did not want this day to pass without being counted. How on
earth did I forget that this is the second anniversary of
President Museveni in power since the 2006 elections! It could
only be the senile me to forget such an important day - May
What consumed me and in the process made me fail to realise
such an important day was some old book.
I recently stumbled upon a classic novel and it has consumed
me to the point of forgetting to congratulate the President
on another two years in power.
Animal Farm by George Orwell is still as interesting as
it was when it was first written, but for us in Uganda its
lessons are far more revealing. They help us to see things
George Orwell might have written this novel long ago, but
its message is still running rounds within us. Our bosses
continue to manipulate us, the subjects, for their own good.
Those to whom power is bequeathed end up using it for their
own prosperity; they end up worse than the real and imaginary
evils [or past leaders] they ‘liberated’ us
This book has remained true to its message. Its message
pans out everyday in our lives. Yes, I can still hear the
words; four legs good, two legs bad still ringing in my
I see how when too much power gets into the head, there
is no return. The past saviours have been changed by time.
Equality that we all cherished is but an illusion.
Leaders will need comfort to be able to think and run the
affairs of the farm - our farm - for the good of all animals.
Yes, all animals are equal but some are more equal than
others. We learn that the animals that inhabited the Manor
Farm were mistreated and abused by their owner Jones. The
animals rebelled and expelled Jones. They took over the
farm, which they renamed Animal Farm.
Soon, however, the pigs [representing party bosses] begin
to take special privileges for themselves while the majority
of the working animals are left to work hard and eat less.
The leaders enlist the farm’s dogs as enforcers to
put down any dissent, real or imaginary, and they teach
the sheep to bleat the party slogan when occasion arises.
At first, this is, “Four legs good, two legs bad”-
animals (four legs) are good, humans (exploiters) are bad.
As the new bosses settle in, the original seven commandments,
which was the farm’s constitution, is changed to suit
the pigs’ own agenda. The pigs eventually learn to
walk on two legs, thus imitating the animals’ original
exploiters. The Seven Commandments become one: “All
animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than
The pigs re-name Animal Farm the Manor Farm - its original
name - and invite the neighbouring human farmers, who symbolise
the elite class against whom the animals revolted, to admire
As the story ends, the pigs are not different from the
human they expelled. Nothing captures the last bit like
the speech given by Squealer the pig, renown for oratory,
that made all animals sit by and listen:
“Comrades!” Squealer cried. “You do not
imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this out of selfishness
and privilege. Many of us actually dislike milk and apples.
I dislike them myself. Our sole objective in taking these
things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this
has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances
absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs
are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation
of the farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching
over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that
milk and eat those apples. Do you know what would happen
if we failed in our duty? Jones would come back! Yes, Jones
would come back! Surely, comrades,” cried Squealer
As I closed the book after the last sentence, I wondered
whether George Orwell knew that we could witness his allegories
in our lives and times. That we all wanted change, but then
change changed us. That constitutions are mere unedited
pieces of written material. That leaders need to live in
comfort so that they can think on our behalf, irrespective
of the costs involved and whether we too have brains or
mere fluids in our skulls.
Thus I wish you, comrade Yoweri Museveni and the NRM-O
party, a happy though belated second anniversary of the
22nd-year in power. We the comrades in the struggle for
the farm called Uganda remain loyal and still look forward
to the fulfillment of the promises of “our”
Dismas Nkunda, The author is a human rights
expert and specialist on refugee issues, email@example.com