In ethics, veracity is the principle of truth telling. It is grounded in valuing and respecting a person and concept of autonomy. In any society that victimises the truth, untruth is institutionalised. With it, the respect for the person and autonomy are trampled upon at will.
There has been a sustained debate as to whether President Museveni and his NRM have the conscience or credential for democracy when they openly advance untruths about their false democratic ideals. Evidence available from the rampant run-ins with Opposition groups evinces the stark realities of a tainted conscience of a tyranny.
The Webster dictionary defines conscience as “part of the mind that allows you to be aware of your actions as being either morally right or wrong”, or, a “feeling that something you have done, or about to do, is morally right or wrong”. Every conscientious person has a clarity based on their values and the valuing of the other except those in power.
When a leader deliberately perpetuate untruths, then such a leader lacks respect for the subjects. Such a leader is an obscurant – someone whose trade is to obscure, manipulate the truth. The fundamental drive of such willy-nilly obscurantism is to perpetuate control over. But it may also arise out of innate sense of inadequacy and incessant desire for approval by others.
Naturally, it is diabolical to expect that a life of untruth, can magically transform into inverse outcomes. Obscurantism generates chaos because obscurants are difficult to understand, and are most likely to be understood by only a few people. They are a mystery of sort – impossible to know completely or with certainty.
The philosopher, Thomas Aquinas, maintained that a judgment is true when it conforms to an external reality.
A society presided over by an obscurant operates under chaos, turmoil, disorder, disarray to obscure the external realities. This article has not explored the role of social chaos as a mode of social control in Uganda. However, the cost of sustaining a regime of chaos has been high. The high corruption is a form of payment to sustain this state of anarchy. The constant erosion of the conscience of Ugandans to everything collective and the steady decay in public service, or widespread apathy to government speaks for themselves.
Further, the concept of truth is complex and dynamic. Truth itself is characteristically relational to some portion of reality – metaphysics. This is the vain exploit of the obscurant leader, for his/her construct of reality is mutually opposed to objective realities of his subjects.
The principle of veracity is interlinked with that of fidelity – being, or showing faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief. Nations that develop, and whose citizens are patriotic, have emerged from a firm founding, and numerous of its social contracts are replete with basic principles of veracity and fidelity. Veracity and fidelity are conscientiously embedded in societal discourses. When such a situation obtains, citizens feel an overwhelming sense of satisfaction, comfort, trust, commitment and pride and become accountable.
The youths of such a nation willingly sacrifice their lives to sustain the integrity of such a society. The elders of such a society would openly embrace the valor of their youths as worthy and befitting. In a just system, there is everything to protect, everything to exalt.
In these regards, one sees very little value in the NRM abraded democracy packaged as “regular elections”.
Paradoxically, the magnitude of restraining forces that are employed against the process, undermines the integrity of subsequent government. The selective application of repressive laws such as Public Order Management Act to curtail, humiliate, cow, and immobilise the Opposition, only illustrates how undemocratic and obscurantist, this regime and its leaders are. Certainly, police brutality confirms the unfortunate circumstance of a tainted conscience of a regime of chaos.
Mr Komakech is a Ugandan social critic and political analyst based in Canada. email@example.com