Imagine you have a young child who struggles in school. He tries his best but doesn’t do too well. Imagine that he has been in the same stream three times and each time, despite his best effort, he doesn’t make the pass mark. Imagine his crest fallen face as he makes his way home, report card in hand, feeling guilty that once again, he has let down his parents. He drags his feet as he heads home, not knowing what to tell his parents, dreading the conversation about his grades.
Imagine that when he gets home, he shows his parents the report card and they are livid! They then begin to shout at him, telling him how stupid he is, how useless he is, what a failure he is, how they knew all along he wouldn’t do well in school. Imagine them mocking him and taunting him repeatedly, assuring him that he is good for nothing and in fact, they wish they hadn’t even had him. They start comparing him to his siblings who do better than him, or to the neighbor’s child who always comes first in class. Imagine what the boy would feel, fighting back tears, trying not to show how much his parents words hurt.
It is easier to tear down than it is to build up.
That is the image that came to mind when once again, the opposition attempt at working together to field a joint presidential candidate failed. Oh how we attacked them and tore them apart – literally! We proclaimed how we knew all along, they would fail. We told them they were in fact, failures from the start. Non-starters. Not worth our effort or time or attention. With our words, we tore them to shreds. We compared their poor performance to the neighbor’s child (NRM), who always comes first in every contest. We laughed at them, mocked their attempt, told them in short, that they were good for nothing’s who were on the fast lane to no where.
Imagine how they feel. Imagine how those who put in their energy and time and money to make this work, feel.
It’s easier to tear down than it is to build up.
But what about if we tried another way? What about if we committed to building up and building on these attempts at coming together across political divides, across generations, across affiliations? What would Uganda look like now? What possibilities would we create? What energies would we release? What potential would we unleash?
It’s so easy to tear down. It’s a no brainer. Anyone can throw barbs. Any one can make fun of and denigrate those who fail. It takes courage and leadership to build up, to restore, to heal, to build bridges instead of walls.
We need to learn a new way if we want a new Uganda.