By Dr.Edward Kayondo via the UAH forum
Dr. Shaka misses one point and its very important to understand this before coming to conclusions that we have lost a generation.
Uganda can’t be compared to many other countries in that since Independence we have always had change in government through armed struggles. Before that Ugandans were under dictatorial tribal rulers and colonialists.
What we have had over Presidents Museveni’s years is a rebuilding of the three branches of government and a lesson for the country that used effectively these branches can stabilize the country and set it up for development.
The generation referred to as lost was the generation that crossed the Red Sea to borrow the metaphor from the Bible. If it wasn’t for that generation we would not have the current generations braveness and view that yes they can be all they want within a stable environment.
The older generation many are referring to are the ones who are making it difficult for this generation in that they try to introduce their historical baggage into the current environment. They never stop to remind us about how things used to be as if we want to go back in the caves, we are in a new global environment and business is not as it was in the past.
We have to give this generation time to figure out what works and doesn’t. We have to give this generation a chance to train their political voices before they embark on planning for the country they will live in when all of us are gone. This country belongs to them as much as it belongs to any other Ugandan citizen. We have to give them time to trust the electoral system, a chance to know that legislation’s can be formulated in parliament and that the Judicial system has powers too, we have to give them a chance to know that there proper procedures to challenge the executive branch, we have to give them a chance to trust the army and know that it is there to protect the whole country and not one person, we have to give them a chance to bury the demons of tribalism.
Any action that causes us to revert to violence and destruction of our country through military change of government should be denounced by all of us. If this generation knows that there is only one option to change they will focus on that option and use it effectively through the ballot as they support their opposition parties or through random actions of activism as seen recently by the renown professor.
This government should have done more by now, we should have had better control on corruption, better performance in all sectors and ministries. Yes the next few years the President has to prove to all Ugandans that what he promised in the ten points program can be a reality before he figures out where he will reside past the next elections. Any president that comes after him will have a better framework for governing and should be able to implement better policies within a shorter time frame.
I do realize that we Ugandans in the diaspora especially in developed countries are on parallel time frames and bearings as we talk about change compared to Ugandans back home.Through our experiences in these countries we tend to use a different time scale than the one used in Uganda a country that still fits within the third world countries category. They are more patient than as and are used to cooking over fire even when a microwave cooks faster. Instant change and services are a right we enjoy forgetting that there was a time when what we see and enjoy in these countries never existed. A kid born in an English speaking environment will be impatient with a ten year old who can’t speak English at Kindergarten level. But if only that kid knew that this ten year old just came from the village and had never spoken a complete sentence in English or memorized all the letters of the alphabet, may be then he will give him as much time as he needs because after he gets the basics the learning curve will totally improve. We can argue about how long Ugandans needed to snap out of fear of the gun and start rebuilding trust in the voting process or to get guts to bravely challenge the president in public and sleep soundly through the night with plans to do the same thing next day, but trust me cultural and sustainable changes in society tend to take generations. In many cases reminding this generation about the past hoping to quicken their political acuity is like warning today’s ten year old in South Africa about his new white friend with apartheid shockers.
The necessary changes needed in Uganda are inevitable, aggressive actions will slow them down and we have to understand that their different thoughts in peoples minds but all of them gravitate to an environment that takes fear and uncertainty out of the equation. Not all Ugandans think like we do. This year I was asked to speak within our organization on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. In my introduction i reminded the gathering that yes I am black but my understanding of segregation and discrimination is not as deep seated as that of other African Americans born and raised in the South of North America. When I see a White man my thoughts never think about discrimination even when I am passed over until someone else points it out. Such is the generation we have in Uganda, they are interpreting the world in their own terms, they have never experienced living in a developed country and them two days of load shading are much better than no power at all. Many that own boda bodas never even thought of owning them from the village they came from. Some have thoughts of building a one room house and to me they can do more than that but to them even the thought that its possible is a big deal. So as we think of rocket changes, building 100 hospitals in thirty years, having paved roads all over the country and ideas that they should have a perfect government as we do in the West, we have to pause and think of how minds deal with change even change they desperately need or thought of as possible.
I am not defending this government, it has had many missed opportunities, it has lost or misused billions of dollars, it is infested with opportunists in all sectors of government and many of us are disappointed by all this. Within in all this confusion however, lets not forget the millions of civil servants who have the heart for progressive change and have worked within this environment. They stayed behind even as many of us left the country for various reasons, they sometimes go months without pay even as they see others buying new rides with their salaries. Equally many more have transitioned into a capitalistic environment bridging the gap between dependency on government and self sufficiency via entrepreneurship. Millions have no where to go in case of war and will see their sweat and blood destroyed as their homes and businesses are wiped away. These are the ones we have to remember, and the President has to remember them too. The environment is now open for government structures and policies that will develop the country and meet the basic needs of the people. Going forward failure to provide can result into change via the ballot and the system has the ability to root out those who fail the people if used in a democratic way with total respect to our constitution.
So Dr. Shaka, you and me might be part of the many who will never make it to the promised land even when we crossed the Red Sea to borrow the Bible metaphor again.We see where we should be but tend to focus on that one giant who keeps many on a diet of manna and quails from above instead of feasting on the milk and honey we see in our land. Never the less when we blur our focus and soften our stance, surprising enough we can conclude that Uganda is now ripe for exponential development. The Uganda I see in the future unlike some is a country which will like never before display its crown and for good reasons proudly again take its position as the Pearl of Africa. I don’t have to be alive till that happens,I know its real because that vision keeps me warm and happy despite what I see and hear.
Armed struggle is not an option, those who want to quicken the process should support rebuilding and strengthening opposition parties. If DP, UPC, FDC , CP, JF, UGP, PPP, PDP, UFA got organized, funded and governed in a manner of total transparency and shade personal ownership, not only will they be able to form a strong opposition voice in parliament but they will increase this generations political participation even before elections. This will ensure that this generation understands how governments truly work and that those that govern us are tried and chosen by the people and are accountable. They will challenge or influence development of government policies.As more people trust the political process government will have a perfect environment for development. Politics in Uganda today is not only open to the Elite as it was way before and after independence,unlike before we all can participate. This is what we need not guns and blood.