Recently one of Amin’s sons was in Arua, where he called upon Ugandans to forgive his father for the wrongs the former president committed against his countrymen during his eight year rule, between 1971 and 1979.
Jaffary Amin’s bold move to reach out to the people of Uganda is a most welcome innovation, given the history of this country, which has been characterized by state-inspired violence, military adventurism and debauchery and corruption, among other social ills.
Indeed, Uganda is one of the several African countries that have the notorious distinction of not having had a peaceful transfer of power, from one President to another. And, for a country that prides itself in the appealing motto: ‘For God and My Country’, this is shameful.
In all we have had seven presidents since Independence, all leaving power forcefully and, at best, such countries need to try and come to a national consensus on how to forge ahead inspite of their tragic pasts.
So, despite not having an official for a at which to communicate his sentiments, Mr Jaffary Amin must be lauded for stepping out and indicating to the world that dialogue and forgiving one another is the best way to effect generational continuity.
At times this is attained through the establishment of a ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission’ as a vehicle through which individuals, both victims and their tormentors, come up and give truthful and detailed information about what went wrong, why it went wrong; when it went wrong and how to remedy the situation.
It is this responsibility and genuine soul-searching that will inform the minds of our children and their descendants that before them there were men and women of integrity, who sought to have national consensus through forgiveness, dialogue and constructive engagement.
Post-apartheid South Africa has done this with a high degree of success and other African countries in dire straits could do themselves a favour by emulating the Rainbow State.
There is need to secure the future and that is our responsibility.