“You can have him for as long as you want.” I replied.
This was a conversation I had with Abdoulaye Bah my 72-year-old friend from Guinea during his visit to Uganda.
He was dead serious when he requested for President Museveni of Uganda for only 10 years. He is convinced that if Museveni became president of Guinea for 10 years, he would create a fundamental change. Who am I to argue against Adbdoulaye’s case?
This Guinean born and Italian citizen, former UN staff, retired journalist and current Global Voices contributor, first visited Uganda in 1975 and he says that a lot has changed. When he came with his wife, they stayed at the Sheraton hotel a place that was then reserved for only civil servants. Load shedding in the city was the order of the day.
Yeah right! I have heard these stories of the old bad past. Uganda has over seventy percent of the population below the age of 29 and have seen only one president so many do not know the bad times that my friend Abdoulaye is talking about.
The conversation kept shifting from the meal we were having to loaning him Museveni. “I hope you have local chicken.” he asked the waiter. “I am told this place (Shaka Zulu Restaurant in Kampala) has the best local food in Kampala,” “Yes we have local chicken.” The waiter replied.
But seriously, if they can loan footballers from other countries, they can loan presidents to run countries for a season or two.
“Do you know that in Guinea you cannot get flowers to give to your wife?”
“Mhh how does that work? You guys are not into horticulture?”
“No, we do not have fresh flowers to give to our wives, no one plants no one sells.”
“Conakry is plunged in darkness and water shortage like it was in Kampala when I visited in 1975.” He lamented.
“This chicken is very tasty, and I have not eaten tasty yams in a very long time” he said.
“Many people complete School and they have no Jobs” I put up a case. “That is one of the many challenges that Uganda is still facing.”
“That problem is not unique to Uganda,” he said, “even in Italy where I live, things are bad my friend. Many kids are going to the US and UK to search for jobs.”
Am I saying that Uganda is better than Guinea? No, I am not. Abdoulaye is.
After all our good old president has a place to retire.