After reading my opinion bearing the above title, published in the Sunday Monitor of January 22, a friend sent me feedback to say the question posed begs an answer. Well, looks like the answer came sooner than we expected.
On January 26, at a public event held at Masindi, none other than sabalwanyi (supreme fighter) himself, appears to have answered that rhetorical question.
According to a front page story published in the Daily Monitor of January 27, the big man bragged openly, without mincing his words, that he is not a servant or employee of anybody.
“I am not an employee. I hear some people saying I am their servant. I am not a servant of anybody. I am a freedom fighter; that is why I do what I do. I don’t do it because I am your servant. I am not your servant. I am just a freedom fighter. I am fighting for myself, for my belief – that is how I come in. If anybody thinks you gave me a job, he is deceiving himself. I am just a freedom fighter whom you thought could help you also,” he said.
This was, according to a compatriot, a new low in the annals of modern Ugandan history. What sabalwanyi meant to say, in plain language, is that he owes Ugandans absolutely nothing. If anything, Ugandans should be grateful for the leftovers of the animal which he has generously offered them to cope with rampant hunger and abject poverty. May the Lord have mercy!
It is amazing, mindboggling and disappointing to hear such talk emanate from an elected leader of a modern and seemingly progressive country. It has taken me several days to reflect on the meaning and purpose of that unbelievable speech.
Why on earth would anybody, let alone a senior official, in his right mind and in control of his mental faculties make such a demeaning, futile and self-destructive speech at a public forum, in broad daylight and at an event which was covered live by local and foreign media? I don’t have the answers, but keen observers of Ugandan politics were not surprised.
An editorial published in the Sunday Monitor of January 29 spoke eloquently for the voiceless wananchi. As a person who was elected by Ugandans to lead and serve them barely one year ago, sabalwanyi’s remarks should, as the editorial expressed, worry all Ugandans.
It is a fallacy for a former or current leader of Uganda to think that whatever he or she did or is doing for the country is a favour! I am not aware of anybody whom Ugandans have begged to lead or liberate them!
A friend who is a biblical scholar lamented that sabalwanyi appears to lack humility and self-control, two virtues the apostle Paul wrote about in a letter to the Galatians titled: “The Spirit and Human Nature.”
“But the spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. There is no law against such things as these. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. The spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives. We must not be proud or irritate one another or be jealous of one another.” Galatians 5: 22-26 (GNB)
A time-tested word of wisdom teaches that some things are best left unsaid. One cannot in a reasonable court or forum be accused of what one has not said. A man who has humility and self-control can avoid saying nasty things which will cast him in bad light or make him a laughing stock.
On the importance of being a servant
For us believers, a servant and especially a servant of God, occupies an important place of honour and since the voice of the people is the voice of God, a servant of the people is a role and position one should be proud of. Being a servant of the people is what makes one honourable. I am proud to be a servant and witness of the Lord who is the fountain and giver of freedom.
A classic portion of Scripture, Isaiah chapters 52 and 53, titled: “The Suffering Servant” is a prophecy about Jesus Christ’s mission to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.
Many conflicts have throughout history arisen over rights or what is unfair or what people believe they deserve and have been unjustly denied by others. Such issues breed anger, division and pain, and if not handled properly and wisely can cause fights. The fire is often lit by careless or reckless talk; hence the need for each one of us to exercise maximum restraint and self-control in whatever we say, especially what we say in a public forum.
The damage which sabalwanyi’s speech has done to the body politic and the national image of Uganda is enormous and should not be dismissed or underestimated.
Ugandans belong to one big family; we must learn to respect one another, resolve our differences peacefully and address our national problems as brothers and sisters, not as if we are enemies. Uganda’s political, religious and civic leaders have an important role to play in this regard.
Remember, before the throne of God all human beings are equal and all human beings matter to our Creator, including the least of Uganda’s wananchi.
May the Lord guide us and give us wisdom to live peacefully and honourably in the pearl of Africa. For God and my Country!
Mr Acemah is a political scientist, consultant and a retired career diplomat. email@example.com