Thank God there is now a Runyankore thesaurus authoured by His Excellency Gen Yoweri Museveni.
Makerere University on January 15 honoured him with an Authorship award for “his outstanding contribution in authoring the first-ever thesaurus in sub-Saharan Africa.”
The 504-page Runyankore-Rukiga book was put together by three experts: Prof Manuel J.K Muranga, Ms Alice Muhoozi and Dr. Gilbert Gumoshabe. The main author, Gen Yoweri Museveni, met the costs. He proudly received the award from Makerere University’s council, saying he had learnt some of the words in the book from his late father Amos Kaguta.
I have already written about my disappointment with Makerere University’s professors who have sold their pride to Museveni. Such awards would never originate from the Makerere of Prof Akiiki Mujaju, Prof Fredrick Juuko or the original Prof Mahmood Mamdani.
But the moment these academics allowed people like Prof Venansius Baryamureeba to lead them, I knew Makerere as an institution of free thinking was finished. Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, who seems to be intolerant to free speech, is simply holding her funeral.
And by authouring or sponsoring the compilation of a thesaurus of only his native Runyankore, and yet the man is a head of state, tells the whole story. This is what Museveni’s Uganda has become. No more hiding. The constitution, in its third schedule, lists 65 indigenous communities as of February 1, 1926.
Each of these communities has a language and would be happy with a thesaurus. My Luganda has for a very long time even been examined in schools and universities but it is without a thesaurus. What a responsible head of state should be doing is sponsoring the writing of thesaurus for all indigenous languages. I will then find it difficult to criticize such an initiative.
Although this looks a small matter, it illustrates the mind and attitude of Mr Museveni towards the rest of the country. I hope you still remember what he told the Ankole parliamentary group in the Sixth Parliament. Thanks to Hon Maj John Kazoora (former MP Kashaari) who shared with us some of the proceedings of these meetings.
Museveni told Ankole MPs that he had summoned them to teach them politics.
“Do you think Specioza Wandira Kazibwe is the vice president?” he asked. “Or that Jeje Odongo is the army commander?”
He then told Ankole MPs that he had appointed Kazibwe to please women, Basoga and the Catholics. He said since the Iteso like paraphernalia, he had appointed Jeje so he can ride in Jeeps, something that will excite his people.
So, when he visits the Kabaka, it is not that he loves him or his people; he thinks that property and money is all that it takes to win the heart of a Muganda. And that is how they have attempted to profile our Kabaka. These illustrations, simple as they may appear, will help you interpret the recent promotions in the UPDF.
The highest rank in the UPDF is that of the general and majority of them are from the area of the new sub-Saharan thesaurus. Since they are not many, I can mention them.
1. Gen Yoweri Museveni
2. Gen Elly Tumwine
3. Gen David Sejusa
4. Gen Salim Saleh
5. Gen David Muhoozi
6. Gen Ivan Koreta
7. Gen Joram Mugume
8. Gen Kale Kayihura
9. Gen late Aronda Nyakairima
The other full generals are:
1. Gen Jeje Odongo
2. Gen Moses Ali
3. Gen Edward Katumba Wamala
I don’t have to list the lieutenant generals such as Muhoozi Kainerugaba. It is also dominated by people from the same area. By the way, under the UPDF Act, you are supposed to keep a rank for at least three years. Any promotion before is termed accelerated promotion and can only happen under exceptional circumstances.
Fellows like Maj Gen Muzeyi Sabiti, Maj. Gen. Don Nabasa, Lt Gen Leopold Kyanda, Lt Gen Peter Elwelu, etc have just been promoted, I think, the third time in a space of two years. Under the law, these promotions are illegal.
Dr Kizza Besigye asked Musajja Awaza, the man who contributed a lot of resources towards the war that brought Museveni to power, whether he was still a colonel or brigadier. This was during the burial of Stella Njuba, the daughter to late Sam Kalega Njuba.
Do you still want me to compare growth and development in our regions? Cissy Namujju is the MP for Lwengo district where I was born. The volume of traffic jam she experienced on the Masaka-Mbarara road towards Christmas frightened her. For her she was excited about development but for me I feared for my country.
The author is Kira Municipality MP and opposition chief whip in parliament.