I'm a Ugandan that is passionate about social change especially women’s rights. A strong believer in the fundamental role that literature plays in transforming our societies. One story at time, changing one mindset at a time.
In a space of about 3 days, 58 lives have been claimed by the Ugandan security operatives in disguise of upholding the covid-19 SOP’s. The unconcealed display of double standards by security personnel brought to end the lives of 58 Ugandans. Mothers taken from children, the reverse, an even more painful truth. Fathers taken from their families. Normal people that woke up to go about their daily routines were dispersed with such brutality it claimed their lives unexpectedly.
Graphic images spread on social media, an attempt by civilians who witnessed these tragedies to gain whatever type of accountability they can or in the very least, expose the perpetrators of such injustice. It was painful to witness lives unnecessarily being taken in such a gruesome manner but what hurts even more is watching state authorities and apologists trying to justify these actions.
The vile and vapid statements by authorities in a substandard attempt to placate the masses were all the proof you needed to bury any expectations you had that there will be any form of acknowledgement or accountability. I don’t think empathy should be partisan. Lives were unnecessarily lost, we should all be infuriated by it. It should appeal to anybody with a basic sense of human decency enough for them to call it out for what it truly is, a gruesome display of impunity and intolerance from the forces that were meant to preserve the lives of this nation.
It’s quite simple to package these numbers into statistics, to simply look at 58 and see a number, but these numbers had a pulse. These were parents and some were children with hopes of a future, a future that was deprived from them because someone knew they could fire live bullets into a crowd and get away with it.
These were friends and family and for every single life that was taken, there’s a family out there, grieving the senseless loss of a loved one. There are children whose parents and sole caretakers were taken from them and with that went any hopes for a chance at a brighter future through education.
There were people that sustained injuries whose effects may incapacitate them for a life time and of course, there’s a population that was overcome with fear, rage and confusion and a leadership that failed to come up with an appropriate response or in the very least, acknowledge the extent of these adversities.
The more we continue to meet such tragedies with sheer indifference and nonchalance, the more we perpetuate the history of bigotry and violence that framed our political framework. We should all be enraged and this anger should be channeled to finding ways to reset the tone of our political discourse. We can’t afford to sit on the sidelines and hope that things get better. We don’t get on rant on social media about every governance issue and then fail to show up to tasks as mundane as voting!
Our commentary on politics should be matched with active participation. For us to confer any form of responsibility to other citizens like we have no role to play, to just sit and have all decisions made for us is as much an insult to our intelligence as it is a robbery to our country.