Monday April 14 2014

Pick a leaf from Rwanda on patriotism

By Leonard Kakinda

When I read President Museveni’s speech which he delivered at the commemoration of the 20 years of genocide in Rwanda, I was taken up by one of the phrases when he thanked the people of Rwanda for the steps they have taken to heal the wounds of genocide and for building their nation. He said, “It is good that you have transcended that phase by relying on patriotism to defeat sectarianism. I wish you continued prosperity.”(Daily Monitor, April 9)
What a beautiful comment! It was good that our President noted a spirit of patriotism in Rwanda, which is generally missing in his country, according to the observation of one of his ministers, Frank Tumwebaze and other commentators who have written on this topic in the press recently.
I am sure the President observed or was briefed about the different signs of patriotism that are exhibited by the people of Rwanda, for example: the frugality of public servants, the good use of government vehicles by public servants, the respect of public property, the good planning of their towns, the efficiency in public delivery, the people’s protection of their environment by not littering and the planting of many trees, the beautification of their towns, the promotion of the use of ICT, an incorruptible police force, peoples concern for public property, among others. In my view, I think we are still missing most of these values in Uganda.
I am sure the government of Rwanda instilled a spirit of patriotism among its people not by law but by using different approaches, which the people accepted and adopted.
So, I advise our President to dispatch a team to Rwanda to go and learn how patriotism was built in that country. This team can pick some lessons for us in Uganda. The team should be carefully selected and it must convince the President and Ugandans that it will do a good job upon its return.