(Picture, Children in a displaced camp- Uganda, by Andrew Kaggwa)
Politics is not a career of the smartest people. Yet, everything else rotates around it. This is my experience in my country, Uganda.
I was born six years before the current president took power in 1986, in a change of government he characteristically called, “a fundamental change.” Mr Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, now about 65-years-old (he says he does not know when he was born) took over after a five-year guerrilla war. He was a charismatic young man with a youthful band of soldiers.
They promised heaven on earth, words few of the remaining, now aging veterans would repeat, if you asked them to. The president himself one day rebuffed, “Why on earth should someone be president for a long 10 years!” On January 26, he made 23 years in power. And now he says it is only him with a “vision” for this country.
About 500,000 people lost their lives in the campaign that brought him to power, and many people joined what came to be known as a revolution, to kick out the “bad guys” from government. The governments of Idi Amin and Milton Obote, among others, had made Uganda one of the worst places to live on the planet. They believed that, by fighting the bad regimes, their lives would become better. But like in the story of Animal Farm, where power shifts from Mr Jones, the man, to Napoleon, the pig, the difference is in the faces. Otherwise, the common people still grapple with the dream of taking their kids to good schools, getting better medical care, having well-paying jobs, enjoying their wealth and living a happy life. These are dreams.
As many can attest, things have not changed that much. Yes. In the Western and Central parts of the country, people have become prosperous. Even though, it is not as revolutionaries thought it would be. The prosperous are the corrupt guys who make themselves rich from the tax payers’ coffers, while many people in the north and east go to bed hungry. They fear that the rebels, led by the notorious Joseph Kony, could return soon to haunt their lives. Ten in 100 infants die before they celebrate their first birthday.
Many children may have gone to school thanks to the universal and secondary education programme, but thousands have become frustrated because they cannot find a suitable job opportunity, leave alone getting the job itself. Medical care is only for a few as most hospitals lack basic drugs like Panadol. The situation is not going to get any better soon, because the government has no hand in the running of the economy- it is Adam Smith’s free trade. The government’s business is to collect of taxes, which go to the provision of minimal services.
This is a revolution. 500,000 people, mainly young people, sacrificed their lives two decades ago. They must be turning in their graves! Young people everywhere want to bring about positive change in their countries. It is a good thing, but the Ugandan situation is downcast. And one cannot help asking- before engaging in removing one bad guy- is the next guy any better?
Our hope in government as the central engine to improve all our lives has vanished. Now corruption is spreading like wild-fire. I don’t think any change of guard could reverse the order of the day. Society is being eaten from the ground up.
Whereas I believe young people should be a part of the change in their countries, I don’t believe that any young person’s blood is worth shedding for the sake of politicians who don’t care for the cause that brought them to power. We must think again before we follow the guy with the loudest voice. However, we should not just sit here as the situation goes from bad to worse.
Like the young woman I watched on TV during the Iranian protests over vote rigging, I wonder why the opposition leader did not stand by the young people for 24 hours. He only appeared when he had orders to give.
The lesson: the people who pay the price of the revolution never enjoy its benefits. If only, after the sacrifice was made, people followed the agenda to the letter.
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A Journalist with Daily Monitor, Uganda. I have a passion for development, especially for the youth.
Is it worth it . calieel rashad amahad
| Sep 9th, 2009
SURE IT IS .
Calieel Rashad Amahad
Blake van der Jet
| Sep 21st, 2009
this article could move mountains if heard by the proper ears. young people need to continue to resist oppression in these countries, but at what cost? certainly not blood. Young blood for a cause is not fully realized is terrible. Let's hope stories like this inspire people to realize what they are fighting for, the costs, and the benefits... and to ensure safety among those that are fighting.
| Dec 20th, 2012
message is too strong to me,hope we as the youth we can see this as our guidance when we deals with politicians.am your neighbour mike from Tanzania.
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