UGANDA AT 56: ELDER STILL REMEMBERS THE GLAMOUR OF 1962 CELEBRATION, CRY FOR CHANGE IN LEADERSHIP

-A +A
0

Mr. Dominic Otika, was already 15 years old on Independence Day

“At 56 years, independence would mean transparency, self-rule, self-determination, accountability, love for the country (patriotism), no corruption and exploitation”.

“I remember very well the way we were marching that day to the tune of a brass band. At that time there were only two schools; for the Roman Catholic Church and that of the Native Anglican Church. We were competing among ourselves. All of us weregiven badges and flags to carry. It was a very interesting day which I cannot forget. That was the day I first tasted Pepsi-Cola (soft drink)”.

GULU-UGANDA: On Tuesday October 9, 2018, Uganda celebrated its fifty-sixth independence anniversary with so many questions in the minds of most Ugandans; especially for how long will General Museveni continue to preside over          such celebrations.

“At 56 years, independence would mean transparency, self-rule, self-determination, accountability, love for the country (patriotism), no corruption and exploitation”, writes one commentator, Ms Nabendeh Watoto, in The Daily Monitor of Wednesday, October 10, 2018.

Uganda became a British Protectorate in 1894 and its borders were drawn in 1926. The first political party to be formed in Uganda was Uganda National Congress (UNC) in 1952 by nationalists like Ignatius Musazi and Abu Mayanja.

The exchange rate at that time was 7 Uganda shillings to one US dollar but today it goes for shillings 3783 to the dollar. That means it has depreciated by more than 54000% percent in the last 65 years.

Its economy was compared to that of Singapore and Malaysia. 56 years later Uganda is still stuck as a third World country while the two countries have moved on.

 Dominic Otika was already 15 years old and a primary three pupil at the local Roman Catholic School in Palabek Kal in the then Acholi district in northern Uganda by the time Uganda gained independence from the British colonial masters on October 9, 1962. That means Otika has already celebrated interdependence 56 times on Tuesday, October 9, 2018.

I met Otika in Gulu city on Monday October 8, 2018 and asked him if he still recalls what happened on the day Uganda was celebrating independence the first time in 1962.

He still remembers vividly, the glamour of the first independence celebrations where he participated as a smartly dressed pupil by marching with a brass band leading the way while holding the new national flag and a badge of the national flag colors on his breast.

“I remember very well the way we were marching that day to the tune of a brass band. At that time there were only two schools; for the Roman Catholic Church and that of the Native Anglican Church. We were competing among ourselves. All of us were given badges and flags to carry. It was a very interesting day which I cannot forget. That was the day I first tasted Pepsi-Cola (soft drink)”, remembers Otika.

According to Mr. Otika the way people celebrate Independence Day under General Museveni cannot be compared to the time when Obote was still in power between 1962 and 1970. The people of Acholi lost their economic backbone/livelihood when the animals were rustled away under the watchful eyes of General Museveni. He says he yearns to see a new face in the leadership of this country besides Museveni who have overstayed in power.

Meanwhile, there is panic among some elites especially those in the opposition political parties, as Uganda’s total debt burden hits US$11.2 billion, which, according to the Observer newspaper of August 15, 2017 may take 94 years to clear the debts.

Yet Uganda, as one of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) had its debts cancelled in 1998 and 2000. By the year 2004, Uganda’s total debt had reduced to a mere US$900 million.

Many Ugandans believe that the urge to borrow more money is triggered by the fact that there is wasteful expenditure by government departments, high cost of public administration and high level of corruption in government.

Also Check Out...

NYC CELEBRATES FIRST WEEKEND
NAN HONORS PRESTIGIOUS CELEBRITIES
POLICE INVESTIGATE MOTIVE BEHIND
ACTRESS VIVICA FOX DISCUSSES HER
FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
THE FATHER OF SLAIN 16 YEAR OLD