There is a misguided thinking among some Africans that the gun can deliver peace to any community. This thinking has been displayed by many persons in positions of leadership (or power) on the African continent whenever there is any kind of divergent ideas put across.
The latest person to expound this line of thinking is Col. Shaban Bantariza. (see: ‘Bantariza gun remarks trigger public uproar’ in the Daily Monitor, of November 3). Being a senior, knowledgeable and quite exposed army officer, he is expected to know better.
But truth be told as an instrument of coercion, the gun cannot be relied upon to foster and maintain peace in any community. Let Col Bantariza give us one example of any African country where the gun has been successfully used and relied upon to bring and maintain peace.
The gun may only “help” to acquire authority and power, but thereafter, it has to be other means that can be successfully used to foster and maintain lasting peace.
The gun may be used as the last resort to remove dictators and bad leaders from power and that is all, just like the NRM/NRA and other Ugandans did. Thereafter, the gun must be put aside and instead be replaced by dialogue so as to harmonise the many divergent views.
What Ugandans want and what all our leaders should be talking about is building and making stronger systems, structures and institutions. In fact, institutions should be more empowered than the individuals occupying the institution offices.
So Col Bantariza’s assertion that “...we shall use fire to put off that kasukali (referring to MP Robert Kyagulanyi’s latest song) to maintain peace,” is but an excuse and a line that only persons who wish no peace and tranquility to obtain in Uganda can toe.
Lastly, it is unfortunate for Uganda because at some point, Ugandans thought that with more enlightened leaders, the country would pursue civilised and peaceful means of resolving all national contradictions to engender peace, development and tranquility.
When we hear otherwise well-educated and exposed persons make such reckless comments, especially when such statements are “welcomed” by clapping of hands by some people in the audience with ignorance spread all over their faces, you realise how Uganda still has a long way to go for sanity to prevail.
[Col Bantariza has since said his remarks were distorted - Editor].