Let Us Write More Books [editorial]

Former Finance Minister Ezra Sabiti Suruma was back in the news last week, after he launched his book on Uganda’s development story (See Museveni aisor attacks Gen Saleh in new book).

Suruma’s book, Aancing the Ugandan Economy: A personal Account, is an insider’s critique of Uganda’s economic development and it touches on important episodes, including the flawed sale of Uganda’s largest commercial bank. Back then, perhaps, Suruma could not say it, but he can now tell us how he did not personally approve of the position taken by President Museveni on the matter.

Yet it is commendable that even though he is a presidential aisor, Suruma can put that difference of opinion on record unlike some milk-livered aides who seem to dread any form of disagreement with the president. Later, on Friday, another key player of the Museveni era, former Prime Minister Apolo Robin Nsibambi launched his own book, National Integration in Uganda 1962-2013.

This is good news for all who aspire for a more enlightened Uganda. But we can – and should – do much better. The importance of writing – and reading – can hardly be overstated. It is said in West Africa that the death of an elder is equivalent to the burning down of an entire library.

Those of us living in an age where literacy is trending owe it to future generations to write for now and for posterity. To the extent that the duration of our lives on earth is but a small fraction of time, it is commendable that the likes of Atubo, Suruma and Nsibambi are making the effort to write.

As the American aomer and educator Carl Sagan suggested, books are a great innovation that helps humanity to defy limits otherwise imposed by time and geography and thereby help to integrate diverse communities and generations.

And for men like Nsibambi and Suruma, people who have played significant roles in Uganda’s political and economic history, their versions of events, especially if told with courage and candour, can only enrich ours and future generations’ appreciation of events and trends that have shaped this country.

Source : The Observer

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