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We cannot expect change from the unchanged

By Faruk Kirunda

This is more of an open appeal to my brother, Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine), and his followers. I recognise their presence and claim on the national scene and thank those who have “their act together”. Some of us have been in leadership in political circles for longer than most and despite belonging in the youth age bracket, find the conduct of our peers led by Bobi Wine queer in their ways. I was personally called into leadership at the age of 14 and by the age of 20 I was a minister in Busoga kingdom.

I have since maintained consistency and decency in leadership, playing significant roles but with great humility. So far, I don’t admire the attitude and behavior of my peers on the Kyagulanyi side. I see them as risking our collective future and progressive steps made in empowering young persons to take up greater leadership.
We all have a bright future ahead of us (on account of age) but sometimes the past can entangle with the (unknown) future and ruin the present or the past can entangle with the present and ruin the future. How?
In this age and era, how can anyone, acting in personal capacity or in consort with others, engage in promoting sectarian incitement and marketing the genocide ideology? Isn’t witchcraft real, as they say? Is there anybody in this world who doesn’t know how wrong, catastrophic and misguided “ethnic cleansing” is? Anyone who doesn’t know or who, despite knowing, cannot restrain the worst of themselves, is not prepared to lead or claim to be of a pure and upright ethnic stock. There must be something they are hiding, and must be stopped by any means until they learn self-control!

Burning tyres on the road; do the perpetrators know the cost of building a kilometer of road and how much money that would? Do they know that when you put fire on a paved road surface, the asphalt layer melts and exposes the underside, after which a ditch or porthole forms? Do they know that the roads they destroy are used by their own relatives and friends? What wrong has a road, a nonliving entity, done? Is it NRM, is it UPC, is it tribe this or tribe that? Emitwe ngalabi (in Tamale Mirundi speak)
These one will end up badly, in one way of another. They can’t survive this phase of the struggle. They will be left behind.

There are many young people in Uganda and I am one of them. If every one of us behaved like the Kyagulanyi group now terrorising and bullying everyone, Uganda would be a gone case.
Fortunately, the majority of Ugandans have standards and know who and what they want. No matter how much shouting and pushing you do, it will all end in the ballot and once you have not secured the ballot, you have no bargain.

Campaign time is for maximising one’s advantage and overturning the disadvantage. If you go in believing that you are already okay and that you are popular, it does not make sense because, then, why do you go in? Why not stay home and wait for voting? Also, having crowds is a good thing but to bask in being surrounded by swarms of people is amateurish and reveal one’s egocentrism; of the desire to feel good and loved. It is like someone has a low self-esteem and wants to feel positive about himself or herself. Unfortunately, this is the wrong time to “feel good” because of the obvious circumstances which everybody knows.

What Ugandans are being treated to is harassment and intimidation that would make Kizza Besigye’s supporters envious and wonder that anybody can go lower than they did; previously, it was Besigye who had the kind of following that totally took “I beg your pardon or I beg to disagree with you” as an offence, completely impervious to wise or friendly counsel, incompatible with facts and in a foul mood 24/7. What did they reap from their attitude? 20 years in the wilderness-because the majority of Ugandans are cultured and moderate in their interactions with each other.

Now Ugandans fear for their future and only want that person who will secure it for them as he has done with the past. There is nothing happening in Uganda which should bring out the beast in us. In the Pearl of Africa, you get what you ask for; if you decide to promote the negative and dwell on it so much, you miss the positive side and once you miss the optimistic side to life, you alienate yourself from reality and prepare yourself for further disappointment and self-destruction.

When I think of the energy and boldness of the tyre burning, stone throwing, cop-bashing and insult-hurling squads that came out to sow mayhem on those two days I weigh how gifted we are if only we had a sense of direction. If that energy and will power was invested in productive ventures, we would be a super power.

It is my belief that we still have an opportunity to make amends; all of us in leadership and those whose mission is to cause change should be a first line example of the change they preach. In saying this, there is the prevailing and predictable risk of being abused but some of us are more “lethal” although well grounded and restrained by the grooming we have had. It is not everything that I feel or think that I must say or act on. Before you learn how to manage your thoughts, your emotions, what you say and how you act in moments of anger or excitement, how to respect others, my brother and sister, you are not ready for (true) leadership at all.

The author is a Presidential Assistant in Charge of Media Management
Contact: kirundaf2@gmail.com

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