11 October 2018

Uganda: State House Recycles Museveni Independence Day Speeches

Kampala — President Museveni's 56th Independence anniversary speech that State House shared with the media shows the first four paragraphs are word-for-word a reproduction of what he spoke at last year's celebrations.

The heavily replicated parts of the speech follow immediately after the preamble in the same order as in the October 9, 2017 Independence anniversary remarks and, counted together, run 167 words.

President Museveni, who was the chief guest, did not read his official speech during the national observance of the 56th fête in Kyotera District on Tuesday.

He told the audience that he had delayed in Kampala seeing how the newly-installed Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) camera system at Nateete command centre would work to monitor parts of the city to detect criminals.

As such, Mr Museveni said his prepared speech would be circulated for publication in the newspapers since, according to him, it was late and people needed to go and enjoy themselves.

State House shared a copy of the speech with Daily Monitor late on Tuesday, but we spotted striking similarities in wording of both last year's and Tuesday's speeches, prompting us to print out the President's October 9, 2017 speech off State House website and compare the content.

Our analysis showed that the first four paragraphs of both speeches, just after the introductory remarks, carried the same words and run in similar order.

The theme for last year's celebrations was, Uganda's freedom must be anchored in the spirit of hard work, resilience and commitment.

This year, the day was celebrated under the theme: Standing tall as we celebrate achievements of our 56 years of independence.

The paragraph introducing the theme in last year's speech read: "Therefore, the theme of this year's Independence Day celebrations, which is, Uganda's freedom must be anchored in the spirit of hard work, resilience and commitment, is relevant not only to our efforts towards consolidating and defending our national independence, but also the realisation of our vision of transforming the Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country."

In the prepared speech, the President was to read at the Tuesday celebrations says: "The theme of this year's Independence Day celebrations, which is, standing tall as we celebrate achievements of our 56 years of independence, is relevant not only to our efforts towards consolidating and defending our national independence, but also the realisation of our vision of transforming the Ugandan society from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country.

Our analysis of President Museveni's prepared 2017 and 2018 independence speeches showed further borrowing of words. The paragraphs with the most striking similarities in both speeches are:

"The colonisation and domination of Africa by the imperialist forces remains one of the most significant historical disruptions of Africa's progress.

"Apart from undermining the right of the Africans to self-determination, the period of colonial rule was characterised by deliberate efforts to destroy indigenous skills, knowledge and technology. Yet all civilisation, the world over, has always been built around knowledge, science and technology."

"At the time of colonisation, Africa had made significant strides in the development of knowledge, science and technology. For example, we already had geologist cable of discerning rocks with iron or copper. We also had skilled craftsmen who were able to make useful implements from these metals."

"However, by the time Africa freed herself from the yoke of colonialism, crucial indigenous knowledge had been lost."

"Today's occasion should, therefore, not be merely a celebration for regaining our freedom but also an opportunity for us to reflect on the internal contradictions that led to the final domination of Africa by imperial forces for several decades."

State House staffers discovered and discussed the mistake yesterday morning, a day after the fête.

Ms Alice Muhoozi, the president's speech writer, declined to comment on the matter when this newspaper contacted her last evening to explain the duplication or mix-up.

However, a State House source, speaking to this newspaper last evening, said the matter was a glitch. The source promised to send a statement to explain the mix up but had not done so by press time.

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