PROF. Latigo must be listened to by those who think/claim to be leaders in Uganda and, in particular, the so called leaders in the areas where Ugandans are still located up in communalism
By Prof. Tarsis B. Kabwegyere
I write to congratulate Prof. Ogenga Latigo on his liberating thoughts and ideas in his two articles on the land question in northern Ugandan.
I’m referring to his ideas as liberating very decidedly because they are very revolutionary compared to what I have known to come from persons like Okello Okello, the Late Okullo Epak and Daniel Omara Atubo, to talk of a small sample of the outstanding leaders from the region.
My heated debate with Okello Okello and the late Okullo Epak appeared in the papers. We do not eat land. We eat what grows on the land.
Therefore, the extent we utilise the land is the extent we get what we can eat. The acreage we cultivate with modern techniques defines our position on the journey to modernity.
Modernity in this case means a journey from Stone Age to a stage when man has tamed nature to his advantage and benefits from universal knowledge and technology.
Prof Latigo must be listened to by those who think/claim to be leaders in Uganda and, in particular, the so called leaders in the areas where Ugandans are still located up in communalism; the areas where the leaders are keeping people in eternal yesterday.
Thank you Prof Ogenga-Latigo for being the scholar you are and brave enough to tell the truth even if it is likely to earn you resentment from a lot of our colleagues, we all know. I mean all those who claim and tell their voters that there is a hideous plan by some people intent on taking “our land”.
I can mention 20 names in a second who have been instilling fear in the people that “Ugandan foreigners will rob Northern Uganda land”. This scare extends to Lango and West Nile.
This pre-meditated land plunder was even used to explain the Kony Phenomenon that Kony was a design and IDP camps a strategy to get people off the land purposely to rob the land.
Olara Otunu even went to the extent of telling us at the UNAA meeting in New York that Kony was a Museveni project to kill off the Acholi with the ultimate goal of having the area settled by “foreigners”.
Many people were at this meeting and witnessed what I have just said. He said even more than this.
Think of leaders who would take time and energy to mobilise women in the nude to scare investors for the sake of keeping virgin land intact yet they drink sugar grown in Kakira or Kinyara!
What could be more obscurantist than telling the people that communal land ownership is the best for mankind in 2012? Communalism is not the same as communism.
Collective farming is totally different from what we see in Northern Uganda and Busoga. Communalism is a pristine stage in social development.
I congratulate Latigo for being a leader not a deceiver of his people. What could be more truthful and honest than what you say in these words
“We no longer hunt or communally graze cattle as before. Given the self-preservation that people have honed in IDP camps, extended family has been over taken by individualism, with most deadly land conflicts now not being between the government and communities but among family members and close relations”.
The man/land relationship has been changing all the time in response to population pressure and economic adaptation. You can even define development as the process of man’s adaptation to nature, land being the primary resource in that process.
How can one talk of industrialization without talking about land development to get raw materials? “Embrace Amuru Sugar Works”, advises revolutionary Latigo very rightly so.
Prof. Ogenga Latigo has contributed to sober politics in Uganda. Many people miss him in his role as Leader of Opposition in Parliament.
By his two articles in the New Vision, he has further defined his place in the history of Uganda’s rational development.
He should be heard by those with ears to hear be emulated by those who think they have a role to play in the development of motherland Uganda.
Latigo, if you get hated for what you have said, don’t mind. Being brave and right maybe costly in the short run but history will reward you.
I challenge Okello Okello to make a rejoinder in this debate. For misleaders have no place in Uganda of today and more so in Uganda of tomorrow.
Leaders have a responsibility to make a positive difference in the lives of those they lead to qualify to be remembered as leaders. Bravo Prof. Ogenga Latigo.
Writer is a former minister, MP
History will reward Latigo