BY JAMES BUTURO
Now that our national leadership is pressing hard to turn Uganda into a land that is free, stable and prosperous, the extent to which Ugandans are morally upright has critical implications on the countryâ€™s pace of development. There is no amount of social, economic or poli
Now that our national leadership is pressing hard to turn Uganda into a land that is free, stable and prosperous, the extent to which Ugandans are morally upright has critical implications on the countryâ€™s pace of development. There is no amount of social, economic or political engineering that can substitute for a nation whose people are morally frugal.
Morality describes principles that govern human behaviour. Without these principles, societies can neither live in an orderly manner nor survive for long. Morality ensures fair play and harmony among individuals. Its strict application in society helps us to become good. For God-inclined people, it helps them please their Creator.
Our society has commonly agreed moral values which gauge the level of our morality. When such values are respected and applied, they moderate human interactions. They define our identity and elevate us to a level which is consistent with the pillars of morality such as honesty, personal responsibility, mutual respect, love, tolerance and sexual restraint. The other pillars are classical values that define good character like thrift, charity, integrity, contentment rather than greed and helping others selflessly.
What then is the state of morality in our country? The majority of Ugandans believe their country has, over the recent years, undergone moral decline. They point to resurgence of vices such as greed or self-interest, which lead to embezzlement of public funds, prostitution and homosexuality.
The context of this decline is the ongoing cultural war in which Ugandans are embroiled. This war is between two camps; the moralist camp, often religious, and the secular camp.
The moralist camp comprises Ugandans who believe in living by Godâ€™s revealed morality, while the secular group believes in moral relativism and writing their own moral code. Moral relativism is the view that the ethical standards, morality and positions of wrong or right are culturally-based and, therefore, subject to a personâ€™s individual choice. Moral relativists argue that they are free to decide what is right for them. They say if they choose to sleep with animals, nobody, not even the law, should stop them. This is the argument of homosexuals, prostitutes and pedophiles.
Sadly, the secular camp, with their situational ethics and secular emphasis, is making substantial inroads against Ugandaâ€™s traditional religiously-inspired cultural values.
The on-going cultural war implies that Ugandans do not enjoy cultural consensus on God and religion and what constitutes right and wrong. If more Ugandans adopt secular values, our country would experience greater moral decline.
We must avoid pushing our country into a moral tailspin that could lead to promotion of individualism at the expense of moral responsibility. Taken to exaggerated levels, such embattlement could negate all the social, political and economic gains which the NRM Government has so far registered.
For many people, their countryâ€™s ability to continue being a self-governing republic of responsible citizens rests on the values we choose to promote and whether the media will continue to exhibit hostility to traditional morality. A major complaint by the public against the Fourth Estate, the media, is that the latter are the primary culprits in the nationâ€™s moral decline. They note that reversing the countryâ€™s moral decline would be difficult if the media continue to singularly promote secular values and a world view which glorifies decadent, abnormal and inhuman lifestyles such as prostitution and homosexuality, while at the same time undermining the faith and values that have stood the country in good stead.
Ugandans bemoan that the media appears to have a lot of freedom. They believe the quality and spiritual disposition of the managers of the media are the sine qua non to Ugandaâ€™s ability to firmly qualify as a free, stable and prosperous country, whose inhabitants are predominantly civilised, ethical, and have integrity. Citizens who care about their countryâ€™s moral condition should insist that the media strive to fairly represent the views of the majority.
If we are to reverse the downward spiral of culture and morality in society, it is essential to have a country-wide return to traditional belief in the authority of God over human moral behaviour. Doing so would, after all, be in conformity with the fact that our moral foundation came from our faith in God. Departure from Godâ€™s moral precepts poses the greatest danger to Ugandaâ€™s moral rectitude.
It is the increased acceptance of Godâ€™s authority that will propel Uganda to healthier and higher levels of peace, freedom, stability and prosperity.
The writer is the Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity
Moral degeneration ought to be checked