Human society has long been intrigued by the lying that is common in practice.
Too often, we come across people who freely indulge in telling lies. It is their way of attempting either to conceal reality from others or to portray a false image of things in order to gain a favorable outcome for themselves.
By their nature, lies have extremely short delicate legs to flounce about with. They are easily detectable and discoverable during the stress of being tested.
Consequently, arrant liars have developed a new science for the steady health of lying. They have long noticed that to maintain one lie, they need a theatre of others to bolster the earlier ones.
Therefore, any earlier lie must always be remembered in full for the sake of safely telling another one. It is said that the art of telling lies requires a long memory: a valuable long memory to support the awkward steps of toddling on shriveled short limbs.
Human society has long been intrigued by the lying that is common in practice. Captain Frederick Lugard, the handyman of the British conquest of Uganda who fomented strife in Buganda’s royal Mengo, claimed that in his life’s contact with lying, he had never seen greater liars than the Baganda.
Much later, in the early days of our political activism in the 1960s, we sensed that the propensity for prolific lying amongst Ugandans actually rested on the British-cultivated people who were called politicians.
Even though we were still youngsters, some of us enthusiastically joined our parents in the UPC believing that it was a progressive force that would earnestly organize the fulfillment of our country’s dreams for dignity and betterment of life. We expected politics to be largely about debating alternative courses for the way forward for our people.
We got stricken by the indulgences that soon overtook the political arena. Occupying office as a transitional self-rule Government, the DP sought to beat off the challenge of UPC Opposition. But, the attempt did little to explain the DP’s own orientation to burning social questions and its difference of approach from that espoused by the rival UPC.
Instead, we were treated to a whole vilification campaign. The DP cried that Obote, the President of the UPC, was ill-suited for Uganda’s governance because he was too black-skinned and without a house in the wildlife of northern Uganda. The theme deviated from any stance of thought to the realm described in Luganda as “akalebule, olugambo and wolokoso”.
Obote roared back with his own jibes and jesters at DP leader Benedicto Kiwanuka. It became his cut to poke fun at the personality of Kiwanuka, often citing that Kiwanuka spent all his time sleeping during the Lancashire House independence talks in London. Throughout his tenure as President, he never stopped declaring that the DP would die a natural death because the UPC was armed with ninety nine tricks for containing the DP.
Such was the measure of our early post-colonial political life. Increasingly, the atmosphere became a farce and acrimony. Our erstwhile UPC mellowed from the guise of organized party to a carnival of blind followers and supporters of Obote. We were compelled to walk out from it in 1965.
From that time on, it became our inspiration to lift the ledge of politics to a higher level. We were convinced that the dominance of sham politicking was hostile to the well-being of our country.
Today, many years later, the main veins in the political sphere still repeat and retain the hideous features of our past. The word “politics” intuitively evokes the imagery of sly pick-pockets.
But, In addition to enacting the past, the splurging of money to entice loyalties is currently widespread. Hitherto, no one had the ability to stretch bribery to the enormous scale of these days. The fashion now is a race between the sizes of amounts of money.
The sides with lesser money are painfully discovering that money display can be quite debilitating. They have been compelled to adjust their bribery skills to other forms.
Thus, new schemes have partially replaced cash bonanza where, durable but cheap items can be doled out to a named whole community. Colorful ceremonies are now frequent in villages across the country for receiving promised plates, tents, ambulances etc for solemnizing funerals. These are loudly claimed to be a development agenda. It is a classic example of using one stone to kill many birds.
Few bother to question the irony to the villagers of prioritization of dying when they have plenty of needy life to be lived. The cumulative effect of all this toying with our country’s politics is grave. Real prospect for social endowment is actually arrested when the people are diverted to believe that their betterment can hinge on the performance of a circus. The word “politics” is drained of any of its honors.
Without the lively concern for the emergence and growth of political thought in the country, our people will remain held in permanent bondage to obscurantism and absence of ideas. Anyone who is ignorant of what to do with one’s own life can operate only from the instructions by others on what one’s life ought to be.
The writer is NRM historical