One of the reasons NRM was received warmly when it entered Kampala and immediately thereafter is because of its commitment to take ethnicity out of Uganda’s political and economic life. Previous regimes had been accused of practicing tribalism in political, economic and social spheres. To demonstrate that NRM was different in this regard, the first appointments to the cabinet and civil service were truly inclusive politically, ethnically, religiously and regionally. The anti-sectarian law was initially welcomed as NRM’s determination to stamp sectarianism out once and for all. Appointments, promotions, reassignments, scholarships etc would be awarded on individual merit.
As time passed, however, individual merit turned out to mean that individuals could be picked from one family or one tribe. A pattern developed and key and strategic positions began to go to one particular group whose members are scattered in all parts of the country. For example, look at key appointments in security forces, finance and foreign affairs. Look at who is getting scholarships. You cannot fail to see sectarianism at its highest level. What is painful is to see well qualified and experienced Ugandans from other tribes languishing in exile or marginalized at home.
Those who have analyzed and reported on this sad development with a view to finding a solution have been subjected to a wide range of names and characterizations intended to scare and silence them by those who are ‘eating’ well and want the status quo to remain undisturbed for present and future generations.
In an atmosphere where people are becoming enlightened about their freedoms and rights, threats cannot set the clock back. There are Socrates’ among us. The best way forward is to accept that a problem exists and we should confront it for the benefit of all. Tribalism, regionalism and religion should have no place in Uganda’s political economy. Those who insist should think again. Uganda is changing and present and future leaders will face difficulties if they insist on maintaining the status quo. The French and Russian Revolutions in 1789 and 1917 respectively occurred largely because Louis XVI of France and Nicholas II of Russia did not read properly the writing on the wall that the subjects were awake, angry, hungry and thirsty for change.