LAUNCH OF NATIONAL REFERENDUM TO CHANGE THE GOVERNANCE SYSTEM OF UGANDA FROM UNITARY TO FEDERALISM
ON MONDAY 17 DECEMBER, 2012, PACIFIC GRAND HOTEL, LIRA MUNICIPAL COUNCIL
Our Chief Guest, Hon Norbert Mao, President of the Democratic Party
The Chairman and Councilors, Lira District Council,
Your Worship the Mayor and Councilors, Lira Municipality Council,
The RDC and all Central Government Officials,
Leaders of various Political Parties & Religious denominations,
Civil Societies represented here today,
All of you our honoured guests
On behalf of Uganda Federal Alliance, I thank you for honouring our invitation to this event with your presence. There are people who have traveled from all over the country to be here, at their own expense, and the people of Lira have foregone what else they could be doing for the good of their families, to be here. Indeed we are honoured.
Chief Guest, I am aware of your enormous responsibilities as party leader and very busy schedule, so your presence here is highly appreciated.
Today is a significant landmark in the history of Uganda, because for the first time, ordinary Ugandans are going to launch a peaceful, non-confrontational, constitutional process that will set Uganda on the correct path to democratic governance.
There have been two political struggles of fundamental significance in Uganda.
The first struggle was by our ancestors who resisted colonialism more than one hundred and thirty years ago, led by Omukama Kabalega of Bunyoro, who was later joined by Kabaka Mwanga of Buganda. Due to the colonialists’ superior weapons , our kings were defeated and they fled to Lango via river Kioga. The Won Nyaci and all the Chiefs of Lango decided to hide and feed them. Today, landmark caves where the Kings were hidden exist in Lango, as a symbol of colonial resistance and solidarity with fellow Africans.
The British came after the Kings to Lango, wanting to capture them, but the people of Lango put up very stiff resistance, killing many of the colonial troops. The people of Lango, too, died, defending Kabalega and Mwanga, because they knew that their destinies were linked, and that what was bad for Bunyoro and Buganda would be bad for Lango – and it has come to pass – because, since then, Uganda has lived under the yoke of colonialism and neo colonialism. I hail the ancestors of Lango for their foresight, bravery and solidarity.
The second struggle came about sixty years later, when the Sons and Daughters of what had become Uganda launched the struggled for political independence, to throw out the colonialists, once again, led Sir Edward Mutesa, Kabaka of Buganda, Dr Apollo Milton Obote, Son of Lango and Ben Kiwanuka, the greatest democrat of all time. This was attained on 9 October 1962. It is unfortunate that this solidarity did not stand the test of time. Since then, there has been turmoil, trial and error, as Ugandans seek to redeem their power, lost to colonialists, but which has never been recovered inspite of political independence.
Today, we are launching the third and hopefully final struggle for real independence, where independence means being in charge of one’s resources and priorities, not just election of leaders to eat on our behalf!
When a child is born in Moroto, Kalangala, Kitgum, Arua, Mbale, Kisoro, Mbarara, Apac, Tororo or anywhere in Uganda, the pregnant mother carries to hospital a razor blade to cut the child’s umbilical cord. The razor blade is taxed – the first tax that introduces the child to this world, dead or alive. Thereafter, tax is paid on every item used by the baby, through childhood, adolescence, adulthood – even in death, because a dead body will not leave the mortuary until a tax is paid, taxes are paid on all funeral expenses, until Dear Departed is left in the grave!
The total taxation arising out of the above activities during the Financial Year 2010 / 11 was Ugshs 7.5T
In addition, Govt of Uganda borrowed Ushs 3 T from the International Community as budget support, making the total National Budget for 2010 / 2011 – Ushs 10.5 T
The above taxes and loans have one destination – the Consolidated Fund (National Cake), managed by the President of Uganda, in consultation with Cabinet and Parliament. They sent back to the people through Local Govt Grants, only Ushs 1,785 B, moreover, of which 75% (Ushs 1.39 T) was conditional grants, to cater for administrative cost!
Hence, only 4% (Ushs 447B) of the entire National Cake was allocated for provision of public services – while politicians, technocrats and the lucky few, numbering not more than 10,000 people, live like Oil Barons – and it is all done legally and constitutionally!!
There are no public services, jobs and development in Uganda, because all the taxes are siphoned from each corner of Uganda, sent to the Central Govt, which sends back to the regions, just 4% of the budget! Where there is no money in circulation, there will be no jobs, no development and poverty!
This is what we are here to change today.
We are here to launch a struggle against a system, which takes away everything we earn with our sweat, from the newly born to the dead, and gives it to very few people at the Center of Govt, to eat on our behalf. We are here to choose a system which leaves our resources in our regions, where we can make our own decisions on how to use them, instead of sending them to Kampala, and then beg for crumbs from Kampala, and moreover be told how to vote, if we want a share of our own God given endowments!
This activity (the referendum) is provided for under Article 255(1) of the Constitution of Uganda, which says that ordinary citizens can demand a referendum in order to make direct decisions on ANY ISSUE. All we need to do to have a referendum is to get 10% signatures of registered voters from 1/3 of districts in Uganda to support a petition from any registered voter.
Today is the day we launch the collection of signatures to change from the system which robs us of everything, and gives to only a few.
I am asking all the registered voters in Uganda to sign the petition. Let us begin the historic journey here, at Pacific Grand Hotel, Lira – and history will be made, and you being here today, will not just be an observer as history is made, but the maker of history.
Dear Chief Guest, I invite you to be the first Ugandan, in this third struggle, to say “NO” to robbery and squandering of public funds, dishonesty and injustice, like your Great Ancestor Ben Kiwanuka, and the Great Party, you lead, the DP.
Fellow Countrymen and women, after this launch, we shall go out to every voter in Uganda who is fed up and disgusted with the shameless abuse of offices, that has seen politicians and technocrats rob us of billions of shillings, even compassion money donated for the sick, poor, the needy and the dead, and ask them to say “NO” to this dishonesty and injustice, by signing the “pink book”.
Our mobilizers will come to you with a Pink Book like this. It will have the petition signed by myself, the rest is for you to sign.
This is an opportunity for ordinary Ugandans to directly make a decision on how they want their resources managed, without going through Parliament, Cabinet or Court. Ugandans need not be observers, cursers and mourners at this grand robbery anymore because the Constitution provides for us to make decisions that have the force of law, through a National Referendum.
Most people think that the ordinary voter only votes the President, MP and Councilor, then becomes a miserable observer as these people do what they want with our money and our lives. But under Article 255 of the Constitution, we can recall our power ANY TIME AND MAKE DIRECT DECISIONS ON ANY MATTER, AND THE DECISIONS SO MADE WILL HAVE THE FORCE OF LAW.
So, people of Lira, are you prepared to rise to the challenge and lead Ugandans in making the decision to say “NO” to robbery, dishonesty, selfishness and injustice? I am not asking you to pour blood and sleep in the bush with snakes, hungry and at risk of being killed anytime, am only asking you to register your displeasure with the status quo, in this book.
Opok Obanga, Opok Rwot. Apoyo tutwal.
Now I have the great pleasure and honour to introduce to you, a man I admired even before I knew him, he is much younger than I am, but I still admired him from his student days, when he campaigned to be and won the Guild Presidency of MUK, through his carrier as an MP, District Chairperson, a strugglist, a brave person who first blew the whistle on the atrocities in Northern Uganda during the insurgency, one who dared to go to the bush to meet Joseph Kony when Salim Saleh feared.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my hounour to introduce to you, the Hon Norbert Mao, President of the Democratic Party and Chief Guest on this occasion.
Beti Olive Kamya-Turwomwe