Uganda Liberation Day: A mockery/Disgrace of Democracy

Uganda Liberation Day: A mockery/Disgrace of Democracy

Warm greetings to all Ugandans on this purportedly historic day of liberation. Without considering the reasons why innocent lives were lost and why the community supported it, Liberation Day is meaningless and incomplete. Millions of Ugandans gave up their lives, useful time, and their resources for our country. This is what give Liberation Day meaning.  Commemoration of the day would be meaningful to an ordinary Ugandan if  the narrative in the preamble of our constitution is not as of today the status quo, which reads: Recalling our history which has been characterized by political and constitutional instability; Recognizing our struggles against the forces of tyranny, oppression and exploitation; Committed to building a better future by establishing a socio-economic and political order through a popular and durable national Constitution based on the principles of unity, peace, equality, democracy, freedom, social justice and progress; Exercising our sovereign and inalienable right to determine the form of governance for our country, and having fully participated in the Constitution-making process.


With this backdrop in mind, the  NRA fighters claim they went into the bush in 1980  with a TEN-point program  to guide the mission, that included the following: 1) Democracy, 2) Security, 3) Consolidation of National Unity and Elimination of All Forms of Sectarianism, 4) Defense and Consolidation of National Independence, 5)Building an independent, integrated, and self-sustaining national economy, and 6) Rehabilitation of the war-torn areas and the restoration and development of social services,7)Eliminating corruption and the abuse of authority, 8) Correcting mistakes that have caused certain populations to be displaced while others have improved, 9) Working with other African nations to preserve the human and democratic rights of our brothers in other regions of Africa, and 10) pursuing a mixed-economy economic strategy that benefits all citizens.


When measured against its own TEN POINT agenda as a scorecard, the NRM government has betrayed Ugandans and those who sacrificed their lives, time, energy, and resources and believed in actual liberation. Liberation is what every Ugandan soul, and every nation, craves and demands. Election-related sleaze, including violence, abuse of power, and voter manipulation, makes a mockery of the liberating principles of democracy. The NRM ruling club members are the only ones with preserve of freedom of speech and assemble. Sectarianism and hegemony are at the top of our nation and have torn apart the fabric of national unity. The fortunate few close to the center of power are benefiting from economic emancipation. Social services like education, health (child mortality rate is 40 deaths for every 1000 live births, whereas maternal mortality is 375 deaths for every 100,000), housing, transportation, and communication are in a sad state while government institutions are dead. Thousands of Ugandans have been reduced to paupers while being denied the opportunity to own land as a means of production. Most often, well-connected businessmen, and state officials who have amassed funds through theft and corruption carry out ongoing massive land evictions with impunity.


If we have the appropriate kind of proactive leadership and informed grassroot citizens, we can still fix many of these problems. “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains," stated Rosa Luxemburg. We won't understand the REAL meaning of LIBERATION or be free of the NRM hegemony and its adherents from themselves until a critical mass of Ugandans recognizes the heinous crimes the NRM dictatorship is committing against us. If the people for whom liberation is sought cannot think for themselves, then, TRUE liberation is unnecessary. As Ugandans, the more we allow ourselves to become accustomed to the current situation, the less we will consider our oppression and our oppressor and the more we will tolerate its expansion and eventually come to believe that oppression is the norm. But to be freed, we MUST be acutely conscious of how the system is subjugating us.


As Ugandans, we must not forget to recognize the brave hearts who took part in the liberation struggle, devoted their lives in the cause, but were later betrayed, but continue to support democratic liberation. I believe Uganda hasn't reached a breaking point yet; it is still salvageable. We must establish a political culture of leadership based on ideals. Uganda needs the second liberation based on transformational democratic liberation values, thus as leaders we must engage in dialogue with the people at the grassroot and build structures to liberate ourselves. If we MUST take transformational action, liberation is within our grasp. Thank you!

 By Francis Kamuhanda

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