Today, franked by the so-called maama -Janet, the President of Uganda Muzeyi Tibuhaburwa Museveni has officiated another ritual marking 59 years since Uganda got independence.
Unfortunately, many people have reduced independence to whether Uganda has made any progress or not in the 59 years.
There is no doubt that a few things have been achieved, but the fight for independence was not about whether colonialists had made some developments or not, in any case colonialists left Uganda much better than they had found it.
Colonialists had constructed a railway network, good schools in all regions of the country, hospitals, a robust public service, Owen falls dam etc.
The fundamental issues in regards to independence were; being able to make our own decisions politically, socially & economically.
The other fundamental issue was that we believed colonialists were serving their interests thus plundering our resources and abusing our rights and independence meant that our fellow blacks would serve our interests and respect our rights.
Lastly independence was about the sovereignty of the population and not power by a few black people in the name of leaders.
Today, what is the state of affairs? Do we take independent decisions when our economy is purely run by World Bank and International monetary fund who decide which economic policies we should adopt?
Are we independent when the telecom companies running our telecommunication and finance sector are all foreign, when the roads are done by Chinese and the commercial banks are foreign?
Are we independent when electricity is run by foreigners, the airports and other infrastructure developments by Chinese and the oil being managed by the French?
What independence are we celebrating when 90% of our health is funded by foreigners, when 59 years we still have education system that was inherited from foreigners?
What independence are we talking about , when our national language is foreign and when majority of things we use are imported from foreigners?
What independence are we talking about when our debt to GDP ratio is more than 50% higher than 1962.
What independence when our lakes, rivers and wetlands have been depleted by Chinese with the aid of our government, when industries and factories are all owned by foreigners and when tax holidays are given to foreigners?
What is independence when our people are dying to do slavery in foreign lands despite our immense potential in our country and when our armies are deployed in foreign countries purely deployed in other countries to safeguard interests of foreign powers?
What is independence when 56.8% of Ugandans between 14 to 64 years are in vulnerable employment, one that can’t earn them a meaningful life, when more than a third of Ugandan children are stunted and when nearly a quarter of our population below poverty line?
What is independence when the country is being run by a leader that runs the country as his family, having used this family for decades to plunder and loot all our resources as if they were licenced by God?
What is independence when the country is divided and polarized in small balkanized tribal entities in the name of districts that are underfunded and completely powerless?
What is independence when the people have no power to decide on how to be governed, when the military is used to harass the population during elections including killing some of them?
What is independence when all national treasures, like Uganda Commercial bank, Uganda hotels, Uganda railway, farmer co-operatives and marketing boards, National transport were all canibalized by Gen Museveni, family and friends?
Is there a reason as to why Ugandans should have celebrated this independence when the whole affair has been personalized, and when power merely shifted from colonialists to fellow blacks who are doing similar or worse actions like the whites did?
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The author is a member of Alliance for National Transformation