By Henry Mayega
OCTOBER 9, was yet another celebrated day, fortunately, by majority Ugandans here and abroad.
Independence Day does not exclusively belong to any one individual, party, religion or race.
It is a day we remember the lowering of the Union Jack, the British fl ag, and raising Uganda’s tri-colour flag.
It was, therefore, a comedy for sections of the “opposition” to have boycotted the golden jubilee independence celebrations because of the following:
- October 9, 1962 when Ugandans fi rst celebrated independence, others rather than the NRM administration were in charge of the country.
Those in charge at that time led the preparations for the occasion. Successive governments, after 1962, have organised these annual events.
So the flimsy argument by some that the preparations this year were dominated by the NRM cannot arise.
A mandate to govern Uganda was given to President Yoweri Museveni and the NRM Party in last year’s elections and therefore the celebrations had to be organised by the sitting Government in accordance with the tradition and political responsibility handed down to successive Governments since independence.
- In 1962, the opposition attended the Kololo celebrations in spite of the fact that one party was in Government.
In future, successive Governments will organise the celebrations. The opposition would have had a reason not to attend the celebrations if invitations were not extended to them.
This proves Uganda has an immature opposition that has demobilised itself to a point of absurdity. They cannot, for instance, differentiate what brings Ugandans together from strategic or ideological points of departure between the NRM administration and others in our national political contest.
- The DP, the main opposition party in 1962, and later years save for Amin’s time did not boycott these celebrations.
The current DP and Olara Otunu’s UPC portray a stark contrast with their earlier leaderships which coalesced whenever national matters of mutual interest were at stake.
For the FDC, it is a new creation and its ideological orientation is yet to be tested on the political scale as they navigate our political terrain though they have been attempting, without success, to shoot down whatever the Yoweri Museveni administration does.
- President Museveni laid down his plans for running the state including the identified 10 strategic bottlenecks that independent Uganda faced since 1962 and the remedial measures being taken to address them.
If the opposition was at Kololo, they would have had an opportunity to hear him first hand and then scientifically respond, as a responsible alternative to Government, rather than get his distorted remarks from third parties.
They also missed reading his body language that usually accompanies messages. A listening culture is still lacking amongst those who are jostling to take over leadership of the Government.
Some of them chose the path of engaging in running battles with the Police in the days to the golden jubilee celebrations ostensibly to disrupt the celebrative mood amongst Ugandans.
Some think there is a political leadership vacuum or void.
As a result they are always trying to have rallies in congested/commercial areas hence disrupting business.
Such anarchists have always met the Police ready for them. The organisers of these rallies should take them to their respective birthplace areas and also make sure their relatives attend to receive a bit of the tear gas.
The Police Force has so far used modest methods to stop riotous crowds. Therefore, this era cannot be referred to as “tear gas rule” as some have alleged.
Uganda, as statistics below indicate, is on the move towards economic advancement and we should not allow megalomaniacs to disrupt this progress.
- Uganda’s national income is $19.7b as compared to $450m in 1962.
- Power generation stands at 810 MW as compared to 80 MW in 1962.
- Literacy stands at 73% as compared to 30% in 1986.
- Life expectancy at birth has remarkably raised sharply from 43 years in 2000 to 54 years currently.
- The tourism industry has grown from $662m in 2010 to $805m in 2011 – a 20% growth.
- There is a vibrant and modern telecommunication system.
- There is prevailing peace and security.
- There is astronomical growth of the education sector.
- Over 2,800 km of tarmac roads have been constructed since 1986.
So why are some people saying that in the last 50 years nothing positive has happened? They seem to suffer from functional illiteracy without their knowledge.
The remedy to such a disease is constant education.
Writer is a Special NRM mobiliser