I have read and heard enough from those who lived through the 70s and early 80s to agree with the notion that things were a lot worse politically then than they are today in Uganda. This, however, does not necessarily mean that our government is doing better than those they accuse of horrible atrocities.
Let me explain.
While most people opine that insecurity and lawlessness prevailed under Amin and Obote 2, not many attribute all the killings, robbery and torture to the presidents themselves. In fact, there are credible narratives emerging about these presidents not being personally aware of these atrocities. But they were the leaders. The buck stopped with them. And because the perpetrators of these injustices did so in the name of the governments they served, the presidents were held responsible.
Today, we have security operatives increasingly metting out injustices -many fatal- with impunity. For many Ugandans, police aren’t the people you call when in trouble; they are the people you run away from to avoid it! And as far as the president’s attitude and comments go, he sees nothing alarming about the status quo.
And so, whatever improvement one might point to in today’s Uganda relative to that of the 70s/80s is not necessarily down to better governance practices, but perhaps more restraint on the part of the would-be perpetrators.
But considering that this restraint isn’t institutional, has been reducing drastically over the past several years and the leadership is not only passively looking on, but actually vehemently denying any responsibility, is it unreasonable to conclude that it is simply a matter of WHEN rather than IF we will slip back to the dark old days our parents keep talking about?
Rest well Daniel KyeyuneRest well Ritah Nabukenya