Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda has been praised for allowing open discussions among the public on matters that affect them, compared to several countries that freedoms of speech have been heavily restricted.
Professor Melina Platas Izama, of the New York University-Abu Dhabi, says there are more active discussions and transparency discussions on people’s frustrations and grievances in Uganda compared to many countries in Africa. She says it is very important for people to express their views.
This came up during discussions on Power Play in the Great Lakes Region, at the ongoing Kampala Geopolitics conference, taking place at Makerere University. Professor Izama said that in many countries, people only express themselves freely on social media.
Meanwhile, Stephanie Walters, of the Institute of Security Studies says the population of the Great Lakes now have greater power compared to the past, looking at the new wave of leaders and activism coming up in countries like Uganda.
She says for countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, there is a rise of civil society and it has brought people to stand up for their rights in cases where they had completely disengaged from politics and are actively participating. She says there is a need for a new conversation for peace in the Great Lakes Region.
Daniel Kalinaki, the Managing Editor of Nation Media Group says Uganda has played a major role in the Great Lakes Region despite being a small country geographically. He says this is seen in the peace keeping efforts that Uganda and other smaller countries like Rwanda and Burundi are engaged in. He, however, says the region is engaged in too many destructive wars.