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Month September 2012

Land Grabbing is turning Ugandans into ‘slaves’ in their own country


The primary – if not the only – responsibility of leaders – be it at the household, community or national level – is to promote and protect the interests and welfare of the people under their supervision. Any leader who breaches this social contract with the people – intentionally or not – should be removed from that role.

The British colonial administration should be credited with a wise decision to leave Uganda land in the hands of indigenous people and restricting by law foreign encroachment on this vital factor of production and source of livelihood. Whatever one does anywhere in the world will ultimately involve land. Therefore land has a unique role and value in our lives and we should protect it to continue to play that role for present and future generations. Countries have gone or threatened to go to war over land, however small or apparently useless. Governments and dynasties have been removed in part because of land issues.

In Uganda many of us still don’t take land seriously for various unfortunate reasons. First, there is this mistaken notion that working the land represents backwardness. Progress therefore means you abandon land and seek work in offices located in towns. The word village represents backwardness that should be avoided. Parents feel disappointed when their children fail to get office jobs and return home to earn a living through farming.

Second, during our school days, punishment for wrong doing – arriving late, failing to do homework, fighting other students etc – was to do work in the school garden. Thus, we associated agriculture with punishment and farming lost value. Even today students and graduates refuse work in agriculture because it is considered below their dignity. I have personally tried to hire students and high school graduates or dropouts to work on my farms in Rukungiri district without success. They don’t want to dirty their hands: agriculture is demeaning. Going to school means you de-link yourself from farming.

Third, NRM government has been encouraging Ugandans to go to towns. President Museveni is among the champions in this regard. In his speech titled “Evolution and Modernization” delivered on 2002-02-09, Museveni stated that “One characteristic of backwardness is to have more people staying in the villages than in towns. When you come to town, you hear leaders saying, ‘You go back to the village. Go back to the village to do what? There is nothing!” And many Ugandans have listened and heard the message and acted accordingly – drifted to Uganda towns especially Kampala. That is why the rate of urban growth is faster than for the nation as a whole. Museveni encouraged Ugandans to come to towns. The question to ask like he did regarding villages: You come to town to do what? There is nothing!

Rural-urban migration is reinforced by the concept of willing seller and willing buyer. Consequently, many indigenous Ugandans who own land are selling en masse and ending up landless and drifting to towns where they are unemployed. If there are no development prospects in the villages as Museveni stated, why are the wealthy in Uganda buying land like never before? Why don’t they invest their money in towns that Museveni favors instead of in economically useless villages?

In the ten point program, Museveni expressed concern about landlessness, noting that “Our immediate concern is the tens of thousands of people – or possible hundreds of thousands – that have been displaced by ill-thought out development projects or sheer illegal land-grabbing by businessmen or state officials using corruption. An outstanding example [is] the 15,000 people with tens of thousands of cattle that have been thrown out of Nsharara by the UPC regime in order to make the area a game reserve. Such people must be resettled on alternative land by the government” (Yoweri Museveni 1986). Note that Museveni didn’t suggest they be accommodated in towns.

To understand this you need to know that Museveni’s immediate concern when he became president was to find land for his Batutsi cattle-herding people scattered and squeezed in the Great Lakes region. That is why he specifically pointed out the 15,000 people with their cattle that were displaced by UPC government to create a game reserve. He needs land for them and since there is no unoccupied land, he has to get it from someone.

Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern DRC where Tutsi live have high population densities and serious landlessness. To create land for them, Museveni came up with the idea that indigenous Ugandans who own land should abandon it and move to towns. This idea is reinforced by the notion of willing seller and willing buyer including of land.

Uganda indigenous owners of land are being encouraged (or tricked by mortgaging land for loans which they fail to repay and lose their land) to sell and move to towns and the cattle people who are well connected and have access to credit to buy it. That is why there is this paradox of indigenous Ugandans abandoning land because of limited development prospects and a rush to buy it by immigrants sometimes under cover of darkness. Another method of grabbing land is the provision in the 1995 constitution that allows free mobility, settlement and land ownership anywhere in the country. The third method is extension of municipality boundaries deep into rural areas disguised as creating a parliamentary constituency to increase people’s representation. Once land is incorporated into the municipality, it is owned by the council which can compensate the previous owner with ‘peanuts’ and sell land to the highest bidder, mostly a rich or well connected immigrant.

Through these three methods indigenous owners are losing land very fast to immigrant buyers. Batutsi are travelling all the way from South Kivu in DRC to Uganda where they end up getting in one form or another land by replacing indigenous owners or wild animals in game reserves. Some of land complaints in western region are arising from this influx of Tutsi from Burundi, Rwanda and DRC. Ntungamo and Toro districts are among those experiencing tremendous land conflicts. Authorities in such areas need to protect the land interests of their people or face the wrath of their subjects in a democratic way.

The leaders of indigenous people in parliament, district councils and lower levels must understand this paradox of encouraging indigenous owners of land to sell and settle in towns and the rich or well connected largely immigrants to buy it in large chunks. Any leader of indigenous people found encouraging his/her subjects to sell land should have his/her motives assessed. I wrote a long chapter on land in Uganda in my book titled “Uganda’s Development Agenda in the 21st Century and Related Regional Issues”. I identified the problems and made recommendations to solve them.

As I have written before, Museveni didn’t pick up the gun to save and develop Uganda. He picked up the gun to solve Tutsi problems in the Great Lakes region as an integral part of realizing the Tutsi dream by military or political means like through the East African political federation which Museveni and Kagame are putting ahead of economic integration, reversing the traditional order of regional cooperation. One of the methods of achieving their goals of land acquisition and Tutsi Empire is to impoverish and marginalize non-Batutsi people by making them landless or reduce them to subsistence farmers. That is what Kagame has done with Bahutu in Rwanda: “Hutus have been mostly forced back into subsistence agriculture” (Michael Mann The Dark Side of Democracy 2005 Page 431). As Museveni reported in his latest State of the Nation address 68 percent of Ugandans who are subsistence farmers were neglected, forcing them to sell land and drift aimlessly into towns.

UDU was created, inter alia, to disseminate information about Uganda’s political economy. In short how politics or policy decisions affect economic change and vice versa. Through our civic program in the media (radio, internet and newspapers some of our work is translated and published in Luganda language in Kamunye newspaper), we have shared a wide range of information to enable Ugandans take informed decisions. In this article we are trying to help readers understand why there is land grab and who is grabbing it. Indigenous owners are losing it mostly to connected and protected Batutsi buyers.

Land in Uganda has become by far the single most contentious topic. The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) issued a report covering July-December 2006. It observed that in northern and northeastern Uganda land ownership had become the most controversial issue. In central and western regions land has also become the single most controversial issue. Land has therefore become the number one issue at the national level that should engage the attention of all Ugandans especially people’s representatives in parliament, district councils and lower levels.

Land conflicts contributed to revolutions including in France, Russia, Mexico and Ethiopia. As Ugandans begin to understand the value of land, it must be treated with uttermost care lest it triggers rebellion or revolution. Uganda is sitting on a time bomb. We should diffuse it by pragmatic action than dismiss it as non-existent and continue business as usual. Uganda has changed and doing business as usual at gun point won’t work. Ugandans have understood their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and freedoms. They won’t rest until they have restored them. NRM should recognize this development and act accordingly.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General & Chief Administrator, UDU

Nnabagereka Nagginda is the Most Important Lady for the Buganda Kingdom


With a master’s degree in corporate communications and professional experience as a management consultant, in 1999, Her Royal Highness Nnabagereka Sylvia Nagginda married the Kabaka (King) of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, the traditional and
cultural leader of the almost 8 million Baganda people living in the Republic of Uganda (East Africa). She established the Nnabagereka Development Trust to address public health and development concerns with an emphasis on the needs of children and women.

Since becoming Queen in 1999, The Nnabagereka has been active in public health and development activities in the Buganda Kingdom and across Uganda. She runs the Nnabagereka Development Trust Foundation and is the patron of various organizations.

Nnaabagereka Sylvia Nagginda is the daughter of John Mulumba Luswata of Nkumba, Busiro; and Rebecca Nakintu Musoke who currently lives in New York. She is the granddaughter of Mr. George William Musoke and Mrs. Nora Musoke of Nazzigo, Kyaggwe; and Omutaka Nelson Nkalubo Sebugwawo and Mrs. Catherine Sebugwawo of Nkumba. She has three brothers and three sisters. Born in the United Kingdom and raised in Uganda, she lived in the United States for several years before getting married to Kabaka Mutebi II in a historical ceremony on August 27, 1999; at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Namirembe.

Sylvia attended Lake Victoria Primary School, Gayaza Junior School and Wanyange Girls School before proceeding to the United States where she earned her Associates Degree with Honours from City University of New York, a Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University and a Master of Arts degree, with Distinction, from New York Institute of Technology. Her major field of study was Public Relations, including economics, journalism and corporate communications.

Sylvia gained most of her professional experience in the United States. She worked as a Research Consultant at the United Nations headquarters, as a Proposal Writer with MAXIMUS, Inc. and GKA Inc., and worked as an independent consultant in public relations and business development. She has applied her skills in fields such as public information, economic research, health care and human services, and international non-profit activities.

Sylvia and the Kabaka had known each other for a number of years, but their romance blossomed in 1998, leading to the announcement of their engagement on Valentines’ Day February 14, 1999. On that day, Kabaka Mutebi formally introduced Sylvia to members of his family and the Katikkiro. On March 14th, the Katikkiro led a 20-person delegation to Sylvia’s family to pay their respects on behalf of the Kabaka. On March 15, 1999; the Katikkiro, during a historic sitting of the Lukiiko at Mmengo, formally informed the whole of Buganda about the forthcoming marriage.

The announcement was greeted with joy and goodwill from Baganda and other well wishers, at home and abroad. Ugandans in North America are particularly happy that one of their own has won the heart of the Kabaka of Buganda

UAH T-SHIRTS: CAN ANYBODY STEP FORWARD AND DO BUSINESS


Hello,

Is there anyone willing to do business with us right now? I think we need UAH-T-shirts, caps, e.t.c urgently to take this spirit outside the internet. So, if you think you know your way round designing T-shirts, calendars or stuff like that, and you know how to do business, please get in touch with me at: abbeysemuwemba@gmail.com.

We want our UAH members to have something tangible they can remember this forum with. Obviously, whoever wants a T-shirt, they gonna have to folk some money out to get it. We will make arrangements on how these T-shirts can be bought and delivered to members that pay for them. For now, we need some business angel committed to this deal to help himself and the moderators make some money, and also promote the spirit of nationalism in the country.

We hope that the money received from selling such items will help us to build an independent forum ( away from Google and other networks), and a good website. In case a lot is raised, then we will find a way to build a UAH library somewhere on the outskirts of Kampala where we will be asking members here to donate various books for our people back home inishallah.

Like I told the publicity Secretary for the Uganda Media Centre, Ms.Sarah Kyobe, yesterday: UAHs are patriots and an unofficial presidential advisors, and deserve to be appreciated by the government instead of looking at them as enemies. It is not easy to advice a government that does not want to be advised on a daily basis. But we still do it despite the risks involved because we love our country.

So, if anybody wants to do this deal for us please step forward and make us proud.

Thank you

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

Stalk my blog at: http://semuwemba.com/

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/semuwemba

Join me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abbey.k.semuwemba

The distinction between economic progress and improved standard of living


Economists and other commentators have difficulties drawing a distinction between economic growth, per capita income, economic progress and improvement in the general standard of living of the population. Many use these terms interchangeably. They think that when an economy is growing rapidly, everyone is enjoying the benefits of growth as rapidly. They think that controlling inflation will create favorable conditions for everyone to invest and reap profits. They think that increased and diversified exports will earn foreign exchange with which to import goods and services that will benefit everyone equally or equitably. In reality, the situation is different. Rapid economic growth doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone will benefit unless the trickle down mechanism works but it doesn’t.

Many visitors to Uganda since 1987 when NRM government adopted structural adjustment program (SAP) have reported economic progress in terms of economic growth, macroeconomic stability, privatization of public enterprises, downsizing the public service, reducing or eliminating subsidies and diversified exports and have given NRM government credit for this economic progress, urging other countries to emulate Uganda success. They used per capita income to demonstrate that the economy and people were doing very well. But per capita income doesn’t tell us how different regions and economic groups are faring. In economies like Uganda where income distribution is highly skewed, economic growth and per capita income leave a lot to be desired. During the 1990s, Uganda’s economy grew very fast reaching 11 percent in the mid’90s. However absolute poverty remained very high.

This distinction was underscored by James Gustav Speth, former Administrator of UNDP, when he observed that “Uganda is a leading example of an African country that is doing many of the right economic things to lift its people out of poverty. It has posted growth rates averaging 6% a year for a decade. Yet two-thirds of the population remain in absolute poverty, and per capita income is only now approaching the level it had attained in 1970” (Proceedings of the Development Cooperation Seminar 1998. Japan 1999). It hasn’t reached that level on the eve of Uganda’s 50th independence anniversary in 2012. In fact, structural adjustment program upon which the assessment of Uganda’s economic progress is based was abandoned in 2009 because it had failed to deliver as expected. Yet commentators continue to report economic progress in Uganda.

Stabilization and structural adjustment program failed because it was based on wrong premises. It was assumed that market forces and laissez faire policies in concert with trickledown economics would produce the desired results. Individuals were more or less left on their own instead of working in tandem with the state. The market forces or manipulated market forces based on willing seller and willing buyer of property have resulted in dispossessing many household of land the only asset and source of livelihood they have since the majority of Ugandans don’t have functional education and skills to work in sectors outside agriculture. A deregulated economic system has resulted in massive de-vegetation and exploitation of natural resources such as fish and timber that the future of Uganda has been seriously undermined. The get rich-quick mentality of leaders and individualism has brushed under the carpet the age old traditions of community cohesion and rational management of natural resources. Uganda is on the brink of turning into a desert which doesn’t appear to have bothered the NRM regime. Poverty, unemployment, hunger, disease and ignorance are undermining the country and generations to come.

NRM lack of long-term vision and focus on strengthening the military and torture chambers together with rampant corruption, sectarianism and cronyism as well as obstructing legitimate dissent is planting seeds of trouble in years ahead. You can’t have peace and stability in the absence of development that reduces poverty. As Kofi Annan former Secretary-General of the United Nations observed “In the world we live in, most of the countries now in conflict also turn out to be poor. They lack good governance; they do not provide the basic amenities for their people. And here I’m referring to education, good health, and clean water. Having these basic necessities, the right regulatory system – and a government that believes in establishing ‘an enabling environment’ – frees and releases the energies of the people to participate in economic and social activity, and prepare for their future. They will be too busy in these constructive areas to get engaged in the sort of wars or conflict that we’ve seen destroying so many of these countries” (Share International Jan-Feb 2000). In short development underpins peace and security which Uganda has missed. Anti-sectarian and anti-terrorist laws alone won’t bring peace in a swamp of poverty and youth unemployment.

As we begin the next fifty years of Uganda’s independence, let us all Ugandans reflect on why we have failed to realize the dream of independence; why we have spent more time fighting and grabbing what belongs to others; why we have continued to harbor notions of superiority and inferiority; why our 1962, 1967 and 1995 constitutions and institutions have failed to deliver the fruits of independence. We have to remember that together we stand and divided we fall as a nation, region or families.

What is likely to contribute significantly to the destruction of Uganda is the current breakneck speed of grabbing land from peasants by the rich or those wielding AK 47. Whoever is advising the president and the prime minister to dispossess Ugandans of their land needs to think again. Since time immemorial, land has contributed significantly to wars and revolutions as exemplified by the French, Russian, Mexican and Ethiopian revolutions. Wars of African decolonization were very fierce and bloody in areas of white occupied Africans’ land including in Algeria, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Uganda must learn from these experiences. It must be understood that Uganda government does not have land to dish out to developers. Land belongs to the people. The British colonial government understood this well in her – protectorate model – and stayed away from people’s land. Uganda has the potential to rebel: don’t ignite it.

Eric Kashambuzi

Why are Ugandans afraid of mentioning their ancestors, tribes or faith?


Prince Wasajja at 2012 Tabamiluka in Boston

Prince Wasajja at 2012 Tabamiluka in Boston

When I attended the Ttabamiruka Convention in Boston, USA on September 1-2, 2012, the evening cultural event that I attended was one of the most interesting and enjoyable moments. Baganda as a whole, men and women, performed their traditional dances together (I enjoyed it so much that I almost joined them but before I got on the floor the music stopped). They were followed by dances performed by different clans. People were very proud to show what their clan is and can dance the best. In one case one lady who happened to be the only one of her clan in the hall proudly danced alone if only to demonstrate that her clan is alive and well and dances beautifully. In another case a young boy of say ten years stole the show when he took to the floor and danced with such joy that you couldn’t fail to see he was proud of his clan. There was a man whose arm was in a bandage but when his clan was announced to dance, he was the first one on the flow ready to demonstrate what his clan can do. And finally all Baganda and invited guests of different races joined the leader of Buganda delegation Prince David Wasajja and danced, danced, danced with arms in the air, singing or hugging as we danced in a circle. You could see everyone was happy – no sectarianism no divisionism in the hall. In fact, a Muganda man rapped my jacket around my waist. He knew I was not a Muganda but a human being that needed to dance with others. You could see Baganda were proud of their ancestry, of being Baganda and Ugandan.

Outside the hall, the situation is very different. Most Ugandans don’t want you to know who they are, where they went to school, where they work, where they worship, where they reside. In my writing I have used my real names and reported where I come from in Uganda and where I live in USA with my telephone numbers because I have nothing to hide.

There is no way writers and commentators on the Great Lakes region can avoid touching on the region’s history without mentioning Batutsi, Bahima, Bahororo, Banyamulenge, Bahutu and Bairu and how they have interacted over the centuries. But when you mention Batutsi or Bahororo in particular with reference to what they have done wrong that need to be corrected, you are attacked right away and dubbed all sorts of names including a promoter of genocide or genocidaire itself in order to silence you and discourage others.

In Rwanda it is a crime to mention your ethnic group because it is considered divisive. But in actual fact, the main intention is to prevent criticism of sectarianism which Rwanda government is using to promote Batutsi interests and suppress the rest without the option of complaining (someone cautioned that I have no right to discuss Rwanda affairs. I responded that as a member of the East African community, Rwanda like any other member state will be discussed objectively). Similarly in Uganda anti-sectarianism is designed to prevent criticizing Museveni for favoring Batutsi. Many Banyarwanda and Ugandans are unhappy with these restrictions. Leaders who behave like this are hiding something. And here is part of it.

Batutsi have been claiming that they are the only ones that have suffered genocide at the hands of Bahutu in Rwanda in 1994. They conveniently forgot that Batutsi committed genocide against Bahutu in Burundi in 1972, 1988 and 1993. There are reports alleging that Batutsi have committed genocide against Bahutu since January 1994. That is why the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was authorized by the UN Security Council to examine crimes against humanity from January to December 1994 although genocide that is common knowledge took place between April and July 1994. Presumably afraid of being implicated Rwanda which was a member of the Security Council voted against the resolution establishing the Tribunal and there are reports that the government hasn’t cooperated with the Tribunal as expected.

What has happened in Eastern DRC against Bahutu is alleged genocide committed by Batutsi. However, Batutsi have taken advantage of the international guilt for failing to respond when genocide took place in Rwanda in 1994 and have used that guilt to massacre people and do whatever else they want including in Uganda where they are the rulers under Museveni. Batutsi or friends of Batutsi who cherish the rights of others need to join hands with others to find a lasting solution.

What Rwanda and Uganda leaders must understand is that time comes when people feel they are pushed against the wall and have nowhere else to go but to fight back and die fighting than in silence. The international community has been very lenient on Rwanda and Uganda governments and has allowed them to do what they want with impunity because they have painted themselves as victims in a hostile environment where they must defend themselves by any means including preventing people from mentioning their tribes but they are the aggressor from time immemorial.

Just as they are fighting to protect their interests by getting the best education, healthcare, diet, jobs and grabbing land, we also have a duty to protect the interests of our people. I am on record for recommending peaceful resolution of our differences in order to live together in peace and security but Kagame and Museveni are not interested. They believe they have all the international support they need and are busy fast tracking Tutsi Empire dream through the East African political federation and planning how to draw new international boundaries in East Africa using force if necessary. Calls for the Second Berlin Conference on Africa’s boundaries have been heard from Kigali. There are surrogates in Uganda who just talk about removing boundaries without taking long term consequences into account. For them these are colonial boundaries that should be eliminated to allow free mobility of liberated people and cattle.

Political revolutions in Europe and America began with European intellectual revolutions that inspired Americans in USA, Latin America including Haiti, UK (Glorious Revolution of 1688), France and Russia to revolt against the status quo. In many places it was disgruntled ordinary poor, hungry, unemployed and angry mobs that triggered the revolutions in France and Russia in particular. Kagame and Museveni can’t continue to ignore the suffering of others and hope to get away with it. Even if we lose our lives (highly likely) in this struggle others will carry out the remaining portion until justice is done because justice must be done.

Let me end with where I started. Restrictive anti-sectarian and anti-divisionist laws should be abolished so that citizens are free to talk about their ancestors, tribes, clans, religions etc without fear. Dictatorship in these two countries has gone too far and the two leaders need to do something about it with help of development partners. Development partners should refrain from telling Museveni and Kagame that they are champions for peace, security, stability and development in the Great Lakes because they are not. They are the people who have planted seeds of instability, impoverishment and marginalization of majority of populations in the region in pursuit of their Tutsi Empire dream that has caused wars and untold human suffering. We are all created in the image of our Creator and none is above the other. We are not in the Animal Farm kingdom where all are equal but some are more equal than others.

Eric Kashambuzi

September 2012

The era of military coups and leaders in Africa is over


Military leaders replaced the first generation of post independence civilian leaders because the latter failed to grow the economy and distribute equitably the fruits of Uhuru (independence) to a wider public. Civilian leaders were further accused of divisionism, corruption and sectarianism etc. In short civilians were poor leaders. Below are some of the 18 reasons for overthrowing Uganda’s first civilian government in 1971.

1. Economic policies have left many people unemployed and even more insecure and lacking in the basic needs of life like food, clothing, medicines and shelter;

2. The creation of a wealthy class of leaders who are always talking of socialism while they grow richer and the common man poorer;

3. The Lango Development Master Plan, written in 1967, decided that all key positions in Uganda’s political, commercial, army and industrial life have to be occupied and controlled by people from Akokoro County, Lango district. Also the master plan decided that nothing of importance must be done for other districts, especially Acholi district. Emphasis was put on developing Akokoro County in Lango District at the expense of other areas of Uganda;

4. We all want only unity in Uganda and we do not want bloodshed. Everybody in Uganda wants that. The matters mentioned above appear to us to lead to bloodshed only. For the reasons given above, we men of Uganda Armed Forces have this day, decided to take over power from Obote and hand it to our fellow soldier, Major-General Idi Amin Dada, and we hereby entrust him to lead this our beloved country of Uganda to peace and good will among all.

By the time Amin was overthrown in April 1979 conditions in Uganda were much worse than in January 1971 when the military overthrew the civilian government. Those who still believed that military leaders were preferable to civilian leaders argued that Amin and his soldiers were uneducated, made blunders unintentionally and goofed in the process. From mid 1980s, Africa witnessed the rise of better educated military leaders in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda christened the new breed of African leaders led by Museveni. We were told these were no nonsense leaders who wanted to institute democracy, good governance and liberalized and privatized national economies, with the state confined to providing law and order and preventing breach of contracts. The new breed of African leaders was showered with donor money, foreign experts and rosy reporting of performance in foreign media. Economic progress is still judged in terms of controlling inflation, boosting exports, building foreign reserves and privatization of the economy rather than employment, quality education and healthcare, housing, poverty and status of the environment, all of them getting worse.

Museveni came to power in 1986 and condemned African leaders for keeping silent while Ugandans were being murdered by Uganda dictators; why African leaders tolerated neo-colonialism that kept the continent a producer and exporter of raw materials; why Africans should walk barefoot, go to bed hungry and suffer from jiggers in a continent that has everything to make life better for all. He vowed he would never travel in executive jets to attend meetings in New York like his predecessors did or import furniture. At the start of his presidency he even refused to wear western suits preferring short-sleeved Kaunda attire and drank milk from a metal mug!

However, the record shows that Amin and Museveni both soldiers, one educated and the other illiterate, did worse than Obote, a civilian leader before them. Museveni is embarrassed that his economic record has failed to raise the general standard of living of Ugandans to the level attained in 1970 under Obote regime.

By and large performance of military leaders in Africa is judged to be worse than the civilian leaders that brought independence. Corruption, human rights violation and sectarianism have characterized soldiers as poor leaders. In Tunisia, Egypt and Libya popular revolts changed military governments with civilians. We have to wait and see how they perform. In Ethiopia, the military leader who was described as dictator died recently of natural causes. In Rwanda and Uganda the military leaders appear not to have noticed what has happened to their counterparts in the north and think they will continue to do business as usual because they still enjoy external support. But Mubarak, Ben Ali and Qaddafi enjoyed as much external support if not more than Museveni and Kagame.

The tide has turned against military leaders whether they conduct elections or wear civilian suits. The bye-elections in Uganda have sent a message to NRM regime that business as usual has no place in Uganda politics. Recruiting a 19-year old young man to run on NRM ticket in Usuk could reveal it can’t hire experienced politicians. Now is time for civilian leaders. To succeed they need to be good leaders.

Aware of leadership deficits in Africa, a select group of prominent past and present leaders met in 2003 and decided to “confront the pathology of poor leadership”. They promulgated a Code of African Leadership with 23 commandments and issued a Mombasa Declaration promoting better leadership. A Council of African Leadership was also established. It believes that absolute standards of leadership are appropriate and attainable. They include:

1. Good leaders deliver security of the state and of the person, the rule of law, good education and health services, and a framework conducive to economic growth;

2. They ensure effective arteries of commerce and enshrine personal and human freedoms;

3. They empower civil society and protect the environmental commons;

4. They provide their citizens with a sense of belonging to a national enterprise.

Aware that Africa’s poor are getting poorer and good governance is essential for successful economic development, the African Leadership Council encourages leaders to:

1. Offer a coherent vision of individual growth and national advancement with justice and dignity for all;

2. Encourage broader participation and adhere to the letter and spirit of their national constitutions (especially term limits);

3. Encourage dissent and disagreement, respect human and civil liberties, strengthen the rule of law;

4. Promote policies that eradicate poverty and improve the well-being of their citizens;

5. Ensure a strong code of ethics;

6. Refuse to use their offices for personal gain, oppose corruption and bolster essential personal freedoms (Foreign Affairs July/August 2004).

In drawing up the National Recovery Plan (NRP) to replace the failed NRM policies, UDU was guided by the commandments summarized above. Uganda is now described as a failed state under military dictatorship. The internal conflicts have made NRM unfit to govern. Give civilian opposition a chance under strong institutions, not individuals, to make life better for all Ugandans. Military leaders are not equipped to deal with civilian matters that require listening, arguing and compromise on a win-win basis. Military leaders see opposition as an enemy to be destroyed. They invest more in security forces than development programs.

For the first time in Uganda history, the National Recovery Plan accessible at http://www.udugandans was drawn up by Ugandans following the Los Angeles conference of July 2011 that created UDU. NRM policies and programs have been drafted and managed by foreign experts with good intentions but lacking in understanding Uganda’s history, regional differences and culture.

A senior government official wrote “Faced with these acute problems and a limited domestic capacity to respond to them, in 1987 the government sought the assistance of the World Bank and IMF in designing and implementing an economic recovery program” (P. Langseth et al., Uganda Landmarks in Rebuilding a Nation 1995 page 2). To understand the extent of foreign experts involvement in designing and managing Uganda economy read chapter 8 of Sebastian Mallaby’s book The World’s Banker published in 2004. The recruitment of foreign experts and advisers to run Uganda economy became necessary because Museveni refused to employ experienced Ugandans in the diaspora (The Courier Sept/Oct. 1993) including those that drafted the well received UDU’s National Recovery Plan and those considered too close to UPC to be trusted.

Time has come to use Ugandans in designing and implementing development programs calling on foreign consultants to advise only in cases where Uganda may need short-term assistance but not to continue designing and implementing Uganda’s development policies, strategies and programs as NRM has done since 1987.

ERIC KASHAMBUZI

ER

Uganda At 50 Years and On Mulago -what your politicians do not tell Ugandans and why the seek their healthcare overseas.


Men playing cards because there are no jobs

Men playing cards because there are no jobs

A pharmacists role has never been to prescribe but to dispense of a prescription by a doctor. Given the lack of personnel in both, and calculating the cost-benefit ratio, some drugs have been given OTC, others are still restricted. But walking into any pharmacy one may even get narcotic drugs without prescription, as the only consideration of these drug shops cum pharmacies is commercial.

Am not sure why you got the impression I may not know the role of a pharmacist. Without really going into details, I actually have a very intimate detail of the role of a pharmacist as well as the training and work conditions of doctors in Makerere. And if you were a privately sponsored medical student, you have me to thank for that. Once upon a time it was possible for a Kenyan or Indian to have that priviledge but not for a Ugandan! Again I will not go into details. I have discussed medical training in Mulago with an external examiner and have been to the units myself and spoken to clinical and academic staff.

I will not go into details of training at Mulago except to note that some of the units you mention are very uni dimensional i.e HIV with plenty of duplication! I do not see the role of multiple research organisations that all do the same job -ie research HIV but that is a debate for another day! I see a lot of redundancy and duplication in having Baylor, John Hopkins, Case western, UCLA, IDU all struggling for a piece of the same hill doing the same thing!

It is common for people to say as you do that there is nothing wrong with medical training at Makerere without qualifying their statement! I say there is and will qualify mine even withoyt touching the big elephant of ethics. I would also like to see the benefits of those facilities percolating directly to the medical units in Mulago. The issue of subspecialty training is one that again would require a different discussion and probably a different forum. The reality is that specialty training is stunted at the specialty level with little development of subspecialty training except infectious diseases with an emphasis on HIV. Here am talking of nephrology including dialysis both haemodialysis and peritoneal, transplant (matched related, matched unrelated and cadaveric) and , neurology including interventional, stroke, EEG/EMG, cardiology including desk, echo, interventional and percutaneous technics for valvuloplasty, angiography and angioplasty, transplant, critical and coronary care), radiology including neuroradiology, interventional, diagnostic (CT, plain, MRI and ultrasound), gastroenterology including endoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound, hepatology, transplant, endocrinology including sexual and reproductive, diabetes, osteoporosis and bone densitometry, endocrine physiology, oncology including medical oncology, radiation oncology, haemato oncology, specialised diagnostic and interventional radiology in oncology, and surgical oncology including specialised breast, gynaecology, colorectal and liver, paediatric neurosurgery and solid tumour/sarcoma surgeons, endocrine surgeons, nuclear medicine including radioisotope diagnostic imaging and PET scan, rheumatology including competence in new biological agents, respiratory including desk, bronchoscopy and biopsy, bronchoscopic ultrasound and laser treatment, CF, transplant, critical care including ICU, neuro HDU, surgical HDU, immunology, respiratory HDU, medical HDU, geriatric medicine including rehabilitation for stroke, orthogeriatrics, and general as well as ambulant clinics for memory, continence, general geriatric, internal medicine including acute and sub acute care, laboratory including specialised and subspecialised pathology services haematology, immunology etc. we could go on forever but am sure you get the point.

The only research organisations in Mulago are single issue HIV/AIDS research based units set up by donors mainly for donors because mulago is a place they can accumulate patients most rapidly in comparison to their own units. The management given to out patients in these units while good is not in general integrated into Mulago the hospital leading to duplication. Show me your respiratory, cardiology, Diabetes, nephrology, Cancer, Malaria and other “neglected diseases” research institutes at mulago!

The range of subspecialties offered in Mulago for a tertiary national referral and research facility with the pedigree of being the second oldest medical school in Africa stopped in 1972 while the rest of the world including Nairobi and Dar medical schools that were started by Makerere graduates have moved on! The clinical training facilites and available supervision remains limited too. There is no formal subspecialty training beyond general specialisation in general and surgical including gynae and paeds as well as radiology! Subspecialists were available are underutilised and many subspecialties are run by general physicains with little formal or even informal training in those specialties!

While Mulago does not have to have the full range of available specialties and subspecialties, as a national referral and teaching hospital, one would expect it to at least be on par with the rest of the region! Rwanda is now the destination for our specialists while we continue to refer patients to Nairobi, South Africa and India for things we could do 30 years ago but have lost the skills or been left behind!

Show me the specialists in these fields and put that in context of a population of over 30 million! Show me the training programs other than M.Med and the Infectious diseases fellowships from Baylor and IDU. Show me the subspecialty departments in our “centre of excellence” and national training facility. Show me the scholarships for clinical training NOT public health which almost every second doctor has done! There are more PH qualified doctors than clinicians -all lost to the clinical ranks and you believe there is no problem? More managers than clinicians but continuing chaos! More workshops and white papers are produced by the MOH but no follow up!

Part of the problem is funding but some of these things are not funding but organisation! Between inept politicians who are little better than goat herds in suits and public health managers and administrators like yourself (please do not take this personally) who left the clinical ranks at a junior internship stage, the myth continues to be propagated that Mulago is fine -until some hot shot politician like Mayombo dies from a very treatable problem then instead of fixing the problems, the same politicians clamour for the right to be airlifted at taxpayer expense to South Africa where THEY have developed these skills!! Coupled with a lack of exposure because our students are not encouraged or funded to do electives overseas or even in neighbouring countries, we continue to produce an inbred population of health managers whose own range of exposure is limited advising the paesants in suits that “everything is fine and there is nothing wrong with our range of clinical skills”!

In the meantime frustrated clinicians with ambition vote with their feet to the benefit of Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Europe, the middle east, America and Australia where they get not only better pay but MORE satisfying working and training conditions as well as the chance to develop their subspecialty skills.

To me what galls me the most is the fact that we lose clinicians to Rwanda!!! Three friends of mine all dedicated specialists have moved to Rwanda in the last few months! What has Rwanda got that Ugandan cannot afford its own doctors! Someone in Uganda’s health administration really has their head up their own backside!!!

Disclaimer: Please note that none of this is personal and that I have nothing but the utmost respect for clinicians who continue to work in Mulago!

DREW DEMBE

Uganda suffering is loud and visible; it can’t continue


Museveni came to power vowing to end the long suffering of Ugandans. He promised independence from external domination – and blamed Obote for accepting the killer structural adjustment program imposed on Uganda by the World Bank and IMF – democracy, good governance, human rights and fundamental freedoms. He underscored NRM focus on quality education, healthcare, nutrition, property rights and good neighborly relations as the foundation for a new Uganda. He assured the nation that those who lost their properties would get them back and he would support a governance or federal system that would empower Ugandans to design their development policies on the basis of their specific endowments, history and cultural values.

The Asian community responded, returned to Uganda and repossessed its properties. But Museveni has reneged on returning Buganda land and endorsing a federal system which received majority support in the Odoki Commission report of 1993. Lest we have forgotten, Baganda offered their territory (Luwero Triangle) to wage the guerrilla war from and joined Museveni guerrilla force in large numbers from the highest to the lowest institution in Buganda to fight the UPC government alleged to have stolen the 1980 elections. Baganda suffered heavy losses in lives (up to 700,000 according to some estimates) and property. And some wounds haven’t healed 26 years after the war ended.

Museveni has played double standards – meeting the demands of one group and rejecting those of others including Baganda. Baganda should stick together and other Ugandans should stand with them in solidarity until the promises made to them are fulfilled. When Ugandans stood together in solidarity, British colonial authorities had no choice but to return Kabaka Mutesa II (RIP) from exile. This is a fact. It isn’t 2012 politics as Museveni surrogates are likely to argue.

Museveni has also broken the promise of ending the suffering of Uganda people. This has happened in part because he changed course from the ten-point program to structural adjustment demanded by the donor community primarily to address international financial crisis and open Uganda to forces of globalization with Ugandans benefiting through trickledown mechanism and not state intervention. Museveni has relied on external advisers and experts and is accountable to the donor community, not to the people of Uganda. Economic growth and trickledown mechanism have not worked as expected in terms of increasing economic growth and distribution of growth benefits to all social classes. Ipso facto, corruption, sectarianism and cronyism; poverty, unemployment, hunger, disease, illiteracy, slums, crime and social fabric decay have defined Uganda under Museveni presidency. He finally admitted failure by abandoning structural adjustment program in 2009 which had been his signature project since 1987.

Museveni also dropped his promise on good neighborly relations. He promised Habyarimana and Mobutu that he would not transfer his political revolution to their countries. Under geopolitical pressure, Museveni invaded Rwanda through RPF beginning in 1990 and toppled the regime in 1994. He invaded Zaire starting in 1996 through ADFL and overthrew the government in 1997. He attacked Zaire (DRC) again beginning in 1998 but failed to remove the Kabila regime because by that time Angola, Chad, Namibia and Zimbabwe had realized that Museveni wasn’t merely interested in removing dictators from power but in establishing a Tutsi Empire in Middle Africa. They opposed him militarily and Museveni and Kagame lost the war with heavy losses in human life. Since then the region sees Museveni and Kagame not as peace builders but as agents of destabilization in their efforts to create a Tutsi empire and as proxy in the geopolitical games to control or divide up the well endowed DRC into spheres of influence with chunks of Eastern DRC going to Kagame and Museveni.

The donor community has also realized that Museveni’s domestic programs haven’t worked. But because they still need him for their foreign policies in the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region, they don’t criticize him on domestic failures but instead praise him for his resounding success in Somalia and the Great Lakes region. I haven’t assessed Museveni’s performance in Somalia and therefore can’t comment on it.

But in the Great Lakes region, Museveni involvement has created more problems than it has solved. Museveni intervention in changing regimes in Burundi, DRC and Rwanda has not endeared Uganda to the people in these countries. Bantu people in the Great Lakes region believe that Museveni is merely removing Bantu regimes and replacing them with Nilotic Batutsi dominated governments. This came out clearly when I visited DRC almost three years ago. If there is anything that will bring Congolese people together, it is Museveni and Kagame trying to divide up DRC. Congolese have vowed, should that become necessary, to turn DRC into another Somalia than let a piece of it be taken by Rwanda and/or Uganda. This is a common story which I believe western powers and corporations have heard. Ipso facto, Museveni cannot be credited for laying a foundation for lasting peace and stability in the Great Lakes region. In fact his presence in any deals heightens tensions and potential for instability.

Thus, potentially the Great Lakes region is more dangerous than it was before. Any continued effort to impose a minority Tutsi rule on majority Bantu in the region will in the end backfire. The region needs mature, experienced and wise civilian leaders that will negotiate differences on a win-win basis with all stakeholders rather than settle them through the barrel of the gun on a winner-takes-all basis as Museveni and Kagame are doing. The way they used and then betrayed their supporters (Museveni and Baganda; Kagame and Bahutu) is disturbing to say the least. You don’t make peace in such environment. Rather you lay a foundation for trouble when the right moment occurs and history is full of examples including the 1959 Social Revolution in Rwanda. That is what Museveni and Kagame are doing.

Western powers and corporations need to listen more to people who have lived in and studied the Great Lakes region carefully instead of relying on ideologically biased so-called academic researchers, journalists and diplomats. The period of rule by the gun which has been encouraged by some western powers or advisers is coming to an end. The region has potential civilian leaders with propensity to govern better through consensus than at gun point but haven’t caught the attention of western interests whose attention is focused on military people. They should cast the net wider.

ERIC KASHAMBUZI

My mission to Boston, USA


I attended two conferences in Boston: UNAA and Ttibamiruka which were held from August 31 to September 3, 2012. I attended formal and informal debates/discussions which were interactive and substantive. Participants had done their homework very well and were definitely aware of what is happening in Buganda, Uganda and in the diaspora and were searching for a formula for lasting peace, security and development for all. I was impressed and welcomed the frankness of the discussions on general and personal issues and tough questions were asked particularly in informal discussions. I will focus on issues that for me stood out in the three days of debates: unity; compromise or flexibility; trust; leadership and ethnicity. These issues came up in discussions at both conferences.

1. The idea of unity. This issue came up in formal and informal discussions both at UNAA and Ttibamiruka conferences. Ugandans have recognized or are fast recognizing that to solve a major problem be it economic, social or political, unity is vital. People have to come together for or against a common purpose regardless of their faith, ethnicity, culture, region or demographics (gender, age or class). I got the impression if implicitly that it is now fully recognized that in Uganda there is no single interest group that can effect major change without working with others of the same opinion. I also got the impression that Ugandans are now ready to go beyond rhetoric so that desired changes can happen.

2. The idea of compromise or flexibility. This idea came up in both conferences in formal and informal debates. It was recognized and underlined that societies; communities or nations that have succeeded and lasted compromise with others or are flexible on issues, key words or cultural norms in light of changing circumstances. Compromise or flexibility means give and take, underscoring that a negotiator can’t be rigid and stick to positions as originally presented in content and/or wording. Therefore when you compromise, you don’t get hundred percent of what you wanted at the beginning of the negotiations. Those who demand and get 100 percent of what they want underscores that they are very powerful and impose their wishes on others that are weak. This is dictatorship that exhibits winner-takes-all. However, in a situation where opposing forces are about equal, compromise is the only way to finding a solution on a win-win basis. More often than not what is important is the outcome, not the strategy or name that has been agreed to.

3. The idea of trust. This came up only in informal discussions in both conferences. There was passionate debate on this idea, conveying the sense that Uganda leaders can’t be trusted although they may say or write good things. The element of trust has also come up in other debates including on Ugandans at Heart Forum. One commentator wrote that he likes what I write but wondered whether I could be trusted. I replied and those who follow discussions on Ugandans at Heart Forum read his response. When you examine Uganda records of leadership especially of Obote, Amin and Museveni and how they came to power, you wonder who should be blamed for lack of trust in leaders. Obote was not vetted to detect whether or not he had elements of trust in him. He arrived in Uganda in 1958 from Kenya where he had worked and got elected to the Legislative Assembly (LEGCO). By 1961 he had formed UPC and 1962 joined with Kabaka Yekka to form a government in October 1962. In a rush to prevent DP under Kiwanuka from forming a government, Obote was selected without understanding him. Frankly Ugandans who selected him are to blame for rushing into that decision and electing a man they didn’t understand and entrusted him with national responsibility. Amin’s brutal and criminal record was known in Kenya and Uganda witness excessive force he used on Mengo in 1966. But because some sections of Uganda wanted Obote out and anybody else would be better we accepted Amin as president. So, we should not blame Amin. If he had been imposed on us by whatever force, we should not have welcomed him on grounds that we didn’t trust him. But we warmly welcomed him, garlanded him and kissed him on the street in his open jeep. Museveni came virtually out of nowhere. A man who had lost the 1980 election in his home village because his own people didn’t trust him to make him an MP should not have been so warmly and openly embraced with both arms in 1981 and entrusted with responsibility to topple UPC and lead the country. We didn’t and still don’t know for sure where Museveni was born. But we removed presidential term limits for him to rule for life. Ugandans, not Museveni, should be blamed for making wrong choices. The lesson to be drawn is that next time we should do a better job. There are Ugandans whose profiles and family trees are known. If we choose to pick strangers then that is Uganda’s poor choice not the chosen person who loses trust of the people soon after he/she takes office. This brings us to a controversial leader.

4. Controversial people shouldn’t become leaders. This was a hotly debated issue whether a controversial person on issues that others fear to address is a better candidate for leadership than a compromise candidate who says virtually nothing to buy popularity and you have no basis to judge what he/she stands for. In the end the mood was in favor of a controversial person provided there is substantial support. No good and honest leader can poll 100 percent support.

5. Are you a Muhororo? I was asked genuinely and informally to confirm whether or not I am a Muhororo (singular for Bahororo). I have explained this matter at length on Ugandans at Heart Forum. Let me summarize. There are ethnic Bahororo who are Nilotic Batutsi whose ancestors came from Rwanda and founded the short-lived Mpororo kingdom. Museveni and Muhwezi for example come from this group. These are the Bahororo who are in power. Then you have Bantu who were conquered by Nilotic Batutsi/Bahororo in collaboration with Arab and Swahili slave traders and sold captured Bantu men, women and children into slavery. Those Bantu who survived were dominated and exploited ruthlessly and were dubbed Bairu (slaves or servants). When Rujumbura became part of colonial Kigezi Makobore who was Mutusi/Muhororo and became chief under the indirect colonial rule system decided that for administrative convenience all his subjects be called Bahororo but Bairu Bahororo continued to serve Batutsi/Bahororo as their slaves (to this day we are sometimes canned when the boss is unhappy). So the distinction to be kept in mind is that we have Batutsi/Bahororo as an ethnic group of Nilotic people who are now ruling Uganda under Museveni and Muhwezi. Then there are Bairu/Bahororo people for administrative purposes. There were too many Bantu clans that were compressed into Bantu/Bairu/Bahororo for administrative convenience under colonial rule. Thus, these are Bantu people who were dubbed Bairu when Batutsi/Bahororo defeated them with Arab support that under colonial rule became Bahororo for administrative convenience. I belong to Bairu/Bahororo group that has been suppressed, impoverished, marginalized since 1800 and are now about to lose our land since our area was incorporated into Rukungiri municipality without consulting a single Muiru (I have checked and to the best of my knowledge none was consulted). Because I have criticized Nilotic Batutsi/Bahororo for their wrongs in Rujumbura which is being extended to the rest of Uganda en route to formation of Tutsi empire, they have decided using a wide range of surrogates who use fake names on the internet to smear my name by arguing that I am one of them and should go down with them. I am already down in exile. So I can’t come down with them. They are trying to make sure I don’t rise. That is the message I am sending to caring people who fight for justice. They are trying to keep me down and in the diaspora and are harassing and intimidating me and my family. Ask Museveni and/or Muhwezi to explain to Ugandans why given my education and experience if I am a Nilotic Mutusi/Muhororo like them why they have never considered me for a job in their administration since 1986. I categorically state once and for all for all to read and to know unless you have another motive which I can’t prevent that I am not a Nilotic Mututsi/Muhororo of Museveni and Muhwezi group whose ancestors came from Rwanda after they trekked from South Sudan, not Ethiopia as originally thought. I belong to Bantu group whose ancestors came from Cameroon/Nigeria region. Upon conquest by Batutsi/Bahororo with help of Arab and Swahili slave traders and modern weapons, Bantu survivors (read Bethwell A Ogot. Economic and Social History of East Africa 1976 page 89 if you don’t believe me) we were dubbed Bairu and under colonial rule were further dubbed Bahororo. Of the two characterizations which most Bantu people detest, many of us prefer to be called Bairu (slaves or servants) but most can’t say so openly for fear of reprisals than be called Bahororo. However, there are a few Bairu opportunists or Bairu who have been ‘tutsified’ that are happy to be called Bahororo. I am not one of them.

To conclude, the two conferences were productive and I am very happy I had the opportunity to attend both of them. I trust the conclusions, recommendations and decisions made will be implemented to make life better for the people of Buganda and Uganda at home and in the diaspora.

ERIC KASHAMBUZI
UAH FORUMIST IN USA

Museveni didn’t study the causes of political revolutions


Museveni didn’t study political revolutions and what cause them because what he is doing is exactly what has caused revolutions in time and space. Museveni specialized in colonialism, imperialism and slave trade. That is what he has been practicing. He has colonized Uganda, he is working on Tutsi Empire and companies are exporting Ugandans to international labor markets for a fee. To ward off criticism, Museveni doesn’t blame colonizers and slave traders. He has instead blamed Africans for accepting to be colonized and enslaved. Soon he will be telling Ugandans it is their fault for accepting to be colonized, exploited and to work in international labor markets under harsh conditions.

Those who have studied Museveni closely can’t fail to realize that he was driven principally by the desire to find land for his landless people, explaining in large part his search for a Tutsi Empire in the Great Lakes region and beyond in collaboration with foreigners. He would have moved faster in grabbing Uganda land for Tutsi settlers had it not been for the decision taken in the early part of NRM government against giving land to Tutsis.

But Museveni didn’t give up. Instead, he has designed other subtle ways to grab land for foreign occupation principally Batutsi who in one way or another are aware that if you come to Uganda chances are you will get a piece of land to settle on. That is why Tutsi people are trekking to Uganda from as far as South Kivu province in DRC and entering the country through western Uganda. Ugandans shouldn’t be surprised if the next population census records substantial increase in Tutsi population that may register as Bafumbira or Bakiga or Baganda etc.

Foreign occupation of Uganda land and the proposed removal of state boundaries in the East African community are serious national security issues that our leaders should take seriously if they are still patriotic. Those who want to take over our country are going to scream that I am promoting genocide in order to silence me and discourage those that would join in this noble cause to protect our country and citizens. Uganda needs bold and selfless leaders not those who are compromised or are even foreigners using Uganda names and languages to tighten colonization of Uganda and change the demographic composition with foreign settlers. These are national security matters and we shouldn’t be shy talking about them, otherwise we shall have no home for ourselves and our children and theirs. We may end up tenants in our country.

Museveni opened the door for foreign entry by arguing that Uganda has plenty of unutilized arable land implying that Uganda can accommodate more people, contradicting population advisers who argue that Uganda doesn’t have more land and couples should limit the size of their families through birth control. This is a very tricky situation: Museveni is inviting foreign settlers while population experts are telling Ugandans to reduce their population size drastically in order to create space for foreigners. Do you see the trick? Uganda is also practicing the concept of willing seller and willing buyer of property including land.

NRM government has come up with the concept of enlarging urban areas such as Greater Kampala, and municipal expansions which are controlled by municipal authorities with power to transfer land from those who own it to others under the pretext to promote rapid development. And freedom of mobility and settlement anywhere in Uganda is guaranteed by the constitution. These arrangements have created facilities to ‘bus’ into Uganda Tutsis mostly from Burundi, Rwanda and Eastern DRC. To hide their Tutsi ethnicity they pose as Bafumbira or Congolese. Those who pose as Bafumbira want to claim they are Uganda citizens with a right to settle and own land anywhere in the country.

A common thread that runs through most if not all revolutions is land. When land is concentrated in few hands a number of things happen that trigger revolutions unless checked before they explode. First, you create landlessness and second, the landless concentrate in urban slums doing odd jobs to make ends meet. In Europe the enclosure system that created massive landlessness didn’t result in political revolutions because the industrial revolution absorbed excess labor. Where labor opportunities are limited, landlessness and hardship in urban areas and exploitation of labor on large farms generate forces for a revolution. In the French, Russian, Mexican and Ethiopian revolutions, the desire for land together with other problems such as food shortages and unemployment contributed to the revolutions in these countries. Lenin won support for his October 1917 revolution by promising land and bread. The French, Russian and Ethiopian revolutions resulted in land redistribution to peasants. The use of force to contain the situation didn’t work because most soldiers like those in Uganda come from impoverished families and sided with them rather than protect those that have caused the suffering in the first place like Haile Selassie, Louis XVI and Nicholas II.

We also need to realize that decolonization was bloodiest in areas of white settlement and indigenous landlessness like in Algeria, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

In Uganda Museveni is contributing to forces that have elements of a political revolution. Land is changing hands from indigenous to foreigners, causing many landless Ugandans to concentrate in sprawling urban slums. Lack of employment has raised the level of youth unemployment and under employment to explosive levels. Museveni reliance on security forces to contain the situation may not work in the end. Before the 1789 French Revolution began, the king believed that the urban population that had gathered in Paris demanding food would be contained by the police or the army if necessary. The security forces joined the mob instead and ended the French ancient regime. Similarly, in Russia what began as women demonstration for food and the Czar thought it could be contained by security forces turned into a revolution that ended the Romanov rule because police and military joined the demonstrators. Uganda security forces could desert the Commander- in –Chief in the face of increasing deprivation of their relatives and family members.

To preempt a political revolution in Uganda, it is suggested that Museveni stops distributing Uganda land to foreigners. He should reverse Prime Minister Mbabazi decision that peasant land will be allocated to foreign large scale farmers. Mbabazi statement with or without Museveni approval has agitated many Ugandans. NRM government should also create an enabling environment to create jobs so that the current high youth unemployment level is reduced significantly. NRM macroeconomic, economic liberalization, exchange and interest rate policies have made it difficult to create jobs through high economic and labor-intensive growth. Massive unemployment of youth is potentially explosive.

Finally, here is some advice for Museveni. There is no guarantee that you will continue to enjoy military and foreign support. When Emperor Haile Selassie, at one time considered the father of Africa, failed to contain the riotous situation in 1974 that degenerated into a revolution, he was abandoned by the military including the imperial guard and foreign supporters. The latter blamed him for a flawed autocratic style of leadership which they knew all along. After the fall of the emperor, Ethiopia was engulfed in a civil war exactly what happened in Russia, France and Mexico in the wake of revolutions there. Museveni should also keep in mind about what happened in the warm relations between Tutsi and Belgian authorities before the 1959 social revolution in Rwanda.

If complacency continues, Museveni and Uganda could be next. Many Ugandans have reached a point where they believe they have nothing to lose and are ready to take risks which could explode into a revolution. What is remaining is a spark which could happen any moment. Our development partners should also be aware of the potentially dangerous situation in a Uganda they consider stable. Kenya was considered stable until the Rift Valley exploded.

ERIC KASHAMBUZI
NEWYORK

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