By J. OryemaSince our attempt or efforts here is to find a common ground on which all of us can stand and look forward to the future, I will highlight a few more things on this Leadership issue and civil society in Uganda. When it comes to civil society Uganda had a very good head start at independence. Uganda was probably the most civil society on the African continent especially at the grassroots level. Ugandan children were very respectful of their parents, elders and leaders and very non-violent. I do recall a distance that would take us perhaps half an hour to walk would probably last about two hours to finish because we would stop along the way and greet every family. With my sisters it was even worse as they would kneel down to greet while the boys would stand on attention. Civility is based on trust, respect and shared values: Ugandans had all these until our leaders came along and dismantled everything. I grew up very much a Ugandan not a Luo of Uganda. I grew up respecting the Ugandan Presidency. I grew up respecting the Ugandan flag, until our leaders came along and betrayed that respect.
Our civil community was everywhere: around Malwa, Kwete, Uganda Waragi or Mwenge Bigere. People from all segments of Ugandan society gathered around these pots, shared one Luseke, talked about politics and laughed about them until our leaders came along and said talking politics was a crime.
There was democracy everywhere: People peacefully elected their Mwaamis or local chiefs and they reported to them whenever there were problems in those communities. These local elections and trust in local chiefs went on for generations until our leaders came along and destroyed them.
Whether we call for civil societies to rise up and take the challenge, or not, our leaders have a lot to answer. They destroyed that fabric which united Ugandans from North, South, East and West: Instead of respecting the Malwa, Kwete, Mwenge Bigere and Ojono culture which brought Baganda, Bacholi, Bakedi and the rest of Ugandan tribes together, they sought instead to: Nubianize the Army (Amin), Acholize and Langolize the Army (Obote) and Rwandanize the Army (Museveni). And after the army has been individualized they turned against that peaceful civil society that shared the same Luseke over Malwa and killed them. The very civil society, Kibuka, we are calling upon to rise up has been terrorized for 41 years. You and I know very well that a suppressed and terrorized society is unable to act in unison and that is what bad leaders achieve during their career. While I agree with you that people have to take charge and shape their own destiny, we are still a long way from that.