Ugandans have started reacting on a baking plan to name President Yoweri Museveni, the “Father of the Nation”.
Reports from western Uganda indicate that the said title was National Residence Movement groups united under umbrella body, Voice of the Movement.
Led by Mbarara Woman MP, Hon Emma Boona, and its District Coordinator, Hajj Jamilu Bakyansi, and National Coordinator, Katamba Kanyankole, the group is busy lobbying for the return of President Museveni to office come 2016 general elections.
According to the laid out plans, the group wants Museveni to be crowned “Father of the Nation” during May 1, Labour Day Celebrations to be held in Kisoro District.
Why Museveni shouldn’t be crowned?
“How many citizens in the nation of Uganda have been consulted about this?” inquired Dr Vincent Magombe, Gen David Sejusa’s ally and Press Secretary of Free Uganda (FU), and Head of Diaspora Mobilisation of the Platform to Rescue Uganda (PRU).
“This is utter rubbish and an abuse of the intelligence of Ugandan People, the majority of whom have suffered and continue to suffer and the catastrophic misrule by Mr Yoweri Museveni across the decades.”
Magombe says the “Father of the Nation” does not destroy the very nation he is supposed to care for saying “Mr Museveni has failed to eradicate poverty, unemployment – especially of the very youth of the nation, lack of medical care and proper education for the majority of Ugandans”.
“He has failed to end insecurity, and instead Ugandans are being murdered on a daily basis and the cases remain unresolved. Uganda is ailing with lack of democracy.”
According to Magombe, the country has been grossly scarred by run-away corruption and nepotism.
“Bribery is so common, you do not have to go far from state house to see the dirty vice at play.”
He said the people who are behind this “crazy and imprudent so-called “Father of the Nation” move (and one can see the hand of State House in all this) should spare us the joke”.
“In the circumstances, not only is the plot vain, but truly dangerous, as Ugandans can see through these ignominious manoeuvrings, which are meant to pave for the actualisation of the so-called sole candidacy in elections that won’t be free or fair – something that the majority of the country’s citizens are preparing to resists at all costs.”
In her analysis titled: “WHY MUSEVENI CANT BE ‘FATHER OF THE NATION”, Sarah Nalukenge, a social and political commentator, says “Father Of The Nation’ is honorific tittle given to a man considered the driving force behind the establishment of his country, state or nation”.
“In monarchies, the monarch was often considered the “father/mother of the Nation” or as a patriarch to guide his family,” she writes.
She cited the many “dictators who bestow titles upon themselves, which rarely survive the end of their regime” including among others; Eyadema of Togo had titles like Father of the Nation, Elder Brother, and Guide of the People.
Mobutu of Zaire was often referred to as; The Messiah, The Helmsman, The Leopard, The Sun, The Cock Who Jumps on Anything That Moves.
In post-colonial Africa, Father of The Nation was a tittle used by many leaders both to refer to their role in the independence movement as a source of legitimacy and to use paternalist symbolism as a source of continued popularity.
On Joseph Stalin’s 70th birthday, he was bestowed with the tittle “Father of Nations” for his establishment of “peple’s democracies” in countries occupied by the USSR after World War II.
The tittle “Father of the Nation” is sometimes politically contested. In 1972 the constitution of Bangladesh declared Sheikh Majibur Rahman to be “Father of the Nation” but in 2004 the BNP government removed this.
The opposition Awan League led by Rahman’s daughter protested to no avail. A motion in the parliament of Slovakia to proclaim controversial pre-war leader Andrej Hlinka “Father of The Nation” nearly passed in 2007.
Some of the individuals bestowed upon the title of “Father of The Nation”, according to Nalukenge, include; George Washington – USA, Ahmed Shah Durran – Afghanistan, Sir John Macdonald – Canada, Carlos Manuel de Cespedes – Cuba, Kwame Nkrumah – Ghana, Sukarno – Indonesia, Theodore Herzil – Israeli, Jomo Kenyatta – Kenya, Kim Gu – Republic of Korea, Sam Nujoma – Namibia, Nelson Mandela – South Africa, Peter I – Rusia, William the Silent – Netherland, Sun Yat Sen – Republic of China, Julius Nyerere – Tanzania, Donald Dewar – Scotland, Tanku Abdul Rahman – Malaysia, Gustav I – Sweden, Sheikh Zayed Bin Al – UAE etc.
Nalukenge further writes that for over two decades now, Museveni has systematically been attempting to rewrite the history of Uganda in order to suit his life presidency schemes.
“He has no regard for the contribution of past leaders in nation building and is struggling to spread a belief especially among the unsuspecting youth that Uganda started with his coming to power three decades ago.”
To her, in the case of Uganda, the title of “Father of the Nation” is undoubtedly suitable for Dr. Apollo Milton Obote who took over power from the colonial masters.
“However despite all the belittling, you can’t separate Dr Obote’s name from Uganda’s independence. If Dr Obote alone can’t be recognised as the “Father of the Nation” then Uganda deserves to have “Fathers of the Nation” in the likes of I. K. Musaazi, Dr Obote, Ben Kiwanuka, Sir Edward Muteesa, and a few others who led the struggle for independence.”
She says Museveni who came to power 30 years ago has demonstrated that he is more “power hungry than all past leaders, the human cost of his coming to power stands higher that any other past leader, he is leading is corruption and abuse of office, sectarianism has reached its peak during his regime, control of the economy by a small clique is the official policy, etc”.
In December 2014, Nalukenge wrote an article with the title: “Museveni Abusing the Institution of National Heroism” in which she highlighted the fact that Museveni was planning to bestow upon himself the title of “Father of the Nation”.
“This is an action that can be blocked by a court order if some sensible Ugandan sought for an intervention. The title signifies the level of dictatorship in Museveni and if bestowed it will not survive the end of his regime,” she wrote.