July 2013

Month July 2013

Uganda’s future is brighter than those in opposition depict

History shows that man is very ingenious, to-date nearly everything Museveni has focused on single mindedly has been achieved or blueprints have been printed. I don’t want you to under estimate your mind or the minds of many more in Uganda. A leader can only lead those who agree with him or only if he has the majority supporting him. The President can have the best plans ever but if no one benefits from his plan they can’t be. The President came to power because enough people supported him since they needed change and to many being able to sleep at night was enough, “Kasita twebaka kutulo” and so is his longevity in power.

Take a few minutes everyday to focus on another way, a non violent way, a way that is inclusive and non tribunal, a way springing from the facts of today as they are and not embedded in the past stories. I bet two things will happen, you will be scared because your conclusion will create a better Uganda that you might not enjoy for the longest because the way might be longer than you want and secondly you will think that nobody else has such dreams.

Yes it can happen, many know it can happen, but the voices of those preaching violence and aggressive change are louder than those that are mellow in reasoning and brood results the natural way. The focus is on one man, our President. The focus should be on a country that has a system that is inclusive, audit-able, involving full participation of the population and not based on personalities.

Uganda’s future is brighter than those in opposition depict, we all know what happens in Mulago, we all know about the potholes in the Roads, but tomorrows State of the Republic does not depend on yesterdays actions, but on the brighter visions and ideas that are in the minds of the Facebook generations and those who chose to focus on the good even when its dismal, and believe me, there is a lot of good out there, if you focus on that. There many good government employees, many good soldiers, many good people that voted for NRM, many potential presidential candidates, many good scientists and sports players, many good police officers, many good voices in parliament and elsewhere that have revolutionary ideas, and yes we are better of than twenty years ago.

We will never get there and this everyone should know, every government that comes after this 200 hundred years from now will not have a perfect system because human desires change with change, he who begged for a bicycle two years ago saying that if he got one his world will be better needs a car today, and that’s okay but as long as we think about change as destroying everything we have achieved up to now through destructive ways hoping to build from scratch with no idea of where we will get the funds to do so is the focus of each and every opposition group leader, we are doomed to having every new building we see in town blown away, and the blood that flowed on the streets of Kampala in past confrontations will flow again and more poisonous histories will be created for generations to come.

One day, voices of good, voices of hope will gain the momentum and our country will embress change with no fear, and changing leadership will be like a sport where those who lost today will shake hands with the winners, and look forward to meeting again four years after with the whole country fully supporting all and embracing them with love.

“We can turn our political world, into a sports world, that we all love Yes we can.”

That is the same reason some of us advise the opposition parties to work more at getting more members in parliament other than being duped by their leaders who are using them to get the presidential seat. I believe you know that major laws that govern the country are made through parliament so it shows the importance.
However my main point is that our Lord Mayor should have known what was in the KCCA Act. and if he did then he should have known how much power he will have as the Lord Mayor before he ran for that post. What I believe duped him was the support he got as he was campaigning on the DP front and when he failed that end the next easily high chair he could get into was the Lord Mayor chair. If you take your time to check out my past analysis of the same on this forum you will find that he actually could have turned this ceremonial post to his greatest advantage if he had chosen an easier route. I hope he gets what he wants.

Another point is that when laws are made in Parliament they are meant to cover a wide range of issues and it is nearly impossible to address all situations that will come up in the future, same reason why most of them are ambiguous enough and depending on how one dices them different conclusions can be made. If you agree with this point then you have to agree that the court is the way to go when situations like these appear, there is still room to tweak this Acts howbeit not on the Major backbone reasons why they were passed, which brings me back to the point being that this Act was crafted by the Presidential office to take back all the powers of managing the city from KCC as we knew it hence a change in the status quo. This essentially means that if the Lord Mayor and his team want to go back to the good old days of KCC as it was bending or changing the KCCA Act. a futile plan.

The issue, is that the President is not the problem, he is the problem only if he is the focus. The President believe him or not wants better for the country and I personally I am glad he came 25 years ago because I remember what Uganda was the fear we had then. By making him the focus of change, we also create the reverse of everyone who is benefiting from this government to resisting change because we promise them that when change come they will be put in jail, send to international courts, and we promise to replicate what President Idi Amin(R.I.P) did with the our Indian brothers and sisters. For masses in the current government the opposition is preaching destruction. The Presidents natural clock is ticking faster than it was 25 years ago, he can’t do as many push ups as he did 25 years ago neither can he craw under barbed wires, and I don’t think he can last 2 minutes playing chess with Gary Kasparov as he probably would have done 25 years ago. Our President is not Uganda’s biggest problem, i put the good doctor Kiiza Besigye, his Holiness Olara Otunnu, Hon. Beti Kamya ( Wharaup yo!) and my good friend Hon. Norbert Mao a head of the President if I had to make a list, my reasoning being that those who are supposed to give us a better vision are just poisoning our minds.

Dr.Eddie Kayondo, M.D.
UAH Member in USA

100 Best Secondary Schools In Africa according to the AFRICAN ECONOMIST:Gayaza, Lincholn international and Namiryango listed

There has been a marked rise of very good secondary schools all over the continent. Whilst government schools within African countries started off the best, following independence, much has changed. For the most part, private schools (we consider missionary school as private) outperform government schools. In addition, international schools have taken Africa by storm. Below is the list of 100 best secondary schools.
1. Grey College South Africa
2. Rift Valley Academy Kenya
3. King Edward VII School South Africa
4. Hilton College South Africa
5. St. George’s College Zimbabwe
6. Prince Edward School Zimbabwe
7. International School of Kenya Kenya
8. Accra Academy Ghana
9. Lycée Lamine Guèye Senegal
10. Adisadel College Ghana
11. St John’s College Houghton South Africa
12. Maritzburg College South Africa
13. Lycée Guebre Mariam Ethiopia
14. Selborne College South Africa
15. St Alban’s College South Africa
16. Lycée Lyautey Morocco
17. Durban High School South Africa
18. Grey High School South Africa
19. St Andrew`s College South Africa
20. Gateway High School Zimbabwe
21. Glenwood High School South Africa
22. Rainbow International School Uganda
23. Lycée Moulay Youssef Morocco
24. Kearsney College South Africa
25. St. James High School Zimbabwe
26. Wynberg Boys High School South Africa
27. Pretoria Boys High School South Africa
28. Lycée Français de Tananarive Madagascar
29. Mauritius College of the Air Mauritius
30. International School Moshi Tanzania
31. Le Collège Mermoz Ivory Coast
32. Strathmore School Kenya
33. Parktown Boys’ High School South Africa
34. International School of Tanganyika Tanzania
35. Holy Child School Ghana
36. Christ The King College Onitsha Nigeria
37. Graeme College South Africa
38. Jeppe High School for Boys South Africa
39. Alliance High School Kenya
40. Hillcrest School Jos Nigeria
41. Kingswood College South Africa
42. Hamilton High School Zimbabwe
43. Lincoln International School Uganda
44. Lycée Victor Hugo Morocco
45. Alexandra High School South Africa
46. École Normale Supérieure Guinea
47. Ghana International School Ghana
48. Arundel School Zimbabwe
49. Rondebosch Boys’ High School South Africa
50. Starehe Boys’ Centre Kenya
51. American International School of Johannesburg South Africa
52. Victoria Park High School South Africa
53. Methodist Boys High School Sierra Leone
54. Harare International School Zimbabwe
55. Methodist Girls High School Sierra Leone
56. Lenana School Kenya
57. St. Andrew’s High School Malawi
58. Benoni High School South Africa
59. Waddilove High School Zimbabwe
60. Roedean School South Africa
61. Wykeham Collegiate Independent School for Girls South Africa
62. Lycee Francais du Caire Egypt
63. Christian Brothers’ College Bulawayo Zimbabwe
64. Kamuzu Academy Malawi
65. Mount Pleasant High School Zimbabwe
66. Mfantsipim School Ghana
67. Chisipite Senior School Zimbabwe
68. Gayaza High School Uganda
69. Kutama College Zimbabwe
70. Wheelus High School Libya
71. Michaelhouse School South Africa
72. Westville Boys’ High School South Africa
73. Namilyango College Uganda
74. Government College Umuahia Nigeria
75. Muir College South Africa
76. Wesley Girls High School Ghana
77. Alexander Sinton High School South Africa
78. Lycée Faidherbe Senegal
79. Royal College Port Louis Mauritius
80. Lycée La Fontaine Niger
81. Lycée Lyautey de Casablanca Morocco
82. Settlers High School South Africa
83. Nyeri High School Kenya
84. Pinetown Boys’ High School South Africa
85. Kings’ College Lagos Nigeria
86. Lycée Français Liberté Mali
87. Paarl Boys’ High School South Africa
88. St. Paul’s College Namibia
89. Tafari Makonnen School Ethiopia
90. Wynberg Girls’ High School South Africa
91. Bingham Academy Ethiopia
92. Port Shepstone High School South Africa
93. Clapham High School South Africa
94. Hillcrest Secondary School Kenya
95. South African College School South Africa
96. Lycée Blaise Diagne Senegal
97. St Mary’s Diocesan School for Girls South Africa
98. Townsend High School Zimbabwe
99. St.Gregory’s College Nigeria
100. St. Patrick School Zimbabwe

The Kingdom of Buganda is still very much relevant today.

The gentleman viewing the body of Sir Edward Mutesa II is the late Robert Muwanga - he was the father of the current Auditor General of Uganda, John Muwanga.

The gentleman viewing the body of Sir Edward Mutesa II is the late Robert Muwanga – he was the father of the current Auditor General of Uganda, John Muwanga.

The Kingdom of Buganda is still very much relevant today. The reason why the Kingdom looks irrelevant to some people is that post-colonial Uganda was created and developed superficially without considering pre-colonial organization of Uganda politically, culturally and socially.

Take a quick look here how Uganda was organized before the arrival of people such as Captain Lugard, Grant, Speke, Sir Samuel Baker and the likes:

-The Batembuzi (sounds like killer of goats) the harbingers or pioneers whose reign dates back to the height of Africa’s Bronze Age.
-The Bacwezi Dynasty credited with the founding of the ancient empire of Kitara.
-The Babito Dynasty which followed the Bachwezi dynasty under Omukama of Bunyoro
-The counties of Orusi, Parombo and Okworo which pledges allegiance to Rwoth Nga (Nga means who in the Alur/Jonam language). The Alur people have even attempted to integrate all Alur chiefdoms into confederation with Jobi (buffalo) as the head.
-The small Kingdom of Toro which survive many tumultuous years in its infancy but eventually curved itself an island of goodwill and enjoyed peace and prosperity for a century.
-The Kingdom of Buganda founded by Kato Kintu from the Nile region in 1300 has survived many onslaughts and still going stromh.
-The Isebantu Kyabazinga of Busoga who brought and continues to bring his people together.

The reason why Uganda continues to suffer identity crisis is the failure to recognize, accept and respect its past. No society has ever survived without acknowledging and respecting its own past however primitive and backward it was and continues to be. The Obotes, Kinyattas, Nyereres, Kuandas and Bandas wanted to transform Africa into modern too quickly and that is why we continue to have failed states on the continent every year. The Republic of South Sudan is a classic example..it has failed only after two years of coming into existence. The President two days ago dismissed his entire cabinet!!


Theory of Tired Ugandans uprising

My Theory is that not until Uganda[as a country] achieves a life expectancy of about 75 years would we have the kind of protests in Algeria, Libya,Syria,Egypt and Turkey. These countries unsurprisingly have better standards of living than Uganda.In Turkey life expectancy is 73.9 years,Libya 77.88,Syria 75.84,Egypt 73.20 Algeria 73.0 Causes cited by the protestors in Algeria include unemployment, the lack of housing, food-price inflation, corruption, restrictions on freedom of speech and poor living conditions. We have all these and more in Uganda where life expectancy is a mere 48 plus years or there about. No Uganda leader would love to be unseated by popular revolt and so what our leaders would do is keep life expectancy to a minimum and to keep majority of the population poor and uneducated. That’s my theory

A bad leader will invariably want to stifle his people of the “excessive freedom” and use force to repress it. A bad leader will set up units to monitor what people say on social medial and will also control the media in the country.The psychological impact of it is that you can repress the freedom of the people for a limited period of time. It cannot be repressed forever.

As Jean Paul Sartre says, “Man is freedom” and there seems not to be limit to this freedom. Without freedom there cannot be knowledge. It is from freedom of expression that we become knowledgeable about ourselves and the environment we live in. Take that natural gift from humans then they are not homo sapiens any more. What defines us as humans is fundamentally this freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom to make choices etc.

The mechanism through which it works is by creating the environment whereby people can say what they want. If you fail to do this, the day they have the slightest opportunity to protest, it will be like wild fire. And that is precisely what happened in North Africa which we called Arab Spring.

Arab political leaders thought that by giving their people the basic essentials of life there would be no reason for anyone to criticize them. They were wrong. See what is happening in Syria, Bahrain, Yemen etc where their people are denied the right to exercise their freedom. It is conflict and war all over the places.

Education plays a vital role in this. You cannot silence intellectuals, academics, political elites from exercising their right to free speech or freedom of expression. Women are coming out in droves to say no to men domination. They can voice out today than ever before because of their access to western education.

President M7 may succeed in having his son as the next president of Uganda but he will be temporarily suspending a future rebellion in our country. If he loves Uganda, let him drop that so called ‘Muhoozi’ project and at least build a similarity of independent state institutions before he is called by his creator. Yes, he will die one day and this is the best he can do for Uganda before this happens.

Freedom! Freedom!! Freedom!!!


Check out Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs:

(i) Physiological needs (oxygen, food, sleep, excretion {(sex?)} – so basic that their depravation stops the body functioning.

(ii) Safety and security needs (shelter, clothing, job, medical, education) – When the physiological needs are taken care of, people then aspire for safety and security.

(iii) Love, belonging, identity – When physiological and safety needs are met, a third layer of needs shows up – affectionate relationships like family, friends, clan, tribe, race, nation, religion – a sense of community.

(iv) Esteem needs – After the above basic needs are fulfilled, democracy becomes a motivation to fulfill the ego-centric need for self-esteem, freedom, status, fame, glory, recognition, attention, reputation, appreciation, dignity, dominance, confidence, competence, achievement, mastery and independence.

(v) Self-actualization is the highest level of ego-centrism, involving the continuous desire to fulfill potentials, to “be all that you can be.” Self-actualization becomes stronger the more it is fed. Unsurprisingly, therefore, dictatorship is a fulfillment of self-actualization!

Basic needs must be taken care of before needs for democracy manifest themselves. If you are hungry, you first scramble for food; if you are unsafe, you are continuously on guard; if you are isolated and unloved, you wallow in self-pity; low self-esteem breeds constant defensiveness. When basic needs are unmet, one can’t devote her/him (self) to fulfilling other needs.

During Gaddafi’s 42 years, Libyans’ basic needs were fulfilled. Tunisians needs, with a GDP of US$ 82B for her 10M people to Ugandas GDP of US$ 8B for her 33M people, are fulfilled. Just like Libya (used to be), all social services in Tunisia are free. Tunisia was ranked 17th in the category of “Highest Quality Education System in the World” by The World Competitiveness Report of 2009. Tunisia, much smaller than Uganda, has 30 airports, 4 national airlines, while the Capital, Tunis, is served by tram system for transportation. Out of a population of 10M, there are 700,000 people unemployed. Most Arab countries faced with the current upheavals – Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait occupy the ranks of developed countries and offer free social services to their citizens. They crossed the red line from basic needs and now seek self-esteem and actualization. How, then, do Libyans and Tunisians aspirations compare with Ugandans?

Is it surprising, that while it was easy to get thousands of Libyans, Tunisians and Egyptians onto the streets for democracy, a handful of Ugandans are on the streets, demonstrating, while the majority continue their pursuit of “basic needs”? the demand in Uganda is for services’ delivery (roads, hospital, schools etc), but in Egypt, uprising are on governnce, democracy, aelf-respect etc

itizens of poor countries are entitled to and must fight for their rights, but leaders need to appreciate that their populations still strive for basic needs, and are therefore, not yet motivated by esteem needs, so they will not go to the streets for similar reasons as their more developed peers. If we want them on the streets, it’s basic needs, not lofty, fifth and sixth hierarchy needs that will motivate them.

Africa’s problems are not a reflection of Arabic countries’ problems and will not be fixed by picking solutions from a pharmacy in Libya or Tunisia, on presentation of a prescription. Africa, like other continents, has her unique history, so, we cannot cut and paste solutions to her problems, but design and custom-make them for her. It takes deep reflection and innovative leadership.

Beti Olive Namisango Kamya -President, Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA)

ufapresident@gmail.com / (256) 783 438 201

Ugandans must unmask the enemy, stop fighting his / her shadow

During Uganda’s 27 years of Museveni, the opposition have battled against extension NRM’s undemocratic term beyond 1990, Federo, presidential terms’ limit, sale of UCB, Land Amendment Bill, Oil and Gas Bill, recall of parliament, State House budgets, rebel MPs, Lukwago / Musisi, Nantaba / Aronda appointments. It does not require sensory nerves to sense President Museveni’s overbearing interest in these controversies, hence, no surprises when his side won all the battles. Surprise is that the opposition lose no sleep over their successive defeat, but soldier on with undiminished gusto, regardless of the predictable outcome of the next battle. With typical Ugandan complacency, we pat each others’ back at every weak punch thrown at Museveni, including deliberate concessions he makes, like the rejection, by Parliament, of Ssebaggala and Mbabbaali for Ministerial positions! “Thanks for the struggle….” is all over the place, though nobody seeks to know “the struggle’s” destination. A walk-to-work enthusiast once said to me “…we must keep them on their toes” – and I said to myself, is that why someone’s baby died, why a poor vendor lost all her tomatoes, her life’s worth, during a demonstration, just “to keep them on their toes”?

Ugandans must unmask and face the enemy instead of fighting his shadow, which comes in the form of the above named controversies. Anyone bold enough to unmask the enemy will see “excessive power of the President”

By authority of the Constitution, the President of Uganda appoints the Vice President, Prime Minister, Ministers, Chief Justice, Justices, Judges, Ambassadors, leadership of the army, police and prisons, heads of Govt Institutions and Statutory Bodies such as the Electoral Commission, Bank Of Uganda, Uganda Revenue Authority, Permanent Secretaries, Chief Administrative Officers, RDCs, Presidential Advisors, Judicial Service Commission, Health Service Commission, Education Service Commission, Public Service Commission, Human Rights Commission, Law Reform Commission, Local Government Finance Commission, 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, KCCA, National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Uganda Electricity Regulatory Authority, Uganda Roads Authority, National Drug Authority, IT Authority, Insurance Regulatory Authority, NAADS, Auditor General, Inspector General of Government, Attorney General, Solicitor General, and the Oil Sector Regulatory Authority. The President constitutes the Supreme, Appeal, Constitutional and Judicature Courts. S(he) has the prerogative of mercy, keeps the key to the National Treasury…… and while holding office, is not liable to proceedings in Court!

Uganda’s Constitution entrenches patronage by anointing the President sole employer, provider and benefactor i.e. enough authority, power and influence to win any battle.

The solution to Uganda’s political problem is to trim the constitutional powers of the president, by so doing, enabling institutions to function, instead of chasing elusive mirages, as we have done these fifty years!

No-one is asking anybody to re-invent the wheel here. When the Philistines of Biblical times realized that there was more to Samson’s strength than muscle, they sent Delilah to cajole him in order to find the source of his strength and when she discovered it was his hair, defeating him was easy. A similar tale exists in Greek mythology, where, after failing to defeat Achilles, his enemies discovered that his power lay not in his punch, but in his soft heel, which they then used to destroy him, hence “Achilles’ heel”. History and legend are littered with stories of battles won only after discovering “Achilles’ heel”

Surely, if people who lived centuries ago knew the essence of unmasking and taking on the real enemy, how can Ugandans of the 21st century fight shadows for decades?

Beti Olive Kamya-Turwomwe


Uganda Federal Alliance

0783 438 201 / 0751 590 542


For the first time, someone has put her fingers on the right point – that the opposition has been fighting the right battles the wrong way i.e. focusing on form rather than the substance of what a democratic struggle should be like. And it had to be none other than Beti Kamya. While I agree with her on the prognosis, I disagree with her on the medicine. In fact Ms Kamya’s solution begs the question: why is the president so powerful? Is it because the constitution gave him those powers? Or is it because he is very powerful that he used the constitution making process to arrogate himself more powers. Indeed, the challenge for Uganda is to develop a self-enforcing constitution.

What do I mean by a self-enforcing constitution? It is one where there are strong incentives (rewards) for upholding its letter and spirit and equally severe costs (evil that would be visited upon you) for violating its rules. If it is easy and costless to remove term limits, leaders and ruling parties will do so. For example, both Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton ended their second term when they were very popular and both openly said they wanted a third term. However, there was no a chance in hell that they could marshal the necessary politically weighted majority to achieve an amendment – so their statements were empty. In other words, the structural and political conditions in America do not allow an individual president to manipulate the political process to their personal advantage. This means that the challenge for Uganda is how to build the necessary political capacity to hold leaders to account. If that capacity exists through political organization and mobilization, then it will be easy to organize the constitutional movement to trim the powers of the executive.

Why has the opposition been unable to marshal sufficient political support for its objectives. First, the opposition has put the cart before the horse. Its objective has been regime change in the hope that it can re-launch the democratic agenda. Yet power cannot democratize itself. Once in power, any other leader or ruling party will find that the laws and institutions NRM has been using to retain power are an advantage to it as well. So it will not remove them. Remember Kibaki had promised to run for one term and immediately he was elected, he wanted to run for a second term. Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia had promised to run for only one term and changed her mind. So we cannot rely on the goodness of the individuals in power. Neither can we rely on laws written on a piece of paper without grounding in political reality. A law restraining a president will be meaningless if there is no capacity within society to restrain the hand of the president if he violates it. In Egypt, we are seeing the incipient signs of effective political accountability. Popular protests may be paralyzing government and making it difficult to govern the country. But they also show us that rulers in that country cannot do as they wish.

In our case, the opposition needs to make regime change a secondary objective. Its primary objective needs to be social reform – this includes political, economic and other forms of reform. The opposition needs to position itself as the spokesperson of the ordinary citizen. But our citizens are not homogenous. But in their multitudinous numbers, they have interests – as farmers, teachers, vendors, taxi drivers, small and medium scale entrepreneurs, students, unemployed youths, boda boda riders, professionals etc. By being the voice of these individual and collective interests, the opposition will convince many to join them – not in a struggle for regime change but social reform. These reforms will mean fighting the government when necessary and working and compromising with it when it is also necessary. It will also stop the opposition looking at government/NRM as “enemies” and begin looking at them as strategic allies in the advancement of the good of our citizens. This way, the opposition will be a democratic opposition that recognizes the legitimacy of the government and the need to fight it when necessary and work with it when necessary.

But most critically, by championing social reform, the opposition will be able to build an infrastructure of support within society based on people’s actual needs – wages, prices, services, etc. May be, may be, the opposition will have a chance.

Andrew M. Mwenda

Strategy and Editorial Director,

The Independent

Uncensored News, Views & Analysis

Strategy and Editorial Director

Independent Publications Limited




P.O. Box 3304

Plot 84/86 Kanjokya Street

Kampala, Uganda



Dr.Besigye detained at Nagalama police in Bugerere

Dr.Besigye detained at Nagalama police in Bugerere

That is how the govt lost the debate. Just imagine if it had argued that rising prices are a global phenomenon. YKM said some sensible things at his press conference in April 2011. In the short run, there is not much the govt can credibly do. Core inflation which excludes food and energy prices is something the govt/BOU can do something about. I wish the opposition had zeroed in on excessive money supply induced inflation. Then BOU can act. That is something the bank can do even now.

How the govt lost the debate is mind boggling. It was wrong to accuse the organizers of 2011 walk to work of treason. And if I may ask what is happening to real Ugandans…… OK ordinary Ugandans who normally walk to work? For them it is the norm rather than the exception.

YKM was poorly advised. Minister Matsiko was outright arrogant and stupid in her response. He should have put his economic team to task to explain core inflation because food and energy prices are not entirely a local or mad made inflation. Nature may have contributed to food shortages as Ugandans spent 2 full years politicking. There is no evidence as YKM tried to argue that rains failed. What failed was the politicians who wasted people’s valuable time on politics. That is the opportunity cost of too much politicking.

Let BOU release the money supply numbers for the last 6 months or so. That is where the real problem lies. Surely it cannot be wage inflation given the high unemployment in that country where workers have no voice.

It was the political decision to print money before the 2011 elections to win at all cost that has pushed the country to the edge. Even the poor farmers have no voice since the crops -their collective voice-was destroyed.

I take the position that YKM ordered the IGP to use such excessive force because he ordered BOU to print money-money that was found in minister Janet Mukwaya’s car during the 2011 presidential elections. The issue is about core inflation. How I wish our friends in the opposition had been forceful in their articulation. Neither side mastered the facts which is a shame

Let our friends in the media ask more questions about core inflation. The Governor of BOU should account because BOU is the guilty party.


Why can’t MPs change the Assembly Law? It Is Always Besigye Vs The Police Act Sec 33….Unfortunately!

Dr.Besigye in a room after being tear gassed by Robert Arinaitwe in 2011

Dr.Besigye in a room after being tear gassed by Robert Arinaitwe in 2011

”Any assembly or procession of three or more persons which neglects or refuses to obey any order for immediate dispersal given under section 33 shall be deemed to be an unlawful assembly within the meaning of section 65 of the Penal Code Act.”

”…………Where an assembly is convened or procession formed in contravention of a prohibition under section 32, the inspector general or officer in charge of police may require the assembly to cease to be held or the procession to be stopped and may order the immediate dispersal of that assembly or procession.”

Besigye & co are making a shoddy shot at taking charge of dishing out patronage. They want power. We all need to be honest with ourselves and face that fact and forget about the nonsense of walking to work etc. Over 90% of Ugandans have always walked to work. Where was he? The pseudo-opposition’s attempt to take power is borne out of opportunism and they are only lucky that they will actually not succeed! If they succeeded, they would as soon learn the bitter lesson that opportunism never pays.

Besigye wants power but he needs to help himself by cooling down, and making a proper calculation of how he hopes to achieve that end. That business of telling us that he wants to die for the country is childish. He is not supposed to die for the country. He is supposed to live for the country.

Anyhow, the fact is that the whole all the minuscule political class of Uganda are losing the debate collectively. And Dr Besigye should make no mistake: if there is going to be a regime change in Uganda, he will be one of those to be uprooted. He is part and parcel of the regime. So is Mao…etc.

Let me be clear on this one: Dr Besigye is not an ordinary Ugandan. Let us call off that tired litany of so-called ordinary Ugandans having freedoms to walk to work. I will repeat this: more than 90% of Ugandans walk to work daily, and they have done so from time immemorial. Where has Dr Besigye been? Why now? Is he and others, changing his life style? Yes, he has the right, liberty, freedom etc. to locomote himself in anyway he wishes to the place where he works. Does he have to announce publicly that he is going to locomote himself on foot to work?

Do all those peasants in your Bulemezi, Kyaggwe and everywhere else announce that they are going to w2w? “Eeeeeeeh, Banaffe basebbo nabanyabo, abako na’bimikwano abe’Kifunfugu, Kikubanimba ne’Butuntumula; enkya kumakya ngenda kunoga fenne na’doodo, n’okuyunja kumayuuni ga bwayise. Eeeeh! Mulete kamela na vwidiyo. Obugalo.” Do they make such public announcements? Liberties, freedom? You people overdo those clichés into meaninglessness.twat

The point here is, that Dr Besigye is not your Mukasa, Kiwanuka or Musoke. If today, he announced that at 1400 Hrs tomorrow he will go to defaecate in the public toilets at the taxi park, oh yes, to defaecate; that will be a political event, especially if he invites the press and all that. Cameramen will be there, BBC will be there, NBC will be there etc. There will be a big crowd, and there will be concerns over crowd/looter control. Most likely the public authority will firmly and unwaveringly advise him to go and dump his night soil elsewhere, and preferably, in a more discrete manner. Like it or not. What more liberty is one entitled to than the liberty to heed nature’s call? But at the same time, don’t you see it being a political issue?

If Dr Besigye thinks that he has exhausted all avenues and thinks that he will confront the system while at the same time keeping himself within its domain of oversight then he has to be ready to contend with what that means, and to do so with dignity. There are several choices here, and a certain man summed them up in a book title: Exit, Voice or Loyalty….was it Albert Hirshman? All those choices go not only with rights, but also with duties and responsibilities. It is amazing also how some of you only emphasize rights.

Recall that YK Museveni opted for exit in the 1980s (and Besigye followed him!) and he faced up to all the demands of the choice he made, and I think he acquitted himself with dignity, without ever placing himself in situations where he had to squirm, scream or screech, like has become Dr Besigye’s deplorable hobby. Y.K. Museveni did not straddle the world of exit and voice, which is what Dr Besigye is doing now. Besigye needs to make up his mind, either to exit, and exit properly, or opt for voice and do so according to the rules; or be loyal and do so in whatever mode he chooses, sycophancy inclusive. Short of that, he will tire himself out, bore the public and de-spirit his admirers, for all the excuses they have for admiring him.

What is amazing are the assertions by many here that it is not a crime to go to work. The fact is that, so-called w2w is a (blind) shot by Dr Besigye at the country’s presidency. No amount of obfuscation will remove that fact. Blind shot: why? I am sure by now he may have realised that he will not easily get the numbers to make him achieve his ambitions. Just a band of police personnel were able to extract him from Kasangati with so much ease. No mobs (WBK keeps referring to “opposition mobs”) came to his rescue. For reasons we have already belaboured on this UAH forum, those mobs shall not be forthcoming….that is why Mao scattered himself to many miles away in the hamlets of his ethnic base.

Dr Besigye vowed that on failing to get to the presidency through electoral means he was going to use the Egypt approach. We have already ploughed that field of the non-viability of Egypt/Tunisia in Uganda and the quasi-opposition will only wait to learn that lesson in the course of time. As we stated here, those Egyptians that he is trying to emulate are 84 Million. They all live in 5% of the territory of that country. They are all there, physically available for mass action. Those conditions cannot be replicated in your Kampala of 1.2 million individuals during the day and 957,436 drunken souls during the night!

Besides, anyway, the Egyptian/Tunisian process was acephalous. It had no monarch in charge of it like our opposition is trying to be in charge here in Uganda. When El Barasomething tried to impose himself on the Egyptian uprising, he was soon to be stalemated into irrelevance….do you hear about him any more? He was trying to do a Besigye/Mao or whoever else. So, so, so: wrong-headed, wrong tactics, wrong era, wrong mentality….wrong alpha to zulu, Dr Besigye et al

And by the way, what would have been so wrong with asking for permission from police for those demonstrations? Why not humour them with just a bluff? Why couldn’t Besigye make a formal appeal against the results of the elections? Is that not what they call fighting a just war?….first exhausting, and being seen to first exhaust all other avenues before you reach for extraordinary avenues?

A fisherman walks to work

A fisherman walks to work

And look here: when someone comes to arrest you, why not have it done in a manner that leaves you with dignity? Why scream and kick like a spoilt brat, and let yourself be bundled on to a wheel barrow like a rabid canine? They teach them as officers that, when push comes to shove and military police comes for you, do not cause them to touch you. Dignity! For goodness’ sake, when you are an officer, you never allow the Lance corporal Ottos who have been sent to arrest you to touch you, or to get even within an inch of you. You dignify yourself by simply following the little orders they give you, especially when you know that, lazima, they have to take you along. Why scream? Even the internationals who are meant to be the consumers of the Doctor’s antics must be having their own doubts by now.

Screaming, screeching and squirming Besigye style is the worst form of self-humiliation. A future president makes no scene of himself like that. An officer, one who wants to be a Commander-in-Chief, one who wants to be a deploying officer of Generals, does not scream and kick like a toddler being forced to go to sleep without supper! Hi nimarufuku! It is sacrilege; abomination of all abominations! The way Besigye screams and kicks is a sordid manifestation of the extent to which he lost it long ago! If he cannot be in charge of himself in those little circuses, how will he be in charge of himself when the country is threatened with being overrun?

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

Tahrir Square innovated a new politics-Prof Mamdani on “Jasmine” Revolutions

‘Walk to Work’ in a historical light – Mamdani

On Thursday, Prof. Mahmood Mamdani, the director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research at the university, made a passionate presentation at the Rotary International District Conference in Munyonyo. We bring you a full text of the speech;

Those of you who come from outside may have heard of a novel form of political protest in Uganda, called ‘Walk to Work’. Both the opposition that has taken to walking and government that is determined to get them to stop walking are driven by the memory of a single event.

The memory of Tahrir Square feeds opposition hopes and fuels government fears. For many in the opposition, Egypt has come to signify the promised land around the proverbial corner. For many in government, Egypt spells a fundamental challenge to power, one that must be resisted, whatever the cost.

Matters have reached a point where even the hint of protest evokes maximum reaction from government. So much so that a government, which only a few weeks ago came to power with an overwhelming majority, today appears to lack not only flexibility but also an exit strategy.

For civilians, supporters and skeptics alike, the sight of military resources deployed to maintain civil order in the streets, has come to blur the line between civil police and military forces as those in power insist on treating even the simplest of civil protest as if it were an armed rebellion.

If government is losing coherence and unity that it displayed during the elections, the opposition is beginning to find at least a semblance of unity and vision that had evaded it during election season.

If you keep in mind that many in this opposition, many of those who had been in the last Parliament, were complicit in every major turn for the worse when it comes to governance, then you marvel at the nature of this shift.

How can it be that some of the same opposition that only yesterday saw Parliament as passport to patronage and licence to pillage, are discovering resolve and moral courage even though there is no election in sight and the times are, if anything, hard? This single thought is the source of contradictory popular notions, both skepticism and optimism, when it comes to politics.

My purpose today is neither to celebrate the opposition nor to demonise the government. I want to talk about the memory that seems to be driving many in the opposition and haunting many in government. That is the memory of Tahrir Square. It is not too much of an exaggeration to say that the great Egyptian revolution began in Tunis. Where will it end? A decade from now, will we think of it as a local, a continental or a global event? How should we understand its significance today?

Historians admit that there is no single objective account of any event. The account depends, in part, on the location of the observer. For many in Europe, the events in Tunis and Cairo were evidence that the colour revolutions that began in East Europe with the fall of the Soviet Union are finally spreading beyond the region.

In East Africa, there was a flurry of discussion after Tahrir Square, mainly in the press. Many asked whether the Egyptian revolution will spread South of the Sahara. And they responded, without a second thought: No! Why not? Because, media pundits said, sub-Saharan societies are so divided by ethnicity, so torn apart by tribalism, that none can achieve the degree of unity necessary to confront political power successfully.

This response makes little sense to me. For this answer resembles a caricature. Nowhere in the history of successful struggles will you find a people united in advance of the movement. For the simple reason that one of the achievements of a successful movement is unity. Unity is forged through struggle.

To make this point, and a few others, I want to look at the democratic revolution in Egypt in the context of a longer history, a history of democratic struggle on this continent. I want to begin with an event that occurred more than three decades ago in South Africa.

I am thinking of the Soweto uprising of 1976, which followed the formation of independent trade unions in Durban in 1973. Together these two developments inaugurated a new era in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.

Soweto was a youthful uprising. In an era when adults had come to believe that meaningful change could only come through armed struggle, Soweto pioneered an alternative mode of struggle.

This new mode of struggle substituted the notion of armed struggle with that of popular struggle. It stopped thinking of struggle as something waged by professional fighters, guerrillas, with the people cheering from the stands, but as a movement with ordinary people as its key participants. The potential of popular struggle lay in sheer numbers, guided by a new imagination and new methods of struggle.

The significance of Soweto was two-fold. First, as I have already said, it replaced belief in power of arms with the discovery of a greater power, that of a people organised in the face of oppression.
Second, Soweto forged a new unity – a wider unity. Apartheid rule had split South African society into so many races (whites, Indians, Coloureds) and so many tribes (Zulu, Xhosa, Pedi, Venda and so on) by putting each under a separate set of laws, so that even when they organised to reform or remove the law in question, they did so separately. In this context came a new person, Steve Biko, a visionary leader at the helm of a new movement, Black Consciousness Movement.

Biko’s message undermined apartheid statecraft. Black is not a colour, said Biko. Black is an experience. If you are oppressed, you are Black. This was a revolutionary message – why?

ANC had spoken of non-racialism as early as the Freedom Charter in the mid-50s. But ANC’s non-racialism only touched the political elite. Individual White and Indian and Coloured leaders had joined the ANC as individuals. But ordinary people remained confined and trapped by a political perspective hemmed in narrow racial or tribal boundaries. Biko forged a vision with the potential to cut through these boundaries.

Around that same time, another event occurred. It too signaled a fresh opening. This was the Palestinian Intifada. What is known as the First Intifada had a Soweto-like potential. Like the children of Soweto, Palestinian children too dared to face bullets with no more than stones. Faced with feuding liberation movements, each claiming to be a sole representative of the oppressed, the youth of the Intifada called for a wider unity.

Even though the Egyptian Revolution has come more than three decades after Soweto, it evokes the memory of Soweto in a powerful way. This is for at least two reasons.

Embracing violence?

First, like 1976 Soweto, Tahrir Square in 2011 too shed a generation’s romance with violence. The generation of Nasser and after had embraced violence as key to fundamental change in politics and society. This tendency was secular at the outset.

The more Nasser turned to suppressing the opposition and justifying it in the language of secular nationalism, the more the opposition began to speak in a religious idiom. The most important political tendency calling for a surgical break with the past now spoke the language of radical Islam. Its main representative in Egypt was Said Qutb. I became interested in radical Islam after 9/11, which is when I read Sayyid Qutb’s most important book, Signposts. It reminded me of the grammer of radical politics at the University of Dar es Salaam where I was a lecturer in the 1970s.

Sayyid Qutb says in the introduction to Signposts that he wrote the book for an Islamist vanguard; I thought I was reading a version of Lenin’s What is to be Done.

Sayyid Qutb’s main argument in the text is that you must make a distinction between friends and enemies, because with friends you use persuasion and with enemies you use force. I thought I was reading Mao Zedong On the Correct Handling of Contradictions Amongst the People.

I asked myself: how should I understand Sayyid Qutb? As part of a linear tradition called political Islam? Is the history of thought best understood inside containers labelled civilisations; one Islamic, another Hindu, another Confucian, another Christian, or, alternately, one European, another Asian, yet another African?

Was not Sayyid Qutb’s embrace of political violence in line with a growing embrace of armed struggle in movements of national liberation in the ‘50s and ‘60s? Was not the key assumption that armed struggle is not only the most effective form of struggle but also the only genuine mode of struggle?

The more I read of Sayyid Qutb’s distinction between Friend and Enemy, that you use violence to deal with an enemy and reason to persuade a friend, the more I realized that I had to understand Sayyid Qutb as part of his times.

No doubt, like the rest of us, Sayyid Qutb was involved in multiple conversations: he was involved in multiple debates, not only with Islamic intellectuals, whether contemporary or of previous generations, but also with contending intellectuals inspired by other modes of political thought.

And the main competition then was Marxism-Leninism, a militantly secular ideology which influenced both Qutb’s language and his methods of organisation and struggle. The first significance of Tahrir Square was that it shed the mark of Syed Qutb and the romance with revolutionary violence.

The second resemblance between Soweto and Tahrir Square was on the question of unity. Just as the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa had uncritically reproduced the division between races and tribes institutionalised in state practices, so too had the division between religions become a part of the convention of mainstream politics in Egypt.

Tahrir Square innovated a new politics. It shed the language of religion in politics but it did so without embracing a militant secularism that would totally outlaw religion in the public sphere. It thus called for a broader tolerance of cultural identities in the public sphere, one that would include both secular and religious tendencies. The new contract was that to participate in the public sphere, you must practice an inclusive politics with respect to others.

This was a move away from inscribing religious identity in politics, away from turning religious identity into a basis of political factionalism and sectarian violence. In the days before Tahrir Square, sectarian violence was often initiated by those in power, but without a convincing anti-dote, it also tended to rip through society. You only have to think of the violence against the Coptic minority in the weeks before the historic assembly in Tahrir Square.

Soweto forced many people internationally to rethink their notions of Africa and African. The convention before Soweto was to assume that violence was second nature with Africans and that Africans were incapable of living together peacefully.

Before Tahrir Square, and particularly after 9/11, official discourse and media representations in the West were driven by the assumption that Arabs are genetically predisposed to violence and to discrimination against anyone different. But in Tahrir Square, generations and genders, milled and marched as we say in Kiswahili, bega kwa bega. So did people belonging to different religious denominations.

What can we learn from this?

New ideas create the basis of new unities and new methods of struggle. The tendency for power is to seek to politicise cultural differences in society and then to claim that this division is only natural. To be successful, a new politics needs to offer an anti-dote, an alternative practice that unites those divided by prevailing modes of governance.

Before and after Soweto, Steve Biko insisted that blackness was not part of biology but a political experience. In so doing, he created the ideological basis for a new unity, an anti-racist unity.
I do not know of a counterpart to Steve Biko in Tahrir Square. May be there was not one but many Bikos in Egypt. But I do believe that Tahrir Square has come to symbolise the basis for a new unity, one that consciously seeks to undermine the practice of religious sectarianism.

In Uganda today, prevailing governance seeks to divide the population by politicising ethnicity. The motto is: one tribe, one district. Inside the district, an administrative tribalism divides the bafuruki from those designated as indigenous to the district. As a mode of governance, tribalism institutionalises offical discrimination against some citizens and in favour of others.

New ideas nurture new practices. Given time, even the most revolutionary idea can turn into a routine divorced of meaning. Think of how we have managed to reduce the practice of democracy to routine rituals.

The remarkable thing about the events we know as ‘Walk to Work’ is that they have followed on the heels of a national election whose results were anything if not decisive. Whatever its outcome, ‘Walk to work’ must make us rethink the practice of democracy in Uganda.

For a start, one is struck by the spread of cynicism among both rulers and ruled. More and more in the population thinks of elections not as the time to make meaningful choices but as a time to extract dues from politicians who are unlikely to be sighted until the next election season!

Similarly, more and more in the political class are coming to think of elections as a managed exercise where the outcome is decided not by who votes but by who oversees the counting of votes. What does it say about contemporary democracy that even an election where those in power can win support of a vast majority of people, over 90% in Egypt and over two-thirds in Uganda, does not give you any idea of the level of dissatisfaction among the electorate?

Consider one remarkable fact. In spite of the growth of universities and think tanks worldwide, researchers and consultants have been unable to forecast most major event in contemporary history.

Why? This was true of Soweto 1976, it was true of the fall of the Soviet Union and it was true of the Egyptian revolution. What does it say about the state of our knowledge that we can foretell a natural catastrophe – an earthquake, even a tsunami – but not a political shift? The rule seems to be: the bigger the shift, the less likely is the chance of it being foretold.

I think this is so for one reason. Big shifts in social and political life require an act of the imagination. They require a break from routine, a departure from convention. That is why social science, which is focused on the study of routine, of institutional and repetitive behaviour, is unable to forecast big events.
Herein lies the challenge for Uganda’s political class.

No matter how small the numbers involved in the developments we know as ‘Walk to Work’, there is no denying its sheer intellectual brilliance. That brilliance lies in its simplicity, in its ability to confer on the simplest of human activities, walking, a major political significance: the capacity to say no.

The irony is that many in the opposition, and perhaps just as many in government, seem to think of ‘Walk to Work’ as a shortcut to power, which it is unlikely to be. The real significance of ‘Walk to Work’ is that it has broken the hold of routine. In doing so, it presents us with a challenge. That challenge is to come up with a new language of politics, a new mode of organization, and a new mode of governance.
From this vantage point, I would like to offer a few reflections by way of conclusion.

We should resist the temptation to think of Tahrir Square – as Soweto before it – as a road map. Rather, let us think of Egypt as a vision, a democratic vision, as both event and process. Remember that it took nearly two decades for the Soweto Uprising to deliver a democratic fruit in South Africa. When it comes to Egypt, the democratic revolution has just begun. None knows how long it will take to institutionalise its fruit.

Today, we need to acknowledge that Tahrir Square has not led to a revolution, but to a reform. And that is not a bad thing. The lesson of Egypt – unlike that of Libya next door – is the moral force of non-violence. Unlike violence, non-violence does not just resist and exclude; it also embraces and includes, thereby opening up new possibilities of reform, possibilities that seemed unimaginable only yesterday.

The challenge before the Ugandan political class today is not to close ranks for a final struggle, as it is habitually prone to doing. The real challenge is to forge possibilities for a new politics, on the basis of new associations and new imaginations. The real challenge is not revolution but reform. The verdict is still out whether it is government or opposition that will take the lead and provide the initiative.


I do recall that we had a mini-debate here on the forum on whether it was likely that Tunisia would be replicated in Uganda. I was not of that view and listed a handful of points that were later picked on/plagiarised by one Sabiiti Mutengesa without even acknowledgement. But that does not bother me. Since the gentleman plagiarised me, I think I have the right to respond to criticisms that his article may attract.

Professor Mamdani refers somewhere to media pundits and others “thoughtlessly” rejecting the possibility of a Tunisia-like uprising in SS Africa. He quotes them as implying that “…sub-Saharan societies are so divided by ethnicity, so torn apart by tribalism, that none can achieve the degree of unity necessary to confront political power successfully”.

Then he goes ahead to observe that, “This response makes little sense to me. For this answer resembles a caricature. Nowhere in the history of successful struggles will you find a people united in advance of the movement. For the simple reason that one of the achievements of a successful movement is unity. Unity is forged through struggle.”

Now, by sliding from SS African societies being “….so divided by ethnicity, so torn apart by tribalism..” to arguments about lack of unity, Mamdani is attempting to lose us in rhetoric which I think we need to deconstruct.

If at all Mutengesa made reference to ethnic divisions, he was, I think not referring to mere lack of unity. Ethnic/tribal cleavages are a symptom of absence of socio-political integration in the sense of the basic forging of national communities. It is a more crucial variable than mere unity of social movements, unless Mamdani may want to imply that nations are “social movements”. Mutengesa is free to correct me if he thinks I am putting words in his mouth, and if indeed he is a member of this forum.

If we mix “lack of unity” with “absence of socio-political integration” like Professor Mamdani is doing, we face the risk of conflating arithmetic with integral calculus. UPC and FDC can lack unity as organisations. Baganda and Acholi will lack horizontal integration as communities. I think that man who plagiarised me, whatever, Mutengesa, was referring to the latter, yet Mamdani is talking about the former, but mistakenly implying that it is the same thing as the latter. That is the extent to which he misses the point, and the sense in which he trivialises the uphill task Sub-Saharan Africans face in learning to live with each other, let alone putting up with their rulers.

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

Womenfolk have so seriously embraced oppression that to them, love by their husbands means being physically assaulted

violenceYou people,

The article below tells much of the story about the structural basis of illiberalism in many of our medieval societies. Womenfolk have so seriously embraced oppression that to them, love by their husbands means being physically assaulted. But anyhow, if you are launched into adulthood through the pain of being genitally mutilated (with all the life-long trauma that it will occasion), what other pain will you not tolerate? Which makes me wonder why a primitive society that still tolerates the structural violence of Female Genital Mutilation(FGM) and wife beating should have any claim to make to being ruled democratically. Silly pretense!

As the article below shows, more women in Uganda find wife beating more acceptable than men. “Eeeeeh, nze mze nze bannage omwami wange mwagala nnyo kubanga ankuba kiboko”. Quite certainly if those same women were ‘liberated’, they would want to switch roles, and become husband beaters.violence2

And let me come to rule you with the intention of being democratic, and I catch your mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, nieces and house helpers all praising the whip-cracking male, I will immediately become a dictator. I will as soon learn that ruling you democratically is like strapping wings on a caterpillar with the hope that it will fly! If the foundation for romantic love for husbands is their ability to whip you, why shouldn’t the policeman also whip you? If being whipped is the building block for your love of your sons’ father, why shouldn’t your sons relish being kiboko squadsmen? If your husband furnishes you with more spanking than perfume, why shouldn’t teargas become a standard air freshener? Munziremu! Answer me!

That is the same social milieu that sustains child sacrificing with the hope of getting enlisted on the stock exchange; pastor-defile-flock idiocy; witchcraft loving, jigger-hosting, goat-mounting, offspring-raping imbecility; teacher-impregnate-pupil cerebral lobotomy; prostrating for some other piece of Homo Sapiens because we think he was born with two umbilical cords……and all other pre-enlightenment primitivism which many deluded a soul wants to sugarcoat with institutions and rituals of modernity.

I say, you will need more despots for the next many decades to save you from yourselves before you can hope to sustain the outward manifestations of liberalism. If, and only if you are lucky, you will get enlightened despots. If not, you will get the un-enlightened ones because you surely deserve them. They will be you mirror image.violence3

And didn’t Alexis de Tacquiville supply the view that in primitive societies (like Uganda), “…every time that an attempt is made to do away with absolutism the most that could be done is to graft the head of liberty onto a servile body”? But Alexis de Tocquiville to UAH! Aaaah! Mbivuddeko!

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto


The New Vision – Uganda’s Leading Website
Wife-beating is [un]acceptable
Publication date: Wednesday, 27th April, 2011
By Dora Byamukama

ACCORDING to the World’s Women and Girls 2011 Data Sheet, Uganda records the highest percentage of women internationally who agree that wife-beating is acceptable if a wife argues with her husband. This state of affairs is totally unacceptable.

Sadly more women than men find wife-beating acceptable! One wonders why this is so. India was ranked second with 30% and Ghana came third at 21%.

In the East African region Ugandan women are considered gentle and submissive. Whether this is a positive or negative trait is a subject for debate. This notwithstanding, when gentility and submission have the potential to contribute to self-hate then this attitude calls for change. Change can only be effective when the causes are known otherwise whatever action is taken may be like mopping a wet floor, when the tap is left open.

Causes of acceptance of violence against women are several. These are basically beliefs and practices that treat women as inferior human beings and thus undermine their self-esteem. These beliefs and practices perpetuate an attitude that makes men and women believe that women are inferior and less intelligent—thus the need to punish them for arguing with their husbands.

Beliefs and practices permeate the human soul to the extent that women who are likely to be harmed by such a negative attitude internalize it and thus not only accept the degradation but also pass on the same to their children over time.

It is, therefore, not uncommon for a woman to be told to endure violence in a marriage by her mother on the basis that this is the wear and tear of marriage. While growing up, I heard of a story of a woman who reported such violence several times to her parents who kept sending her back to the marriage until their daughter was sent back to them in a coffin! In fact the coffins were two because the woman had been eight months pregnant.

Beliefs and practices that wife-beating is acceptable are rooted in several factors which include religion, culture, social pressure as a result of war, poverty and alcoholism. Most religions emphasise that women are inferior to men. Christianity, however, categorically states that all human beings are made in the image of God.

When some religions read texts to support oppression of women out of context then the resultant effect is to misinterpret and misapply the very same religion that is fundamentally based on respecting the person created in the creator’s very image.

Religion shapes attitudes fundamentally because it is personal and the frequency with which one is exposed to it on a daily and weekly basis ensures that the belief is sustained and that is enforced through social pressure.

Culture is another aspect that shapes attitude that may promote women’s tolerance to wife-beating. Culture is a form of religion because it dictates a person’s way of life, and shapes what is socially acceptable. In fact most cultures do not condone wife-beating but because domestic matters are considered private, this privacy is abused and used to commit crimes.

Culture is dynamic and is also shaped and influenced by globalization through internet interaction, videos and films. Globalization has introduced what is termed as modern culture, which has large doses of violence and in some instances is spiced with witchcraft. One such good example is the growing consumption of Nigerian films in Uganda .

When one is exposed to such films over and over again, the resultant effect is that they will copy and put into practice what they see.

The World’s Women and Girls Data Sheet also indicates that 31% of Ugandan women and 19% of Ugandan men said that it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife if she refuses to have sex with him. This indeed is an interesting and deeply disturbing finding. The question is, if after a beating the woman agrees to sex, does it make the man feel any better?

Apart from wife-beating being a human right abuse and a crime it also has the potential to spread HIV/AIDS and other venereal diseases.

In most cases when one talks about wife-beating people imagine that it is a mere slap. A mere slap has the potential to cause the destruction of an eye. More importantly no one has capacity to pre-determine the kind of beating that may be meted on a woman in any given circumstance.

The anger of a spouse can lead to grievous harm and even murder! Wife-beating also has the potential to turn the victim into a violent person with the potential to avenge the torture any time.

Uganda has set the trend in the East African region for the empowerment of women significantly since the NRM came to power in 1986. The law is clear. Wife-beating is a crime prohibited by the Constitution, the Penal Code Act and the Domestic Violence Act. All people have a right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The fact that less men than women find wife beating acceptable is cause to celebrate. However, more work needs to be done in order to make wife beating totally unacceptable by religious and cultural leaders and the media.

Champions that promote and practise respect for the dignity of the person are needed at all levels of society—beginning with you.

This article can be found on-line at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/20/753278

Text of the Gen.Sejusa Interview on Straight Talk Africa(Part 1)

(L-R) Prof Joel Barkan, VOA’s Mariama Diallo and Dr Shaka Ssali during last Wednesday’s interview with Gen Sejusa

(L-R) Prof Joel Barkan, VOA’s Mariama Diallo and Dr Shaka Ssali during last Wednesday’s interview with Gen Sejusa

Shaka Ssali: You used to be the hunter and now you are the hunted. How does it feel to be the hunted now?

Gen David Sejusa: What I must say is that hunting has differences. There is the legal hunting. If you are hunting, you hunt according to the law. But when you start hunting outside the law, you’re called a poacher. You cease to be a hunter. So while I was doing my job, I was doing my job within the precincts of the law. I never broke the codes of conduct or the rules under operational procedures, contrary to what is happening now when you have a regime going to other capitals of other countries, trying to look for people to harm them. So that is a differential scenario and I should be differentiated from that type of hunting.

SS: If I remember correctly General, as a young man more than 30 years ago, you went to the bush under the leadership of the incumbent President Museveni and the argument at the time was that you guys were actually liberators. You were fighting to restore democracy. You came back in ’86, seized power, as it were, and since then, President Museveni has been saying that he brought democracy back to the people of Uganda. As a matter of fact, his spokesman Tamale Mirundi is on record as saying that Uganda now has total democracy. So would you agree or disagree with those statements by your former commander-in-chief?

DS: Well! It’s not the first time in history that we have got people who have sold out and subverted the ideals for which they stood for in the past. There is no doubt that the reasons which took us to the bush in 1980-81 up top ’86 was to liberate our people from the regimes of terror of the time. Unfortunately with time, we have ended up doing exactly what we went to fight against, including abuses against our people, including incredible corruption, including breaking of constitutional rule, including, really, abuse of power because the highest mode of corruption is abuse of power, be it personal power, be it state power, these are the things you see at play.

I saw some of the captions you played, how the opposition leaders are being handled, how senior leaders of the movement are now in exile, how people are dying and you see how parliament is being subverted, so the situation.. But it is not the first time you have some of these incidents, especially when you have a leadership which has overstayed in power. There’s nothing surprising about that. As you know, Judas was the most trustworthy disciple. He used to keep the money. He was the financial controller but you know how he ended up. So there is nothing new about that. This is the scenario we have in Uganda today.

SS: Gen Sejusa, you’re probably one of the fewest insiders really as it were, who has split with the Movement government as it were under President Yoweri Museveni. I guess the logical question would be; why now? You’ve been with Museveni since the early 1980s up to this year. Why now? And in fact, looking at your record, you tried to leave in 1997 and didn’t leave. Why should people trust you now that you are really serious and are ready to take on your former commander in chief?

DS: You are right. Those are the occupational hazards of serving a dictatorship. Ultimately you are stuck in there and your credibility suffers. But as you have pointed out, my history speaks for itself. It is not the first time that I am moving out. I have been standing [up] to this regime, some of its excesses, I did so in the constitutional assembly in 1994-95. It brought me a lot of problems. I stood up against the regime publicly in 1996-97 when I went to court and I was actually conscripted (laughs) and put back as is the want with Mr Museveni that you must stay in the military until maybe you die in the military or until you are useless to do anything or threaten his power base. So it is not the first time. But at that time why I went back during the constitutional process. We had put up there term limits and therefore Mr Museveni would have served until 2006. At worst some people thought he would stay until 2001.

In 2005 he reneged as usual again on the promises he had made and changed the constitution. So maybe you are right it was a failure on my part of judgement. I should have done what I am doing today. I should have done it in 1998-98 and become an ‘outlaw’ and done what I am doing now, and gone to exile and resisted the regime as I am doing now. But this is not the first time. But when you are resisting a dictatorship or someone who abuses his power, you are a captive within that system, to such an extent that you must be held with that guilt. And this is the unfortunate part, even with those comrades who are still at home and trying to serve the dictatorship. They must know that the (word unintelligible) will somehow hang around their necks.

At this juncture, Dr Ssali turns to his second studio guest, Prof Joel Barkan of the Centre for Strategic Studies in Washington DC who did his undergraduate studies in the early 1960s at Uganda’s prestigious Makerere University before returning once again in the mid-1960s to carry out his research for his PhD.

SS: (After exchanging a small banter about their meeting in Kampala at a restaurant a few years ago) You’ve listened to Gen Sejusa’s allegations or positions vis-à-vis of course the government in Kampala, a government by-the-way that frankly owes a lot to him because this was a young man [who] after Makerere joined the police and joined the liberation struggle as it were and so many years later, he doesn’t seem to put any value on what he fought for. Is he being fair when you look back?

Prof Joel Barkan: I don’t think he is unfair. He knows the situation within the army and with the succession far better than I do. But generally speaking, this is a government that has been on a slow and steady decline roughly since 1998 and certainly since 2001. Rising corruption as he noted, particularly during the third term and the fourth term, and to put it more succinctly, a man who was once described as one of the new leaders of Africa along with [the late Ethiopian Prime Minister] Meles Zenawi, in fact resembles the old. There is no difference between Yoweri Museveni of 2013 [and] Daniel arap Moi of 1992 or Mobutu Sese Seko of that period. This is a classic big-man rule that maintains power through patronage, and patronage is sustained through rising corruption because we have a situation that I call ‘inflationary patronage’.

Leaders of this nature need to dish out more and more resources in order to just stay in place. And eventually like all inflationary situations, they are overwhelmed. They start to print money, which is what Moi did in 1992, and in fact which occurred in Uganda prior to the last election where you had a very rapid rise in inflation. So Museveni is under a lot of pressure these days. There were aspects of the early years of his governance which were extraordinarily good with respect to Aids and the rising economy. But the fact of the matter is that the economy has declined in the last year and Aids is rising and social services are declining. And these are the realities.

SS: You seem to agree with some people who have suggested that if Museveni of 1986 to 1996 were to meet the Museveni of post 1996 up to today that they would probably go to war; that one would probably be a Joseph Kony and the other one would be the liberation fighter, Yoweri Museveni. Do you agree with that?

JB: Well! I am not sure they would go to war and I certainly wouldn’t suggest that someone going into resistance as Museveni did back in the ‘80s, would be akin to Kony. He would be more of a liberator rather than a savage, a thug who committed atrocities on his own people. So I wouldn’t make the analogy with Kony at all. But the fact of the matter is this is what happens when regimes stay in power too long. The 1995 Constitution which the general refers to was actually a democratic process that brought it into being. It had term limits and it is very important to remember that 22 countries in Africa have voted for two term limits, and only two, to my knowledge, Uganda and Namibia have overturned term limits. And even in Namibia, term limits is now adhered to. And so you’ve had a regular turn of governance even if it is the same party that has maintained itself in power, in Tanzania for example, in Namibia more recently and in other countries like Malawi and in Zambia where there has been an alternation of power. And in Kenya too, even Daniel arap Moi, although he came to term limits late, abided by his constitution.

SS: But term limits now seems to be really an endangered species because you can go to Chad, you can go to Guinea Conakry, you can go to Cameroon, you can go to a lot of countries including Algeria which have been removing those term limits so that individuals can hang on to power.

JB: I am not sure it has been removed from all those countries you have suggested but it has also been adhered to in those that I have mentioned, particularly in eastern and southern Africa and let’s not forget Nigeria, the most populous country on the continent with Gen Obasanjo who in very similar position to Museveni, tried very hard for a third term and he failed and was denied. Nigeria has moved forward.

SS: Let me come to a very important First Lady here in Washington DC, Michelle Obama. She once said that becoming a president, does not change you. Rather, what it does, it reveals you. Why should we think frankly that Yoweri Museveni has actually changed from what he used to be, to being what he is today? Isn’t it possible that those of us who are observers frankly who probably have been changing?

JB: No. I would disagree because when Yoweri |Museveni came to power particularly during the first four or five years, you had a dramatic change on the African continent; the transition to democratic governance in South Africa; the end of the cold war; the expectations of people that democratic governance was the way for the future, not big-man one party rule. And this is what Museveni said he stood for. It was packaged under a rather unique way under the Movement system in Uganda. But as you know, when the constitution was changed in 2005, Uganda also accepted multi-party politics as is the trend across the rest of the continent.

SS: I see! Multi-party politics. But really the temperate freedom march remains: One party state because frankly there is no difference between the ruling party and the state. They are fused. The two are fused.

JB: I would agree with you entirely on that. The state is Museveni. It’s actually not so much a party state. It’s a one-man regime who, as I have said before, rules through patronage. People acquire office. They acquire access to wealth. The current Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi would be a good example. The current Foreign Minister, one of the most corrupt officials in Africa, who I am told is about to become president of the UN General Assembly. This is an embarrassment to the Assembly. Whether it’s an embarrassment to Uganda is another question.

SS: I see! What kind of evidence do you have against Mr Kuteesa really? He has been exonerated by the local courts.

JB: Well! Ask him how he obtained his wealth and the businesses he is in. He has acquired these over time. Perhaps he acquired them out of good fortune in that respect. But when you are in a position of power, you have opportunities that come your way that others do not have. And what you also have in Uganda is the expansion of the First Family that’s somewhat different in some other Big-Man regimes. I believe Sam Kuteesa’s daughter is married to Muhoozi (President Museveni’s son).

SS: As a matter of fact his late wife Jennifer (Kuteesa’s) and that of Museveni were cousins.

David: (A caller from Washington DC) I would like to ask Gen Sejusa’s views on the raid of the High Court of Uganda by the Black Mambas in November 2005 and of what his role was in that raid?

DS: Going through the different excesses that have been committed is really to address the wrong issue here, be it the Black Mamba, [and] be it the abuse of political leaders from the opposition and so on. It all boils to abuse of power by the person in charge of state affairs. The person who asked me on the raid of the High Court, I wish to tell him that the Chief Justice is the third seniorest (sic) person in the country, in the hierarchy of the country. No one. No one can raid the High Court without the express authority and instructions of the highest office in the country. It never happens. No one can raid…it is like raiding the State House. You cannot raid parliament because the Speaker is the second in hierarchy to the president politically. The Chief Justice is the third. Therefore we all know where the abuse originates. There is no question about that. So I wouldn’t go into details that these were coming from military intelligence, these were coming from what. That is irrelevant. As long as there is a dictator and [is] abusing power…because a leader must account for the power they hold. If you don’t, then abuse of power takes a different form. You can raid a court, you can abuse political leaders, you can steal people’s property, people, you know, cannot get their justice within the legal regime. So it takes different forms.

SS: But General. What about a very ordinary person frankly looking at this thing called ‘the government’? How do you convince that person that there is only this one man, for example in the case of Uganda, a one Gen Yoweri Museveni who is retired but certainly not tired at all but is the only guy that calls the shots. What about the generals surrounding him like you?

DS: Yes. That is an important point too. You see! That is the real crisis of the African neo-colonial state; its structure, the structural behaviour of the African state. Those are the challenges even when you talk about democratization, issues of accountability, [and] issues of control. There is no way, if the system does not work on systems, on defined modes of operation, there is no way it can check power over an individual. It is known world over, it has been tested world over. Like your colleague in the studio has said, once a system works on patronage, runs on an elite family of a cabal of people and then uses all methods of corruption, of sustaining power, of using force, of using bribery, including trickery really, there is no reason.

I can give you many examples, as you know, that anyone who has tried to speak out, be him a general, be him a member of the cabinet, has had to be dealt with; either they frame charges against him or they’ll arrest him, or they will get another way of dealing with him. So when you say one person, a system evolves where there is no longer one person but it is people who think there is nothing they can do about it. So they join the band wagon and those are many even right now. That’s why you see not everybody is…because the cost is very high. You speak against some of these issues then you face an existential threat. So it is true he has a system which he has woven over time; a system of power, even corruption, because as we speak now, corruption has generated a power sense of its own. You cannot say that anyone can just remove it. But it has become a system of political management. Corruption now is a mechanism of managing the country politically.

Last part of interview to be posted here later this week.

%d bloggers like this: