Between 1894–1962, Uganda was governed as a Protectorate, under the United Kingdom. October 9, marks the 59th anniversary and dawn of the diamond jubilee of our independence. It is an occasion to thank God for our country, account for our individual and collective achievements, and launch into the deep for a better future (Luke 5:4).
Human beings and nations, at large, yearn for sovereignty. God is love and He created us in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:28). God’s love is in each one of us, to take us by hand back to eternal freedom. God detests abuse of power, exploitation, violence and war.
Whoever has travelled outside Uganda will agree with Sir Winston Churchill, in 1908, that it is truly the “Pearl of Africa”. This observation is supported by its hospitable people, warm weather, abundant biodiversity, colour, brilliant life and serene beauty, water and mineral resources etc.
Uganda a gift
Uganda is also blessed with being the most youthful country in the world, with 77per centof its population being under 25 years of age. We just need to skill or professionalise them, to apply their different talents into a formidable workforce for integral development.
Judging by international economic development index, Uganda, paradoxically, remains among the poorest nations in the world despite efforts to reduce its poverty rate.
This is linked to mismanagement, selfishness and greed of leaders and citizens. Repentance, rather than the blame-game rhetoric, will be the solution. We need to engage God-fearing, and servant leaders, who will be supportive of followers and sensitive to their feelings and ideas. This will inspire and motivate everyone to achieve human flourishing.
The 1995 constitution of Uganda recognises about 56 tribes. This diversity should be celebrated as a blessing rather than a curse.
Different cultures and cultural institutions are playing a vital role in nation building.
They ensure identity, conservation of heritage, unity, dialogue, peace and reconciliation. It is regrettable, again, that some politicians are attempting to suppress cultural institutions, in the name of forging national unity and social transformation.
Uganda’s motto: “For God and My Country”, and national anthem, remind us that though politically independent, we are better-off being dependent on God, as our Shepherd and Lord. Satan is our common enemy; worse than colonialism.
He influences us to commit crime against fellow humans. Militarism will always be part of the problem, rather than the solution. Trusting in God is the only power strong enough to defeat Satan (Ephesians 6:12-13).
Being a nation under God, we appreciate the invaluable contribution religion has made to nation building. Religious leaders are prophets, consistently reminding us to walk in the ways of God, societal integration and social control.
They magnify the voices of the poor where laws and policies are made. Religious institutions also partner with government to provide medical, educational and other social services.
We should, hence, resist the temptation to weaken, manipulate or suppress them, in the name national of forging unity and social transformation.
Our God is a god of peace and unity not of discord and fear. He calls us to focus on Him as our source of national unity and social transformation, instead of maliciously working against each other. In the event of discord, St. Paul admonishes us, not to let ourselves be overcome with evil, but to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).
Celebrating the independence anniversary invites Ugandans to unconditionally apply the law of love, the word of God and prayer.
“To pray is to believe in God’s power to replace the evil in the world with goodness. It is to obey and abandon one’s self to the will of God, even in moments of difficulty and trial”, says Pope Francis.