In 1776, Adam Smith published his classic scholarly work, An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Two centuries and three decades later, we hereby publish the 21st Century sequel. It is entitled An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Poverty of Persons.

Unlike Adam Smith’s tome, ours is a very easy-to-read guide, consisting of only 10 points, which are very easy to memorise. It is a result of four decades of observation and participation in activities that create poverty in abundance in independent African states. It must, therefore, be respected as a product of painstaking study.

Here, then, are the 10 great rules that turn potentially wealthy men into bitter paupers. Five are don’ts and five are dos. Armed with these, you can defeat wealth for the rest of your life.

ONE: NEVER WAKE UP EARLY. Keep stretching and turning in bed until you get too hungry to continue dozing. If there are no bedbugs, why hurry to get up?

Two: Never plan how to spend your money. Whenever you get money, start spending it right away and when it is finished, try to count and recall how you spent it.

Three: Don’t think of saving until you have real big money. How can you save when you earn so little? Those telling you to save are not sympathetic to your burning needs.

Four: Don’t engage in activities usually reserved for the “uneducated.” How can you, a graduate, engage in petty trade or home-based production? That is for people who never went to school.

Five: Don’t think of starting a business until an angel comes from heaven and gives you capital. How do they expect you to invest before you get millions of shillings? Even though more than half the businesses in your town were started with a few hundred shillings, you, as a smart person, can only start with millions.

Six: Complain about everything except your own attitude: Blame the system, the government and the banks that refuse to lend you money. They are all bad and do not want you to get rich.

Seven: Spend more than you earn. To achieve this, buy consumer products on credit and keep borrowing from friends and employers.

Eight: Compete in dressing. Make sure you wear the latest clothes among all the workers in your office. Whenever your neighbour buys a new phone, get one that is more expensive.

Nine: Get yourself a nice second-hand car that costs more than three times your gross monthly pay. That will surely keep you in debt long enough to hinder the implementation of any bad plans that could make you accumulate capital.

Ten: Give your children everything they ask for since you are such a loving parent. They should not struggle for anything because you do not want them to suffer. That way, they will grow up lazy and hence poor enough to ensure they cannot help you in your old age.

If you diligently implement these 10 great rules, you will not fail to invite poverty in great measure to your homestead. That way, all important leaders, from East to West, will spend a lot of hours thinking about you, planning how to uplift your daily expenses above one dollar. Isn’t it nice to be the subject of concern of all those leaders and scholars?

Joachim Buwembo is the editor of the Daily Monitor of Kampala

The East African - Opinion

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