Fri, Jul 22, 2016
When it comes to hosting refugees and immigrants, I don’t think there’s a free country like Uganda.
In my contemplative pursuit for greatness, a reason I chose to name my blog behind the scenes of change, to decipher all subtle global issues, I consulted my spiritual mentor on what greatness meant. This is what he had to tell me:
“‘Good’ and or ‘great’ refers to something you ought to prefer quite regardless of what you like at any given moment. If “being great” simply meant siding with what you happened to fancy, for no real reason, then great would not deserve to be called great. For a man, a wife who eagerly wants you back home for dinner, could be all you need to be great.”
I did not agree, immediately, with his assertion because it was profoundly at odds with the then held mental inclinations, predilections and notions, in my bag of intellectualism. Following his definition of greatness, I aggressively, yet humbly raised questions like, “who sets standards of what I ought to prefer, if not myself?”,” who sets standards of what a real reason to like something should be, if not myself?”
Have you already noticed the consistent and characteristic flaw in my inquiries? The flaw subtly lies in the continued need to ultimately be in control, all by myself. I say subtly, because an accumulation of emotional possessions, be it philosophies and or theologies, by the ego tends to cloud judgement. In other words, the fundamental weakness of my impassioned inquiries, is in the phrase “if not myself”. Holding onto epiphenomenal deductions and inductions often leads to constricted analysis of the status quo.
With unwavering intention and commitment, I pursued this novel paradigm of greatness by painfully dropping my bag of intellectualism thereby embracing and harnessing the predisposition of the immense wisdom found in objectivity.
The media as a whole, is awash with ad hominem rants! The pundits and editors can’t, or if they can, they don’t want to look beyond the prevalent societal flaws. The media has given flaws a top spot in their headline stories. Am I saying that we should not critic and or reveal the prevalence of evil, especially avoidable evil? No, I’m neither claiming we should have a chimera of a flawless existence nor be passive in the face of evil.
I am saying we should look behind the scenes of the prevalent avoidable flaws, drop our rapidly growing ad hominem traits (rapidly growing, thanks to multi-pronged utterances from naive and biased media pundits) and then give constructive criticism. (I can immediately sense resentment from you, especially if you are specializing in punditry. I did not say it’s going to be easy to break our current belief systems given that modern man has an odd desire for flaws, to the extent of finding it easier to buy a newspaper with a headline depicting a president as corrupt than that celebrating the same president’s contribution to a nation.)
It is this psychological predicament of the people in the current media houses and humanity at large that led me to look behind the scenes of President Museveni’s greatness. I can’t wait to live in a world where the media makes great sales out of this novel paradigm of greatness by positing and fronting positive news. You might want to wait with me!
President Museveni may not have built a nation by other nations, but he has done so with other nations and for other nations. On a micro level, in Uganda, he may not have built a nation for other citizens but he has done so with others and by others.
By others, because when he came to power, he not only gave the citizenry freedom but also created room for too much freedom so we could build a nation we wanted, a freedom we Ugandans have ended up misusing.
Few leaders in Africa and the world at large have granted this unprecedented “Museveni-Freedom” to their citizenry. For instance, he appeased the tribes in Uganda by restoring the kingdoms that had been abolished by the now deceased former President of Uganda, Milton Obote.
This restoration has orchestrated a considerable tribal divide among the citizenry. Could this be the so called divide and rule ideology we hear about but seem not to observe because it is disguised as freedom? I wouldn’t say it was, or is divide and rule.
I would say Ugandans were just too naive to harness the beauty and gift of freedom Museveni gave them in the beginning. They got excited and have now ended up succumbing to the consequences of their choices. It reminds me, again, of what my mentor told me about freedom, that, “Freedom of choice is not so until you are free from the consequences of your choices”
Also, a Uganda can nowadays come from the rural areas and set up a stall in the town without being taxed and without minding whether it is in the road reserve or not, but still get away with it, thanks to the laxity in the responsible authorities (whether it is politically motivated laxity or not is a discussion for another day. It remains laxity anyway) and the deception of comfort that has eluded us.
Am I against the citizenry attempts to forge a livelihood? No, I am only implying that one of the flaws Museveni’s governing ideology had in the beginning was to avail excess freedom to us, a beautiful but delicate gift many were not prepared for.
Right now, it is not only a complex feat to unwind the trap of excess freedom we lay for ourselves but also hard to reverse this paradigm not because it is really hard but because the paradigm is rooted in a complex belief system about what freedom means. The capital of Uganda is only left with the option of relocation because the political strongholds therein would be sabotaged if objective transformation is to be objectively enacted.
I’m very much aware of how Uganda relies on foreign aid and how this continued, seemingly inescapable addiction to foreign aid is a potential joystick for the game of puppetry. That is to say, aid has the potential to make Uganda’s president a puppet of the west or wherever aid comes from. I’m also aware of the deviant modus operandi to govern a nation, President Museveni is currently using. A modus operandi characterized by pervasive aggrandizement and an overwhelming skew and asymmetry in the distribution of wealth! (so, the skeptical pundits should know this before they exhibit their skills in counter-punditry)
However, those are not flaws I would quintessentially link to Museveni. Some, if not most leaders in the west and more so in Africa have these flaws. For those in the west, they have successfully disguised their flaws. It is like how humility is often a model for successfully disguised arrogance.
It is in the subtlety of this disguise that many of us have blindly glorified the western leaders. One could argue that the western leaders have synthesized formidable economies for their people and ours have not. Much as the propellants of this rhetorical argument (especially naïve pundits) are right, they risk losing the validity of the argument if they don’t look behind the scenes of why we have not built formidable economies for ourselves.
The government of Uganda under President Museveni, has successfully fortified regional peace in East and Central Africa by not only being the nucleus and poised source of armed forces for the prevailing clashes in newly born South Sudan, subduing radicalized militants in Somalia, chasing Kony, recently, away from Northern Uganda, allegedly reinforcing Kenya’s police, remedying the rebel-predicament in the East of Democratic republic of Congo.
I’m aware of the looming revelations that some of these wars are inspired by selfish interests but I would rather look at the fact that for a growing nation like Uganda to manage to sustain and fortify both intra-peace and inter-peace is not only considerably appreciable but also a gesture of a desire for a Gaddafi-like African harmony.
President Museveni’s desire for harmony could be misguided especially when the government and army he leads do not follow the set constitutional procedures to engage in this humanitarian service but we should not forget that the financial consequences could always be catered for by the sponsors. This raises another dilemma of allegedly unpaid soldiers in these missions. This is a dilemma I would not attribute to Museveni as an individual (unless I were an ad hominem pundit) but I would attribute it to a holistic managerial inefficiency where some commanders are reported to have misappropriated funds meant for salaries of soldiers. This definitely, should not be Museveni’s problem unless he doesn’t take punitive action.
When it comes to hosting refugees and immigrants, I don’t think there’s a free country like Uganda. This unmatched openness to foreigners, by the Ugandan government is an opportune resource to be harnessed not an evil to be dreaded. Why not strictly follow guidelines of how an immigrant should forge a livelihood and contribute to the economy of our country, instead of the prevailing laxity in the Ministry of internal affairs and other related bodies? This is where the flaw arises.
I would ultimately say that if it’s not too late, Ugandans should start on the transmutation and reversal of some of the consequences of the choices they made in the past. For example, the choice to fall for the attractive gift of freedom to have kingdoms. Let us embrace true freedom where we make choices whose consequences we are free from. The kingdoms could, or should exist but the tribal relation divide should not. It’s time to benefit from freedom, the good unmatched climate we have and peace!
Edrine Habasa is an autodidact bridge engineer, dialectician and knowledge enthusiast. He's also a debunker of falsehoods as he champions the truth.