After Removing Aged Kleptocrats, Youth Can Elevate Uganda's Destiny
Uganda's Gen. Museveni--in power for 27 years now
In order to encourage a national debate on Uganda's problems and to explore solutions The Black Star News invites nationals to submit essays of reasonable length addressing the topic " Where Uganda is Today And The Changes We Need."
My submission is based on three grounds.
The first one is that the fact that we are here discussing political questions, particularly the continued violation of our most-sacred Constitution is evidence of a leadership crisis in our country.
The second one is that governments exist to guarantee life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that the moment it is unable to guarantee these three, it loses legitimacy.
The third ground is that we cannot answer the health, education, infrastructure, social security questions of the day without tackling the political questions of the day. In other words, if we are to prioritize the problems that afflict this country, we must start with the political and then proceed to the socio-economic challenges.
For the benefit of the community of Civil Society organizations and citizens present here, I’d like to underscore the fact that however much outreach, charity and “business-as-usual-NGO-work” we engage in regarding maternal health, media freedoms, quality education, safe water, energy and so on, if we do not confront the elephant in the room, we will only register marginal successes.
Whereas millions of lives have been transformed by a borehole, thousands of babies saved from killer diseases and many more given a chance at formal education by an NGO, we cannot run a country on the charity and good will of development partners: we must deliberately and unapologetically seek to take charge of our country’s leadership, resource allocation and management so that we can deliver the Uganda we desire.
It is not enough to lament this state-of-affairs without a plan for action.
We must all come to the realization that the current government is preoccupied with sustaining itself in power at whatever cost; that this government can no longer perform the roles that decent governments ought to perform.
The biggest hindrance we have today is Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni; both the man as an individual and in his official capacity as President. I suggest to you that unless we boldly define and fearlessly tackle that question, we are skirting around the problem.
Now to my main submission:
We young people who are strongly opposed to Mr. Museveni’s incumbency do not oppose him for the sake of it. We’ve had the benefit of exposure through travel, education and the digital revolution; our opposition to him and his entire guard is therefore fact-based and not a case of misdirected fervor.
Mr. Museveni’s leadership cannot deliver the Uganda we envisage; it is a an order too tall for him to deliver. He does not represent the future that Uganda deserves.
While our age mates in Ghana, Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia and lately, next-door Kenya are steadily getting their acts together and increasingly, are progressing in their respective fields of human endeavor, we have not made a clear departure from poverty, ignorance and disease.
I want to contend that there is an irrefutable nexus between the quality of political leadership in a country and the health, education, financial wellbeing, dignity and esteem of the citizens.
The greed, incompetence and callous nature of any government is always manifest in unemployment, disease, sectarianism, petty politicking and an antiquated education system.
All the above is true about the Museveni Administration.
There’s more to life than the ethnic groups and religions we belong to or subscribe to.
As young people, we take exception to the notion that has been nurtured over the last two decades to the effect that every young person must preoccupy themselves with partying every other weekend, stay abreast with the “illest” fashion fads or Konshens’ latest album; and that politics is a no-go area for the youth, except as pawns for the regime’s chessboard.
We pay taxes, we vote, and most importantly, we are citizens; inescapably, we are all political and as such must have a say in matters of national import. No person or group of individuals can claim Uganda to be their property, to the exclusion of 33 million others.
We aspire for and are ready to work towards the realization of a country that is at peace with itself. There is no reason why Uganda cannot be the next frontier of growth, innovation and bastion of regional stability.
Unfortunately, our ingenuous, creative and untapped energies are hamstrung by an imperialist and parochial President who, together with the Kleptocracy he leads can only plunge Uganda further into an abyss of regression and sectarianism.
For me, it is disturbing when I think about the fact that the average age in Cabinet is 63 in a country where 78% of the population is below 30; half of the 78% being below 15.
That when then 38-year old Moses Ali was in 1977 named Minister of Finance, the current Education and Sports Minister Jessica Alupo, was a three-year old playing in the mud. It doesn't help matters that the young ministers like Richard Todwong, Aidah Nantaba and Frank Tumwebaze are simply boot-licking.
The discussion should therefore not be a question of whether Mr. Museveni and the rest of the Kleptocracy should leave power. It should be about when and how we transition, preferably before 2016, in a manner that leaves us with a country to rebuild. And of course, who replaces this lot.
For every minute that passes with the current regime in office, precious Ugandan lives are lost to preventable diseases, staggering amounts of money are stolen with impunity and millions of children are condemned to a bleak future by an inept Universal Primary Education.
Now the Constitution has been molested and defiled in broad daylight. Any more destruction or injury to this country or its people is a catastrophe we cannot afford.
Most, if not all of you, who are listening to me are below 35 or much younger. It is our country, we owe it to ourselves and to the future.
Far be it from us that our children will ask us what we did when Uganda was being run down and we do not have any answers.
For these reasons, I beg to propose and invite every Ugandan to the peaceful removal of this government as soon as possible and the installation of a sober team of Ugandans to manage our country’s affairs.
After all, the Constitution permits us to do so.
Thank you for your kind and patient audience.
Andrew Karamagi is a human rights activist
Please send your own submission to firstname.lastname@example.org Feel free to send a photo headshot of high resolution quality.