By Julius Kyazze
Disclaimer: This is a non-political post that has nothing to do with my love for and friendship with Bobi Wine or my deep appreciation for President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
I have been lucky to visit many countries all over the world and have interacted with many nationalities. As far as initial interactions go, the Indians always strike a conversation about their spices and food.
For the Kenyans, you will always see a bracelet on their wrists with the colours of the country’s flag before a word is said. The Egyptians will ask if you have visited the pyramids, while Rwandans are quick to show you, at the least, a beautiful girl or artist’s impression of their next airport. Tanzanians will unapologetically speak to you in their indigenous Swahili without fear of being perceived as backward (they are smart enough to know that a foreign language is no measure of intelligence). The Congolese will either hum a tune or wiggle to their music, the Cubans will say something about their cigars, the French and Champagne…..and so on.
Now, when you meet a Ugandan anywhere in the world, they will most likely go into a hateful and degrading speech about Uganda. They mostly speak facts about the issues in the country that need fixing – the flaws that our leaders have not addressed and all our ugly and dirty linen is brought out. Why do we hate our country so much that we are willing to tarnish it to whoever is willing to listen? People will say they love Uganda but act with so much hate towards it.
Our country does not belong to Mr. Museveni. It will not belong to Bobi nor the next leader.
This is our motherland and we should protect, promote and preserve it for our children and grandchildren. This country is bigger than its leaders – leaders who will leave and be followed by new ones. This is inevitable, but what shall be left of the motherland if all we do is tarnish it in the eyes of the world?
We should all be responsible activists especially as we advocate for the changes we want to see – we should put our country first.
It’s naive to think that Nigeria, India, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, USA, Britain and the rest don’t have problems as we do, but we see their citizens always putting country first even when their leaders don’t. That’s the least we can do for our country. A foreign passport is just a piece of paper and can be taken away, but you will always be Ugandan. No one can take your country away from you.
It is equally naive to expect a non-Ugandan who is thousands of miles away to have our best interests at heart.
How can you advocate for sanctions on your own country? That’s madness. Who do you think the sanctions hurt the most? It’s the poor people that suffer. It seems like we have learnt nothing from history.
What do I suggest?
As we push for the changes we want at every level, let us sell the good first. Let’s promote our tourism sector, which puts money directly into the pockets of the Ugandans involved in hospitality, food and the rest. We have the biggest population of mountain gorillas in the world and yet our neighbours have marketed the few they have and are making a killing. Let’s not scare away the tourism dollar that comes directly to the wananchi.
The government has failed us, but what have we done?
Let’s promote our diverse culture. Our creative arts industry is the most vibrant in East and Central Africa and we should do everything to milk this industry that has the potential to employ all 80% of Uganda’s unemployed youth.
We just took away an opportunity to expose that art to the global audience and here we are celebrating it. We need to put an end to the ‘Fena Tufirwe’ mentality.
We are agriculturalists with some of the best avocado, pineapples and bananas in the world. Can we at least have a conversation about that, or our weather, the beautiful people, the wildlife and a lot more? Why can’t we put country and Africa first?
Lately, everyone is a blogger and digital activist. Can we commit to a post every week to promote our motherland? You don’t have to politicise it, you just have to show your country some.
Can we dedicate a Sunday, for example, to be a LOVE UGANDA DAY? A day when we only show the good of our country to the world?
WE CHOOSE OUR LEADERS, BUT WE CAN’T CHOOSE OUR COUNTRY. We are born into it. Let’s show some love to our mother, Uganda.
For God and My Country.