Kiprotich's Olympic Marathon Victory Shows Golden Side of Uganda

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 [Global Commentary: Africa]

August 12, 2012 will forever be a date
remembered by Ugandans and sports lovers all over the world. Stephen
Kiprotich won the Olympic marathon in London. It was Uganda’s first gold
medal in 40 years and only the second for the East African country in Olympic

Kirprotich’s victory couldn’t have come at a
better time for Uganda. The last twelve months have seen Uganda in the
news frequently, but not in a positive light. Western media tends to
celebrate death, destruction, disease, and danger from Africa. The story
of a humble athlete from Uganda annihilates that narrative.

Here’s what the world has heard about Uganda in the last twelve months: There
has been a bill drafted in Uganda’s Parliament dubbed the “kill the
gays” bill. This bill was sponsored by Member of Parliament David
Bahati, who belongs to President Yoweri K. Museveni's ruling party. The legislation was heavily influenced by evangelical
communities in the United States. The bill has been a controversial
lightning rod for human rights activists around the world.

President Museveni, who has ruled Uganda for 26 years, violently cracked
down on peaceful public protests by Ugandans participating in the “Walk
to Work” campaigns there following last year's disputed elections which opponents accuse him of stealing. Ugandan citizens have been clamoring for the
government to address issues that affect the majority of people in the

In October 2011, President Barack Obama decided to send
“advisory” troops to Uganda to combat the Lord’s Resistance Army. The
pathetically small rebel group hasn’t been in Uganda for over six
years now.

In March 2012, Invisible Children launched the
viral video “Kony 2012”. Western media loved promoting the misleading
information in the video, especially to impressionable youth. Soon after
the release of “Kony 2012”, Jason Russell, one of the founders of
Invisible Children and the director of “Kony 2012”, suffered a highly
public naked meltdown on the streets of San Diego. He has been under
medical care and completely dropped out of the limelight that he once

For over a year, the mysterious nodding disease
has ravaged the northern part of Uganda especially devastating
children. Members of Parliament from that region accuse Museveni of ignoring the tragedy since he does not enjoy much support there. Recently, an outbreak of the Ebola virus has claimed many

So Kiprotich’s Olympic marathon gold medal is a
personal victory as well as a symbolic victory for an entire country.
This year is the golden anniversary of Uganda’s independence from the
United Kingdom in 1962. It’s appropriate that he won a marathon in the
city which is the seat of government for the nation that once ruled over

The summer Olympics traditionally end with the marathon being the last athletic event. Kiprotich saved the best for last. Kiprotich’s
victory serves as an inspiration to the youthful population of Uganda.
At 23 years of age, this was only his fourth marathon race. He received
no assistance from the Ugandan government. There are no training
facilities in Uganda. This didn’t deter the determined athlete.

world needs to listen to more authentic Ugandan success stories. Uganda
is not defined by foreign controlled narratives. Uganda is not defined
by forces with devious agendas. Uganda is not defined by death,
destruction, disease, and danger.

The greatest resource
that Uganda has to offer is its people. It’s Uganda’s people who serve
as athletic, musical, artistic, and professional ambassadors to the
Congratulations Stephen Kiprotich. Your victory in
London was a golden achievement that will set the stage for Uganda’s
next 50 years. 

Uganda oyee!

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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