Writer: Chris Tenderi M

Yeah! I guess we are all familiar with the theory of the rooster coop as invented by the Indian novelist Aravind Adiga. If not then the rooster coop theory is where chicken are caged up so that they can’t rebel or escape from the cages; all they do is wait for their turn to be cut into pieces and if lucky they get to watch other chicken be cut. This theory is an analogy that depicts the cycle of human life as we know it.

The Ugandan rooster coop tends to take different shapes and forms. It is visibly seen in our day to day lives to the point that I can’t help but talk about it. I hope those who have been sleeping can finally be awakened to do something about their lives.

Have you heard of people who use the statement “I don’t mean to brag or I don’t mean to show off or I am not blowing my trumpet but I am good at this and that?! I am sure you have. How then did we get to that point where we have very low self-esteem to believe that we can be what we choose to be if we are truly certain of our abilities?

70% of Ugandans are caught up in the rooster coop fiasco. They believe that they are powerless to overcome their bullies, fears, and situations head on. They think they are chickens and not human; Absurd, right? No offence but by the time we come to an end, we shall have come to a compromise on the fact that there is a problem in our country and it is big. Our attitude needs to change if we are to grow as a nation.

Ugandans are always looking for keys to a door that has always been open. We fear to explore our full potential because we are always told that the only way to get up is to be under people. We are always exploited and paid little in the name of survival because that’s the narrative we inherit from our parents. Ever wonder why many skilled and talented people are wasting away in offices?

This brings in the issue of worth. How much do we value ourselves and what do we have to offer this world? When you are in the rooster coop, you don’t see your value. Your value is only attached to you by the sympathetic buyer or the person going to eat you. That’s why many people end up in workplaces where they have no choice but to settle for less.

A friend of mine recently came to me perplexed. He has been working for a very ungrateful employer who only shows up to enjoy the profits of the business. The said employer had asked him to resign. My friend was scared and worried. He didn’t know what to do next. Interestingly, he is a skilled photographer and artist (Paintings). I looked at this young man and I was amazed. He has the potential to be self-reliant with his skills but the addiction to be employed was too insatiable.

Deep inside, I was seeing him in a rooster coop. A ditch we dig for ourselves everyday unaware that it will catch up with us some day. I advised him to start his own company and use his skills and networks to better his craft. He was already scared. He even suggested looking for another job. I felt my palm itching but I had to cool off. (I am not saying job hunting is bad)

Ugandans have reached a point where they think they are at the mercy of what’s happening to them and they become reluctant to help their situation. There are people who believe that they can’t make any change to their life. They treat themselves with a lot of insignificance. They fail to see the bigger picture. They wallow in self-pity and you wonder.

As 70 percent of Ugandans are in the rooster coop, guess where the 30 percent are? Let’s pick it up from here next time because the Ugandan rooster has only started.

Leah Grace Oketcho, is a highly talented Communication specialist, gifted in leadership with over 3 years of leadership and management experience at different levels. She is a team player and has demonstrated ability in mobilizing and organizing others to achieve desired goals. Oketcho is well vast in the art of creating alternatives for ways to get results. She has over the years grown in the art of corporate communications and also participated in the development of performance management materials for various professional institutions. Leah received training in research, scripting, international relations, and data analysis as well as public relations. She is passionate about solving public health related problems. She has offered training to youth in oral and written communication, people management and mentoring, editing and documentation skills, public speaking.


  1. This piece has given words to my thoughts. This is a problem affecting a number of East African Youth. Abraham Lincoln said “The only way to predict the future is to make it”, and this is an ideal that has to come alive if we are all to escape the rooster coop.


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