RECENTLY the Government came up with unpopular proposal that the National Anthem of Uganda should be changed because it was somehow dull.
I think because when Ugandans sing it on National Days they are not excited and they don’t jump up and down like the young men/women dancing in a bar or beer party enjoying Jose Chameleon music or musician Bobi Wine’s music.
The Government was ready to pay a lot of money in millions of shillings to any Ugandan who would compose a new National Anthem which would excite people (okuchamula abantu) when singing it on National Days and other functions.
There was a massive outcry from the public opposing the idea of changing the National Anthem.
Some people said that the Anthem is very historical, has God in it and very meaningful but people are not excited because of poor service delivery from the Government.
Thank God, the Government withdrew the proposal indefinitely.
I would like to give the young generation the origin and meaning of our National Anthem, Flag and Emblem.
I would like first to look outside Uganda and see the countries which have the Word God in their National Anthems and Emblems. Great Britain has – GOD AT MY RIGHT but it is written in Latin.
The United States of America has – IN GOD WE TRUST. South Africa has - NKOSI SIKALELE AFRICA and other words in Afrikaans – Nkosi is God. Tanzania their Anthem is in Kiswahili – MUNGU IBALIKI TANZANIA – meaning God bless Tanzania. Zambia and Zimbabwe their Anthem is also God bless Zambia and God bless Zimbabwe.
In Uganda we started to sing our Anthem, “Oh Uganda nay God uphold Thee” fly our National Flag and wear the National Emblem on Independence Day October 9, 1962.
Earlier on before October 9, during the month of September a National Committee was appointed by the British Government and headed by the late Prof. William Senteza-Kajubi to design the National Emblem and compose the National Anthem.
The late Prof. George Kakoma, a musician, who was on the Committee, composed the National Anthem. The former UPC Secretary-General the late Grace Ibingira designed the National Flag of Black, Yellow and Red stripes.
The stripes were repeated downwards so that it does not look like the German Flag. The white and green flag which had been designed by the late Ben Kiwanuka when he was Prime Minister was rejected by UPC. Kiwanuka protested very strongly and insisted that one of the two Democratic Party colours must be on the National Flag, then the white colour which symbolises peace, was put in the middle of the Uganda Flag.
Sekabaka Mutesa II of Buganda requested the Kajubi Committee to adopt the Buganda Emblem, the Shield and Spears (Amafumu n’Engabo) as the National Emblem but without the Lion at the bottom. Mutesa also proposed that the Buganda Drum “MUJAGUZO” be in the middle of the National Emblem. The Kajubi Committee accepted Mutesa’s proposals. The Lion was replaced with Uganda’s cash crops – coffee and cotton and River Nile in the middle.
Milton Obote, who was leader of UPC proposed that the beautiful Crested Crane and the animal Uganda Kob which is found in the North of Uganda must be on the Emblem. Obote’s proposal was accepted.
The Church (Namirembe) and (Rubaga) proposed that instead of “Freedom and Independence” which the politicians had proposed as the National Motto on the Emblem, the words must be changed to “FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY”.
The Church said that Uganda was an Enclave of Christianity therefore the National Motto must be, “FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY”. The proposal was accepted too.
I thought it was necessary to tell the people of Uganda the origin of the Flag, Anthem and Emblem. At that time I was an Information Officer in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The writer is an Elder from Kyaggwe