This year has been one like no other.
We all started 2020 with a set of aspirations, be at an individual, family or institutional level. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted all this. In the blink of an eye, traditions we held dear became impossible to continue: hugging our loved ones, enjoying the company of friends, public gatherings for prayer, leisure and work. All these things, previously taken for granted were now to be avoided. Many had to give up their sources of livelihood, withstand harsh domestic conditions and an uncertain future.
And yet you did. We all did. Understanding what was at stake, Ugandans heeded Ministry of Health guidelines, social distanced, wore masks and washed their hands frequently with soap. We all chipped in to help those that were less fortunate than us, mobilising resources and food in quantities not seen before in this country. We trusted that everyone would do their part in keeping Uganda safe.
Before long however, it became apparent that some in government were using a pandemic of unprecedented proportions to not only enrich themselves, but also for political gain.
The leadership looked on as billions of shillings were borrowed and used with no accountability, people were arrested, maimed or killed by security forces under the guise of enforcing COVID SOPs. And more recently, the pandemic was used to disperse opposition supporters while protecting the regime’s.
Alliance for National Transformation remains thankful for the resilience you have shown this year. We also are not blind to the injustices you have faced. The primary responsibility of government is to create an enabling environment for its citizenry. All over the world, people have been impacted by COVID-19 pandemic.
Other countries though, rolled out stimulus packages to help their people, ask yourself, where is the much-needed support you need for your family and business to stay afloat?
As we embrace this festive season- isolated from your larger family or not- I invite us to reflect on this reality: no country can ever exceed the aspirations of its citizenry.
Uganda’s potential economically and socially is unmatched. We can live up to our famed potential as the pearl of Africa. But to do that, we must be willing to make the tough decision of having leaders that are aligned to this vision.
On the very first Christmas two millennia ago, shepherds and three wise men were alerted of a new dawn in human history. They had the choice of going on with business as usual or seizingthe moment and embracing the Saviour.
They chose the latter and their lives were changed forever.
We too have a choice to make. We can choose to resign ourselves to the mess we find ourselves in, or resolve to be part of the change we seek.
May God’s blessings and favour be upon you as you celebrate the birth of Christ. And may His wisdom be yours as you decide which path our country should take.
From every member of the ANT family, Julia, Ankunda, Bukama and I, we wish you a blessed Christmas and a prosperous 2021.
Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu is the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) party presidential candidate.