The Department of Philosophy, Makerere University, has today joined the rest of the world to mark World Philosophy Day. The celebrations have taken place in the Upper Conference Hall of Senate Building under the theme;“Uganda After 50 Years of Independence: A Philosophical Inquiry into the Way of Life”. The function has been graced by UPDF Representative in Parliament, Gen. Elly Tumwine. Activities to mark the day included presentations by members of staff in the Department and a mini exhibition.
Presenting a paper entitled; “Is Uganda’s Peasantry a Nemesis to Uganda’s Economy? – Critical Reflections”, Prof. Edward Wamala said the peasantry mentality is dragging development in Uganda. He said the Ugandan peasantry that constitutes 80% of the population has a conservative mind-set that is contented with the little they have and therefore reluctant to take on innovations and to demand accountability from their leaders.
Prof. Wamala noted that the Ugandan peasantry does not think their livelihood depends on the State, a reason they cannot fight for their rights. “The localised mind-set of the peasants explains the increasing level of corruption in Uganda. The peasants have a perception that corruption is for the big shots and therefore cannot rise up to demonstrate against the vice,” he explained.
Prof. Wamala noted with dismay that Uganda cannot effectively compete in the global market because of the big percentage of the population still locked up in a localised mind-set. He emphasised the need to transform people’s attitudes if development is to be realised.
The Chair, Department of Philosophy, Dr Wilfred Lajul, appealed to the government to streamline resource distribution as one of the mechanisms to bridge the increasing gap between the rich and poor. He pointed out poverty, corruption, individualism, and postmodernism as some of the major causes of inequality. He said the widening disparity between the poor and rich is a ticking time bomb that requires urgent solutions. He was presenting a paper entitled; “Economic Ethnicity and the Growing Disparity between the Poor and the Rich in Uganda”.
Other papers presented included; “A Philosophical Post-Mortem Report on Culturally Dead Ugandans” by Dr F.M. Kasozi; “The Role of Philosophical Studies in Shaping the Future of Uganda” by Mr. Andrew Ssewante; and “The Place of Ethics in Public Administration in Uganda” by Mr. Samuel Ssemakula.
World Philosophy Day is annually celebrated every third Thursday of November to honour philosophical reflections around the world. It is a day for people to share thoughts, openly explore and discuss new ideas and inspire public debate or discussion on society’s challenges.
Podcast on peasantry mind-set and its effects on development click here to download