Uganda: Govt, Opposition Should Condemn Tribal Practice, Talk

26 November 2020

Almost everyone is well aware of what is happening in the country today. Watching the Pearl of Africa being toyed and mocked by their own, and of course, painfully getting torn apart by those purported to be protecting our motherland and those that claim to be most hurt by the current regime.

Not the poor infrastructure, or even the green nature that has already gone through enough abuse. Should I mention the businesses that have manned ample series of economic crisis and other challenges! I won't talk about the population, only when they are starting to recover from Covid-19 deep cuts!

We are in sensitive and critical times when the country is the process of electing a new leader, so the fever is understandably high. A thing that has generated feelings of excitement, worry, anxiety, grievance, agony, hate and revenge due to many explained and unexplained factors inclusive of the iniquities of the current regime.

The recent arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, exposed a lot of rot in our society.

Only the indifferent would ignore what most people saw let alone experienced. While many people are hungry for change and perhaps the justification for the recent protests, I also believe there is also the challenge of our hurt society, shattered families, and of course crumbling institutions.

Those who want to take over leadership of the country should have a thick skin. The scenes of protesting youth and the security outfits that recklessly fired live bullets, lobbed teargas and beat up people are still vivid in my mind.

In my considered view, this battle is beyond just politics.

Sadly, some people fronted the tribal sentiments. Of course, there are perceptions among some people in this country that people from some tribes get access to free benefits at their expense.

In any case, if there are cases of unfairness, high taxes, poor service delivery and so on in the country, nearly everyone gets affected. We have prominent people in the Opposition, yet they are from the same tribes. So are they also to be blamed?

In any case, if people need change, they need a combined effort of all tribes in order to attain it. This is not the time for blame games or playing victim!

We can do better! Videos showing a woman removing her yellow blouse and others robbed to nothing, imagine your mother comes back home in a bra!

Tribalism has the power to create division among people who do not share a identity based on tribe. These divisions in can in turn create a ground for targeting others using hate-speech on the basis of their ethnicity.

I believe the prevalence of ethnic diversity in Africa is not the challenge to democracy, tribalism.

Many African countries have reverted to tribal identities as foundations for political rule and competition. Leaders often exploit tribal loyalty to advance personal gain, parochial interests, patronage, and cronyism. Tribalism has a significant impact on elections where voting favours the largest ethnic groups.

We saw such cases cause mayhem, for instance, in South Sudan. Much as a president may belon to a certain tribe, his regime's iniquities should not be blamed wholly on the whole tribe! If we really desire a better Uganda, we cannot continue make hate speech against specific tribes. Like the common proverb goes, Agali awamu gegaluma enyama (literally meaning we are strong together!

The party in government and the Opposition should condemn practice and talk of tribalism if they really mean well for Uganda.

Ms Carol Nyangoma Mukisa is a social analyst & CEO Warm Hearts Foundation.

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