By Francis Kagolo and Shamirah Nakabira
As the country prepares to commemorate the National Resistance Army (NRA) day on Sunday, a senior party leader has published a book that chronicles President Musveni’s achievements and builds a case for him to be declared “Father of the Nation”.
“Like a father of the nation in the making, he (Museveni) proved not the usual politician in the sense that we were used to, but a statesman, a patriot and a revolutionary,” says Godfrey Sseruwagi in the book titled “Our greatest fear is the transition of power: an open letter to the president”.
The book however, highlights the growing fear about change of leadership in the country and implores the president to lay a foundation for a peaceful transition.
Sseruwagi, an information technology (IT) consultant and national general secretary of the NRM entrepreneurs’ league, implored Parliament to honour the president while he is still alive.
“We need to develop a culture of praising a person when they are still alive. Nobody can dispute the fact that Museveni has done a lot for this country and deserves the title of father.”
In his book, the 43-year-old credits Museveni for responding to political rivalry with peace which he says helped to heal the nation which was “bleeding” at the time NRA captured power in 1986.
The book was unveiled to the media yesterday (Thursday) at Makerere University where renowned academic, Prof. Edward Kirumira, noted that it was the appropriate time to debate about having an icon of the nation like other countries.
The book was edited by Dr. Edith Natukunda-Togboa of Makerere university institute of languages.
The book cover
To build his case, the author cited Museveni’s restoration of kingdoms amidst opposition from his army generals and efforts towards unifying the country.
“He (Museveni) appointed his political and military rivals as ministers and government officials in his delicate government, at a time when he mostly needed only those cadres that believed in NRM’s revolutionary mission and vision,” reads the book.
“As a father of the nation in the making he endured their wide and large differences in political ideologies and accommodated diverging views for the sake of unity and peace.”
Although Prof. Kirumira expressed concern over Uganda’s lack of an icon like Julius Nyerere for Tanzania, he was hesitant to suggest that Museveni fits the title.
According to Kirumira, a leader should be beyond politics and beyond his party to qualify for the coveted title of father of the nation.
“Many African and developed states have icons. One thing we have not got since independence is that person who can be called the icon of our nation. Whether president Museveni fits that title is a question to study,” Kirumira said.
He however, praised Sseruwagi’s book for bringing forward the debate. He said the book gets a Ugandan into the uncommon habit of questioning leaders especially.