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Month November 2010

Museveni must be having sleepless nights

Well placed people in Uganda and abroad who have watched Museveni’s rapid rise believe he has reached the top of a hill and has begun riding down a steep, winding and slippery road in a poorly maintained vehicle with unreliable brakes.

Museveni has had four reliable allies: western powers; Baganda and Catholics; NRM; and security forces. Museveni received strong western support for his willingness to implement the unpopular structural adjustment program (SAP) and to serve as a surrogate for one western group in the Great Lakes geopolitics. IMF and the World Bank wanted a place with a bold leader to develop structural adjustment into a development model for developing countries. Uganda was that place and Museveni was that bold leader who would not tolerate complaints about the harshness of SAP.

In return for his support in regional geopolitics and SAP, Museveni was given massive financial and technical assistance and allowed time to consolidate his NRM party and security forces before introducing multiparty politics. The donors turned a blind eye when Museveni forced parliament to remove term limits from the constitution and tolerated massive corruption, mismanagement, sectarianism and human rights violations. Museveni became a regular participant at the G8 Summits of the most industrialized countries in the World and was praised for introducing UPE (Universal Primary Education which has turned out a failure), fighting HIV and AIDS (infections are increasing in part for lack of condom use) and more recently for his strong anti-terrorist position. He was christened the ‘darling of the west and regional leader’ in the Horn and Great Lakes regions and the ‘dean’ of the new breed of African leaders. At the United Nations in New York journalists chased after him and he was invited to be guest speaker at many events. UN reports frequently referred to the good development work in Uganda under the leadership of President Museveni (that good work has turned out to have been a hoax as reflected in the spreading diseases of poverty and environmental degradation).

Things began to go drastically wrong in many directions. Uganda’s involvement in a destructive war in DRC and the wanton plunder of Congolese resources involving Museveni’s family members raised disturbing questions in international circles. Museveni’s dream of Tutsi Empire shocked his allies. The allegations of genocide against Hutu in DRC involving Uganda troops undermined his reputation as a regional leader. The abandonment of failed structural adjustment removed the main reason why Museveni obtained massive donor funding and protection against criticism for economic, social and environmental problems (the World Bank has demanded that government must repair Kampala City roads with the money it approved for that purpose). Museveni’s absence from the G8 Summits and the September 2010 MDGs Summit which was the main event for the UN General Assembly, demonstrations against him in New York by Ugandans for his dictatorial rule over a failed state (as confirmed by images of malnourished children and people disfigured by jiggers) and his failure to meet with key heads of delegations while he was in New York sent depressing messages about the future of a man who had been seen as a role model for future African leaders.

Museveni had always counted on solid and possibly permanent support of Baganda and Catholics for restoring their kingdom and bringing Catholics into government after the overthrow of Obote and Protestants. Catholics had entertained the idea apparently based on Museveni promises that a Catholic would become head of state in the near future. Giving Catholics various senior positions including Vice President have not compensated them enough to forgo the post of head of state. Baganda have also had major differences with Museveni on a number of issues including land. For these reasons, it is possible that many Baganda and Catholics that had been taken for granted may vote for another candidate and other parties in next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections to register their disappointment.

Museveni has until this year exercised full and undisputed control over matters related to the NRM. For the first time, 2010 has turned out differently. Disputes that had been suppressed came to the surface during NRM elections for office bearers at national and district levels and candidates for various offices including parliament and district councils. Many candidates who lost rejected the results and have decided to contest as independents. Museveni’s efforts to persuade them against the idea as it would weaken NRM have fallen on deaf ears, signaling that Museveni has lost grip on his party members. Other NRM members of parliament have decided not to run, sending messages that not all is well in the NRM and its leadership. Museveni cannot take these adverse developments lightly as they could spell disaster for him.

This leaves one ally – the security forces particularly the army and police. Security forces are made up of people who have their own interests. They will protect you as long as you protect them. We have shown in a separate article on how the Ethiopian Imperial guard looked on when young military officers stormed the palace, arrested the Emperor and forced him into a beetle Volkswagen and drove him away and was never seen again.

In Zaire when the army discovered that Mobutu was trying to escape into exile and leave them behind, out of desperation his relative nearly assassinated him as he flew out of Kinshasa airport for the last time. Mobutu’s presidential guard also shot at the cargo plane that flew him out of his home town of Gbadolite into exile where he died a few months later. This too was an act of desperation. The message being conveyed here is that the army’s behavior may be determined by what is happening around them. When they hear that their commander-in-chief is having trouble with his western backers, his party members and his Baganda and Catholic allies, the troops, as human beings, could behave in ways that were not anticipated.

For these reasons – and given that unlike in the past other parties are determined to have smooth voting and counting votes – it is fair to conclude that the president must be having sleepless nights

Eric Kashambuzi
New York

Why Museveni has difficulties explaining his accomplishments

President Museveni is campaigning for reelection for another five-year term. He has been telling NRM supporters that he has a solid record of achievements for the last 25 years. But he does not elaborate on that record. Deep in his heart he knows that his performance in all areas of human endeavor has been dismal. He has been variously described as a dictator presiding over a failed state. Images around the world of Ugandans disfigured by jiggers which he condemned while waging a guerrilla war, children dying of hunger, Ugandans dying in traffic accidents because of bad roads, patients sleeping on hospital floors, children studying under trees, Kampala City under floods, shooting unarmed demonstrators while he was Chairman of the Commonwealth, demonstrations against him in New York City in 2009 and 2010, recent allegations that Uganda troops committed genocide against Hutu in DRC and terrorist attack on Kampala have left Museveni a weak and vulnerable man. That is why talk of his achievements is circumscribed.

To assess what he achieved or failed to achieve, one has to understand the political economy parameters within which to measure that performance. The overall purpose of development is to improve living standards of all citizens, build and sustain institutions and infrastructure (energy and roads in particular), protect the environment for present and future generations and nurture good neighborly relations. A critical analysis of what he has done shows that overall Uganda has moved backward instead of forward. It is being described as a country transiting from third to fourth world, witness the reemergence of diseases. This conclusion can be deduced from comments in Uganda media and foreigners that have been associated with Uganda since Museveni came to power. He is increasingly being described as another African dictator, trampling human rights of his citizens.

When Museveni came to power he inherited an economy, society and ecology in bad shape. He promised to eradicate poverty through rapid economic growth and restructure the economy away from subsistence to commercial farming and from raw material to manufactured exports. He also wanted all Ugandan children and adults to get excellent education, eat adequate and balanced diets for a healthy and productive life besides protecting the environment, ending corruption and sectarianism, uniting the people of Uganda and establishing good neighborly relations etc.

Laudable and relevant policies and programs such as modernization of agriculture, poverty eradication action plan (PEAP), food and nutrition security, environmental protection and decentralization to bring services closer to the people etc were drawn up. Reviews of these documents at home and abroad were positive. Development partners were happy and donated generously. Then came the implementation stage and things began to go wrong.

Economic growth which has averaged some six percent per annum has throughout the last 25 years exceeded average annual population growth rate of some 3 per cent. Under normal circumstances of equitable distribution and social justice, the standard of living of all Ugandans should have improved leading to eventual eradication of poverty. In practice, the benefits of economic growth which reached 10 percent in mid-1990s have not trickled down to all classes and regions. Instead, a disproportionate share has gone to a few households related to the first family, leaving the rest in economic trap with 20 percent getting poorer and suffering the diseases of poverty.

Former Administrator of UNDP reported in 1998 that although average economic growth posted an impressive record of 6 percent for a decade, two-thirds of Ugandans remained in absolute poverty and per capita income had not yet reached the level it had attained in 1970 (when Obote was overthrown). According to UNDP’s 2010 Human Development Report, over 50 percent of Ugandans are living below the absolute poverty line. In 2010 as in 1998 the general standard of living still falls below the level reached in 1970.

Museveni blamed previous regimes for focusing on export production at the expense of domestic food security. He promised he would strike a balance between the two. However, at a 1989 conference for parliamentarians and other stake holders, Museveni changed course and attached higher priority to exports including non-traditional exports (NTEs) to increase foreign currency earnings. The production of traditional exports of cotton, coffee, tobacco and tea were scaled up. Non-traditional exports included foodstuffs that had previously been produced for domestic consumption. The export of nutritious fish and beans increased dramatically sending prices through the ceiling beyond the means of many consumers. Downward adjustments had to be made. Some Ugandans are having one meal a day while others are going to bed hungry. Currently, some 9 million Ugandans are going to bed hungry and majority of the rest are eating one meal a day of nutritionally poor cassava, maize/corn or plantains without nutrient supplements causing ill health including under-nutrition.

Studies have shown that people who eat too much cassava, maize and plantains develop neurological abnormalities including insanity. The situation is made worse by stress. The rising number of neurological problems could be accounted for by poor feeding. Further, food shortages affect women and children more severely than men. Under-nourished women produce underweight infants with permanent physical and mental abnormality and early death. Furthermore brain develops during the first three years of human life from conception. That is the time nutrition should be at an optimum level. Sadly in Uganda food intake is low during these years. Thus nutrition insecurity has retarded brain development among many children.

Because food production for export has taken precedence over domestic consumption, Museveni’s government has not been able to provide school lunches as agreed by NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development). It is indisputable that school lunches improve attendance and performance especially of girls. In the absence of lunch many children have dropped out of school, got married and had children early endangering the life of mother and child. Museveni’s record in ensuring food and nutrition security has thus fallen far below expectation.

Museveni promised a metamorphosis of Uganda’s economy and society through rapid industrialization and job creation. Paradoxically, he liberalized Uganda’s economy that allowed the importation of cheap manufactured and processed products including used clothing and powdered milk. He also decided to focus on inflation control to 5 percent per annum, raising interest rates that discouraged borrowing by small and medium enterprises that create jobs especially for young and inexperienced workers.

Consequently, domestic industries like textiles have been outcompeted. Some have closed down (de-industrialization) while others are operating below installed capacity with many workers laid off. Consequently, over 80 percent of Uganda youth (15-24) are unemployed over 50 percent being university graduates. This is another area where regression has been recorded.

President Museveni promised a modern and technically-oriented education to meet the demands of a global knowledge-based economy. Along the way, he decided to focus on mass education at primary level. Universal Primary Education (UPE) which was implemented in a rush for political reasons has turned out to be a disaster. The dropout rate is unbelievably high and the quality has sunk so low that the majority of primary graduates are functionally illiterate and unemployable. Poor quality education has cut across all levels. Consequently, skilled jobs in Uganda are being performed by outside workers when the country has over 50 percent university graduates out of work.

The health sector has been hard hit from many angles. Government budget has been very low, corruption and mismanagement very high as well as brain drain of doctors and nurses, leaving inexperienced personnel in charge while many posts remain unfilled. Acting in concert absolute poverty, poor nutrition, poor healthcare, poor housing and poor clothing including lack of shoes have resulted in reemergence of diseases that are sapping energies of many children at school and adults at work.

Museveni scored very high marks for the tough fight he waged against HIV and AIDS, being the first African leader to confront the pandemic. However, his move towards abstinence and subsequent rise in infection has dealt a heavy blow to what had been an excellent and bold performance.

Uganda’s environment has progressively declined. Clearing large swathes of land to grow export crops including commercial livestock herding, timber harvesting for export and domestic use and wetland clearance have exposed soils to agents of erosion such as wind and tropical torrential rain. Local climates have changed. The dry period has become drier and longer. Rainfall pattern has changed causing irregularities in amount, timing and duration. Streams have dried up or become seasonal, spring wells are disappearing and lakes are shrinking and water tables dropping. Consequently, Uganda is increasingly being defined by frequent and devastating droughts and floods and desert conditions.

Lack of urban planning especially in the Capital City of Kampala has led to serious problems. Until Museveni came to power, building in water drainage channels and on wetlands was prohibited. All that changed following Museveni’s ascent to power. Shopping malls, industrial complexes and residential buildings have been constructed in previously prohibited areas blocking water runoff channels. Consequently Kampala floods every time there is heavy rainfall which is frequent in a tropical setting.

Museveni promised Ugandans and the rest of the world that corruption and sectarianism would be wiped off the face of Uganda in the shortest possible time because they had hindered development and national unity. Paradoxically, under Museveni Uganda has become the most corrupt in the country’s history. Members, relatives, friends and in-laws of the first family have benefited disproportionately and become visibly filthy rich and accumulation continues uninterrupted. Appointments, promotions and assignments are based largely on loyalty rather than competence.

The desire to give more powers to districts through decentralization so that services can be brought closer to the people who should participate actively in matters that affect their lives attracted Museveni early in his presidency. While the idea is laudable and received warm reception at home and abroad, Museveni has divided the country into tiny, virtually tribal-based districts that are economically unviable and cannot even raise revenue to meet administrative costs, besides acute shortage of qualified and experienced human power. With over one hundred districts that are inward-looking the idea of national unity has been shelved.

Finally, Museveni was seen as a regional leader capable of bringing about peace and stability in the great lakes region. However, his involvement in Burundi and Kenya politics, his dream of Tutsi Empire, invasion of Rwanda and DRC as well as wanton exploitation of Congo resources involving members of his family and recent allegations that Uganda troops committed genocide against Hutu people in DRC have badly damaged his reputation at regional, continental and global levels.

All in all, Museveni is being described as a dictator presiding over a failed state. That is why during campaigning, he merely mentions achievements without elaboration making people think he is hiding something or is avoiding opening a Pandora box. Consequently, he is more comfortable talking about his struggle before 1986 and what he plans for Uganda in the future including sending some Ugandans to the moon than his accomplishments.


Ministry of Finance Should Answers Our questions

Eric Kashambuzi

Hello Ugandans at heart,
Thankfully, Uganda has entered the Enlightenment phase of development. Enlightenment is characterized by reason: asking questions and demanding convincing answers. Therefore, Ugandans are no longer taking things for granted. The divine right of leaders is over! Anyone who enters public life must expect to be scrutinized. Ugandans have a right to know the history, ancestry, education and work experience of those seeking public office or already there. Therefore family members, relatives and friends of public figures should stop complaining when their fathers or mothers are scrutinized. If they do not want their parents or relatives to be undressed in public they should advise them to stay away from politics. You cannot have your cake and eat it too!

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) government under the leadership of President Museveni has been in power for 25 years. Since 1987, following the signing of agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) major developments have taken place and some of them have raised questions that need to be answered by the government. Below are some of them.

1. Uganda has experienced a reasonable rate of economic growth officially set at an average rate of 6 percent per annum far in excess of population growth averaging 3 per cent per annum. Why has poverty remained very high (over 50 percent according to the 2010 UNDP’s Human Development Report)?

2. The Poverty Reduction Action Plan (PEAP) was launched in 1997 with massive donor funding. It has been revised several times to address the challenges that emerged in the implementation process. In the foreword to the 2004 revised Plan the president noted that the challenges to be addressed included (a) improving regional equity; (b) restoring sustainable growth in the incomes of the poor; (c) building strong social and economic infrastructure; (d) enhancing human development; and (d) using public resources more efficiently. The record in 2010 shows that these challenges have got worse. The spreading diseases of poverty, collapsing health and education systems, rising unemployment, rising food insecurity’ rising school dropout and rising crime demonstrate a worsening of human conditions. Ugandans need to know what has gone wrong at least since 2004 and what concrete steps are being taken to address the situation.

3. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) of which Uganda is an active member adopted a resolution urging member states to implement school lunches (using locally produced foodstuffs to improve farmers’ incomes) because they improve attendance and performance especially of girls. Evidence from developed and developing countries where school lunches have been provided shows that they work so there is no need for Uganda government to commission a study by the World Bank to determine the value of school lunches. They work! Given Uganda’s high school dropout rate especially among girls and poor performance (in large part because they are hungry as illustrations from Kabale district have confirmed), why has the government of Uganda been unable or unwilling to provide or facilitate the provision of school lunches? Early school drop out of students leads to early marriage and high fertility rate. Keeping them in school reduces birth rate which is worrying Ugandans and non-Ugandans alike.

4. Since the 1970s, Uganda has gone through political, economic, social, environmental and pandemic turbulence: the guerrilla war in 1981-85, the civil war in northern and eastern Uganda that lasted over 20 years, HIV and AIDS pandemic; malnutrition and communicable diseases plus an increase in contraceptive prevalence rate from 15 to 23 percent that has reduced fertility from 7.1 to 6.5 children per woman. These changes should have reduced Uganda’s population growth. Yet Uganda’s population is reported to be growing at an ‘explosive’ rate of over 3 percent per annum. Something that has contributed to rapid population growth has not been explained. Uganda’s population growth is a function of natural growth (births – deaths) plus net migration (in-migrants – out-migrants). The impact of net migration appears to have been excluded, yet Uganda has been a magnet since the 1920s attracting foreign workers mostly from neighboring countries and supplemented by refugees since 1959 following the Social Revolution in Rwanda. By 1986 there were areas in Uganda where migrants were as high as 65 percent of total population (Sathyamurthy 1986) and the inflow has probably increased since then because of Uganda’s liberal immigration policy. Ugandans therefore need to know the impact of migration on Uganda’s population growth as this dimension is useful in determining population policy.

5. Of late some Ugandans have been pushing for scaled up family planning or birth control through contraception (prevention of conception). Yet very little, if at all, has been mentioned about lack of facilities, trained and experienced manpower and above all severe side effects of birth control methods that include loss of sexual interest that has contributed to domestic violence. It would be helpful to get an idea about what the government is doing or planning to do to address this challenge within the political, religious, ethnic, class and cultural context.

6. The privatization of Uganda’s public assets was designed to generate revenue to be used in improving infrastructure and institutions. What we are witnessing is a worsening of the situation. Ugandans need to know how much revenue was generated and to what use it has been put.

7. Dividing Uganda into many districts was designed to bring services closer to the people and to enhance their full participation in matters that affect their lives. It has turned out that the districts that have been demarcated more or less along tribal lines have undermined national unity efforts and have become economically unviable (because most of them are too small and lack adequate human and financial resources) and cannot deliver services as expected. The expansion of municipalities without consultations as in the case of Rukungiri has created potential problems that could result in landlessness of a particular group. Given these unfavorable developments what corrective plans does the government have?

8. In pursuit of export-led economic growth and macroeconomic stability as advised by the World Bank and IMF, the government ignored development (transformation of economic structures and improved welfare through employment, education and healthcare, food security and nutrition etc) and environmental sustainability. Unemployment of Uganda’s youth (15-24 years) stands at over 80 percent and environmental degradation is so alarming that FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) has reported that if corrective measures are not taken immediately Uganda could turn into a desert within 100 years which is a very short time. Uganda’s dry climate has become hotter and longer; rainfall has become irregular in timing, amount and duration; perennial rivers have disappeared or become seasonal; water tables have dropped; lakes have shrunk and spring wells are disappearing very fast; and wetlands have been replaced by buildings or ranches. Consequently Uganda is now defined by massive de-vegetation, soil erosion, droughts and floods. The Pearl of Africa as Churchill described Uganda is gone. Ugandans are keen to know what concrete corrective plans have been put in place.

9. While the East African integration and political federation are noble ideas, Ugandans would want to know in concrete terms what net (positive) benefits they will enjoy. They would particularly want to know what will happen to land ownership and jobs as East Africans move and settle freely and are employed anywhere in East Africa. Given that some neighboring countries have an acute shortage of land and some have more skilled manpower than Uganda, the issues of land and jobs need to be discussed transparently and in a fully participatory manner at all levels and in all districts. In doing so lessons from EU and NAFTA need to be taken into full consideration.

10. Since the issues outlined above fall within the mandate of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, we are asking the Minister to respond. A copy of this note has been sent to her.

Eric Kashambuzi
Senior Policy Advisor,United Nations Millennium Project
UAH Forumist

What happened to Uganda historians?

Dear Ugandans,
In many countries, history or civics is a compulsory subject in schools. The idea is that students should know where their ancestors came from, how they have interacted with others over time and how they are governed.

Because Africa was considered a “Dark Continent” at the time of colonization, Europeans assumed it had no history and darkness was not a subject of history. Thus during colonial days, we were taught the history of European explorers and missionaries in Africa. The little Uganda history we were taught was about kings and their royal courts because first colonial and missionary officials came from aristocratic families in Europe and were not interested in peasant or commoners history. The first batch of Uganda historians was either from royal families or connected with the royal court. So for some years after independence, Ugandans continued to be taught the history of royal courts and British work in Uganda.

A new breed of historians emerged after independence led by Prof. B. A. Ogot, Kenyan mathematician turned historian who taught me in Nairobi. They began research into the history of Africans which led “to abandon certain formerly accepted terms and to introduce others”. Uganda historians began to write a new history of Uganda about who Ugandans are, where they came from and where they live and how they have interacted with one another.

Studying Uganda’s history cannot avoid ethnic and religious issues. However, because they were considered divisive, NRM passed a law – the Anti-sectarian law – prohibiting discussion of ethnic and religious matters. Thus, the study of history has been undermined. That is why many Ugandans – especially those born after 1986 – do not know the history of Uganda. And the political economy history of Uganda since NRM came to power is not something to be proud of. One can write history without being divisive if one sticks to facts. Below is a snapshot of Uganda’s history.

Bantu settlementUganda is occupied by two main ethnic groups: Bantu and Nilotic peoples. Bantu entered Uganda through the Congo basin in southwestern corner. There is consensus that they originated in the Cameroon/Nigeria border and arrived in Uganda about 2000-3000 years ago. They began migration about the time of Christ. They brought with them short horn cows, goats, sheep and poultry, crops and iron technology. They settled in fertile lands, produced enough balanced food and manufactured a wide range of products especially those based on iron ore. They lived in settlements, multiplied quickly and developed a governance system with kings, chiefs or council of elders that provided law and order, settled disputes when they arose and protected settlements against external invasion, using peaceful means including diplomatic techniques as appropriate.

Nilotic settlementNilotic migrations into Uganda consisted of two groups: Plains Nilotes entered Uganda through the north east direction. They included Kumam, Itesot and Karimajong; and River/Lake Nilotes (Luo speaking) entered Uganda from Bahr-el-Ghazel area of southern Sudan. The main economic activity was herding. Bantus already in the area had a mixed system of herding but dominated by crop cultivation.
Note: contrary to popular belief, there was no group in Uganda that was stateless. Some had centralized systems like Buganda and Bunyoro and others had simple governance structures that met the needs of the day.

Nilotic and Bantu interactionsIn northern and eastern Uganda, Buganda, Bunyoro and Toro Bantu and Nilotic peoples interacted extensively through comprehensive intermarriages that produced new ethnic groups and cultures based on a mixed farming economy of herding and crop cultivation, hence hardly any ethnic problems.

Sharing Bantu names, language and religion and nothing else
1. Bahima and Bairu. When the Nilotic Luo-speaking people entered what later became Ankole, they took on a new name. They became Bahima. They adopted Bantu language and Bantu names. They however refrained from intermarrying with Bantu later dubbed Bairu people (slaves of Bahima). To this day in 2010 Bahima men do not marry Bairu women because they consider them to be of a low class as Kesaasi confirmed recently in her article in Uganda Observer. Thus although they speak Bantu language and use Bantu names Bahima have retained their Nilotic identity.

2. Bahororo in Uganda. In mid-1600s a group of Batutsi from Rwanda founded a short-lived Mpororo kingdom in northern Rwanda and southwestern parts mostly in Ankole. Batutsi changed the name and became Bahororo (people of Mpororo kingdom). The kingdom lasted less than 100 years. When it disintegrated, the parts in Uganda were taken over by Bahinda kings (Bahima) of Ankole and Bahororo became commoners. Many returned to Rwanda and others under Rwebiraro took refuge in Rujumbura around 1800. Others remained in Ankole or drifted to other parts of Uganda. Although scattered over a large geographic area they have tenaciously clung together whether in Rwanda or Uganda or elsewhere. Like Bahima, Bahororo refrained from marrying Bantu women or other women except those from their Nilotic group. Like Bahima, Bahororo consider women from other ethnic groups of low social class. Like Bahima, Bahororo speak Bantu language and use Bantu names but have remained distinctly Nilotic. To avoid being called commoners, Bahororo used Bahima name. For example, in Rujumbura there are no Bahima but Bahororo although registered as Bahima. That is why Bahororo were not known until Museveni who is a Muhororo came to power in 1986.

3. Nubians in Uganda. The Khedive of Egypt stationed Nilotic Nubian troops from southern Sudan along the Nile and into present-day northern Uganda for strategic reasons. They were cut off when a Mahdi rebellion broke out in Sudan in 1882. The troops were moved further south in the Lake Albert area for safety. In 1900 Captain Lugard hired them in his troops to fight Kabarega. They were later absorbed into a standing army to continue the task of being used to conquer Uganda. Ultimately, they were allowed to stay in the country. They did not like rural life and most chose to stay in towns like Bombo. Because they are Muslims, they refused to send their children to Christian Schools. Like Nilotic Bahima and Nilotic Bahororo, Nilotic Nubians do not marry outside their ethnic group. As an aside, the three long-serving presidents of Uganda: Obote, Amin and Museveni are Nilotic from southern Sudan!

4. Asians in Uganda. The shortage of African labor on Uganda railway construction was overcome by bringing in workers from the Indian subcontinent. When construction ended, Asians stayed on in East Africa including in Uganda. They engaged in business and commerce and thereby blocked African progress outside agriculture. Because Britain declared that Uganda land belonged to Ugandans mostly peasants outside Buganda, Asians could not own land except land leases to grow sugarcane and a few other export crops. Thus, Asians were and still are confined to towns. Like Nubians, Bahima and Bahororo, Asians do not intermarry with other Ugandans.

5. Uganda’s first major challenge. Thus one of the serious challenges is this lack of interaction socially through intermarriages and economically as well. You will rarely find a Muhororo/ Muhima or Asian doing business with another ethnic group. Since 1986, the Nilotic-Bantu speakers (Bahororo and Bahima) and Asians have done extremely well economically and socially at the expense of Bantu and northern and eastern Nilotic people. The result has been increasing poverty and frustration among those left behind who cannot even manage to fix school lunches for their children. When the rich advise the poor to pack lunches for their children they are either ignorant or they do not care. If the poor cannot provide dinner or breakfast because they do not have food how are they expected to fix lunches? The reason there is no food is either because bread winners are unemployed or have no land on which to grow food. And the NRM government has refused to even entertain the idea of providing lunches or temporary employment like other governments in developed and developing countries do when economic times are very tough like now. The filthy rich should refrain from giving reckless advice to impoverished and vulnerable people lest they are misunderstood.

6. Arrival of migrant workers who stayed. A combination of push factors (hard economic and political conditions in Belgian Rwanda and Burundi) and pull factors (economic and employment opportunities in Uganda (mostly in Buganda initially) since the 1920s attracted many Hutu and Tutsi workers from Burundi and Rwanda. Hutus worked in Buganda’s cotton and coffee farms. Tutsi were more scattered in Ankole, Buganda, eastern and northern Uganda especially in Teso and Lango where there is cattle herding. Many of them chose to stay. Bahutu integrated rather easily and many married Uganda women but Batutsi clung to their tradition of marrying Batutsi, Bahororo or Bahima women and remained culturally distinct including their dresses. Most of them stayed in Uganda. At independence in 1962, 40 percent of Baganda were Banyarwanda and more have come in since then making it difficult to know who the indigenous Baganda and how many they are.

7. Arrival of Tutsi refugees. The social revolution in Rwanda in 1959 saw the Tutsi lose their supremacy. They fled the country with their cattle and most ended up in Uganda. British authorities did not like the idea of refugees and encouraged them to settle with relatives in Uganda. Consequently one third of Tutsi refugees settled in Ankole and Kigezi putting pressure on already overcrowded Kigezi and forcing indigenous Bakiga to move to Ankole, Rujumbura, Kanungu, Bunyoro and Toro. Those Tutsi refugees that could not find relatives to stay with were advised to move to other parts of Uganda in small groups with few cattle so as not to alarm the indigenous people. One group of Bahima and Batutsi moved into Buganda including in Sembabule and Mawokota, with all the political conflicts with indigenous Baganda.

8. Anyanya come to Uganda. Amin recruited Nilotic Anyanya (poison) from southern Sudan who had been fighting the Khartoum government and were idle after the ceasefire. The Anyanya and Nubians joined Amin in the overthrow of Uganda government and went on to pillage Uganda politically, socially and economically until 1979. They took a lion’s share of Asian property which they squandered in no time and resumed pillaging poor Ugandans. In the end fifty percent of Uganda troops were southern Sudanese and Nubians, 25 percent from Zaire (now DRC) and 25 percent Kakwa and other West Nile groups. Some have reasoned that from 1971 to 1979 Uganda was under foreign occupation.

1. Tutsi refugees in National Resistance Army (NRA). The NRA had a strong foreign presence in its midst including foreign money contributors, military hardware and Tutsi refugees that numbered roughly 25 percent of the total guerrilla force. Tutsi government in Burundi advanced $8 million. The leadership of NRA was also dominated by Tutsis. Ugandans were given administrative or diplomatic assignments away from the center of power – commanding guerrillas or controlling intelligence and counter-intelligence operations. In short, military commanders and intelligence leaders had many Tutsis. According to Uwe Freisecke “Fred Rwigyema … was a major-general of the NRA and its deputy commander. Paul Kagame was a major in the NRA and head of intelligence and counter-intelligence. Dr. Peter Baingana was also a major and head of the NRA medical services. Chris Bunyenyezi was a major and commanding officer of the NRA’s 306 Brigade. Major Sam Kaka was commanding officer of the NRA’s military police” (New African November 2002). For this reason, many think Uganda was occupied by foreigners and possibly still is.

2. Foreign ownership of Uganda property. Under structural adjustment, NRM government invited Asians and returned their property possibly including properties where compensation had been given. NRM also opened the country to foreign investors and sold state-owned assets. Unlike any other country in East Africa or elsewhere, NRM government privatized everything including even strategic assets such as the post office at throwaway prices. The purpose of privatization was in part to generate resources for investment in public infrastructure and institutions. Instead Uganda has ended up with dilapidated infrastructure and institutions for lack of funds.

3. Uganda’s second major challenge. Uganda has had the misfortune of being invaded and occupied by foreigners from southern Sudan and Tutsi from Rwanda and Burundi. Their impact is still felt as many of them are still actively involved in Uganda’s political economy. Daily bus loads of travelers between Kampala, Kigali and Bujumbura cannot fail to raise an alarm that Uganda may be in trouble. The East African community is being used as an excuse for free human mobility among member states of the community. How many Ugandans have relocated to Rwanda and Burundi? There must be reciprocity or else the East African project should be recast as well as the implications of the political federation. What is in there for Ugandans? Under globalization Uganda’s assets have been privatized en masse! What is remaining is land. And once Museveni succeeds in breaking through, which he is likely to try if re-elected in 2011 Uganda will be a country under virtual foreign control and ownership. Globalization was meant to benefit everyone. Ugandans in power are obsessed with keeping their ‘juicy’ jobs and do not want to be bothered. That is the tragic part of our so-called leaders.

4. Uganda’s third major challenge. Meanwhile, Uganda’s land is subtly being taken over by foreigners or the rich Ugandans. In southwest corner including Ntungamo, Rukungiri and Kabale indigenous people are being squeezed out. The extension of municipality boundaries deep into rural areas (dubbed rural-urban to confuse people as in Rukungiri) is meant to bring more peasant land under municipal authority which will then be open for sale to the highest bidder. And who has the money or access to credit? Those who are not connected to the center of power and happen to be indigenous groups do not have money or access to credit and will surely lose their land. Because many Ugandans are concerned about constituencies for parliamentary and district council seats, they have lost sight of the larger municipality picture – losing their land through sale to foreigners under the pretext of attracting investments and creating jobs. NRM government needs to realize that we know what games are being played. We lack the means to prevent or reverse these harmful decisions. But we know! And that is why recording history is very important so that there is a record for future use should changes in land ownership become necessary. We need our historians more than ever before.

5. Challenge for the youth. I can tell you without hesitation that your seniors have not created a springboard for your growth into sustained and sustainable development. Uganda has been consumed by corruption, greed, selfishness and foreign manipulation that most of us have forgotten the future of our children. It is therefore upon you – the youth – to begin to lay the foundation for your future. If you are still at school, invest more time in studying and graduate with functional qualifications so you can find a good job. Spend less time and money or no time and no money at all on alcohol and rap music. These are costly diversions put in your way by people with different perspectives. If you are already working, save as much as you can and sink it in investments that can make a better tomorrow for you and your family. You must have a dream and plan to realize it and it is not easy. Do not wait until you get to the river. You may not have the momentum to leap across. By way of encouraging you, I have written ten books but it took me fifty years. I began preparing when I was in senior three at Butobere School in Kabale district. Visit for details.

6. Challenge for Uganda historians. You have a duty to keep your fellow citizens informed of their history for the past affects the present and the present the future. So there is a clear inter-linkage among the past, the present and the future.

Eric Kashambuzi

senior policy advisor on the UN Millennium Project

Uganda has entered the enlightenment phase

Dear editor,

Senior Policy Advisor, United Nations Millennium Project

Enlightenment also known as the age of reason or the age of rationalism was a period in history when thinkers emphasized the use of reason (justification) through observations to arrive at the truth – five plus five is ten. The period began in the 1600s and lasted about one hundred years. The thinkers included John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Voltaire. Their ideas have lived on.

Brilliant thinkers in Europe rejected uncritical acceptance of long-accepted dogmas or views about society, politics and religion including the divine right of kings, primacy of aristocrats and prelates (church leaders) and a class society that dictated one’s destiny. For instance, if you were born a ruler or peasant you would stay that way. Thinkers developed the freedom and boldness to inquire and to doubt. Consequently, people in authority and church leaders were blamed for keeping others poor and ignorant in order to keep power for themselves. The outcomes of this freedom included major changes in governing and ecclesiastical institutions. American and French revolutions borrowed a lot from the work of enlightenment thinkers. What is the relevance of enlightenment to Uganda’s situation?

Obsessed with European race theories with a white man at the top and a black man at the bottom of the pyramid, John Hanning Speke and his aristocratic colonial and missionary followers from England, Germany and Belgium created the Hamitic Myth that Bahima, Batutsi and Bahororo (Batutsi from Rwanda), were white people, superior, intelligent and born rulers. The rest in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi were inferior, unintelligent and born to serve the higher class of white Batutsi, Bahima and Bahororo. They were dubbed Bairu and Bahutu (slaves).

In Uganda, as time passed, the term Bairu got confined to southwest Uganda in Ankole and Rujumbura county of Rukungiri district. Bantu-speaking Bairu and Bahutu were reduced to agriculture mainly to produce for the ruling class of Batutsi, Bahima and Bahororo. Through a system of colonial indirect rule in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, the so-called pastoralists became colonial agents and continued to oppress Bairu and Bahutu. In southwest Uganda it is common to this day in November 2010 to hear Bahororo boasting that one Muhororo is worth a thousand Bairu even when it is clear that so-called Bairu are more intelligent than Bahororo. School and university records are there for everyone to see the truth. That is why Bahororo under Museveni leadership have resorted to military force or democracy at gun point because they cannot win in free and fair elections!

Independence in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi in 1962 upset this aristocratic and commoner relationship. Museveni and Kagame realized that because of their numerical inferiority democracy through the ballot box would never return them to power, hence the military option. Ugandans who were disgruntled about Obote mostly Baganda and Catholics joined Museveni in a destructive guerrilla war. Okello took advantage and removed Obote in 1985 and Museveni in turn removed Okello six months later.

Museveni and his Bahima and Batutsi relatives whom he identified in Buganda, northern and eastern Uganda (they may use local names and local language but at heart they are not what you think) came to power with a pre-enlightenment mentality in the sense that nobody would question his background, his ancestry and his ability to rule. He thought he would turn Uganda into a Tutsi dynasty, build a Tutsi Empire in the Great Lakes region including DRC through military might failing which he would use the East African Community and political federation options which are still on the table. Museveni had hoped that Ugandans would not question his intellect and his so-called god-given power to rule others as divine president, getting instructions or advice from god only. As is well known Museveni does not take advice from Ugandans. It is rumored that some presidential advisers have never met with him since they were appointed!

After a period of honey moon, Ugandans entered the age of reason and began to question Museveni’s background and where his ancestors came from. They came from southern Sudan and not Ethiopia as Speke had reported. They are black and not white people. Museveni’s ancestors are Nilotic Luo-speaking cattle herders. In Ankole, they became Bahima and adopted Lunyankole Bantu language. In Burundi and Rwanda they became Batutsi and adopted Kinyarwanda Bantu language. A group of Batutsi moved from Rwanda in mid 1600 and settled in southwest Ankole and adopted the name of Bahororo. When the kingdom of Mpororo disintegrated, Bahororo scattered into Rujumbura, other parts of Uganda and others returned to Rwanda but have tenaciously clung together. In eastern DRC Batutsi people are called Banyamulenge. Thus, Bahima, Batutsi, Bahororo and Banyamulenge are cousins.

The one common characteristic among these cousins is that males do not marry outside their Nilotic ethnic group. Therefore although they adopt local languages and local names wherever they settle, they have retained their Nilotic identity. They never thought that this would be discovered. As you probably know Obote belongs to Bahima ethnic group, hence Oyima clan. With this knowledge, it may not come as a surprise that Obote’s uncle has joined Museveni’s NRM and Langi voters may support NRM and not UPC! The award to Obote (RIP) on independence anniversary may symbolize a lot.
The struggle for power since independence has been between Nilotic cousins – between Ibingira (RIP) and Obote; Obote and Museveni; and Museveni and Kony. Another finding from enlightened thinkers is that all presidents that have served long – Obote, Amin (RIP) and Museveni – have their roots in southern Sudan, Amin being a Nubian. Bantu people who entered Uganda from the Congo basin therefore have not produced a head of state since independence.

Because Uganda is a melting pot that has attracted many people who arrived and have stayed as early as the 1920s especially from Burundi and Rwanda, it has become necessary for Ugandans to want to know who is governing or is likely to govern Uganda. Hence recent debates about who is who in Uganda. The disappearance of files on vital registration (births, deaths, marriages and migrants) at a time when Ugandans are keen to know who is who has raised fundamental questions about what is being hidden. It has been reported that those who stole the files are known but no arrests have been made and no files have been retrieved! Further the writing of Uganda’s State of Population report in 2010 without information on migrants and refugees has forced thinkers to wonder what is going on and to want to know what is being hidden from the public. The messages on the internet about the regime of Museveni, the human atrocities committed before and since he came to power in 1986 leave no doubt that Ugandans have entered the age of reason and will stop at nothing but the truth.

Through empirical work since 1986, it has been demonstrated that Museveni and his relatives are not born leaders. The political, economic, social and environmental crisis has betrayed them. Museveni has been classified in international media as a dictator presiding over a failed state. The donor community that supported Museveni and his regime to the hilt is now distancing itself and pushing Museveni to punish those who embezzled Commonwealth and GAVI public money. Being anti-terrorist does not qualify Museveni to remain Uganda’s president. He is using anti-terrorism as a tool to win him western support for another five years.

Like European thinkers of 17th century, Uganda thinkers of the 21st century have formed associations and are compiling empirical observations in books and on the internet (see The media at home and increasingly abroad is exposing the weakness of Museveni regime as based on destructive corruption, sectarianism, skewed economic distribution and spreading diseases of poverty among impoverished citizens, jiggers being the most common external manifestation that cannot be hidden in cooked statistics of economic growth, per capita income, low inflation rates and export of foodstuffs to earn foreign currency to meet the needs of the rich while the majority starve some of them to death.
The truth being exposed about Museveni’s regime is a clear indication that major changes are on the way in Uganda. There is no turning back. It is a matter of time. That’s for sure! Those around the world who believe in truth, social justice and equality should extend a helping hand.

Eric Kashambuzi

Uganda’s elections project has failed

Dear Ugandans at heart,
Every project in human history has at least four phases: the design phase, implementation phase, monitoring phase and evaluation phase. The purpose of monitoring is to ensure that the implementation of the project is on course as designed. When new problems arise they are corrected. When circumstances change fundamentally, it may become necessary to close the project and draw up a new one. An evaluation takes place usually at the end of the project to see whether the objectives were achieved or not and to draw lessons as a guide for future work.

The purpose of an election is to offer voters the opportunity to select their representatives in free and fair conditions. During the campaign candidates propose what they would do if elected to improve the standard of living of their constituents. If they do not deliver, they are voted out at the next elections. Thus, representatives’ primary responsibility is to serve all the people in their constituencies whether they elected them or not. In Uganda, it has turned out that the primary and perhaps only purpose of representatives is to enrich themselves, their families, relatives and friends. Take Rujumbura constituency as an example (no disrespect intended). The wife of the Member of Parliament (MP) is Senior Presidential Adviser and his sister in-law is also Senior Presidential Adviser! There are many others down the line. This is a case of winner-take-all.

To secure reelection, MPs have created or intensified corruption. Politics in Uganda has shifted from the business of persuading voters to corrupting leaders, be they church or community leaders etc. The story of Pajeros and Protestant bishops has been told so many times that it does not need repeating here. It is common to hear voters lamenting that they were advised to vote for a candidate they did not support because the candidate recommended donated materials like iron sheets for a leaking church or cement for a crumbling school or some money on Christmas Day.

In politics there are opponents from different parties. They present different views. In Uganda politics there are enemies: a political enemy is someone who should be destroyed or banished, not defeated and then left alone. Candidates (and their supporters) who lose are taught a bitter lesson so they do not try again or those who intend to contest next time should take notice of what is in store for them. Sometimes they destroy individuals they imagine may pose a political challenge at a future date.

In constituencies where the candidate or MP is a military person the situation is even more difficult. Unlike in many countries, an army man in Uganda is a feared person. He is seen by the people as a man who can save or destroy your life. They command in politics as in the army. In Rujumbura constituency the MP is a Major General who believes he should contest a parliamentary seat unchallenged at the primary level (and possibly at the general level) and decide which other candidates in his party should contest elections in other constituencies or lower levels in his own. Dr. Alex Kamugisha should be congratulated for daring to contest the NRM primary in Rujumbura against a Major General. It is even worse if you have in your constituency (as in Rujumbura) a military candidate who is filthy rich. In these circumstances, education, knowledge and experience do not matter. One wonders whether future politicians should undergo military training first.

When Museveni was campaigning to oust Obote from power, he repeatedly and viciously attacked Obote for practicing sectarian politics. Obote was castigated for favoring Protestants and his ethnic members. As a human being Obote (RIP) was not perfect. But he did not appoint his wife a minister, his brother a minister and his in-law a minister. Museveni has also favored Catholics over Protestants.

Apart from pre-independence elections in 1961 and 1962, there were no other elections in the balance of the 1960s. Yet this period under Obote I realized development success stories that have not been equaled since. There are some Ugandans that do not want to associate any success with Obote. But let us look at the overall record. Put differently, let us look at the forest instead of individual trees.

Obote gave every Ugandan a chance to eat a good meal, get an education and a job and live a healthy life. That is why he constructed roads to open up the country, built schools in rural areas to narrow the education gap between rural and urban areas, built hospitals in remote areas so that patients could access doctors and medicines. Obote supported agriculture through inter alia extension services and cooperatives. Obote supported industries that added value, reduced losses and created jobs. Besides improving quality of life, Obote gave Ugandans a sense of pride and confidence. These commendable success stories occurred in the 1960s in the absence of elections!
Despite tremendous difficulties at home and abroad (western powers still considered him socialist) Obote II government implemented bold programs that raised Uganda’s real GDP growth at an average rate of 6 percent per annum between 1981 and 1984. Had it not been for Museveni’s destructive guerrilla war and withdrawal of support by IMF and World Bank, Obote would have moved Uganda closer to a middle income economy and society.

Under NRM regime, Uganda has had three elections and is preparing for a fourth one in February 2011. One would have expected better results over Obote I when Ugandans did not have elections in the 1960s. On balance, under Museveni’s government, Uganda has moved backwards. Uganda roads are worse than during Obote’s time. Education and healthcare systems are on the verge of collapse notwithstanding hundreds of millions of donor money that have gone into these two sectors. Ugandans are hungrier than ever before as manifested by the level of mother and child malnutrition and insanity caused in part by poor feeding. Agriculture has been neglected in favor of foreign-owned services mostly in the capital city of Kampala where less than 2 million out of a total of 33 million Ugandans live. Industries have collapsed and the few remaining ones are operating far below installed capacity. Under Museveni general hygiene and sanitation are a thing of the past. All Ugandans should be concerned about spreading jiggers which are found in many parts of the country, not in Jinja only. Jiggers represent the worst form of absolute poverty and vulnerability when people give up hope. Jinja which has elected NRM in all the elections has not benefited economically and socially. Should they support NRM in 2011 or another party or just stay at home?
By and large, many Ugandans in rural areas where NRM gets its support are living in sub-human conditions. When teachers have no shoes, students have no lunch and study in dilapidated buildings or under trees and nurses close clinics to moonlight, one surely must wonder why they voted at all! Many Ugandans are beginning to think about not voting because elections have not served the original purpose of electing representatives that serve the interests of constituents. Keeping Ugandans poor appears to be paying political dividends. Free music, cheap alcohol and yellow NRM t-shirts have already converted many unemployed youth into staunch supporters of Museveni instead of turning against him for denying them help when they need jobs. Impoverished adults in the countryside promise to vote NRM when they get a box of matches, a piece of soap and a half kilo of salt instead of throwing NRM out. Museveni who knows that poverty resides in the countryside where voters can be easily bought has directed his team to focus on rural areas.

A comparison between performance under Obote and Museveni shows unambiguously that you do not need elections to do a good job for your fellow citizens. In the end what matters is the leader’s heart and not elections. Obote was not perfect but he had a good heart for Ugandans. He wanted the economic tide to lift all boats, pushing the poor harder to narrow the gap that existed at independence. And that is why he risked his political career and nationalized Uganda’s economy and chased away migrant workers when unemployment among Ugandans was unacceptably high.

On the other hand, Museveni’s heart appears to be different. It is to make people fear him, intimidate and impoverish the many in order to enrich the few mostly along ethnic lines. There is enough evidence to confirm this conclusion.

Obote will always be remembered for making positive contribution as his work is compared with that of Museveni, drawing conclusions that you do not always need elections to serve the people well.
Ugandans need to evaluate the elections project they have been implementing since 1961 and decide what to do next. What do you do when Museveni says “You don’t just tell the freedom fighter to go like you are chasing a chicken thief out of the house”? Will elections chase away such a president or prevent him from employing his family members, relatives, in-laws and friends? Wait and see who will be in the cabinet after February 2011. Frankly elections under these conditions end up a fruitless, frustrating and expensive exercise. This is not how a government wins legitimacy as western supporters of regular elections keep telling us. Instead you legitimize illegitimate and corrupt regimes presiding over failed states.

Eric Kashambuzi
Senior policy advisor on the UN Millennium Project
UAH Forumist

Museveni Cannot Copyright “ANOTHER RAP”

Dear Ugandans at heart,

His Exellence Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has lodged an application with the Registration Service Bureau for exclusive rights to own intellectual property rights over the Banyankole Children’s rhyme song under the title “Another Rap”. For the non-Banyankore the general perception is that the two songs/rhymes/poems were a composition of Museveni.

Those two songs/rhymes are old age Banyankore kid rhymes. Almost every Munyankore above the age of five or so years and is/was born and raised in Ankole countryside knows one or both songs now under the rebaptised label of “Another Rap”. Museveni has not added any single word to the rhymes. He has not even added any new lyrics except the English words at the end which are actually not part of the song but mere comments.

The Banyankore therefore would find it unacceptable and unbelievable that anybody including President Museveni can claim copy rights or exclusive rights to the songs. Museveni like any other Munyankore has the right to use the songs but not to have exclusive rights. The song is in the public domain and therefore public property. I think Museveni is taking this thing of privatization too far and now wants to privatize even Banyankore cultural heritage as his private intellectual property.

To copy right any art or composition of Art you must have originated it or at least have had substantial improvement on the original composition which is not the case in these two rhymes.
This attempt at copyrighting Banyankore cultural composition that is in the public domain is not new. The most interesting of all was a one late Mzee Bwafamba a prominent Mushambo (ruling clan of Mpororo Kingdom ) of Ntungamo who went a mile farther and “patented” the planet Moon. Bwafamba lay claim to exclusive ownership of the planet Moon and as a notable of the area demanded that any reference to the Moon must be suffixed with his name “Okwezi kwa Bwafamba” literally meaning Bwafamba’s Moon.

If for some reason a person associated with him either as a relative, a resident of the area or visitor mentioned the moon without the suffix kwa Bwafamba he/she earned herself a punishment or reprimand for dishonoring the Big Man andnd from that time some people still refer to the Moon as that of Bwafamba.

A one lady by the name Violet Froerich Kajubiri who is not a stranger to some of the readership of Monitor has been for some years writing one Runyankore proverb in the Orumuri Newspaper a vernacular sister of New Vision every week. This is under the title Enfumu ya wiiki and adds copyright VKF 2010 or which ever year in which it is published. She has done it for quite sometime and almost all Banyankore proverbs are now in “Orumuri” and therefore copyrighted by Kajubiri. Therefore all Banyankore proverbs are exclusively hers as private intellectual property when in reality these proverbs belong to the Banyankore as traditional heritage collectively.

Now the latest is President Museveni himself. He goes to meet his youth supporters at a function, just sings or recites or memorizes two traditional rhymes using exactly the same words and lyrics save for the English sentences which actually was not part of the composition but a mere comment that Recording Companies mixed in the song and the next thing we hear is that he has applied for a copyright.

For some readers and listeners of the rhymes who are not familiar with the implications of Patent, Copyright and Trade Mark laws and rights you better get informed. When an individual or company applies and is granted copyrights over the art composition or book it means that piece of work becomes private property like one owning say a cow. Nobody will use the song afterwards without permission from the author or composer. To use it you have to pay or if he does not want to give you permission or sell to you, then you are disallowed. In this case once Museveni gets a copy right a group say like Ndere Troup cannot use the song. Any Munyankore who wants to write a poem or play cannot use this song or its lyrics. Imagine a Munyankore having to seek or buy rights to use Natema Omuti gwarara……from an individual fellow Munyankore. Incredible!!!

Furthermore, copy rights have immense financial and livelihood implications. If anybody infringes the rights he/she pays heavily. And the rights owner can pass them to his children as private property. When “Another Rap” is copyrighted or Mr. Museveni signs a Ring tone Contract with say Zain Telecom which Iam told is being pursued Museveni and the company will earn large sums of money. If Zain or MTN has say 4 million subscribers who down load the ring tone it means 2 billion shillings a month for each ring tone is five hundred shillings. Yet these songs belong to all Banyankore!!

At this rate if Banyankore do not raise objection to this cultural heretage privatization, they will wake up to learn that Runyankore is private property of an individual. As for me I am consulting my lawyers and plan to raise objection with the Registration Service Bureau with the view to blocking him from copyrighting a public song. I will be doing this on behalf of Banyankore not as an individual as such for even I an individual Munyankore has no right to copyright the same.

Indeed all Africans and Ugandans should wake up and guard against this patenting and copy righting public property move. There are reported cases where foreigners have come to Africa and found indigenous plants which Africans have used as medicine for many countries and then gone ahead to patent them. These are cases where foreigners have come to Africa and taken away our plant seeds and then patent them as theirs at the expense of Africans. If this trend continues, Africans are going to loose their seed sovereignty and this will create food insecurity in Africa.

Furthermore, government or communities should endeavour to identify cultural songs and poems and then acknowledge them as being in the public domain otherwise this privatization move is going to dispossess Ugandans of their common cultural heritage. May be Uganda Museum or any other organisation should come up with a project to document these cultural achievements both tangible and intangible and then list them as public property otherwise, private individuals or companies are going to own these collective cultural heritage as their individual properties.


IPC Endorsed Mabike but Majority Will Vote for Lukwago

Dear ugandans,
I have been reading several messages where some DP supporters on one hand are genuinely supporting Hon Lukwago while the DP stewards , mainly those attached to the Mao faction, have been maliciously supporting Hon Mabike as a revenge on Hon Lukwago.

By all standards, Hon Lukwago is far better than Hon Mabike for the position of mayor and if anything Hon Mabike can not gun more votes than Hon Lukwago.

Why then did IPC chose to support a wrong candidate. IPC is a coalition of political parties and the protocol governing their existence gave Hon Mabike and upper hand in chosing where they want to stand. By the time they signed that protocol, little did they knew that Hon Mabike will abandon Makindye East for Mayor and later on the admission of Ssuubi 2011 into IPC.

As a matter of principle, it would have been unfair for the IPC to chose Hon Lukwago instead of Hon Mabike. Hon Mabike is well recognized by the protocol whereas Hon Lukwago is not despite his popularity.

When admitting Ssuubi 2011, they tasked Ssuubi to handle all IPC issues in Buganda and thought that people like Hon Mabike will be royal to Ssuubi 2011. However, being a president of one of the parties forming IPC he saw no reason to be royal to Ssuubi.

What will happen is that many IPC supporters including me will never respect the position of the leaders. We shall vote for Lukwago. However we are not blaming them for what they did was the best for IPC. Choosing to support Hon Lukwago would have portrayed SDP as an insignificant party in IPC yet they have lived with them through thick and thin.

Jude Mayanja

Radio Simba journalist goes missing

Kampala, 09th/Nov/2010; A Radio Simba journalist, Arafat Nzito has gone missing and his whereabouts remain unknown since 3rd/Nov/2010.

Nzito, 23years, was picked by plain clothed men in a private registration Toyota double cabin on 3rd/Nov/2010 at around 2:00pm local time from Radio Simba.

He is a resident of Kitintale, in Nakawa division, in Kampala –Uganda’s capital city.

Radio Simba’s chief news editor, Emmanuel Okello told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda(HRNJ-Uganda) that Nzito’s disappearance followed him receiving numerous phone calls to go and see meet some people in the radio’s parking yard-about 30meters away.

So he left his work half done and went to meet those people but he never returned to complete filing his news story. He did not return the following day as well.

According to an eye witness who declined to be named, Nzito was whisked away by four men in a vehicle with tinted screens at around 2:30pm. He first talked to them before he sat in the back seat in between two men. He did not notice the car registration number.

Nzito joined Simba last year as an intern student, and upon completion of his internship, he was enrolled as a reporter but on probation for two months now.

He regularly reports news from the police and the opposition Forum for Democratic Change which is the leading opposition political party in Uganda.

“He did not return to office to complete the story, so I called his cell phone but was not picking up. He did not report the next day, so I called again to no response. When I called again in the afternoon, the phone had been switched off”. Said Radio Simba Chief News Editor Emmanuel Okello

Nzito’s sister, Hadijah Nantambi has told HRNJ-Uganda that she noticed his absence on 5th/Nov/2010 yet his cell phone was off.

“When his phone remained off all through the night, I reported the matter to police and searched at various police stations and the Rapid Response Unit (RRU)- a serious crime crack down unit, but could not find him. We are very scared for his life, we need help”. Said Nantambi

The commandant of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), James Mugira was surprised when HRNJ-Uganda contacted him over the matter.

“It’s news to me, but I am dispatching a team to investigate the younger man’s disappearance”. Mugira said.

“We are greatly concerned about such incidents; these threats are real at a time when politics is at its peak in Uganda ahead of the general elections early next year. Justice should prevail all the time, so Nzito’s captors should subject him to the courts of law if they suspect him of any crime”. Said HRNJ-Uganda Board Chairman Robert Ssempala

For More Information Contact;

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road Mengo-Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Preparatory School
P.O.Box.71314 Clock Tower Kampala
Tel: +256-414-272934 /+256-414-667627
Toll Free Helpline; 0800144155

Why Mao’s Selfishness Is Going To Help M7 Win The 2011 Elections

DP will make history tomorrow of participating in all elections since we got independence without gettting power

Dear Ugandans,

The struggle to see out a dictator is not one day event. Some of you are obsessed with becoming presidents of Uganda than struggling to get lead of the dictator. DP’s Ssemwogerere started the struggle in 1996; KB did it in 2001, 2006 and now his last 2011. He may or he may not win but on record, he has spearheaded the struggle to see out the dictator. By 2012 if YKM wins this time, he will not be the same and we believe that finally by say 2016 the opposition can take over leadership if not in 2011.

What is funny is that in most cases, those who start the struggles do not directly benefit from them. Martin Reuther had a dream but Barack Obama has seen the dream.

Sebana Kizito,Mao Nobert and Erias Lukwago

We have been telling you that Mao is a good leader but all he has to do is to join the struggle to see out YKM not as an opponent of the opposition but as an ally. Out of his uncontrolled desires to be president, he is likely never to be one because in 2016, he is likely not to win over the opposition support after seeing him as a traitor to the struggle.

Why the opposition is likely not to win 2011 elections is because of the stupid divisions caused by self seekers who have failed to estimate their potential, and Mao is certainly one of them.

Which struggle has Mao led? He is a lawyer but please tell me if he has at any one time used that to help Ugandans. My OB Hon Lukwago is one man who has always used his position as a lawyer to fight for Ugandans through the courts of law, and that is why he deserves to become the Mayor of Kampala if elected.

Mao is good but he is not a man of the current Uganda. He is a leader who has to come at the end of the military era in Uganda. Nigeria has reached that level where civilians can easily lead the country.

The 5 candidates in the presidential race are very important as well as Mao but why we zero so much on Mao is because we expect him to be more intelligent than the rest to see that we need a combined effort to get lead of Museveni.

If the IPC initiative was from DP then the rest of the parties would have joined then instead. We are very sure that there is a saying that goes “Nasiwa Mukange” wait and see the future of the green party.

Mao is DP but where was he when his fellow DP members were struggling on the streets or in courts to restore democracy and freedoms? Does he know the smell of tear gas or the coldness of a prison cell? I know about the legal aid Project and the role of Mao but my interest is on the struggle to get lead of dictatorship, and restore sanity and constitutionalism

The struggle to get lead of YKM and fight for the freedoms of Ugandans was started way back in 90s by Micheal Kaggwa of the DP mobilizer group but I don’t remember seeing Brother Mao anywhere.  Mao’s ambition has always been to become the president of Uganda but not to fight for Ugandans. At the end of the day, if he sees that joining NRM can make him to get to the presidency; I bet he will do so.

I remember in 2005 when he lost to Ssebaana in Namboole, it was so hard for him to accept and even when he was wooed to join Ssebana as his campaign Manager, he only appeared on very few campaign trails unless if you can prove me otherwise.

I love Mao and believe that he can be a good leader if he has been exposed to how governments are run.

Jude Mayanja

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