How many years of Independence are we counting? From 1962 or 1986?

(Last Updated On: 13 January 2024)

Kampala I I have on numerous occasions read the supreme book of the land and one confusing element is that it tries to portray a Uganda that started in 1986 and is commonly called the fundamental change era.

In fact, in front of the parliamentary building on January 29, 1986; the president announced that the change arrived at was not just a change of guards but a total fundamental change.

A handful of heroes were later named in the constitution promulgated on October 8, 1995, shunning away all the little or less contributions (according to them) of the past leaders

Today, I decided to go bare knuckles and shed good light and erase the misinformation that made the young ones naïve and ignorant about the country’s future and past glory. The claims of a revolution and good governance starting in 1986 are a total fallacy and misrepresentation of facts.


These claims of revolution are totally false. No revolution occurred in Uganda in 1986. To understand the current government’s claims to have brought about a fundamental change or a Cuban-type revolution in Uganda, we need to take a brief look at the writings of Regis Debray. This is because the writings of Regis Debray constituted the theoretical guide for these people in their struggles.

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Who was Regis Debray in the first place? Regis Debray was a French philosopher who went on to teach Philosophy at the University of Havana soon after the Cuban revolution. While there he got very close to Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. Regis Debray eventually left Cuba with Che.

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He was arrested in a small Bolivian town in April 1967 and Che was killed the following October. For associating with Che, Regis was given a savage sentence of 30 years in prison which was terminated when various world leaders appealed for him. He had served four years of his sentence.

Regis Debray wrote a number of books and essays about the Cuban revolution. His most famous piece of writing is the “Revolution in the Revolution?” published in 1967 and which acted as the 1986 group’s bible. A number of his essays also appeared in book form under the title: “Strategy of Revolution” published in 1970.

The problem is that Regis Debray’s interpretation of the Cuban revolution was faulty. He totally ignored the part of the work that had been done to prepare the situation for revolution as the 1986 group thought before they (Cubans’) attacked the Moncada barracks.

He was also of the mistaken view that the small group of people led by Castro was the one who got the people to rise against Batista. This is what encouraged the 1986 group to believe that all they had to do was raise that small group of people and the people would rise.

Contrary to what Regis Debray thought, the work to bring the people to the level of political consciousness they embraced at the time Fidel Castro and his comrades intervened took 100 years.

This is why I believe that I would be stupid to believe that there was a fundamental change in Uganda in 1986 but also on the other hand believe that the current president still has a long way to go to create more paths through which a fundamental change can be realized.

If he has prepared the son for the continuity of this fundamental change, anything is welcome but first things first, correct the history by erasing the names of non-Ugandans in the constitution of this great pearl of Africa and replace it with a true road map to the eventful fundamental change.

Why place only the 27 as heroes of Uganda and we continue to shun down the forefathers who shed blood for an independent Uganda?

Carlo M. Cipolla writes in the great write up particularly, the first basic law of human stupidity that asserts without ambiguity that:

Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

At first, the statement sounds trivial, vague and ungenerous. Closer scrutiny will however reveal its realistic veracity. No matter how high one’s estimates of human stupidity, one is repeatedly and recurrently startled by the fact that anyone can be made to believe that they are ignorant.

In the current state of the country, I feel offended to portray Uganda as if it has just started in 1986 while deceitfully celebrating Uganda’s 61st Anniversary.

We might be stupid but it’s the right time that history is corrected for the future generation to enjoy authenticated and correct write-ups.

For God and my country

The writer, Moses Wawah Onapa is an educationist, mentor and social commentator


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