Was Uganda really liberated, and from what?

Happy NRM Liberation day, a special day marked in history as significant time that the National Resistence Army (NRA) took over power and ushered in a revolution that would stand the test of time and establish a unitary government that has stayed in power for over 35 years. Many always assume that NRA came to power buy Gun and established a dictatorial government. But to the contrary there were some other battalions in the north and West Nile that they had to come in good terms with.

Many critics and political analysts elaborate that this government isn’t any different from the previous, and that we are living in a rotten democracy. We therefore have to ask, what is democracy? The NRA under Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, purport that the country was in shambles, no freedom of speech, assembly, corruption, and inequality. The UPC under Milton Obote also believe that they were the first official, democratically elected authority that championed an all African political space in the republic of Uganda. Idi Amin Dada the most iconic set a democratic precedent that will be questioned and debated for generations to come. In this paper i will reference to those three major phenomenon Ugandan leaders whose reign has impacted greatly on the Ugandan democracy that we enjoy today.  

The government of the people, by the people and for the people is in basic terms considered a true democracy. But is this applicable in reality? Do we have any established democracies today that we can boost about and say that the civilization has gone far and beyond?

Just like the definition itself governance should be that of the people who adhere to the Norm, it should be instituted and established by the very subjects to this norm and this establishment should be for the benefit of the people.

In the great west we have the USA that has established a federal kind of democracy that has become a yardstick for many other democracies across the globe. To establish this the country had to go through dark times of an American Civil War. But is this democracy ideal? A leader chosen by the Electoral college, A special category of Americans who believe their say in the democratic discourse of the nation is of more value than the will of the majority.

To liberate someone from something, they should be in a state of entire need and helplessness that your assistance changes the status quo and brings nothing but relief to the distressed party.

When the NRA went into the bush, were they fighting for the people or they merely had selfish interests?

There is no way the entire battalion were fully immersed into the core beliefs of the NRA. The 10 point program could have been the transportation vessel but was the carriage big enough to fit in a gang of rebels from different social classes, a good number being illiterate.

It is very much likely that YK Museveni had less influence and authority over the NRA in the bush than after assuming power. The kind of democracy established after 1986 is unique in that it has stood the taste of time till date with a few bumps on the road most iconic being the Alice Lakwena rebellion and Joseph Konys LRA. The ADF have also tried to make sound their political intentions but regardless this government has shown firm resilience in the matter of peace and security.

At the time of our independence, the political activists at that time spearheaded by literate Ugandans in 1962 also unanimously made a political statement. Though the UNC led by Musaazi felt cheated, the coalition government of UPC and the KY managed to ferry and usher in a fully-fledged Ugandan administration.

IDI Amin dada on the other hand overthrew the constitution and established the first ever coup detat, one that would change the face of politics and democracy in Uganda. Revolutions became part of our politics.

We have experienced a good number of military coups recently, Burkina Faso being the latest. It is very important to note that revolutions are not forms of democracy.

Revolutions and democracy are distinct though commonly misunderstood. A revolution is a means through which a democracy can be established. Democracy takes many forms and is practiced differently worldwide. In the African ancient setting for instance, the elite forces were able to establish multiple empires and kingdoms. These kingdoms were overtaken by revolutions and as a result, chiefdoms alongside other new democracies were established.

Mao Zedong on a new democracy emphasized, ‘that a new society and a new state will have not only a few politics and a new economy but a new culture.”

Take a broad example of the East African community Tanzania and Kenya fully embedded Kiswahili into their national priorities and formed a new wave of East African civilization.

A good number of supposed established democracies have turned processes of electing representatives and leaders into a popularity contest. It is no longer about capacity and will but more about who is more famous. Election campaigns have metamorphosed from addressing issues to entertainment and political catch phrases. So on the current state of events in the country is the democracy that has been established a formidable one or do we have a long way to go?

Lets celebrate this day not as NRM liberation day but a day that ushered in stability and peace for over three decades leveling ground for the probability of establishing an African democracy that can work for all.

Have a beautiful week.


Published by Thomas Lamony

Lawyer, Writer, Environmentalist, APS/Special Duties-State House Uganda, Artist of the mind. "There is no end to the writing and reading of books, neither is there an end to human evolution." The mind is a kitchen, cook something.

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