"Thank You" To Barbara Allimadi And Other Activists For Justice In Africa
Even though she is my younger sister, when I finally grow up, I hope to one day to be like Barbara Allimadi, a true soldier for human rights in Uganda and in Africa.
She is fearless, with the heart and soul of a lioness. But she is also incredibly funny, whenever I call her, at the back of my mind, I am always thinking, oh, Lord, my phone bill, because the chatter and laughter just never stops.
After her visit to Makindye Barracks on 5th July, to follow up the whereabouts of her fellow citizens who were arrested as suspects in plotting to attack Kabamba barracks, I am compelled to write this "thank you" letter.
Fifteen men had been arrested earlier; 10 were remanded at Kigo Prison and 5 to Makindye barracks.
John Bosco Lutwama who was one of the five remanded at Makindye has since been confirmed dead, may his soul rest in perfect peace and may God comfort his family and see them through what is undoubtedly a very traumatic time.
The remaining four, Keneth Sekajja, Ronald Mwavu, Philip Eguma and Aleper have not been seen or heard from for weeks. Access to them was denied.
Where are our brothers? What has become of them? Barbara has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. Barbara inspires me and I know she does so many other ordinary citizens, activists and fighters for human dignity, and for political accountability and an end to corruption and injustice in Uganda.
She spends her time and her own little money to buy food and essentials for the many political detainees, many of whom she doesn't even know, in Uganda's squalid prisons. In Uganda the state uses poisoning as a weapon so many political inmates are rightly fearful of eating prison rations.
Although It is true that I am inspired by my little sister and completely in awe, I am truly unable to stand on the frontline. Those who know me well, know that I will hide from my own shadow; a Luo who is a coward, whoever thought that was possible.
So what can I or you who cannot fight injustice the way Barbara does, do to support her and the many other activities who put their lives on the line, so that we may one day know peace? So that we may one day know freedom and enjoy equality?
You can write about Uganda. You can write about our brothers and sisters unlawfully detained in prisons and safe houses. You can visit them with basic essentials. Every support that we give however little, encourages our activists to continue the fight for and to speak up for us.
Let us dare to hope for a better tomorrow.
Barbara is trained as a civil engineer and could have a plum job and live a wealthy lifestyle and maybe raise a family. Yet she confides that she would find it impossible to enjoy such a lifestyle, knowing that the majority of Ugandans live in abject poverty and in a country that is rich in resources but mismanaged and misgoverned.
Barbara has chosen instead to always be on the frontlines of the struggle for political, social and economic justice and for an end to tyranny in Uganda and in Africa in general.
I know on August 5 and 6 President Obama is hosting in Washington DC a U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Unfortunately attending the summit will be some of Africa's worst tyrants, including Uganda's Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda's Paul Kagame.
If President Obama wants to get a true sense of the Africans who should be leading the continent, there should be a follow up Summit attended by activists like Barbara Allimadi and the many others who are putting their lives at risk as they fearlessly demand for change in countries like Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Rwanda, Egypt -- and the list is sadly long.
They are the present and future hope of Africa.
I wish I had a tenth of the courage that my sister and the many other activists have, including women such as Ingrid Turinawe in Uganda a fearless fighter for justice.
They all continue to inspire other women and men throughout Africa.
And one day, the Africa that we all deserve will indeed be born as the fruits of this epic battle against tyranny and corruption.
Big Thank you!