Transforming a Neighborhood into a Brotherhood
My brothers and sisters, we are only beginning. We still have a long long way to go and I would like to share with you the burden on my heart about the problems that still confront us. If I would use a subject for what I am talking about, I would call it; Transforming a neighborhood into a brotherhood. I want to try and tell you the truth; i want to speak honestly and frankly about many problems that we face in our nation and this world. I believe that freedom is the bonus we receive for telling the truth and as Jesus said, “ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set ye free”. Transforming a neighborhood into a brotherhood.
Now there can be no gainsaying of the fact that Uganda has brought its people – downtrodden and rich alike - to an all inspiring threshold of the future. We have built gigantic buildings to kiss the skies, we have placed time in chains and we have curved highways midair. This is what our nation has done. What I want to say to you my friends is that when we look to the other side, something basic is missing. We suffer from a kind of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our technological abundance. We’ve learnt to swim the seas like fish and to fly the air like birds and yet we have not learnt the simple art of walking like brothers and sisters. This is the great dilemma facing Uganda and many an African nation. It comes to this point now; we must all learn to live together as brothers and sisters or we will all perish together as fools!
There are two things that we must deal with if we are going to transform this neighborhood into a brotherhood. We have to deal with the problem of tribalism and we have to deal with the problem of economic and human injustices. More and more we have to tell the truth about this problems and the truth means saying to our leaders that tribal injustice is the poor man’s burden and the rich man’s shame. Admittedly we have made some strides, we’ve made some progress but this should not cause any of us to become apathetic, lax or complacent. We need to recognize that the plant of freedom has grown just a bud and not yet a flower. The problems that we face are still very serious.
Uganda has constantly made positive steps forward on Human Rights but it has usually simultaneously made a step backwards. There has never been a single, solid determined commitment by politicians on the question of genuine equality for the “poor man and woman”. On 9th October 1962, the poor man and woman were freed from the bondage of physical slavery through the emancipation proclamation but he wasn’t “given” any land to make that freedom meaningful. It was something like having a man unjustly imprisoned for 30 or 40 years and suddenly you discover that he is innocent, that he has been unjustly jailed for 30 or 40 years and then you simply go up to the man and say, now you are free. But you don’t give him any bus fare to get to town or somewhere he recalls as home after close to a decade in incarceration. You don’t give him any money to buy clothes to put on his back. You don’t give him any money to get on his feet so that he can rise up once more as a man. Emancipation for the poor was freedom to hunger. It was freedom to the winds and rains of heaven. It was freedom without a roof over their heads, Freedom without bread to eat, Freedom without land to cultivate. It was freedom and famine at the same time. This is what happens to the poor man in Uganda today – he has just been set free from Jail.
I have lived in Uganda for a while now and I always get a little worried when I hear the definition of responsible leader because so often when some people call you a responsible leader they are really telling you that you are a leader who will not tell the truth on behalf of your people. So often they mean that you are a leader more concerned about your budget than you are concerned about the freedom of your people. So often they really mean that you are a leader willing to say to the existing power structure what they want to hear rather than what they ought to hear. If we understand this then we will understand that; the politician is not protecting what he thinks is morally right, he is defending what he thinks is morally profitable.
We are somebody. I will start with my own self by freeing my own psyche, my own soul this is where i have got to start from, and this is where I think you also need to consider starting from too.