The Opposition in Uganda did not die with Dr Besigye’s exit from FDC Presidency as you fear, it is his brand of opposition that might be dying.
Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA), the Party I lead as President is very active. You might not have noticed but different political players diagonize the problem of Uganda differently and hence, work out their response strategies accordingly.
While many political players in and outside Uganda have zeroed on M7 as the main problem of Uganda, Uganda Federal Alliance diagonized the problem of Uganda as being too much power and influence acquired by the President, arising out of the immense authority bestowed upon him / her by the Constitution of Uganda, as the 9th Parlaiment have found out as they try to assert Parliament’s independence from the Presidency.
Successive Constitutions of Uganda just transfered all the power (and more) that was centralized under the Colonial Governor to the Presidency.
Article 98(1) – “There shall be a President of Uganda…….who shall be the Head of State, Commander in Chief of the armed forces, and Fountain of honour…..”
Article 99 (1) – “The executive authority of Uganda is vested in the President…….who shall exercise it in accordance with this constitution”.
“This constitution” then, through article by article, heaps ALL authority in Uganda, on the President :-
S(he) is the Head of State, Head of Govt, Commander-in-Chief of armed forces
S(he) appoints Vice President, Prime Minister, Ministers, Chief Justice, Judges, Ambassadors, all leadership of the army, police and prisons, Officials of Govt Institutions, Statutory Bodies and their Deputies such as the Electoral Commission, Bank Of Uganda, Uganda Revenue Authority, Permanent Secretaries, Chief Administrative Officers, RDCs, Presidential Advisors, Judicial Service Commissioners, Health Service Commissioners, Education Service Commissioners, Public Service Commissioners, Human Rights Commissioners, Law Reform Commissioners, Local Government Finance Commissioners, Governing Bodies of Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Forestry Authority, Uganda Investment Authority, Uganda Coffee Development Authority, Uganda Cotton Authority, National Agricultural Research Organization, National Environmental Management Authority, National Planning Authority, National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Uganda Electricity Regulatory Authority, Auditor General, Inspector General of Government, Attorney General, Solicitor General, KCCA and now, the Oil Sector Regulatory Authority.
Article 121 – President has the prerogative of mercy…
Article 155 – President decides how the Consolidated Fund should be used ……..as if that is not enough
Article 98(4) – “While holding office, the President shall not be liable to proceedings in Court”
What other ingredients does one need to create a dictator?
By Uganda’s Constitution, the President of Uganda is the sole employer, provider and benefactor, (s)he wields enough authority, power and influence to “getaway with murder” – yet (s)he cannot be taken to court! – and Ugandans cry “patronage and dictatorship”?
President Museveni has exploited the above Constitutional provisions since its enactment 18 years ago, to place his supporters in every aspect of authority and influence in Uganda. With the army, police, prisons, treasury and the entire public and civil service eating out of his hands, he is equipped to win any battle.
In my view, President Museveni needs Besigye, Nebanda (RIP), Ssekikubo, Katuntu, Beti Kamya, Mao, Nandala and others, as long as they remain minority , because they legitimize contemporary Uganda’s brand of democracy, which was deliberately designed in a manner that arms the President to the teeth, to win all contests, in Parliament and outside. Some contests will be tougher than others, but at the end of each, the President will walk away with the prize, because that’s how the rules of the game were designed. The more the Ssekikubos and Besigyes make Museveni sweat, which is waht you want, Mary, the more he looks a democrat because his decisions would have passed “democratically” through Parliament or elections.
In contrast, since the Kenyan August 2010 National Referendum that revolutionarized Kenya’s governance system, except for the Vice President and Ministers which the President appoints, all public jobs, including the Chief Justice, Judges, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Inspector General of Police are advertised and filled through an open, competitive process.
Uganda Federal Alliance decided not to play M7’s game any more, moreover on his home-ground, which Parliament and the “Loyal” Opposition have largely become, but to change the rules of the game and the play ground. Mere responding to what M7 has done or said is reactionary, boring and has outlived its relevance.
UFA refuses to play the same game for 26, on the same playfield, knowing that the game is designed so that we only contest to enable M7 take the prize home, which are what your desired responses amount to, Mary.
We have launched the National Referendum Programme, this time not initiated by Govt as happened in 2000 and 2005, and according to the rules of this new game, M7 or his Govt cannot enter the ring until we say he may, and that will only be when we are ready. Operating under Article 255(1) of the Constitution of Uganda, we are petitioning that the Electoral Commission organises a National Referendum to trim the powers assigned to the President by the Constitution of Uganda.
According to the Referendum and Other Provisions’ Act 2005, we are required to prove the popularity of our petition by first collecting signatures of REGISTERED VOTERS who support the petition (and will likely vote for it), numbering NOT LESS THAN 10% of TOTAL REGISTERED VOTERS – and we can take as long as we want BEFORE GOVT OR ANY INSTITUTION may get involved.
We shall demand that the President does not appoint the Electoral Commission, Judicial Officers, and Inspector General of Police, among others. By the time we are done, the President of Uganda, be (s)he Beti Kamya will have less influence to do what (s)he wants with this country. That is what Kenyans have done, and I have a good feeling that Kenya might not see another dictator.
You may be disappointed, Mary, that nobody is directly and verbally responding to the goings-on in Uganda, but I assure you that that what the responses would amount to ‘ “mere responses” as M7 moves on.
Mind you, we do not disrespect other peoples’ efforts, indeed we appreciate them, but after so many years, UFA is changing the rules, players and venue of the game, to one where we can have bigger influence. Watch this space, the results might be quite interesting.
Uganda Federal Alliance