I have a belief that people by passed the social media blockage, not as a means of defiance, but because they are as hungry as I am, for knowledge about their country.
Call me uninformed, unconcerned, or any other words you may choose, but I gladly admit to the fact that I currently do not know three quarters of the ministers of my country. I have no knowledge whatsoever about the number of districts we currently have, and the different members of parliament representing them. I cannot differentiate the role of the police, from that of the security guards and the army. I am also nursing a pinching fact that I know not my rights, and who I should report to incase they are being violated.
When I was younger, I was as patriotic as everybody who stands still in Kampala, when the National Anthem is being played in Mbarara. As a man who hangs his National Flag up in his bedroom, and looks at it with praise, and respect like the Americans do. My teachers would conduct weekly quizzes to test our knowledge of the country’s leadership, and I was always eager to try out what my brain had to present. However, before I could grow of age, to learn politics to the core, all this stopped.
I sat down and thought to myself. Could I have lost track of my purpose as a citizen of this country? If it is so then I need to be ashamed of myself.
Could it be that the ministers now are not performing as well as they had done in the past? Or that the cabinet has been reshuffled too many times for me to remember who holds what post. Of course there is also a window, to believe that maybe I am not inquisitive or concerned enough, about what is happening around me. There is also reason to say am not a National and am a disgrace to all Ugandans (I have always wanted to be Black American anyway)
Is there reason to point a finger at me for this? Before you do, I beg to defend myself. I do not know, not because I do not desire to. On the contrary, I am hungry to know my country more than what is given to me at the tips of my fingers, for it threatens me that I may not act as required in the presence of important people. I may by-pass a VIP, or fail to offer him a seat, not because of rebellion, but because of ignorance.
I am currently at the peak of my education, and it has dawned to me that after school, we will not be released into the West African historical setting, or the theoretical statistics that I have learnt. I will walk right into the Economics and Statistics of a country I hardly know anything about. Then I will be expected to be a job creator, and this will require me to start learning about the loopholes in the country’s business world from the grassroots.
Let me give you a comparison. One of my nieces is vegetarian, and none of us knew, until a fatal attack that left her bedridden for days. As a family, we had to debate about whether to tell her she was allergic to meat, or be the elders, and never cook dishes that are close to it, around the house. The former proved a greater option, and this guarded her from an ignorance that could have claimed her life. It is only because she knew the harm, that she took a hold of her health, and would confidently tell us what was best for her. It also greatly solidified the trust and respect she had for us, beyond our imagination.
It is only God, who knows what is best for each of us. Our weaknesses as mortals requires us to educate, and seek opinion. Civic education in schools would really do us good. It would give birth to Ugandans who are able to cite risks, and make better policies for themselves.