Freedom of expression will liberate Uganda

Countries that have progressed have had citizens that fought for their inalienable (natural or God given) rights and freedoms including freedom of speech. They have also taken risks. When you shy away from them chances are that you will remain behind. Some efforts create quick results – negative or positive – others take a long time. Sometime reversals occur. But a start has to be made.

Uganda has just ended fifty years of independence. The overall assessment is that things haven’t happened the way we wanted them. That means we have to revisit what we did and find out what we need to discard, refine or retain as is.

One of the common complaints in Uganda is the system of governance that has concentrated power in the central government and suffocates efforts for regions or districts to decide what they need to do to improve the quality of their lives. The tier system that Uganda has introduced through decentralization is not sufficient because the central government determines what states/provinces or districts should do and the minister of local government is empowered to take decisions that could frustrate local initiatives.

Is Uganda going to end up like Rome?

Prevention is better than cure because it is less costly in lives and property. A multi-sector approach is also better than a single-sector analysis because in human endeavors many factors interact directly or indirectly; visibly or invisibly. Many people believe the Roman Empire (the western part) fell because of Barbarian invasion alone but on closer scrutiny there were other factors involved. Similarly in Uganda, there are those who think that Lugard used Nubians alone to destroy Bunyoro kingdom; that Amin used Sudanese and Kakwa soldiers alone to end the first Republic; that Museveni used Uganda and Tutsi guerrillas alone to destroy the second Republic. In these cases, there were other actors.

Some people are complaining that the influx of migrants into Uganda (like the barbarian movements into Rome) may destroy the Republic. The July 2010 bombs that exploded in Kampala City and killed over 70 innocent people including foreigners and injured many more are being blamed on Somalis and have led to their harassment in Uganda. There were possibly other actors.

The intention of this article is to demonstrate that in today’s Uganda there are many factors contributing to deteriorating conditions similar to what happened before the Roman Empire collapsed. Summarized below are causes which led to the collapse of the Roman Empire.