Thanks everyone for your heart-felt comments about my Christmas column. (See previous post below from Dec. 19). Special thanks also to the Cibotaru-Anschutz family in Kansas City, whose generous donation will definitely help Betty and her mom stay afloat. My Christmas in Kansas City with my family (domestic and international) was wonderful. Tomorrow, it's back to Uganda. This time, my wife and son will go along. Wish me luck--not with the Ugandans, but with my wife and son. (Just kidding, honey bun).
Ugandans wish for peaceful 2011
From the Parkville Luminary
KAMPALA, UGANDA—Ugandans are looking forward to 2011 with a mixture of hope, anticipation, fear, and dread. At least, that was the reaction of those who were asked what their New Year’s wish was for Uganda in 2011. Not coincidentally, all of the wishes relate to the presidential election on Feb. 18, 2011.
“My wish is that a lot of Ugandans will go out there and vote in the coming elections. It's my understanding that many Ugandans have become apathetic about the system, so much so that they become silent enablers of an electoral system that is already corrupt. I also think that it's much harder for incumbents to rig elections when voter turnout is high, when people stay out there to watch the outcome of their efforts. They need to get out of their houses.” --Rodney Muhumuza, Ugandan journalist and graduate student, Columbia University, New York.
“My wish for Uganda this year is to have a good political climate during the coming elections and also vote good leaders that will fight to improve the welfare of the people rather than their own stomachs. This is very important because very many people are dying of poverty, starvation but the only thing we get from our leaders is corruption and embezzlement of funds aimed at meeting the needs of the dying Ugandans. So my wish is to see that we get good leaders that will transform the lives of the people and the country in general….I am so disappointed with our leaders today…” –Simon Senfuka, Park University student from Uganda.
“My New Year wish for Uganda is "Peaceful, Free and Fair Elections". This is mainly for two reasons. One is that Uganda never seem to get peaceful, not free and fair elections. The first elections under (Current President) Museveni in 1996 were characterized by violence. Before that, Museveni waged a bloody 5 year war because he contested elections. The last two elections (2001, 2006) have ended of in the Supreme Court with indictments about the process, institutions involved. Ugandans deserve better. Secondly, with all my young family back in Uganda and being almost physically removed from them, anything that seems to threaten them disturbs me terribly. I want them to live in an enabling environment, to feel at home in their country.” –JB Mayiga, former head, Uganda Media Development Foundation; current Canadian doctoral student.
“My New Year’s wish is: A new leader, a new beginning. I wish 2011 ushers in a new leader who will work on Uganda's problems starting from corruption, which I believe is responsible for the poor education system, poor road network, poor health system, poor housing, widening income inequality, sectarianism, nepotism, tribalism, unemployment and lack of respect for the constitution. Then Uganda will have a change that she so much deserves and desires.” –Caesar Kyebakola, business owner.
“My wish for New Year is peace during and after the general elections in 2011. This will prevent bloodshed which usually results from post election violence. May the Almighty God let it be, Amen.” –Grace Lekuru, radio journalist.
“My greatest new year’s wish for my country Uganda is peace and stability…Since 2006 neighboring countries like Kenya, Zimbabwe and Rwanda have also held elections. Countries like Kenya and Zimbabwe have had bad days of election violence just because the elections have not been free and fair which has been solved by forming power sharing deals. (During our election), if one side feels cheated they will resort to violence to make sure at least there is power sharing…I wish all Ugandans were seeing further than just being and having their leaders win , and set all eyes and efforts on peace and stability. I call upon all Ugandans to look further and keep in mind that when we have a peaceful nation, we shall enjoy all the fruits of peace which is my wish for all Ugandans come 2011.” --Betty Mujungu, radio journalist.
“I wish that the journalists cover stories in a balanced way and to say no to politician who move to use them to spread their propaganda and rumor. ..I wish we could have free and fair elections without and violence and above all, couples allowing their partners to freely vote for a candidate of their choice regardless of party differences. I also wish all my family and friends health.” --Gloria Laker, peace journalism project assistant.
My New Year’s wish is the same—peace for Uganda; not just for the sake of the wonderful people of Uganda, but for selfish reasons as well. After all, my wife and son will be with me in Uganda in 2011, and nothing is more important to me than their safety.