Happy 51st birthday to Uganda, but are we united and free for liberty?
Posted Sunday, October 6 2013 at 01:00
On Wednesday, October 9, 2013, the people of Uganda will mark, not celebrate, the 51st anniversary of our political independence.
How can we celebrate uhuru when the state has effectively been captured by what the respected Col Dr Kizza Besigye calls, “mercenaries and people who are inimical to Ugandans!” He must obviously know what he is talking about and I take his word at face value. I hope comrades from the south and west will follow him and break the conspiracy of silence about the negative activities of these mercenaries.
Tuesday, October 8, will mark the end of the golden anniversary of Uganda’s independence. During the year the political leadership of our country failed miserably to honour the solemn pledges made before God a year ago at a colourful ceremony at the Kololo independence grounds which was witnessed by thousands of Ugandans, an array of African leaders and the Duke of Kent.
As we come to the end of the golden jubilee, I suggest that Ugandans should leave it to God, whom we have requested to uphold our beloved country, to judge those who have willfully chosen to violate the oaths and pledges they have made over the years, including last year.
We must let God judge those who have deliberately chosen to oppress, humiliate, torture and even kill peace-loving Ugandans with impunity. Let me assure the wananchi that in our legitimate struggle for liberty, justice, human rights and peace, we are not alone. God our Father in heaven and many people of goodwill are with us and on our side. God feels our pain and knows our trials, tribulations and suffering. I believe that the Lord will soon rescue His people from bondage and from the hands of callous and shameless exploiters and oppressors of the wananchi.
Ugandans must, therefore, persevere and not surrender their God- given rights to evil forces who have attempted to deny us liberty and our human rights for decades. Ugandans should not fear those who have turned our dear country into a den of thieves and a haven for all manner of conmen.
As Ugandans begin another journey on the long and winding road to 2062, we should take stock of the major events of the past fifty years and draw appropriate lessons from the ups and downs of Uganda’s long march to freedom in order to chart the best way forward.
The first lesson we can draw from our post- independence history is that the fundamental problem of Uganda and most African countries is the glaring lack of good, decent and selfless leadership. To paraphrase the great Nigerian author and scholar, Chinua Achebe (RIP), the trouble with Uganda is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing wrong with Uganda’s land, climate, water, people or anything else. God has, in fact, blessed Uganda, the pearl of Africa, with an abundance of human and natural resources.
Uganda’s basic problem is the unwillingness or inability of our political leaders to rise to the responsibility and challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of good leadership. I believe that Uganda can and will change rapidly for the better if and when Ugandans discover and nurture leaders who have the political will, ability and commitment to implement public policies which promote the vital interests of the vast majority of the people they lead.
Africa has been blessed with a few such leaders; President Julius Nyerere, President Nelson Mandela, President Thomas Sankara, Mallam Aminu Kano of Nigeria and whether one likes him or not, president Milton Obote tried his level best under difficult circumstances during the 1960s to be likewise. He naturally fell short of our expectations, but some of his successors are not even embarrassed to divide Ugandans along tribal and regional lines; they openly practise nepotism, cronyism and ethnic politics; they misallocate and plunder national resources with impunity; they rig elections and routinely insult professors, teachers and doctors and live lavish life styles when the vast majority of Ugandans languish in abject poverty. I tell you, God is watching!
The second lesson Ugandans can learn from their history is that we must get our national priorities right. The NRM government has only three priorities; State House, Defence and regime survival. Uganda’s correct priorities which were set in 1962 are education, agriculture/industry and health to address the serious challenges and problems of ignorance, poverty and disease which affect all Ugandans without discrimination.
The quality of Uganda’s education and healthcare services are today very pathetic by all standards. Agriculture which is the backbone of our economy and employs 80 per cent of Ugandans has virtually collapsed. Our hospitals such as the so- called Mulago National Referral Hospital, have sadly become health hazards and even death traps where patients go to die instead of recover from treatable diseases!
The above problems are not insoluble. When Ugandans eventually get good and incorruptible leaders, as they will and as our people deserve, these problems will vanish in no time, like mist. To the people of Uganda, let me say this: Don’t give up; don’t give in; keep hope alive and, above all, trust in God because all things are possible with the Lord. To God be the glory! To be continued.
Mr Acemah is a political scientist, consultant and a retired career diplomat. email@example.com