In many cultures, the habit of blowing one’s trumpet is regarded as boasting and counterproductive. In many respects, there is some truth in this statement. However, there is another saying that if no one blows your trumpet, there is no shame in blowing it yourself. This is particularly relevant to the Uganda of today where a bad sub-culture has germinated which translates into “In order to rise and shine, you must damage or destroy the reputation and abilities of anyone else who may be better or equal to yourself.”
A number of writers and journalists have since the 1960s stuck out their necks and spoken or written critically against certain acts or behaviour with few, if any, responses from people affected, other critics or members of the public.
Since the founding and publication of newspapers, periodicals, magazines and journals in Uganda, such comments have been a common future which sometimes is provocative, astonishing, incorrect or actually outrageous without generating any responses. Nevertheless, it is known that people who consider these publications unacceptable or embarrassing, privately condemn or loathe their writers and publishers.
In some cases, those who consider themselves victims of this candid exposure clandestinely curse or prosecute their imagined torturers and portent destroyers. What is even more treacherous is that the self acclaimed victims fear to contact or challenge those they think have wronged them.
It is not unusual that such behaviour results in benefiting the writers and publishers. At least three recent publications have been sold out because of this phenomenon. Many such writers and journalists thrive on criticism of their bold opinions on the basis that one who writes what everyone agrees with even when one has written nothing worth reading.
I have endeavoured to share my views on diverse subjects with everyone who cares to read and know them almost always without caring who reads them.
My aims have always been to persuade, excite, provoke and incite reactions and debates. One of my written opinion once led a minister to judge me in my absence but in the presence of President Museveni; I was told later that the President defended me by retorting that, “Do not worry about the language or manner in which Hon. Kanyeihamba speaks but the substance of what he wants to convey to you.” Magnificent!
As a writer and public speaker, I am always guided by the motto, “What God thinks of you is more important than what people say about you.”
Views and criticisms of my work and opinions by other people are in my book The Blessings and Joy of Who You Are. Having addressed members of the 9th, Parliament as guest speaker on the role and functions of Parliament and its relationship with other arms of government, Arua MP, Cristine Abia Bako typified the consensus of the audience on what I said when she wrote, “Prof Kanyeihamba if only Uganda had just 10 of you! I would die in Peace. You are the first Ugandan to speak perfectly within your conscience! Long live Prof!”
Other constructive critics and appreciators of my work have included President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Ndugu Ruhakana Rugunda, Prof Apollo Nsimbabi, Justices Wambuzi, Prof Joe Oloka Onyango, Owek Apollo Makubuya and Hon Janet K Museveni.
In reviewing my book The Blessings and the Joy of Being Who You Are Prof Oloka Onyango wrote: “Do not start reading this book before you attend to today’s urgent business because you will not put it down before you are done. It is rare to find a book that tickles every emotion, but Justice George Kanyeihammba’s excites and absorbs one’s attention all the time. The book is an encyclopedic adventure in politics, law, culture and the academy. It is a genius of historical recollection but always with present-day relevance.”
An award presented to me by the Association of Uganda Women Lawyers in 2002 was inscribed, “An order of merit for distinguished service in recognition of your contribution to helping the vulnerable to access justice.”
In my view, it is what other people say about your work that accurately reflects your character, integrity and achievements.