Who is to blame for all these heartless acts?
I was quite taken aback by comments on my last column What has bred these heartless, merciless Ugandans? from online readers.
Seeing that I was perturbed, a friend took time out to reassure me that writers should have thick skins because, of course, there are many critics out there. However, it is not the three or four readers who accused me of naivety or one that declared that I must be close to cuckoo land because I had not attributed our proneness to violence these days to poor leadership that disturbed me.
No, what perturbed me most is that these particular readers seemed to exonerate us, Ugandans, from our evils and went on to blame others for leading us into evil! Here is a sample:
“Semweya-Musoke, unless you have been living on Mars, you sure by now should know that our people have undergone and are still undergoing a state of gross moral decadence and as a learned person, you should know where the blame lies.”
“When you write good pieces like this and you forget or intentionally omit the leadership as the leaders in violent, merciless heartlessness towards the very citizens they lead - you have missed it all; or you have behaved like the ostrich – bury the head under the sand and think you are hiding.”
Fortunately, there is one that ends with a reasonable, though seemingly miraculous, way forward:
“All this mess is because of total collapse in leadership and we perhaps should revisit that Bible proverb of love thy neighbour to eliminate these heartless merciless Ugandans!”
My cousin Omulangira Musanje has been ceaselessly preaching on Facebook and any place where people will listen, that we must think about our own contribution and that it is our responsibility to better our wellbeing! I have to agree with him now. There is no amount of complaining or moaning that can improve our situation.
It is important that we begin to point out what we have done to rectify a situation. Will there be a time in future when the narrative will change to: I saved this petty thief from being burned alive or my neighbours called out in the night and I rushed out to help?
Every time you hear of a superman or superwoman who risked their lives for others, you invariably acknowledge that this martyr cannot be Ugandan. Yet it used to be very Ugandan to be helpful. What happened to us? Is it true as implied by online commentators that it is the NRM that has grown a beastly nature unto us? A friend on Facebook, who also responded to the article, says:
“When you let those you lead indulge wantonly in, as Miss Aretha Franklin sang, stealing, dealing, backstabbing, greedy grabbing, lying, cheating, don’t be shocked when your entire vessel leaks from every crevice. You reap what you sow andUganda is reaping exactly what has been encouraged to take root – either by omission, commission or, dare one say it, both.”
Is it the NRM that has gotten us here too?
If you have been following the reporting of the goings-on in court, where a Ugandan suspected terrorist confessed to detonating one of the bombs that killed 80 people who were watching the World Cup football final at the Lugogo grounds, you despair. The man describes in detail how they set out, planted the bombs and escaped.
He claims that he was fearful and did not detonate the first bomb but when he heard it blast off, he called the number that activated the second.
Last week, a 21-year-old white man went to a black church and shot nine people in South Carolina, America. How horrific! But we have been there as well; several Ugandan Muslim clerics have been murdered, including one who was shot outside a mosque, with some members of his family watching!
A friend from my Rotary Club chastised me for not getting it. In his opinion this is about the lack of leadership in its real sense perhaps from family, or from our environs when growing up.
The hatred going on, according to him, is caused by those exposed to bad leaders who call others imbeciles, kaffirs, etc. As for personal responsibility, he asserts that some restrain themselves but may applaud the evil or killings done by others. Chilling; I wish and pray that I may never take to this way of thinking!