Besigye is a brand that cannot be put down by mere besmirch and blackmail

By Kakwenza Rukirabashaija via UAH forum

Sometime in the year 2000, I met the son of Kifeffe for the first time. He was on his way to Kisiizi, a tiny town in southwestern district of Rukungiri, during those days of campaigning for 2001 presidential elections. We were from school going home, on foot, clattering on the dusty marram road that connects Kebisoni to Kisiizi via Mineera Bridge. Donned in a navy blue long-sleeved shirt, through the open roof of his car, he smiled and greeted us when the convoy came to a halt at the side of the road. He opened our eyes that day. We were all encapsulated in ignorance that Mr Museveni was the supreme life president of Uganda since his network of patronage was very strong in villages and everyone looked at the president as the owner of everything including the air we breathed. Dr Besigye’s message to us was short but very clear. He released us from the inflicted fear to oppose Museveni. This was the day he won my heart and since then I have genuinely supported and campaigned for him every election.

After like a week, a one NRM mobiliser in our village named Mabel brought membership cards for her party and registered our names under duress that there would be war if we refused to vote and give support to Museveni openly. Most of us were underage but based on my physical appearance, towering over everyone, I looked like a voter above eighteen years whereas not.

In the forthcoming elections of 2001 which was marred with a lot of violence and fear, they ferried and took us to the polling stations to vote for Museveni even though we had no voting cards but only NRM membership cards (Only my father and mother had voting cards in the family). The cars moved house to house ferrying everyone with the membership card of NRM to go and vote for Museveni by force.
There is something my late father told me which up to now ring in my ears. “Son, those are lying but keep quiet since I am a church leader and not allowed to take part in partisan politics. Let us go and I will show you whom to vote for”
“But you ate their money, if we do not vote for Museveni, he will come and kill us” I protested ignorantly.

When we reached the polling station, we were given special treatment because they knew we had kowtowed to their duress and lies. We voted for Dr Besigye. Most people voted for Besigye but the results were exchanged in the computers, at the national tally centre and eventually Museveni was announced a winner. Same methods of election rigging have been going on since then, courtesy of the electoral commission, army and the police who are subservient to the appointing authority.
Dr Kizza Besigye has since built his brand in Uganda and elsewhere in the world basing on his courageous strength of mind that enables him to endure blackmail, police and military brutality. His resolute to bear pain while confronting the ruthless regime of Mr Museveni has won Dr Besigye a genuine following to the extent that no amount of blackmail will veer such a following and political capital off from him. During the swearing-in ceremony at Kololo, Mr Museveni promised that he would chew Dr Kizza Besigye like a samosa and that there would be no opposition by 2021, Museveni will forever regret his unfruitful and despicable promise he spewed out of excitement which he made amidst the hired and ferried people who had convened at the airstrip to eat pilawo, take juice and pocket his bribe of attending the unpopular swearing-in ceremony!
Retired Colonel Dr Kizza Besigye is made out of a certain rare material which becomes tougher the more you hammer it. No amount of blackmail will ever stop him from fighting against this kleptocratic gerontocracy!
Kakwenza Rukirabashaija is a Journalist, Farmer and Executive Director at Kakwenza Education Fund. A philanthropic Organization based in Uganda, Rukungiri District.

This is my assessment of UAH and freedom of speech in Uganda so far!

By Abbey Semuwemba

In an ideal stable modern forum, bulk of the people need to be moderates or cool heads. UAH had ,and still has, a long term objective of producing the greatest possible number of elites imbued with a sense of objectivity, thoughtfulness, and fair-mindedness; people who rely on their own minds and sober value system for independent thought and action; People who don’t look at Uganda as owned by whoever is in power; people who don’t look at forums as solely owned by their founders.

We realized long time ago that in Uganda, people looked at themselves as NRM (good one) and opposition (enemy). So, we thought of a political philosophy that could bring these two forces together to bridge the gap, and we called it Ugandans At Heart (UAH). Due to lack of resources, I thought an online forum would be a good start with all stakeholders in it, and that it would go a long way in naturally shaping things.

Personally, I’m not so worried even if we don’t achieve much through this forum. Uganda is a diverse society, so, even if UAH doesn’t eventually evolve into anything visible on the ground, the idea of a middle ground ( between the opposition and NRM)will be produced as various forces contend and neutralize one another in the long run. I can predict right now that in future a strong party will emerge which will be the result of NRM and current opposition parties, not entirely from a separate faucet. This would be a party or movement held together by pragmatism, opportunism, and mutual distrust, not one held together by a majority in which its members, more or less, respects views of others and doesn’t think the party leader has all the answers.

Think of the situation in Southern Sudan today. The kind of democracy most Sudanese are craving for is not the one where most of them are united by a trust in democratic values or values of human rights and civic duty; rather, it’s a democracy of various state and opposition groups; Dinkas, and the various pigheaded factions within each. It is all checks until the balance runs out.

Think of the declining years of Weimar republic when Germany was faced with the extremes of Nazism and communism. Through a careful balancing act, the hot and cold of extreme politics had been maintained throughout Weimar Germany until such almost inevitably proved untenable.

For Uganda politics to be stable in the long term, therefore, a political entity that is similar to the UAH philosophy will have to emerge. It does not necessarily have to be a coalition. In any case, Coalition governments are short term fixes but never really work. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like united forces that come together to change a bad situation, as is the case today between Besigye’s People Government and Bobi’s People Power.

The middle needs a serious make-over. It must appear not as a wimpy compromise of NRM and opposition politics but as having flowed from its own faucet– independent in spirit, championing the individual, encouraging independent thought than groupthink, tribalism, or ideological orthodoxy.

For all these ideas to develop, Uganda online forums should not be moderated so much. Radios and TVs should be accessible to all parties regardless of political affiliations. Internet should be among the cheapest things in Uganda. NRMs and opposition should be free to have open debates.

Unfortunately, things have not been as simple as it sounds.  Some people in government look at these forums as sources of confusion, and therefore do not want them. Some in opposition hate UAH because it doesn’t favor them one way or the other. Some look at UAH as Abbey’s failure, forgetting that it’s their failure too. Almost every week someone attempts to hack into my Gmail account, and we all know why–they want UAH gone. Some have falsely accused me of working for Museveni. Do not be surprised if one day I am arrested in Kampala or possibly harmed just because of UAH, or my opinions online. Basically, Uganda as a country, is still in stone age politics, and the current leaders and elites are not helping!

Who are the personalities in this photo?

Front right in front of Amin and in white tunic Sheikh Ahmada Nsambu, after Obote Sheikh Swaib Semakula, Sheikh Mivule.

Back row after Amin Sheikh Abdulnoor (of Nabalanga and father of Late Deputy Mufti Kinene), young fellow between Sheikhs Semakula and Mivule is Haji Juma Kisaka, far right back row is Sheikh Abdu Obeid Kamulegeya.

Without govt’s direct involvement, our suggestions on UAH don’t matter!

By Peter Simon via UAH forum
I think these guerrilla governments in Africa have failed in social services delivery yet Cuba for example was/is able to serve its people very well. To prove that observation, around April 2011, I listened to a BBC documentary on the state of health services in Ethiopia. The health services in Ethiopia are sicker than the sick Ethiopians, to say the least. The BBC program presenter interviewed medical students about their concerns and 80% of them planned to leave Ethiopia immediately they graduate because of several reasons including poor pay ($300/month), lack of facilities, overcrowding in hospitals and too many students in medical schools about 30 times the original planned number with many sitting on the floors when attending lectures, lack of further studies etc. Practicing doctors prefer to work in urban areas because at least they can “moonlight” to supplement the meagre pay. One doctor decried the poor services in the main hospital ( their Mulago) where in one ward, there are only 11 beds for mothers delivering yet they admit over 50 per day so the rest just deliver on the floor and this doctor says that they helplessly watch patients die because of lack of nearly everything. Next the minister of health was interviewed who said that they are trying, that their priority is on primary health care which he said would reduce the number of those seeking treatment; and that the problem is compounded by doctors who leave Ethiopia for greener pastures elsewhere especially in eastern USA where there are more Ethiopian doctors than the total number of doctors in Ethiopia and they receive a salary of not less than $5,000/month. In his view he wanted the US to pay Ethiopia $200,000 per one Ethiopian doctor employed in the US since it costs the US government that amount to train one doctor. I failed to see his logic, at least if he had proposed the US to pay the equivalent that Ethiopia had spent training that one doctor, it would have some good argument. I was surprised to hear Ethiopians decry the poor health services now, and those interviewed claimed that same services were better some time back.. This revelation made me turn on my bed terribly wondering what curse had befallen Africa. I wondered how governments led by visionaries can fail to foresee shortages and plan accordingly in order to avert the crisis.

This is exactly what happened to Uganda when Idi Amin chased non-citizens (Indians), the government proceeded to allocate the well-stocked shops to soldiers and those sympathetic to the regime; slowly but surely, the shops became empty and emptier and by 1978, most shop counters/shelves were filled with bananas, banana leaves or kabalagala with many shopkeepers yawning and sleepy early morning.

While we can suggest good ideas that could improve the social services ( medical services) in Uganda, I think the first thing we should do is to get the government directly involved by it spearheading the discussions so that we are sure that the policy makers and implementers are all on board and are ready to move forward. We need to engage various stake holders so that a strategy can be developed, otherwise none of the brilliant suggestions can be implemented or even discussed. I am not suggesting that we leave it all to government, no, what I am saying is that we need government to be a participant in the discussions so that whatever is agreed upon is put into practice; for we cannot achieve much without the government’s participation since it (govt) has more mobilization groups/resources.

Leaders should ensure that institutions are developed, strengthened and allowed to be independent. Obviously, it was Idi Amin’s mistake to give out property to people who did not own it in the first place and the policy of sending non-citizens was wrongly done/implemented:this should have been in phases while local people were being trained to take over.

It would be a mistake to expect any president to know everything under the sky! And this is exactly the problem we face; our leaders assume that they know everything and when challenged, they get jittery. Politicians’ role is merely to oversee work done by technocrats. There are many ways of monitoring developments in constituencies not necessarily being there physically, though NRM government has found pleasure in dishing out millions of shillings to MPs during elections for “monitoring developments” in their constituencies some of which were abandoned for nearly 5 years!

Leaders shouldnt solely be blamed for their failures!

By Isaac Balaamu via UAH forum
It wasn’t Amin’s fault that those he gave the shops ended up filling them with bananas. That man should be given credit for transforming Uganda. You see I have said this man times and I get attacked but I think we Ugandans and I could generalize and say Africans in general are a lazy lot. We don’t want to be innovative; we don’t think about tomorrow.

Sometimes I even don’t get mad with Museveni for the failures of his ministers but for keep appointing them, that is the only problem I have with him, though of course he would tell you that he picks from the people sent to him and if we are to get good leaders we should pick well, in a way I agree with on that.
It is not the problem of leader for the failure of those they put in place to act, if you look at health, it is being lead by a qualified doctor. Now, can we ask him what has he done to improve health care in Uganda?

Doesn’t he know that those companies they have given tenders to produce malaria tablets are producing substandard ones that many people are dying every day of just malaria, and can we blame that on Museveni?

The only minister who tried to do some work in 2010 is Onek, the Energy man, in fact he was God sent, if he hadn’t taken over that ministry all these oil issues would not have been uncovered. My brother Migereko was just sleeping when these guys were planning to rob the country dry!

When one talks of roads, I think you are somehow unfair to the minister of transport because actually the truck roads are not that bad, it is only the KCC roads which are in a mess and even if you don’t want to agree like most people have clearly refused to accept it, those city roads are not his jurisdiction, in fact around Kampala the roads the ministry looks after are in a decent condition. I know I will get people attacking me on this but unfortunately that is the fact. In fact all roads looked after by UNRA and Works have no potholes, that is a fact, I’m just coming from Uganda recently just two weeks ago and I drove on the network and it was not that bad.
Yes Kampala still has its issues and we pray that the new authority will do something about it , but I think the problem of Kampala more is to do with the large volumes of traffic, in that the loading on the road structure can’t withstand any more load. I think the solution to potholes in Kampala needs a more strategy plan than just a quick fix of filling holes would not work. I understand some people claiming this authority will do nothing, I disagree, when UNRA was formed those in works thought there wouldn’t be a change but actually there was.
I think these ministers are the drivers of gov’t policy, they have to formulate those policies which they take to cabinet to be agreed upon. Now unless when we have one minister who can tell us they have made proposals and the president has refused to approval those changes then we can’t blame him. It is true some of our so called visionary leaders are visionless but they have given jobs to those they think have a vision but they have also failed.

Trust me many countries don’t have all their leaders knowing all the solutions to all problems but the people they put in places of responsibility work out these things and convince the leaders that these things are not going to be political suicide for the gov’t. when I look at Cameron and George Osborne here in the UK,durimg their time in govt, these guys had no clue about the economics, but they were gambling with it– some things work others are not working.

The good thing with some of these leaders in these countries, is that when the make a mistake they admit it and actually change cause. In Uganda there are even too dumb to recognize this and the media who would help them out by analysing thing, are also clueless. I think the biggest problem we have in Uganda is this uninformed media, they can’t even shape a debate. Just look at them here on this forum, they have no clue whatsoever.
We also have a problem of many lazy people hiding behind the president, if you look at men like Otafiire, really what has he ever done in gov’t apart from antagonising public servants?
And by the way this disease of laziness has spread to even offices of public delivery. I went in one office, where I spent around four hours, and here I saw five workers sitting in one office chatting. Some on Facebook, others on YouTube and the rest just talking.
For the time I spent there I didn’t see any of them doing any work at all, and what even surprised me the CEO of the company entered the room and they seemed not even to recognise his presence. This is one of the high-profile authorities in Uganda mind you.
Now if that is the mindset, how can we see any progress and improvement? We can blame all we want on the president but if you look at it well I think he is the only person who works for his seat, some of these MPs do a lot of nothing, and because they are NRM, they have been given small constituencies. Some even don’t go back at all but are always elected.
So we should not only focus on the top leadership, we should also demand accountability from some of these ministers, they can’t just draw high salaries and keep doing a lot of nothing and it is the role of the media to put these people to task.

What Ugandans say about ‘Kadamas’ in the Middle East!

Uganda should not allow her self to be the country of choice to recruit maids, no!. The NRM government should be forced to create jobs for the graduates, not to export them to engage in those demeaning jobs. Those Arabs are very disrespectful to black Africans.
Those who live there can tell you, I don’t know how they do it besides the cooking temperatures of theirs. A few years go, I went to Dubai for the first time and we arrived at 1am in the morning. As we were about to land, the pilot announced that the temperatures were 50 degrees, I was like get out of here, what is it going to be during day time.
Ooo mama yangu ya Palabek. The rest is history, I will never step in that country again.

I read of a stroy where an Arab employer of a beautiful African maid organized a men’s only party of his friends. The Shisha and tea had blends of all wachy drugs but that wasnt to main purpose for the party.

The party objective was the maid herself – who had been serving them the whole time. come time to deliver on the objective target her bos tells her to take a break to shower and dress up to join them for the party with a few invited women.
Girl goes and dresses up looking good for the party only to find there wasnt any other invited woman except herself..As the climax of the party would have it the perverts descended on this poor girl thru every hole, crack and crevices they could deliver excitement to themselves and pains to the girl. This was done several times even when she had gone limb and numb to pain.

AT party’s end she was left unable to move on the floor but that wasnt the end of her ordeal. her wake up time to start preparing for the day after barely 3 hours of sleep everyday was 4am. the girl was a no-show and no sounds that she was awake and started as usual. The madam of the house starts looking for the girl in the huge house only to find her half-dead in the men’s only room. After beating her to pulp to wake up to start work the girl with her kids taking turns to deliver their own versions of justice using fists and kitchen hardware the girl was gathered in pieces and dumped in the scotching morning heat until, determined not to die, she regained but on the same day decided to rather be killed in the streets.

By evening during commotion time with everybody returning home and kids running around everywhere she took that “messy” time to bolt out. How she lived to tell her story was another thing but she survived to be rescued and returned to her country – Kenya.

Bottom line is, NO woman goes to work for an Arab family expecting to be just a Housemaid. There is more expected or unexpected of the Housemaid than ordinary clean-up chores.


As  the number of universities which are more than 30 in Uganda continue to produce more and more graduates the possibility of finding employment become marginal. It is a ticking bomb to have so many youths without any source of income worthy mentioning. In the wake of this grave situation the Saudi Arabia outlet is a welcome idea as long as our people don’t become household slaves but raise capital for better adventures.


I tear for the graduate maids.

One wonders, with all the self sacrifice a parent or relative gives up to educate his/her child and alas they’re subjected to such ridicule!!!

And yet you find minsters who don’t understand the under valuation of human resources in Uganda, justifying such an act.

To whose gain is such an act- to the thoughtless government, to the graduate or to the Saudis’ whose oblivious and horrendous violence is such an open public book?

Who cares about our people? I can tear, I can cry but we Ugandans seem to be failing ourselves at every God given opportunity.

How long can we endure this government’s imprudent acts?

While they expensively seek international private health services, my people are dying, they lack the cheapest paracetamol or Hedex , they’re saving for an education.

And yet, still our professionals are sold into slavery to unscrupulous and the cheapest bidders.

For how long can we hold on to this government? For how long!!!

Africans can hardly benefit from Arabs. Government could have arranged for a conducive professional migration not a maid one.

How low can our ministries bend?

Many Philippines migrate everywhere as professionals ie nurses, Asians as doctors and even the skilled Africans get a lot of skills and experience from different carers because the law is for all…,.. Not in the Middle East…

Convince me how a graduate Ugandan is going to gain similar job skills and experience from being a maid in Saudi or the law will be in her favour once she needs legal aid, utmost being forced to do other jobs on top of being a maid….( roles of a maid are never in black &!white)

Uganda is a very resourceful country, the biggest hindrance is the government that has failed to invest in anything lucrative to creat jobs nor has it improvised means or schemes for young graduates to forge a life ahead.

Rhita Wasswa


University costs 1.5m a semester. 6 semesters = 10 million shillings at least. This is almost 3000 dollars.

It will be 14 months before the housemaid starts making any profit, if she survives the gang rapes and insults from the women and kids.






JULY 2015



Theme: From ‘Siasa’ to freedom and service delivery



  1. Right Hon. Speaker, Honorable Members of the August House, it is a great honour for me to talk to you in a special way this afternoon. Firstly, let me welcome you to this last session of the 9th Parliament and thank you for the good work you have done for the country. This is the last time I address you, presenting to this House “A response to the State of the Nation Address” as Leader of the Opposition. In the 10th Parliament, we will be sitting on the right hand side of the Speaker.


  1. We wish to thank and congratulate all Ugandans on managing to survive and push on under the prevailing harsh economic and political conditions; yet even harder times lie ahead as evidenced by the current free-fall of the shilling against foreign currencies and the escalating prices of goods and services. Fortunately, another opportunity is coming in for Ugandans to deal with our 30 year dilemma, once and for all.


  1. My presentation this afternoon is largely our response to the State of the Nation Address made to this House by President Yoweri Museveni on June 04, 2015. The response is in line with Article 6E (4) of the Administration of Parliament (Amendment) Act, 2006 where it is provided thus: “The Leader of the Opposition shall study all policy statements of government with his or her Shadow Ministers and attend Committee deliberations on policy issues and give their party’s views and opinions and propose possible alternatives.”



  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker, in his address, in which he chose to account for 30 years of his rule instead of one Financial Year as expected, the President started with an intriguing quotation from the Church of Uganda Prayer Book, to wit:  “They left undone what they ought to have done and did that they ought not to have done and there is no truth in them”. He quoted.


  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker, if there is anyone to whom the quotation rightly applies, it is President Museveni.  Allow me cite a few examples to prove our case:


  1. When President Museveni captured power in 1986, he gave his transitional government a term of four years. But before the four years elapsed he added another five more years to himself.


  1. In his 2001 presidential election manifesto, President Museveni put it in black and white that he was seeking his last term as Head of State. He lied to Ugandans. The President is now set to make 30 years in office in February 2016! To the great disappointment of Uganda, the country in its entire history is yet to witness a peaceful handover of power from one President to another. Indeed “there is no truth in them” (him).


  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker, the President found the cooperatives thriving and robust as the farmers’ collective voice, their marketing and producer movement, their supplies of affordable farm inputs. He killed them within two years after grabbing power.


  1. Also killed was the farmers’ Cooperative Bank that used to lend them cheap money for working capital.


  1. Similarly killed were Uganda Tea Growers Corporation, Uganda cooperative Transport Union, district farm institutes and numerous      stock farms that assisted in modern agricultural development. In fact, as I make this presentation, the previously famous and booming Agricultural Show in Jinja which ended last week, like all the other  long dead similar annual shows that used to take place in all District Farm Institutes across the country, the Jinja show is also on the verge of extinction.  Indeed “they did that they ought not to have done”.


  1. He found a robust investment arm of government, Uganda                            Development Corporation (UDC), killed it, gave away for one dollar each some of its investments like NYTIL and Dairy Corporation, and sold others or their equipment at give-away-prices in the name of privatization.


  1. The President found a peoples’ bank, Uganda Commercial Bank, (UCB) and gave it away at a paltry US$19m with its entire high rise building headquarters and many branches and numerous assets. Compare this with a small Nile Bank without any physical assets (land or buildings) sold at US$24m at about the same time!


  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker, President Museveni found a thriving Uganda Airlines with ground handling and catering facilities which were all cannibalized and given away to relatives. Today our airline is no more as neighbors benefit from what Indeed “they (he) left undone what they ought to have done”


  1. The President found a railway system running up to Kasese and Pakwach and killed it in the interest of foreign trailer trucks owners. Perhaps regretting his errors, he is now preoccupied with construction of the most expensive standard gauge railway segment in the world as if the gauge was the problem!


  1. The President found a sound public education system, may be a bit narrow but sound, not like that of today where children in upper classes in government schools have been found to be below P.2 standard in reading and arithmetic; where increasing numbers of parents are forced to opt for expensive private schools and leaving free public schools (UPE and USE) system which was badly implemented and mismanaged.


  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker the health system has been neglected and destroyed as those in power and their agents seek treatment abroad, even for delivery of their children and grandchildren!    According to a recent UNCEF Report, Uganda is among the 10 top countries in the world with the highest maternal, new born and child mortality rate; about 40 % children die of malnutrition.


  1. It is noteworthy that in his Budget Speech, 2015/16, the Minister of Finance says the budget “seeks to rebuild the health system to improve service delivery…” This is a clear admission that the health system has been destroyed but not built over the 30 years.


  1. Do we still need to ask as to who has destroyed our social service delivery systems?  The long serving Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is known. Under his governance, almost all state and government institutions, systems and service deliveries have been destroyed; thanks to his greed for power and concentration of it, in himself coupled with his micromanagement of national affairs.


  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker in his Manifesto for the 2001 elections, President Museveni wrote four times asking for his last term. He repeated the same request over and over verbally at rallies and on Radio and TV programmes. That last term was to end in 2006! It never was. Indeed “there is no truth in them” (him).


  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker, Point No. 5 of the NRM Ten Point Programme was to construct an “independent, integrated, and self-sustaining economy” that would stop the leakage of Uganda’s wealth abroad.


  1. How come then that after 30 years under the same regime, guided by the Ten (later fifteen) Point Programme, this Parliament just passed a budget whose biggest item is an allocation for payment of external debts of Shs 6,643bn? Why does Uganda still import more than it exports? What sense do the crafters of the Ten-Point program make of this today?


  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker, when he was still a revolutionary, the President once wrote correctly and also used to say that, Africa’s problem was leaders who overstay in power. Such leaders become intolerant to divergent opinions even if they are better for the country than theirs, assume positions of infallibility, blame others for their own failures and misdeeds and take sole credit for all achievements. This is where we are as a country.


  1. In his address, The President outlined five pillars of his next programme; namely roads, electricity, the railway, defence and security and the cost of capital. The rest of the Addresses are aspirational statements about agriculture, livestock, oil, timber.


  1. For obvious reasons, the President said practically nothing about the current   political situation in the country that is worrying citizens. He said in one sentence that the political situation was “very good” adding that everything is provided for in the Constitution and his Manifesto! Not even a word about the coming general elections and the necessary electoral reforms.



  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker from where we sit, we do not think that the current political situation in the country is “very good” as the President said. We see it differently. We see turmoil under the sky. We see uncertainty and dark clouds hanging over the country. We are sure even the President sees it but he pretends that all is well. Otherwise, why is he deploying and deploying heavily armed security forces and making Kampala a garrison capital city, a fort of sorts? Something which is scaring off investors and causing capital flight.


  1. The President said “everything is in the Constitution and his NRM manifesto.” Surely? Is that the same Constitution he once referred to as “mere pieces of paper” which he has continued to ignore rape and abuse at will for his personal interests?


  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker, in 2010 the President produced a five year campaign Manifesto 2011/15, titled “Prosperity For All, Better Service Delivery and Job Creation”.


  1. In the Foreword by presidential candidate Museveni he states “The focus in this manifesto is on the services that have a direct link with the quality of life and human development especially health, education, water, sanitation, as well as infrastructure focusing on electricity and transport system”.


  1. He adds that “the investment in commercialization of agriculture will make Ugandans more prosperous” and that investment “in the development of the oil and gas sector will be used in development of infrastructure and human resource for prosperity for all Ugandans”.


  1. The question is how far have these stated manifesto objectives been achieved in the last five years of the thirty year old rule by Yoweri  Kaguta Museveni?


  1. In the first chapter of the manifesto he promises to deliver democracy, good governance, rule of law, constitutionalism, promotion and protection of human rights, independent judiciary, Independent Electoral Commission, zero tolerance of corruption and above all prosperity for all.


  1. To us, all of these lofty promises and principles have turned out in reality to be hot air and worse still have in fact been grossly violated   in order to ensure regime survival. Ask Hon. Amama Mbabazi and his supporters who are the most recent victims of the vicious regime actions.


  1. The Rt. Hon. Speaker, the fear of the President losing power has become a big impediment to necessary reforms that would make the country more free and democratic and thus realizing sustainable economic development and stability.



  1. The President believes in more control of the public administration sector rather than on service delivery. The centre piece of this governance and philosophy is keeping control of the army, police, security agencies and of late telecommunications, including social media. He has become a real Big Brother of George Orwell’s famous book, The 1984.


  1. He has built a ruthless Police state that mainly serves his personal interests and those of a clique of cronies in his regime. Some commanders of the police force see the Opposition as enemies of the State not opponents of government. More often than not, the Police shamelessly issue more warnings against the opposition than against criminal law breakers. More resources are spent on controlling the Opposition than on criminals and terrorists.  Is this the freedom and democracy which cost over 500,000 lives in Luwero Triangle and over 1,000,000 lives more to protect the regime in power?


  1. Recently, the police have gone to the extent of pulling down posters of political leaders who have expressed their intention to contest for the Presidency of the country.  Now they have started deploying thousands of policemen and women to prevent aspiring Presidential candidates from reaching the voters for consultation.


  1. The Rt. Hon. Speaker, the  police, whose annual Budget  the President  has increased to more than  ten times since he appointed the current Inspector General of Police (IGP)  in 2005, behaves and acts  like a militia wing of his ruling party.


  1. Recently, the Inspector General of Police, Gen.  Kale Kaihura, did not disappoint his boss when addressing a security team that was to take charge of Namugongo on Martyrs Day June 3, at Mukono High School. He reportedly warned “anybody who is eyeing to lead Uganda come 2016 elections to forget about it.” Adding that they “fought for this Nation and cannot hand it over to anybody anyhow”. What I can assure you is that we are fighters and fighters don’t get old and tired,” he said.   Gen. Kayihura knows very well that we, the opposition have chosen the path of the ballot, we have no guns and do not wish to use them ever.  Then why is he talking and threatening us with guns bought by the taxpayer?


  1. He added that they have military skills; they are still fit and well organized to fight anybody who will try to push them away. “We have got military skills and weapons so we shall always dominate any group that will try to disorganize us” the General was quoted threatening. He has never denied the report.


  1. The Rt. Hon. Speaker Uganda’s personal and de facto single party dictatorship is underpinned by a superstructure of militarism. The personal rule largely relies on the military, the security agencies and increasingly a militarized Police Force while the ruling party sadly lies dormant most of the time, with the exception of the Parliamentary Caucus, only to be activated during election campaigns.


  1. It is therefore not surprising that as resistance against his rule increases, the President is deploying more and more still-serving-soldiers in purely civilian jobs outside the Army.  He has deployed the military in Police Force, in registration of voters and citizens, in ICT section of the Electoral Commission, in Parliament here, in tax collection, in enforcing law and order especially on the lakes and now in distribution of agricultural inputs to peasants in villages.


  1. Civilians trained through mchamchaka as Party cadres and of recent the so-called crime preventers are also being brought into the military-security system.  The country has been set on a war footing and inevitable violence.


  1. The Rt. Hon Speaker, instead of building a democracy where the army is subordinate to civilian order, mainly to secure our borders, we are increasingly seeing soldiers being entrenched in civilian roles. Why? Because although there is NRM party, the reality is that the President rules with the UPDF and security agencies, as his personal power base. The NRM is simply a coating on the bitter pill on which the personal rule has survived for almost thirty years.


  1. Large numbers of military personnel, for example, have been recently deployed in the countryside, allegedly to manage NAADS programmes but in reality to intimidate the masses and in preparation for intervention in the coming electoral processes.


  1. The Rt. Hon Speaker, What political Party worth its salt will allow one of its leaders to use his powerful office to criminalize aspirations of some other leaders vying for the top position in the Party?  What political Party worth its salt allows its leaders to go all over the country carrying sacks of money and buying support for its supposedly popular chairperson while at the same time restricting, harassing, persecuting and brutalizing political opponents?
  2. No wonder then that Uganda is one of the worst performing countries as regards the rule of law. According to the 2015 Rule of Law Index by the World Justice Project (WJP) which was released in the USA on 02 June 2015, of the 102 countries sampled, Uganda stands at number 95 and the worst in East Africa.


  1. Repressive laws have been put in place and more are being processed to further reduce the freedom of those deemed not to be pro-regime. His is rule by the law not rule of law.  Laws and law enforcement officers are used to fight political opponents of the personal rule and to ensure a long life presidency.


  1. This is the real state of our nation although “some fortune-hunters” pretend not to see it.



  1. The Rt. Hon Speaker, the budget, recently read, promises an increase in the budget deficit of 7% of GDP without giving us reasons for it.


  1. The sectors allocated a lot of funds and whose allocations were increased are those for public administration that contribute to regime protection and survival.


  1. The Rt. Hon. Speaker, after 30 continuous years in power by one leader, which is equivalent to one generation, Uganda should be  by now a transformed developed or at least a middle income country.


  1. Unfortunately Uganda is at the bottom of the list in most development indicators, whether in health, education, water and sanitation, electricity coverage, administration of justice, name it.


  1. The State of the Nation Address hardly said anything serious about these issues as was expected and as promised in NRM manifesto. Instead, it was the Minister of Finance in his Budget Speech who surprisingly, addressed several issues that should have been covered in the State of the Nation Address.


  1. In his campaign manifesto of 2011/16 the President proudly informs us that “since 1985/86, the share of agriculture to national output has declined from 53.9% to 22.8% in 2009/10”.


  1. Under agriculture (p88) we are informed that “subsistence farmers” “constitute 60% (3 million households)” of the farming households.


  1. This is what explains, though inadvertently, the rampant abject poverty in the country, especially in the rural areas.


  1. The 60% subsistence farmers, outside the cash economy plus the non-subsistence farmers now total about 70-80% of the population and we are told that they now share less than 20% of national output (GDP).  Clearly agriculture should be one of the national priorities for funding but to NRM government, it is not.    We need to bring into the cash economy all those subsistence farmers.  We must invest in them.


  1. For 30 years in power they have sung an empty song of modernizing agriculture and transforming the economy. But where is that on the ground? On the ground we still have and see primitive and backward farming methods.


  1. The Rt. Hon. Speaker, the government priorities are different. In this year’s budget 2015/16 the Public Sector Management (Shs.776.1b) plus Public Administration (shs.6,369.2bn) take a total of 1492.4bn which is 14 times the allocation for agriculture (Shs.484.6b). The high expenditure on public administration clearly indicates the low ranking of agriculture in government’s set of priorities. Regime survival, corruption, bribery and patronage through public administration is now their No.1 priority.


  1. This is the most serious mistake and indictment of the Museveni rule rating regime survival higher than the economic and social interests of 80% of the population who depend entirely on agriculture.


  1. They deny agriculture funding yet it is well known that investment in agriculture has the highest job creation potential.


  1. Food is the biggest driver of the cost of living and therefore focus should be on investment in agriculture in order to raise living standards and the quality of life.


  1. The Rt. Hon. Speaker, a just released Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report indicates that the number of undernourished people going hungry in Uganda is about nine million or about 25.5% of the population. This is about the same figure for those who are chronically poor.



  1. We agree there should be adequate investment in infrastructure, but if some of the funds that have been invested in trunk roads had been invested in improved productivity in agriculture, the growth of GDP would have been even higher, thus eventually making more funds available sustainably for improved road infrastructure.


  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker, roads do not automatically bring more income to households. Otherwise, why is it that with thousands of kilometers of trunk roads improved, together with GDP growth of 6% poverty remains still the biggest national problem?


  1. If roads per se had an immediate impact on poverty, it would have been seen in Busoga for example, where paved roads and railway line to Kenya have passed for decades. Instead Busoga has the highest density (incidence) of poverty in the country.


  1. Even rural Buganda which is crisscrossed by more tarmac roads is not significantly different from Busoga in terms of poverty.


  1. Good trunk roads without deliberately adding new productive capacity in the country may actually instead boost the movement of imported goods produced elsewhere as is indeed the case in our country today.  Foreign business benefit more from our modern roads than us the citizens largely because of government’s poor planning, poor policies and wrong priorities which do not put the interests of ordinary people at the centre.


  1. Pro-people policies and budgets must of necessity be pro-agriculture and pro-small scale and medium enterprises because that is where most people are. This has been the missing link for 30 years.


  1. With no consistent value addition industrialization and agricultural modernization policies, there will be no clear linkages with road and infrastructure improvements as is often assumed.


  1. Infrastructure development in Uganda is among government priorities linked to high opportunities for corruption, patronage and big cash donations to the rulers as recent events have shown.
  2. Indeed the cost of infrastructure projects often becomes many times more expensive because of corruption, excessive red tape and deficient supervision consequential to the corrupt procurement processes.



  1. Another most prominent issue brought out by the current budget is the extent of indebtedness by the country, shown by the fact that Debt Repayment (6400bn) is 25.7% of the budget. It is the single highest allocation in the 2015/16 budget.


  1. What then will the debt level be like when the loans totaling to US$13.8bn (about Shs. 48 trillion) for the Standard Gauge Railway, for several hydro electricity dams, for the oil refinery, for the oil pipeline, for the airport expansion and for more armaments acquisitions are added?


  1. The minister does not tell us what the old debts were contracted for.  Some of the external debts are long term, 30, 40 or even 50 years but we need to know whether the funds have been well utilized, where, when and how. In fact as I stand here some borrowed money, over US$2bn remains unutilized for   years while attracting strictly enforced interest payments.


  1. While the Shadow Minister for Finance shall reply to the Budget Speech, I wish to comment on some areas that should have been in the President’s Address.



  1. Whereas the President identifies five areas of his government focus in the coming years, namely: roads, electricity, railways, defence and security and cost of capital, the Minister of Finance identifies seven strategic areas of defence and security; private sector enterprise development; infrastructure development and maintenance; commercialization of agriculture; increased domestic revenue mobilization; increased social service delivery; and efficiency in government management.


  1. Whereas the President boasts of great achievements in economic development and service delivery, the minister is more forthcoming and truthful with information that shows that only modest achievements have been made.


  1. For example, the minister shows that with regard to roads only 167km were upgraded to tarmac against a target of 250 km and only 129km were reconstructed against a target of 170km.


  1. On health, we heard the usual focus on quantitative figures but even here the minister’s figures show modest goals.


  1. For example, whereas they plan to rehabilitate nine (9) identified hospitals next financial year, this is against the background that only 13 hospitals were rehabilitated in the last 5 years.


  1. However, the statistics and other figures on health do not tell us whether access to public health facilities has risen from 17% of the population where it has been for a long time under NRM government.


  1. On education there are promises of increased student loans to a paltry 6 billion.  At this rate, when will the loan scheme roll out to all needy students without discrimination?


  1. In this age and time, access to piped water in our capital city is shamefully still less than 50% of the residents. So is electricity. Everyday we see Ugandan children carrying jerricans of water and water vendors ferrying jerricans of water on bicycles and motor cycles.


  1. The Rt. Hon. Speaker, the Minister of Finance paints a dim picture of the country where Agriculture has been registering a negative growth of 1.5% for the last five years.


  1. Manufacturing has also been contracting.


  1. Construction in the industrial sector has registered growth largely on account of public infrastructure investment;


  1. Services sector which is seen as the star performing sector is only boosted by information and telecommunication services innovations, such as mobile money;


  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker, there is the issue of imbalance of payments where the minister shows that foreign exchange earnings from exports were a mere US$2701.6 whereas imports were US$5,048.9.


  1.  The minister accounts for the imbalance on oil imports, and materials for Karuma and Isimba dams. But oil prices had fallen drastically, so there must be other reasons.


  1. One of the reasons is capital flight because of uncertainty caused by the potentially explosive coming general elections. Capital flight and reduction in foreign aid are also causing serious problems, leading to the rapid falling of the Shilling against the dollar.


  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker, tax collection in Uganda, at 13% of GDP, is among the lowest in Africa with an average of 18% collection to GDP. This is because our tax base is very narrow and many fat cats with direct and access to the powers that be easily evade taxes with impunity.



  1. Rt. Hon Speaker, the following would be some policies and priorities if we (the opposition) were in government.


  1. First and foremost we would guarantee economic freedom, equal opportunity and social justice;


  1. We would ensure descent conditions at the workplace including a reasonable minimum wage for Ugandan workers through appropriate legislation, and solidarity with the economically weak through a strong system of social security.


  1. We would deliver an economy underpinned by strong agricultural, industrial and services sectors anchored on the citizens, with the private sector playing a dominant role in building a modern knowledge-based economy.


  1.  We would put in place a meritocratic public service that is efficient, well-motivated and that values honesty, excellence and national service as core values of nation building.


  1.  Highly skilled and motivated public officers, teachers, health workers, police men and women and the men and women who serve in our armed forces would be the primary foundation for delivering on our policies under strict supervision and induced self-drive.


  1.  We would deliver a small and efficient Central Government and economically viable Local Government units with power devolved to federal states or more economically viable regional governments.


  1. We would protect, promote, abide by and enforce the rule of law and constitutionalism to the letter as the foundation for legitimate business, investment and economic justice.


  1. We would invest in creating an educated and skilled human capital for a workforce of women, men, youth and entrepreneurs.


  1. We would initiate a systematic and comprehensive investment programme in transport and energy infrastructure driven, not by politics, but by the mission of unlocking Uganda’s untapped economic potential.


  1. We would pay great attention to reducing youth unemployment from the current 83%, with annual targets, ensure job security and guarantee a secure workplace.


  1. We would modernize agriculture by making available to all farmers genuine farm inputs including hoes, ploughs and tractors at subsidized prices, access to markets through rejuvenated cooperatives and best-performer incentives.


  1. We would do all it takes to attract foreign investors but require that foreigners wishing to invest in and on land go into partnership with nationals who own that land.


  1. We would ensure that natural resources including oil and minerals are well managed for the benefit of all the people.


  1. We would raise the PAYE threshold to Shs. 500,000 and the minimum wage to Shs 180,000.


  1. We would provide school meals with forward and lateral linkages to agricultural production of maize, beans and milk.


  1. Government sponsorship will be for all students and equal whether in private or government universities and colleges as top-ups.
  2. Student Loans would be available to all those needy students who cannot afford the tuition top-ups.


  1. We would initiate a health insurance scheme for all, not just for those in formal employment thus delivering a modern health care system, focusing on universal access and quality.


  1. We would restore dignity to the elderly by paying those of more than 65 years old a monthly stipend of not less than Shs. 50,000.


  1. We would reconstitute the Electoral Commission through a consultative process to reflect conditions in a multi-party system.


  1. We would reinstate the two term Presidential limit.


  1. We would promote equal opportunity and fairness in employment, promotion, justice, welfare and wellbeing of public officials.


  1. We would ensure defence and security, through modernization of the security forces and improvement of their welfare.


  1. We would review the recruitment, training, promotion, remuneration and welfare of the service men and women.


  1. We would raise education standards, in addition to access, focusing on quality, and skills.


  1. We would protect the vulnerable, support the elderly, orphans and other vulnerable children and improve emergency services response.


  1. We would restore freedom and liberties;


  1. We would focus on unity and foster reconciliation among the people of Uganda. Starting with a transition Government of National Unity.


  1. We would put more resources in safe piped water powered by solar energy for the rural people.


  1. We would invest more lighting rural homes with solar energy.



  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker, we would be pro-people, not pro-regime and its survivals as is the case under the current state of quagmire in which Uganda find herself.


  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker, in short we would guarantee people’s freedoms and human rights and promote more inclusive economic empowerment and employment.


  1. Rt. Hon. Speaker, again from where we sit, in a politically less privileged position, we know how Ugandans suffer to eke a living. We know we what they want from their leaders and government at the moment.


  1. Ugandans want a Uganda with a sound social and economic base underpinned by a system of social justice built on a strong foundation of inclusive democratic institutions, systems and processes.


  1. They want a prosperous Uganda without grinding poverty,    disease and poor or no service delivery.


  1. Ugandans are yearning to see a peaceful change of governments through credible, free and fair, competitive elections under an inclusive electoral system (not first past the post).


  1. They want fair electoral laws and electoral procedures, rules and regulations managed by an Independent Electoral Commission.


  1. They want a Uganda in which the freedom to organize (political   parties) around aggregate interests to win power is guaranteed and seen to be real and respected by those who  hold power now or in the future.


  1. Ugandans want a culture of tolerance of different views and diversity in politics, in religion, in ethnicity, in gender and in age. They want peaceful coexistence.

Rt. Hon Speaker, Ugandans want to be involved in the conception, design, formulation and implementation of projects affecting them directly. They do not want the current situation where policies, programmes and budgets which promote poor delivery of health, education, water, utilities and other services.




Aware of the times we live in our country, we hope that serenity will prevail over the demonstrated dire urge for power by the current President. We know that there is always the first time for everything and therefore we hope that the President can start to listen to logic and care more about the future of the country than about himself as his history as President has shown.




Wafula-Oguttu Phillip


Tackling Mwenda’s Malarkey on Term Limits

By Bernard Sabiti



Today we start with a flashback:

Episode 1: August 2005, Kampala, Uganda.

Scene 1: Date: August 10. Location: Kololo Airstrip. Event: Funeral service of Ugandans that, a few days earlier, had died with then Sudanese Vice President, John Garang in a helicopter crash.

Yoweri Museveni: “These newspapers, I am the elected leader of Uganda. I therefore have the ultimate mandate to run their affairs. I will no longer tolerate a newspaper which is like a vulture… I will simply close it. Finish. End. Gasiya tu. I have been seeing this young boy, Mwenda, writing about Rwanda, writing about Sudan, writing about UPDF, he must stop. Completely. He is an expert on SPLA, he knows the minutes which took place where… he must stop. And this other paper called Observer, what is being said in the army. This is not how a country is run… Red Pepper also. I thought those were confused young boys busy with naked girls… These newspapers must stop or we shall stop them. If they want to continue doing business in Uganda, they must stop interfering in security matters of the region…”

Scene 2: Date: August 11. Location: KFM Radio HQ; 8th Street, Industrial Area, Kampala. Main event: Andrew Mwenda Live political Talkshow. Panelists: Presidential Assistant on Politics, Moses Byaruhanga, Mr. Reagan Okumu, an opposition Member of Parliament and ex-intelligence chief David Pulkol

Andrew Mwenda: “… If he was elected, does that mean that other actors do not have views? … Does it mean that when people elect him, those who disagree with him should keep quiet? … You go and tell him to listen to this show, then he can get some wisdom, because all of you guys sit at State House and say, yes sir, yes sir. Here we say no sir… I can tell you, his little threats are completely ignored… Mwenda should not discuss security in the region, how can you say something like that? I don’t want… we run a newspaper and pay taxes which buy his suits, does he know that?… You see these African presidents. This man went to University, why can’t he behave like an educated person? Why does he behave like a villager?… But, how can he insult me like that? Museveni has no monopoly of irrationality, do you know that?… If he wants to behave like Saddam Hussein, let him go to Iraq… Peace and security is a public good… I think I understand security better than Museveni… That is what I think. I am a security expert… Oh, Jesus Christ! You really think laying the whole northern region, a third of the country, in waste, 20 years of war, is how you bring security into a country? Let him resign today, let me become President and you will see what I will do. This country will be better managed and there will be security all over the country. Security will no longer be a tribal good enjoyed by the Bantu in the south. Everybody in Uganda will be entitled to security. Museveni can never intimidate me. He can only intimidate himself… We are willing to pay Museveni a handsome pension if he decided to go home and rest and stop mismanaging this country. Why does he call me a boy?… Listen to me and you will get the correct security analysis. Listen to the President you will get the wrong one… The President is becoming more of a coward and everyday importing cars that armour plated and bullet proof and you know moving in tanks and mambas, you know, hiding with a mountain of soldiers surrounding him, he thinks that that is security. That is not security. That is cowardice… this one’s security is Jurassic security. Why does this one move with mounted anti-aircraft guns, AK 47 assault rifles, tanks and mambas, buffels and katyushas, Jesus Christ? Actually Museveni’s days as a President are numbered if he goes on a collision course with me… I wish I was 35, I would have contested the next election… you mismanaged Garang’s security. Are you saying it is Monitor that caused the death of Garang or it is your own mismanagement?… Aah what caused Garang’s death? Garang’s security was put in danger by your own government putting him first of all on a junk helicopter, second at night, third passing through Imatong Hills where Kony is… Are you aware that Garang died in Imatong Hills where you have always complained that Kony is?… Are you aware that your Government killed Garang? … I would say the Government of Uganda, out of incompetence, led to or caused the death of John Garang. They put him on the plane when it was already late. That plane the President said it has the capacity to detect bad weather 100km away. Why couldn’t they detect the bad weather 100km away? … Let me challenge you. When a plane is taking off from place A going to place B, it is supposed to establish weather at place B. If the weather at place B was bad, why didn’t your people here decide not to go? Maybe you don’t recognize that the Government of Uganda is responsible for the death of Garang. Whether it is by commission or omission, the government of Uganda cannot run away from that responsibility.”

Episode ends with Mr. Mwenda being arrested, jailed for those words.


Episode 2, August 2015, Kampala Uganda

Scene 1. Date, August 10, 2015. Location: State House Entebbe: Main event: Joint press conference with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, who is on a state visit to the country:

Yoweri Museveni:  “For us in Uganda, we don’t agree with term limits. We rejected them. What Africa needs is infrastructure not term limits. If people do not want a particular group, they vote them out…I am not responsible for what Mr. Obama says. I don’t know what he means by being in power for long. Being elected every after five years means I am still popular. I have no apologies over that.”

Scene 2. Date, August 10, 2015. Location: Unknown but most likely Kanjokya Street, Kamwokya, Kampala, The Independent Magazine HQ. Main Event: Commentary in the “Last Word” column

Andrew Mwenda: “US President Barack Obama excited a section of Africa’s elite when he denounced African leaders who rule for very long, some even dying in office…But how long is long? There is an assumption that longevity of leaders in Africa is a cause of instability. But is this really true? The laboratory of politics is history. If we look the nations of Africa with the most stable democracies, they are the ones that had preceding presidents that ruled for very long…”


There is a saying, largely attributed to former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson that In politics; a week is a life time. In the complicated world of the Museveni-Mwenda bromance, ten years, it appears, is quiet something.

A remarkable thing happened this week. On the 10th anniversary of the 2005 clash between the two as reconstructed above, Mr.  Museveni and Mr. Mwenda offered their views on the important topic of term limits, the nature of which would astonish anyone who first watches the four scenes reproduced above, and is alien to Ugandan politics in general, and the history of Andrew Mwenda’s ‘evolution’ as a commentator, in particular. No one who doesn’t know both men would believe that the protagonists in the first two scenes, would ever agree on anything.

For Mr. Museveni at least, it is totally understandable. He is after all, a politician. So, he has a selfish interest, which is why, even he states his obvious half truth (that ‘Ugandans rejected term limits’), we will give him a pass. Andrew Mwenda However is a journalist. Or at least he says he is one. So we must hold him to a higher standard. Mr. Mwenda’s recent views on term limits, as espoused in his latest article are, in effect,  more polished, equivocal echoings of Mr. Museveni’s informally stated ones on the issue. And therein lies the tragedy of current political commentary (‘analysis’, some call it), and even more so, ‘journalism’ in Uganda.

In the middle of the storm that followed the article he wrote criticizing Obama’s remarks on governance and dictatorships last month, Mr. Mwenda and his supporters jumped to a breaking news report by the Reuters News agency that Germany’s Angella Merkel was going to run for a fourth term in 2017.

“May be Obama needs to fly to Germany to give Merkel a lecture on why term limits are absolutely necessary,” Mwenda wrote on his Facebook page on August 2, following the Reuters report.

“I also thought when you have term limits as Kenya does, corruption goes away and heaven falls on the country. Problem with over-simplifying the complex”, Mr. Mwenda posted again, in a series of posts.

Mr. Museveni and Mr. Mwenda have once again used the same ‘whataboutism’ card (see my previous blog) during their invectives against term limits, giving as examples western established democracies that do not have term limits. In the aftermath of the 2011 election when the Walk to Work protests were raging, Mr. Museveni sat down with NTV Kenya’s Linus Kaikai, who put the same question to him.

Linus Kaikai: Was it a good thing Mr. President, to remove presidential term limits from the constitution? Some analysts say what just happened in Egypt and Tunisia where there were no term limits might happen in Uganda as well…”

M7:  “…If the people are voting, that’s the benchmark. The Lowest Common Multiple, to determine who leads them. About these term limits, that’s according to individual countries. Many countries don’t have term limits. Are there term limits in the UK? In France? In Israel? In Germany? The crucial thing is the competitiveness in the political system. Was the Egypt system competitive? As for Uganda, the system is very competitive. No limit on how many parties can contest for power. No limit on who can contest.  If you lose, you really loose because people don’t want you.”

That was of course before the Sole Candidature melee!

Now, it is really the epitome of deception, misinformation, naivety, even stupidity, to compare European democracies “without term limits” to Africa’s dictatorial regimes. I will try to explain important details about the political systems of these countries that intellectual frauds will not tell you.

Most of these countries are parliamentary democracies, not presidential ones. The party that wins the most seats forms the government. Why is this distinction important to make? Because unlike presidential systems, the power is not vested in one person who, naturally will likely abuse it. Secondly, these countries have such old and entrenched, tested and politically mature political/ democratic systems that even without the term limits written in their constitutions, change does happen, almost Darwinian style. Many parties even fail to form governments and have to form coalitions because the power and support is almost equally distributed. You will never have a situation where one party controls three quarters of parliament like the NRM does in Uganda. If we look at the countries Mr. Museveni and his supporters on the term limits issue give as examples, you will note that over the same period that Mr. Museveni has been in power, there have been multiple changes of heads of government, with different parties having a shot.

Since Mr. Museveni came to power in 1986, Canada, France, Australia, the UK, Germany, Israel, and these other democracies have had several changes of governments.

Australia has had 6 Prime Ministers since 1986: Robert Hawke, Paul Keating, John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, and Tonny Abbott;

Israel has had seven changes of governments: Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Shamir, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres,  Benjamin Netanyahu,   Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon,  Ehud Olmert and  Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel has one seven year non consecutive terms meaning you are allowed to come back  to serve but  not continuously, which actually is some sort of deterrent, some sort of ‘limit’. That’s why you see some names reappearing)

The UK has had Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

India, the world’s largest democracy, has had ten prime ministers since 1986!  Rajiv Gandhi, Vinshanath Pratap Singh, Chandra Shekhar, Narasima Rao, Atal Behari Vajpayee (twice) H. D. Deve Gowda, Inder Kumar Gujral, Manmohan Singh and the current NArendra Modi.

Canada has also had 5, namely; Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell, Jean Chretien, Paul Martin Jr. and Stephen Harper.

In many of these cases, incumbent prime ministers were voted out as party leaders and thus lost the leadership of their countries, such as was the case of Julia Gillard in 2013. Those who were removed as a result of internal party democracy were succeeded as prime minister by somebody from their own party who in some cases would be defeated in the general election. What just befell former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi should speak for its self to those who think these contexts are comparable!

In fact some of these so called ‘no term limits’ countries have, over the same period, had higher turnover of leaders than even the United States, a presidential democracy  with term limits. Mr. Museveni has shaken hands, as president with 5 different US presidents since coming to power in 1986: Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

To justify the raping of African constitutions by the continent’s good-for-nothing dictators therefore, by pointing to the Western Europe’s or Asian situation is, as this writer says, the epitome of absurdity!


But now let’s look at Mr. Mwenda’s more seemingly “reasonable” examples in his latest article, “The problem with Missionary Politics” which is the most recent piece on his page in The Independent’s “Last Word” column.  Mr. Mwenda dismisses the notion that a leader’s longevity in power has any correlation with that country’s stability, and, as he always does, gives carefully selected examples that, if anything, actually show that the longer the leader stays the better prospects for that country’s political stability. Except that he forgot that someone else reads, and can further interrogate those very examples to turn his argument upside down. Mr. Mwenda writes:

“There is an assumption that longevity of leaders in Africa is a cause of instability. But is this really true? The laboratory of politics is history. If we look the nations of Africa with the most stable democracies, they are the ones that had preceding presidents that ruled for very long: Zambia (Kenneth Kaunda, 27 years), Malawi (Kamuzu Banda, 30), Tanzania (Julius Nyerere, 24), Ghana (Jerry Rawlings, 18), Kenya (Daniel Arap Moi, 24), Benin (Mathieu Kerekou, 19 plus 10), Botswana (Katumile Matsire, 17) and Senegal (Abdou Diof, 20).

Even those who ruled till death contradict Obama’s doomsday prediction. The most successful democracy in Africa is Botswana. Its first president, Sir Tseretse Khama, died in office after 14 years in power. Kenya’s founding president, Jomo Kenyatta, ruled for 15 years and died in office. In Mozambique, Samora Machel died in office after 12 years in power, there was a peaceful transition leading to term limits and a stable democracy. Recently in Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi died in office after 23 years in power and left the most successful economy on our continent – and a peaceful transition.

In Ivory Coast, Felix Boigny ruled for 33 years, died in office paving away to a peaceful transition. Under the successor multiparty democratic government the country succumbed to a coup, then civil war and near collapse. In Togo and Gabon, Presidents Nassingbe Eyadema and Omar Bongo ruled for 38 and 41 years respectively, died in office and bequeathed peaceful transitions to their sons. Ahmed Ahidjo served Cameroun for 22 years and retired peacefully and handed over power to Paul Biya who has ruled for 33 years now.

In Mali, Moussa Traore ruled for 23 years and was overthrown in a military coup. The coup leader, Gen. Amadou Toumani ruled for one year and handed over power, to a democratic government with term limits. But this experiment collapsed in 2012 with a coup. Today, the country is held together by French troops”.

As usual, Mwenda also begins his intellectually dishonest article by going medieval. He makes references to contradictions of democracy as a governing concept, as far back as 500 B.C ancient Rome. I warned you in the last article that this is a classic characteristic of intellectual fraudsters. Why, there are more examples than we would need by just looking around us, in the present day!

Anyway, let’s look at some of the examples Mr. Mwenda gives, and see what really happened in those situations.

Malawi (Kamuzu Banda, 30 years in power, 1960-1993).
Mr. Banda’s Malawi, was, even by African standards, a pitiful country in terms of governance and economics. He inculcated a culture of personality cult, banned all political parties except his, jailed and killed his opponents, censored or banned the press, and every other evil act in a dictator’s book. His successor, Bakili Muluzi was a former ally who quit the government and went into hiding after Banda had wanted him dead. Banda was stripped of the life presidency in 1993 when a referendum ended his reign. The referendum was forced by a Western aid cut which forced him to legalise political parties. He was voted out in the very first election under that new arrangement as he had lost all legitimacy.

So, yes, Malawi now enjoys term limits due to Banda, but for the opposite reasons of those Mwenda wants us to believe. It was a result of his EVIL, not his goodness, that Malawians said, Never Again, to life presidency. I hope I don’t have to remind you of what happened when the beneficiary of this Malawians’ farsightedness, Bakili Muluzi, tried to abuse it by attempting to remove term limits in 2006 himself. The people rose up, the influential catholic church rose up, and Muluzi was denied a third term. So, thanks to the evil one, Banda, Malawians learnt how to not let it happen again.

Poor guy! A somewhat funny New York Times obituary of him when he died at age 100 in 1997 talked of his five residences, a fleet of British luxury cars and a private jet, his refusal to give speeches in African Languages (he considered himself the perfect ‘English gentleman’ and his love for British taste and mannerisms was well known) as well as another important detail: the fact that he never married, had no children, but  kept a voluptuous secretary, a Miss Kadzamira, referred to as  the ”official hostess,” for 30 years. This is not what the sly ‘analyst’ Mr. Mwenda tells us, of course, in his article!

Felix Boigny, Ivory Coast: Ruled for 33 years, “died in office paving away to a peaceful transition”
Commonly known as the “Sage of Africa” or the “Grand Old Man of Africa,” one of Houphouët-Boigny’s acts as president, was to move the country’s capital from Abidjan to his hometown of Yamoussoukro in the North, where he also built the world’s largest church, the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro, at a cost of US$300 million! Mwenda is right on the turmoil that followed his rule. After his death, conditions in Côte d’Ivoire quickly deteriorated. From 1994 until 2002, there were a number of coups d’état, a currency devaluation, an economic recession, and, beginning in 2002, a civil war. But what were the causes? Unsurprisingly, Felix Houphouët-Boigny, who, at the time of his death was the longest-serving leader in Africa’s history and the third longest-serving leader in the world, after Fidel Castro of Cuba and Kim Il-sung of North Korea, was a big factor in the instability that followed his death. Most of the political, social, and economic crises that erupted after his death were directly or indirectly attributed to him. Many revolved around who would succeed him. After falling out with his former political heir Philippe Yacé in 1980, who, as president of the National Assembly, was entitled to exercise the full functions of President of the Republic if the Head of State was incapacitated or absent,  Houphouët-Boigny who knew he was dying of prostate cancer, delayed as much as he could in officially designating a successor when his health became increasingly weakened. Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara  (current president) meantime administered the country from 1990 onwards, while the president was hospitalised in France. There was a struggle for power, which ended when Houphouët-Boigny rejected Ouattara in favour of Henri Konan Bédié, the then President of the National Assembly. In December 1993, He even asked to be kept on life support to ensure that the last dispositions concerning his succession were defined.  When he died on 7 December, the fate of the Ivory Coast’s future died with him. That’s when the succession melee started, leading to coups, wars, and the very recent problems when French troops were called in. Again, we can now see that Andrew Mwenda lied when he stated that Houphouet-Boigny  “paved away to a peaceful transition”. His longevity in power was one of the biggest factors for the precurrent problems in the Ivory Coast. You need to watch a series of Aljazeera’s documentaries titled “The French African Connection”, which recently aired on that channel. You will learn how the French, under their ruthless mercenary Bogart, used Houphouet-Boigny to destabilize much of West Africa. He personally supervised the murder of Thomas Sankara in Upper Volta (Now Burkina Faso), instating Blaise Compaore in Power. Given the latest events in Burkina Faso, you can now connect the dots and see how his legacy continues to doom those countries even long after he is dead!

Give that I am in no mood to write a million words (and frankly, neither are you, reader, ready to read them), I am not going into the other “good dictators” that Mwenda included in his examples. Some tried to ‘leave without truly leaving’ by fronting stooges to run in the elections which followed their exits, many of whom, thankfully were rebuffed by the voters. Rawlings and Moi are good examples of these. In other examples such as Mali, Mwenda similarly leaves out important details with nuance that would debunk his view.

What I am trying to demonstrate to you is that Andrew Mwenda’s views these days, while appearing credible in their flawless, articulate written form, are flawed when subjected to in-depth examination. This is the same case I was making in my last blog.

Mwenda’s current rhetoric against term limits, like Yoweri Museveni’s centers on the superficial, simplistic notion that, “If the people don’t like them, they will vote them out”. This of course, is a bunch of hogwash. We know what those ‘elections’ are like!

Why haven’t people rioted then, Mr. Mwenda asked recently, like they did in Burkina Faso? People being quiet don’t mean they are happy with the status quo, and of course of all people, Mwenda knows this. It’s because of the helplessness, powerlessness, concerning the status quo that they sometimes seem resigned to their fate. That’s of course, until they can’t take it anymore!

When the Arab spring broke out in North Africa in 2011, Tunisia’s Ben Ali had just “won” the election with 89 % of the vote the previous election.  Egypt’s Mubarak with 88 percent. Mubarak’s  National Democratic Party,  (Al’Hizb Al Watani Al Democrati) had just won 420, out of the 429 seats in the national assembly in 2010, a few months before the Arab Spring!.

A referendum to confirm the presidential candidate Bashar al-Assad was held in Syria on 27 May 2007, after the People’s Council of Syria voted to propose the incumbent for a second term on 10 May 2007. Assad got the nod with 99.82 % of the vote.

There is even an example closer to home. As of the editing of this article, I am seeing on my phone a twitter storm generated by Rwanda’s New Times report that apparently says that only 10 people, in the whole of Rwanda, oppose Kagame’s bid to extend his term in office! I hope the examples I give above, help you make sense of this latest absurdity.


Mr. Mwenda ends his seriously defective argument by saying; “These facts contradict our secular gospel that condemns those of our leaders who served long. In fact they teach us that longevity and term limits are not mutually contradictory – one seems to lay a foundation for the other. Therefore the real issue facing Africa is not the length of time a president serves but how he/she organizes politics”

Mr. Mwenda’s argument therefore is that staying very long in power is actually a boon for a country’s successive stability. As usual he selectively references certain cases and either tacitly mentions the opposite ones or doesn’t even mention them. And as I have shown, in elaborating more on the examples he gave, his thesis is not only wrong but also dangerous as there are people who religiously believe what he says.

Why term limits?

Man, by nature, especially man with power, is selfish. That actually is the reason power given to man must be restricted. Because naturally, he will want to abuse it. A man is a mammal. You just need to watch NatGeo to know how our instincts, just like those of those cousins of ours in the jungle, are to be as dominant and all powerful as much as we can be. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as Lord Acton said.

Therefore, even though term limits only are not enough for good governance, they are absolutely crucial.  Term limits provide an opportunity for contestation, participation, representation and limiting the concentration of power around one individual.

I am not saying that term limits are the bullet solution to Africa’s governance problems. No one would ever, in their sane mind say that. Term limits are not enough. But they are important part of the solutions.

The absurdity of Mwenda’s argument is that he appears to be saying that since term limits have not worked in some circumstances, they are not as important as people make them appear to be. This really is absurd.

It’s like administering one drug for a particular disease to a person suffering from multiple illnesses that require multiple medications and when a person doesn’t regain their full health, you say you are going to discontinue treatment all together because the patient is not getting better. It doesn’t mean the one drug you are administering is not working. Simply provide the other drugs for the other illnesses, and when you have the right cocktail of the drugs, the patient will heal. It’s as simple as that really.

Delivering invectives against term limits therefore, based on the fact that countries that have them still suffer from governance ills is not only a deceptive argument, but a stupid one too.

Let me end with this conclusion from our own Mwebesa Ndebetsya ‘s key note address during an event organized by the civil society in Uganda to debate term limits in 2012 in which he explains other merits of term limits:

“…We have failed to institutionalize power and democracy because of  neo-patrimonialism. There is failure of policy implementation because of patronage. Neo-patrimonialism is characterized by giving out state jobs, districts, contracts and tenders, envelopes, Prados etc in return for political support. This   system of patronage suffocates the transformation from individual rule to institutional rule hence democracy deficit in Africa. It also suffocates the change of political behaviour among the citizens. Neo-patrimonialism promotes private and informal politics that cannot be controlled and regulated.  One of the means to break the cycle of neo-patrimonialism is to impose term limits   so that every time a leader creates a patronage network then the term limit interrupts the network   at least every ten years thus overcoming the democracy deficit. In conclusion, evidence suggests that there is need for restoration of term limits. The theoretical and comparative analysis, historical and empirical evidence all suggest unlimited term limits are subject to abuse. The discussion and argument about term limits is not nonsensical as president Museveni wants to frame it, and all Ugandans low and high should use civilized language in discussing this important issue.  Although term limits is a necessary factor for democracy to take root, it is not sufficient. There are other factors that combine with term limits in order to have a functioning democracy”.

Bernard Sabiti is a Kampala based Researcher. Email him on or Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

Note: The transcription of Mwenda’s KFM 2005 radio broadcast was sourced from, and so was Museveni’s 2005 speech on Mwenda and the media

Will Museveni save Kuteesa ?


ayak - Copy

UGANDA: THE NEXT 50 YEARS …first written in October 2012

By Nicholas Ddumba Katumba

This year, 2012, Uganda is celebrating 50 years of self-rule. I am skeptical to call it independence because for sure there is almost nothing to show that the country is independent, but there is everything to show that we have been ruling ourselves into failure and stuntedness.

Uganda at 50 is like a 15 year child who looks and behaves like a 5 year old. The ‘leadership’ of this country for the last 50 years has sunk us in; they have all disappointed. Uganda at 50 is comparable to a child born and his parents put her in the care of a relative; they go away to an outside country to work for 20 years. When they come back, they are sure that this child is grown and now 20 years old, must be at university, all looking good and able to have a meaningful conversation with them. To their disappointment, they find the child, yes grown and 20 years old, but still in senior one at a certain low quality school somewhere deep in the country, looking thin and stunted. They are disappointed because they have been sending money (taxes) for up-keep and all the other necessary support. That is how Uganda is. The options they have are to take away the child and go with her or leave her with a more ‘trustworthy’ caretaker.

For these coming 50 years, therefore, Ugandans should decide to change the way child Uganda is going to be looked after. They can either choose to put her into the hands of a more ‘trustworthy’ caretaker or go with her to the outside country where they stay. However, leaving child Uganda with another trustworthy caretaker has a risk of repeating the same earlier mistake when she was neglected despite all the financial support given, just because trust is only perceived and this may be a wrong perception.

I would therefore think that the best option is to take the child with the parents, stay with her, making sure that she enjoys her parents’ sweat in full. In other words, Ugandans should come up and out to take back the power of running our own country instead of entrusting it to people we perceive as trustworthy, but end up disappointing us. We should take back the power and authority of running the affairs of our country starting by changing the leadership structure of the country and the system of governance if we want to have something to show by the time we celebrate 100 years of self-rule.

Ugandans are crying foul today because the leadership of this country has failed and totally disappointed us in terms of service delivery, which is the main and most important measuring factor that manifests effective leadership. We should drop the complacency and mediocre contentment, come up and out to demand what we exactly deserve from the leadership. In this endeavor, therefore, I suggest the following leadership structure and system of governance for the next 50 years. I am not an expert in all, therefore, I will welcome expert opinion and discussion, not to criticize or negate, but to add on more knowledge to come up with a complete and comprehensive structure and system:

The Legislature:- this should consist of two houses

1) House of Representatives – this should take on much of the representation that is currently done by constituent MPs, but this time representing districts. This district representation should be by one male MP and one female MP, making it two people representing every district. The election of these two representatives should be by voting (universal suffrage). This should bring about effective representation, devoid of political patronage and at the same time bring down the wage and welfare bill of this arm of government.

Their eligibility should be minimum Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education; the person standing should not have any kind of criminal record or have been imprisoned due to financial fraud of any kind; should be a citizen of Uganda for at least 10 consecutive years and with a known address in their area of intended representation.

2) The Senate – this should be the upper house whose composition should be based on regional authorities/governments, recognized cultural and faith-based organizations. They would include federal/regional tier states having one Senator each, one Senator for each faith-based organization and one Senator for each cultural grouping. Faith-based organizations and cultural groupings should be those recognized by the constitution and with a sizeable membership of followers.

The Senate will take on the role of making and approving major laws, advisory services to the president and make major decision, for example those concerning the army and the more sensitive matters of the state.

Their eligibility should be minimum of a Diploma from a nationally recognized institution; a citizen of Uganda with a good social standing; a person who has individually/privately achieved some level of success in their field of play/occupation. He should have been living in Uganda for at least 20 consecutive years and with a known address.

In both the House of Representatives (HOR) and the Senate, there should be one representative for People with Disabilities (PWDs). No other special focus groups should be considered.

The leadership of both houses: there should be a Speaker and Deputy Speaker. Where the Speaker elected belongs to the presidency winning political party, the Deputy Speaker should be elected from among the opposition members and vice versa. There should as well be Leader of Government Business and Leader of Opposition in both houses.

The Presidency and/or Prime Minister

There should be either of the two and not both. They currently both have executive powers, which leads to duplication of duties, resources and sometimes lead to execution clashes. In my opinion, we should have only the president with a vice president, whose minimum qualification should be that of a Senator; should also be at least 35 years.

The president and vice president must have been elected under universal suffrage as running mates. A person should be president for only two 5-year consecutive terms as maximum. However, the running mate (vice president) can also run as president and if elected, can occupy office to maximum two 5-year consecutive terms. This person running as president should be fronted either by a political party/coalition of political parties or an independent candidate who should be nominated and endorsed by at least one-third of all district authorities in Uganda.

The president should have executive powers mandated to him by the constitution and the legislature. He is answerable to the legislature and under his office there should only be the vice president and cabinet ministers. No presidential advisors and RDCs and all those other offices or positions of political patronage.

The Cabinet Ministries

These should be kept as few as possible:
(i) Ministry of Education and Human Development
(ii) Ministry of Health and Medical Services
(iii) Ministry of Finance and Planning
(iv) Ministry of Trade, Industries and Economic Affairs
(v) Ministry of Security and Internal Affairs
(vi) Ministry of External Affairs and Regional Co-operation
(vii) Ministry of Defense
(viii) Ministry of Works and Physical Infrastructure
(ix) Ministry of ICT and Media
(x) Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
(xi) Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
(xii) Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources
(xiii) Ministry of Culture, Humanities and Religious Affairs
(xiv) Ministry of Water and Environment

Each cabinet ministry should be headed by a minister and a deputy minister and no ministry should have more then one deputy, there should instead be directorates, which should all be answerable to the Permanent Secretary.

The eligibility of ministers should be minimum requirement as that of a member of HOR in addition to proven leadership and managerial experience in identifiable fields of play or occupation. He should be at least 30 years of age.

The Judiciary

All justices and judges should be nominated, seconded and recommended by the Senate. They should have at least 10 years of judiciary/law practice.

The Electoral Commission

All commissioners and some senior managers should be nominated, seconded and confirmed by the Senate in consideration with the different registered political parties. The commissioners should have the same eligibility requirement as that of member of the HOR.

Security Agencies

The Army – should have a national character, answerable to the Senate in consultation with the president. The head of the army, the deputy and some senior appointments should be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

The Police – should also have a national character and answerable to the ministry of Security and Internal Affairs in consultation with the HOR. The head of the Police, deputy and some senior appointments should be nominated by the Minister of Security and Internal Affairs and confirmed by the HOR.

The Prisons Department – should be answerable to the Ministry of Security and Internal Affairs in consultation with the HOR. The head of Prisons, deputy and some senior appointments should be nominated by the Minister of Security and Internal Affairs and confirmed by the HOR.

All the other intelligence agencies like investigations and national intelligence should operate under the Police and Army respectively. No other form of security agency should be formed or allowed to operate other than those two.

The System of Governance

The system of governance should be in such a way that there are regional governments arranged in federal states or regional tiers, whichever offers more effectiveness in terms of service delivery, governance and decision making by every citizen of Uganda. These should be organized around cultural groupings, putting into consideration size of membership/population numbers. These regional governments should be headed by governors, with executive committees and legislative councils. The other departments should be extensions of the central government departments/directorates; such these may include the judiciary, the police, prisons, electoral commission and such others as may be deemed necessary.

Below the federal states, should be District Authorities headed by District Chairmen and other Councilors representing counties. There should also be set up county leadership, sub-county, parish and village leadership.

Political Parties

This system of governance should allow different political parties to form and play in a leveled ground. However there should be a maximum number of political parties whose leadership should qualify to be members of the Senate. These parties should be vetted and approved for registration by the Senate. They should be national in nature, non-tribalistic and not religiously inclined and with clear national objectives and agenda agreeable to the national constitution.

Cultural Groupings/Institutions

These should be recognized and represented at the Senate level. Cultural leaders are only allowed to play an indirect political role through their elected Senate representatives. Only those cultural institutions with a sizeable number of membership and recognized by the constitution should be considered for representation.

Faith-based Organizations/Religious Groupings

These should also be recognized and represented at the Senate level. Their leaders are only allowed to engage in politics indirectly through their elected Senate representatives. Only those faith-based organizations or religious groupings with a sizeable number of following and recognized by the constitution should be considered for representation.

The National Constitution

It should be revised to take care of the suggested leadership structure and system of governance. But also most importantly, it should be made in such a way that no self-seeking person(s) should attempt to tamper with any article in a way of changing it, removing it or replacing it with another on for the next 50 years or even beyond.

The national constitution should be given the utmost respect for it not to be changed as rulers wish to meet their personal and selfish gains.

Why These Changes?

Currently and for the best of the last 50 years of Uganda’s independence, the country has actually been more dependent than independent. Dependent on donors, foreign ideologies, strategy and planning, programmes by world bank, IMF and so many others who think that one size fits all, bringing policies that work in different countries and geographies to work here. Hence the results have been more foreign, failing to meet and address the realities on the ground. There have been more workshops, more seminars, more commissions of inquiries, taking the biggest chunk of both donor and taxpayers money than what is put into service delivery.

Uganda has never seen or experienced any form of leadership for those last 50 years. We have only seen rulers and dictators who have all been just pushed out of power. Everyone who has ruled this country has changed the supreme law, the constitution, to meet their personal agenda, and not even the agenda of their political parties at most.

No president of Uganda has been truly a statesman, working towards a national vision for the generations to come. Those who have tried, have only scored about 20%, which in effect is failure. Many people, scholars, political commentators and analysts have tried to point out issues they think have led to the failure of state Uganda, but they have not touched thoroughly the core, the root of the issues, which is total lack of leadership, or if it’s there, then total disrespect to leadership principles, which are integrity, honesty, humility, proactivity and a national vision. We have seen more arrogant, selfish people is positions of responsibility. A leaders is supposed to be empathic, should seek first to understand then to be understood, should be visionary, should be proactive, should put first things first in this case Ugandans and should think and act in a win-win style. He should also always seek creative cooperation, have respect for all people and especially those he leads. Among all the presidents we have had, I don’t see anyone with such qualities.
Therefore, until we sort out the leadership issues, the next 50 years may even become worse considering the fact that everything is becoming globalized. We may not have anything Ugandan, we may not be able to compete and we may lose the Ugandan heritage. Where there are no effective leaders, the core of national development is dead. So many people have talked about empowering the people in terms of financial handouts, UPE, USE, Prosperity for all, Entandikwa, etc. All these are good to have, but only secondary, they cannot work where the modus operandi us non-existent. What I call true empowerment it this:

a) Streamline the leadership structures that will ensure service delivery effective and felt down to the individual Ugandan;
b) Work on the infrastructure that will spur economic activities, i.e. work on the road network for people to move faster and transport merchandise faster to the markets;
c) Work on energy for people to access it more affordably so they can add value to what they produce before getting it to the market;
d) Work on the health sector so that parents and caretakers are sure their sick children and other relatives will get the required medical attention and care, hence this will give them a relaxed mind to concentrate their energies on other productive activities;
e) When you provide UPE and USE make sure the standards are the same and regionally or internationally comparable, there is food, there is teacher motivation and the quality of education is good for even a minister’s and a president’s child to attend the same school.
f) Uganda ranks high among countries with people who come up with ideas to start up new businesses. But also ranks high on failed businesses. Reason is people who start these businesses do them for daily survival – feeding, renting, bills (medical and school) old age relatives upkeep, hence the business starts spending before any form of revenue or profit is realized and after a few months the business winds up. It is foreigners branded as investors that are considered for tax waivers and other incentives, including capital grants, mainly because most of these are fronted by powerful politicians or well connected (politically) people, and to your and my surprise this same politician will not even think about fronting a local person with a brilliant idea to access capital, because possibly he will not be able to give a ‘cut’. There is need for clear policies and strategies to grow and support local start-ups.

When people are sure that they have food at home, their children are getting quality education and their sick are getting the required medical attention and care, they will then focus on more productive activities that will increase their earning capacities and also enlarge the government tax base. Today the government, for example charges up to 40% as PAYE, meaning that if you earn 2m/= per month as salary, the government takes 0.8m/= off before it reaches your bank account for yet other charges like bank charges, taxes on groceries, airtime excise duty, etc.

If and when the government can focus on service delivery and infrastructure development, then they should expect that the private sector will do very spurring the economic development. I and I guess you too, would not mind a lot for the taxman to take 40% of my salary as long as I know that there are government hospitals in my area and there is medicine and motivated medical staff to take good care of my sick; as long as I am sure that there is quality education and food in the UPE and USE schools where I take my children; as long as the roads that lead to my upcountry farm are good enough for me to transport my farm produce to where that market is; as long as there is electricity on the national grid and affordable enough in my home area to process and/or preserve my produce in a way of adding value/preserving it for the next day without it getting spoilt; as long as I can access clean water. I really wouldn’t mind a lot and I guess you would not mind a lot either.

This leadership structure is meant to ensure that there is effective service delivery up to the lowest levels. It is meant to ensure that power really belongs to the people. They choose their leaders right from the lowest levels to the top and the leadership is answerable to the people. That the people hold their future, their destiny in the hands.

This leadership structure is meant to ensure that we do not have a single-man vision state. It is meant to ensure that there is no big-man syndrome, that security agencies work for the good of the entire nation, not for one man or a few individuals.

It is meant to ensure democracy with its true meaning at all levels of governance. It is meant to create a self-determining Uganda for today, tomorrow and years to come. It is meant to ensure that the wage and welfare bill of government officials is manageable. That 80% of government expenditure goes to actual service delivery – hospitals, schools, clean water, energy, roads, security.

At the time when Uganda will be celebrating 100 years, i.e. the next 50 years, at least 60% of Uganda’s population should be middle class citizens; the country with oil, gold and a number of other mineral resources, abundant farm produce, should be at least 50% industrialized. 60% of farm produce should be able to reach the market with added value. GDP should have increased by more than 150%. Per capita income should be more than $5,000.

Electricity on the national grid should cover over 70% of all urban areas. Clean water should be accessible by over 80% of the population. The country should have several well organized cities other than Kampala and a few others. 70% of Ugandan urban dwellers should be able to afford decent housing. Poverty line levels and below it should be at the bare minimum.

50% of the road network should be tarmacked; we should have fly-overs to deal with traffic jams and give a modernized look; we should have a fully function passenger railway network.

The country should be able to have enterprises on international standards that are capable of employing 10,000, 20,000 and more Ugandans. Teacher to student ration should be at least 1:30 maximum. Doctor to patient ration should be 1:20 maximum.

Places like Katwe, the so called jua-kalis should turn out to be high precision industrial areas.

Internet penetration should be at least 70% of the population. With natural resources and world-class tourist attractions, the tourism sector should have grown more than 150% with several 5-star hotels and lodges.

With the country’s central location in the east and central African region, Uganda should be a major business destination as a trade hub linking such countries like DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Southern Sudan to commodity transit routes of Kenya and Tanzania, and vice versa.

I also expect the presidency of the country to have changed at least 5 times minimum. This Uganda at this level by the time we celebrate 100 years of self-rule is very much possible. We just need to put our minds together, synergize and we shall achieve it.


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