Celebration Or Moaning 60 Years Of Uganda’s Independence!
It is a known tradition that 9th October, the day Uganda gained independence from Britain is observed as a public holiday in the country. Every year reflections are made on where the country is in terms of levels of development. While appreciation and commendations are usually made for the development and growth initiatives made prior to 1986, it is observable that the development trajectory that had been set by the Muteesa / Obote 1 leadership was long abandoned. The 36 years of the NRM rule have been associated with faults and failures. This has denied the country moving from a poor country to a loveable and modern state. Sixty years of self-governance is a period long enough to get the country from the terrible poor state to one with acceptable living standards.
President Museveni and his NRM Party
It is not a secret that the current leadership, which one time seemed to be on track, got derailed due to greed and sadism and has sunk the country into a class of one of the poorest nations of the world. The rising levels of corruption, the poor service delivery in the health and education sector, the poor infrastructures like roads and government building or facilities, the inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the service provision, the uncontrolled abuse and violation of human rights and the abuse of the laws and offices have been a characteristic of the leadership. The country is virtually dead in certain circumstances and near death in others politically, socially and economically. To this extent it is a mockery for Ugandans to celebrate the Independence Day. In my view, the day should be declared a moaning day for as long as the country is still under such a sorry state and rule, until a progressive and people centred government comes in place.
During the 36 years of the current rule, the country has experienced the worst leadership leading to increased poverty among the people, increased diseases and increased levels of ignorance. At the global level, it has been observed that Uganda’s leaders score highly in feeding the population on lies and manipulating them for personal gains, abusing and violating human rights leading to deaths or maiming the victims and creating multitudes of orphans, wandering children and widows. Also observed is abusing offices and misuse of national resources for personal satisfaction. Further observation is that of creating a pool of internally displaced people through land grabbing, insurgency and land misuse like destroying natural forests causing adverse effects of Climate Change. It is during this period that forest cover dropped from over 23% to 9% of the country.
Also during the 36 years, death occurred of government schools but private schools born in large numbers some of which are owned by the people in government with the purpose of making money while offering substandard education. It is during this era that geniuses are rotting away while some persons with money are becoming “professionals” in various disciplines but with no capacity to deliver quality work.
Furthermore, during the 36 years, the country is known for its poor election practices leading to underserving persons being declared winners and arresting death of innocent people or persons with dissenting views. The use of money to buy electorates, change elections results and influencing some election court cases has been highly observed. Also observed is the arrest, torture and killing of innocent persons because of elections and political games
The recent mention by some leaders that winning an election is determined by those in power or the NRM and not the votes was a regrettable statement. What occurred in Jinja East constituency elections in 2021, Kayunga by-district LC V by-election and other by-elections are testimony in this regard. The people arrested over political games for heaven’s sake should be released. Just a word from Mr. Museveni can get those innocent people to freedom. Why get pleasure in making people suffer for nothing? Why? Why? Why? Really why? God said love your neighbour. Do you?
High levels of nepotism and discrimination have been observed during the 36 years leading to imbalances in; intellectual development with now the highly educated including professors and PhD holders dominantly associated with the “who are who” in government and infrastructural development with good buildings and road networks in specific areas. Similarly imbalances have been observed in government job appointments with again the political party belonging and ethnicity being a factor. Also promotions in the security forces seem to be loop sided with some people getting rapid promotions which may not be deserved.
Mr. Okarimor Of Lowelo Village hoisted Uganda’s Flag October 09,1962
It is also during the 36 years that parliament has become house dominated by the “ yes” men and women with the word “no” seemingly not in their vocabulary hence setting a precedence that the laws can be made for the benefit of an individual or for oppression of a certain group of citizens. It is also a house of elected leaders most of who disregard the views and concerns of the members of their constituency but promote those that are planted into them and oiled.
And it is during the 36 years that we have seen very important persons in government, faith based institutions, military generals, police officials and other key figures die under mysterious circumstances and fires gut schools, markets and other facilities with no investigation reports shared.
The above and several others I believe you know about are a sign of bad governance and poor leadership. If you are keen, you will notice that the country is being run like an estate or a private business. The owner of the business determines what should be done, how and when. The impact of this is costing the country lives and development. It is well to pretend that all is okay and that there is progress but the truth is the country is in a leadership and development crisis. The level of development and the period /time do not add up. More is expected and should have happened.
Sixty years of independence but still fighting and bickering over leadership changes, yet it is very clear that in many cases change of a leader comes with new and positive social, political and economic changes. It has been documented in a lot of literature that a leader, who overstays in power, moreover without the genuine will of those being led, is a liability. Leadership therefore, which is transparent and true, based on the key tenets of democracy and good governance, is a propeller for physical and psychological development. Development which is fair and beneficial to all and which builds goodwill and better friendship among the citizens.
It is painful to note that the 60 years of independence have been dominated by failures in several aspects due to bad leadership and if the country is denied true and good leadership, be certain that the worst is yet come. Change, based on the principles and practice of good governance, is needed sooner than later.
John Mary Odoy
Senior Citizen, +256 782 457 990