Celebrations to mark 59 years since Uganda attained independence from the British colonialists were held on Saturday at the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds.
The historic October 9 celebrations were marked in a “scientific manner”, with only a limited number of guests attending the occasion.
This year’s theme, ‘Celebrating Our 59th Independence Day as We Secure Our Future Through National Mindset Change,’ is largely drawn from the 2021/2026 National Resistance Movement (NRM) manifesto, “securing our future,” that delivered President Museveni his sixth elective term of office.
Uganda today, like most of the other countries that were colonised by the Europeans, looks back at those years with mixed feelings.
Some, especially today’s leaders, speak of the regret that traditional rulers allowed the ‘invaders’ to take over this land in exchange for shiny objects and anything else that was new to us.
The governed have heard so many stories about a time when service delivery was rather efficient or reflecting on what the promise that gaining independence meant.
Independence Day is normally a time to reflect on the past with a tinge of nostalgia.
It’s said that a society, person or country that doesn’t understand its past cannot know where it’s headed.
However, this has got to be the time when we look forward too. Where do we want Uganda to be 59 years from now?
Today, the biggest challenge is unemployment in an economy devoid of inclusion and equity.
The political system still has so many impurities. The society is still as rudimentary to some extent as the one the British left in 1962.
In addition, the value system is deteriorating. Due to natural and other causes, some of us will not be here in six decades.
Our children and grandchildren will be here. It should bother us to hand over a better Uganda than we inherited.
There is need to improve the political hygiene, enhance economic equity and social cohesion. This should be the mindset change that goes beyond being a line in the theme.
The world has become a lot more competitive and we must only invest the country’s meager resources in sectors that will give Uganda a comparative advantage over others.
Government is often accused of having good policy documents and doing little in terms of implementation. We should move towards action and not words.
If the craze today is value addition to agricultural products, it should be matched with investment and support to the sub-sector. The same applies to ICT, tourism and services. Let’s put our money where our mouth is.