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OPINION: It’s not yet Uhuru! – Roger Barigayomwe

OPINION– It may be Independence Day today, but are we truly independent? I think we need to carry out a SWOT analysis as a country in celebration of this independence. 

In 1962, it was to liberate ourselves from the colonial masters, a tag of war as our adversaries presented themselves superior militarily and financially. Therefore, they bribed and compromised everyone who stood against their continued suppression of Africans, until finally they let loose and conceded our freedom.

After that, our history is clear. It wasn’t long before political turmoil culminated in the Amin’s takeover of the country. Amin was resisted by the liberators – our fathers. They left us behind claiming that they had gone to struggle and liberate us in order to give us a good future. Indeed, that revolution ended in 1986 when they took power. 

They have  had control of the country 35 years now but their dealings are not very different from those of the colonial masters. They have  compromised everyone who has  tried to show objectivity and have not taken positively to dissent. They have  enriched themselves financially and as a consequence and means, deliberately monetized politics. 

They will divide the loot with whoever tries to identify with objectivity in this nation. This is evident in the political campaigns and mobilisations starting right at the political party primaries. We can see that both in the ruling party and the opposition, huge amounts of money exchange hands for party posts whether it’s through vetting or the electoral process. We are yet to see even bigger sums exchange hands in February. 

The political parties themselves are based on division of the masses, not objective ideology. Even the opposition parties, I will take an example of the newly formed National Unity Platform ( NUP) which is simply trying to get youth divided up for their benefit but really have no grounding. There is  nothing to show that we are planning significant things for the future of our country and our children. It is total chaos. 

So, are Ugandans really independent? 

Can an average Ugandan speak their mind and be heard without fear? I would say not yet.

Independence will be when Ugandans can equally compete for opportunities without tribal or religious bias, when exposure is what puts someone at the top, when education and health are prioritised and competitive compensatory options and funds are appropriated to labourers. Before then, we are not yet independent. 

How could COVID -19 so easily cause such unemployment?  I think credit should be given to our colonial masters who performed much better than ourselves because they left better health and education facilities and even mentored the next generation of which are some of the tired leaders of now. Unlike the colonial masters however, they refuse to mentor anyone. They aren’t trying to pass on the baton but becoming more primitive. It is not yet Uhuru!

The writer, PhD. Roger Birungi Barigayomwe, is the Chairman of Labour Party Uganda and a Senior Lecturer at  Kampala International University ( KIU).

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