I was reading Prof. Mahmood Mamdani's presentation at the Abu Mayanja Annual Lecture and I was moved by the man's eloquence and his grasp of fundamental issues. The gist of his lecture is simple, that we are at a crossroads.
"I believe that we are today at a national impasse. Everyone knows that the Movement that came to power with the promise of 'fundamental change' in 1986 turned around and promised 'no change' in the multi-party elections that followed the adoption of the new Constitution in 1995. On its own admission, the Movement had a modest vision of change, limited to the realization of security: 'at least we can now sleep'. Having achieved this goal, at least in most of the country, its vision was exhausted. Its energies now appear to be invested in preventing change, an objective that no one in history has ever succeeded to achieve.
The Opposition is narrowly focused on the question of exercising power. Impatient to rule, it regularly protests the ruling party's failure to observe the two term limit on the exercise of presidential power as no less that a subversion of the spirit of the constitution. But the Opposition does not observe the two-term rule in its own ranks. It has failed to practice what it preaches."
He delves into the most niggling political issue in the country with surgical precision and gets to the heart of the matter. We are divided and there are those who threaten to divide us further for their own selfish motives. These very people have forgotten what we have given for this unity; our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters have died so that we may be united. Those we have elevated above us as our leaders seem to be leading us in the wrong directions. He simply says that
"Today the situation is ripe for a national alliance between all those who are determined to resist the politics of fragmentation, regardless of political party, or region. This alliance needs to be based on two recognitions: first, the demand for federo is today the forefront of that resistance; second, this demand needs to be articulated in an inclusive manner, as indeed it was in the Luwero Triangle."
I cannot pretend to have answers in the form of government policies that should be adopted to address these issues, but it would seem that someone needs to remind our leaders that first and foremost the people must be listened to. My belief in that cardinal principle of democracy, that "Vox Populi, Vox Dei" leads me to the realisation that the people must speak. We must say what we think and feel about these things. The time for apathy and ignorance is past, now is the time to speak up and be heard!
It occurs to me that we who aspire to tell tales do so in the hope of changing lives, of making people better. Mamdani's words have inspired me to start a movement. It seems that "The Movement" we lent our names to is going astray and there is need for new energy, vision and leadership. We must help our leaders to govern better and the only way we can do that is by holding each other accountable for word and deed. We must lead by example and practice what we preach. Those of us who hold dear the belief that we are all one people, that the fundamental precepts of democracy are right and true should practice what we preach. Let us acknowledge that simple fact, that no matter where you come from, no matter who you are, you are above all else a human being. Thus we shall begin "The Multi-Ethnic Movement" that we have been called upon to start.
My life is such that I have come to realise how nothing is out of reach if only you have the ability to dream. It is interesting that it has taken me all these years to realise something so simple and true, that no matter what, your dreams will always be yours. I have hope that tomorrow will be a better day and I am doing my bit to make it so.
In brief, I came to tell you that we are starting a movement of peace, a revolution if you will. Let us give the people a voice and see if it truly is the voice of God. I invite all of you who so desire to be a part of it, all you have to do is be the change you want to see in the world. Perhaps that will be our legacy, we as Africans. Perhaps we are the ones destined to give the world the true meaning of peace and humanity shall forever remember us as such. Let us make history people and begin a true "Multi-Ethnic Movement".
PS: Anyone who has information on starting a Civil Society Organisation please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would appreciate your thoughts on this because I cannot do it alone.
PPS: Whoever has a book by Prof. Mamdani and wouldn't mind me borrowing it, holla at me. I'm off to attend a wedding, will tell you about all that later.