Even after having endured the painful 24 years of Museveni’s rule; 48 years of independence plus the unending ‘VAT’ (colonialism), Ugandans are still struggling to overcome FEAR.
FEAR is motivating so many Ugandans, including Michael Ssenyonjo, a Ugandans-at-heart blog contributor, who cautions Ugandans – particularly Baganda – against continuously mounting of pressure on President Museveni’s government. I am not so sure whether Mr Senyonjo is insinuating that saying/doing nothing about the despicable Kampala regime is an option BUT there is all the evidence in his package to suggest so. It is really absurd when some Ugandans think, or at least appear think, that Uganda’s problems will simply go away one time.
Ssenyonjo echoes what some commentators in Uganda’s Museveni/NRM-leaning media rant week-in, week-out. For example, blaming Mmengo for the CBS closure and deaths of ‘rioters’ (Museveni and the Police repeatedly wrote off these fallen countrymen of ours as lumpens/hooligans, an admission that they were less human and therefore deserving to die. Tough!) is absolute nonsense.
If a government whose prime responsibility is to protect all its citizens chose not to do so (because of fear) but instead pulled the trigger at them, I wonder what that had to do with the Mmengo.
The indubitable fact is that a prodigious yet diverse section of Ugandans – probably the majority now – has nothing but utter revulsion at Mr Museveni and his tottering government – an abode of evil disposition. It is also a fact that Museveni’s war on Buganda and Uganda (the way I see/call it) is alive and real; we should not expect all people to fearfully sit back for fear of state obliteration or fear of making mistakes.
A lot of Ugandans are ready to put their heads above the pulpit or at least to raise their hands to be counted; and if the politicians and the military have for so long suppressed us, it is our time to fight back – To me, there is no better way than to talk out, spread the word and possibly act.
FEAR remains the single most influential factor in voter decision-making in Uganda . FEAR has forced us to make unsafe decisions at the polls and beyond. And this FEAR cuts across political idealogical lines; with those in government ghastly falling prey to the dreadful temptation of power – authoritarianism – and we, the voters, letting them to scare us out of our commitment to our own ideals (including, fighting for freedom and democracy, equality and opportunity for a descent life for all and change for a better Uganda).
Our FEAR has sealed our mouths, made us silent and complicit, and confined us to inaction. Our FEAR has motivated dictators, including but not limited to the ruthless Amin, Obote, the Okellos and the subtle but much lethal Museveni, to shred our freedoms/rights and lives before our very own eyes.
It is FEAR, if not overcome, that will make us again vote for any of the lot that have thrown their hat in the ring for 2011. It is time, I think, that Ugandans believe again and realise that voting for Museveni or the usual suspects, as I refer to them, in the opposition for the sake has not made (and will not) us better instead it has (and will) left us trapped in the manger.
Crucially our mission now and in 2011 should not be about trying to fix the past – we simply cannot – or rebuilding Uganda; because that is not enough where all the country’s tenets have been dreadfully wrecked and ruined. But instead macadamising the way for lasting change. A better future.
It means talking our mind. It means thumping, buffing, puffing and biting where necessary to let politicians of all hues know that enough is enough. It means helping out with problems in our communities whenever we find ourselves in a position to do so. It also means us lowly lot (wanainchi) being true to ourselves and swiftly coming to the realisation that we all need one another in the fight against totalitarianism; and of course communicating without FEAR.
As a country, we must be courageous! Courageous to talk to one another across political ideology/ethnic lines and be ready to make mistakes in the course; courageous to be challenged; be courageous to stand by our ideals even when it is easier not to.
Let us all try to overcome FEAR. It is not going to be easy but we must not give up on trying. Try, Try and Try again without FEAR, we must; because probably of the two most disastrous factors in human life/politics – FEAR and ANGER – FEAR is worse.
Kalule Mbowa, is a Mukono South native and Community Organiser. Contributes to various Ugandan and International news and media fora.