Opinion
Not law but re-examination is needed to promote patriotismPublish Date: May 14, 2014
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By Atwine Bahiigi

Law is a means of compulsion used by the state to win the compliance of citizens to its standards. The compulsion here must be understood in a manner that is both implicit and express.

Usually, when the laws are to be put in place there is usually the need to harmonise the different standards that are acceptable in the minds of citizens.

In this case, the law on patriotism is geared towards securing the acceptable standards by citizens as far as the love of this country is concerned.

The puzzle all through is that why do we need to force people to love their country? Love itself is from an individual’s heart.

Symbolically, a love relationship is between a female and male human beings and it grows because of what the two parties offer to and find in each other. James Ngugi in The River Between brings forth how love between two people depends on the aspects of what one has to offer to the other to the effect that love will have no borders.

The proposed law on patriotism in my understanding is geared towards regulating the love between the state and citizens. The law is being originated by the state to compel the citizens to love the state (Uganda).

I have wondered why this should be the case? In my opinion, I am tempted to think there is a loophole in the course of action by the two partners; the state and the citizens. The citizens love this country and have always supported the statesman, President Yowei Museveni.

It is my opinion that resources that are being directed towards patriotism should be directed towards correcting the errors that are here and there. The NRM regime must be credited on how it has tried to put this country on the right track.

Notwithstanding the need to re-think the methodology that will deliver and win the hearts of the citizens.

I call upon everybody to do self-evaluation whether our actions and omissions are a reflection of the love of this country. Take for instance, murder and other instances of actions towards our ‘neighbours’ (call them citizens) that are not proper all reflect how we have fell short of being patriotic.

I would also say that our actions that are against the peaceful and progressive Uganda are not patriotic.

Who can gear up the love for this country?


The role of the leadership at all levels is to promote patriotism or the love of this country. At the family and education levels, the moral fabric is broken down with the would-be caretakers for the children raping them.

Thus, the negation of our leadership roles from a moral perspective cannot be the basis of our enacting of laws.

I would, therefore, advise that the patriotism function in the Office of the President be shifted to the Ministry of Ethics and Integrity and the resources thereof be utilised to directing the philosophy of proper leadership.

The writer is a socio-political analyst

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