The closed banks. PaIn Uganda’s case, time for rolling out the carpet and pulling out the drums to celebrate the end of our worries is seemingly still eluding us. Hopefully, the dialogue will commence soon and come up with robust resolutions which, as the South Sudan experience has demonstrated, must be implementable to prevent recursion of anomie
I didn’t want to return to this theme, but if you live in Uganda, it seems inevitable. We have watched with alarm the increasing incidence of violence in society. What kind of overzealousness prompts supercharged state misfeasors to clobber suspects to pulp, petulant youths without a wince to primitively hurl obscenities at leaders, occult rituals prompting parents to brutally butcher their children, jealous wives to dismember their husbands or jilted lovers to decapitate their spouses? Is there a socio-psychological or theological explanation for these perplexing phenomena?
The complexity of the problem is wide and deep; the artificers have work to do, don’t they? They must consider taking care of the threats we have come to learn daily through the media, the photo-essays foretelling the grim future on our Tellies if nothing is done to reverse the trajectory. Intimidating statements or actions by heartless people cause emotional or physical damage bringing to the fore the issue of amnesty, not revenge for those responsible for committing atrocities. Honey-tongued spokespersons’ statements notwithstanding, Ugandans are overwhelmed, but not cowed.
The priority is not replacing everyone trespassing against our dignity, livelihoods, freedoms, rights and properties, but reconciliation and problem-solving. This requires establishment of a South African post-apartheid type national healing and reconciliation, an organ whose membership needs to be agreed upon. Inclusivity ought to be addressed.
The composition of organisers and expected participants should be representative of all the affected stakeholders and those who might be affected by the outcomes?
I resent saying this, but in a country where the youth are the majority, an octogenarian-driven dialogue [respected senior citizens who are far-sighted, brainy, experienced no doubt] is in terms of proportional representativeness improper.
I am inclined to say it for God and my Country. Youth are often subjected to violence, but they are sometimes perpetrators of it when forcibly militarised by armed groups or voluntarily enlisted. They shouldn’t merely be understood as trouble-makers, but also as potential victims? They, therefore, should be affirmatively co-opted to achieve fair representativeness.
To create convivial relationships, the problems that have to be solved include misperceptions, rivalry, unprincipled competition and mutual hostility.
This is because the expected participants have different needs and wants. Some harbour hidden interests, which are not being acknowledged. It is clear from the loud dissonant voices that apart from lack of information and prevalence of misinformation and disinformation through propaganda-related to certain issues.
Different views and interpretations of what is relevant obtain. There are different perceptions of the world in which the outcomes of the dialogue must necessarily eventually situate. Some revved-up actors across the political spectrum embellish contradicting value systems. Improper or inadequate management of the issues at stake may escalate an already terrifying situation or cause the live-wire conflicts peace-building theorists de Carvalho and de Coning (2013) described in the African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes & Peace-building Handbook. The kind the current dialogue initiatives are ostensibly trying to prevent.
The time for commencing the dialogue is apparently not yet ripe. Ripeness will be reached only when all the parties are convinced that other options have been exhausted. At that point, they are likely to be ready because they may not get more than what they have if they pursue force-based alternatives. My diplomatic ‘Seventh Sense’ reminds me of the omnipotent xtra-specially-good back-room fixers. I cannot recall any negotiation process that didn’t use Channels II and III diplomatic stratagems. Does the recent presence of powerful personalities like presidents Museveni and Bashir on Peace Day in Juba ring a bell?
In Uganda’s case, time for rolling out the carpet and pulling out the drums to celebrate the end of our worries is seemingly still eluding us. Hopefully, the dialogue will commence soon and come up with robust resolutions which, as the South Sudan experience has demonstrated, must be implementable to prevent recursion of anomie.
Mr Baligidde teaches at Uganda Martyrs University-Nkozi. [email protected]