The Observer (Kampala)

17 July 2012

Uganda: Young Bulls Must First Prove They Can Lead

opinion

The greatest default in the social process is to fail to grasp the main question in an obtaining circumstance.

An inability to have extensively scoured one's surrounding hilly landscape prior to a journey leads to needless tripping and falling off during an attempted advance. A body affliction whose character is least understood cannot be successfully treated.

Without sharp focus on the critical matters affecting society, political activities plod on aimlessly and perilously, flitting to and fro blindly in a tortuous alley. It saps one's energy in fruitlessly physical and busy engagements that finally yield only despondency and resignation from inevitable failures.

Although we have had a number of changes of regimes in the post-colonial era, the crisis of governance has remained. Every new regime change, carrying promises of betterment for society, rapidly dissolved into aggravation of the crisis.

Many years after victory from our frustrations which formed the NRM Luwero bush war, we are still floundering in complaints of unrealised dreams. There are plain demands that the NRM veterans should cede power to the young NRM stalwarts as a means of addressing the occasion.

In particular, the NRM veterans are blamed for not nurturing the younger people to take over the mantle of leadership of the country. Amongst beasts, the progression of succession of one generation to another is induced in a compelling biological tinge.

Younger buffalo bulls spar with older bulls for strength, the more spritely ones excommunicating and driving away the older bulls into exile from the herd to permit their express takeover. This ensures that only the virile ones take charge for the defence and progeny of the herd.

Human family life does not banish the aged. On the contrary, the older generations relinquish their responsibility to the younger ones gradually by drawing in the new generation in the culture of human activity so that, as they become adults, they graduate to handle responsibility.

Naturally, the physical exertions are the first to be handed over to the younger generation. This is why the field of sports can only be the domain of the young, now enabling celebrated names of soccer players and athletes to amass staggering sums of earnings from their trade.

But, the management of society is borne by different principles. It is based on the different interests espoused by the varied sections of society during the stages and history of society's life.

Young aristocrats and slave traders cannot express the interests of those who stand against slave traffic. Therefore, they have no right to take over the struggle against slavery simply because they seek to replace old blood.

Obote and his UPC group made a stinging mark on our independence struggle because by then they encapsulated the acumen for independence that the population aspired for. Indeed, Obote was relatively a youth at the time of Uganda's struggle for independence.

However, the reason for his shining rise was not his tender age but his appeal in articulating social interests of Ugandans at the time. In 1986, Yoweri Museveni, too, was young. But, the older people like Prof Lule and Dr Kisekka with whom he had waged the struggle were not overcome by his age, but the politics that he exuded.

Therefore, the younger bulls desiring to gore out President Museveni's dominance of the herd need first to assert to Ugandans what new interests they espouse in the current disposition.

For some time, there have been protests amongst some of us about the wilted power of the NRM which has given way to openly disagreeable practices. Our desire is to examine how to truly build democratic habits and institutions by which to direct public affairs for the progress of our country.

When we now hear the barking by people who profess to be NRM that power should be curtly handed to them by veterans of the NRM because they are a younger generation, one is left gasping about what power is supposedly to be given to them when the portrayed NRM veterans do not in reality hold any such power.

Those who hanker for leadership ought to know that leadership is genuinely earned in the crucible of the struggle over social causes, not something that springs up as an inheritance for princes.

True Ugandan patriots should start by expressing what new ideas they bring in our midst. It is only by their role in this struggle that they can bestow to themselves the legitimacy of leadership.

The author is a member of NEC (NRM) representing historicals.

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