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February 21, 2024
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Smartness doesn’t mean only clean clothes but also appropriate ones.

By Ndawula Ronald

Queen Elizabeth celebrated (70 years) platinum jubilee at the helm of British monarchy at 96years and became the longest serving Queen in history. 

Various articles have been written about the Queens life and what caught my attention this time is her dress code. 

The Queens historian observed that for some time The Queen chose to wear bright colours of the rainbow on all official functions out of  courtesy to the people who usually throng from far and wide to come and see her. 

She was concerned that people come and fail to have a glimpse of the Queen and they go back disappointed.  The Queen then made a decision to start wearing all the shades  of the rainbow with a matching hat so that she can be conspicuous and easily identifiable to all who labour to come and see her.

With this, any person from a distance can tell and recognize the Queen because of the unique bright colours in different shades. 

The Queen is not obligated to anyone about which dress code she should wear. 

It is out of sheer courtesy,  civility and politeness that she tries to look appealing , conspicuous and fairly admirable and acceptable to all.

The President’s dress code on official and state functions like the State of national address leaves a lot to be desired. 

What goes in mind when I watch him dressed casually like attending to his cows in Kisozi and again I see him doning the same code he uses addressing Parliament or attending state duties is not only shaming but a sign of  disrespect and lack of interest to what he is up to and his demeanor shows someone who is doing something for the sake but not out importance and respect to duty and others. 

I believe as a Professional soldier, the President knows better the importance of discipline, respect and order better than anyone in Uganda. 

You can’t tell how many people like me and children who take him as a role model, consciously or not, the lessons are picking from his I don’t care attitude about his wanting official attire and how far they will carry it in the future. 

I belong to the class of people who read newspaper headlines and usually understand the content or read a book cover title and decide whether to read or not because to me, the old adage holds true, of, “first impression is always the last impression”. 

The lacklustre attitude the President has of recent adopted in his dress code says a lot about his shifting frame of mind and how it has evolved from a statesman to an ordinary selfish political leader who cares about nothing but himself. 

During my youthful days I got used to wearing jeans trousers because I found them compliant with shirts and Tshirts and thought they take longer to get dirty. 

When I was elected a leader I found it hard to adopt my life to suits and official code. Shortly,  I realized how embarrassing it was to entertain district officers, official visitors who always took their time to iron , buy belts and tuck in their shirts, complete with a tie as officers of government or with intention Of  visiting the President of a district. 

No one had the capacity to confront me and advise me to do the right thing but l just came to a self realisation that smartness doesn’t only mean clean clothes but also appropriate clothes. 

Am aware that Parliament appropriates budget for State house and on average the President receives approximately 2 billion daily. Am sure part of this money is for the  President’s wardrobe.

Am also sure the 3.5 million the President gets for his salary is not enough for getting his wardrobe but someone who is responsible for seeing his ooficial wardrobe replenished with new fitting dress code for functions should be investigated because in today’s Uganda everything is possible. 

When our Children watch the President drinking porridge on television, addressing a nation and in shabby dressing they think the job is first of all not a serious one or what he is talking about is not as important and lacks urgency and relevance. 

The charismatic Museveni of my time had it all. He commanded respect in talk and demeanor.

Whether he was in army Uniform or official Presidential code.

He sounded Patriotic and assertive, he manifested a dignified nationalist with an aura of class and responsibility. 

By demeaning the Parliament and public through donning a very un serious dress code is abuse of office and as a public servant the President should be reprimanded over this negative attribute because as a custodian of Ugandas’ honor he is also the sanctified model and image representing Ugandas heritage and an emblem to the future Presidents and posterity. 

The President’s argument that he doesn’t want to accentuate the colonial systems is a loser because if its true then he should stop buying their guns and state of the art model cars for himself and the speakers even under the stressful economic conditions Ugandans are going through. 

If it was not for colonial mentality the President wouldn’t be enticing the Italian Pinneti who had no idea about coffee, disregarding Ugandan experienced coffee dealers. 

Mr. President, courtesy costs nothing and a decent dress code will represent us well and a good lesson To the children.

Next time the leader of opposition should not shy away from the SONA but remind and guide the President of the rules of Parliament regarding decent attire acceptable in Ugandas’ August house. 

The author Ndawula Ronald is the former chairperson of Luwero district 

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