A man in chains stands tall and strong, pushing a child up, towards the sky, as symbol of freedom. The man is a concrete monument that stands in the middle of Kampala city; it represents the freedom and independence of Uganda, from colonialism
No one knew, at that time (1962) what Uganda had in its belly. As it turned out, Uganda produced Obote, Amin and Museveni, to name a few who stood most at the helm of things. Between them, they managed to kill millions of Ugandans, buried in unmarked graves, their names forgotten. Misuse of the centralised form of power, as handed down by the colonialist, has been the bedrock of regimes in our new self-ruling republic
And yet before that, by 1908, Uganda had already captured the eyes and minds of visitors, anyone who came and saw it, described it as the pearl of Africa; indeed Ugandans maintain the title as the most welcoming and friendly people the world has ever seen.
A question begins to form in mind – if the people are the most welcoming and friendly, and the country is the jewel of Africa, why do millions of welcoming, friendly people continue to fall on the sword of their supposed-to-be freedom, since 1962?
It is not easy to find words that reconcile the world which those people saw, and the world we actually live in.
The Banyankole have a saying – “Enda ezaara mwiru na muhima”, the Luganda equivalent is “Enda muwogo, y’azaala abalungi n’ababi”. In context, Uganda is like a stomach which produces the welcoming, friendly people the world knows, and the power-hungry despots who chain them.
It is against these thoughts that the fixture of our Independence monument kept lingering in my mind, until a message came through. That child being lifted, as a symbol of freedom, in the independence monument is beginning to look a lot like Kyagulanyi Robert Sentamu. The monument woman is carrying baby Wine!
Unlike the first liberations, the act of taking political power by mere words, had never happened in this republic. It has always been – power belongs to the bloodiest. Unscrupulous people making designs on the welcoming, friendly people, usurping their power, never engaging in their real problems, and turning against them
So you stand out for taking political power by use of mere words. The reason you’re wrestling with military and ex-military men on the chessboard of political power, is that you have an edge over them, a type of power the people naturally prefer; the oppressors don’t have that, therefore they must put you in military chains, so that you can look like you’re tanned with the same brush as them in politics! They must make you look like a military man, a criminal, a usurper, someone who took power by force. Lucky for you, that image cannot stick. Every crime they have committed, they’ll try to pacify their guilt by making innocent people look like they did it too. Hosea Ballou says that “Those who commit injustice bear the greatest burden”
All you have done is stand on the podium and tell the people the truth – and they believed, in Kyadondo, in Buikwe, in Arua
You cracked the pot, Bobby! Neither Obote nor Amin nor Museveni took power by convincing the people. So they must make you like one of them. Being yourself – a fair brained young man with nothing more than a genuine understanding of the problems the people face. They never cared for the real aspirations of the people, because they had their eyes fixed on the seat power.
Right now the whole world has its eyes out, looking for you; they know that you’re hammering at a principle which the criminal leaders of Africa hate the most – “Power to the People”. Only the greats like Mandela have ever trodden this path
It is not easy to understand by the educated, who make their living as the coward fixers within the strongman problem.
But the peasant, the street kid, the beggar, the dirt poor – these people understand your message, because they are tired of having their face crashed under the military boot, every time they raise a point of order to the regime. And the rest of the world which has genuine interest in Africa, and an wish to see democracy take root in Uganda, these people know exactly what you have done – making the case of Power to the People vs. power of despots, seem like a simple task
In many ways, this upgrades political intellectualism in our land, from mere commentary on the status quo, to changing the status quo.
Your detractors are keeping the flip-flops running in the media. They’re saying it’s wrong to compare you to “our leaders”, that you’re from the Ghetto – a Ghetto President? They’re like the Pharisees
They don’t know that they’re in the Ghetto too, the difference is, they don’t know the name of their Ghetto. At-least for you, you know that you’re from the Ghetto of Kyadondo, Kamwokya, Boom!
Ghetto is not a place, it’s a concept. If you live hand-to-mouth, with no guarantee of financial or social security for yourself or your children, are you not in a Ghetto? If you live in a country where the hospitals have no medicine, are you not in a Ghetto? Less than 20% of people in the country access electricity, that’s not a Ghetto? Unemployment at 88.30%, no? GDP share by Manufacturing 0.002%, no? Country economy is 0.04% of World Economy, not a ghetto? There is room for stupidity among the ‘elites’, because how do you be in Ghetto, and not know?
It’s a pretty accurate description of the majority of Ugandans, that word ghetto; 93,065 square miles of Ghetto is the Republic of Uganda! People don’t want to face reality.
Without military backing, taking political power with just talking radically changes the character of the country. Are you not a seed in taking Uganda from military to civilian rule, by winning with words? People are now used to AK47s being ever present in the management of politics and elections, and they have never asked – why?
The folks holding you only know military politics, they don’t believe in “Power to the People”, they believe in “power comes out of the barrel of a gun” – that is the basic Marxist rule
You’re pitching a new political chessboard, and they’re not ready, because they’re holding political power like a thief holding a loot. It is guilt playing on their conscious, to make you look like you’re the one who grabbed power. Winning the population with mere words, living up-to the aspirations of Ugandans as at Independence, breaking away the political chains, winning without shedding blood, this is against the political canvas they have laid.
They must put a gun charge, they must put a treason charge, anything that makes the use of guns in the management of everyday politics seem normal to them and whoever sympathizes with them. So many have been accused of the same; the injustice always resulting in the same: human rights abuses and economic waste
For a long time, the regime had deployed their ideology. For you to unpack the contents of their long held ideology; of fake democracy, fake promises, fake services, you unleashed the young population on them. The days you have been in prison have seen the young generation maturing very fast in politics. Kids previously not participating in politics, who are often talked down to as the young and confused, as the so called leaders of tomorrow – but these names have changed in the last few days. They’re now called Terrorists, Bazzukulu all in the same breath; its a funny mixture of flattery and threats, designed to make the movement of young people interested in “power to the people”, forget what they must do.
I want to thank you for not being just another Kampala MP, who, like Kato Lubwama quips, are there to “Okulya Obulamu”
You have a higher calling, beyond Kyadondo. The Message of power belongs to the people has been heard in other parts of Uganda. It is particularly good at sending regime candidates to the trashcans.
As to the cases brought against you and 33 others, at least the people know better than to “kowtow in their poohoo“, (in the voice of Mbidde). The people know this a malicious political manoeuvre, and have resoundingly pronounced themselves, saying “Free Bobi Wine”, “Free the 33” political prisoners. It only remains to see how the regime fixers will wiggle out of this one (a case against people who have just beat you in an election), without proving that the the whole thing was a circus.
Those who commit injustice bear the greatest burden. Hosea Ballou
A movement is in shifted gears; a political surge is now a matter of when, and anything can trigger it now. The regime will lose the upper hand in its misuse of soldiers to stifle people’s freedoms. Freedom of Association, Freedom of Assembly, Free speech – these are not negotiable. Your assessment was correct – the regime’s greatest fear is: numbers
I wish you a quick recovery
Yours in Struggle,
Frank Birondwa (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Opposition should protect its Own!
A rare phenomenon exists in the groups opposed to the dictatorial regime in our country today, that makes them seem unfit for the great cause of liberation. Basic revolutionary code demands that a force must protect itself – its fighters, and those who support its cause, from the attacks of their common enemy.
But not Ugandan opposition groups. They view this – protecting the revolution, as the concern of each independent opposition group or person. This is also how they approach the task of liberating the country – going it solo!
They meet, “agree”, even “sign”… and yet before the sun goes down they lie, cheat and betray themselves. Every day they say “all we want is to – overthrow this dictatorship, create authentic democracy and protect you.
Unless we believe that logic works the same way the chameleon works, personally I don’t think protection, or democracy could come from one who does not stand on a principle for a full day!
It is because of believing such fallacies (misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning), that those who fought the 1980-86 struggle, ended up creating bufere democracy and a mafia state
We all know that the opposition parties/group/camps do not agree (consent), on pretty much anything, it doesn’t matter if they claim to agree, because the actions give it away, but the protection of revolutionary fighters like Nyanzi, and the supporters of the revolution – this is so pertinent that a mutual defense pact needs to be in place, for a common response against the strikes of the mafia regime, against them.
Protecting your own is a cardinal principle in revolutionary politics. Not only locally, but also regionally. The popular rebellion in Sudan North should by now have benefited from loud voices of support from Ugandan opposition.
How to do it – protecting fighters is protecting the revolution
The strategy of political opposition in Uganda should be broad in its coverage of political matters, and all inclusive in terms of its appeal.
Exposing the evils of the junta regime locally, regionally & internally
The opposition groups should seize every incident of the mafia and junta regime, each time they unleash terror against the citizens, killing of innocents, jailing innocents, and using the judiciary system as tools of political oppression. The opposition should seize each and every incident of these to decisively record, report and expose it across all corners of the country, the region and the international forums. This is a core function of peaceful opposition, and it should not be done without coordination of the groups, but all opposition players should have a common approach to exposing the regime. The junta regime loosing credibility locally, regionally & globally for its jailing opponents, activists, shutting businesses of those perceived to be not supporting the military junta in private sector, stiffing free speech by shutting newspapers and radios, and creating sub-human conditions for citizens in hospitals, schools, jails – these serve as material to build the right momentum for popular liberation of the country.
Pinning down the Individuals who carry out injustice
The individuals within the junta regime who are the executioners and purveyors of injustice who carry out the matching orders from the political junta, against citizens, should be meticulously recorded in the black books of Uganda’s history. Their names should be mentioned out out of the noise and cries they met on innocents, to be on the record as tools of political persecution, so that they may not escape justice when the junta can no-longer protect them. The opposition needs to be meticulous, thorough and scientific when pinning injustice to the real individuals who carry them out, and all their assistants – you cannot bring justice to a land without pinning the ones who committed the injustice. So all those members in the army, police, intelligence, judiciary and other areas of the junta state who are doing the work of political mercenaries should be well documented and exposed to the public, for the day of reckoning
Again this something that all political opposition would find common ground on, since they’re affected by it, so a common approach and efforts to doing it is the right answer to protecting themselves against the excesses of the junta regime
It is not logical to say say: we’re going to win the coming election, if you cannot win personal freedom first. Obviously you’re not allowed to mobilise for the said election. If as opposition politician, your personal freedom is debatable, then by all means your mission is not winning elections, it is winning freedom!
Do not claim on the podium, to be the poster child of certain values, while in fact, there is no evidence of you having put such values in action
Change “Uganda Cranes” name to “Uganda Rhinoceros” and begin recovery from national embarrassment
The Uganda Cranes is a perennial football failures and a national embarrassment, that is my conclusion from years of observing Ugandan football. You have players and leadership whose real understanding and real skills end at win village trophies, throng onto national gamesmanship and they they don’t know the difference, so they disguise and dupe the public. They are worthless in every sense of the word. That’s not to say Ugandans don’t have the football skill, they do, but it is by far NOT DEVELOPED, and no one knows how to develop it. The same way we don’t know how to mine and purify our own oil in our soil. It is an advanced skill.
I’m not even a typical soccer fan, because I could never watch a foot ball match on a screen for 10 minutes. And yet I love the game! I play the ball, on a personal level. And I’m a nationalist as well.
Something needs to change drastically, in the character of Ugandan football. Losing is the hallmark of Ugandan football. It has been accepted by fans, as the status quo. They know that the players don’t play beyond certain leagues. Its a village level team. and they have proved that every time they step out of the country.
We chose the wrong animal for the team SYMBOL. The name could deal with the perception and character of the game they play. I suggest we call them “Uganda Rhinoceros” instead of “Uganda Cranes”.
And as an initiation ritual, each player who make the team, should take a ride to Kabarega National Park with the wild rhinos, find and stand in-front of a wild Rhinoceros, as if to take it on, in order to build an image of what type of enemy they are to face on the pitch. Should the rhino sense fear in the player, and therefore charge at him, he should run faster than it and escape, and of-course such a player could not be put in front positions. But should the rhino sense a fearless adversary, it’ll plan its retreat long in advance. A Rhinoceros is described as:
A massive powerful herbivorous odd-toed ungulate of Africa and Southeast Asia, having very thick skin and one or two horns on the snout.
Imagine such a name, being read by the opposing player. Ofcourse the players will try to live upto the name, you can’t be called Rhinoceros while killing rats, because then you’d be better off called “Cats”
“Cranes” seems a bit of lull, for players who are supposed to strike. The Crested Crane, whether it wins or loses, its totally irrelevant because it’ll still be beautiful; its power is that of looks, beauty and grace. That’s not the character of the game of football. Maybe we transfer the name to the Ugandan women team of the game: Hockey. It’d help them because it’d be decribing them.
And we even help them cheers that idea. This is an admission that we don’t have it in us to win and maintain winning on a big screen. We cannot prominently feature and grace the big screens of Europeans. And yet we hope our players to be crucial and real internationals, so that, game becomes another outlet for Uganda’s relevance to the world. Right now Uganda’s only relevance outside is the supply of security guards and house maids. If we add to that list, football players, then that will raise the bar a bit, and come with some respect in the world.
I do not blame the Uganda players for playing lousy game, because the entire picture from the way the game is organised nationally, does not allow the very best players to be found. Players come up in a lousy manner, are given a lousy game to play. But failure is failure
Losing means failure to keep,maintain or ceasing to have, either physically or in an abstract sense.
We have been doing that a lot, no just on the football pitch, but on the political freedoms of Ugandans. Could it be that the losses on the national game are related to loss of political freedoms in the country? The players, can’r fight hard on the pitch while they hate the regime that has taken all the political freedoms of their brothers at home? Winning would be claimed as the dictator’s regime the victory? Of-course the people – both supporters and players alike are concerned about the political space.
Maybe the games will be won, after the political liberties are won, but as it is today, there is no hope to fetch foreign football glory – the whole game is down.
Both the political leadership and the current environment, have no concern for developing sectors which bring together and unite the people. They are interested in those which make the people isolated, any form of unity could lead to use of such power to influence politics. Personal rule does not co-exist with institutional power. It might be worthwhile to work for free political order first, where free cooperation and ideas can form strong community of football.
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