I mourn Aronda because he was not a sycophant” read one brazenly politically-motivated “tribute” in a national daily of 15th September, just hours after the announcement of the General’s untimely death. “Human mortality should sober up Uganda’s rulers”, screamed another “tribute” under Gen. Aronda
By Sam Akaki
I mourn Aronda because he was not a sycophant” read one brazenly politically-motivated “tribute” in a national daily of 15th September, just hours after the announcement of the General’s untimely death. “Human mortality should sober up Uganda’s rulers”, screamed another “tribute” under Gen. Aronda sombre-looking photograph in the same daily of the same day.
What kind of comfort, if any, are these so-called tributes supposed to give Gen. Arond’a heart-broken wife, her fatherless children and their close relatives, who had not yet even seen the body of their loved one who had died in a foreign land?
Granted, funerals and politicking have been two side of the same coin since the recorded time. For example, on that fateful Ide of March (15th of March) 44 BC, Mark Anthony turned the table on the Julius Caesar’s assassins, who had foolishly allowed him to address the mourners, sparking a ferocious civil war!
Two thousand fifteen years ago in Golgotha or “the Place of Skulls”, in present Israel, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the mysterious disappearance of his body from grave, started one the longest and largest-running social movements in human history. Today, there are over 2 billion members of the Christian Church worldwide.
Here in Uganda, in October 2005, when former president Milton Obote died, some people went wild with celebrating in the streets. During his funeral at Akokoro, UPC heavy-weights like Cilicia Ogwal and Ben Wacha were not allowed near former president’s gave because they were considered “traitors” just because they had dares decided to contest the 1996 elections against the former president’s wishes.
Unlike these people who had had the courage of their conviction to openly use the death of Julius Caesar, Jesus Christ and Obote for to payback at their opponents, it is worse than cowardice to hide behind a “tribute” to Gen. Aronda to hurl insults at our political opponents. It is his bereaved family, not our political enemies, that we are hurting the most.
Listen to these weasel words: “We all woke up to the sad news of the sudden death of Gen Aronda Nyakairima”, wrote DP President Norbert Mao. “I convey my condolences to the entire nation for the loss of a refined, civil and decent man. To Linda (the widow) and the entire family, I pray for you and ask God to surround you with blessings and give you the fortitude to rise above grief. There are no words to console you but we hope the memory of Gen Aronda and the good things he achieved and those he strived for will reassure you that his short life was not in vain.”
The he hastened to add, “Aronda knew what was right but was often forced to follow the dictates of the regime. He was caught up. That means that in a way he was a hostage. The Museveni regime has turned many of its co-creators into hostages. And like all hostages, they are in danger. As the Baganda say they are the “enkoko y’omutamivu’ (the drunkard’s cockerel). The cockerel can be dispensed with anytime. But what is making Museveni drunk? He is drunk on power.”
“The power is unbridled because the people who the constitution says are the sovereign power have been totally disconnected from all the levers of power. All the levers of power are in Museveni’s hands. The promise of regular, free and fair elections in our Constitution is a dead letter! We go through empty rituals and call them elections. Even the international community endorses such sham olio elections and say ‘at least Museveni is better than Amin’. We should feel insulted when our democratic aspirations are measured according to the standards of one of the most notorious dictators in history.”
The he concluded, “as a soldier and a Chief of Defence Forces he could issue orders and they get executed. As a minister he was entangled in a bureaucracy where he could issue orders and nothing happens. Sometimes he shared his frustration. He could not sit easy when the IGP and other powerful and well connected police officers ran rings around him as they executed the ‘orders from above’. Lastly I mourn Aronda because he was not a sycophant. He was not one of the grovellers waiting for crumbs from the master’s table”.
These comments are as shocking as they are distasteful not only because they have come at the wrong time when Gen. Aronda body had not even been brought back to the country.
But also because Mao, a Christian by faith lawyer by training, is expected to know that human life, even the life of a sycophant, is sacrosanct.
In any case, what is sycophant to Mao is indeed a father, mother, sister, brother or uncle to another Ugandan. Regrettably, in our view, Mao has decided to use Gen. Aronda’s tragic death to score very cheap political points. To put it bluntly, he has used the General’s dead body to beat his political opponents. How much lower can our politician descend in order to quench their selfish political thirst?
The writer is the executive director of the Africa-European relations
Allow Aronda’s family mourn without your cheap politicking