I have toyed around with the idea of writing a column for nearly three months now.
The initial thought hit me after my participation in the protests to highlight the regressive and fundamentally flawed idea of taxing social media and became even more brazen during the arrest, torture and prolonged detention of legislators and campaigners of Kassiano Wadri in the Arua by-election.
For me, these events represented a challenge – and a strong one – to an idea I have deep faith in, democracy.
There was no platform for me to spring to the defence of the idea without compromising the ethics, morals and culture of the spaces I held – and still hold.
So to start with, this column will be a complete dedication to engaging and sharing on the basic ideals of democracy.
Secondly, through the months of trying to engage in public discourse, I have noted the sad decline in debate, ideas and knowledge. These have been firmly replaced with bias, power and intolerance.
On many engagement platforms; social media, TV panels, community meetings and debates it is now common place to insult those we don’t agree with and in fact shut them out. The rigorous intellectual labor required to defend our positions on things has been substituted with the easier route of a block button and a mute option.
But also, debates have become completely toxic. Both protagonists and antagonists argue their biases not with a view of harnessing a better society but deepening their resolve in the ideas they hold. Debates have become completely bastardised argued less on fact but more on opinion, less on research and knowledge and more on ego and patronage. This is unhealthy for any democracy, much less a young one like Uganda.
So this column will also seek to promote healthy debate. There will be a lot of catching fallacies where they are used, exposing them and showing argument lines and clashing points in basic public debate.
The last, is that this column is a fulfillment of my commitment to engage in thought leadership. I have over the last years benefited from a raft of leadership programmes and mentorship, I have also been privileged to sit in and engage decision makers – sometimes for the better and others for the debate and knowledge. I want to use this column to further that.
So here is to writing the unconventional thought.