In Summary

  • It is true criticism can be an extremely difficult thing because we think that someone wants to tell us how to do things better. It can be hard to deal with; after all nobody likes to be told they are wrong.

I have keenly been following the debate in which Mr Odrek Rwabogo has been perceived as critical of his party and the Head of State in urging the country’s current leadership to open up about the issues that are being faced not only as a country but within the National Resistance Movement.
Many in the broad online have adopted a norm where being an ally or a member of a political party means that you never critique people who are presumed to be speaking from the side of the ruling party or within the Opposition.
I read Mr David Mafabi’s rebuttal in Daily Monitor of February 24, where he opposed the need for further discussion on the need to force internal democracy in order to carry out second generational reforms in the economy and governance.

He states: “As for the Ugandan economy, there is clear development policy framework in place going beyond recovery, construction and aimed at take off... unfortunately, while the President bends over backwards to accommodate the elite and intelligentsia in the Movement, state and other spaces, they respond in perpetual slow motion and that some of the more youthful echelons have started confusing biology for ideology...’’
I beg to differ because this line of thought can be very dangerous. Nobody has an absolute monopoly on knowledge.
At Kings College Budo, we used to write letters to girls in Gayaza, Namagunga ,etc through the Post Office. One had to wait for about two to three weeks to get a reply on whether ones charms had succeeded or not.

With technology of whatsapp, sms and e-mail, your fate is decided in a matter of seconds. Are we thus to maintain this line of thought that because things were done in a certain way we should not be receptive to a new way of doing things?
Levelled criticism on all fronts should be for the development of persons and country.
Take an example of Kampala City a few years ago. Many people were sceptical of the new body Kampala Capital City Authority taking over from Kampala City Council. A conflict manifested itself in the day-to-day running of the City. However, despite all that let us take note that the garbage, potholes, overflowing road and sewage channels and market conflicts, among others were visible to the naked eye.

Perfection may not have been attained and despite Jeniffer Musisi and Erias Lukwago both being strong headed individuals and there being a reluctance to compromise it is worthy to note that Kampala is much better now than it was then. Musisi should learn wherever her shortcomings appear and Lukwago should exercise a level of compromise for the greater good.
It is true, criticism can be an extremely difficult thing because we think that someone wants to tell us how to do things better. It can be hard to deal with; after all nobody likes to be told they are wrong.
If someone does criticise the workings of the government or any political party it means they want to give you feedback on what you are doing for them. That means an opportunity to learn more about the people you are working for and how to convert them into satisfied citizens and party members. We need to learn to take a moment to respond to what they are saying. For example, in a play or production it might mean getting to know what your audience actually wants.

If you are of the opinion that you’re always right but don’t get feedback from anyone else, how will you know for sure that what you’re doing is good? Whether it’s a service provided, listening and acting on those honest views will tell you precisely what is good and what can be done better-sure it will make for uncomfortable listening but it can make your product stronger.
It is true that the National Resistance Movement has brought a fundamental change, credit should be given where it is due by the Opposition for one needs to only travel around Kampala and to the rest of Uganda to see the infrastructural development that has taken place. Peace and security has been attained and with that subsequent development which shouldn’t be taken for granted. However despite all that there is a lot lacking and there is always room for improvement, further there are ways to constructively tolerate and criticise each other.

We are all concerned citizens with different political affiliations. We should learn not to take it personal if someone doesn’t immediately like how things are done. Even if you feel you are being criticised unfairly, don’t retaliate with an extreme knee jerk reaction or else you might irreparably damage your prospect of bettering the conditions of people and party.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who had travelled in from South Africa to enjoy the beautiful weather here. He spoke glowingly of his trip, and the friendly Ugandan people he had interacted with. We caught up on the old times where we passionately debated, strongly disagreeing on world politics.
What I realise now was we both exhibited raw stubbornness and were unwilling to listen to each other in the past but alas we were in tandem now! After all we are ranked as the world’s friendliest people, let us exhibit that.
Mr Mugamba is an advocate. gyvermugamba@gmail.com