When Jesus was preaching in Israel over 2021 years ago, he said “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” Mathew 4:19.
Of late, we have seen streams of artistes, comedians and Boda Boda riders among others, flocking to Gulu City to see the so called Mr Gulu – to borrow Rapper Fefe Busi’s words. Many have returned disgruntled. East Africa’s biggest artiste Jose Chameleon hasn’t been well since, just like his friend Lil Pazo. The god of Ragga – ‘Katonda wa laga’ as he calls himself lamented about the journey. He sent a long rant, in form of an open audio letter to Gen SS, complaining about the ‘elbows’ by fellow artistes who he accused of getting in their way to see the ‘Jana’ of music and money bag to explain their plight. We all know with COVID19 it has not been easy for everyone. Things are hard but few knew that it would make our much adored artistes including ‘the god of ragga’ cry. Sad, isn’t it?
This ‘money in sacks’ habit that was heightened during the campaigns is bad! It’s crippling and will only make the recipients end in tears. Already, we have seen many that got the bullion sacks crying after their bounty got fast spent without any strategy for sustainability.
I have no problem whatsoever with someone getting cash to change their stance. Many of us are vending ourselves in some way anyway for a piece of cassava. Many rent out our heads, others ‘other parts’ to survive. So, there is nothing wrong with someone using their clout to earn a buck after all, many of us are badly off. What I fear though, is what these hand outs do to the mentality and attitude of the people.
Many of the recipients were shocked by the ‘mana’ that befell them. Imagine Full Figure, languishing around Makindye bars, spending many days yelling obscenities at passers-by as she fended for a meal for herself and children. Or Bajjo Events whose claim to fame were; several stunts in defense of the principal and then suddenly, he met Balaam, one thing led to another and Lady Luck did not rain on them but she poured. In a snap, they were millionaires.
Another microphone tiger, Bassaja Mivule, suddenly saw the light and his German shepherds made him so much money overnight, leaving him in a brand new pickup, security and a big farm of Friesian cows. Do you believe his story by the way?
What all this does is, slowly everyone thinks there is magic in donations. Instead of hard work, many groups and individuals will then focus on scheming for donations. I am not sure how many associations have been formed with the hope of falling into things from Gulu City; saloon operators, bicycle riders, bouncers and many others are all forming small groups and working through the brokers to get to the fountain of money. As they say in the Bible, many will try but few will get to ‘salvation’. Many will remain frustrated and angry but won’t give up. They will keep trying again.
In several years, a lot will have been spent on these groups but there will be little to show for it. Many who crossed will be frustrated and angry. Reason! Success is a bad teacher. Windfalls, even worse! Such sudden monies can hardly be absorbed by someone who previously had nothing. Research has it that 90% of all former lottery winners end up paupers again, some with even more debts than before. People need to be thoroughly prepared for what they are about to receive. These recipients of handshakes need to be taken away to say, Nalufenya and trained on basic financial management, helped to identify what they are good at and given these disbursements in small tranches based on progress. They can be corrected if it goes wrong and their and the little left handed to them to make amends. That’s the sure way of creating a sustainable group of ‘converts’ that will inspire more to cross. Less than that, it will only be a matter of time and we will see more Bajjos and Saxcess crying wolf. As we saw with Uganda Musicians Association SACCO, they are stuck with 100M. No one is borrowing it because it’s not a hand out. It needs to be used to create wealth.
In short, these fished people should be taught how to fish instead of giving them. Remember, they need to eat for a lifetime and not a day.
By Innocent Nahabwe
CEO at BlueCube Limited Incorporating Kagwirawo sports betting, 100.2 Galaxy FM, Bluecube, Katogo 24 and 911 Lounge Salaama Rd, Kampala
Deputy Chairperson of National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).