Today is Independence Day. That could have elicited a wave of euphoria once upon a time but these days understandably, many Ugandans would instead roll their eyes and ask what’s so great about independence. Or click ‘Like’ on some random post.
But stay with me. Independence means throwing off the yoke of slavery. That’s what those first heroes of the nation did. They threw off the yoke. In other words, they got tired of being treated like
Museveni’s pets chattels and they brought the fire.
The heroes of the revolution, it has been said in many voices, did not really deserve our respect. They did not have to go through what the Kenyans did. Uganda, it is said, did not have to spill blood to get self-determination.
What we are not told by the history teachers, (except Kube in History I), of course is the backstage politics that went into the deal Uganda got. How Dr Obote outsmarted the Mzungus and how people like Ignatius Kangavve Musaazi took it to the chin like real rock stars.
We might not have had Maruge but we had Benedicto Kiwanuka. When Janani Luwum died a few years after independence, I want to believe it was all tied into the same thing. The Mzungu’s lackey was wrecking havoc and heroes like Luwum wanted to take back their country.
Every village has a bard. Bards are not meant to go to war; they are good for documenting history and telling the people where to pass as they go to war. They must be preserved if victory is to be achieved.
Emancipation of the spirit calls for hard decisions. We must stare without blinking at the options we have in our hands. Are we comfortable with the way we are running our country? After so many years, we cannot keep on saying the desecration of the country is the fault of someone else; we are in this together.
Many years on, when we are old and gray, those who will come after us will listen to our sorry tales of being oppressed by military men in suits and ask what we did about it.
Our independence celebrations should not be overshadowed by disease and hunger and discontent brought about by politicians who do not understand why they have been given the grace to stand in their positions. We should not allow our independence to be described by what went wrong in the past.
Independence Day is when we should take back our country. We should start doing things that people like this have told us to do. We should stop saying, “why don’t you do it yourself?”
We should celebrate the captains of the future of our country. Peter Mwesige, Daniel Kalinaki, John Abimanyi, Revence Kalibwani, Solomon Benge, Joseph Rwabose, Loyola Karobwa, David Tumusiime…and those are just a few that I can list here. I could go on till the cows come home.
We should give these people in our midst a chance to fly; if they fly too close to the sun, time has provided man with the means to stay the course since the days of Icarus.
When young people shout on the rooftops about something they have produced, it does no one any good to shoot them down even before they can come down off of the roof to try out their invention.
When you think of independence, it should be a sweet melody that lingers in your mind’s ear. It should prompt you to think of the possibilities that lie at your feet begging to be lifted up.