What better way is there for a government to demonstrate their democratic values than allowing freedom of speech?

‘They learnt nothing and forgot nothing’ is a phrase often used in reference to French kings who ascended to the throne subsequent to the great French revolution. This is to say, they too committed the same atrocities as King Luis XVI. Sooner or later, revolutions against them became inevitable like was for Luis XVI.

Current relation is in the ironic desire by all Ugandan regimes to prove the infamous saying that ‘freedom of speech is guaranteed but freedom after speech is not’. Consolidation of power by any political regime requires respect for basic and fundamental rights and freedoms of the press. An enemy in the press is influence to thousands behind their writings or publications. Thus, with no consideration to whether the press fronts criticism or praise as a means in their works, their freedom and rights are paramount with constitutional protection.

The question over time is, what makes worse news? The stories of criticism journalists write or their unconstitutional arrests and torture. Because one thing that is certain, no ruler has ever successfully silenced journalists. It is insult to injury and uncalculated admission of guilt of what they publish and an open call to other media specialists, national and foreign to cover and report regarding the illegal arrest or torture of their comrades. Eventually, what intended to be hidden is exposed bigger and to detail, headlines are made for weeks, and surely, there is one loser, name it!

Whereas media and writing can be biased or may point at the evils and sins committed by a regime, what better way is there for a government to demonstrate their democratic values than allowing freedom of speech? This would prove less of a dictatorship and freedom to discuss how the country is run, the bigger picture is, people free to speak are easy to rule.

But then, such writings of reason have been read by those with no direct authority over the atrocities, those who do not make the orders. Yet to mention, they fold in their beds and wrap in their sheets, too afraid so our pens can speak for them.

BARYAMUJURA MAHAD a passionate about social justice.

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Frank Byaruhanga is a human rights activist with years of experience in community dialogues, digital communication, advocacy and digital campaigns. He specializes in Media Relation Work, Management and Training with sufficient knowledge in Governance, Accountability, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth-led research, Content developer, Creative Activism, Social Media Management and documentary photography.

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