This question was asked by Larry Kanyike in the Daily Monitor in his article Does Uganda Have a Future. His opening statement, and the rest of the article, should stir up some interesting debate:
“It is over 40 years since the colonialists left us to manage our own affairs. When one looks at the situation our country is in, one can’t help but curse the day the Union Jack was lowered and the Uganda flag lifted up.”
It reminds me of a story that Henry, one of the rangers at Murchison Falls National Park, told me on one of my visits there. He said when he was growing up, there was an old man who had lived under colonial rule, through independence, and through the difficult regimes of the 70s and 80s.
One day this old man said to him “Henry – have you heard of this independence thing? When do you think it will end?”
I hope Kanyike’s commentary does create a national dialogue. I firmly believe that the people of each country should be free to govern themselves through a system that works for them, whether that is democracy, monarchy, theocracy or whatever.
However, I also believe that the current leadership in many African countries are every bit as cruel or unconcerned towards the needs of their people as the past colonial leaders were – sometimes moreso.
The question isn’t really “should we go back to colonial rule.” I doubt anybody actually wants that. But, the article brings up more important questions that Ugandans should definitely be asking. Why isn’t the government particularly interested in providing healthcare, good schools, and infrastructure to its people, and what can be done to change the entrenched systems of corruption that allow the government to continue on without real change?
Mark D. Jordahl