Each year, on 9th October, Ugandans put aside their differences to honor and celebrate the patriots who gave up their lives in order to set their people and beloved nation free. Although we are not the most perfect nation on deeper reflection I realized that our ‘bad ‘ is outweighed by our good. It’s true that we fight bitterly amongst ourselves but quickly come together whenever tragedy strikes. We may be greedy and materialistic but we are also very generous when others need help.
I imagine that 53 years ago we thought that the biggest problem was being under the yoke of colonialism but the brutal reality is that when you get over one obstacle another one replaces it. Much as I hate to admit it Uganda is a country wedded in paradox. Even though we celebrate a level playing field of one person one vote, we allow special interests on all sides to dilute the power of those votes. There is prejudice, poverty, and exclusion. Though each person has equal opportunity to succeed, we don’t all start at the same place with the same resources.
Though we celebrate those who pull themselves up by their own bootstraps we willingly provide hand-outs to others who claim that they are victims and take advantage of the system. Some people have to work harder than others to get ahead because they were born into unfortunate circumstances and are held back by lack of education and poverty.
The word “Independence” is comprised of the two words ‘In’ and ‘Dependence’. ‘In’ represents inner which means self and ‘dependence’ means dependency. Our all actions are dependent on (inner) Self-realization. Self-realization means realizing the true nature of Self.
So you are not truly independent when you allow external forces to control your actions and thoughts, or you hand over control of your life to the government, the company, the boss, your circumstances, the whims and opinions of others, and to your own internal voice that keeps telling you what you can’t do.
True freedom is accepting and believing that you and you alone must be responsible for your life. This is how you take back control. This is how you reach your dreams. This is the spirit and foundation on which this great country was built.
It is my prayer that today you decide not depend on others, fate, or the government to change our life. I hope you make up your mind to take responsibility of your own lie. Set your own course. Make your own success. Take action and persist even when you get setbacks. Look forward not backward and turn haters into motivators. Be inspired by difficult circumstances not impeded by them. You can achieve whatever you want you own your future. This is what true independence means.