By Patrick Katagata
YOUR Majesty the Queen of England, Your Excellencies the Presidents and Foreign Dignitaries, Your Excellency the Vice President of Uganda, Our Cabinet Ministers, Honorable Members of Parliament, Honorable members of the Judiciary, and all of you distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I salute you and welcome you to this landmark event as Ugandan celebrates the Golden Independence Anniversary!
Fifty years ago, the Union Jack was lowered and the Ugandan flag raised and Uganda gained independence from British rule! But this has often been misunderstood by a considerable number of Ugandans and I would like to use this chance to explain this concept! Independence doesn't mean merely getting colonisers out of a nation but to be able to realise that you are now on your own and should manage your own affairs.
Unfortunately, to many of us in Africa, we have remained in acute lack of this realisation. You cannot claim to be independent when you have not transformed your mindset and sought to provide lasting minor solutions to what I will call rather trivial issues!
Today, I want my speech to be different and precise! I would like to congratulate all Ugandans upon this Golden Independence Anniversary even though most of you were very young and a great many others not yet born! I would like to sincerely appreciate the efforts of those who led Uganda to Independence.
Most of these are now dead and we pray for their peaceful repose! I would also like to commend all the works of all my other predecessors. Some may be associated with misrule but we take it that they had not received proper leadership and were working without proper systems like was expected of a very young nation, then!
But I would also like to express my displeasure that even after Uganda is now 50 years; some people still want to behave as though we're still dependent upon colonialists. Instead of consolidating the little that we've been able to achieve, they still want Uganda to depend on donations and grants!
My call today is that we should steer together ahead as a nation and if for any justifiable reason, some people have any agitations, let them do so in civilised ways and wait to have remedies.
In the first half of these 50 years of Uganda's Independence, Uganda was gravely hit by the plague of leadership characterised by political turmoil as ill-intentioned men fought to grab power from each other! It is this catastrophe that impeded socio-economic growth and development the difference of which is clearly seen in the relative peace in the 26 years of NRM leadership save for a few disruptions from a few self-seekers.
As a democratic nation, opposition and not hooliganism is healthy and must not mislead innocent citizens on obvious issues! I am willing to work with them but I don't like people who work without a vision! Forgive me where I've erred!
The NRM government even after Museveni is committed to continue giving you more without complaining. Just know that success doesn't come unless you earn it fair and square!
Uganda has enormous resources – we simply need to consolidate them, install systems and methods of work to foster further development! Museveni will soon retire! In my old age or even after death I would like to be remembered for withering many storms: Despotism, economic collapse, HIV/AIDS, heinous rebels etc.
Let's reconcile and stick together to build a united and developed Uganda in the next 50 years and all years to come! For God and my Country!