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‘Nice article, but don’t you fear being arrested?’

I am getting accustomed to this mixed compliment in response to some of my writings that are critical of government.

Interestingly, the caution comes both from within and outside government. So much is the fear that some will have to first fence off my ear with their hands to safely whisper it in.

They ask if I have some connections in the system that make me feel that no harm can happen to me, like the proverbial rat that only laughs at the cat when it’s near its hole.

You cowards that think with your legs, come out of your holes and hear this. Must I remind you again that we were liberated and that such fears are misplaced?

Under Uganda’s democratic environment that is every African’s envy, why do you cower to imagine that one can be arrested for calling government to order?

You are the people that go around tarnishing our government’s image, creating an impression that what we got was a Trojan horse!

When will you understand that this is a different regime? When will you overcome those fears of old when society was filled with spies and where every spy had another one spying on them too?

We are not in those damn days of Amin and Obote when people would be arbitrarily tortured at state facilities, except if you misguidedly believe that ‘history is a catalogue of lies compiled by those in charge’.

Read your history with the right lenses and learn that we have since moved on. The mustard seed that was magnanimously sowed for us is now a thirty-year-old tree, yet you still think if I freely operate under its shade, it might fall on me! Ideologically bankrupt fixation!

I will continue being a diplomatic critic, diplomacy meaning the art of saying ‘nice dog’ while looking for a bigger stick. And why the stick anyway? It’s a nice dog that only barks at thieves and other enemies of the state.

Don’t tell me about the summoning of Dr Stella Nyanzi, allegedly over her remarks on government’s sanitary pads promise. You got it so wrong. Stella was not summoned because she poured scorn on the First Lady for dilly-dallying over the issue.

No, she was invited for a cordial chat with the police, and to thank her for mobilising for pads for our poor rural girls whom government cares so dearly about. Police doesn’t always have to inform you about what it does and how.

You see, Stella is an understanding woman. She knew that reasonable priorities such as the presidential handshake had left government short of funds for things like pads which can wait. Why wouldn’t government thank her for filling the vacuum?

Government is not as cold-hearted as you want people to imagine. If that was the case, they wouldn’t even make the empty promise. But they did that during the presidential campaigns because they sincerely care and could not leave those young girls without a message of hope. An empty promise is better than no promise at all. Don’t you know that hope is therapeutic?

Nevertheless, the police only had one small problem with Stella Nyanzi. You see, in our cultures here, menstrual things are private – so private that even when you are lied about them, you just have to remain quiet. It was a cultural issue, not political. Criticism is not the problem at all.

Some will hurriedly ask, how about Charles Rwomushana, Kalundi Serumaga, etc? Again, context my comrades! For instance, the problem with Rwomushana is not that he harshly admonishes government. Not at all. It is just that he shouts a lot. He was arrested for noise pollution.

Government cannot simply watch as he shouts beyond levels acceptable by Nema on TV and radio talk shows. That is what you misinterpret as restricting freedom of speech.

Look at Facebook’s TVO. Doesn’t he speak his nonsense freely? When police tried to find him for a talk, again you cried foul! Our good government does not really mind the barrage of stuff that he leaks on his page.

Government’s little concern is about the traffic on his wall. Isn’t traffic regulation one of police’s principal duties? It was also felt that a Ugandan with such following needed a national ID; how else were we to take his picture?

Of the many that choose to remain quiet, even where government expects them to speak out against evils like corruption, did you want government to force them to speak? If people choose to gag and censor themselves out of the fear created by themselves, that is their choice that should be respected too.

For instance, government did not ask religious leaders to speak against all evils except the political ones. They are free to choose where to concentrate. The donations are given to them in good faith. The president only advised them to focus on spiritual matters. Maybe in their assessment, political sins do not really matter to one’s salvation.

And again, it is not fair to say that the clergy went into silence; isn’t Fr Simon Lokodo talking? Has government stopped Pastor Robert Kayanja and Mufti Shaban Mubajje from speaking?

Even when they speak in suspicious tongues and collect baskets of money to take to ‘God’, no one ever touches them. Don’t ask me about Bishop Zac Niringiye, I am not his keeper.

So, dear fellow cowards, come out and speak freely. Do not let all this peace go to waste. Our dear liberators fought so that you do not have to burst with internal rage. No one will arrest you, for how will our good government ignore thieves within to run after a complainant?

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The writer works with the school of Postgraduate Studies and Research at Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi.

Comments   

+2 #1 Didaz 2017-03-20 12:09
Cowards live longer. Surely there is a reason why.

We need to think about this belief in relation to current political and social challenges in Uganda today.

The monkeys are skillful at jumping into the tree branches but you should watch them in a cornfield feeding.

They look left they look right and run at a slight sense of trouble.What a skillful thief!
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+1 #2 Joshua wamoyo 2017-03-20 16:49
So in a single sentence what the professor is this: Ugandans everything you want is on the other side of fear.
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+1 #3 Emokori Elias 2017-03-20 18:36
OK it needs reading between lines. Now I see why of all animals it was an antelope chasing a lion.
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0 #4 Akot 2017-03-20 20:19
Joshua wamoyo , thank, yet,

We have Brexit-D.Trump to show people can cross over to the unknown if only to be able to put an end to ongoing unease-dark future-sign of no solution to problems...?

French are confused believing they will not survive outside EU, when in fact, without French daring a Revolution & putting in place the kind of democracy-social structures they want & have, France would not have been taken in as member of EU: EU only takes in countres that succeeded socially-economically... but those in trouble are left out!

All Brexit-D.Trump have to do is just go ahead & build-rebuild their countries as they want for themselves!

- Migrants in USA work to sent money back home while benefiting free education-healthcare...,

- Money UK hands over to Brussels can be used in UK & accounted for!

More so Commonwealth is waiting for UK to be man again & not under Brussels!
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0 #5 Akot 2017-03-20 20:25
Didaz, thanks!

It seems the monkeys in Uganda are aware that things can change & they could be in real trouble!

So, when will Ugandans wake up to send these monkeys where they belong?

Because these monkeys can only be throw out by Ugandans who have the power to do so through Unity for common purpose, just as the rest of the world does!

How many more years do Ugandans need knowing these monkeys' stay depends not on them, but on Ugandans?
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0 #6 Didaz 2017-03-21 11:37
Quoting Akot:
Didaz, thanks!

It seems the monkeys in Uganda are aware that things can change & they could be in real trouble!

So, when will Ugandans wake up to send these monkeys where they belong?

Because these monkeys can only be throw out by Ugandans who have the power to do so through Unity for common purpose, just as the rest of the world does!

How many more years do Ugandans need knowing these monkeys' stay depends not on them, but on Ugandans?


Hahahaha Its regretable though.God help us!
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0 #7 braco 2017-03-21 13:52
Talking, talking talking and talking Its useless.

how many times did
Ssabalwanyi talk when he wanted to
enter the bush????? But just try to shout
one day that u want to contest for

President and see what will happen!
But with writting our nosense no prob.
lets watch the space.
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0 #8 Didaz 2017-03-22 01:45
Well branco,If you are going to beat Ssabalwaanyi your game better be times better than his!

You must know the weakness of your opponent and use it to your advantage.

Avoid his strong side otherwise you would be playing in his hands.He could break your neck at a time of his choosing.

You have to have to create a credible cause from existing situation then convince yourself that its a true cause.

Nonetheless you have to make sure that you don't die otherwise the revolution dies with you.

Now what does it take?
Courage/brains/belief/sacrifice/miracles?/training/patience/persistence/luck/prayer/local and international support/ commitment?
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0 #9 Didaz 2017-03-22 02:04
Quoting Joshua wamoyo:
So in a single sentence what the professor is this: Ugandans everything you want is on the other side of fear.

Joshua Words are very powerful if used timely and smartly.

Replace fear with hope and sing a song see what the impact will be.

Confidence grows when people become less fearful.If you confront your fears and succeed you can face any challenge.
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