Leader of Opposition, Mr. Mathias Mpunga, on whose behalf Kitatta speaks visits Acholi sub-region
Gulu-Uganda: “What is all this about? This platform was peaceful before some characters were added. I want to help those who are uncomfortable with listening to other languages to get off the platform. I have clearly stated that the audio was the luganda version of what the Leader of Opposition had said in English. Why should that bother anyone?” This is a statement of Mr. Sadab Kitatta, the Senior Public Affairs Officer in the Office of the Leader of Opposition in Parliament on Friday October 15, 2021 while reacting to my earlier post on his new WhatsApp group-POP Media Center.
The group was created by Mr. Kitatta himself on September 27, 2021 to ease communication and information sharing of stories, audios and images of the activities of the Leader of Opposition and members of the Shadow Cabinet both at and outside Parliament to journalists across the country. Someone, I think, a member of Northern Uganda Media Club WhatApp group (NUMEC) on October 14, 2021. I was excited, as being one of the innovative moves of the youngest political party to dislodge other much older political parties like Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), which had been the political party to lead the opposition since main 2001.
Why is all this about?
My woe with Mr. Kitatta’s, new platform, which exited my from the very day one when I found out that someone had added me to it, began soon after one journalist from the Central region posted a short sentence in luganda to an audio Mr. Kitatta had posted on a report a meeting between the Shadow Cabinet and European Union ambassadors. I was lost and got detracted and uncomfortable and decided to call it “hegemony and unpatriotic” for that journalist to use luganda in a national forum without offering translation in the way the BBC or President Museveni does. He quickly removed me from the platform but realized that it would cause more damage that good if I was permanently removed. He wants to portray a national outlook after all by his current nationwide tour, Acholi sub-region turn being one of them.
I have been a media personality since February 08, 1993. My biggest challenge is that I have failed to grasp and master other languages however widely they are spoken in this country except my mother tongue- Acholi, which was also the language we were taught with from primary one and two before switching to English language in primary three. I am also proud of my language and culture as much as others are also proud of theirs.
There are 41 languages in Uganda which falls into multilingual families of Bantu, Nilotic and Central Sudanic, according to Wikipedia. Official languages are English and Kiswahili brought by the Arabs.
In Uganda, as well as in many African countries, English was introduced in government and public lives by way of missionary works and education system. During the first decades of the twentieth century, Swahili gained influence as it was not only in the army and police, but also taught in schools. Ganda viewed the introduction of Kiswahili as a threat to their political power and partly through influence. English remained the only official language at that time.
After independence, there were efforts to choose an indigenous official language with Swahili and luganda as most considered candidates. Although luganda was the most geographically spread language, people outside Buganda were opposed to having it as a national language as were those of the Kingdom of Buganda because they felt other tribes’ mispronunciation and grammar errors would ruin their language. Uganda English- a local dialect of English is largely influenced by nature of languages of Ugandan people.
In 2010 Ugandan government came up with a plan to establish as Kiswahili language in the country. It was not until September 09, 2019 that the cabinet passed a resolution to create the Kiswahili National Council to adopt Kiswahili as a lingua-franca as the second national language besides English.
The drama between me a Nilotic and my good friend and professional colleague is that our colonial masters used the already established and well organized Buganda Kingdom to colonized the rest of the tribes in the region but putting Baganda to be above others tribes in one country called Uganda today- “The Pearl of Africa” without any common bondage apart from just chasing the colonialists.
I always get irritated whenever someone I communicate with in English who I know that we belong to different cultures replies me in their native language without offering the English version as Mr. Museveni does often or the BBC who does voice over. To the contrary to journalism classes one is obliged to translate or do a voice over but my colleagues from the Central region and so much chauvinists and arrogant like this friend of mine did to me by removing me at first the re-instituting me after a second thought. This is just an ice barge of the kind of colonial mistake that I am talking about which African Union must begin to address if Africa is to remain food secured, rich and peaceful in with its endowed natural resources which we have surrendered to the new autocrats ruling us as family enterprises and Kingdoms.
Examples are many in the continent. Look at Sudan, South Sudan, Libya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Uganda, Ethiopia, Morocco, Chad, Somalia, South Africa, etc. Tanzania is a unique country where the founding President, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere introduced African socialism, Ujama policy where the community live communally in a large homesteads. All resources are shared equally, orphans widows, disabled mentally ill etc.
Having studied in Tanzania, went to exile there, Uganda’s autocrat belongs to this new class of colonialist, strategist who sweet talks his foes to joining him in his presidential ambition through three different political organizations, namely; “Front for National Salvation” (FRONASA) in 1971, “Uganda Patriotic Movement” (UPM) and the “National Resistance Army/Movement” but he is really a chameleon bent to divide and rule, establish a family enterprise, plunder natural resources of the Pearl of Africa for his enterprise using our national security organs as his personal weapon.
He is in ecstatic mood when a Muganda fights an Acholi. It therefore serves no good for National Unity Platform if it concentrates its national outlooks, ambitions, youthful energies in Buganda only instead of trying to impose its “Gandaism” agenda to other nationals. That is why I warmly welcome his countrywide formalization dialogue.
Welcome to the homeland of “malakwang and kwon kal”, Mr. Sadab Kitatta to the heartland of Joseph Kony’s over twenty-year brutal war which has traumatized us today.