Uganda’s Golden Jubilee

For 49 years, it’s been known that in October, 2012, Uganda would celebrate her 50th Independence Day Anniversary – yet year 50 is here but there is no indication that there is anything to commemorate!  There is “The Uganda Jubilee Handbook 2012”, courtesy of Uganda Jubilee Network, a consortium of Faith organizations. (The) Daily Monitor and New Vision have each reserved a weekly column to mark the jubilee, the NGO Forum are planning something low-key, known to very few and some other organizations are individually planning things, but where is the official Govt of Uganda plan?

There is likely to be uncoordinated flurry of activities without a common theme, leading to triplication of costs, but leaving no mark of the occasion. What happened to old-fashioned, coordinated, long-term planning? I would not be surprised if, to some people, the “obvious” theme is “consolidating the achievements of NRM” all dressed up in yellow!!

Remember the respective 1977 and 1978 Church of Uganda and Catholic Church Centenary celebrations? They were launched in the January of the respective years, at the village church level, with a national theme that run horizontally through all churches and vertically through the Churches hierarchy, building upward momentum through the village, parish, archdeaconry, diocese, reaching crescendo at the Archdioceses, with celebrations that lasted the whole month of December with different activities each day.

As part of the centenary commemoration, each level of the church hierarchy was required to perform a modest development activity such as renovation of the church or acquisition of a musical facility for the church.

Construction of the (“defunct”!) Church of Uganda Centenary House on Kampala Road was inaugurated in 1977 as the major activity to celebrate 100 years of the Anglican Church in Uganda.

Themed songs and poems were composed. Themed music, dance and drama festivals and competitions were held in schools, churches, youth and women groups. Thematic clothes were worn – almost everybody was drawn into the “Centenary” mood because of activities that were visibly, audibly and psychologically coordinated.  Is it possible that 35 years later, in the global village of internet, professional consultancy and advisory services, Ugandans can’t do better than in those “..dark days of Amin”?  

I suggest that while it is too late, it must be done. The appropriate Ministry should commission (obviously they are incapable of putting together) a program that should begin with each household required to do something for themselves, e.g. plant a tree in their homestead, paint their house or formalize their marriage. This should lead to Village Councils initiating a community project and express, in writing, their consensus view on the good and ugly in their village, during the past 50 years. Seminars should be held parishes, sub counties and districts, on a given topic, conclusions of which should be compiled in a “Golden Jubilee Book of unedited views of Ugandans of the fifty years of independence – the past, present and future”. Views of the young, youthful, middle aged and old should be captured separately. Songs, poems and drama shows on a national theme should be encouraged and construction of a National Asset, such as Mulago Hospital should be seriously considered.  Through such activities, true feelings of Ugandans will be manifested.

Now that we are late, planning for the celebration should begin immediately, and 9 October 2012 should be used to launch a year-long program of Jubilee activities that should end on 9 October, 2013 – with the official opening of the National Asset.

Beti Olive Kamya – Turwomwe (0783 438 201)


Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA)