2006 was the first time I crossed Karuma Falls. A school trip by the Institute of Psychology, MUK. We were visiting IDP camps. I never told my parents I was travelling to Northern Uganda. They would have forbidden me, for security reasons. I only called my mum the day after. As a “point of information”.

A friend from Rukungiri had been there some months earlier (his first time too), and this is what he had said. That it seemed like another country altogether. He was so angry at this government.

In 2008/9 I was working in Gulu with Watoto Church and the Buganda Riots happened. Never had I felt keenly that I was a Muganda! But of a Munyankore mother. I got into those “omufaliso/omufaraso” Facebook debates.

We aren’t different from America. We have intermarried and we think we have made some progress. Wasn’t it in 2018 when that Quality Shopping Mall shooting happened?! Things quickly spiralled into which tribe whoever was. And yes, this was on social media.

This Lockdown, a friend and I got into this debate with a gentleman big on stereotypes. Mbu he could never let his daughter marry a non-Muntu. (The word, “bantu” translates into “people”) . The Basoga jokes. The Banyarwanda women stories. About Indians, and most recently, the Chinese.

Please think long and hard about your own contribution to TRIBALISM as you condemn racism.

I remember a statement of an much older gentleman when people were saying (mbu) Uganda has enjoyed 30+ years of peace. Let me attempt to paraphrase what he said; “I don’t understand what people mean when they say that. Isn’t Northern Uganda part of Uganda?”

Even having worked in Gulu, and knowing how long the LRA war lasted, I had never thought about this “30+ years of peace”. My problem was more the statement, “now you can sleep”.

See, we can come up with all kinds of solutions to our ethnocentricity. But maybe what we need partly, is an education on “southern-privilege”.

The North and South divide in this country is still huge. Yes, it’s been passed on from generation to generation. It was largely political, as was racism.

Education will create change, but real inside-out transformation will only happen with a new birth!! A birth into the kingdom of the Father, whose Son said; “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12 NIV

The problem is sin, the solution is the Gospel. #MostEssential!!


What do you think?

Written by Sheila Wavamunno

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Mr President, open boda bodas NOW