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Disrespecting the presidency threatens national security

By Vision Reporter

Added 7th April 2009 03:00 AM

Across the country there are reverberations and echoes of a desire for Uganda to become a truly great country in which Ugandans will live in total unity, freedom, liberty, stability and prosperity.

Across the country there are reverberations and echoes of a desire for Uganda to become a truly great country in which Ugandans will live in total unity, freedom, liberty, stability and prosperity.

By Dr Nsaba Buturo

Across the country there are reverberations and echoes of a desire for Uganda to become a truly great country in which Ugandans will live in total unity, freedom, liberty, stability and prosperity.

However, there is fear that if the practice of disrespecting leaders takes root, it will spread to our families, schools, places of work and chaos will result in society and governance will become difficult.

Our culture has always put high premium on respect as a vital ingredient in our human relationships. Now this ingredient is under threat! If respect, as socially correct behaviour towards our leaders is undermined, this could ultimately also undermine authority in homes, places of work, communities and the nation.

If you want to destroy a family, all you have to do is to consistently demean its head. Soon, children will have no respect for the father or mother or both. Before long, that family will be no more. This article addresses itself to the rapid loss of socially correct behaviour to which some individuals in our society are becoming increasingly ascetic and indifferent.

Recently, President Museveni identified lack of patriotism as the bane of our woes and efforts to transform Uganda. By highlighting patriotism, the President is planting a seed of a mustard seed size which, when it germinates and matures will, in years to come, leave Uganda with the size of an oak tree.

Sadly, instead of expanding on this prognosis, critics have been venting their disrespectful inclinations towards the President in a way that is cause for concern.

The person of the President is not an ordinary person. He is Uganda’s fountain of honour.

He resides at the pinnacle of the institution of the presidency. The two positions are intricately interwoven. To that extent, disrespect of the person of the President is disrespect of the institution of the presidency and a threat to the nation’s security.

The person of the President is, therefore, most important to the nation. This is why when a President is righteous, a nation as a whole is righteous and will prosper. When he or she is not, that nation is doomed.

Sometime ago, President Museveni appointed Hon. Janet Museveni as the minister for Karamoja and a crescendo of condemnations and accusations rained on him through the press. What was wrong with the appointment?

Janet Museveni is a Member of Parliament and one of the sharp-minded and formidable legislators in Parliament. Her cool demeanor as well as experience in public service qualifies her for the appointment beyond any refutation. Should she be denied the opportunity to serve Uganda because of her relationship with the President? Not at all.

The issue is, however, the derogatory and mostly inaccurate way in which critics have written about the President’s action which directly or indirectly is designed to undermine his standing among Ugandans.

This amounts to engineering loss of confidence by the public in the President. It also amounts to undermining a cardinal requirement in human relationships which God decreed must remain sacrosanct, namely, giving respect to those who are in authority. God underscores the importance of respect to those in authority by attaching security and prosperity benefits for citizens. He commands us to obey leaders and in return we shall reap dividends of peace.

Most Ugandans strongly resent the blatant, incessant, disrespectful and inaccurate manner as well as the habit of hurling insults, abuses and innuendos at the President.

This consistent portrayal of the President in bad light is wrong, irresponsible, morally unacceptable and dangerous for Uganda.

It is likely that individuals who undermine authority in this way may be under the influence of cosmic powers. Oftentimes, poor or lack of good upbringing may explain why such individuals do not respect leaders. It may also be that they are on the payroll of enemies of the state.

Freedom of expression must be tempered with civic motivation. Free speech which leads to undermining the principal tenet of respect for authority is dangerous. But now, how do we lance this boil before it bursts into cataclysmic consequences for our nation?

I appeal to individuals who are prone to disrespecting the person of the President to desist from the harmful practice. Those in the media who see specialising in writing about him as their bonanza must, for a moment, love Uganda more.

If they do not, Ugandans who care about their country will rise and take appropriate action against marauders of our integrity.
The writer is the Minister of Ethics and Integrity

Disrespecting the presidency threatens national security

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