Peace and Security – A personal story

As a young boy living in Entebbe before the National Resistance Army (NRA) took over leadership in 1986, I was able to tell the situation the country was in. Chaos, murders, robberies and impunity ruled the day. One day I accompanied my cousin to visit a relative at Mulago hospital in Kampala. The relative had been a victim of a robbery , during the course of which he had been shot in the thighs and left for dead. He woke up at the hospital to find one of his limps amputated. The anguish, distress and pain on his face were beyond words. When we tried to console him by telling him of the love of Christ and His ability to heal him, he turned his troubled face and looked at us with hollowed eyes. It was evident he had long given up on praying, probably thinking God is too busy tending to heavenly affairs than to solve Uganda’s problems.
Hopelessness was a common feeling at that time. Uganda was a mess, and no Ugandan thought life would get any better A few years later, The NRA combatants marched into Kampala where their leader Yoweri Museveni announced a new government was taking over to bring fundamental changes in the country. I still remember, from that point on, something new began spreading across the country: hope.
Today, those changes that President Museveni spoke about are evident. Peace and security has been the bedrock of Uganda since decades back. Ugandans can sleep in peace with contentment that their properties are safe. There is a concerted effort to improve the economy, life expectancy rates are higher, and just recently a United Nation’s report named Ugandans as the happiest people in East Africa. This is the life that Ugandans have come to identify with and to trust in its continuation.
As I think of Uganda entering its 30th year of peace and stability, one needs to reflect on the past three decades.
When the National Resistance Movement (NRM) took power in January 1986, Uganda was considered a failed state. Four years prior, Uganda had undergone a total macro-economic failure, total “good governance eclipse,” and there was no service delivery from the government.
What a difference 30 years makes!  Today in terms of infrastructure, one can virtually reach most of the corners of Uganda on a tarmac road. It took the Colonialists 72 years to tarmac only 1500 km. During the 21 years of UPC and Idi Amin, only an additional 1000 km were tarmacked. NRM, despite so many challenges, has managed to tarmac close to 4,000 km. In Africa, Uganda ranks among the best countries with a reasonable countrywide road network.
With energy, in the next 4-5 years, the country shall have power in excess of 1500 megawatts. Currently, 15 per cent of our country is connected to grid power compared to less than 2 per cent in 1986. We currently generate power in excess of 800 megawatts.
Today, those feelings from 30 years ago of hopefulness have been replaced by something else: impatience. Uganda is now a country in a hurry, and that’s a good thing. We are now used to having peace and security. In fact, we take it for granted. And we know that it is through development that we are all going to move forward. We need more roads, more electricity, more investment, and more, more, more. We will get there, I am sure, but in the meantime, every so often I like to look back and remember how lucky I am to live in Uganda today.