Much as many Ugandans maybe aware of the country's National Symbols, the majority neither understand nor appreciate the values embedded in them. The National Symbols as stipulated in Article 8 of the 1995 Constitution are: the Flag, the National Anthem and the Coat of Arms. The values identified in the National Symbols include unity, peace, freedom, Pan-Africanism and honour of God.
The National Symbols and values are meant to enhance cohesion amongst Ugandans and to spur development. However, the values are largely unknown, shared and practiced yet they are the glue that would define Uganda's national identity, culture and character. In essence, the three symbols: the Flag, National Anthem and the Coat of Arms are the foundation upon which the love for Uganda (Patriotism) and identity should be established. Promoting awareness about the symbols and values and the meaning embedded in them is essential for creating a positive mind-set among Ugandans in order to enhance development.
It is on this basis that researchers from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), with support from the Government of Uganda under the Makerere Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) have embarked on a process to popularise the national symbols and values.
Under a project titled "National Symbols and Values: Implications for Patriotism and National Development", the researchers including Dr Paddy Musana, Principal Investigator and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Religion and Peace Studies; Dr Marion Alina, Lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Communication; Ms. Naomi Namanya, Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Religion and Peace Studies at Makerere University; and Mr. JJ Bakalikwira, Assistant Commissioner National Guidance at the Ministry of ICTand National Guidance have developed a training manual to create more awareness and appreciation of the national symbols and values for a patriotic Uganda.
The manual is also intended to promote the knowledge and practice of the values in the National Symbols through the different languages of Uganda. The manual is designed for use by specific categories of people who are deemed to be influential to promote the national symbols and values. These categories include the educationists, religious and political leaders, performing artists, brand ambassadors, media practitioners, security agencies and civil society organizations.
The project team is also holding nationwide seminars to create awareness and appreciation of the National Symbols and values in a bid to foster patriotism amongst Ugandans.
One of such seminars was a media engagement about the National Symbols and values held at Makerere University on 5th November 2020. The event officially opened by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe attracted several media practitioners including news editors from print and broadcast stations in Kampala.
During the engagement, the project team appealed to media houses to re-consider programming to allocate airtime to the promotion of national symbols and values.
The team appreciated the University Management for having negotiated government funding for research critical for national development. In the same vein, the Principal of CHUSS, Dr Josephine Ahikire extended gratitude to the Government of Uganda for the support towards research and other academic programmes at Makerere. Commenting on the critical role of media in national transformation and development, Dr Ahikire urged participants to spearhead the popularisation of the National Symbols and values. "We look forward to the media to craft conversations that will minimise negativity and promote Uganda's development through our national symbols and values," she said.
To access a copy of the training manual, contact Dr Paddy Musana, Department of Religion and Peace Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Makerere University, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com