Sorrow Wears A Big Hat

Written by Umar Katende Mukiibi

We human beings, Ugandans in particular are a very vulnerable lot. We are radically dependent on each other for survival, believe it or not. And in this spirit therefore we need to look at ourselves as sailors in a small nearly wrecked boat (assuming we can all fit) in the middle of a vast sea with no hope of rescue whatsoever, and without enough food to keep us going until help arrives- just incase. In such a panicky time, we must decide what to do. And must decide quickly. I’m not sure what you have in mind, but my viewpoint lies in the very last paragraph.

Away from that, Psychologists have revealed in a recent brain-imaging study that verbalizing our feelings makes our sadness, frustration, anger and pain less intense. Putting these feelings into words produces therapeutic effects. But no amount of therapy can treat, or even attempt to lessen the irritability and aggravation majority Ugandans have toward the Electoral Commission-EC, a supposedly non-partisan body, ruthless in its approval and endorsement of a dictator. This emotional outburst was/and still is being exhibited across all social media platforms in what they say is the greatest election rigging of all time. And I can’t agree more. No country in the history of the world has pulled off such open day robbery, even in the midst of ‘Election Observers’ –all in a bid to further the incumbent despot’s 30-year old tyrannical regime.

In a country without a single functioning government institution, it’s heartbreaking to settle with the fact that we’ve won ourselves front-row ticket seats to witness live (not that it’d be any better watching on HD screens from our homes) five more years of corruption, zero service delivery, nepotism, injustice, oppression, prejudice, exploitation, mind-boggling Police brutality (boy oh boy) and many unimaginable atrocities. But what is even more hurting is the excruciating pain of watching fellow countrymen vehemently supporting and praising this dog-tired government. The old people can be given a pass; they are about to die anyway (not that I’m playing God). What pains me to no end however, is seeing scatter-brained youth (with 70%+ unemployment) dull-wittedly chanting songs of praise in admiration of the tyrant. Brothers and sisters, it’s one thing to be banal, stupid and idiotic on the inside, and another to show it openly.

The old folks are probably aware but what some of these youth don’t know is that dictatorships generally employ political propaganda to decrease the influence of proponents of alternative governing systems, as is the nature of nationalism in any governing system. And with this form of leadership, yes, government acts quicker because there are less bureaucratic hoops to jump through, but in the long run destroys the moral fabric of society leaving it economically gutted. Of course you can’t vividly see this if you or mum/dad/spouse is on a heavy government paycheque but believe you me, the end product is a Nation so stunted both economically and intellectually.

There’s a lot to expect in the coming five years, but what you can be sure of is sociopaths (and worse) will get into positions of power and there won’t be a big enough force to counterbalance the harm they will cause. Thieves will run a country so broken down there will be nothing left to steal. And the other thing to expect is the obvious; gradual decline and collapse, just like all dictatorial regimes have, over time.

To the youth that voted wisely only for the EC to do you an injustice, I salute you, and to the ‘Steady Progress’ lot (youth especially) you betrayed those you love to protect a system that is going to harm you- eventually. We are not seeking for sympathy (not at present at least) when we openly come out to ridicule the injustices through our writings and tweets, but for future reference maybe, just maybe our children and their grand children will be proud of us, knowing that their fore-fathers did not keep quiet at a time when oppression blanketed their society. Nor did they dance to the tunes of those whose lust for office was tremendously strong it killed them. They’ll find solace in knowing that we were men and women of substance. Of purpose. Of true faith. Of great hearts. And most importantly of strong minds.

In light of the boat conundrum I opened with, there are many things we can do. We can ask volunteers to jump off the boat; We can play ‘icky picky ponky’ to determine who jumps off the boat; we can have a majority vote and determine which lives are most vulnerable; or we can look in each others’ eyes and see ourselves as fearful, hopeful and in need of compassion. Then start paddling together to get to shore knowing that although we might not all make it, we didn’t turn on each other in our panic. That, as Ugandans is what we ought to do and with trust, reciprocity and solidarity, we shall overcome this sorrow-that wears a big hat.

Courtesy of

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