In Uganda rampant inflation – coming shortly after a disputed election win for President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni – has given birth to the Walk to Work campaign. The Government response has been to shrug its shoulders and mete out obscene violence. This in turn has led to what looks like a surge in support for the main opposition figure, Kizza Besigye.
The government’s treatment of Besigye has placed him firmly in the media spotlight. And he is wasting no time in cultivating the idea that he is a popular leader who is fighting a despotic an increasingly unpopular and despotic Africa regime. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?
It remains to be seen whether Besigye is someone who can effectively unite Ugandans against Museveni. The fact is, his Forum for Democratic Change performed quite poorly in the Presidential election, though they reject these elections as fraudulent.
All of this has revived a question that has been bugging me for a while now… Where are the heroes of Ugandan independence?
My brothers and sisters from places like Ghana, Congo, Guinea-Bissau and Azania (South Africa) can all point to leaders who organised the people in successful anti-colonial resistance. These are the likes of ‘Osagyefo’ Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Steve Biko, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, and Amilcar Cabral. These individuals are held in great regard because of the visionary leadership they provided to the independence movements. Of course, these individuals did not create themselves. Instead, they emerged from within political movements that prepared them to take positions of leadership. Without such movements, none of these men would have emerged.
But when I think of my home country Uganda, I can’t think of any such great leaders or any such movements. We seem to lack that history of popular anti-colonial resistance that so many other countries have. I might be wrong about this – in which case, I will greatly receive correction and enlightenment.
Maybe with the current crisis in our country, the time is ripe for such a movement to develop – and for “Uganda’s Lumumba” to emerge?