By Hajji Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi.
Sunday 26th day of January 2020 was a special day in the history our country. People of different walks of life celebrated 34 years of liberation, peace, prosperity and socio-economic transformation.
National celebrations took place in Ibanda district under the theme “Celebrating NRM’s patriotic struggle that ushered in national unity and socio-economic development”. Ibanda district was one of the areas for the early resistance of British colonialism, despite the fact that Buganda and Ankole were seen as collaborators.
According to Wikipedia, Harry George Galt was a British colonial officer working as the Sub Commissioner of the Western Province of Uganda, as a tax collector. He is said to have been a cruel officer who treated the local people harshly. On 19 May 1905, Galt forced the local people to carry him on their heads from Fort Portal to Ibanda. The porters complied up to Katooma, 3kms from Ibanda Town after the Kagongo Catholic Church where he stopped and rested in a Government house.
As the locals rehearsed Galt's cruelty, a man named Rutaraka got riled by the officer's acts and picked up a spear and threw it at him. Galt died after a short time. Galt's body was taken away for burial and the colonial government punished the natives by making them pile stones to cover his blood which had spilled over the ground.
They piled stones making a pyramid-like feature 5metres in length and 3metres in height which stands there up to now in Galt's memory. Nationalists of our times, like President Yoweri Museveni, may have grown up hearing early Africans that resisted colonialism and it may have impacted on them and hence the zeal to spearhead an armed liberation struggle as early as 1966 after Milton Obote, then Prime Minister abrogated the 1962 Independence Constitution, according to the Book “Sowing The Mustard Seed” (1996) by President Yoweri Museveni.
So, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) awarded 95 liberators during the celebrations. According to the Minister for Presidency, Esther Mbayo, the personalities were awarded for their great role in the liberation and independence of our country.
The achievements registered by NRM for the last 34 years are visible. They are much realized if one does a SWOT analysis of NRM 10-point program. Peace, security and tranquility prevail in the whole of Uganda and in case of threats, UPDF strike first as a preemptive and precautionary measure, by stationing even beyond our borders.
People’s sovereignty was restored in 1995 with the promulgation of the 1995 constitution and ever since we have never missed, presidential, parliamentary or local council elections. After 2005 referendum, we went into multi party political dispensation, but we have not yet restored regional governments yet one of the 2005 constitutional amendments that was passed by parliament and approved by district councils was to devolve power to regions.
The freedom of expression, speech, including media, association, assembly, religion and others as enshrined in Article 29 of the constitution guaranteed people’s human rights and freedoms and it is well demonstrated with the numerical strength of radio and TV stations in the country in addition to newspapers, magazines, newsletters, periodicals including those online media, and there is of course, Social Media.
However, with Social Media, there are no gatekeepers. When it comes to infrastructure development including roads and electricity, no Uganda government has ever done what NRM Government has done in only 34 years. From Kampala to Ibanda, it is tarmac and this cuts across the entire country. The rural electrification program is also extending far and wide.
When it comes to building an integrated and self-sustaining national economy, 10 years, from 1986 to 1996 were for a recovery program where lining up for essential goods and services is a thing of the past due to rehabilitation and privatization of old industries and a liberalization policy that has attracted foreign investors who have built new factories. Ever since, a foundation has been laid for taking off to a Middle Income Status by this year, 2020 or immediately after.
Corruption is still a cancer which we should all fight collectively. On regional integration, Uganda does not only sing with its former partners in the colonial set up; Kenya and Tanzania, but even those that had been separated from it by colonialism, like Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan are back. Thanks to the East African Community, and DR Congo, the Sudan and Somalia have also applied to join it, which is now at a level of a common market, but with all indicators that it is going for a currency union and a political confederation.
Now that we are liberated, Ugandans should celebrate and enjoy the achievements of their current government.
The Writer is a Communication Assistant at Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC), Ministry of ICT and National Guidance.