August 2012
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Day August 2, 2012

Open Letter to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda

Dear Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

How are you? As you may be aware, normally, I write to you or about you when I am attacking your policies or interventions either in the present or in the past. However, on this occasion, I am writing to you to ask you to use your powers and position to help put/support my views through parliament and in your cabinet.

Mr President, over the years, I have always dreamt that one day; a single superman or a group of supermen will come and solve Uganda’s problems. In the process of waiting for these supermen, I have realised and even learnt that Uganda’s biggest problem is the dangerous mind-set of our people, yours and mine inclusive which needs no superman to solve because me and you can do it.

The many years which are characterised by a pile of disappointing experiences such as; failures, let downs, state/rebel sponsored murders, torture, rape, forced-sodomy, social neglect and other awful experiences which many Ugandans have had to endure, have caused a great deal of anger, hate, revenge-motives and the dangerous social divisions which exist in our societies. These negative experiences have and continue to re-affirm old suspicions, doubts in the future, deepen mistrust, shatter hope and have now started producing even greater despair.

You and many politicians point at social capitalisation as the only way to redeem this country out of the dark abyss in which it is. And I agree that ssocial factors most especially those which are negatively associated with health, cause disorganisation and disruption, perceived helplessness and lack of support, low educational attainment, and poverty. In the same reasoning, I also posit that you cannot achieve these development goals when the majority of the people in our communities are angry, revengeful, hateful, and are waiting to carry-out their unfinished business.

In my opinion, I would argue that whilst there is a need for massive development projects which we all think that will develop Uganda, there is a need for all sections of the society to develop a new relationship which can take account of our importance to each other and which will also inculcate a reciprocal nature of our connection that will help to avoid a repeat of the painful past experiences which our people have endured.

Since 1966 or 1962, Ugandans have not had the opportunity to address their past, neither have they ever addressed the pains it causes them. Ugandans have never healed because they have never been given the opportunity to heal. All they get is the threats of revenge, genocide, and hate by different aggrieved parties. How can a society with hidden dirty feelings forge a united future without any contrite spirit being inculcated between and amongst them?

President Paul Kagame used a wrong approach by ‘only’ focusing on security and development and forgetting to help the nation to heal. Mr Kagame never gave the Rwandese the opportunity to bury the hatchet and to start a new emotional chapter. By so doing, the current development in Rwanda may turn into dust just like we saw Tripoli and Sirte burning in flames.

Mr President, the purpose of this letter is to inform you that Uganda needs an amnesty law which will help those who have perpetrated injustice to fellow Ugandans to apologise and be forgiven unconditionally. This will help Ugandans to draw the line with their past, open a new chapter in their history and start re-building the nation all over again. I am fully aware of the expired amnesty law but this law only catered for recent events yet, the grievances of our people pre-date this period.

Mr President, to me and other advocates of social justice, it is very challenging , to sort out and work through the barriers which exist between the perpetrators of injustice, their victims, and the social political environment that inhibit progress. This has increasingly made it difficult for us to turn the painful experiences of our people into opportunities for growth and change. However, I do have hope that this can happen because it occurred in South Africa and Northern Ireland, to name but a few.

The positive experiences which this amnesty law shall bring will engender hope and trust, to the people of Uganda. It will also convey a comforting sense of being understood and accepted to the changed-perpetrators of injustice. As David Howe (1996) put it, human beings have a deep seated wish to be understood, to be accepted for who they are, and for their lives to have meaning and purpose. Mr President, this desire is also true for people of Uganda who keep asking questions about their experiences and getting no answers from the perpetrators of injustice. At the same time, the perpetrators of injustice are very insecure and in one way of the other, their insecurity even drives them to carry out more injustice out of fear that people are out there waiting to kill them.

I do have a strong believe that healing will be brought about by the kind of forgiveness which will be protected by the amnesty law. By making such a huge political intervention, we will be able to address other issues such as health and social inequalities. At the same time, we have to be mindful that if we do not support healing through forgiveness, we shall be fuelling the continuous cycle of political and military abuse of our people’s human rights.

It will of paramount importance for my country Uganda and for all men and women of good will if my request meets your consideration.


Richard Mukasa

Awangaale Ssabasajja Kabaka Wa Buganda.

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