4 September 2014

Ugandans Decry Sleeping in Public By Ministers

Ugandans have been reacting angrily to the growing incidence of cabinet ministers and other senior State functionaries sleeping at public functions. According to a report by Al Jazeera TV published earlier this week, it all started four years ago when a local tabloid splashed the pictures of sleeping ministers and parliamentarians on its front page as President Yoweri Museveni delivered his address to the country.

The paper's headline on the day was "Sleeping Nation!" The public has since come to covet these events as much as the politicians seem to dread them. TV cameras are always out for who is napping. Photographs of ministers and Members of Parliament, MPs, sleeping through these important speeches - delivered annually in June - end up on social media, with many lampooning the politicians.

At the most recent state-of-the-nation address, Uganda's Second Deputy Prime Minister, Moses Ali, wore sunglasses too dark for anyone to tell whether his eyes were open or closed. He is one of the cabinet ministers who seem to have improvised a way to escape the scrutiny of nosy media cameras that have on several occasions caught senior government officials and MPs dozing when the President is delivering his address and when the national budget is read.

"Sleeping is not a bad thing. Sleeping on the job is," Bernard Tabaire, a columnist for the 'Sunday Monitor,' wrote recently. "No one has yet done the count that I am aware of, but the number of our big men and women who snored away as the President delivered his annual state-of-the-nation speech was possibly the largest in five years," Tabaire explained.


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