in November, they are lured to the ground by brilliant lights that get even brighter as they rise reflect the galvanized roof sheets. So today, rich people invest in these leaves, set them up in a certain orientation, and connect powerful bright lights. The poor insects fly into the dazzling reflection and slide into collection bins and are shipped to market via imported used refrigerators.
This year we celebrate 100 years of the founding of Makerere University, which has produced tens of thousands of agriculture graduates, we haven’t found a way to grow Nsenene yet. So if you have a shiny roof neighbor, count on them to bring several Nsenene to your compound.
Mombasa and Kenya are our shiny roof. Whenever Nairobi does its five-year renovation, we fear they will repaint the roof green or black and we might not drop our Nsenene from the sky.
The Ugandans must build our shiny roof to the finish Exploitation of our vast minerals and labor force. That way, even if Kenya takes off its shiny roof and puts on a black one, we don’t have to panic and feel like amputees.
Joachim Buwembo is a Kampala-based journalist. Email: [emailprotected]