Liberation should now be about self-reliance

The CECAFA Kagame cup finally came to an end with a Burundian club walking away with the top prize of $30,000. It may sound like I am repeating something that is common knowledge but not quite. 
Allan Brian Ssenyonga
Allan Brian Ssenyonga

The CECAFA Kagame cup finally came to an end with a Burundian club walking away with the top prize of $30,000. It may sound like I am repeating something that is common knowledge but not quite. 

First of all, as one regional columnist alluded, Burundi is often missed by the regional news radar so I think I am doing my part again by mentioning this again. The other reason is that this tournament was not a big news item after the brave decision to hold it in Darfur was further compounded by the fact that it coincided with the Confederations cup held in Brazil. 

Away from CECAFA, another case of a fuel tanker getting involved in an accident and people appearing to scoop the free fuel only to get burnt happened in Kampala. I do not know how many times we have heard such stories. It is always the same script but we never learn. 

However, it is not enough to always blame the victims whose defence is always the poverty. A man struggling to put something on the table hardly ever thinks about their security. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explains this better than yours truly. I instead think we need to also think more about how to make our roads safer. 

It is now clear that by transporting fuel by road we are only waiting for accidents to turn into infernos. We need to work on the pipeline issue much faster to reduce on the number of fuel tankers on our roads that are waiting to explode. 

We also need more sensitisation on how people should conduct themselves during such scenarios. Situations of accident victims being robbed are very common especially in Uganda and Kenya. Accident scenes are now viewed as lotteries where people rush to get free things not to save lives. 

There should be a tough law on people who have the sick guts of looting from accident victims or situations. This is why I was shocked that those who were siphoning fuel from the tanker in Kampala have instead been rewarded with five million shillings cash! What message are we sending to the people here? 

As I was typing this article, the main issues that were bothering Kenyans were the IEBC tribunal that was seeking to establish the legality of Kethi Kilonzo’s wish to vie for the Makueni Senatorial seat that was held by her late father. It is a case of the electoral body, IEBC investigating itself over its own activities. Yes you cannot make this up.  

The IEBC drama was live on TV and it seemed to expose so much rot on both sides of the case. What was beyond doubt though was how it would take all this time and resources just to prove whether a person is registered on not? Even my Kenyan friends had no answer to that. 

Other Kenyans were concerned that UK had also banned the importation of Miraa or Khat which is the main cash crop for the Meru and Embu counties. UK is following Netherlands which also took the decision to classify the herb as a drug and ban its importation. This move is bound to affect the economies of the communities that produce this Miraa, negatively. 

Here in Rwanda another Liberation Day was celebrated. Unlike many East African countries such days in Rwanda are celebrated at village level in order to increase people’s participation. The fact that Rwandans are liberated and have crafted a new narrative of their country is clearly beyond doubt now. 

Rwandans who had been denied a home for decades organised themselves and fought for their rights. Actually today the same Rwandans are begging those who are still walking around with the refugee tag to come home and participate in the country’s development. 

The rallying call now is for liberation to take the path of self reliance. Rwanda has achieved a lot over the years and many who visit the country leave with amazing stories about the transformation. However there is still an issue of those who hold the purses to donor aid retaining the role of determining how things should go around here. 

Many African countries celebrate independence days yet their destiny is still an issue determined by those in London, Washington or Paris. This is a situation that needs to be addressed eventually for liberation or independence to be complete. We have bought our own car but we need to get to the point of fuelling it ourselves if we are to be the ones to decide which direction it takes. This is what Pres. Kagame is always talking about.   

Blog: ssenyonga.wordpress.com
Twitter: @ssojo81