USA Cautions its Citizens Against Traveling to Uganda; Could this be the Time for an Open East Africa and Africa?

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I used to think that it was the anti-American propaganda from the Arab leaders that had made Americans unpopular in the Middle East. Maybe they learned much earlier what we are just beginning to learn; that America as a country indeed doesn’t seek real friendship and partnerships with other countries. It only seeks personal interests, seeking to dominate and control nations for their own agenda. And as it seems, that includes the imposition of their culture and morals, eroded as they may be.

The United States government recently sent out a travel advisory to its citizens intending to travel to Uganda. It was titled, “Reconsider travel to Uganda due to crime, terrorism, and anti-LGBTQI+ legislation.” It goes on to explain in the country summary how there remains a threat of terrorist attacks in Uganda and throughout the region. It points out how, in December 2022, attacks occurred in several villages. The advisory further reminds the citizens of “multiple” bombings in and around Kampala in 2021.

As we recently headed home after work, a colleague asked us if we had read the advisory the American government has sent out to its citizens. We all couldn’t help but wonder which Uganda was being referred to in the travel advisory.

It painted a picture of a Uganda where it’s almost impossible for a foreign national to live, let alone its own nationals. The irony is, this very information is generated by embassy workers and officials who are safely and comfortably living in the very country they are painting as impossible to live in.

A co-worker who is very familiar with western propaganda as she has worked with many American N.G.Os shared her opinion as to what was really intended to be achieved with the advisory. She told us that’s the usual deception and smear campaigns that Western governments use, especially the US, if you disagree with them. She pointed out how the real issue is the anti-homosexuality legislation, but they are smart enough to conceal it behind fabricated “concerns” like crime, terrorism, and so forth. As we re-read the entire advisory, you could clearly tell that the issue was the so-called gay rights abuse, not the security situation in Uganda, as they initially claimed in the first paragraphs of the advisory.

As a nation, we have several countries we can learn from. Countries that have been able to deal with this kind of bullying and unnecessary meddling in the internal affairs of sovereign nations. We all remember the pressure that Qatar had to withstand as they hosted the recently concluded World Cup games. Even with the threats of boycotts and change of venue, Qatar and its leaders stood their ground about their stance on homosexuality and cultural values. While it’s true that as a country they have questions regarding human rights violations, the loudest taunts were on their laws regarding homosexuality, not human rights abuse.

Without a doubt, Qatar’s economic muscle came in handy as they withstood all the smear campaigns, threats of boycotts, and so forth. That should be a lesson for us as Ugandans and Africans in general. The resource power and economic muscle of a nation are a shield against sociopolitical influence.

We can only be bullied if we continue to heavily rely on handouts from the western world. We need to heed the rallying call of President Museveni for a united Africa. He has been at the forefront of a vibrant East African community and Africa in general. An open East Africa where there’s free movement of people and goods. Africa, as a continent, has enough resources to make it a world superpower economically. What is needed is the political will of the leaders of African nations to embrace and cultivate the Pan-African spirit across the continent. With the right leadership and mindset, we have enough resources, manpower, and markets to build a much stronger Africa.

As a nation, we need to wake up to the reality that Uganda is a weak country in the contemporary world. Gone are the days when colonization and outright imperialism were the methods used to control us. In the modern world, the new form of dominion is Neo-Colonialism. The indirect control of the economic, political, and social cultural life of our country. To withstand this control, it calls for personal responsibility as a nation and as individual citizens. Fighting corruption to the core has a bigger benefit than service delivery. It’s a form of protecting the sovereignty of our country; an economically strong and well-run country is much harder to penetrate.

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