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Day May 3, 2011

The death of Osama Will Not get Obama re-elected if the Economy is still in a Mess

Osama Bin Ladin

When John King made the announcement on CNN that OSAMA BIN LADEN IS DEAD, it was quite something.However,the death of Osama does not guarantee anything in terms of Mr. Obama’s re-election. Think of President Bush Sr after desert storm with his 87% approval. Most democrats feared to join the race because of those numbers. The kid from Arkansas saw it differently and tried his luck with the economy stupid and the rest is history. History is replete with momentous events that did not mean much for election or re-election of leaders.

Yes, Mr. Obama and his security team take immediate credit and deservedly so, but it is 16 months before the elections. Moreover the death of Osama will lead to more questions. For instance if the mission in Afghanistan was to hunt and kill Osama, now that he is dead should not the American and NATO troops go home? Why should American and NATO taxpayers continue to fund the mission in that country? That is another headache. And it is a question that will soon take centre stage.

Also, Americans have been willing to endure cuts in health care and other productive sectors because defense took the bulk of the money since they had to kill Osama. Now that they have killed him, what next? Will Americans feel the same way about sacrifices elsewhere?

And of course the question USA officials are desperately trying to prevent: why should USA taxpayers continue to send billions to Pakistan? It turns out Pakistan was blackmailing the USA-its version of extroversion-that it needed the money to hunt for Osama.

Well, they just protected him and according to Senator Feinstein of CA, Osama bin Laden may have live in that house for 6 years! The more Pakistan’s ISI protected him so Americans did not know where he was, the more money went to Pakistan! he was killed not far way from Pakistani’s elite military college, the equivalent of West Point in the USA. That proves the point that all along top Pakistani inteligence officials knew that the murderer was in their country. They did nothing evena as he kiled thousands in their country.It took a new regime under President Zardawi-the widower of Ms Benazir Bhutto-to get rid of him.

Change in regime helped. But the news is that the tip came from one of the detainees at Guantanamo who gave details about the courier. To be honest it is just diplomatic lingo for the USA to say nice things about Pakistani in public but in private they are not saying such niceties. Pakistani scrambled to reply but too many gaps. Their ambassador to the USA was in the UK at the time.

The description of the mansion made it to stand out: 8 times the normal sizes of the mansions in the area. No telephone or internet, so he sued courier’s to send out his videos.

If ISI knew in advance they could have tipped him off but my understanding is that Pakistani was informed after Osama had taken two bullets in the head and his body had been loaded on the chopper on the way to Afghanistan. Heads will probably role within ISI for the embarrassment to the country. I do not know how it will impact the politics in Pakistani but Osama had become cocky when he started killing Muslim praying in Pakistani.

The lesson to murders-hello Gilbert Arinaitwe-is that no matter how protected they may be, their time comes and when it does, the outcome is death. Now what since Osama is dead? What happens to the billions sent to that red faced country? Forget the public charter; the relationship will not be the same anytime soon.

The other issue is that apparently Pakistani kept Osama because President Karzai who lived in India is closer to India than Pakistani. Pakistani may have sent troops in the tribal areas to hunt for Osama, talk of decoys, but it was half hearted. They all along knew where Osama was, near their military academy. So what happens if some GOPers in the house cut the Pakistani foreign aid?

Pictures of Osama’s body are not likely to be seen in public. Why? The white House does not want to inflame Al Qaeda supporters. And since the Wikileaks guy is facing jail plus the small number of people who handled the killing and death of Osama, the world may never see Osama’s dead body. Obviously that will give some hope-why though-to those who doubt that he is dead. Well OSAMA BIN LADEN IS DEAD. As they say in Buganda, “mpawo magombe gazza”. He is gone forever.

If President Obama can use the death of Osama to focus on the economy then we are talking. It will come down to the economy. Off the economy is still bad with high unemployment numbers, things could be bad. Also, the liberal base will make more noise about ending the war and bringing troops home now that Osama is confirmed dead. That could be another headache.

So it may still be the economy stupid. And of course Osama’s death means that American voters will hopefully not be manipulated with threats of another strike due to changing color codes which have since been reduced to just two by Secretary

Bottom line: until he was killed in Pakistani, Osama had value-bad or good-to different groups. He served Pakistani very well. They won billions in military and foreign aid. He served proponents of high defense budget well. He also served the law and order quite well to the extent where the majority of those of us who live in the West made the painful but necessary tradeoff in favour of security over liberties. It is the painful truth that Osama made money for many powerful interests. Now that he is dead what happens to those powerful interests? The debate is about to begin.

Something interesting too that The Defense Secretary is leaving so for him, mission accomplished. And Mr. Leon Panetta the current CIA director who was tasked to kill Osama is nominated to replace him. At CIA General Petraeus-he will not become Chief of general Staff which many thought was his to take-who is commanding USA forces in Afghanistan is nominated to succeed Mr. Panetta who is in his 70s! Talk of continuity.

What are the consequences in the short term? His agents could rash out against easy targets in Africa so Africa countries should be on high alert. But in the long term, Al Qaeda with their head cut off is not going to be the same. Bottom line: things could get worse in the short-immediate term before they get better in the long term.

The moment I saw Mr. John King and Mr. Wolf Blitzer on CNN-they are the go to people-I knew it was huge. Americans and viewers trust them. They sound boring but credible and speak with the right tone.

It does not matter how Osama Bin Laden’s body was handled. Whether it was respected or pissed on is not a big deal given the way victims of his atrocities were killed and even buried in rubble. So what is this obsesses with his body. Osama was a monster, sadist and murderer who deserved what he got. Good to bury him at sea so his followers will never know where.

WB Kyijomanyi
DP Elder residing in USA

A Statement From Ugandan In The Diaspora On Riots in the Country



We Ugandans in the Diaspora condemn in the strongest terms the brutal attack on FDC leader KizzaBesigye ,the imprisonment of DP leader Nobert Mao,and the constant harassment and killing and maiming of their supporters by the Uganda police and UPDF. We also condemn the NRM government and President Museveni in particular for the intransigence and arrogance towards the people of Uganda. Never before have we witnessed scenes like we saw last week,not even in the dark days of Idi Amin.

Uganda is a signatory to The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) and The International Covenant on Social,Economic and Cultural Rights (1966). It is also a signatory to The International Convention against torture and other cruel,degrading and inhumane treatment or punishment as part of the Human Rights instrument. We think the current Uganda government has breached all the above conventions and should therefore face trial before the international community and be held to account.

Comments and statements coming out of state house,cabinet ministers and Mr Museveni himself continue to inflame the situation. There is no doubt there is economic hardship,but this is not the best way a government in power with 68% of the national vote should behave. Instead of tackling the root cause of the problem,government is only fighting the symptoms,perhaps knowing very well that the root cause is of its own making and is now beyond reversal. The opulence spending,the never ending corruption and the printing of money to steal the recently concluded election have distabilised the fragile cash economy leading to double digit inflation and hence the ‘Walk to Work’ campaign.

What did Museveni and his central bank governor TumusimeMutebile think when the dished out cash and emptied the national treasury? This is the consequence. Instead of fighting the inflation with pen,paper and policy to stabilise the Uganda shilling on the dollar market,they are using guns and teargas on unarmed civilians and opposition politicians for highlighting the problem.The explanation offered by the government blaming factors outside the country is pathetic and weak. Most countries have experienced a hike in the cost of crude oil but their inflation did not double overnight. Mr Museveni and his ministers are taking Ugandans for a ride. The Ugandans in the diaspora who remit every spare cash they earn are deeply unhappy, angry and upset by what is unfolding at home and at a government that doesn’t seem to care about the welfare of its people.

We strongly condemn comments by the interior minister KirundaKivejinja,the information minister KabakumbaMasiko and president Museveni himself which comments lack not only sensitivity but also human feeling. Killing the opposition will not kill the problem. Think. Your negative contribution to Uganda has exceeded any positive contribution so far made for the country.

Given what has happened in the Arab world, Museveni’s government is fearful and guilty of its own position given its bad track record on issues that directly affect the man on the street. The government knows people are unhappy with Museveni for manipulating the national constitution through bribery to make himself life president, for overseeing rampant corruption and dilapidated public services like hospitals.
The only reasonable option for Museveni and his corrupt government is to leave office or face the rath of the population.

Signed by:

Mr. Luzinda Moses
Chairman (UUPF)

Dr. Kamugisha Chris
Chairman (FDC UK)

Dr. Obwana Nanan
Chairman (UPC UK)

Ms Betty Atik
Chairperson (DP UK)

Mr. Semitego Richard

All were represented

United Ugandans Pro-democratic Forum (UUPF)
Umbrella for all Ugandans in Diaspora regardless of their Political affiliations

My Civil Protest against Museveni

On Saturday 30 April I arrived at the Intercontinental hotel to interact and share with other Kenyan professionals from the private sector, civil society and media. The name of the forum was mindspeak an annual event.

Prior to the president’s arrival, speaker after speaker took to the podium and waxed lyrical about the importance of Kenya getting a grip on its affairs and positioning itself in its rightful place in the world by first getting serious about good governance, clean politics, eliminating tribalism and strengthening the economy and democracy. The Swiss ambassador explained, that his own country faced a similar economic and food crisis a century ago. They had to think hard about what to do to create a just society. A small Swiss minority was fabulously wealthy while a large majority was going hungry at the same time.

After a coffee break courtesy of Nation group CEO Linus Gitahi who paid out of pocket because it was unplanned for the president to take 3 hours to arrive, Museveni finally walked in accompanied by PNU metropolitan development minister Njeru Githae . The president was relaxed and begun his speech on Economic Rights and Social transformation with an analogy about insects and their metamorphosis from egg to pupa, lavae to adult. The president was affable. But it is important to define Museveni. After decades of terror and rampage occasioned on Ugandans by Idi Amin Dada and Milton Obote, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni a young soldier fought a guerilla war to power restoring Ugandans’ collective dignity and returning the country to normalcy and decency. But that was 25 years ago. Slowly but surely President Museveni has begun his slide back down the path of intolerance and dictatorship. For the past one month, Ugandan forces have systematically and consistently brutalized unarmed citizens men and women walking to work to protest against the very high cost of living because of sky high food and fuel prices. Of course there is a political component to these protests given that they are even led by his opponent Dr Kize Besigye but does that justify beatings, shootings and spraying human skin and eyes with copious amounts of acidic pepper?

As I sat listening to Museveni crack jokes and the audience roaring in laughter, I realized that the whole event was too casual and that for a fact a victim of Museveni’s brutality was admitted at Nairobi Hospital 7 minutes drive from where we were sitting, going blind. Our attendance of Museveni’s forum was dignifying him and giving him aid and comfort. Initially, I felt I should walk out. But to just stand up and walk out alone as a head of State speaks, constitutes a security breach and does not say much. Or they would think perhaps because I wasn’t feeling well, or was pressed for a short bathroom call. I stayed calm. But as the president spoke, and paused, I interjected. “Mr President, it’s very difficult for us to sit here and listen to you as Kenyans when daily you are brutalizing innocent, unarmed Ugandans. Why are you allowing this Sir…” I was swiftly apprehended by four officers and bundled into a GK land rover outside.

Several of my friends subsequently called and opined that it may have been better to await Q&A session and confront Museveni with ideas. But that argument misses the point. The whole point of a civil protest is to necessitate change not to accommodate. I was sending a strong message to the President of Uganda and to the people of Uganda that Kenyans are democratic and won’t stand for human rights abuses. We can only move our countries and region forward by embracing dialogue, tolerance, principle and integrity. Not by military violence, propaganda and platitudes. Top on my mind was the fact that the Ugandan president was present at Uhuru park when we promulgated our Constitution last year, a progressive document which is very strong on justice, fairness and individual rights and freedoms enshrined in Article 33. I explained to the police that our president is not perfect but he’s a democrat and doesn’t batter protestors. I strongly feel that President Museveni by battering Ugandans is betraying the ideals of our common humanity, is at odds with principles of Uganda, Kenya the region and the world. It is the same thing Quaddafi stands accused of today in the court of public opinion and possibly soon in a legal court as well.

The Kenyan police treated me professionally and well. But one senior officer laboriously explained that I shouldn’t try to be “Jesus” as the world is a difficult place and poor people will always be there. Regretfully this may be conventional wisdom in the establishment. After being released without being charged, I watched an angry Museveni berate a stoic and composed Linus Kaikai during an interview where he called the journalist “the evangelist of civilization”. I must say that was some quality journalism from Mr. Kaikai.

The challenges of the third world are well known and documented and will never be solved by posturing, deceit or cheap tribal politics. Rather it will take selfless leadership, sacrifice and commitment on the part of leadership to inspire Africans, implement good policy and bring fresh ideas to create opportunity and lift the masses out of poverty and desperation. I remember after the Madoff trial in New York last year, his wife was informed by a hair stylist that she was not welcome to the salon any more because of all the suffering her family had caused by fleecing citizens. I have no ill will toward the president. I respect him as an elder Statesman and like a father. But we must not tolerate bad behavior from a councilor, governor or president. We must stand for truth, say what we mean and mean what we say. On Saturday, I expressed my displeasure with the goings-on in Uganda. At the risk of irritating comrades in attendance at mindspeak, I stood up for democracy. I spoke my mind. I have no regrets.

Benji Ndolo

The Writer is the founder of OPRAC and consults for several Civil Society Organizations.

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