By Dora Byamukama
The long awaited independence jubilee celebration came and went in a flash! How time flies when one is having fun…
Just like in the case of a football game or any other incident, spectators tell different stories about the same football premised on their mood, location and expectations. My mood was already exuberant, my location was prime and I was open–minded, I was ready for any action…
The evening before the event got a lovely surprise of a splendid array of fireworks from I believe Sheraton.
I happened to be driving through town at around 8.30pm purposively to see first hand the splendid make–over that the Kampala City Authority had accomplished in record time.
As I drove on Kampala road, I paused a little to take in the breathtaking view of Mapera House and a traffic lit city, its as if I had seen what 2062 may look like! If someone took a photo of the same place two years ago and then took another yesterday - it would be hard to be convinced that its indeed the same location. This points to how much can be changed when the environment is right – vision, focus and concerted effort.
The rest of the night of October was surprising quiet, I had expected ululations and fireworks at midnight but in vain or did I miss the action? The morning of October 9 was beautiful, the sun shone brightly and maybe too brightly at around 10am which signalled that it could rain later that afternoon.
By 10.30am I had my way to Kololo after a brisk walk with some friends and colleagues from Hotel Africana. Part of the fun was seeing colleagues I had not seen for awhile.
It was a privilege to be at Kololo considering that so many who may have wanted to be there could not make it. Entertainment by Juliana, the Police band and Pablo was well received. The arrival of president after president caused a lot of excitement for I guess various reasons.
The arrival of the host President Yoweri Museveni was exceptional, the crowd was ecstatic and a thunderous welcome awaited him every time he was sighted. The fly–over of the fighter planes and those that exuded the black, yellow and red streaks in the strikes
were a marvel. Every time they flew over Kololo one could feel them in the depths of their souls – it as if the grounds was literary shaking.
An expected group of musicians who had accompanied President of Egypt requested and was granted leave to entertain the guests.
Their Arabic music mixed with an oriental tinge made the celebrations even more Unique.
The march past by security agencies in their smart attire and show put on by several entities and innovations especially the Kiira EV car manufactured Makerere
University students were phenomenal to say the least. The presence of Prince Edward who handed over instruments of power at Independence on October 9, 1962 to the then Prime Minister Apollo Milton was nostalgic.
It must have evoked many memories for those who were present then. The fact that he celebrated his 77th birthday on the same day points to the fact that anyone who is 27 years has the potential to celebrate the Uganda’s independence centenary!
To crow it all, President Museveni made one of the briefest speeches ever, brief as it may have been, it was pregnant with facts and figures on achievements and a clear vision on where Uganda will be in 20 years an in 50 years time.
He noted that – with the anticipated revenues from the oil sector, Uganda’s development in the next century will be unstoppable. The President predicted that “Uganda will become a middle income country in the next 20 years and a first world country in 50 years time.”
This conviction on based on the firm foundation of development of agriculture, hydro power, tourism and the services sector which will be catalyzed by the discovery of oil.
Evidence of work executed in these areas is excellent, Uganda was declared of the Number Tourist destination for 2012. The construction of Bujagali dam has catapulted Uganda’s capacity to generate power from 180 megawatts in 1954 to 810 megawatts in 2012. Our target is 20,000 megawatts.
Generation of power will in turn promote industrialisation and demand for skilled labour which will address the challenge of unemployment.
After the president’s speech more entertainment ensued – Alex Mukulu’s troupe did a master piece show casing Uganda’s excellent talents. One particular aspect of the entertainment that has stayed with me is that there were several themes of
religious themes interwoven in the entertainment.
This was captured in the lyrics of the song ‘Amazing Grace” ; ‘The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want’
and another that based on Ecclesiastes 3 – ‘A time for everything’ clearly captured our motto - ‘For God and my country’. On reflection, a question that stays with me is - what is my role as a Ugandan and an East African?
How can you and I facilitate realisation of our nobel vision?