“Drought is good because as a Country it has woken us up,” President Museveni is reported to have said. An insightful epiphany on climate change he seems to have had. One, however, is befuddled by President Museveni’s policy direction on matters climate change.
Yes, drought conditions are revealing. One of the things that drought has revealed in the rural districts of Teso in Uganda is that the land is choking from polythene packaging bags. Now that drought is raging, there is no grass cover and so it is quite easy to see the negative effect of those polythene bags, popularly known as kavera, you know, the ones that are effectively banned in Rwanda.
Yes, at one time they were banned in Uganda too, but the ban stayed on paper. And then the investors complained and then the ban was reversed, something or rather, because the investors had invested a lot in setting up factories to make polythene and were demanding compensation from government. One’s head continues to spin, searching for the logic in this.
How in the world of logic does it make sense to expect wealth creation from land choked with kavera? How in the world of logic does it make sense for a nation to prioritise the interest of those who are destroying its environment, those investors?
In as much as destruction of wetlands damages the environment, so does kavera. And moreover there is a clear example of Rwanda of how making a Country kavera free is viable economically and environmentally.
Sadly, Uganda’s current policy in kavera seems consistent with the neo-liberal ‘modernisation’ narrative that plagues the central logic of Uganda’s policy framework. Yes, the drought is good for it is revealing.