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On the eve of Uganda's Independence Anniversary

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On the eve of Ugandas Independence Anniversary

  

Yes, it is the Eve of Uganda's 54th "Independence" anniversary. Coincidentally, I am in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, and I feel so glad that I am not in Uganda. If I was in Uganda, I am afraid that I would never have been able to celebrate "Independence" day in the way that I saw fit. No, I would have had neither the independence nor the freedom to do that. In Uganda there are going to be only Museveni-Government sanctioned and organised celebrations, and nothing else. The homes of Kiiza Besigye Kifefe, Kampala Mayor Elias Lukwago and other Ugandans are surrounded by state militia to prevent them from holding “Independence” Day celebrations of their choosing.

 

Of course one is really hard pressed to find any clause or word in the so-called "Constitution of the Republic of Uganda" or in the Criminal Code where it is mandated that only the Government of the day can organise and conduct Independence celebrations. But then, one must also realise that it is a joke to speak about "the Constitution" and "the criminal code" in Uganda. Those things are, as King Solomon wrote long ago, meaningless, yes meaningless. The truth is that the small area in the atlases that is labeled as Uganda actually belongs to a man named Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. It is his personal serfdom. He can do what he wants in it. He has a well-armed and ready-to-kill personal defence force or militia, which is called "Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF)". The UPDF has a super-brutal sidekick named the "Uganda Police (UP)" which is headed by a UPDF "general" that is appointed by Museveni. Currently the UP is commanded by one Kale Kayihura.

 

"Uganda People's Defence Force" and "Uganda Police" characterisize the litany of ugly jokes that have been played by the current serf master on the poor terrorised citizens in Uganda. Since Independence in 1962, the UPDF and UP have killed thousands and thousands of Ugandans, and, as far as one can count, not any enemies of Ugandans. To be fair, before Museveni took the reins in 1985, other serf masters did their share of the slaughter -- Obote the First [7 years], Amin [8 years], Muwanga and his military triumvirate [2 years], Obote the Second in inadvertent connivance with the National Resistance Movement/Army [4 years], Lutwa [1/2 year]. For Museveni, the difference seems to be that he has, by a large margin, far outlasted all his predecessors -- he has been the serf master for 31 years.

 

"Independence" was supposed to guarantee Ugandans political, economic, social, physical and other freedoms that the British colonialists arbitrarily and prejudicially denied them, including freedom of association and freedom of assembly. Unfortunately, 54 years after the declaration of "Independence", for the most part, all that Ugandans have experienced is the replacement of British colonial masters with native serf masters. Ruefully, the native serf masters have in many ways proved more capable of meting out injustice and pain than the colonial masters ever did.

 

I cannot stop thinking about Kifefe and Lukwago and other Ugandans who are virtually prisoners in their homes because the so-called government of the day is afraid that those citizens might celebrate “Independence” Day in different ways. I know that tomorrow, 9 October itself, Kifefe, Lukwago and others will try to go from their homes to places where they may be able to celebrate “Independence” Day with other like-minded people. But I know that they will be arrested, brutalized and incarcerated in some of Uganda Police’s rat-infested prisons cum torture chambers.

 

I can visualise my father, now in The Great Beyond, whispering to his friend Mzee Jaramogi Odinga, "It is NOT YET UHURU in Uganda!" And I can hear the voice of Mzee Jaramogi comforting his friend with the words, "The struggle continues."

 

In Uganda it is still a struggle even to celebrate “Independence”. Ugandans cannot, as yet, even say: Gakyali Mabaga! – The Work Has Only Just Begun!

 

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