When someone whispers to you that only 5% of fathers in Uganda are actively involved in the lives of their children and that 30% of households in Uganda are headed by women, you may easily scream out loud, stop, take a step back, sit down and ask God, ‘WHY?” (Of course you know what kind of ‘why’ I mean!)
Yes, it is no longer a hidden fact that majority of men in Uganda are running away from their God-given duties and responsibilities, finding softer grounds and leaving the hard-work to the women. It is sad to know that about 40% of fathers are aware of the existence of children they have fathered but choose not to take part in their lives. And that is just another of many stats I could pull up to drive the point home. It is indeed saddening.
But why should we stress about fatherhood anyways? Good question. Allow me elaborate…!
Uganda, a country governed by, above all, God has, for many recent years, been a composition of calamities that many Ugandans have chosen to call the worst. We have witnessed rampant kidnappings recently and murders of senior leaders. We have seen strikes across many fronts and circles and clashes amidst tribes. We have been infiltrated by western LGBT movements and so many other uncultured and uncouth lifestyles. Betting and gambling has become a lifestyle for the youth. Pornography and sex-tapes are spreading as fast as wildfires, and social media is increasingly becoming the death of families.
But guess what, all these above are carried out by people who should be having a mother or a father, and the father being the pillar of the family. The family is indeed the nucleus of society and this country at large. This means that if we have better families then this is reflected with a better society. Charity begins from home, right? And that is why the First father, President Y. K. Museveni declared 2017 and the following three years as years of the family! In this declaration, the idea was to redeem family orientation to better the nation. As Family Life Network, we believed we could not do this without redeeming the pillar of the family…the father!
On 23rd June 2018, we had a walk from the ‘City Square’ to the Kololo Airstrip grounds. We chose to call it, The Proud Fathers Walk and invited all fathers out there who believed they were proud to be called fathers and proud of fatherhood in its entirety along with their families for a celebration of true fatherhood. It was on this day, specifically during that walk that I asked myself,
“How many Ugandan men out there can proudly say that they have done a good job being fathers to their children?”
“How many fathers can easily call up their families and jointly have that walk as a family?”
“If we cannot raise millions of fathers to take that walk then, as a nation, don’t we have a problem?”
I saw how bright Elly Tumwiine, The Chief Walker’s face was. You could easily tell he is a proud father. I was pleased and humbled to walk with him and other proud fathers. On that day, I made a vow to be the best father my children will ever ask for. And that is a commitment, a declaration I am proud to make every year. It is not just because I want to be in the 5%…nooo! I also want another father to look at how I am managing to be better father so that they too can make that commitment. I want them to appreciate how I father my family so that next year, they too can proudly take that walk. And the, at the end of the day, we shall have more fathers joining this walk, changing for better and changing Uganda.
If all of us fathers can be better at our God-given job, then I believe Uganda will be in a much better position. But this starts with you!
We live to daily learn something new. For example; fatherhood entails being the Protector, Priest, Prophet, Provider and Presence, the 5Ps of fatherhood! If we can turn around and become the fathers that our forefathers were for us and our fathers, we can teach these young men that hard work is not in betting, that unemployment does not mean to rest on your laurels and wait for the next person to rob from. We can also be there for our daughters and teach them about self-worth; that they are better than being referred to as ‘Silly Slay Queens’, that they can pursue their career dreams, that ‘shisha’ is not the future! We should embrace social media but with those 5Ps, we can learn how to make it be a bridge and not the sword that slices us apart.
To my fellow men; the reality is that women want us to be the men we are supposed to be. Let us not be deceived by unrealistic feminism. While being hosted on NTV Uganda’s ‘MEN’, Dr. Stephen Langa, the Executive Director of Family Life Network became an inspiration to the other panelists. In his discussion, it was clear that focus has been on the girl child so much that we forgot to tell our boys how to become men! And maybe that is why we have been seeing so many young men choosing not to be the men they are supposed to be; ignoring fatherly responsibilities, refusing to seek for employment, choosing easier life options like gambling, theft and drugs, and so much more.
I hope to see you next year at the same walk!