By: Rev. Joseph William Kamugisha
This year’s Uganda Independence celebrations in Dallas – Fort Worth, were marked in style. It appears like the organizers were rightly in tune with the founding fathers of our nation before the instruments of independence were handed over. The deliberation process of how to commemorate this year’s independence festivities consisted of a significant amount of time specifically dedicated to prayer and intersession for our mother land, Uganda.
Celebrating Uganda’s 48th Independence day without prayers at the top of the agenda was certainly not by coincidence. The current UAA-DFW leadership realizes among other priorities on their one year leadership agenda, that without the true meaning of independence, which comprises of freedom from external dependency, which has been responsible for over fifty percent of our government’s national budget, lack of freedom of speech, limited democratic rights to all citizens including rival opposition parties, the implementation of equal justice, respect of law and order in all sectors of society and government in general.
Taking in consideration that one of the main objectives of our local leadership is to cohesively foster good community relations by building stronger family relations, encouraging both our youth and adults alike to pursue and invest more in education, collectively and harmoniously working towards building our motherland through self initiatives and supporting existing Ugandan based humanitarian organizations and fighting divisive and sectarian tendencies in all forms.
Realistically, all those values can be difficult to realize until our country lays conducive and healthy environment opportunities on the home front because at the end of the day, what affects our nation indirectly, directly, affects every thing we do even in the diasporas.
It is therefore, based on such basic principles, yet profound as they are, that probably came to mind even when commiserating on the ideas that our founding fathers had in mind when the significant elements of our nation that bears Godly symbols, struck a note in the minds of our local leaders. It is of little wonder that when one adds the two one cannot fail to see what the Psalmist rightly wrote in the book of Psalms 33: 12 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance.”
It is probably one of the reasons upon which the above biblical scripture, that the designer of our nation’s official emblem and court of arms, chose to divinly have the words; “For God and my country” in scripted on as our logo, which also appears on a national currency. I believe that it was based on the same divine inspiration upon which Mr. George William Kakoma, centered the composition of our national anthem supporting the same phenomena, when he wrote; “Oh Uganda, may God uphold thee, we lay our future in thy hands…..” But the spiritual significance bearing the birth of our nation did not stop at that. The former first post independence Justice Minister, the late Grace Ibingira, was equally inspired to design the national flag with the colours; Black, Yellow and Red, in the vertical format, with the nation’s emblem in the centre.
According to the interpretation of the flag colours, “Black” represents a nation which was formerly in the dark before the Europeans evangelised the country with the gospel. The colour “Yellow” represents a country which was once in the dark but had been exposed to the light. While “Red” represents, a nation washed in the saving blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Perhaps it was a combination of such background that our local UAA-DFW leadership similarly and divinely felt inspired to revisit and adopt the original godly concept of our nation’s pioneers, by dedicating almost one and a half hours of worship and praise, followed by prayer and intercession for the nation’s current troubles and un ending challenges from almost every sector of government. Thanks to our community God fearing leaders!
Since the rebirth of our nation on October, 9th 1962, the vast political predicaments which have befallen of our dear country, one which had all the opportunities, reason and potential to be one of the most prosperous nations on the continent of Africa, a nation that was built on biblical concepts, Godly ethics and strong moral fibres, has been unfortunately, slowly but gradually falling apart for the last forty eight years.
From the first military coup in 1966 to the second one 1971 to a third one in 1985. From the first abrogation of the national constitution shortly after independence to the second abrogation framed to suit and compromise more of the same political abuses the country has been entangled with since 1962. A national referendum that later turned out to be one of the biggest political embarrassments in the nation’s history, in which government decided to openly bribe the Hon. Members of Parliament in what was shamelessly dubbed as “facilitation money…..” allegedly for the sole purpose of traversing the country in a bid to educate, sensitize and gather constitutional views from the peasants.
Strangely, the so called facilitation money was allocated to the Member’s of Parliament, not by or from the Parliamentary committee but from the National Resistance Secretariat, the ruling party headquarters, to the publicly servants elected by the people.
From political opportunists tricking the late Ssekabaka of Buganda, who was also Uganda’s first President, Sir, Fredrick Muteesa, into joining party politics of the day to tricking his son, the would be Kabaka of Buganda, into joining the then NRA’s Public relations rally in an effort to advance the political interests of the then NRA now NRM-O in a bid to rally support from the Luweroeans during the five year guerrilla war.
From one appointed President and one appointed Prime Minister, by consensus, to nine uninvited Presidents and over five Prime Ministers, selfishly imposed on Ugandan’s against their wishes.
From the politically motivated Kisubi and Nakulabye killings to the Luwero killings, to the Northern Uganda massacres to the Kisangani massacres. From the banning of cultural institutions to the first forced exiled President of Uganda, to his eventual death in exile, to the exiling of all opinionated politicians, school teachers, University professors, medical Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers and Journalists, while the disadvantaged five thousand Ugandan’s, who were not lucky to escape the country, innocently died as victims from the wrath of the blood thirsty dictator Idi Amin Dada, whose self imposed titles included, “VC, DSO, MC, Conqueror of the British Empire, MBE” “Life President of the Republic Of Uganda”
From Uganda’s double interference in the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1973 and later in 1976, which later lead to the nation’s severe punishment by the Israeli forces, whose bombings caused devastating economical and infrastructural repercussions, not mentioning the death of over one thousand troops who were stationed on guard at the old Entebbe airport.
From external political interferences to Church interference which lead to assassinations, looting, jailing and torturing Christians for the name of Jesus Christ. From the attacks of the “E’mbalassasa”, in the early seventies to famine, to five different regional deadly wars, to the the scourge of HIV/AIDS, the highest rate of poverty, the highest rate of corruption the country has ever suffered, to the highest level of immorality a.k.a day light “Bimansulo”, to State endorsed gambling, prostitution and the open display of homophobic behaviours, to the current jiggers epidemic.
From the first alleged fraudulent general elections in 1981 to the second fraudulent general elections in 2006, with impending worries of a classic repeat of the nations fraudulent scheme come 2011 general elections. According to the concerns and observations raised from the recently concluded primary elections as expressed by the former high court judge, Justice George W. Kanyeihamba.
In spite of all the above troubles, challenges and tumultuous journey our country Uganda, has endured, the current UAA-DFW leadership lead by Mr. Frank Sentamu, in conjunction with the local Arlington, Garland, UAA-DFW residents organizing committee spearheaded by Pastor John Musoke, saw it fitting to organize and stage one of the best Uganda’s Independence celebrations in the community.
The power of worship and praise sealed with the power of prayer and intercession engulfed the hotel auditorium as if it was another regular Pentecostal Sunday service, echoing a combination of Luganda, English, Swahili and Zulu worship songs, accompanied by their appropriate dance moves. Thanks to the worship team which was comprised of Pastor Hope and his wife Jossie Ssekiziyivu, sister Tsaoni and sister Sylvia Mulima. The first section of the colourful festivities were held at the Hyatt Place Hotel, in Arlington, TX, which began shortly after 05:pm and ended shortly before 11:pm.
Unlike some of the recent hand picked “multi-denominational” services, a much wider representation of community lead religious denominations, freely and unreservedly participated in various aspects of the intercession and prayers sessions on behalf of the country’s troubles which were categorized from political, economical, the forth coming general elections, the cultural institutions, the nation’s workers, peace and tranquillity in the nation, the September 11th, 2010 bomb victims in Kampala and a brief memorial and celebration of the life of the late Ugandan President Godfrey L. Binaisa, QC, Esq. who passed away a few months ago.
A one minute moment of silence was observed before the represented family members of the late President were prayed for. The five family member’s present were namely; Mr. & Mrs Joshua Serwanga, Mr. & Mrs. Edward Kigozi and Ms. Drusilla Kigozi. In absence were several children of the late President, his former wife Ms. Kigozi and the Oklahoma based nieces. Ms. Drusilla, spoke on behalf of her mother and on behalf of Dr. Mukwaya, the late President’s nephew, whose Dallas trip was also cut short at the last hour due to an emergency trip which took him to Bangkok, Thailand.
Ms. Drusilla Kigozi, gave the listeners an unedited, apolitical view of the true nature of who the real Binaisa was. She attributed her coming to the US together with her brother Edward, to the well placed political connections in addition to the great sense of humour which her late step father enjoyed and possessed. Drusilla said that the late Binaisa, was always fun to be around with. Some of the memorable moments that came to mind, Drussila, added, was when they first went to the US Embassy for the first time to apply for their US Visas to which they were denied.
Upon learning about her children’s denial, Ms. Kigozi, asked her husband to intervene but to her surprise, her late husband told her in Luganda, “Gwe tomanyi kukuba kaama, bagambe nti ndi Mukyala wa Pulezidenti?!” meaning, “Don’t you know how to whisper…you should have told them, that you are the wife of the President!?”
Some time later, the late President contacted the US Embassy consulate and made Visa applications on his step children’s behalf. When asked to verify the names of the children whose Visas he was applying for, he had apparently forgotten their names and went back to his wife asking her to remind him of the children’s names!
Perhaps another major land mark in this year’s Uganda independence festivities was the climax of the highly spirited fund raising drive which has been going on for the past few weeks. At the end of the day, over $700.00 in cash and more in pledges was generated from the faithful community member’s.
Before the fundraising drive began a few weeks ago, the local Association leadership identified about five Ugandan based Non governmental organizations [NGO’s] out of which one was selected to be this year’s beneficiary of the generous contributions from the Ugandan community in Dallas-Fort Worth. Given the inspiring and memorable presentation which was made exactly one year ago, during a similar Independence celebration, by a fellow Ugandan, Texan, the founder and patron of the “Uganda – American Sickle Cell Association”, a Ugandan born, US Air force, Captain, Lukia Mulumba, who together with her family were recently hosted in the White House by President Barrack Obama, whose daughter was miraculously healed from the sickle cell disease, and from whose inspiration the US Air force Captain, derives her motivation to aggressively combat one of the most deadly diseases of the 21st century.
The community leadership couldn’t have done any better than to kick off the charity donation by beginning with our neighbouring Austin, TX, based organization, with services intended for the disadvantaged Ugandan population, hence, fulfilling the proverbial; “Charity begins at home”
Other independence events on the Arlington, program included, honouring the UAA-DFW outgoing cabinet, the launching and swearing in of the newly elected cabinet which was officiated by Hon. Eng. David Mureeba, the first UNAA President. Another fundraising drive toward the UAA-DFW treasury as well as soliciting for the associations annual membership dues from the un paid community members was also conducted with positive results.
Membership fees are only a small annual lump sum of $35.00 per family and only $20.00 for singles. According to the last data base gathered the 2001-2002 local UAA-DFW leadership, it was estimated that the Uganda community membership in DFW had grown to about six hundred.
Meanwhile, a number of outstanding academic achievers were recognized. Among them was Mr. Sammuel Muwanguzi, a PhD candidate at the University of North Texas, Denton campus, who was recently recognized as the most outstanding international student for his academic performance and community service for 2010. In addition to his pursuit of an inter disciplinary program in Information Policy and Communication studies, Mr. Muwanguzi, is also a teaching fellow at the same University.
Also included were; Mr. Eugene Arigye, a PhD candidate from the University of Pittsburgh, VA. Who is currently working on his internship at the University of Arlington, TX in pursuit of Social & Comparative Analysis with a concentration in health and education studies.
2. Last year, Mr. Michael Kaluya, earned a Masters degree in Political science he is currently in the final stages of his research in pursuit of a PhD in Business administration with a concentration in Public Administration.
3. Pastor John Musoke, the Senior Pastor of Nations for Christ Church, Arlington, TX, was recognized for earning a Masters in Divinity.
4. Mr. Peter Mukunya, was recognized for earning a Masters in MBA.
5. Mr. Raymond Byaruhanga, was recognized for completing high school and now taking basic classes at the Tarrant Community College, while preparing for University entry in about two years from now.
6. Ms. Clare Mutebi, equally graduated from High school earlier this year and is also attending attending TCC.
7. Ms. Aisha Musoke, the out going UAA-DFW Secretary General, was doubly recognized for her outstanding services to the community and for completing her RN Associate degree.
8. More recognitions were carried out among some of the parents who were present. The children who recently earned excellent academic achievements included were; the daughter of Dr. Abu Senkayi, PhD. His daughter Salah Senkayi, who is in her mid thirties, already has three degrees; B.S. degree in Bio-Medical Sciences from Texas A&M University, B.S. degree in Micro-Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington, B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington. M.Sc. degree in Earth & Environmental Sciences from the University of Texas at Arlington (to be awarded in December 2010) Candidate for the Ph.D. degree in Environmental Sciences, University of Texas at Arlington. As a part time student, Salah Senkayi, is a full time employee of the US Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] as an Environmental scientist.
9. On a similar note, in absentia, the oldest son of Dr. Paschal Kibuule, Dr. Leonard Kibuule, was recognized for his academic achievement as a Neck & Spine Surgeon. The community was equally proud to learn that his wife Dr. Danette \Kibuule, is one of the few leading female Radiologists in the country.
10. In the same category, Jeofrey Kibuule, the youngest son of Dr. & Mrs Kibuule, whose academic achievements continues to surprise not only his parents but all those who remember him as one of the rare entrants in college at fifteen years of age, is still astoundingly amusing as he will soon be graduating from Medical school at the age of eighteen, an age which most teenagers normally graduate from high school. Jeofrey Kibuule, has already attained his first degree in Biology/Human Sciences and already eyeing his second degree in Medicine which will make him one of the youngest Medical Doctors, at the age of twenty two years, which is actually the age group in which most students earn their fist degrees. Jeofrey Kibuule’s, uncommon academic gift is not only highly remarkable but will in addition elevate him to a self made millionaire! The young man is involved in highly demanded medical soft ware which he personally researched and invented the lab. Accessories whose soft ware applications known are known as “Pocket Laboratory values”. The soft ware is currently used by medical doctors, nurses and other professions in the medical field. The young man’s products are sold in over sixty different countries world wide. According to the current rankings, his products hold the fourth place competing with over three hundred other soft ware applications on the world wide market. However, much as Jeofrey’s concentration is in Medicine, his vast knowledge in computer science has enabled him to be one of the best self made home laboratory Engineers whose products have made him a significant contributor in the medical field in which his soft ware remains one of the best sought after in the medical industry. His dad, Dr. Paschal Kibuule, the former Desoto, TX resident humbly appeals to our youth in the community to emulate Jeofrey’s dedication and responsible diligence in order to reap the full benefits of what a good education can reward.
11. Lastly, the nephew of Mr. William Niwagaba, Mr. James Tumukuratiire and Hon. Mureeba, Mr. Twine Tumubweine, was among those who were recognized in absentia. Twine, graduated last from the University of Texas, Dallas. With a tripple combination of; Masters in Economics, Masters in Management and a PhD in Economics.
Congratulations and best wishes to all our graduants in all your future endevours.
The second and last phase of the festivities proceeded at the Nile hall where the youth and most of the single community members braced themselves for the remaining hours of the night doing what they do best, shaking clean, the dusty dancing shoes after a delicious meal which was also served in style under the compliments of the UAA-DFW leadership.
The following day, was the highly globally anticipated 10. 10. 10. It is one of those rare dates on the universal calendar history and one which everybody would have wanted to associate with. While not many had made plans for that special day, the family and Church members of the former UAA-DFW Vice President, Pastor Richard Bazanye, did not spare the moment of doubling both daughter and dad’s birthday. Florence Bazanye, whose birthday took place a week before but chose to share the lime light with her dad, whose actual birthday fell on the rare, 10.10th 2010 with the only exception of not disclosing their actual ages, since the two look like brother and sister!
The birthdays, were colourfully celebrated with over one hundred friends and well wishers flocking the Nile Hall for yet another day of jubilation and celebrations. It was not only a special day for special birthday celebrations but it was also a day well deserving for recognizing someone who has been maturing with age even as his leadership role especially among the community youth speaks volumes besides Pastoring a fast growing Church.
Congratulations Pastor Richard, many more…..X10 Happy Birthdays!!
Thank you UAA-DFW leadership for a weekend well marked and celebrated.
Long live the UAA-DFW community leadership!