EDITOR’S NOTE ON INEQUALITY

By the Editor

London Pizza to LagosEven the most unobservant person will notice inequality in society regardless of gender, organization, geography, or nationality. Often, inequality has been around us from childhood and many people consider it natural. Worst of all, they think it is written in stone, unchangeable to the extent that some church leaders feel that they are entitled to be driven in Mercedes Benz cars and to live in palaces; a certain president can shamelessly proclaim that he works for nobody but himself and his family. Yet the cars he is driven in, the security he is provided, the food he eats, the houses he lives in, etc. are all paid for by tax payers.

So, this month, we will take you on a little tour of the terrain of inequality. The first article is by the editor illustrating how life imitates art and vice versa. It is a small window into the reason why, for example, some Ugandans were so incensed when they discovered that the government spent millions of dollars to charter a whole plane to fly the late Speaker of Parliament across the world only to die in the USA when that money could have been better spent on improving the national health services. Mark you, many of the health centers often do not have even the most basic health services including paying the health workers reasonable salaries and wages as evidenced by frequent strikes.  Yet, those who feel entitled to be flown overseas for treatment complain that such criticisms are unjustified.

The next article by the veteran creative writer, John Otim, shows how an individual at the bottom rung of the social ladder creatively used a natural material within his reach to deal with wealth inequality.

From the annals of history comes an article written by the former minister of transportation concerning managing national resources in the interest of the citizens as opposed to what now we see the president single handedly dishing out contracts to foreign entrepreneurs who may not have the wherewithal to create the infrastructures to deliver quality health services or produce commodities sufficient enough to compete in the world market.  

Just in case you might be tempted to think that inequality is only a thing of poor developing countries, the veteran weekly columnist on international affairs, Jonathan Powers, will show that it is not. While in Nigeria, the wealthy could order pizza delivered from London, in the USA, the filthy rich spend half to 10 million US dollars to amuse themselves flying into space for a few days. They call it space tourism.

So what if inequality is as old as dirt as some people would say? Nothing can be done about it. However, as Jonathan shows, all is not lost. While giving it more credit than the reality warrants, change is possible, but it will not happen spontaneously nor will it happen unless we all work on it in whatever way and wherever possible.