29 February 2012

Uganda: Do Not Get Excited About Recent Resignations - They Don't Hold Much!


The nation is awash with excitement as a result of the resignations and stepping aside of some ministers owing to alleged corruption.

I commend the Ninth Parliament for this noble sting but perhaps it's too early to celebrate. There is not so much to hope for when the implicated seem to continue enjoying national benefits after threats to expose issues oblivious to the general public. Besides, their resignations don't mean much to me if they are not followed by prosecution and trial.

What do you make of a woman who is advised to stop child bearing at the tenth birth because her health seems unfit! What more would she want? Stopping child-bearing without healing her condition isn't enough. Rather diagnose and treat her once and for all!

Ugandan leadership is dented by the evils of some of our leaders such as corruption in most of its forms and manner, self-aggrandisement, empty rhetoric politics and hegemony, blackmail, intimidation, sabotage, back-stabbing, a seeming lack of appreciation of the doctrine of separation of powers in the three arms of government, self-seekers who will vote without conscience for national interests on anything provided it benefits them, cultural and religious leaders who do not walk their talk, contradictions and inconsistencies in national decisions, the list is inexhaustible!

These are precursors of misdirected leadership and point to either the blunt selfishness or ignorance of our leaders or wanton lack of empowerment and knowledge of their rights, or both. The price majority poor Ugandans pay is too much and to pretend otherwise is unsustainable. For lack of space, suffice it to recall only the oil contracts, businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba's exorbitant compensations, UBC transmitter misuse and land controversies and now Pioneer Buses. Our nation needs emergency rescue and healing and we are contenders in this. The worst we can do is to think that "we're powerless or we're OK."

These evils continue to spread at supersonic speed and soon our nation may be doomed! We need to reinvent three pivotal forces to edifying leadership: family, religion and culture and create an education system that teaches principled and national-minded leadership right from young age. I know patriotism clubs exist in some schools but a lot more remains desired. Proper parenting, social and religious instructions as well as formal education ought to inspire in young people the urge and conviction to eternally stand for what is just even if to the majority it appears less popular.

It should incline them to personal refinement and restraint to resist temptations to inordinate morality. Leadership is a service to the common good. Our leadership, be it faith-based, cultural or political, needs a complete overhaul. Many think it's only the government which has failed on this, but it may be worse in religious and cultural institutions.

Some leaders forget that the decisions they take today will forever leave an impression on their country, family and associates. Often we are reminded about Kabaka Mwanga's injustices to the now Uganda Martyrs or Amin's killer regime. Your footsteps will follow you even post-humously. You don't want to imagine your family struggling with deed polls to drop your names or your cronies forging travel documents and wearing masks for escape!

Society may be an invisible court without chambers but it's boundless but watches closely and at its prime time it will deliver its judgement. I may not live to see this but I will rest eternally happy reflecting on Nelson Mandela's words that: "The ideals we cherish, our fondest dreams and fervent hopes may not be realised in our lifetime. But this is beside the point.

The knowledge that in your day you did your duty and lived to the expectations of your fellow men is itself a rewarding experience and magnificent achievement."

Mr Katagata is a leadership consultant trainer.

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