Truth be told, a significant number of Ugandans are obsessed with non-issues in discussing the alleged nepotism that allowed Mira Nair’s company to use office space at the Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) – lacing their commentary with that which would find acceptance within the realm of what is considered xenophobic. One’s view is that in the current scheme of things now is not the time, for example, to be asking how Mira’s company came to use the space which it has occupied for multiple years already – that question should have been asked and answered long, long, long, time ago. One’s top six questions at this moment in time would be:
Question one: Is Mira’s company paying for the space?
Question Two: How much is Mira’s company paying for the space?
Question Three: Is the rent that Mira’s company pays to MISR competitive in comparison to the market value of other similar properties in the area?
Question Four: Is the rent that Mira’s company paying received by MISR and therefore Makerere University Kampala (MUK)?
Question Five: Have the books of accounts of MISR been audited to confirm rent receipts from Mira’s company?
Question Six: Have the books of accounts of MISR been audited to confirm how the income from rent receipts is used for promoting the objectives of MISR?
Then there is the whole area of whether Mira’s occupancy of office space in MISR is contributing non-economic benefits to MISR as well. We cannot overlook the greater good that she is providing, if at all, – for example, free access and use of her company’s expertise, work and space to students. One is not familiar with the content of her work but one assumes it is the kind that promotes the greater good for Uganda – as in it is not in the calibre of kimansulo nonsense. For non-Ugandans it is shockingly easy, just google kimansulo_in_Kampala and you will find plenty to explain what it means.
One surmises that if Mamdani and Mira were not famous, and if Mamdani was not a Ugandan of Asian ancestry, this Mamdani-Nyanzi saga would not have received the kind of attention it is receiving among Ugandans. Dr. Nyanzi’s story would have been among many of those untold stories. Untold stories of all those who have ever tried to do post graduate study in MUK and have been frustrated to failure of completion; and of all those who are doing post graduate study at MUK under duress from insufficient supervision – as in the academic staff are getting paid for not doing their work, such as Dr. Nyanzi is accused of. Take the time – documentation of such stories, letting those stories to be told and to be counted, would confirm beyond any doubt total hypocrisy among us, Ugandans. We should be ashamed of ourselves.