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Letter from the Editor | Ronnie Mayanja | November 2011

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Posted November 2, 2011 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Editorial ~ 2,441 views

     

By Ronnie Mayanja | Editor, UNAA Times Online | We are down to the eleventh month of the year 2011 and here in the Northeast it’s back to chillier, more inclement weather for yet another fall season. But what a news-packed month October was, at least for Ugandans. For me it was quite a special one too as I got the rare opportunity to be hosted by Dr. Shaka Ssali on Africa’s flagship show Straight Talk Africa aired on Voice of America’s afiliate stations worldwide. Our topic of discussion centred around Ordinary People, Changing lives on the African Continent.

What perhaps would have been a perfect Independence Day gift turned into a sad affair as Uganda failed yet again to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations, our best opportunity since losing against Ghana’s Black Stars in 1978 finals. And so the days of Philip Omondi, Pule Ouma, Jamil Kasirye, Paul Ssali, Jimmy Kirunda, Tom Lwanga, Jimmy Muguwa, Timothy Ayeko and Moses Nsereko, to mention but a few of the names that formed part of that squad, seem long gone, with dashed hopes this year in Africa’s most prestigious tournament.

With all that home support and good will at Nambole Stadium, the judgement of the Cranes’ coaches came into question for excluding Dennis Obua, a prolific striker, from the qualifier against Kenya (Obua was reportedly kicked off the squad for failing to attend a meeting with Uganda’s president). I say that the coaching staff ought to be held accountable.

Within our community I received invitations to two [UNAA] community events and as a journalist I set out to attend both starting with the independence picnic organised by, call it, the original UNAA registered in Massachusetts and later heading to the Hilton hotel for a town hall type meet that seemed to question all aspects of the UNAA legality and system of governance, call them the UNAA dissenters registered in Texas.

Noteworthy was the disparity in the crowds that attended both events. The UNAA MA picnic held in Watertown had over 150 attendees compared to Hilton event where the Mayor of Waltham had also been invited to attend. There at the latter I  recorded a head count of fewer than 25 attendees. But by the time I arrived the Waltham mayor had left and the discussion, originally billed as a workshop for finance and health topics, was largely focused on what led this group of dissenters to oppose and register their new association. It then became increasing clear from my observation of the two events that public opinion still favored the original UNAA. In my opinion an organisation that has survived the past 23 years can weather this storm as long as its leaders take the time to address the issues at hand!

News of the fall of Libyan Col. Muammar Gaddafi,  killed in a shoot out near his hometown of Sirte came with gruesome images of his killing which went viral and left me wondering why these politicians do not relent.–if they don’t take those billions of amassed wealth to the grave why allow themselves such humiliation? And so the “Brother Leader”, as he liked to be called, has now passed on to the next life and his rise and fall will soon form part of the history books.

What was also equally disturbing was the lack of decency and the failure to respect all Geneva convention treaties on the treatment of prisoners of war judging from the way the body of Col. Gaddafi was handled in death.

Back home in Uganda there has been a brewing tsunami of accusations and counter-accusations, as oil, and what some would call the oil curse, made its way to Uganda. The corruption scandals involving the oil giants have now brought down some powerful politicians. Some might point to the WikiLeaks scandals. But I applaud our non-partisan 9th Parliament that seems to be rising to the occasion, when compared to past rhetoric and the rubber-stamping attitude for which our previous legislative assemblies were known. The accused have been quick to defend themselves, some citing political witch-hunts. But many question why it has always been the same people named in high corruption scandals, while others will ask how civil servants can amass so much wealth, even if they are cabinet ministers.

With former Vice President Gilbert Bukenya and the so-called untouchables ministers in the dock, this could signal a turning point in Uganda’s politics, as some pundits have expressed fears that the regime might implode, with Pres. Museveni approaching retirement and the NRM party dealing with lots of infighting and intrigue. Attention seems to be more centered on the fight against corruption that has become entrenched in all echelons of society and government.

Last month the world mourned and remembered Steve Jobs, the man who put the computer in the palm of our hands and revolutionised the way we buy and listen to music. I could not but marvel that this college drop-out born of a Syrian biological father and adopted by American parents would stir something inside me. What perhaps moved me the most was the advice to “stay hungry, stay foolish” at the conclusion of his Stanford commencement speech. As he rightly noted, death is the great invention that gets rid of the old and makes way for the new. I am also reminded of the story of a father and his son during the former’s last moments…

“Soon I will be in the richest place on earth” Believing this to be a Christian reference Johnny had replied ”You mean Heaven?” “No, the Cemetery.” he answered, breathing deeply “that’s where all the unfulfilled Dreams are buried, the unwritten books, the unclimbed mountains, unsung songs, and possibly the cure for aids or cancer.” I knew I just heard something totally profound when he continued, ”So son, if I can leave you with any wisdom or advice, it would be this: Keep Your Dreams Alive! Chase them till your life’s end. Don’t let anyone or anything get you off track. It might be difficult at times when no-one else believes in your dream or when it seems like it is not paying off, but stick with them and you won’t leave this life with regrets or wondering “what if ?”… Keep The Dream Alive!”

And so I have made it my ambition to follow my dreams and pursue happiness with the belief that one day, if I faint not, I will reap the harvest!

Happy Thanksgiving Day America!

Ronnie Mayanja | UNAA Times Online | www.unaatimes.com |
Ugandan Diaspora Inc | www.ugandandiaspora.com |
Soreel Mayas Grafx Ltd | www.soreelmayas.net | UG Media |
USA | +1-978-235-2459 | Uganda +256-773-212-007
Skype | ronnie.mayanja | Twitter | @rmayanja |


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

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