I read with interest 17-August-Saturday-Monitor’s lead story “Gen Sejusa lays out plan against Museveni’s Govt” in which the General called on all forces opposed to Museveni’s Govt to evaluate, among other things “the core ability that enables Museveni to keep in power and what is needed to unlock it…..”. Numerous times, I have unveiled, in these very pages, the secret that has enables Museveni hold onto power “democratically”, and what is needed to unlock it. I have written that the Constitution of Uganda gives the President too much authority, which in turn accords him enough patronage and influence – THE REST BECOMES EASY.
I have also argued that the solution to this problem is to amend the constitution of Uganda to reduce the authority of the president, through a national referendum, as provided for under Article(s) 1(4) and 255(1) of the Constitution of Uganda. Given the fixation that Ugandans harbor for men-in-uniform, now that a General has repeated my very words, perhaps they will listen. My call to General Sejusa, though, is not to confuse, once again, the struggle for democracy with the struggle to uproot a regime, as he did when he went to the bush, because we could oust Museveni but easily end up with a Museveni-look-alike, as happened with all past regimes. If Sejusa wishes to be a breath-of-fresh air to the struggle for democracy in Uganda, he must de-militarize his approach and raise the bar of activism beyond Museveni.
If, for instance, Brig Muhoozi resigned from the army and won an election through a free and fair process, albeit using his acquired advantages, as anybody else would, would Sejusa insist that the president-elect not be sworn in just because he is Museveni’s son? As a recent NRM insider who was influential in past elections, General Sejusa would be useful if he disclosed how they were rigged and help close those gaps before 2016. He would be less egoistic if he joined any of the following ongoing political processes (i) Proposed Constitutional Amendment to achieve electoral reforms, led by the Opposition in Parliament, (ii) Proposed National Referendum to amend the Constitution to reduce the powers of the President of Uganda through devolution, led by Uganda Federal Alliance, (iii) Proposed civil disobedience and walk-to-work led by A4C and (iv) the Black Monday Movement led by civil society organizations….. but from Sejusa’s missives, it seems like he wants us all to join him…!”
Through the National Referendum process, more than half the number of signatures of registered voters required to “demand that the Electoral Commission organizes a referendum” to trim the powers of the president and institute the necessary electoral reforms, are already collected. With Sejusa’s inside knowledge of NRM’s vote-rigging-ways, the referendum should be easy to win and have the reforms we desire.
If a few people like Gen Sejusa, Col Besigye and MPs joined the referendum program, half the battle for democracy in Uganda would be won without shedding a drop of blood, imbibing tear gas or throwing a stone at anyone. Through referenda, any Ugandan(s) can shape the destiny of this country without being politicians, judges or holders of public office. One would just need to take off about a year from her/his normal occupation, collect required number of signatures, use the signatures to demand that the electoral commission organizes a referendum, the results of which would be binding on the country by law…. and go back to one’s occupation! We spend too much time and money on politics and Museveni!
Beti Olive Kamya
National Referendum to reduce the powers of the President through Devolution