Miscellany: Uganda is a country of diversities waiting to be harnessed for development

Miscellany: Uganda is a country of diversities waiting to be harnessed for development


I don’t know which types of diversities I have left out below. You will remind me after you have gone through the list given here. However, it should suffice to emphasise that Uganda is blessed with many diversities and few similarities.

Therefore, what the leadership and governance of Uganda should focus on leading and governing the country for diversity, inclusion and belonging rather than similarity, exclusion, displacement, dispossession and immersing some indigenous groups into inferiority complexity when the country’s civilization and cultures clash with those of people from elsewhere. Superiority complex is as bad as inferiority complex. They both undermine effective interaction and mixing of peoples of different diversities and/or classes.

Not that enforcing similarity in whatever dimension, is totally bad. There are some advantages of similarity. For example, seeing an issue the same way speeds up agreement on the course of action. However, it can reflect only one man’s or woman’s thinking and choices, as we frequently see in politics.  Besides it undermines both divine and nature’s designs for diversity. It seems to me that God and Nature are agreed that there is more survival in diversity than in similarity. Here we go:

Diversity of cultural celebrations and festivals

Faith and spiritual diversity

Lingual and communication diversity

Biocultural landscape diversity

Ecological diversity

Environmental diversity

Diversity of histories

Diversity of knowledge, wisdom, understanding and insights

Biological diversity

Political diversity

Creative (Art) diversity

Architectural Diversity

Diversity of events and festivities

Diversity of foods

Diversity of clothes and dressing

Diversity of marriages

Religious diversity

Wildlife diversity

Diversity of Natural resources

Diversity of cultural dances

Diversity of cultures

Diversity of ceremonies

Diversity of soils

Diversity of fish

Diversity of agroecological faming systems

Diversity of Vegetation

Diversity of thinking

Diversity of intellectual acumens

Diversity of academic tribes

Diversity of academic territories

 Diversity of ancient cultural rituals

Diversity of visions

Diversity of media

Diversity traditional medicines

Diversity of crops

Diversity of Anniversaries

Ethnic diversity

Diversity of family and community values

Diversity of Tourism Potential and cultural exchanges

Diversity of time management systems

Diversity of sociocultural systems

Diversity of bioecological systems

Diversity of sociopolitical systems

Diversity sociopolitical systems

Diversity of Clans

Diversity of communities

Climatic diversity

Geographical diversity

Historical diversity

Diversity of indigenous peoples

Diversity in consciousness about environment and development

In a country where diversity is a more dependable resource in productivity, development, transformation and progress than similarity is. By encouraging and celebrating the unique contributions of each individual from diverse backgrounds of diversities regardless of their differences, we encourage critical thinking, and ultimately lead to better decision-making and problem-solving in the country. Leaders and governors become agents of justice instead of oppression. They become truly unifiers of peoples of different diversities rather than agents of disintegration and disunity. They make forward looking laws and policies to include everybody in development and its benefits.

According to Diversity and Social Impact of February 8, 2023 overall, diversity is important because it can lead to better outcomes in various aspects of life, fostering creativity, innovation, empathy and social cohesion. It also helps create a more just and inclusive society, where everyone has an opportunity to succeed. Diversity and social impact tells us why “diversity and inclusion empowerment” is actually important in society and in the world of business. It is definitely important in the business of development, transformation and progress of a country.

Different cultures and peoples learn from each other and understand that every culture, indigenous group and everyone is unique and special in their own way. Diversity is important for several reasons, not only in society but also in various contexts such as the workplace, education, and communities (Diversity and Social Impact, 2023). I do not have enough space to list them, but as you read propose some. However, where a people is serious about both diversity and social impact, it is possible to create new community-focused diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives rather than use money bonanzas to divide and disunite communities to drive money culture. 

We can align Social Impact and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategies for development, transformation and progress of the country rather than a few families or individuals. The latter is predominantly the case in Uganda Today. ·

Although, in their article, “You should go for diversity, but I’d rather stay with similar others: social distance modulates the preference for diversity” Mariela E. Jaffé, Selma C. Rudert and Rainer Greitemeyer (2019) urge us to embrace diversity while they are sticking with similarity, diversity is far more natural than similarity.

Diversity is a fundamental part of most societies. It should be the goal of leadership and governance to sow the seeds of diversity, not similarity. Diversification of our societies will increase even further this century. Therefore, diversity is not only a core feature of our current, but even more of our future everyday lives. We already know that Uganda has become a country of refugees and the business world is once again dominated by Asians as was the case before President Idi Amin gave marching orders to Indians. But now it is not just Indianization but also Chinization of Uganda. Increasingly, like before, indigenous Ugandans are being squeezed out of business. Also, indigenous Ugandans are being squeeze out of quality education and services.

In one sentence, differences make a difference. Therefore, we should value differences more than similarity. The differences must include political differences, religious differences and even knowledge differences, to maximize the benefits of diversity. Indeed, diversity and social impact can work together to make a difference in the lives of the people and in the development, transformation and progress of a country. It is not true that these can be achieved by relying far more on infrastructure development than diversity and social development of the people.

All development is people’s development and the people should be central to it rather than at the periphery of it. Social/human processes must go hand in hand with technical and economic processes. Otherwise, development is useless. It will just concretize the environment and render it to look like Sahara Desert with rocks in it; the rocks being the structures constructed by man, Homo sapiens.

It is primitive to seek to make people politically, socio-economically, bioecologically and socio-culturally similar, such as in the way they use the land or produce food or see things, do things and make choices. We can continue to search for similarity, but let us not impose similarly or things on others. It is not sustainable and it is a waste of time, energy and money. It can make us move in circles in a vicious circle of poverty, environmental decay and collapse, under-development and human rights violations. In this case, development, transformation and progress remain a myth. And unrealizable in the long-term.

Thus, For Diversity and Social Impact to Work Together, recognise differences, not just similarities.  Building similarities, especially in politics, is a tendency that seems to predominate in Africa in general and Uganda in particular. It is undermining the building of a plural society. This, however, is not to say that seeking a common ground is rubbish.

Agreeing to agree and to disagree can add value to leadership and governance as well as development, transformation and progress of a country. It can also contribute to genuine political development of the leaders and the led, the governors and the governed. It leads to building an open society rather than a closed society, and removes fear from the heads of the rulers and the ruled, the leaders and the led and the governors and the governed.

For God and My country.

  • A Tell report / By Prof Oweyegha-Afunaduula, a former professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences of the Makerere University, Uganda
About author

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *