What you need to know:
- Albeit already staggering on his course, when British Premier Boris Johnson was finally brought down by the relatively small matter of partying/leisure at Westminster and Downing Street during Covid-19 Lockdown restrictions, you marvelled.
There are dramatic things that have happened around the world in the recent past that must have made NRM leaders pause and thank the gods. Why; because similar things could have happened here if the level of knowledge in the general body of the citizens was a bit higher.
Albeit already staggering on his course, when British Premier Boris Johnson was finally brought down by the relatively small matter of partying/leisure at Westminster and Downing Street during Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, you marvelled.
If you were Uganda’s ruler, you probably rejoiced that Parliament was at your beck and call, and that the level of knowledge and political consciousness in the general public was very low.
You count the corpses and torture victims generated by Uganda’s security forces, not to mention the horrendous corruption, during your own lockdown, and you thank the gods that your subjects are the ignorant mass they are.
When you ponder how Liz Truss, next in Britain’s firing line, was mercilessly driven out of office because of just one medium-sized slip in economic foresight by her chancellor of the exchequer, and you reflect on how you, the people’s Jjajja, have been staggering under the weight of a burden called Finance, and all that anti-poverty paraphernalia (Myoga, PDM, iron sheets and what have you) loaded on your shoulders for donkey’s years, you inevitably thank the gods that the level of knowledge and consciousness in the general public is too low to bring you down.
You are staggering, yes, but you are not down. You can even enjoy the audacity of talking about the future as if you had already ‘won’ for yourself and the NRM the 2026 election!
If you belong to Uganda’s ruling elite, and you have watched nine-million-strong Israel bring out hundreds of thousands of citizens for several weeks to protest nothing but proposed reforms that would shift some power from the judiciary and the Supreme Court and give it to the government and Parliament, you can only thank the gods that Ugandans were not knowledgeable enough to understand how your NRM created for them autocratic rule masquerading as democracy.
And you must thank the gods again that these Ugandans are still not knowledgeable or conscious enough for their 45-million-strong citizenry to generate a street protest force one-tenth of Israel’s to demand a more genuine democracy. Because if they did, your regime would bring out all the Mambas, tear gas, pepper spray, whips, clubs and trigger-happy AK47 bearers, thus risking facing fresh charges of barbarism and crimes against humanity.
When you are one of the ruling elite, and you have read stories, and are sometimes forced to remember how colonial Belgian lords exploited and enslaved the natives of mineral-rich Congo, and you are reluctantly wrestling with your conscience in the face of the exploitation, neglect and sheer contempt of the natives of mineral-rich Karamoja, you cannot do anything before thanking the gods that the level of knowledge and consciousness in Karamoja is so low that the natives will not rise to clamour for their rights or their independence. Instead, they will thank you by ‘voting’ with 90 percent sub-regional strength to return your visionary NRM to power in 2026.
It is, therefore, possible to infer that although we have learned, and repeat like parrots, that knowledge is good, most of those in the ruling elite would probably not desire to see a broad spread of knowledge in the populace. It is decidedly much better for them and our peaceful existence when we remain ignorant.
Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.