By Hazel Tendo
The New Year always begins with hope setting new goals and reflection upon the previous year while looking ahead to new possibilities.
Many people celebrate the New Year in the company of loved ones, observing traditions meant to bring luck and success in the upcoming year. Others are planning to attend church 24/7 to call on God for divine intervention to make the New Year their year.
Others will be attending conferences, training on how to make more money and become better in 2022.
What marvels me is always how people think and plan for the New Year by not looking at a bigger picture which should be to transform their communities and the nation at large. They instead set individual goals and leave out national perspective.
Here are some of the things you can do to contribute to this nation so that you participate in its national development in 2022. Together we can build a better Uganda for us and the next generation.
Be the change you wish to see, remember that whatever change you want will start with you and your household. Like Michael Jackson said, “If you want a make a change in the world, you have to start with yourself first.”
If you want a corrupt-free nation, don’t accept bribes and don’t give bribes. Bribing traffic cops for not being found without driving license or not adhering to the Covid-19 restrictions is all a personal decision that you can say no to.
Certainly, it’s true that it’s hard to get things through in this country on many levels if bribing is not involved, but there has to be a start to the change. Let that be you. Let it start with you. If you want an accident-free year, start by driving well on the road, if you want a clean environment, start by cleaning the places around you and also keeping them clean. It is possible to start on the change we desire.
Pay taxes: The month has just ended and as Uganda Revenue Authority closed off, it seemed to have the most people complaining, abusing them. This is because they have the mandate of ensuring that people pay their taxes and on time. May your commitment in 2022 be to register your business to contribute to the GDP of the nation. If your business is already tax compliant, may you commit to continue falling in love with URA so that they are not your greatest enemy in 2022.
As Roman 13:7, says “Render to all men their dues. [Pay] taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due.”
Taxes are not paid at your convenience; you don’t even decide how much to pay. For as long as you are working or you run a business, taxes are due. Not paying your taxes is simply fraud.
Keep peace: Keeping peace and security is not only a responsibility of the Police and the army. As individuals, we can decide to be peacekeepers by being peacemakers. You don’t have to join the non-peaceful demonstrations. You don’t have to be a bad neighbor. Being a good neighbor contributes to the community and national .Being good neighbors to each other gives us a sense of community.
Get to know the neighbors on the next door, be kind to them, give them a sense of belonging, and be intentional about being the best neighbor.
Be environment-friendly. If you stay in Kampala, you will be my witness regarding so many Ugandans that throw rubbish on the road, even more, painful to see those in private vehicles throw bottles and rubbish out of their car windows. It is so sad and this shows the lack of responsibility on the side of citizens.
Every time you see the rubbish piled by the roadsides, it is not time for you to blame the Government but it is time for you to commit that you won’t be part of the reason why Government has to spend tax payer’s money on picking rubbish even in front of people’s homes.
Being environment-friendly can have an enormous effect by making Uganda a better place with a better environment. Plant a tree, don’t litter, use eco-friendly materials in your daily life, get your vehicles checked for pollution control. There’s so much you can do for this cause with such little effort. It is a personal responsibility.
Buy Uganda and Build Uganda. Be proud to be a Ugandan. Being a proud Ugandan, a patriot and a nationalistic will go a long way in building the country’s image which in turn can attract investors and local and foreign tourists.
I have a friend who only puts on African-made clothes and uses only Ugandan-made products. This increases the tax base, supports Ugandan businesses to grow household income and she also listens to Ugandan Music her favorite musician is Eddy Kenzo. I have also found myself changing and picking up the habit. Let us support each other. Let us believe in our people and what they can offer.
Know, understand and follow the rules, Uganda has over 100 laws that govern different spheres in Uganda. As a Ugandan for every crime, mistake, or challenge you have experienced it is because of the gap in the information and knowledge of the existing laws. For any guidance you need about being a good citizen, find the law on it, read and follow the rules and guidelines. This will help you stay away from being on the wrong side of the law enforcers. It also saves Ugandan Government spending on lawbreakers.
It is possible that we can all be the change we what to see in this world. Let us start now.
Happy New Year.