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Kadaga warns DJs against ‘desecrating’ national anthem

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PARLIAMENT | Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has warned Disco Jockeys, commonly known as DJs, and the rest of Ugandans against “insulting” the status of the national anthem, warning that offenders risk punitive action.

“I want to remind people of Uganda, especially DJs, that under the Constitution, you are obliged to honour the national anthem. There has been a tendency, I think people just take the anthem for granted, they sing two stanzas and they are trying to sing three stanzas of the East African Community anthem,” the Speaker said.

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Although she did not elaborate further on what she meant as required to “honour the national anthem,” her position on the stanzas suggested concerns about how many people play or sing whenever they have to.

Kadaga explained: “I want to remind people of Uganda that under the National Flag and Armorial Ensigns Act 1962 Cap54 of the laws of Uganda it is an offence to ridicule, insult or in any way discourage the symbols of Uganda.”

In 2012, President Museveni directed that all the three stanzas of the National Anthem be played at national functions instead of two as previously done.

Ugandan National Anthem has three stanzas but for most occasions, only one is played. Besides, anthem, like other symbols of the nation, have an important place that requires honours when played. This means standing at attention during an anthem except for invalids who are obliged to only raise their hands.

However, Kadaga’s concerns come with a tinge of irony given that in July 2017, she joined the group of legislators who opposed the recommendation of the Rules Privileges and Discipline Committee that every House sitting starts with members singing the anthem.

“So, on Tuesday we sing the National Anthem and on Wednesday and Thursday?” Kadaga had asked rhetorically at the time as Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo opposed the recommendation arguing that singing the anthem does not necessarily make one a patriot.

In some countries like Rwanda, legislative sittings open with lawmakers singing the national anthem which not only raises the sense of pride but also patriotism.

However, the peculiar case of Uganda is that most people cannot sing all the three stanzas. The majority can only sing the first stanza and gamble with the second before mixing up the third with lyrics from the first two, according to a 2017 mini-survey by Uganda Radio Network.

Kadaga made her position on the national anthem on Monday at the launch of Parliament Week during the ecumenical prayers where she noted that a number of people have lost respect for the anthem and are currently taking it for granted.

The prayers are part of the activities to celebrate the 3rd Annual parliament week that is slated to run from 13th -19th January 2019 in which the public will have an opportunity to interact with their leaders as well as gain knowledge on Parliament administration and business.

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