Happy New Year 2018.
We appreciate God for all the blessings of 2017. Although it has been a very difficult year for most of our people, there are definitely things to thank God for. I condole with those who lost loved ones and wish those who are unwell a quick recovery.
In the year 2017, our nation continued to face enormous difficulties. We witnessed some of the worst forms of crime and insecurity. Gruesome murders of prominent personalities, murders of women around Entebbe and other places and of course so many other citizens whose murders went unreported! We also lost formidable artistes like Dizz Nuts, Producer Danz ku Mapeesa, Sgt. Kifulugunyu, and Mr. Success a renown song writer and musician. We pray that their souls rest in peace.
This year, Uganda Bureau of Statistics reported that more people are going into extreme poverty and we have no reason to doubt them. When you go to the countryside and parts of towns where majority of our people live, you get to see the extent of poverty and lack. Most of our people cannot afford the basic needs. As we all know nothing is as dehumanising as poverty. Of course the country still faces shameful levels of unemployment with many young people struggling to get onto the next plane to go and be enslaved in other countries. Those who do not have that chance have often times resorted to desperate means of survival.
Our doctors have been on strike over poor working conditions. So have judicial officers and prosecutors. Our men and women in uniform continue to earn peanuts and to live in dilapidated structures while they hold expensive guns and riot quelling equipment.
This very year, the World Bank Development Report ranked our country second in the world, in having pupils who cannot count and read. A 2016 UNEB report showed that 8 out of 10 primary school teachers can neither read nor solve a basic mathematics question. This speaks to our limping education system.
Our economy has now been on its knees for several years.
Now to crown up this state of affairs, our Parliament which spent almost half of the year bickering over the Age Limit Bill passed it in total disregard of basic constitutional principles. Most NRM legislators and a few other traitors voted to remove age limits in our Constitution and make President Museveni life president. When you look at the amount of money spent on this Bill and compare that to how many things that money would do for our citizens, you cannot help but wonder what kind of people manage our affairs. Our legislators did not think about over 85% of our people who were clearly opposed to the Bill. As if under a curse, they even voted to extend their term by two years! Now it’s clear that leaders are actually not working for you-the Citizens but for themselves, therefore it’s time for you the Citizens to take charge…in the ghetto we say,Mwebeleremu.
So our governance system has gone from bad to worse and therefore, Ugandans should prepare themselves for tough times if they do not make tough decisions. A few days ago many of us watched President Museveni on TV clearly departing from his own words in which he pledged never to run for office beyond 75 years of age. He had previously correctly stated that past that age, a leader would have no vigour to run a country. And so we are stuck with a leader whose mind in stuck to 1986. He has become insulated from the reality of the common people.
He cannot identify with the daily struggles of our people and whenever he comes out to speak, he reminds us that in 1986 he inherited a failed state. As they normally do, he has surrounded himself with sycophants and praise singers who, for some bread paint a rosy picture of our country while the common citizen suffers and has to pay taxes to fund the luxuries of those in power. And so the gap between the minority rich and the majority poor continues to widen.
Regardless of all this, my message for the new-year is of HOPE. As late Eriya Kategaya wrote “In the course of the struggle, those who have everything to lose by democracy and constitutionalism are expected to put up resistance. These forces may appear fearsome but history is replete with such cases and THEY NEVER WIN IN THE END. What we should fear is fear itself.”
I fully understand the state of sadness that covers our nation this season. But we must not lose hope. Always remember that anti-democracy forces never win in the end. Our duty is to ensure that we do what we must do for the sake of our future. At the end of each day we must each ask ourselves what we have done to move our country towards real FREEDOM.
I know most of us have dreams for a better country but we must not only dream. As a youthful country, we cannot afford to fold hands and let our country sink even further. We must make our stand firm and remind those in power that Uganda is ready for a 21st century leadership to resolve the problems which entangle us in this century.
A leadership which can tap into our enormous resources and put them to good use for the benefit of all Ugandans.
I continue to say to you; ‘We are the country, we are the future, we are the change we badly need.’
I am grateful to you all for the love and support this year. I am glad our efforts are beginning to pay off as more people gain consciousness and confidence to think and act for their country.
Many of you say to me, “We are ready, just tell us what to do.” Surprisingly many times from people in the deepest rural places. This gives me and other colleagues in the struggle the courage to soldier on, well knowing that the population is with us.
Am grateful to the religious leaders who have courageously confronted the evil forces on the pulpit during this season and pray that God will give you more boldness to continue standing for the truth even in these perilious times. I’m also thankful to the the traditional leaders, the civil society, the civil servants, farmers and all other Ugandans who are each playing their role in the struggle to emancipate our people.
Finally to my fellow leaders in the struggle for CHANGE, we must urgently get UNITED in purpose. Our people want to see us United and speaking with one voice- their voice. I pray that in the new year, we find more reason to work together than work apart.
Happy new year once again as we all fight for #freedom.
Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine