Wednesday July 2 2014

Our National Anthem ain’t broken, don’t fix it

By Editorial

Efforts by Tourism minister Maria Mutagamba to boost Uganda’s tourism industry are logical. So is government’s argument to use music, dance and drama to promote tourism. But these proposals should surely not give away Shs180m of taxpayers’ money to Mr Alex Mukulu and troupe so they fiddle our national anthem very nicely to pull in more tourists.
A piece of advice here. Ms Mutagambwa and her Cabinet colleagues should get a line from former Director of Office of Management and Budget in Jimmy Carter’s 1977 administration T. Bert Lance and save us the millions. As Mr Lance said, the trouble with our government lies in ‘fixing things that aren’t broken and not fixing things that are broken’. The simple question here, is our national anthem broken? If not, government should heed Mr Lance’s simple motto: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Let us not be work-shy about creative design of new product enhancements for our tourism and set Uganda on course as one of the best travel destinations. Surely, Uganda can figure a lot better cash cow plans. As argued before, our tourism should focus more on improving our great tourist potentials and comply with client requests, enhance signage, and operate robust information centres and management tools to guide and track tourists. Ms Mutagambwa and team should improve access roads, infrastructures, and landscapes. Uganda should improve its water-based attractions and carry out more downstream enhancements such as water rafting recreation at Itanda and Murchison Falls on the River Nile. And so can the industry develop infrastructure along the climbing tracks of Uganda’s rich mountain attractions on Mount Elgon and the Ruwenzori.
Without a doubt, these clever improvements should make more sense than seeing Ugandans sing our national anthem, dance and grin to it with more gusto in the name of attracting more tourists. So why spend Mr Mukulu’s musical performance time, taxpayers’ money and state resources on a National anthem that does not need fixing?
Government ought not to improve things that are working and likely ruin them. Like others worldwide, our National anthem is in the official language, English. Perhaps Uganda should only render several versions of the lyrics into dominant regional languages. The tune can be kept but the lyrics given different meanings. This has proved workable for Switzerland’s four official languages. Likewise, South Africa’s national anthem is in 5 of its 11 official languages with each comprising a stanza. Leave Uganda’s National anthem as George Kakoma composed. The anthem is an enduring legacy of our Uhuru, independence. Keep it original, solemn, praising and looking forward to the future.

The issue: The National Anthem
Our view: Instead of trying to fix a national anthem which is not broken, the government should invest in our tourism sector that in a dire state.