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Month June 2009

Way forward for Uganda is controversial

Last week someone sent me an email reminding me that it was Heroes day in the Republic of Uganda. It came at a time when I was writing another article on the way forward for our great republic. With this in mind I have decided to write about both issues in this article.
I read the President’s address in Hoima on the subject of Heroes with kin interest and great concern as for over a month the Besigye and Museveni camps where throwing mad at each other on who contributed more or less in the bush war.
This gave me questions; who is a Hero? Does he/she have to be a member of the Ruling Government?
From the time the white man stepped onto the Ugandan soil, many people have contributed to the well being of Uganda. King Kabalaga, Kabaka Mwanga, Nuwa Mbogo, Sir Apollo Kagwa, Semei Kakungulu, Musazi, Kabaka Mutesa, Obote, Ben Kiwanuka, Idd Amini, Yusuf Lule, Binaisa, Prof Nabudele, Tito Okello, Lutwa and Museveni have all made a contribution to the country. Whether the individual was poor in his position as a leader, he has put a mark on the history of the country.
In Britain, whether it is a Conservative or Labour government, Churchill, Oliver Cornwell, even King Henry the 8th who has gone in the histroy of Britain as one of the worst leaders, is always celebrated. Actually this year new coins are being issued in remembrance of the rule of Henry the 8th. Its the contributions of these people that have made our Republic a melting pot which makes us a unique country.
The Government should not cherry pick who is a hero and who is not. We should not have this mad throwing by the Museveni camp and Besigye in defining who is a hero and who is not. Heroes of the country should not be only those who can fire a gun. We all contribute to the well being of the country in different ways.There are Nurses, Teachers, Police officer around the country who play a part in making the machine we call Uganda run.These are the everyday heroes of the Republic of Uganda, we should always appreciate what they do.
Now turning to the other issue I was planning to write about. What’s the way forward for the Republic? It will be 47 years in four mouths since we obtained independence from the British. Uganda like life, is a project and like any other project we must evaluate its success and failure. Of the 47 years, 23 years have been under one leadership; that of Museveni and the rest is divided between Obote, Mutesa, Amin, Lule, Binaisa, Paul Muwanga, Tito Okello and Lutwa.
After 47 years we should now stop blaming the west for our failures. On the 09th October 1962 we told the British we can govern ourselves. Have we managed to do so? The British left us with one dam, Rail network, Tarmacked Roads (1809km), an airport and airline, a national health service which was based on one introduced by the labour party in Britain over 60years ago,an education system which was the pride of Africa, Transport system (UTC), Housing finance system which brought countries like Singapore to Uganda to study it so they could copy it in their own countries plus other properly running Government systems. The par capita income in 1962 was about $3 a day, today it’s about $1.25 a day.
What is left after 47 years down the road? Let’s start with the dam, yes it is still functional but it’s capacity can not service the population as it was meant for about 10 million people of the day. Britain has no dams but it has enough energy to keep them going for the next 50 years. Our energy policy has failed. Just a month of infighting in kenya brought the country to a stand still. The rail network does not exist. I am so much attached to the rail system because my own father worked with the East African Railways. Tarmacked roads are Just 2076 kms which mean since 1962 we have only increases it by about 200km. The airport still exists but its capacity can not copy with the increased google generation who are tavelling the world everyday.

We have no regional airports which could reduce the burden on Entebbe. When the American president visited, all the airport was cut off to everyone else travelling. This is an economic problem. As for the Health service, Hospitals are in a sad state that a daughter of the president can not give bath in these hospitals..I was in mbale hospital, children with different disease share the same bed. No medicine, you have to buy it form private drug stores which are owned by doctors on Government pay. I will be told that there is an increase in private medical care and those who can afford to obtain medical care abroad can do so. This i just about 3% of the population of Uganda. My grand mam in Namalogo in mbale can not afford this.As for education, Makerere has dropped in the world rankings. Even with the introduction of UPE, the standards have dropped so low that competition on the world stage will always be a problem for our students. As for the housing finance, it is still in existance but it has not helped the local person to get on to the property ladder. The cooperative societies which were the backbone of the country’s economy were delt a final blow by the introduction of liberalisation by the then Minister of Cooperative the late James Wapakabulo.
Cooperatives also hold a special place in my life as my father after leaving the East African Railways, worked for Bugisu Cooperative Union for 27 years before he retired in 1997.We have failed so much that we did not know part of our country ( Migingo Island) until recently. Actually my advise to the people of Migingo is to proclaim independence from both Uganda and Kenya. If the two countries’ claim for this island comes after over 40 years since both countries got independence, it means this island has not received any help from both countries.
They have been living without the help of both countries, which means they can still live without it, and hence independence is the only way forward.
So why have we failed to improve on what was left behind by the British? It’s simple, for so long we have continued to recycle the leadership. We have used the same people to ran the country; “we have had Obote, Amin, Lule, Binaisa,Obote, Tito, Museveni and people like Bidandi, Mayanja Nkanji, Semogerere to mention but a few”. All these came from that band of people who were in the independence struggles. They feel it’s their right to rule us as they took part in the independence struggles. This has created a situation where no new ideas come in and the country is held hostage by these so called independence heroes.
Leaders keep on thinking inside the box rather than outside the box. In the end it has created high corruption and hence faillure to improve the situation in the Republic.
What’s the way forward? My way forward is controversial but it’s the only solution for the Republic. Sometime back someone wrote; for Uganda to move forward, Iddi Amini, Obote, and Museveni should leave the political scene of the country. I do agree, and I also add that those who have been on the country’s political system since the independence days should leave the stage to pave way for new ideas. The world has changed, we are now living in the google, youtube, twitter, facebook, generation. Competition is global, we have to compete with other countries and thinking outside the box will be the only solution.
Let us have fresh ideas. Political parties should be democratic. This idea of Maria Obote becoming the leader of UPC just because she was the wife of the late leader is not democracy. She even goes ahead to sack someone because he is opposed to her son taking over the party. This is the problem with the parties in Uganda, they are undemocratic and their roles is to purely oppose and provide no solutions.
Whatever side of the divide you are, Museveni has contributed to the country, this must be acknowledged by the opposition. After acknowledging that, then tell the people where he has failed and then give them solutions. The middle class has increased, it needs better service such as roads, rail, planes, security, housing and proper business environment.
The government has failed on that, so the opposition should be looking at how to help this class of people plus the rural poor who are looking for medication, education and good transport network to transport the produces to the market. This should be the battle ground for the 2011 presidentail polls not personalities.
My idea is controversial, but it’s the best way forward for the republic.
For God and my country.
Laman Napio Masaba
One World Consultants

Kampala Bill is not fair to Buganda and the rest of Ugandans

Fellow Ugandans,
 I cannot imagine going to Mbarara or Gulu and taking over such perimeters without expected push back. President Museveni and his administration have become a very strange bed fellow when it comes to Buganda property, not only land but other revenue generating properties that seem to have been targeted to render defunct or non functional the cash cows for Buganda. In essence housing the capital of Uganda has been a nightmare for the tribe.
If the administration wanted to annex cities of regions from the previous 10 districts, then it ought to have done it across the board, take Jinja, Mbarara, Gulu and many other towns as a fair legislative move. Singling out Buganda things, simply because it is the capital has brought such unpopularity to the NRM/O both at home and abroad among seriously concerned Baganda.
 My friend Kiyonga the political strategist has to be thinking beyond one presidency for his party! Having such unfair unilateral moves that target and impoverish Buganda cannot be a good thing for his party’s future. Incidentally the Baganda seem to have lost out disproportionately, in terms of economics, environment and lives wasted.  
In the eyes of political forecasters this mounts to political party suicide given the projected future census of Buganda. Simply thinking that “generations would have changed and the ills will be long forgoten” is a myopic strategy. Had the folks in UPC been more foresighted during their reign, they would be enjoying incredible popularity today. Besides, why legislate on something that will definitely be reversed in the future?
Writing legislation to take so much out of Buganda alone is not only blatantly unfair it is discriminatory.
Look, Buganda/Baganda aided the Museveni administration to get in power, and it/they have paid the ultimate price. Buganda lost most of it’s ability to raise revenue take for instance, the Electricity project wich seems to have been designed without regard to Bugandan investors, who owned the old Owen falls dam. The adminstration did not have a plan or good will to replace Buganda’s investment with any other viable or similar revenue generating project. The Baganda like the Indians also had staked carefully their own revenue generating strategies and taking them away without adequate remuneration afforded to Indians is what’s put them at odds with the administration.
Even the Bristish who colonized us longer, did not take as much away from Buganda as has president Museveni and his administration. Here in Boston,echoes of disenchantment for the NRM/O party are heard from even those that are not following these debates closely. 
I often say to my NRM/O friends in the USA that rescuing the NRM/O name in our towns is more difficult, because, people here see the party as the one that has taken on a very selfish posture to impoverish Baganda by overtly disenfranchising them at every turn. It will take a concerted effort to get back in the good graces of many Baganda, who have of late acquired this complex spline from irreparable suffrage. Laughing it away is unwise, un stately and indeed sadist to say the least. I hope the president will be able to look Bostonians in the eyes when he comes in September and empirically convince them that this ain’t so!
Ugandan in Boston

witchcraft is but a euphemism for rubbish

Dr Muwanga-Zaake,

 1/6 You seem not to be sure whether to condemn or to condone so-called witchcraft.  And by the way, witchcraft is but a euphemism for rubbish. Why? Even when you peer into the kit bag of a “witch doctor”, all you see there is absolute rubbish: scales of a pangolin, snail shells, teeth of a hyena, porcupine spines, claws of a crab, cow dung of a leopard, skull of a victim of kwarshiorkor and all such manner of zoological collectibles. Gasiya peke yake!

 2/6  The basic fact is that, where man’s capacity to comprehend and/or tame the forces of nature suddenly ends, the belief in the supernatural immediately begins.  As man increases his mastery of nature, his belief in the supernatural diminishes.

 3/6  Belief in the supernatural is packaged in all sorts of ways.  All of them belong to the domain of superstition.  They range from what we call religions, including your Chrisitianity , to your so-called witchcraft.  In terms of man’s ability to cope with the forces of nature, Christianity and witchcraft lie on the same continuum: only varying degrees of superstitious content.  So, apposing Christianity with witchcraft is neither here nor there.  They are first cousins.  The difference is that, one has been divested of as much superstition as possible.

 4/6  And by the way, what do you mean by an “African belief”?  Do you mean belief in the occult?  Witchcraft and other forms of crude superstition are a characteristic of society that is backward, like Uganda is now.  There is nothing African about superstition.  Between the 13th and 19th centuries as many as 1 million people were executed in Europe for the crime of witchcraft. I am sure you have heard about the Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1661-1662.  You may also have heard about the trials of “witches” in the German hinterland of Rothenburg in the same period, going on even as recently as 1750.  In that town, as many as 400 “witches” were executed in one day during that time. In the USA , you may have heard about the witch hunts in Salem and Massachusetts . In England, the last person to suffer death for so-called wtichcraft was in 1684, although there is a case of a lady living in Hertfordshire village of Walkern, a few miles North of London, who narrowly survived death as recently as 1712 after being accused of being a witch….I think her name was Jane Wenham…she was saved by the intervention of Queen Anne….and so on….Note that the major victims were always women, particularly the poor and largely the widows, and trials were not only in religious courts, but also in secular ones.

 5/6 So, do not be racist or biased in other way you as you look at human superstition.  Whenever and whereever the level of science and technology is abysmal, witchcraft and religion come in to fill the gap.  There is nothing African about it, and we should not base on Africa ‘s current backwardness to infer that manifestations of backwardness are a preserve of Africans only.  The irony with you Professor is that, you then go a head to base on Africa ‘s current predicament to weave up some strange notion of your African Nationalism…or what ever one may call it.

 6/6 But, but, but, now how about you the Professor of Chemistry who then goes ahead to assert that, “The record of African spiritual leaders healing and successfully praying for rain are obliterated or never perpetuated.”? You as a scientist should be in the forefront of demystifying superstitions and dispelling such fallacies as “rain-making”, but here you are telling us about the so-called African spiritual leaders.  You Professor of all people, know the hydrologic cycle; you know the Bergeron Process of how rain forms and falls; you know that, the only way man can induce rain is by CCNs or cloud condensation nuclei.  You studied those facts in Chemistry and got a PhD, you teach them, and then you come here at UAH to tell us that, sijui, “African spiritual” this and that, should be perpetuated!  Does PhD mean “Pure head Damage”? How doesn’t someone rule you people for 50 years non-stop? How, how? That when some scary-looking self-important old chap in need of dentures in some village in Bulemezi throws cowries in the air, spits to the west, puffs to the North, walks to the road junction on his hands and slaughters a white hen facing south….then the rain will turn up! Professor Muwanga-Zaake want that to be perpetuated!  That is the myth that a 21st century Professor of chemistry wants to perpetuate, in the name of African nationalism.  Now, don’t you really see where Africa ‘s problems lie?

 Lance Corporal (Rtd) Otto Patrick

Do you believe in witchcraft?

messages on witchcraft are outright unbalanced? Some people focus on witchcraft – but is it more heinous than burying people alive, by, I presume, religious people? So, possibly, another important question is ‘ Has religion affected some of these people?’. Obviously, the murders believed in witchcraft although their religious backgrounds are not clearly stated.

what qualifies as witchcraft

Although I have been accused of being pedantic on this forum, I think we have a problem in defining a witch. It appears to me as though anybody with powers, which cannot be scientifically proven or which are not acceptable in the Christian doctrine, to cause havoc is a witch, especially in Africa where religions local belief systems to establish themselves. The record of African spiritual leaders healing and successfully praying for rain are obliterated or never perpetuated. Indeed, we have been assimilated into despising our beliefs as backward or witchcraft.

There are double standards applied in Africa. An African belief is subjected to scientific proof, otherwise it is backward or witchcraft. A biblical or foreign belief is never subjected to scientific proof. So we are told – Jesus walked on water, changed water into wine, fed millions with merely 5 loaves, etc. but we are not allowed to question these acts on the basis of science. I have no problem in believing the miracles Jesus demonstrated. However, for example, let us note that there is no scientific explanation for walking on water without sinking other than a belief in supernatural being.

Havoc is reported in enforcing religions, including Christianity for example. Would Samson who prayed until a whole building killed people where he was apprehended qualify as a witch? Or should we include biblical personalities (Moses is one) who prayed for the suffering of the Egyptians until the Jews were allowed to go back to their land.

The topic of witchcraft is indeed a can of worms, albeit an unfair one, which is selectively applied to any belief that is not Christian or non scientific. Ultimately, I think the question is unfair in perpetuating a complex that renders every happening, which neither Christianity nor science approves, as witchcraft. I.e., the question presumes a belief in Christianity and science as the only acceptable spiritual and knowledge systems.

Dr.Johnnie Muwanga-Zake

The Way Forward for Uganda

Fellow Ugandns,

I believe that all Ugandans are focused towards the 2011 elections, with much anticipation for eventual everlasting peace in our country. While many think that the change of government from the governing NRM/O to another party will bring peace to Uganda, others think that a mere change of the governing party will not bring peace.
As I contemplate the possibility of peace and stability, I am one of those who donot believe that a mere change of the governing party alone will ensure peace and stability.The entire populace is confused. Many have turned to the Church, Mosque and other places of worship as a refuge to the seemingly never-ending troubles of our Mother Land. I am told that even President Yoweri K. Museveni has become a Born – Again Christian.
By turning to God’s Congregation as a place of confort, I remembered what I saw in my childhood that turned the peoples’ mentality to a positive one, for sometime.
About June, 1964 a less known organisation known as The Jehovah’ Witnesses had announced that on that particular day the World would end. In our township of Kilembe the Churches, the Mosque and other places of worship were full beyond capacity. The World was supposed to end at 14.00 Hrs. We were told that a strong wind would blow everything off the face of the earth, except the ”saved ones” and those who confessed their sins before the time of the end. Every slight wind passing by would bring tremendous fear. 14.00 Hrs came and passed. So were the subsequent hours. Shortly before midnight, my mother told us, the children to go to bed, saying that God must have changed His mind. The whole area was quiet, except the prayers that could be heard faintly from time to time. After that day, the entire community became so harmonious. Well, the harmony was short lived.Two years later, 1966 the news came that the Prime Minister of Uganda, Apollo Milton Obote had ordered the army to attack the Palace of the Kabaka of Buganda, who at the time was the President of Uganda. Since that time Uganda has experienced violence with short intervals, as the governments changed.
After many years of violence in our country, the Church, the Mosque and other places of worship have become the refuge to the millions of people, many of whom wish that the Creator would soon intervene. No wonder, the Pastors, Moalim, Sheiks and Gospel musicians are busy consoling the populace.
Let us refrain from acts of intimidation and thoughtless threats. Let us encourage dialogue among the politicians and political parties for the good of our country. The fact is that the entire country is suffering, despite the argument that some areas have suffered and continue to suffer more than others. Even those who seem happy are infact scared for their lives. Peace is lacking in the entire populace and the violence exhibited in the name of ”National Security”, is in reality an act of fear for change, in self defence.
I hear in some quarters that President Museveni has imposed himself on the people and that he wants to rule for life. In other quarters I hear that President Museveni is tired of the presidency and that he is forced into it to protect those who may face the Law for atrocities committed before and during the NRM/O administration, should he step down.
With all these arguments mentioned above, I ask the question; Will the mere change of government, from NRM/O to another party bring peace? Is there any party really capable of defeating the NRM/O in the forthcoming elections? The NRM/O continues to prove that they are invincible, come the 2011 elections. I note lack of unity in all opposition parties. It seems that the opposition is trying to form a ”Unity of Convenience”, simply to defeat the ruling party in the forthcoming elections. Have we all forgotten what happened when we united for convenience, simply to drive Idi amin and his regime out of power? The violence we have experienced since the fall of Amin, is a result of that ”Unity of Convenience”.
The best way out of our despondency I believe, is that the fund which should be used to administer the 2011 elections, be used instead to establish the Trurh and Reconciliation Commission. After the establishment of the T.R.Commission and its deliberations, Uganda will have a fresh beginning filled with hope for prosperity and harmony, for the good of our Nation. Unless we find a way to put the past behind us, Uganda will never be peaceful.
BJ. Rubin.

Should teens be given contraceptive advice?

The question posed is only a tip of the icebug.  The bigger question is:  Should we as parents talk to or teach our children, especially teenagers about being sexually active? And contraceptives become part of this question and/or answer.
Seriously, this is a topic many of our great grand parents and possibly parents never had to worry about.  For example in my culture, the measure for a young girl to have involvement with a man was when she had her first period.  Then the parents and relatives would know she can rear children and got her a husband.  Sex outside marriage was unheard of then.
Then came the missionaries.  They opened up schools first for only boys.  Then when the boys were men and ready to marry, they had to marry illiterate girls/wives.  Then they extended the schooling and opened up schools for girls as well. My mother went to some of the schools but did not stay long before the pressure to get married was imposed on her in the culture.  My father on the other hand went very far because boys were not inhibited like girls.
When my mother had us, her creed in my family and my father’s was education, education, education and learning for life.  As farmers we invested everything earned into education.  There was no free education then.  No one talked to any of us about being sexually active or not.  We all knew however that to stay in school, boy or girl especially girl YOU HAD TO ABSTAIN and focus on the education your parents are paying for.
Realistically, young people ages 15 to 24 already have the urge to be sexually involved; some even earlier.  Yet the pressure to stay in school, go to college and be able to be earning adults is on them as well.
If this was an ideal world, I would love to tell my 15 year old to abstain; 24 year old to abstain till you get a job and find MR. OR MISS RIGHT, but that may not do either of us any good.
I strongly believe that Mothers and Fathers, should teach the children first the importance of education by sending them to school and instisting on super grades.  Then as they grow before age 15 talk about the attraction between girls and boys and let them know it is normal part of growing up but——————– with school and future carrier they are better of abstaining.  Then they are guaranteed two things no reproduction and the responsibility that follows and putting a stop to career dreams.  Then, the parents can also add, if you absolutely have to be active let us know, so we can give you some help like contraceptives.
But they need to know, that the contraceptives are not safe. Sometimes one can use them and still get pregnant.  Again the best deal is abstainance.  Both girls and boys need to know that they cannot keep having sex with everyone they date.  Just how many partners will they sleep with before they say I do?  They also need to know the deseases involved when people get sexually active.  You would even show them pictures if YOU can find them.  For girls contraceptives could interfere with child bearing at a later age.  A girl having sex at age 15  or even earlier, while the body is still growing add on the chemicals/contraceptives; it could affect their ability to reproduce down the line–could become infertile [off course the pharmacuticals will never tell them this]  You the parent must bring it up.  There is also a possibility of having children with defects.  I have watched American women who have children late in life have children with all kinds of syndromes.  No one will tell them it could be the contraceptives they have been on for years.  It is my guess work.  On the contrary I have seen girls dropping out of school and having children early.  The children are healthy unless the teen used street drugs, but the teenage mother is ignorant/illiterate, and has to go back to school to provide a future for the child and herself.  Prez Obama wants many of them back in skilled schools because they are on welfare burdening the taxpayer for so long and making more babies to have a bigger check.
Basically, my people, there are no easy answers to this question, but the longer you the father and the mother can manage to impress upon your son or daughter to abstain the better off they will focus on their future.  If they have to get involved, knowing the risks first hand from you the mother, the father is phenomenal.  Forewarned is forearmed.  It helps with morals as well.  If a young man or woman gets active so early, in life just how many people would they have taken in secret before they say I do?  And what is the guarantee that they will be faithful to one man or one woman having gotten used to advanturing so early in life with all types?
Well, well! Snap out of it!  Who said parenting is easy? Get on it and do your best, dear father, dear  mother.  It is still doable.  YOU are doing it and no one expects YOU to be perfect.  Just do your best, starting today.
Have the best weekend ever!  If YOU are a father, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY THIS WEEKEND! We appreciate what you are doing, raising your children for tomorrow’s Uganda.
Assumpta Mary Kintu
Ugandan in USA

Why there was no Muslims in Obote’s 1983 Cabinet

In the year 1983, there was no Muslim in Obote’s cabinet as Ntege Lubwama, the former Minister of Tourism and the only Muslim, survived narrowly being killed by Oyote Ojok and Rwakasisi at his Komamboga home. Ali Ssennyonga was Chief of Protocol at President’s Office, despite the duwas he was praying for Wakombozi in Tanzania in 1979. There was no Muslim in Obote’s cabinet in 1983 and no efforts were made to have one at all. Oyite Ojok had in 1980 vowed never to have a Muslim in cabinet simply because Amin was a Muslim. Obote attempted to include Ntege Lubwama and that was why Rwakasisi and Oyite Ojok plotted to kill him and Rwakasisi seized Ntege’s portifolio of Tourism and Wild Life. Oboteists were putting blame on Muslims for the 1971 coup whereas the coup was master minded by American C.I.A,British M15, Israeli Mossad and Southern Sudanese Anyanya, none of those were Muslims.

Muslims on Masaka Axis were protected because of the pre-colonial Buganda nation other than Oyite Ojok. Baganda and Bannabuddu in particular could differentiate Idi Amin’s men be Nubians or Sudanese who were massacring them, 70 in number (not hundreds and thousands), from ordinary Baganda Muslims who used to frequent Mauledi ceremonies to eat pilaawo, and dance mataali. Among those Baganda leaders were Paulo Muwanga, Samwiri Mugwisa and Israel Mayengo, who were the civic leaders in areas occupied by Tanzanians and Ugandan exiles. But for Banyankore, especially UPCs like Edward Rurangaranga and Yowasi Makaaru, they were seeing Muslims as alien Baganda, and could not differentiate between Nubians and Southern Sudanese from Baganda and Banyankore Muslims. Moreover, they wanted to grab their land which they took and a conflict will remain until Muslims are given back their land, or are paid. West Nile massacres took place between 1980 and 1982 when FRONASA was in Luwero Triangle. It was done by Acholi and Lango militia.

As TPDF was crossing Pakwach bridge, Yusuf Lule directed them never to hand over the sub region to UNLA. This was kept by even Godfrey Binaisa. It changed when muwanga was in charge. Oyite Ojok and Bazilio deployed there an Acholi militia which started massacring people, the worst being Ombaci massacre. Ask Ben Bella Ilakut from UCU who accompanied the then Premier Eric Otema Alimadi.

Obote inherited Muslim support from Uganda National Congress(UNC). But after the 1971 coup, he started usimg Muslims as political condoms.The Example being Badru Wegulo who is a spent force.

Ahmed Katerega

UAH forumist and NewVision Journalist

FDC,NRM,DP,PPP & and other parties are all the same

1/6  All of Uganda’s office-seeking political factions are exactly the same but always struggling to be different.  They struggle to be different by basing on their historical fortunes (and misfortunes), the communal/ethnoreligious biases of leading members and such other non-achievement (i.e., ascriptive) criteria.
2/6  Even the most disinterested scan through the 36 or so fractious political factions in Uganda reveals that they all have at their helm members of the rent-seeking non-productive middle class (call it the meddle class).  Shame on all 36 of them for not realizing what they really are and saving the poor Ugandan the burden which they all are.
3/6  The reality is that, political parties are, and have always been structures for articulating and aggregating group interests in socieities that have undergone vertical differentiation, into classes: industrialists, finaciers, landowners, merchants, wage labourers.  Tell me: which of the 36 petty factions in Uganda is a grouping for labourers, or industrialists, or merchants, or financiers.  Tell me.
4/6  By virtue of being a mediaeval, preindustrial society, your Uganda is still only horizontally differentiated.  Lack of imagination has canalised us into mechanically imposing on ourselves vertical structures when our orientation is still horizontal: castes, lineages, clans, ebyaffe, ethnicities and all those ascriptive clusters.  That is how the majority of our population is still organised; that majority called peasants whose proportion is as large as when the currently developed nations were still in the middle ages.
5/6  To pretend to transact our politics through the medium of structures that are suited for vertically stratified societies when we are horizontally differentiated is like forcing Kalitusi to grow like lumonde.  It either withers away or becomes a disastrous weed as it tries to conform to the undulating terrain of a horizontally differentiated reality, negotiating around one clan, and then one religious, then left over a family of pseudonotables, then right over  one ethinicty and then ebyaffe and so on.  Does Uganda have the time for that nonsense?
6/6  In Uganda’s case, let me ask, is it pluralism or factionalism?  I do not know what quinine one can concoct to whip our pseudoelite into shape.  They need to be taught a les…….

Otto Patrick

Let all Ugandans pay taxes

The clarion call for the American war of independence was “No representation, no taxation”.  That is the very dictum that is being turned on its head in Uganda when populism blinkers the political elite into abolishing poll tax.  Paternalistic abolition of tax is an automatic dissolution of civil society.  Once a population is lulled into not paying tax, it is automatically unsubscribed from membership to civil society. 

 Our political elite can now easily proclaim: “No taxation, no representation”.  Indeed, this is what we see as an extreme case in countries that are completely devoid of a fiscal contract between the masses and the elite, particularly those that depend on oil for revenue.  In Bahrain and Qatar, income tax is 0%, there is Zero parliament.  Parliament is the venue for parley.  If you do not bankroll me, what parley, or bargain do I have to exercise with you?

 That is when even the notion of “accountability” which some people deploy becomes a mere bumper sticker and tedious cliche.  Simply a sterile jargon.  Accountability is a reciprocal process.  It is a two way process.  I am accountable to you if you owe me a living.  If I depend on aid or oil, I am unlike an elite that depends on excise duties, export duties, import duties, income taxes and all other forms of revenue that create symbiosis between productive populations and the political class.

 Institutions per se will not help Uganda. Ugandans must have a stake in their country. How can they become effective stakeholders? You and I argue that through some form of direct taxation.  That may not be popular but is the best way.

 Today, the very few taxpayers in Uganda are well facilitated. They are actually happy.  Those who do not pay direct taxes are also happy so who is going to fight for what us-the elite-treasure.

 I am watching the situation in Iran with interest.  Things may boil over in that Persian country.

 But the folks in the media who are always urging the opposition to unite should re-think their message. Instead they should urge Ugandans to embrace direct taxation if they expect to make progress. From my angle, a country or people who do not pay taxes cannot aspire for great things including democratization, decent health care services, housing, social services, education, and yes accountability, running water, police services etc.

 Institutions can only be the icing on the cake.  The cake is taxation: the nuts and bolts of democracy. 


WBK and Otto

UAH forumists

Laws in Kenya may work in Uganda

L_Cpl Otto:

Yes, the law can work in Uganda. remember that Kenyans also had or went through what Ugandans are going through: feelings of entitlement.  I had been ordered out by then but I learned that Kenyan actually fought kifuba over FORD KENYA. Raila Odinga, yes that one felt entitled to led it after the demise of his father Mzee Jaramogi Odinga.  The Luhyas said no and fought over it.  I understand the situation was so bad-Mr Moi could care less-that many suffered multiple injuries.

Defeated, democratically-not enough delegates to back him-Raila left to left to hijack another parry then called NDP.  From there he made a deal with Mr Moi, joined KANU and cabinet until Mr Moi pulled a fast one on all the pretenders when he three his weight behind Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and famously reminded the pretenders that KANU had its owners.

When YKM told off those pestering him to name his successor that none of the current pretenders have what it takes, he reminded me of Mr Moi, blunt and politically incorrect, a trait both share. They also do not drink chaanga and of course like mbessha too much.

It took the courage of the woman from Gichugu, Hon Martha Karua to reign in the political parties.  Forced by law, most parties had no choice but embrace internal democracy.  Those that thought that she was joking were caught off guard and are now in limbo. Needless to say political parties are not private entities.

But it is not just me obsessed with Kenya.  Kenyans now rule the top echelons of the corporate sector in Uganda and even Vice Chancellors.  Why is that the case?

However,I agree with your thesis. Taxes are what we pay for civilization.  In other words, if Ugandans want democracy they should pay taxes. Now do Ugandans pays taxes?  No.

NRMO was smart. It broke the bond you cite by abolishing pol taxes.  Ugandans used to take pride in paying taxes. They used to gather before DCs and chiefs to be assessed or relieved of the budren. Not anymore.

Bottom line : a country of perennial tax evaders like Uganda cannot enjoy the type of democracy the elite crave for.

It is is inverse of the cry: no taxation without representation that sparked tea the famous Boston tea parties.

No taxes, no democracy babe. Taxes are what buy-force-democracy.

Now do you think the majority see it the way you put it in your thesis?  Obviously not.  Scam the editorials pages and you will see them complaining about taxes today and then tomorrow about lack of democratic space. Hello.

I know you folks are fed up with me referring to Kenya but just bear with me.  Under Mr Moi, Kenyans were not paying taxes as much. Enter Mr Kibaki who declared that the era for tax evaders was over and all of a sudden KRA is minting billions. In Ugandan super crooks like Sudhir are day  in day out fighting URA about one form of taxe or another. And then the crooks have the audacity to complain of lack of security. If the Ugandan police has no web page, or functioning patrol cars, cars it can only buy if allocated more money, money which only be raised through taxation, how can it deliver?

Instead of the opposition telling donors to cut AID, they should be telling Ugandans to pay taxes. Yap. is that likely? Nope.

Many in UAH and blame the peasants that they have prioritized sleep over democracy. Hello.  As as long as they pay no taxes, no more strikes and for the young folks, it was strikes “Obwedimo” against taxes, a Ugandan version of no taxation without representation pioneered by the late Mr Eriabu Kamya which forced changes on Bazungu.

Abolishing poll taxes has had only negative effects. Men drinking from mourning is one of them. In the past, before one paid his or her poll tax, they would be on guard and working hard to pay before the chiefs pounced. Not anymore.

Think about it, we the elite are doing the wrong thing.  What we should be calling for is more not less taxation if we genuinely treasure democratizaition in Uganda.  some Ugandan singer sang that “essay come say go”.  Ugandans want it essay, no taxes yet somehow hope aginst all odds that lack of taxation will translate into democracy. Wrong.

Ugandans should reflect on Oliver Wendel Holmes’ dictum: taxes are what people for civilization. You can define civilization any way you want.


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