April was a month of turmoil in Uganda. We still don’t know if there’s more to come and what form these events will take. About ten people lost their lives and hundreds are still nursing bullet wounds sustained when the military and police descended on unarmed protests calling on government to do something about rising fuel and food prices. Yesterday we saw another statement from President Yoweri Museveni about opposition leader Dr.Kizza Besigye and the whole walk to work campaign. The president called thousands of Besigye supporters drug-users. He also called the media biased and “enemies of Uganda’s recovery”, a title many in the profession are both happy and worried about.
Richard M Kavuma, a Ugandan journalist wrote this note on his facebook page categorising Ugandans. Reading it one will understand the social-economic factors that could lead to or stand in the way of change in Uganda.
There are four types of Ugandans: Category 1: There are those who have never had it better and who cannot imagine life without the present dispensation. For those, the government is a victim of oppression by the opposition and colonialists and their supporters in the media. In other words, these men, women and their children are having a sumptuous dinner do not want to be disturbed. Outside, askaris and Safety-First Guards or SFG are deployed to secure the peace of the party inside – while earning their family’s keep.
Category 2: This includes both those who just manage to get by in their professions and businesses and those who are hungry and starving. These taxpayers know that things can and should be better, but they are so scared of Category 1 that they are thankful for the air they breathe. These do not want to cross the path of those in category one who boast of their monopoly of legalised violence. They are not even sure that ‘change’ can actually bring about change. The main problem facing this category is lack of courage.
Category 3: There are those who are so detached from the state that they have not imagined that change is possible. For them the state matters to those who are in politics and they do not see a link between their survival and the nature of politics and the conduct of politicians. That is why it is much easier for KFM to host Besigye for free but not even his party’s money would get him on Kyamunungu FM without a fight. To Category 1, those in Category 3 must be protected from ‘evil’ ideas propagated by category 4.
Category 4: These believe heads of Category 1 are squandering the opportunity to build a future without violence (because the eventual, inevitable fruit of oppression is self-defence aggression). So they try to appeal to categories 1 & 2 to push for a change in the way Uganda is run. They want democratic freedoms underpinned by ability to hold the government accountable and, if it misbehaves, change it; they want no corruption and better use of public resources. Certainly 1&2 loathe and fear Category 4.
This note generated debate and you find more here