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Month February 2016

PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE AS CAPTURED BY SPECIAL GUEST


1.      INTRODUCTION: It took place in Serena Hotel Kampala lasting for four hours from 9:00pm on February 13 to 1:00am on February 14.  All eight presidential candidates including incumbent Yoweri Museveni attended. Others were Amama Mbabazi, Rtd Col Dr Kiiza Besigye, Rtd Maj Gen Benon Biraro, Dr Abed Bwanika, Elton Mabirizi, lady Maurine Kyalya and Prof Venacious Baryamureeba. The debate was moderated by Uganda’s journalists working with international media establishments. They were Joel Kibazo (BBC), Shaka Ssali (VoA) and Suzzie Muwanga of Makerere university.  The debate centered on regional and international policy as well as international trade.

2.      Opening remarks: (i) Maurine Kyalya—elderly leadership must give way to young. (ii) Kiiza Besigye—wants to reset foundation of democracy as cause of 1986 bush war has been betrayed by Museveni. (iii) Biraaro—wants leadership that respects people’s hearts and minds—to end teargas, poverty and cause unity government (iv) Baryamureeba—to fix education system, healthcare, unemployment and  cause regional autonomous governments (v) Mbabazi—Uganda not at war but not secure due to alarming poverty, 83% youth unemployment, 16 women dying every hour. Wants to fix those challenges for Uganda to be fully secure. (vi) Bwanika—revived Ugandan economy from ‘enclave’ economy to a diversified vibrant economy. Democracy is if people votes for you. (viii) Mabirizi—Wants integration of all social strata include the elite and non elite in national institutions.

3.      How to fix regional security: (i)Kyalya—(misunderstood question to refer to internal regions)…saying all 15 original regions (chiefdoms and kingdoms) of Uganda must dialogue.  (ii) by addressing the ideological problem—which generates the conflicts such as in Somalia. Communities must overcome religious, ethnic, tribal differences for social tolerance.

4.      War on Nile waters: (i) Mabirizi: There won’t be any war. Institutions in Uganda must cooperate with institutions in other countries. (ii) Mbabazi—those who advocate war especially Egypt, must know that the world has changed because no one has no capacity to defend themselves.

5.      Solution to excessive militarization of politics: (i) Mbabazi—security agencies must avoid partisan politics because it’s a recipe to insecurity.

6.       Is UPDF continued presence in Somalia a source of insecurity (terrorism)?: (i) Maj Gen Biraro—Uganda should help build Somalis capacity to resolve their problems not impose solutions on them. Also UPDF must have a withdraw strategy from Somalia.

7.      Uganda’s presence in Somalia, South Sudan, CAR—should it be a regional police? (i) Besigye—practice not bad but how it’s done. It’s done with disregard to national laws and constitution. Parliament just informed afterwards. Cases like invasion of DRC in which Uganda was condemned by international court of justice (ICJ) to pay DRC US$9bn disregarded parliament as so was the intervention in South Sudan. (ii) Museveni—intervention in DRC was in self defence against NALU—a rebel group. Uganda can’t be compromised on its security by anyone. (iii) Bwanika—Uganda should not act unilaterally, should seek regional joint commands for regional engagements.

8.      Should Uganda remain a signatory of ICC?: (i) Bwanika—Uganda should withdraw from ICC because its biased against Africans or else it should have arrested some western leaders already.  (ii) Museveni—even though Uganda is a founding signatory it should withdraw. Africa should form its alternative court—the African Court of Justice.

9.      On East African integration: (i) Museveni—intentions are prosperity and strategic security. If America dominates on four dimensions of space, land, air and cyberspace, Africa without unity is at risk. EAC will form nucleus of self defence unlike during colonialism when Africa was defenseless. Tanzania not against the spirit of integration but the approach. It doesn’t want the fast tracking approach but a gradual process. (ii) Mabirizi—differences in structural systems hamper progress of EAC integration—ie land tenure system in Uganda encourages land grabbing which Tanzanians fear. Also presidential terms limits are present in other member states except Uganda (and lately Rwanda.) (iii) Besigye—narrative on integration process must be extended from top government officials down to the people.

10.  What to do to make Ugandans in Diaspora invest at home: (i) Besigye—make investor climate okay, stop systematic corruption and stop tear gas, provide credit facilities. (ii) There already Ugandan investors in Uganda—and this has benefited many people. Investors no longer Indians as was the case in past and this has expanded tax revenue. Although Ugandans are not yet into manufacturing (iii) Kyalya—foreign investors turning local workers into slaves—overworking them and paying peanuts—such as in cotton ginnery in northern Uganda.

11.  Policy on oil and gas: (i) Museveni—NRM discovered oil in Uganda and directed it shouldn’t extracted until Uganda has developed own capacity to handle it by training scientists in that field. British colonialists had failed to locate it. Oil money will be used for infrastructure development and training of more scientists. It is subjected under strict accountability. (ii) Oil was known to be Albertine region by independence in 1962 (not discovered by NRM.) On accountability parliament is often taken for retreats in Kyankwanzi and arm twisted to overturn important resolutions on oil and gas policies.

12.  How to integrate youth in regional politics: (i) Kyalya—my age links with them best. Will therefore represent their aspirations more easily. (ii) Besigye—relevant and quality education—by vocationalsing formal education. Involve then in industrial agenda. (iii) Mbabazi—build their capacity with necessary skills demanded outside Uganda.

13.  Your most important decision and regret: (i) Bwanika—forfeiture of job opportunities as university lecturer to serving communities from church. No regret. (ii) Mbabazi—to live and die fighting injustice and for democracy. Regret taking long to fight dictatorship. (iii) Baryamureeba—forfeiting offers abroad to come home and initiating employment opportunities for many people. No regrets. (iv) Biraro—declined bribe offers in 1986 as presidential district officer in Kitigum district. Regret: neglect of ulcers that have worsened now. (v) Besigye—abandoning of job in Nairobi hospital for bush war in Luwero. Regret decision to challenge dictatorship but failing to secure family support. (vi) Mabirizi—after losing father chose to support self in school. Regret: conducted a mock election but failed to announce results. (vii)Museveni—1966 chose to study at Dar-es-Salaam University— linking with Nyerere and Samora Machelle. Regret delay to shoot Idd Amin’s soldiers on Jan 22, 1973 in Mbale.

14.  Closing remarks: (i) Kyalya—want a peaceful election. (ii) Besigye—country worried because of no history of peaceful transfer of power—because of no free and fair elections. Elders must weigh in against statements like crime preventers in elections. Hopeful that Uganda has a wonderful opportunity to express strong sentiments of change of duties-to end unemployment, have good infrastructure and swag. (iii) Biraro— to resolve statement between 2011 and 2016 Ugandans must elect a neutral government (of mine). Also people must fast for the country on Feb 17, 2016. (iv) Baryamureeba—new leader to invest in people so that in next five years Uganda is an economy of US$100bn. (v) Mbabazi—Like Magufuli of Tanzania I can change Uganda phenomenally. (vi)Bwanika—Ugandans must be given opportunity to elect a president they want. This is in Badru Kiggundu’s (chair EC) hands to ensure a free and fair election. (vii) Museveni—there will be a free and fair election. Nobody can disrupt our peace it’s not acceptable.

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Is Uganda ready for change? Besigye, Mbabazi and Museveni to decide


By Odomaro Mubangizi

A political trinity made up of  Dr Kiiza Besigye, Amama Mbabazi and Yoweri Museveni, the top runners in the current battle for Uganda’s State House, has emerged as Uganda goes to the polls on Thursday this week.

Some have talked of a “three horse race” but it is becoming clear by the day that it is going to be a “two horse race” – tight race between the incumbent President Museveni and Besigye, with Mbabazi playing a decisive role as a king maker. Close to one week to the polls one can hazard some scenarios and trajectories. What are the political dynamics at play in Uganda’s most intriguing elections? It is very exciting to see three of the main architects of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) tussling it out with the country split into three camps, even though some are playing the safe “independent” option. It was some time in 1996 when Dr Kiiza Besigye wrote a lengthy critique of the NRM under his boss President Yoweri Museveni, essentially challenging the way things had turned out, and pointing out that the system had diverted from the its original vision. NRM came to power in 1986 under a popular armed revolution that had started in 1981. The catch phrase under which NRM was ruling was the “Ten Point Program” that included, among others, strengthening democracy, promoting a diversified and integrated economy and promoting national unity.

Dr Besigye wanted reform so that the original noble goals of democracy and development could be realized and not mere rhetoric. He then decided he would offer himself as an alternative to lead Uganda towards reform. Some were skeptical of his motive but he still stood for the presidency in 2001, then in 2006 and also in 2011. In all these attempts his support kept increasing but amidst allegations of rigging, with futile legal redress. Gradually the reform agenda evolved into a formidable political party known as Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). Reform Agenda and FDC attracted some of the senior NRM top brass like former Army Commander Major General Mugisha Muntu, Jack Sabiiti, Eriya Kategaya (former Deputy Prime Minister), Salamu Musumba, Amanya Mushega, Winnie Byanyima, and many others. This development became the most serious threat to President Museveni’s hold onto power. FDC in using “democratic change” was alluding to Uganda’s dark history of violent political changes.

It has been one of the tragic ironies of Uganda that a political group that came into force under the banner of “democratic change” faced brutal and violent reaction from the state machinery. Dr Besigye faced the wrath of the state—violent arrests on charges that were considered politically motivated and regular sprays with pepper (one time he nearly lost his sight). These did not seem to deter him from the vision of a “democratic change.” As FDC rallied support for democratic change, the incumbent and his supporters coined the philosophy of “no change”. The argument has been: “If things are on the right track why change the driver?” The other argument was that if one wants change, why not change from within the ruling NRM party? But the opponents argued that there was no internal democracy to enable meaningful change. This was demonstrated when a group of radical NRM legislators Wilfred Niwagaba, Barnabas Tinkasimire, Mohamed Nsereko and Theodore Sekikubo earned the reputation of “rebel MPs”, by challenging the lack of internal democracy in NRM. Attempts to expel them from the ruling party hit a snag. Their major crime was to stand for positions on some issues contrary to the party line.

Thanks to the strong grass-root support that the NRM enjoyed across the country, the “no change” mantra took hold. But FDC kept chipping away some support by calling for “democratic change.” The “Yellow Bus” has become the most visible symbol of the ruling NRM and its call for “no change.” The “no change” philosophy has of course raised serious questions about what will happen in due course and especially as the Chairperson of the NRM and incumbent gets older by the day. Whenever some media outlets raise the question of a successor, the president would astutely reply: “The NRM will decide through a democratic process.” He would rightly argue that Uganda is not a monarchy whereby he has to anoint his heir. But some observers of Uganda’s politics have interpreted this refusal to get a successor to mean that the incumbent has some more years at the helm. This is what has made some top NRM leaders uncomfortable. They quote the president as saying that he was standing for the last time (referring to previous elections of 2001, 2006 and 2011).

Skeptics were proved right when an NRM delegates conference held in 2015 resolved that President Yoweri Museveni would be the sole candidate and flag bearer of the NRM, basically ring-fencing the position. A good number of senior NRM members did not take this decision well. Among them was former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi who later argued that the decision was not definitive and not binding. The FDC camp were vindicated in their claim that the NRM did not have internal democracy and that they had seen the light long back. Then the debate was how the “Super Minister” (as Amama Mbabazi was popularly known) was going to handle the tough issue. Key question for him was: stand against his boss or just remain in the NRM?

Events moved rather fast and the Super Minister was relieved of his post as Prime Minister and Secretary General of the NRM. Political pundits rushed to conclude that he was finished. Opinions were divided. Those in the know felt that the President had blundered by firing his most trusted ally who he himself used to praise for being very disciplined and a workaholic. Then followed a period of suspense, with many observers wondering what cards the Super Minister was holding close to his chest. Calls were made that he was taking too long to declare his motives but he kept saying he would tell the nation and the world his decision at the right time.

Time came and sure enough, the calm and calculating Super Minister declared that he would stand for the presidency and challenge his boss for State House. The announcement came as a storm and many were speechless. The president who was in South Africa for a visit rushed back to quell the storm that Amama Mbabazi’s announcement had caused in the country. Then questions followed as to whether Mbabazi would quit the NRM or just stay put and fight from within. He chose the latter, but the NRM internal electoral process could not allow him to challenge his boss for the party presidency. He opted to stand as an independent but still as a member of the NRM. As an insider for decades he knew what the system was like. He had set up the NRM secretariat and its machinery. Key question: would Mbabazi’s political move cause a storm in the NRM? Would his decision lead to the split of the NRM right in the middle?

As fate would have it, Mbabazi attracted some following from the old parties Democratic Party (DP) and Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) and, not surprisingly, some from FDC. A few from NRM also followed him but the anticipated storm to shake down the NRM did not happen. He clearly still has some secret admirers in the NRM, though. Some in the NRM came out openly to support Mbabazi such as the Kabale NRM Women’s chair Hope Mwesigye. But his greatest boost came from a dynamic group that calls its self “NRM poor youth.” Later a new political formation took shape known as the Democratic Alliance (TDA) comprised of a coalition of opposition parties. Mbabazi then formed his own organization called “Go Forward.” Mbabazi’s Go Forward and FDC share the common aspiration of a peaceful and democratic change in Uganda come this Thursday 18th February 2016 as all along with the system he is now fighting, he quickly makes a rejoinder that he did not have power and authority.

Then he argues: “Try me now and see what I will do for Uganda.” So the incumbent has two fronts to fight: Besigye’s FDC and Mbabazi’s Go Forward. Besigye was bad enough; now add Mbabazi. Early on in the campaigns, it became clear that the race was among three main contenders: the incumbent Museveni of NRM, Besigye of FDC and Mbabazi of Go Forward and TDA. But with time it has emerged that the contest is becoming a two horse race between Museveni and Besigye with Amama Mbabazi as the king maker. There are other scenarios. It can also be a two horse race between Museveni and the two rivals on one side. The other scenario, which cannot be ruled out, is a contest between Besigye and Amama Mbabazi in case Mbabazi comes second to Besigye in a situation of no clear winner during the first round. In the unlikely event that Mbabazi comes second to Museveni then there is a fifth scenario. Algebraically it can look thus:

Scenario 1: YM (for Yoweri Museveni)-AM (Amama Mbabazi’s supporters but who belong to NRM) vs KB (Kiiza Besigye)

Scenario 2: YM vs KB-AM (Amama Mbabazi’s supporters who belong to FDC)

Scenario 3: YM vs KB+AM

Scenario 4: KB vs AM Scenario

5: YM vs AM

Of course politics does not always follow mathematical rules. It is human beings making choices not abstract numbers or figures. For instance, there is no guarantee that if Dr Besigye contests against Museveni, all supporters of Mbabazi will support the former. Likewise, there is no guarantee that if Mbabazi were to be the contestant against Museveni that Besigye’s supporters would support the former. Politics is much more ambiguous and complex than mathematical calculations.

Dr Besigye has been fascinated by the huge crowds that have been overwhelming him at rallies especially in Western Uganda, hitherto Museveni’s stronghold. He has been heard declaring that he will have a clear win and no one should imagine a rerun. Of course he quickly adds that he is worried about voter bribery—a menace in Uganda’s electoral politics. What has also made Besigye to contemplate a clean win first round are the immense donations he is receiving from supporters: goats, cows, chickens, money, and furniture. At one rally he was even given fried chicken to eat. His rallies look like offertory time at a church service as supporters fall over each other with goodies. This is in contrast to the incumbent who is dishing out hoes, motor bikes (known as boda bodas) and facilitation for his campaigners.

Crowds that follow the main contenders are a spectacle to behold. At Museveni’s rallies one sees mammoth crowds of men and women dressed in yellow caps, T-shirts and shirts while Dr Besigye’s rallies are painted “Blue”—FDC ‘s dominant colour. Amama Mbabazi’s orange colour is also catching on but not as the Blue and Yellow of FDC and NRM respectively. Politics in Uganda is full of colour. In terms of actual election results, there are also scenarios. First, a clear win in the first round where the losers concede defeat. Second, a clear win in the first round but contested by the losers, that might end up in either courts of law or street protests whose consequence are hard to predict. Third, a re-run where coalitions will be made.

Ugandans at home and in diaspora are talking politics. But the million-dollar question is: will the February 18 elections bring about peaceful and democratic change? The NRM “no change” philosophy still looms large. Museveni shows no signs of retiring from active politics. In fact, he keeps rebuking those who call on him to retire. He even uses some humor that he has killed his animal and about to begin eating and then people call on him to leave. This metaphor is being interpreted to mean the oil he just explored in South Western Uganda. This posture of not being ready to quit politics is what makes his opponents bolder to rally support for his defeat, arguing that he has had enough and it is time to let others try their luck.

What bothers most observers of the current political contestation is the warning that keeps coming from armed forces and the police to the effect that they will not hand over power to the opposition if they win. These warnings are being contested or denied. But they keep coming up. Police and the army clearly demonstrate some partisanship whenever elections are around the corner. Just as the campaigns reached the crescendo, Ugandan Police armoured vehicles were sited at Mombasa destined for Kampala. This was seen as a form of psychological warfare to instill fear among voters. The Catholic bishops have written a letter warning against police and military involvement in the forthcoming elections. Of particular concern are the “Crime Preventers” supposedly under community policing framework. Opposition politicians, especially Amama Mbabazi, haves already cried foul that the crime preventers are meant to instill fear and help the rigging of elections. Questions are posed about their legal status, financing and the timing.

Elections observers have already pitched camp in Uganda. The Commonwealth observers team is headed by Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria. The East African Community team is headed by Ali Hassan Mwinyi, former president of Tanzania. Civil Society groups have also sent in their observers under the leadership of Kenya’s former anti-corruption Czar John Githongo. The government has done well to allow these observers to come and see Uganda’s political drama being acted out in style. EU observers have also come. The global media is ready to narrate the events as they unfold.

The three leading contenders who helped found the NRM that supposedly ushered in a fundamental change should do the right thing and help Uganda to enjoy a peaceful and democratic change. It is in their power to make this happen. But it will require a great deal of restraint and patriotism to think beyond the coming election and to think of the next generation. They have all invested in the country both metaphorically and literally, and so it is in their best interest to make sure that the February 18 elections are peaceful and democratic, leaving no one complaining about their credibility. This week’s elections should be the culmination of the fundamental change the three strong men ushered in way back in 1986.

Will a peaceful and democratic change happen? It should happen. But it is the duty of all Ugandans, the neighbors and the international community to make it happen. However, the greatest responsibility lies with President Yoweri Museveni who has been leading the country for the last 30 years to ensure a smooth and peaceful transition happens as his legacy to the Pearl of Africa.

Dr Odomaro Mubangizi teaches philosophy and theology and is Dean of Philosophy Department at the Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Addis Ababa. He is also Editor of Justice, Peace and Environment Bulletin.

 

 

Why we wont fight fire with fire in this election


By Eric Kashambuzi

Everywhere in time and space fire fighters use water to extinguish fire: they never use fire to put out fire. In this Uganda election, we are going to be creative and defeat so-called democracy that has been conducted at gun point since 1996.

When the United Democratic Ugandans (UDU) was formed in 2011, it was resolved that we should unseat the dictatorial regime of Museveni by using non-violent defiance in the first instance, drawing on lessons from other countries and making adaptations as appropriate. There is concrete evidence that non-violent dissent is more successful than armed struggle in defeating dictatorial regimes.

In November 2013, Ugandans from home and the Diaspora met at The Hague in the Netherlands to build on the decision and experiences of UDU and to agree on the way forward. It was reiterated to use non-violent defiance in unseating the dictatorial regime in Uganda and establish a transitional government based on the principle of national unity that Besigye and Biraaro presidential candidates have adopted. The outcome of the meeting was the creation of The Hague Process for Peace, Security and Development in Uganda (THP). It was constructed on the UDU foundation. In designing The Hague Process of defiance that underpins FDC philosophy we drew on a wide range of sources including the fight between David and Goliath and the Filipino defiance against Marcos in 1986. The story of David and Goliath shows that the size and sophistication of weapons do not necessarily determine the outcome of the battle. Physically underpowered David, a teenage herd boy with a sling and five stones, confronted Goliath, 10ft tall, in heavy armour that consisted of a helmet, long coat, and leg guards made from bronze and a long bronze spear. David, standing at a convenient and strategic spot shot his first stone into the forehead of Goliath and toppled the giant to the ground. He then used Goliath’s sword and chopped off his his head. David possessed courage, confidence, determination and wisdom. Goliath’s weight and strength didn’t save him. That is the first lesson.

The second lesson is drawn from the Philippines. In 1986 Ferdinand Marcos, then president of the Philippines, stole an election. The Filipino people resolved to stop his inauguration ceremony. Cardinal Jaime Sin, a Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila, the capital city, mobilized the people that included former supporters of Marcos who feared for loss of their lives and properties. They gathered in the city where they were joined by the minister of defense and the deputy army commander and their military followers. Equipped with rosaries, flowers and prayers, the Filipino formed a human chain around the soldiers who had joined them. When troops that had been dispatched by Marcos to disperse the demonstrators arrived, they were welcomed to join in the silent revolution and presented with flowers. The soldiers paused, reflected, disobeyed their Commander–in–Chief and returned to the barracks. Marcos got the message, took off and spent the balance of his life in exile. People Power and Prayer Power prevailed over Marcos’s money and soldiers. The Filipino ended Marcos dictatorship in a bloodless revolution.

Can Ugandans apply the same defiant and simple methods and defeat Dictator Museveni with all the money and soldiers he has? Yes, they can and they have already begun doing so. When opposition members were arrested and detained at a police station in Rukungiri town, the fearless people of Rukungiri district marched unarmed to the station and got the detainees released. When police officers blocked Besigye from visiting an internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp, Besigye supporters defied the obstruction non-violently. The police gave way and Besigye visited the camp. Ipso facto, The Hague Process of defiance, not compliance, is working in Uganda. It should be consolidated and refined to restore and preserve democracy, civil and political rights and freedoms and the rule of law.

Prof Eric Kashambuzi is Secretary-General of the United Democratic Ugandans (UDU), Co-founder of The Hague Process for Peace, Security and Development in Uganda (THP). A columnist with The London Evening Post and New York-based Black Star News as well as a consultant on politics and economics, Prof Kashambuzi and his family are based in New York. NY

WHY I AM NOT VOTING


It’s only hours away before Ugandans attempt to have free and fair elections.
I’m writing this so that I’m not misunderstood when the results come out.
1. I last voted in 1980. My fellow lecturers and I spent the night in the Makerere University Main Hall guarding the ballot boxes. The essence was to guard again ballot rigging. Mr. Museveni had vowed to go to the bush should there be any rigging…..

2. In 1983, I met Mr. Vincent Ssekkono (who had been in charge of the Electoral Commission then) in exile in London. He assured me that he had all the data regarding the malpractices and would reveal them when peace returned to Uganda.
3. When the war ended neither Museveni nor Ssekkono revealed any information on the vote rigging of 1980.

Ssekkono, now retired as Permanent Secretary, is standing in Nakawa division for a little political position!
4. I have observed all the elections in Museveni’s era and my heart weeps more and more each time.
5. Samm, I realize you know Dr. Muniini pretty well. Is it possible to persuade him to write an article with these questions in mind?
(i)Why wasn’t Paul Muwanga asked about the vote rigging? There was ample time before he died.
(ii) Ssekkono is alive and had been in Uganda for all these years of Museveni’s rule. He was recently hosted on Bukedde TV for hours. But he avoided the full issue. Why hasn’t he put the records correct? Is it possible that DP won in Buganda but didn’t win overall in Uganda?
(iii) The fundamental reason for Museveni’s going to war a consequence of vote rigging. Why didn’t he make it his fundamental obligation to put the records straight? Why is the infighting within NRM, resulting into independent candidates, hinged upon vote rigging?

Therefore, I’m convinced, as before,that there’s going to massive vote rigging in favor of Museveni. Besigye, who would be the rightful winner, will be left in the cold once again.

MPOLOGOMA

Amin Family Statement/Speech For Janan Luwum Memorial Day


His Excellency the President, ministers, government officials, members of the diplomatic community, the family of the late Archbishop Janan Luwum whom we remember today, Church leaders, the organizing committee, distinguished guests, fellow citizens, ladies and gentlemen.

On this day, we commemorate the first Janan Luwum day since government declared February 16th a national holiday last year.

As some might be aware, we the family of the late former president Alhajji Field Marshal Idi Amin Dada, had actually requested to the organizing committee that we be present at the memorial day function.

We are glad to have joined the rest of the country in this memorial for late former Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga Zaire.
Even if it is happening 40 years later, it is important for the nation that we publicly reconcile and offer our condolences directly to the family of the late Archbishop Janan Luwum for the first time.

Our father remained silent on this matter until the end.
But we can tell you what we personally witnessed, and two incidents are central to our testimony.

First, on that fateful day 16th February 1977, we remember how our late father had just returned home to State House Kampala from the Nile Hotel meeting where the Archbishop had been publicly questioned about his involvement in armed rebellion.
Our late father then received a phone call informing him of some alarming news. He immediately drove out of the premises.
While we thought he had gone to attend to some distant emergency, a few minutes later we heard his voice again. He had actually just drove nearby to the neighboring government building.
So we went to the rear State House garden where we heard his big voice, and stood at the perimeter fence where we could see him arguing with some men outside the neighboring building below.

He was complaining that he had specifically ordered them to drive the Archbishop and the two ministers to their respective homes, then bring them back the next day for a private meeting with them. He was asking the men “What had happened?” and was furious that his last orders had not been followed.

The second event we witnessed had been about a week earlier. We had been driven to Rubaga cathedral, Kampala, where we found weapons displayed on the Church’s front lawn. We remember specifically seeing a blue truck with a false Pepsi logo that had been badly painted on its doors. The vehicle was parked next to the church.
Apparently the vehicle was being hidden there in broad daylight. The owners probably knew that security services might not suspect an empty lorry.
However the lorry had a false floor that made it look empty. And it is when the floor metal sheet was ripped open, that the weapons (Italian weapons according to the body guards) were discovered hidden beneath. As young children who were used to seeing the normal Uganda army weapons (during holidays we regularly did shooting practice plus dismounting, cleaning and remounting assault rifles) it was obvious that these were new and different. We hadn’t seen anything like them before.
The security men discussed how they had known that something was hidden at the church. But they had failed to find anything the first time they had gone to the check at the Archbishops residence. Only to discover later, and by chance, that the weapons were actually in the empty looking truck that had been parked there all along.

These are what we witnessed.
But since that day, the death of Archbishop Janan Luwum has brought grief to our late father as well, especially whenever the question arose at home.
One thing that is clear is that Amin didn’t order the Archbishops killing. On the contrary, he ordered his release.

But somebody killed the Archbishop either intentionally or was forced to. The story we heard is that he and the two ministers tried to over power the driver, one Moses Okello, so that they could then flee the country.
Only God knows the truth.

And contrary to what is usually said, Idi Amin was actually very respectful to the Church. The Archbishop had a very cordial relationship with him until that incident. Amin felt as if he had been stabbed in the back when he discovered what the Church was doing. It was shocking to him.

However it turned out later that it actually wasn’t the Church as an institution, but rebel loyalists within the Church who were preparing for armed rebellion to bring Obote back, and they had secretly used the institution. All those involved also turned out to be people fighting specifically for Obote’s cause on a sectarian/tribal basis.

In a recent Daily Monitor article, Mrs Mary Lawinyo Luwum the widow of the late Archbishop, recounted a meeting where our late father met the Archbishop a few days before his death. Amin asked a simple question: “Why was the Archbishop tarnishing his name to the western world using defamatory messages? The widow also says Amin then had a photo moment with the Archbishop to prove wrong the rumours circulating that the archbishop had been imprisoned. That was the Amin we know. Tough but always conciliatory. And this shows that right from the start, Idi Amin had no intention whatsoever of arresting the priest.
Today the rebels that the Archbishop was helping are mostly living in exile ever since their UNLA government was overthrown by the NRM on 25/01/1986.
If you hear how they talk about today’s Uganda, it is the same they were trying to do back then.

There were also high suspicions in the Amin regime that Moses Okello, the person who was last with the Archbishop and the two ministers, could have killed them intentionally.

However even the Amin government couldn’t prove it and thereby had to leave the matter where the available investigation findings concluded.

What the nation must understand is that the late Archbishop Japan Luwum’s story is one that had high political stakes for the so-called “Liberators”. The versions we read about clearly show serious disinformation at work in order to justify rebellion. They intentionally demonized our late father so that they could have a chance at ruling the country for themselves and not for the Ugandan people.
Events that happened between 1979 and 1986 prove this.
But by any standards, a truck full of weapons is a serious national security concern anywhere in the world. Today, any government would treat the Archbishop’s actions as terrorism. He wouldn’t even be invited for a chat with the president or a live interview, but might instead be immediately incarcerated in a maximum security prison comparable or worse than Guantanamo Bay.

What led to the famous public inquiry that was aired live on TV was Amin telling Ugandans and the international community to see for themselves what was going on. Transparency.
He wanted everyone to witness what had been prepared by Obote’s rebels.
At the time, our late father told Ugandans that all these weapons couldn’t be there to kill just him alone. And that it is the whole country that they were aiming at putting ablaze, and all Ugandans would suffer if they succeeded. Indeed that is what happened for a whole two decades from the day the Tanzanian forces and the Ugandan rebels marched together into the country.
Uganda Television should rebroadcast that live telecast so that todays Ugandans can see for themselves how the Archbishop pointed to Erinayo Oryema and Obote Ofumbi as his co-conspirators.

It is worth noting that prior to that, the two ministers hand’t even.been suspected in the matter and had actually come by themselves as respectable government ministers to the Nile Hotel meeting. All that changed only after they were pointed at by the Archbishop. This is in the recording.

Meanwhile in regards to our late father’s relation with the church, as president he had endeavored to treat the three major faiths equally as well. While there are claims that he had shared Indians properties with his friends and relatives, he actually didn’t have a single personal business his entire life.
Last year, we told the public how he had decreed that certain properties be given to the three major faiths: Old Kampala hilltop for Muslims, then Mapeera House land, Kampala road to the Catholic Church, and the new Church House premises, Kampala road, to the Anglican Church.

Maybe the two Churches can own up to Ugandans that Idi Amin initiated and encouraged these now beautiful towering developments in the center of Kampala?
Today, we want to help foster national healing. However it is something that is done in a reciprocal and/or multilateral way, and others also have an honesty role to play.
Today the nation can say let us never regress to the conflicts that existed, and where our country fought itself for more than four decades.
In that spirit, we would like to add our voice to the many who know that though there are still obvious challenges, we can also confirm that Uganda has largely progressed in terms of peace and stability, rule of law, economic development, democracy, and freedom of expression.

The people who purposely caused insecurity during Amin’s regime, and who have extensively confessed about their 8 year operations then, are here to celebrate the peace.

Today, we for example, have been voters since the first general elections under the 1995 constitution.
We lined up with everybody on that day in 1996 to choose Uganda’s leader. Our late father was glad that we had taken civic duties seriously.
So we salute progress as the best medicine for the country’s long term stability. It has made it possible for the Amin and Luwum families to live peacefully in the same country.

However, we call on all leaders, especially the younger generation that wasn’t actively present during the Archbishops days, or weren’t mature enough during the gruesome years that followed particularly from 1979 to 1986, to make sure that justice becomes an even bigger priority for this country.
Because we all know that justice, the rule of law and continuously rejecting impunity, is what will ultimately ensure that the country doesn’t regress to any future chaos.

For example, it was shocking for us to learn that concerning the death of the late Archbishop, even though some original video and documented records existed, none of the subsequent governments tried to organize a judicial inquiry or official forensic investigation. We wondered how can the state and the public rely on an individuals books as the official verdict yet there are designated government departments whose task is specifically to check crime?

Why hasn’t any government for example followed up Moses Okello, the last person with the Archbishop taking him home as ordered by our late father?
Also, why has one Mr. Lawoko made unscrupulous financial gain from the family’s grief? When he writes a book titled “Dungeons of Nakasero” claiming to be the last person to have seen the Archbishop alive inside a purported dungeon, also claiming that they were both incarcerated together, further alleging that Amin personally came and killed the Archbishop, yet that very day Mr. Lawoko was actually the head at Uganda Television/Radio Uganda, dispatching journalists to Nile Hotel and monitoring the live coverage.
We call that parasitic opportunism. Earning from other peoples grief.
Mr. Lawoko’s subordinate for example, veteran Radio Uganda journalist Mr. Charles Byekwaso, already publicly attested how he received his news assignments that very morning from his boss Mr. Lawoko himself at the national Radio station. We wonder has Lawoko at least made regular donations to Janan Luwum’s family from his unscrupulous earnings?

We for example, plan to make commemorative products with our late fathers picture and avail them to interested Ugandans soon. There has been huge interest for Amin memorabilia from the public.

We hereby pledge to make a donation from any earnings to the Archbishops family or community. Because we saw the sadness that his death caused to our late father. It is probably the one incident during his presidency that hurt him the most.
And it is because of that pain we saw on our late father’s face that we would also like to make the donation to a children’s charity since they are the country’s future. But we ask Mr. Lawoko to apologize to the family and the nation for his behavior.
But the important point as we look ahead is to always try and have justice served on any crime.
There also hasn’t been justice for Lubiri 1966 for example. Neither for Mukura, Luweero, Ombachi, Mbarara, and other probable serious mass crimes committed between the State and citizens by people whom most are alive and either living in Uganda or hiding abroad.

Yes, they have been increasing calls for a new independent Truth and Reconciliation Commission to review every major incident since independence.
We are surprised that criminals who unrepentantly massacred innocent peasants, have become national heroes, or are living comfortably in western countries. If one checks the names on the official list of national hero’s, one wonders if this is how they are supposed to pay for their crime in this country.
That is why there should also be the word “justice” in the Truth and Reconciliation commission’s title.

Just last week, Archbishop Desmond Tutu who headed the South African Truth Commission right after Apartheid, was expressing regret that dangerous criminals managed to walk scot-free to this day, yet the Commissions recommendations had been that punishment for serious crimes ought to be pursued by the South African government. The South African people are today questioning the relevance of that commission since Apartheid criminals are enjoying today’s multi-racial South Africa unpunished.

In that spirit, we would hereby like to make a humble request that the idea of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission be pursued vigorously to a just close for the bereaved and the country.
Also, that this important day February 16th be a day of remembrance for all who perished since independence.

This country has far so many unrecognized martyrs. People who died for the country. Some even didn’t know why they died.
We should remember them all together.
We sincerely hope that His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni, or whoever will be elected in two days, considers the matter for the sake of more peace, justice, political civility and long term stability.

Uganda today is a different place. Citizens are also called voters. This new generation of Ugandans are now choosing their own political destiny albeit with a few regrettable incidents during campaigns where we tend to regress to what looks exactly like the police state we have all heard about in the countries turbulent history.

But there has largely been tangible improvements. We once told our late father that he wouldn’t recognize Kampala with the development that the Ugandan people themselves have managed to achieve against all odds. We told him that here people say he opened their eyes.

The point is that we have long moved on together with the new generation in this country, and that is a good thing. We are therefore committed to always being with Ugandans as the country continues towards more economic growth and stability.
However it is justice that ultimately breaks the cycle of violence. We sincerely hope that the cycle hasn’t secretly grown and that another bout is possibly still coming ahead. Yesterdays incident where one citizen was shot by state agents as he supported his preferred candidate is highly regrettable and should be investigated until prosecution and punishment.

In that regard, and as we remember this country’s past, it is our constitutional duty to call upon the police and security services to cool down on national elective politics as they face civilians. As we said recently, our history should remind the state never to point guns at civilians whether during peace-keeping duty abroad or during elections at home. This is something we all need to consciously agree on as a country.

It is our constitutional duty as well to also request that the state puts in place greater guarantees that every citizen who so desires is always able to peacefully express their political views. That is another lesson from the widely circulated Archbishops legacy. Yes he took a decision against the sitting president. And that is important for any citizen to be able to continue to do peacefully.
It is days like today that should help us remember where the red line is in the actions of the state. Sadly, the Archbishop’s death was a red line that isn’t supposed to have happened.
And that is one way we can use his memory. As a guide to prevent mistakes from happening again.

We can achieve that with the memory of the late Archbishop in mind. I personally also have my own mothers memory, the late former first lady Kay Amin whose gruesome death on 14th August 1974 remains a motivating factor for me to advocate for peace and womens rights for example. Others might want to struggle for religious rights and increased political freedoms when they remember the fallen Ugandans.
In fact, one thing that could also help is that we include all the forgotten fallen Ugandans on this national day, so that as a nation we do some serious introspection to value each citizen regardless of political affiliation or the political impact of their rightful activities.

The just concluded presidential debate proved that increased political decency was just nearby yet Uganda hadn’t ever practiced it. We now realize that it brought added civility to the country’s politics. Anything that has the capacity to help us check our own political behaviors and help the citizens see political competition live with their own eyes so as to then choose from a level perspective, must be institutionalized so that we increasingly move beyond any personality cult and towards more institutionalization.

We therefore need to build on the present national consciousness that encourages constructive open debate. This might also be best served if the “Baraza” citizen’s debates are encouraged again rather than curbed as has been the case recently.
We might then be able to gain from each others ideas and thereby uplift the country’s common political consciousness.
It is a day like today where we need to remember the root causes that led to the numerous conflicts the country has experienced since independence day 9/10/1962.
The causes haven’t changed: Sectarianism, tribalism, nepotism, corruption and greed for power.
As we look at the new generation of youths living in a totally different time today compared to what the older generation has survived, it is our humble wish that the bright young men and women we see enjoying life to its fullest, including those struggling to get an education or looking for jobs, that they will live beyond war, abject poverty and darkness. Which wasn’t the case for some generations before them.
And finally, we also pray that the memory of all Ugandans who perished through the turbulent years be best served by today’s citizens gaining more peace, faith, quality education, improved health, freedom, individual rights, hard work, plus unity and reconciliation for all present and future.

For God And Our Country.

Hussein Lumumba Amin
Kampala, Uganda.

Date:16/02/2016

GROWING INSECURITY NEAR POLICE STATIONS/POSTS


I wish to air my concerns through your paper about the increasing insecurity/lawlessness around Police Stations/Posts.I commute to Entebbe several days a week.It is surprising that almost every day i witness young boys snatching phones and handbags or laptops from pedestrians and motorists on the stretch from Clock Tower to Kibuye.This is despite the fact that there is a Police Post at Clock Tower and a Police Station at USAFI market!I at one time witnessed these boys accost a man, take away his phone and start beating him as if he was the thief!When the man tried to get one of them, they started running.The man ran after them and that was when another group came from behind him, pushed him down and trod on him as they ran towards and past USAFI Police Station.Another common occurrence is at Bweyogerere on the road from the Northern Bypass.Here also there is a Police Post and at times there are Police Mambas nearby.It is however alarming to witness several boys go after trucks going uphill with small jerrycans into which they siphon fuel from the Truck Tanks while Police is looking on!At times the turn men of the trucks have to jump down to fight these boys who then threaten violence with knives!How come the Crime preventors who have been recruited cannot detect or stop such crime?Why is such crime taking place in the presence of Police?

Rich Muge
Kira

Tinyenfunza did real damage to Kony but both Muntu and M7 despise him


General Tinyefuza may have sympathy from some elements of the opposition, but surely it is crocodile tears.

There are some in FDC who hate Tinyefuza’s guts so badly. You remember when Tinyefuza was moving from one political party to another ‘mobilising’ them to remove the NRM after his return from UK?

General Muntu for one despises him and may not meet him. I promised to tell you the reason and here it is partly.

Many of those former senior officers did not like him. Vivian Asedri and I were the only journalists allowed by General Tinyefuza to cover the anti-Kony ‘operation North’ when it started in March 1991 but he also soon sent Asedri away to Kampala.

One day Tinyefuza, as Minister of State for Defence, summoned Army Commander Mugisha Muntu to Lira and made him to sit for three days in Lira Hotel, refusing to meet him, while telling us “these idiots don’t know what they are doing otherwise this war would have been over yesterday”.

Mugisha Muntu was lucky that Tinyefuza finally met him after three days. Brigadier Joram Mugume, the Chief of Combat Operations was made to sit for five days while Tinyefuza made little feasts at his residence where he would invite some local leaders and some of us.

He ordered Lt. Col. Reuben Ikondere, the Division Commander of NRA 5th Division to leave his house and ‘go to Kampala and when Ikondere delayed to leave, he asked soldiers to ‘bomb that house’. Ikondere was hearing on the walkie-talkie radio and fled the house in a huff!

This kind of humiliation became too much for some of the senior commanders. At a High Command Meeting in Entebbe they complained to the Commander-in-Chief who sacked Tineyfuza and made hims a presidential advisor on Defence. He sulked for sometime before demanding to leave the army, without success, until making up again with the leadership.

Tinyefuza’s insolence did not start yesterday. Some of us watched but dared not report it in the press. One day president Museveni sent a message inviting Tinyefuza as Minister of State for Defence to report to Entebbe State House for an important meeting. Tinyefuza would not directly read his messages however confidential and preferred that the signaler reads it out to him allowed, in presence of even civilians.

Guess what he said. “Tell him (the president) that I do not have a helicopter at my disposal now and would arrive at 5pm instead of 2pm”. Yet, there were three helicopters parked and fueled ready for take off.

I one evening told him that many people were not happy about the strong hand treatment meted out during the cordon and search operations and especially that some of the arrested 18 northern leaders were seen as innocent and he simply told me “Billie stop thinking like a kid. I did not expect them to applaud me or the government”.

On the other hand, despite being heavy handed, Tinyefuza’s operations weakened Kony quite a lot and Kony never recovered until he went to Sudan in 1994 and found new allies there.

Let’s watch the next chapter in the controversial life of this General.

By the way, that ruse he pulled of changing his name from Tinyefuza to ‘Sejusa’ three years ago is nothing really. When I went into his house on Acacia Avenue Kololo in 1991, currently occupied by the Kenya High Commission as offices, Tinyefuza had a stuffed leopard in his living room and on the wall was his law degree certificate in the name of ‘David Sejusa Munungu Tinyefuza”.

So what change was this? It is like a Lango man saying he is changing his name from ‘Ogwang’ to ‘Fox’. They mean the same.

Billie Kadameri via the UAH forum

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