The Uncensored, “Big Man Syndrome”
The Rule of Law is and remains a fundamental cornerstone and component of any democratic society (in this case Uganda). This would essentially mean that every individual is equal before and under the law, therefore calling for respect of these laws by everyone. But not according to the display of arrogance and egoism by the powerful elite in the Government, the military hierarchy, the religious circles and “freedom fighters” who have a sense of self-entitlement to the country. These powerful elite appear only to be accountable to their own standard while the rest of the nation is required to follow rule of law.
To cite a few examples that have come into the lime light, On 24th February 2019, pictures and videos emerged of an on-duty traffic police officer (Sgt. Esther Namaganda, a traffic Police officer) being assaulted by the military escort of Uganda’s ambassador to Burundi, Major General Matayo Kyaligonza (Rtd) . Further on 30th January 2019, (Rtd) Brig Kasirye Gwanga Gwanga allegedly shot at the tyres of Kusasira’s vehicle and as reported by Daily Monitor of 30th January 2019, advised ‘stupid’ Kusasira to go and report him to Museveni. He said he shot at Kusasira’s vehicle because she “acted with stupidity” when he tried to talk to her and instead just started shouting at him. On 14th August 2017 Rtd Brig Kasirye Gwanga was quoted by the New Vision paper saying “I burnt that tractor. Tell them. I am now hunting them. I am a bad hunter. Let them know.”
Each and every individual ought to respect, promote and protect the law at all times. The more we treat other individuals in a manner appearing to be special at the expense of the rest of the citizens, and then the core bedrock of the country is hampered with. According to Salman Rushdie (a British Indian novelist and essayist) in his second novel, Midnight’s Children (1981),“Two things form the bedrock of any open society — freedom of expression and rule of law. If you don’t have those things, you don’t have a free country.” Therefore it’s important for people in positions of authority to exercise their power within a constraining framework of well-established public norms rather than in an arbitrary, ad hoc, or purely discretionary manner on the basis of their own preferences or ideology.
As a way forward it’s important that as country we appreciate that the law stand’s above every powerful person and agency in the land, and that the state should not be seen to be applying double standards on the application of the said law. The “big man syndrome” that appears to be manifesting itself in government and even private agencies ought to be subjected on the value kind of system which embraces equality.