By Paul Edotu
Cadre, Paralegal and Public Administrator.
Following ,the conclusion of the events of marking the NRM’s 36 Years and 41 Years of the liberation struggle respectively, I did write two articles; one titled “36 Years of a transformed Country from a largely subsistence economy to a mordern middle income State in Africa ” and the other Titled “Uganda’s liberation Journey 1971- To date what Ugandan Citizens should Know and appreciate” all these articles were based on somehow scanty information I gathered from oral accounts of the liberation struggle and also from the eloquent speeches of H.E Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda.
During these two occasions and also my own effort to try to review our political history and the legal dispensation framework in place, I have learnt quite a lot as far as the liberation dividends Uganda is enjoying are concerned. In case you have not come across these two articles you need to get them and read though not very detailed, the feedback they have generated is so fascinating. Many have alluded to the fact that much had been done by the NRM government in Uganda but little is known out there or has been deliberately covered from being disseminated yet we are living in the information and communication revolution era, call it ICT.
All actors in government and the public out there need access to vital information. For example Government has passed a number of policies, and laws; all these have to be disseminated and explained to the citizens for them to appreciate and begin to perform their duties and to practice what is required of them.
For example, government is now emphasizing about the Parish Development model as a fundamental paradigm shift in the decentralization policy of government.
For the first time, all parishes in Uganda shall not only be planning entities but will receive direct cash transfers from the Ministry of Finance. The Government has also come up with the 5 factor models of economic interventions intended to transform the economy from low income to higher middle income these include, intensive and commercial Agriculture, Value addition, industrialization among others. It’s against that background that considerable effort needs to be placed to mobilise citizens to cause mindset change.
It’s noteworthy to say that sometime back government passed a policy on government hour for all media houses, I don’t know if this arrangement is still working and if it’s working. There is a top bottom and bottom up framework of agreed information to be communicated to our masses especially the Bazukulu who form a bulk of our population.
I am of a strong view that the government needs to come up or strengthen, its communication strategy of vital information, otherwise somebody is occupying this space to misinform and radicalise our youths to engage in acts of violence.
The idea of writing a book about the liberation journey of Uganda which came up on commemoration of the 41 years of Uganda liberation journey was indeed a golden discovery. I should say because even the little I attempted to write in those articles I have stated has generated for me a lot of responses across the country ,with youths from institutions of higher learning expressing interest to get more copies of the books containing this kind of information. Undeniably, we need to acknowledge that we are living in information age, therefore government being the custodian of public information needs to profile this information and relay it in systematic and a coherent manner to its citizens.
I wish also to observe that during the lockdown, it almost became institutionalised that every Sunday either at the beginning or end of the month, the President would address the nation. Until recently also it took H.E the President to come out to explain to law enforcement agencies, the fact that torture of suspects miscarriages justice but for many years government agencies paid huge amounts of money in court penalties arising from these incidences so it goes without mention that government needs a framework through which vital information is disseminated for ideological orientation and mindset change not just for citizens but even for government officials.
The concept of ideological orientation and mindset change is what defined transformation in developed countries like China and the rest. The medium to achieve this is primarily through communication and mass mobilisation however it must be done systematically.
In this day and age, citizens should understand that the NRM government ushered in freedom of speech, if there is any concern it should be raised to appropriate organs of the State or agency of government for that matter and a formal response is provided without individuals or groups engaging in public protests or violent demonstrations which in most cases have brought confrontation with law enforcement agencies of the state.
Ugandans have just come out of elections of a government of their choice, a government with a program and government which is willing to listen to the concerns of citizens therefore whoever has any concern should do so in a lawfully provided manner, and you should be able to get a response without having to demonstrate or resorting to violence all of which are weapons of the week and the feeble.
As a country, also we may need to write our own history which we bequeath to our children through, the education curriculum. This history will help our young people to appreciate our development frontiers and give them direction. This can only be possible when we have properly chronicled our historical liberation journey both politically economically and socially as a nation.
National leadership Institute should also cascade its programs to districts and institutions of higher learning including patriotic clubs in schools now that schools are open. There has been a relapse created by Covid 19 closure of the economy.
It’s against that background that I strongly recommend that government strengthens or creates a body responsible for National ideological orientation and mindset change at the central and local government levels to fast track dissemination of key milestones of Uganda’s liberation journey including social economic transformation.
For God and my country.
Cadre, Paralegal and Public Administrator.