Soldiers have a responsibility to protect

Soldiers in time and space including those in Uganda have a responsibility to defend the nation against external aggression and to protect the people against internal regime oppression. In protecting the people against regime oppression, soldiers can either remain neutral or join the people against the regime.

Since 1966, the people of Uganda have suffered various degrees of regime oppression. It’s time that Uganda soldiers do something about it by peaceful means in the first instance. Soldiers everywhere have exercised their responsibility to protect the people by either standing neutral while the people battled against an authoritarian regime or joining the people when the government used force to silence the people. For easy reference here are some examples.

1. During the French Revolution of 1789, some sections of the army (the French Guards) joined the Parisian demonstrators because they sympathized with their suffering made worse by unemployment, food shortages, rising prices. When the Third Estate that had converted itself into the National Assembly refused to obey the king’s orders, the king was reluctant to call on soldiers because he suspected they would refuse to carry out his orders. They were on the side of the people. The Bourbon dynasty was removed from power.

To unite Uganda we must know what divides us


This article has been written by popular demand as part of end-of-year reports. All Ugandans want a united, peaceful and secure country that guarantees civil rights (equal protection and opportunity under the law) and civil liberties (freedom of speech, press, religion and due process of the law). Yet the majority doesn’t want to know what divides us. Those who have attempted to explain have suffered abuse and intimidation. And those seeking political support prefer to remain silent. One compatriot advised that we should let sleeping dogs lie but when they wake up they may get mad when they see the condition they are in.

NRM took a dramatic step and outlawed talking about our religious and ethnic differences that have divided Uganda since before colonial rule. Accordingly, the anti-sectarian law was promulgated by parliament. This restriction has become counterproductive in the face of increasing sectarianism under the NRM government that is disproportionately favoring Tutsi and “tutsified” Ugandans (non-Tutsi men who have married Tutsi women).

The burden of silence on Banyankole issue in Uganda

A society that takes things for granted or keeps silent when it is hurting can hardly makes progress. Societies that have progressed including ancient Greece had people like Socrates that questioned the status quo and would not remain or be silenced when unsatisfied about something. They developed a questioning mind and took nothing for granted. They would not budge even under the threat of death. Socrates was advised that he could avoid the death sentence for allegedly corrupting the youth if he paid a small fine and swore to remain silent about politics or went into exile. Socrates refused reasoning that the unexamined life was not worth living.

The political and military environment and laws of Uganda especially the anti-sectarian and anti-terrorism laws have made it very difficult for Ugandans to question the wrong things that have and are happening in our country. The tough anti-terrorism act has a broad definition which describes terrorism as the “use of violence or threat of violence with intent to promote or achieve political, religious, economic and cultural or social ends in an unlawful manner”(Human Rights Watch 2003). What is threat of violence and what is unlawful in the Uganda context? Under this broad definition anything said or done that the NRM government does not like can land any Ugandan in jail for a long time or forever. When you have laws like these there is no democracy, no freedom, no fairness and no dignity. Under these circumstances Uganda cannot claim to be a democracy where people are sovereign with freedom to express themselves. It is a dictatorship, pure and simple, regardless of whether elections are held or not which forces people to stay silent.