By Steven Birija

Hon. Mao is my friend, and I like Hon. Oulanya; I am a pure Munyoro, who should from history pretend to be an avid enemy of Baganda, if I were not schooled enough.

But, I can’t stoop that low. In the name of our country and humanity, I believe as leaders, opinion or habitat of offices can do better. Learn something from civil disobedience!

I have taken long without posting anything on social media until I started reading disturbing posts from my brother Chairman Mao, and lately Hon. Mohammed Nsereko.

I am disturbed by the fact that, Hon. Mao and Mohammed Nsereko rather than act as an intellectuals and try to find out why Ugandans have become so angry, aggressive and anti-political, they have chosen the path either elitist opportunism or the futile path of oppressing and gagging Ugandans.

Whereas it is very obvious, the Deputy Speaker insulted Hon. Zaake, and is now taking advantage of mobocracy/the advantage of majority and bribery to victimise Hon. Zaake, no one is talking about it.

Hon. Nsereko Mohammed also knows so well that when leaders desire good, the people will be good. It is the rulers, not the laws that set an example for the citizens.

A wise sovereign has benign effects on the character of the people s/he leads. The leaders policies and ideas dispersed in the country shape the characters of citizens: to be angry, insulting and disrespectful or not.

So, the country’s people emulate the goodness of our leaders. These social media crooks as you deem them are products of a failed system for the last 36 years. You should be legislating for the establishment of a national culture and ethos, not gagging people.

On Mao, last year, when Hon. Ronald Kibuule, an NRM cabinet Minister, a Muganda went to Boston, USA for treatment, the same demonstrators demonstrating against Hon. Oulanya, an Acholi flooded the streets.

But no one accused NUP or Baganda for being tribalistic then. I read unfortunate stereotype article, not fit for a national leader drawing in a whole Ganda community, trying to reduce NUP to a Ganda outfit: how Buganda betrayed Obote, but never mentioning that, the same Baganda formed the 1960s YK/UPC alliance against Kiwanuka a Muganda; while Ankole rejected Museveni’s war in 1980s, the Baganda not only accommodated him but funded him too.

Whereas Ben Kiwanuka founded the DP Party, it is now an Achoil, in Mao presiding over it insulting the Baganda. These and many other arguments, I find then dishonest, misleading, and acts of reckless elite opportunism.

Such rants  only expose those toeing this line of argument that, the Ugandan  elite class  driven by the elitist belief or notion that it is only they, the few individuals  who have the intrinsic values like high class, are well read, speak posh English, are wealthy, powerful, the noble class, with  special skills, experience; should be the only constructive group in the country as a whole with the  monopoly to make-decisions, set-the agenda  for us, and control the thoughts of others in the country.

This is wrong. You need to climb down, because it is the only reason Hon. Kyagulanyi, the Zaakes are coming under endless attacks.

You fail to realise that when a nation has become the victim of a psychological defeat, then that marks the end of a nation (Ibn Khaldum). The current situation in the country is not about the Baganda, but an angry and hungry nation!

You and Nsereko should be wise enough to know that, first people are not attacking Hon. Oulanya. No. They are attacking and angry about government betrayal and failure. The angry, irate and belligerent social media attacks to government officials are the only vent for their anger given that all possible civil avenues for dialogue have been sealed off.

Both of you being lawyers, and I suppose the deputy speaker should be wise enough to understand that: “Government prevents injustice, other than such as it commits itself”.

A good Muganda or social media user cannot emerge in a Uganda that has failed to raise a citizen for the last 36 years. Tell me what are the national values of Uganda, or a civic Agenda for fostering anti-tribalism agenda. In fact it absence is directly revealed in the reckless elite opportunism being manifested by you people.

Otherwise, the unity of a political society comes from community spirit. This is the basis for government, and prevents injustice, and society decay. A society advances; social cohesion will decrease if its government becomes lax and corrupt.

Hence exploiting citizens for the advantage of the few heartless and insensitive opportunistic elite only cause injustice. Should therefore expect the citizens to fold their arms and accept the system as it is? Why can’t we understand that we are in praetorian kleptocracy that cannot be fought using civility only?

Lastly, unless Hon. Nsereko, Mao and Anita accept that they are slave masters and we are their slaves, they may brother some wisdom from Mahtma Gandhi that:

“My speeches (and actions, my input) are intended to create ‘disaffection’ as such, that people might consider it a shame to assist or cooperate with a government that has forfeited all title to respect or support.

The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. He frees himself and shows the way to others. Freedom and slavery are mental states. Therefore the first thing to say to yourself: ‘I shall no longer accept the role of a slave. I shall not obey orders as such but shall disobey them when they are in conflict with my conscience.”

In that wisdom, even Hon. Oulanya whom I like so much can understand why the people demonstrate, and so is Kibuule. Hon. Oulanyah is such a decent man who even condemns corruption. I am sure he would be very disappointed to see his issue being illogically tribalised.  So, if you can read some sense from Gandhi’s message, you should know that it is very costly and debasing to try to clean somebody’s shit. But if it is the path you have chosen, well you should be ready for the cost.


The author is the former Masindi district chairperson

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