On Sunday October 9th 2016 we marked 54 years since deciding that we were responsible enough to rule ourselves and to take charge of our own affairs as independent people.
Before attaining Independence, the British were in-charge of our lives and affairs. They were in-charge of government; they were responsible for the delivery of services like health and education. They built roads, railways, bridges and other infrastructural needs of the society.
In 1962, all that changed and changed forever. The leadership and control of Uganda was removed from the hands of the colonialists to the hands of Ugandans. With independence, Ugandans assumed the liberty, the freedom, to take charge of their own affairs. And for the last 54 years, Ugandans have been in charge of whatever has been happening or not happening in this beautiful country.
As to whether they have ruled us better than the colonialists or not, that is a conversation for those Ugandans with the interest and the time. Now, every year, the political leaders of this country, adorned in their best attires, gather to celebrate the Independence Day. The rest of us are invited to witness the events of the day.
Just like every year, the Big Man ascends the decorated stage and reads a catalogue of what his government has in his plans ‘for us’. A year later, the ritual is repeated and that ritual hasn’t changed in the recent memory. At no celebration have our leader or leaders given account of how much of what they promised to do for us at the last celebrations, has actually been delivered.
Our prayer this week is this: can the government of the Republic of Uganda, beginning with this week’s function, begin a tradition of giving account of the delivery on government’s projects, plans and programmes in the out-going period of time. As Ugandans, at least the majority of Ugandans, we are tired of unfulfilled promises.
It is precisely because of these unfulfilled promises that many Ugandans, especially the youth, of this country are discouraged, from attending national functions.
For example, the last few years have been difficult years for the young people, especially the educated youth who cannot get jobs after graduating at different levels. We would therefore have expected the theme of this year’s celebrations to be about fighting chronic unemployment.
Instead, our government wisemen have chosen that we celebrate this year’s independence under the theme: ‘Protection of our Independence through Promotion of Patriotism, Unity and Hard Work’.
First of all, unemployed, angry and hungry people don’t eat patriotism. Two, Ugandans have been working hard but still wallow in abject poverty. And three, Unity is about happy people. Our theme for this year therefore, could have been more meaningful.
Still, we are hopeful about a better future for our country. It’s only that the present managers have not exhibited the capacity to move this country to a better level. Our hope for the future lies in creating opportunities for our youth so that they can be able to look after the failed generation of leaders.
Happy 54th independence