Yesterday, Uganda turned 56 years old and independent save for abnormal events in the country such as state minister for Defence’s recent claim in Parliament that there are occupational forces from as far as Nigeria battering Ugandans with impunity on the streets of Kampala. This makes independence of Uganda a far cry.
At 56 years, independence would mean transparency, self-rule, self-determination, accountability, love for the country (patriotism), no corruption and exploitation. Uganda was the home to powerful Buganda and Bunyoro kingdoms before the arrival of the colonialists in the late 19th Century. She became a British Protectorate in 1894 with her present borders established in 1926 who managed themselves very well.
Uganda’s approach to independence was unlike that of other colonies, where political parties had been organised to demand independence from the reluctant colonialists. There had been demands for greater autonomy, but these were mostly expressed by local nationalists surrounding the then five constituent kingdoms. National demands for independence began with the formation of the Uganda National Congress (UNC) in 1952 based on the patterns of the Congress party of India by nationalists such as Ignatius Musazi and Abu Kakyama Mayanja.
Deep religious divisions had developed. The British liked and supported the elite, who had largely been converted to Protestantism. Ethnic divisions were just as evident then as it is today.