I want to believe that each one of us has a dream of the kind of Uganda they would wish to have and this must have been the basis of each one’s decision in the recently concluded parliamentary and presidential election. Here is the kind of Uganda I want to see.
This elections campaigns have been violent, ugly, disgusting, disturbing, and a total disgrace, to say the least.
Ugandans have seen a lot of police brutality on citizens, journalists and the candidates themselves. However, I wish to see a Uganda with police protection and security in that when dispersing crowds and conducting arrests, people are handled with the dignity they deserve as human beings.
Lately there are a number of abductions carried out by different armed people; some in plain clothes and others dressed in uniforms of the armed forces. However, such kind of acts do not belong to the civilized world.
If one must be arrested, officers or those carrying out the arrest should identify themselves, state the reason for the arrest, come with an arrest warrant and grant the suspects access to their families, lawyers and medical personnel. There should be no cases of torture.
I would like to see a Uganda where democracy is nurtured. We are a young democracy. Democracy is not just about regular elections but respect for human rights, freedoms, respect for the rule of law, justice and fairness in carrying out political activities by all stakeholders, respect for an independent media and Judiciary. These are the “basic” tenets of any democracy.
I envisage a Uganda where jobs are given on merit and not on marriage, family ties, friendship, collegiality or money. I would like to see a Uganda where the best brains are utilised in the respective dockets of their training to ensure efficiency and progress. I would like to see a corruption-free Uganda. I know this is an uphill task but where there’s a will, it can be done.
I would like to see a Uganda where there is peace. We all want peace, don’t we? Peace with ourselves, peace in our families, our communities, our nation and in the whole world. Peace is not just the mere silence of guns! This peace is granted by justice. No justice no peace.
So I would like to see justice and fair treatment of all peoples and everywhere. About the guns being silent, recently the President said that “for the first time in 500 years, Uganda has peace”... I think that should be applauded and we salute our army for a job well done, for it is not an easy job. This gives me the confidence to believe that no one can disturb this ‘aspect of peace’.
I want to believe that we have a professional army called UPDF (not NRA) and as a professional army, I believe they salute the Constitution, and therefore they should be ready to salute any president elected by the people. When this happens, I want to see a peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next without shedding blood.
I want to see a Uganda where we can have presidential debates, as it has happened at least once in the past, so that these candidates can come together and we listen to their views on where they want to take our country.
Out of the presidential debates and with fair campaigns, fair treatment and respect of each other, with free, fair and credible elections, Ugandans would be happy to see a peaceful transfer of power where the loser can shake hands with the winner, contented about his/her fate, and life goes on.
In addition to all the above, and perhaps many more, I would like to see a Uganda with what is expected in any functioning country - good governance, good roads, good schools, good hospitals with drugs in them, factories and a favorable environment for people to do business, equal opportunities.
Author: Fr Josephat Ddungu is the Chaplain of St Augustine Chapel, Makerere University