The decision by Mr John Nasasira to follow Ms Janet Museveni and Capt Mike Mukula before him to hang his political boots, to allow younger blood to contest in positions they occupied, is laudable. Mr Nasasira, who announced on Sunday that he will not contest again in Kazo, is Minister for Information and Communication Technology. His announcement follows the one made by First Lady Ms Museveni and Capt Mukula in May that both will not run for Ruhaama County and Soroti Municipality seats respectively where they served as MPs.
These and many other leaders in Uganda who have served and left for others to also serve their country, sets a good example.
While addressing diplomats from Addis Ababa’s African Union headquarters last month, US President Barack Obama, castigated African leaders who overstay in power.
“Nobody should be president for life,” he said. “Your country is better off if you have new blood and new ideas. I’m still a pretty young man, but I know that somebody with new energy and new insights will be good for my country. It will be good for yours, too, in some cases.”
Mr Obama’s message rings a bell across the corners of the continent where many leaders have in recent past changed goal posts to extend their years in powers.
That’s why when leaders such as Mr Nasasira, a long serving MP and minister, announce their retirement from the political positions they hold, it is a good gesture which breathes fresh air into a country where people are averse to retirement.
Mr Nasasira, Ms Museveni and Capt Mukula, might have personal reasons but that they can acknowledge that someone else can be leader in their areas, is significant.
No one should wait to die in service of their country if they have an opportunity to mentor someone else to take over from them and take the country or their community forward. Allowing others to participate in the management of the country is one way of tapping into the diverse talent our country can produce.
It goes without saying that Uganda needs a mixture of old and new in its political sphere. The service of our nation should depend on everyone, and leaders across society should be given a chance to emerge.
Like Mr Obama said in Ethiopia, “I’m looking forward to life after being president. I won’t have such a big security detail all the time. It means I can go take a walk. I can spend time with my family. I can find other ways to serve. I can visit Africa more often.” Retirement can be fun. It is one way of stepping out of the fray and evaluate how far the country has come, where it is, and where it can go. There is nothing to fear about retirement, which is the reward for hard work over the years. More leaders in Uganda should emulate Ms Museveni and Mr Nasasira and Capt Mukula.
The issue: Retirement
Our view: No one should wait to die in service of their country if they have an opportunity to mentor someone else to take over from them .