People must conceive missions about the nation, not about individuals using the nation for their ends, writes Morris Komakech
Post-election time in Africa is difficult to fathom as it often erupts into vexatious disputes and violence. Democracy itself has proven a costly practice everywhere in Africa. The democratic societies seemed to have arrived at a convergence that the net worth of their societies supersedes that of an individual or their ambitions. They then use democracy as a tool to sieve progressive ideas that add value to their societies by resolving social, political, and economic questions.
But in Africa, we still believe that individuals and their ambitions supersede the very existence of a state, such that without these individuals, these states naturally collapse.
The biggest dilemma in our Uganda is such a myth. We do not even believe in it, but we are too afraid to admit that it is just what it is – a myth.
In my humble view, Uganda is at such a critical stage where its priorities are no longer destructive wars and insurgencies to obtain peace and stability. Uganda yearns for unity of its rich diversity. Many countries have made profitable gains in harnessing their diversity in ethnicity, ideas, ecology, and beliefs to become wealthy, stable, and progressive. Even countries without endowment with natural wealth as Uganda, have prospered out of harnessing their diversity.
Take most world cities, for instance. They are now competing to clinch the most culturally diverse city status in the world. They have realised the numerous benefits of diversity – tourism, cultural capitals, livability, intellectual growth, and profound tolerance.
The struggle that Dr Besigye has waged is a protracted peaceful struggle rooted deeply in creating in vision of a peaceful, stable, just, tolerant, and predictable Uganda that embraces our inherently diverse society.
The respect for diversity is the cornerstone of Dr Kizza Besigye’s advocacy for wide ranging reforms in electoral laws and in governance using non-violence means.
Uganda needs these reforms very urgently. To achieve these reforms, some respect, tolerance, and sacrifice have to be made by all parties involved. The government needs to tone down on its contempt and arrogance towards the Opposition elements and; the opposition ought to pursue principled positions that allow for transparent dialogue. The opposition led by Dr Kizza Besigye has always fronted dialogue and peaceful propositions for reforms. The 2015 Citizen’s Pact is one such example where members of the opposition worked with civil society organisations to build a strong proposal for electoral reforms. The people in power snubbed these noble efforts.
The struggle that Dr Besigye has waged is a protracted peaceful struggle rooted deeply in creating in vision of a peaceful, stable, just, tolerant, and predictable Uganda that embraces our inherently diverse society. For foreign investments and tourism to flourish, the political developments in Uganda must be predictable. Investors and tourists want to know that when an election comes, it will be fair, peaceful, and that any outstanding contentions are resolved amicably by courts of law – that the rule of law and the due processes work.
Further, to achieve a sustainable middle income economy, some form of economic and social justice needs to prevail. As is, Uganda is a sharply unequal country with much volume of wealth accumulated in Central and Western Uganda.
This ambition of middle income by 2020 clearly is exclusive of the Eastern and Northern part of this Country. Here, much of the environment is under stress, and people are poor to the core with no proper education, lack of functional healthcare services, and are visited by natural calamities – landslides, El Nino, prolonged draught, mental health issues, and high cases of HIV, etc.
So, while some people are mission hungry, it is equally important to conceive those missions with the nation, not individuals using the nation for their ends. As it is, we all agree that there is a whole lot that needs fixing in our politics and avidly corrupted society.
It is my conviction that only the people can better guarantee peace and stability when properly united, not guns and prison walls. Those incubate instability.
The government should engage Dr. Besigye, the Opposition, and civil society in meaningful dialogues to embrace wide-ranging reforms that will restore confidence in our democracy, and the conduct of elections.
What it is going on now is nothing but a bully using the army and Police to snatch power from the people to rule perpetually. It is simply not sustainable in the long run. It is the reason Dr. Besigye vows not to support an armed insurrection whose end will further subordinate the people to the power of the guns.
Morris Komakech is a Ugandan social critic and political analyst based in Canada. Can contact via firstname.lastname@example.org