Most Africans yet to taste the fruits of independence
Uganda attained her independence from the British in 1962.
Several other African countries had been colonized by different European powers. These imperialistic powers were Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, among others.
Apart from Uganda, Britain colonized countries such as Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Nigeria, among others.
France and Belgium occupied the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Rwanda, Mali, Chad, Central African Republic etc while Angola was colonized by the Portuguese.
Most of the countries gained independence in the 1960’s, save for Zimbabwe and South Africa which liberated themselves a little bit later.
There was immense jubilation all over the continent for this historical victory. Excitement was perceived genuine and popular-reason being that we had been freed from the slavery and bondage of foreign rule.
Never did the citizens imagine that fellow Africans would adversely mismanage the would-be golden achievement.
People eagerly anticipated that self-rule would be a game changer. Among the expectations people had included; the realization of social justice, rule of law, observance of human rights, equal job distribution and meaningful economic recovery. But most of these are by far lacking in most African countries.
Those who championed and masterminded the independence struggles assumed the political responsibility of their respective countries.
In most of the countries, there was only very temporary peace and stability as most of them were immediately ruined by frequent coup d’états and civil insurgencies. Genocides, abductions, murders, rape and arbitrary arrests became the norm.
Electoral democracy , good governance, rule of law, fundamental human rights such as press freedom, freedom of speech and assembly became glaringly scarce everywhere. The economies of various countries became much more ruined than ever before, due to rampant abuse of office, mismanagement of resources, open and systematic plundering of national resources for personal gain, corruption and other ugly vices.
Uganda was not exempted from the above challenges.
Most remarkably, we became a victim of the coup d’états and civil wars. We got leaders who ruled for even weeks and toppled. Some of the vices like corruption, office abuse of human rights have persisted even to date.
Nevertheless, the country has enjoyed some relative stability and peace for nearly four decades now.
Electoral democracy has also prevailed consistently since multiparty politics was restored, with some challenges, though. With electoral reforms and political will, these challenges can be overcome.
The National consultative forum for political parties has so far proposed a series of reforms to Parliament for enactment.
There has also been some economic recovery and significant infrastructural development, among others.
But this recovery is not in broad-based. Most ordinary people do not feel the economic recovery in their pockets.
Businesses close every day. Leaders also fail to secure markets for the produce. Cases of land grabbing are rampant almost everywhere. Landless people can never be productive, especially in the African setting.
Surprisingly, these greedy and already wealthy grabbers are sometimes aided by some corrupt elements in the judiciary, government and security fraternity. Serious action has to be taken to curb this growing menace.
The gap between the rich and poor in abnormally wide and endless. Some rich people are wealthier than all people in an entire district or region combined. It sounds too difficult but true. This sparks immense suspicion, anger and bitterness among the wanaichi, especially when they smell illicitness.
World over, Africa is the only exceptionally endowed continent with diverse natural resources- the vast gold deposits, copper, uranium, diamonds, tin, marble, oil and gas, name them.
Some countries have rich, fertile soils, compounded by favourable climatic conditions. They have diverse natural tourist attractions. They also have robust human resource. What then makes the continent and her citizens poor, miserable and vulnerable!?
With all the necessary natural resources, some countries lack even proper road networks across their territories!
There must be a problem somewhere! Either we face serious governance and leadership challenges or there is lack of the will to cause the necessary change in their countries.
There is lack of vision and strategy. Routine acquisition and piling up of the foreign debt, without prior laying down of proper utilization measures, and even considering the risks involved has also become a cancer of the continent.
In reality, despite celebrating the independence every year, most Africans have never felt the true concept of self-rule, let alone enjoying its fruits. Most families are mired in abject poverty, famine , can’t access medicine and are ultimately facing both physical and psychological torture which have devastating effects on their wellbeing and life expectancy.