Wednesday, March 18, 2015

There was a Ugandan currency

I wish to borrow today from that recently departed Nigerian enigma, Chinua Achebe. I wish to borrow the title of his last work. 'There was a country'. The Ugandan shilling is suffering an enduring pounding from the US dollar. It has reached an all time low of 3,000 Uganda shillings for one US dollar. We are told its an external matter.The the US economy is rebounding strongly and that all major currencies are affected. ''It is beyond our control'' the new Uganda Finance Minister has gone on to allege. But most economic problems are actually local. And what we are not getting much appreciation of is the connection with Uganda forthcoming presidential polls in 2016. The press is awash with reports of election-associated cash bonanzas. Ugandans have not forgotten the economic melt down that followed the presidential elections in 2011. Many friends I know have converted their few coins into US dollars. And surely this must be a part of the problem. But the truth is the first casualty in war.

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