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A pity, Ugandans do not appreciate independence

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th October 2009 03:00 AM

IT is important for us to celebrate the 47 years of independence. We should also thank those who fought for this independence.

IT is important for us to celebrate the 47 years of independence. We should also thank those who fought for this independence.

By Samuel Oduny

IT is important for us to celebrate the 47 years of independence. We should also thank those who fought for this independence.

When the Union Jack was lowered, the Uganda flag was raised, meanwhile the British anthem “God Save the Queen” and the Uganda anthem composed by George Kakoma were sung respectively.

This made Ugandans extremely happy. But what have we achieved after 47 years of independence?

The independence era started well with some remarkable development. A notable example in the north was the Gulu-Kampala Road that was tarmacked and Karuma Bridge was built.

The Pakwach Bridge and 22 hospitals were built in all the districts of Uganda. By then Uganda had only 18 districts.
The first sign that Ugandans were bound to abuse their independence came through the armed forces.

In 1964, when the army revolted at Jinja, it was a signal that the army was going to be a problem in Uganda. The reason for the mutiny was a claim of low salary and a demand by Ugandans to command the army.

An act of Parliament quelled the mutiny by raising the salary of the army and appointing Brig. Shaban Opolot as the army commander and Col. Idi Amin as deputy commander.

After the army saga came the Buganda crisis in 1966. The Buganda Lukiiko resolved that the central government should move away from Kampala city. The demand provoked the central Government.

As a result, the army was ordered to attack the Lubiri, the seat of Buganda Kingdom. Kingdoms were henceforth abolished and many people were killed while others were arrested.

The Kabaka fled the country and later died in exile in November 1969.
The abuse of power and human rights by Amin was the most embarrassing and tragic acts done to abuse the independence of Uganda. Amin was suspected to have had a hand in the murder of Brig Okoya in January 1970.

All investigations by the Police, army and other civil intelligence services revealed that Amin took part in murdering Okoya and his wife Anna Okoya at Koro sub-county near Gulu Municipality.

Obote failed to take action against Amin. The people who associated with Amin to kill Okoya were arrested, notable among them Capt Smurts Guwedeko and Kasule of Uganda Airforce base in Gulu.

When Amin overthrew Obote’s government, he hurriedly released all the suspects in the Okoya case and rewarded them with promotions in the air force.

The bloodiest time for Ugandans was during Amin’s era when he could kill anybody in cold blood at will and more so if that person was an Acholi or Langi.

Many professionals like the vice chancellor of Makerere University, Frank Kalimuzo, the Governor of the Bank of Uganda Joseph Mubiru and the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Janani Luwum were murdered.

Amin was removed by a conventional war in 1979. Many people thought Uganda would be very peaceful after the overthrow of Amin, but it was to the contrary. Military coups continued with different presidents coming to power. It is only under the NRM that we have enjoyed relative peace.

Ugandans may ask themselves the question: Was Uganda granted independence for Ugandans to kill each other? Let us go back to the drawing board and begin to make meaning of our independence. For God and my country.

The writer is a former UNLA soldier and an NRM supporter in Gulu

A pity, Ugandans do not appreciate independence

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