Before you can finish saying ‘abracadabra’ the year will be done. As I write, there are eleven days to go, to be exact. It has been a difficult and challenging year in more than one way. We expected the economy to rebound from the woes of the 2016 political cycle and its attendant vagaries. We thought we would get on with our lives and be free from political toxins for a while.
Nothing like that happened. The economy continued to flounder and the private sector remained circumspect. Commercial Banks are still flush with cash but the private sector is not biting, despite Bank of Uganda lowering the central bank rate to an all time low of 9.5%. Politics continued to rule the roost to the detriment of all else. The new songs in town have been #togikwatako and #gikwateko. By the time the ‘madding’ choir stops singing, there will be more damage to the economy.
That is why for us to remain sane we must avert our eyes from the unfolding circus and find solace in a higher calling. I choose gratitude and would like to share this feeling of gratitude with you this festive season. According to one writer, “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.” Many others, simply by dint of chance, have not been able to share in our luck. So why not count our blessings in a cruel and uncaring world?
Think about it. There is a lot to be grateful about. First we can be grateful for life. Many have not made it and a few more may not make it. Having come thus far means that there is indeed something singular we can be grateful about. But even for some of those who have made it thus far, personal health may have been a challenge. So we must be doubly grateful for life and health.
On the financial side, many have been struggling. Businesses have been lost. Homes have been jettisoned and all earthly possessions lost, either as a result of the poor economy or the vagaries of nature. If you still have a roof over your head and three square meals a day, then you ought to be grateful. The most recent economic surveys show that over 60% of Ugandan’s cannot afford these three decent meals a day and are therefore malnourished. They also probably sleep in a mud hovel and are happy to call it home. Another writer did note that there may not be enough for our greed but there is enough for all of us. Spare a thought for the have not’s by simply being grateful that you can read this.
On the side of things spiritual, if you are at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, then you have more reason to be grateful. Many have failed to find spiritual fulfillment and ended up splayed at the feet of a charlatan, hoping that there lay salvation. If you didn’t fall for any of these conmen’s shenanigans, and have remained spiritually fulfilled and unexploited, then you again must be ever grateful to The Great Architect of the Universe.
For all these things, we ought to be truly grateful, and as we celebrate the festive season, let us spare a thought for the ones who lack what we have been accorded. Spare a thought for the sick, the heavy-laden and the spiritually afflicted. Your gratitude for His small mercies, will lead you to being a better person and may you wisely enjoy the festive season.
PS: There was a typo, for which I take the blame, in my column last week. The sentence read ‘There is no such thing as a market for foreign investors’. The correct wording should have been “There is such a thing as a market for foreign investors’
Samuel Sejjaaka is Country Team Leader Abacus Business School. @samuelsejjaaka