In Uganda, we have a twisted view of patriotism

Samson Kasumba

Samson Kasumba

, Opinions

Criticism is not really a bad thing this why I am not sure why some have an issue with this word.

May be one thing I can relate with is the absence of a qualifying adjective “constructive” to calm the fears of those who have a problem with the word.

When you come from academia like I did some things you take for granted. This by the way is true for all of us because we are all products of our background.

In fact you cannot understand anyone without necessarily understanding where they have been because we come from is the prism through which we all see life.

Now you know where I am coming from in trying to find out why our politicians think that there is nothing like love for Uganda that is entirely separate from love for a government or an opposition that are not Uganda but managers of Uganda or entities trying to qualify for a position from which they can manage Uganda?

This really bothers me. I am not here to judge them but to empathise with them, if I can, and to make an honest attempt at understanding how, and what it is that got them to this point.

My problem is several fold: Why they cannot see the obvious, how they got to see Uganda this way, and lastly whether this is deliberate or not and should it be, what benefits there are to this flawed approach to patriotism.

I am investigating patriotism and rescuing it from where it has been arrested and placed under safe custody.

Its charge sheet says it was found idle and disorderly around the Constitutional Square wearing one of the colours of the national flag and not all of them.

The Ugandan flag has three colours: black, yellow and red.

Patriotism now can be judged on which one of the three one wears. If you wear one and not all three you can be called unpatriotic.

It all depends on which one. People have gotten into trouble for wearing black, for wearing red and for wearing yellow as well…yet these three are our national colours.

There is no definition of patriotism, and I have been through many, that suggests that patriotism is love for a political party or its opposition. None exists.

Secondly there is no way a political party can be equal to a nation.

Patriotism is a sense of national pride, an ideology and devotion to a home land, a sense of alliance with other citizens who share the same values.

This description here has nothing to do with political parties.

You can actually have no devotion to politics and politicians but be patriotic. I also want to argue that you may be driven by patriotism to shun politics and its practitioners the politicians.

How can you love a nation and you do not engage in the criticism of those who seem to, or clearly work against its very interests?

If the government or the opposition are working against patriotism, they have to be called out. They simply have to be criticised whether they both like it or not.

Patriotism simply leaves a citizen no option.

What is happening here in Uganda is that our politics has a deliberate twisted view of patriotism.

Some have implicitly equated patriotism with love for their way of doing things  while others have defined it as their way of opposing those who run the affairs of Uganda that we must all love.

Now the advantage of doing this is that when you have an issue with say the NRM, they will argue that because you do not like what they are doing, you do not like Uganda.

This is an argument built on a fallacy that Uganda is the NRM.

The opposition in turn will argue that if you do not like their way of going about the business of opposing the NRM (which at times is against what Uganda needs) you are in love with the NRM and you as well have a deep seated hatred for Uganda both also false and untrue.

There is a place for the love of Uganda the nation and distaste for both NRM and opposition.

We that love Uganda genuinely are in the best place because we have no emotional attachment to both NRM and its opposition.

We celebrate only the good that both sides do whether they do that intentionally or not we do not really care.

On the other hand it’s our patriotic duty to call both out when they start to thwart the interests of Uganda’s growth.

None of them is going to be allowed to argue fallaciously that Uganda and its love is one and the same thing as doing what they do and believing in what they believe.

There was a time Uganda was UPC and UPC was Uganda.

Uganda has lived beyond that fallacy too.

I am still looking for the answers to the questions I posed early on. We who studied what I studied, what we never  do is to supply simple answers to complex questions.

As soon as I land on those answers I shall be back here to explain my findings. For now Uganda has hosted Kanye and Kim West.

We can go on and argue whether these are guests of the NRM or its opposition. Both will have something to say about this massive visit for brand Uganda.

Before I forget, the Pope announced a visit here next year.

Is he visiting Uganda, the NRM, or the opposition? Your guess is as good as mine.

  • 86