Uganda is gifted by nature and by nature are the tirade of heroes we have produced over the years. From our pre-colonial days to the present day heroes have come in all shapes and sizes. In the pre-colonial days those who fought wars and expanded the kingdoms borders were worshiped as heroes. Their right to the finest women and most expansive land in the area was divine. Nobody said no to their wishes for we categorically assumed they deserved it by measure of what they had gone through for war answered everything back then. Heroes among the hunting communities were presented with the juiciest parts of the animal like the heart, liver or some other parts. They were even let to take home the remains of the animals like skulls, wisdom teeth among others. They had their names locked away in folk tales that were retold over and over again over fire places which is not the case to day when you scratch your head to know why so and so deserves even to pick up a medal. Yet the every day heroes we all sleep dreaming about never even get a mention at all.
During colonial times heroes turned from heroes to society into what rappers call ‘ snitches’ traitors of the highest caliber. They stopped serving the community and were in bed with the peoples oppressors the colonial masters. This saw the rise of heroes like Kakungulu whose claim to that status was their ability to expand the colonial masters interests. Locally bred heroes became extinct while the new league of heroes too didnt garner the same respect as the former did. No wonder after a while the same heroes turned against their former masters. The educated youths were seen as heroes in the eyes of their local community but none of the communty members ever benefitted from them as they served the big city leaving the rural to suffer.
This is the same merit block used to separate heroes after the colonial times. Idi Amin during his time chose to alighn himself to those kind of heroes. Those who would push his interests across the board. Same thing president Milton Obote did when flushing out kabaka of Buganda. The soldiers who championed this were looked at as heroes in the eyes of the president. Museveni too during his long presidency has championed a new league of heroes….some are bush war heroes while others are those who crossed from opposing him to kissing his arse. Those who have championed fights against disease, poverty aint really seen as heroes. Instead they have been labelled celebrities who are fit for tabloids and not history books.
So the context is how are these heroes appreciated. For starters our musical heroes in Uganda were appreciated with a PAM award that came with a cash bonus. This saw competition for the top prize stiffen as musicians out did themselves. However on the back of un paid bonusses the organisers withdrew cash bonusses which saw interest fall to zero. Why…….there was no money to make any more.
Same thing is with the national awards given by the president. Shouldnt the award of medal be enough as a sign of appreciation of their contribution?? Plus many of these so called heroes are rich politicians who make millions every year. Then of course if ths awards are for contribution to Uganda why is it that only those who contributed to the current government get to bag the medals?? look at the national football team after that big win i presume they are heroes too but they got a cash bonus of 1.5million shillings. Is cash the only way to tell them thank You????