Friday, November 30, 2018

THEATRE: The men who wanted to build Uganda - Part 2


"The men who wanted to build Uganda" . Part III screening 2050.

The third episode of the documentary opens with an intro and a very powerful voice over.

"The NRM revolution had been born on 26th January 1986. Those who shall come after us will find it difficult to capture the emotional tone of this historic moment. But atleast they would appreciate  great hope we restored in this beautiful great country. That hope can only be summarized  in a promise made by  President Yoweri Museveni on the stairs of Parliament that "This was not a mere change of guards but a fundamental change in the politics of our country"

The monologue continues. For the young generation, it's will be easy to dismiss this hope without understanding the sacrifices made.

The narrator goes on with the cast. Jobs had been unceremoniously abandoned, education halted, families separated and exiled and even personal lives lost, personal safety risked all on singular mission to liberate the country from bad politics of the day that pushed her on blink of total collapse. A young Dr Kizza Besigye quit a well paying job as doctor at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi to join the struggle;  Amanya Mushega left his PhD studies at the London School of Economics; Generals Salim Saleh, Elly Tumwine, Tumukunde, Mugisha Muntu, Sejusa had all survived death by whisker. Amama Mbabazi and Mathew Rukikaire exiled, Sam Magara and  Rubereza unceremoniously extinguished, peasants especially in the Luwero triangle surrendered their last harvest to feed the rebels.

 Without any doubt, these sacrifices were purely hinged on certain higher ideals and calling that transcended narrow and parochial interests of greed for power. They were inspired for several reasons; to define their generational mission and fulfil it, to usher in a period of democracy, respect for human rights, rule of law, free and fair elections, and honest and clean government which was going to be a launch pad of the new and prosperous Uganda Project that would be an envy of the future generations to come. It's fair to say these were ideals worth fighting and dying for.

The next episode recounts the revolution in its hey days , it  tried to live up to its  promise. Ofcourse the post revolution reconstruction phase didn't come on a silver platter either. Mistakes were made but the citizens gave it a benefit of doubt. Most observers felt that government was driven by genuine desire to collect the wrongs that had taken them to the Bush and no wonder it enjoyed the goodwill to do that.

 The NRM was uncompromising in outlining radical steps to reform the economy. At the risk of losing political capital, , it compensated Asians that had lost their business empire in the infamous economic war, it privatized malfunctioning state parastals. It ended state monopolies and liberalised major sectors of the economy. Then it retrenched civil servants, tried to reform the civil service and built the professional army.

 The second phase of the revolution breathed new air and optimism. The young Museveni cut out the  image of statesman. He lambasted other African dictators for over staying their welcome. He became a darling of the International community and its media immortalized him. He was the  new breed of an African presidents. The economy began to grow in leaps and bounds.

The next episode will highlight how the NRM started engaging in self congratulation and the emptiness of the fundamental change that was promised. To be continued *******""

Produced by  Henry K. Otafiire, Executive producer of ''The Men who wanted to build Uganda''.

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