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Eng Katungi

A Remarkable Experience at Kyankwanzi

posted onJuly 11, 2021

By Eng. Ronnie Katungi

My recent sojourn at The National School of Leadership (NALI) has been unique indeed. I have been the only civilian in the May/July 2021 intake of 120 senior officers of UPDF, Police and Prisons.

I was recommended onto this course by my father, Mr Dennis Katungi who had just completed a Transformational Leadership course at the same Institute a few months back. He was part of the vanguard Government Communication Officers Forum intake that completed in May 2021.

In a conversation, he expressed the view that a stint at Kyankwanzi would enrich my home coming experience. He went further to say he had put in a formal request for me to attend. Having studied, lived and worked in England for over 10 years, I was reminded that I was fairly out of touch with reality on home ground. I was asking him uncomfortable political questions regarding the management of my country Uganda. My family has always been a hot bed of intellectual debates with strong opinions. Fortunately, my parents encourage it.

When I was studying Engineering at the University of Surrey, my father would visit me and we had a rich political and general discourse; sometimes agreeing to disagree especially on Uganda. It was a similar situation with my siblings then dotted across the UK in different Universities; Jethro at Birmingham, Gillian in Sterling – Scotland, Bridget at Coventry and Atlanta at Kings College London. We are a live-wire politically conscious family and at any given opportunity, we rapaciously engage in World order debates.

Kyankwanzi has just recalibrated my consciousness and refreshed Uganda for me; I am grateful to my father for the introduction.I have always considered my self a patriot and declared my love for Uganda to anyone willing to listen.

During my stay at NALI, I have had to come to terms that I am not the patriot I have always professed to be. How can you love what you do not know? Did I really know my country or appreciate its heritage & politics well enough or was I superficial?

In one of the exercises at NALI, we were given a simple test, to draw the map of Uganda and label the main physical features including lakes, rivers, mountains, and location of main mineral- deposits in the country. We were also tasked to name some of the key leaders; past and present. The aim of this simple test was to show the class how much or how little we knew about our country.

A comprehensive grasp of facts about one’s country is an indicator of patriotism. Ignorance about one's country is not a trait of patriots.Over the period of two months at NALI, we benefited from thought provoking lectures by some of the distinguished academicians, army generals and top intelligencia available in Uganda. It was a rewarding experience. I can now confidently say viva Uganda because I am equipped with sufficient knowledge about my country and I appreciate its trajectory.

At NALI, they aim to teach students to be able to unlearn. Unlearning is one of the hardest things to do. To progress we must own up to the destructive behavioural patterns and mindsets formed over time. For example the common belief that politics is bad, a (dirty) game. In its raw form politics is the art of managing society. It’s a negotiation on how to live together and share resources equitably.

If you mention the word politics today, people automatically get negative thoughts - unware that the absence of politics is savagery or anarchy as we see in Somalia and a few other unstable countries.The other main objective of the instructors at NALI was to teach us to re-learn what is important with a new perspective. A perspective based on objectivity. Deliberately acquiring knowledge, subjecting it to the dialectical laws and principals. It is imperative for one to have the right world view if they are going to be a useful member of society. The right perspective is not inborn but, rather, acquired. It is the effort of consciously finding knowledge.

It is commendable that the leadership of this country has thought of putting in place this National School of Leadership.

My take home from NALI is that as Ugandans and indeed Africans we need to carefully examine our history and distinctly identify who our allies and enemies are. We need to consider our place in the world economic order and endeavour to make it significant. We ought to eliminate our internal domestic strife as quickly as humanly possible, unite and focus on building strength and resilience to guarantee our survival, sovereignty and ultimately prosperity.

The catch word in this process is Transformation. That is the only way we will avoid domination and a possible re-conquest. NALI is not a place for indoctrination, it’s a centre for reasoned debate and knowledge enhancement. I would recommend it to all, especially the Youth reminded, as I am - of Francois Voltaire’s assertion during the enlightenment period that: ‘Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities’. Be-ware!

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Twitter - @katsbenz 

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