Uganda’s independence monument on Nile Avenue has been spruced up again (see recent spruce up here) in time for the Commonwealth Youth/People/Heads of Government Meeting. Behind the monument is a large a colorful new mural depicting Uganda’s history painted by … I have no idea who and I am too lazy to find out.
While it is a definite improvement to the peeling, moss grown white-brown wall, I can’t help but wonder if I was taught and have experienced a slightly different history than what is portrayed in the mural.
… but there were other communities apart from the Baganda involved in the pre-independence era, no? Sure, the Baganda were essential in spreading British colonialism around the country, but 45 years after independence from Queen E and her lot, it is irregular that we should only acknowledge compliance to foreign rule.
Why not draw scenes from some of the largest independence movements of the time? Like the Bunyoro Nyangire Rebellion in 1907, the Nyabingi Cult of Kigezi and the Acholi Lamogi Rebellion of 1912.
I have nothing to say about this next picture apart from observing that people had really big feet in 1962.
My history teachers, apart from Mr. B and Mrs. T in GHS and Mr. W in Macosh, were among my favorite teachers. Miss Pasha made me fall in love with history in P.3 and P.4 and Mr. Bashaya would reenact the burning of the young Christian boys at Namugongo with so much heart that I never tired of listening to him. Together with my music and literature classes, history lessons were the highlights of my week. I didn’t doze off once during the classes and I was a model student asking (un)intelligent questions and passing my exams.
I swear, I never ever heard of Stalin or Lenin or whoever it is in the next picture visiting Uganda.
What exactly does the painting imply? I like hundreds of Ugandans (okay four … what the heck) have a copy of President Milton Obote’s Common Man’s Charter, but this painting goes a little further than speak of the (de)merits of socialism. It insinuates that Uganda’s post-colonialist multiparty system was messed up by Communists! And on a closer look the man in the picture looks like Adolf Hitler. What is going on? And where is the Uganda Patriotic Movement flag? Why is it being hidden in the background?
The next picture in the mural is self-explanatory, although it is a little out of sync chronologically.
So then the bad guys seize power and pow-pow all the men wearing white underwear and …
… we are saved by this guy, of course. Interesting that he is the only one of Uganda’s eight presidents depicted in the mural. All hail the democratically elected
dictator for life President YKM the Provider of New Constitution, Regurgitator of Old Ideas and Guarantor of Some Basic Freedoms.
Bambi I am not anti-Museveni. I love the guy. He said hi to my dad once, so I received a presidential acknowledgement by association.
And with YKM comes prosperity, peace and poblahblah. Uganda embraces Universal Primary Education in which the most complex problems of the day like the answer to 1+2 are pondered. We sell toy houses to shady looking foreigners in pink suits and export stuff (oba?).
Finally, hallelujah glory be, CHOGM!
So … no mention at all of the most prominent event in the history of Uganda: the 20-year northern Uganda insurgency. Nothing about the massacres at Barlonyo and Atiak. Nothing about the Mukura train massacre. Nothing about the thousands who were killed, maimed and abducted. Nothing about the disfranchisement of an entire generation.
Oh, and remember that small incident when armed men besieged the High Court, prompting a weeklong strike by the judiciary? How about corruption, the rich becoming richer and the poor becoming poorer? And shouldn’t there be a depiction of the blatant theft of the Shimoni Primary School land?
Maybe I have been living in a parallel existence. Maybe I was taught the wrong history.
But who cares? We are ready for CHOGM!