As Ugandans join the rest of the world to commemorate the United Nations (UN) International Day of Tolerance Saturday, they have been urged to embrace peace, ahead of the 2021 general elections.
“As we move towards 2021 general elections, Ugandans should embrace tolerance to avoid conflicts, which have bedeviled the country since time immemorial,” Moses Musana, the chairperson of the Always Be Tolerant Organization (ABETO), said.
The UN International Day for Tolerance is observed on November 16, each year to help people understand the importance of tolerance worldwide. The day is used to educate people about the need for tolerance in society and to help them understand its negative effects.
Musana has appealed to Ugandans to embrace tolerance for peaceful co-existence in the country, saying the world is tired of wars, poverty, epidemics, hatred, terrorism, exploitation and nepotism.
He stressed that since 1962 when Uganda got independence, it has been characterised by continuous political intolerance perpetrated by state-inspired terror and disrespect for human rights.
Musana said these have resulted in many dehumanizing social upheavals such as backwardness, poverty, diseases, pandemics, unnecessary detentions and loss of life due to insecurity.
“When we got independence, we expected a bright future. We also expected democratic principles to prevail through the rule of law but things have changed,” he noted.
Musana said the spirit of peaceful co-existence has been abandoned and replaced by the new culture of silence and fear imposed by the gun.
He has appealed to politicians to exercise tolerance such that peace and development are preserved.
“This country is ours and political parties should be allowed to freely participate in the mobilisation of their members,” he advised.
He has asked the National Resistance Movement (NRM) to tolerate the opposition such that democracy, which was ushered in the country, is seen and not just talked about.
Musana said it is important to build the virtue of peace and tolerance in children because it helps people to sustain themselves mentally to overcome hardships through patience.
He commended the religious fraternity for working with the organisation to document peace and tolerance education in the society.
ABETO was formed in 1996 as a non-Government Organisation following a call from her Majesty the Queen of England during the Commonwealth general assembly in 1995 in Harare Zimbabwe.
The organisation has propagated the doctrine of tolerance through conducting seminars, workshops, conferences and offering a peace syllabus for both formal and non-formal education in Uganda.