Category Revolutions

How Dr Besigye survived death thanks to Waragi and fake currency


BY JOHN NJOROGE
KAMPALA

Many of you remember the 2011 Walk to Work campaign for its drama and chaos. Some of us lived that campaign everyday. Myself and photojournalist Isaac Kasamani swallowed teargas every week as we covered particularly Dr Kizza Besigye. Without medical by the way!!! Hmm
The routine was simple. Every morning by 6am we would find our way to Dr Besigye’s home in Kasangati and waited outside his gate for him to leave. Many times he literary “escaped” from us. We would be waiting outside only to hear he is in Kasangati town centre, yet a few minutes earlier, we had just seen him outside his gate saying good morning to us.
At first I did not understand why he did this. I mean, we, the media, where here to cover him. He had just come out of a heavily contested election which he believed had been stolen. We had heard rumours of how diplomats had been calling him asking him to stop the walk to work campaign but none of us could prove it, so we could not write it.
But what we could prove was that his life was in danger.
As a survival instinct, Kasamani and myself befriended the infamous police van crew UP1926. You all remember them. My best was Musa Walugembe. Musa is a very nice man. Make no mistake. He is very loyal to his country and a very obedient police officer. And a very good human being.
He is a hard worker too. You saw him in action. Many times I have said, that van, may have brutalized Dr Besigye, but taking him away usually saved lives, shockingly including his own as we where to discover.
For the longest time a plan was being cooked and it plotter were always in the walk to work crowds. Problems was how to get close to Dr Besigye because a number of loyal youth usually formed a tight ring around him.

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So one morning at 5am I called Dr Besigye. It was part of my routine to call him to find out if he would “be walking” from his home or he would “appear” from somewhere else so that I am there.
I owed my readers to make sure I was at the right place at the right time. My editors at the time Alex Atuhaire, Daniel Kalinaki, Henry Ochieng and Joseph Mazige depended on me for live updates of everything as it unfolded.
We literary had a command centre for walk to work. We had insiders at the FDC who would tell us the campaign strategy of the day. We had “friendlies” within the security system, particularly at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, who would tell us what intelligence they had gathered and where not to be at what time because several parallel forces where working day and night to ensure Dr Besigye is neutralized.
That 5am call was interesting. Dr Besigye told me he would not be walking. I was shocked. Really! Why? He told me he had a lot of work to catch up on and had decided to take the day off. Then he said something that really shocked me even more.
He said: “John, don’t come here because there is no need. I will not walk today. Please just don’t come.”
I remember these words so vividly. I was seated on my bed. I woke up my wife and told her what Dr Besigye had said. I wondered had I angered him? Did I write something funny? Ok, he says he is not walking but telling me not to go to his home, that is different.
Few journalists at the time had exclusive access to Dr Besigye like I did. It was a time when any association with him meant you are in the opposition. My “Friendship” with General Kale Kayihura ended because I was branded an opposition journalist. At one time I was at the Media Centre and Mr Ofwono Opondo said I had “one leg in an one leg out”.
I told my Mrs that I felt something was a miss. She was happy that I did not have to take that long Boda ride from Naalya to Kasangati in the wee hours. She told me to rest some more. And so I went “into the covers”. It was what I needed.
Hours later my phone rang at 7:45am. It was Mr Atuhaire.
“Where are you Njoroge?”
I told him I was at home. He told me there was a protest taking place at Dr Besigye’s home. I told him I spoke to Dr Besigye but he had told me he was not “going to work” since he had work to catch up on. Mr Atuhaire told me this was another protest, this time by his own FDC supporters.
“Go there now, I am sending a car and Kasamani is on his way”
I jumped out of bed. My son had gone to school and I did not say bye, I was in a panic. I jumped into the shower, madam made me a cup of tea without sugar. Before I went to bed the previous night, I had swallowed a bottle of something bitter-sweet so tea without sugar is magic.
But instead of going to Kasangati, I went to office. When I arrived, Mr Atuhaire nearly hit me with a cup.
“Why are you here? Something is happening at Besigye’s home leave now. Take a car.”
I did not even switch on my computer. I was frog matched to a car and driven to Kasangati. When I got to Dr Besigye’s home, it was calm. Nothing
I called Mr Atuhaire, told him nothing was happening. He was in shock. He told me to hang up and he calls back using the office line. When he called, he told me he was in complete shock because his intelligence sources had told him there was a protest at Dr Besigye’s home.
Alex Atuhaire is one of the most resourceful editors I have ever worked with. He never makes a decision without confirming and trusting but primarily confirming. Now his primary source had lied.
I activated my other source. I called my CMI friend who shockingly told me that same thing. That there was a protest at Dr Besigye’s home. I told him I was standing outside the man’s gate. Actually me and other journalists and there was nothing happening. He too was in shock. He told me to stay there and that he was coming but he would not get near the residence.
I called Dr Besigye. Remember he told me not to go to his home. When I told him I was outside he was enraged.
“I told you not to come here.”
Within minutes he was outside. We all ran to the gate. We told him we had been told there was a protest here. He said “I am not walking please go back to your offices.”
He looked at me and Kasamani and said please leave here. Kasamani and myself where is shock. The man is chasing us. Unaware of what was about to unfold.
I will not mention his name, but he is one of the most dangerous and effective operatives the Uganda Police force has. I saw his car passing at a distance. I know h because we are friends outside out two different jobs. I funny friendship between a killer and a human rights defender of a journalists. Many cannot understand such a friendship. How do you seat and eat with a person who’s daily life is planning death yet you claim to be defending life. We are still friends so I will not mention him here.
Makindye is an interesting place. The night before, a lorry collected men from Makindye and Katwe, gave them FDC membership cards and alcohol. They also gave them SHs 50,000 each.
These men where to arrive at Dr Besigye’s home by 7am, claiming to be polling agents of the just concluded 2011 election who had not been paid. All they where supposed to do is just shout and speak to the media that they had not been paid.
Oh oh….not to forget and also flash their FDC membership cards. 4am the alcohol was flowing for these chaps. Each of them had a 50k note an booze was all over. The person who came up with this idea had another plan. There was another group who’s job was to wait for Dr Besigye. As soon as he came out of his gate, they were to administer something to him.
It was going to look like Dr Besigye was harmed by his own supporters.
Time check 10am, suddenly, groups of youth started emerging at Dr Besigye’s house holding FDC cards and demanding for pay. Small droves, and they where drunk and they shouted “FDC oyee FDC oyee but we want our money we want to speak to Colonel”
Then I saw this Pickup, white in color. Stopped a distanced from DR Besigye’s residence. We all saw the car. Four men got out of it and mixed with the rest.
Dr Besigye suddenly emerged from his residence. As these youth ran towards him, we where shocked to see another group of youth emerging from Dr Besigye’s home.
A standoff.
The drunk youth here scattered. A few caught among them was one of the four men we saw coming out of the white pickup.
Those of you, in the media, who where at Dr Besigye’s home that morning remember what those captured boys said.

For starters they thought they where going to be killed. Dr Besigye however had his boys in control. They narrates where they where got, what they had been given and even showed as money. Then they told us that some of their colleagues had tried to purchase things in the morning but realised the money was fake. That way why they never made it at Dr Besigye’s home by 7am. Because the rest refused after realizing the money was fake.

Yes, nearly 50 youth were fed on alcohol and fake currency to cover up another mission. After they told us all they could, Dr Besigye asked his youth to release them. They ran to the “loving arms” of the police who all this time watched without intervention.
Dr Besigye lived another day thanks to fake currency and waragi. His sources, I later discovered, had briefed him. The master planner was actually this friend of mine. Doctor did not want me, Kasamani and those near him in the event this attempt was executed.
It was a Friday like today.

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Theory of Tired Ugandans uprising


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freedom! Freedom!! Freedom!!!

rehemass@googlemail.com

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Check out Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARE BESIGYE AND 4GC DEMONSTRATION CIRCUS ABOUT HIGH COST?!?


Dr.Besigye detained at Nagalama police in Bugerere

Dr.Besigye detained at Nagalama police in Bugerere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WBK

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A fisherman walks to work

A fisherman walks to work

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

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

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

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


‘Walk to Work’ in a historical light – Mamdani
http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1149498/-/item/1/-/c39sokz/-/index.html

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Embracing violence?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What can we learn from this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12153&Itemid=59

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

UGANDA’S OPPOSITION FDC YOUTH PUT MUSEVENI GOVERNMENT ON NOTICE


Saturday April 14, 2012

During the FDC Youth League PRESS CONFERENCE of Thursday 12th, April 2012, we appealed to the State and in particular the Uganda Police Force and other Security Agencies to stop persecuting the youth in Uganda and henceforth release all the youth who are political prisoners within forty eight hours (48hrs) unconditionally.

The FDC Youth League noted with great concern that many youth have in the recent past and continue to be arrested, harassed, maimed and or killed by the NRM regime. Trumped up charges such as; inciting violence, murder, treason, illegal assembly have been preferred against the youth.

In September 2009 more than forty youth were killed and these among others included; Kauma Joseph, Nakazi Deborah, Nahumma Brenda, Katuma Richard, Kalamba Ronald, Kamoga Sula, Aliwo Abed, Nabakoza Christine, Bisso Steven, Ssango Kyobe, Ikongo Samuel, Mayanja Bruno, Bukenya Faisal, Mukwanga Kaziru, Benjamin Parnot Ateere, Batiibwe Badru, Muganga Huzair,Busulwa Hassan, Bwesigwa, Grace Sserunjogi, Joseph,Muganga Hakim, Kafuma Frank, Nampijja Jackie, Magembe Ali, Lukwago Sulaiti, Karungi Annet, Erimweya Mawanda, Nsereko Robert, Batibwe Abdullah, Nampijja Beatrice, Nahumma Brenda, Ngaba Moses. All these were aged between 2 – 35 years apart from Batiibwe Badru who was aged 39yrs. Many more youth have been killed at various incidences including one at Kasubi tombs, in Masaka, Kampala, Gulu, Jinja, Mbale and many other places.

Twenty seven youth (27) were arbitrarily arrested in 2009 and have spent three years in Luzira Prison for the last three years. Only four were released this week with no charges preferred against them.

On 21st March, 2012 nine youth were arrested and charged with the ‘murder’ of AIP Ariong John Michael. These are: Kayondo Mutwalib, Kavuma Robert, Kaija Harold, Nakitende Sharifah, Kirya Ismail, Nsubuga Malik, Ssebugwawo Muhammad and Hajji KakandeTwalib (Adult, not youth).Kakande was severely beaten and his health condition is dire.

This is political persecution because there is no way nine people can use one stone to kill one person. Besides the majority of them were actually arrested before the Ariong incident had occurred. Haji Kakande, in particular was doing his job, driving – as the official driver to Hon. Nabila Naggayi Ssempala, Kampala Woman MP. These youth are now languishing in prison. The Uganda Police Force’s Andrew Kaweesi has already announced that they had arrested and positively identified the alleged killer, who had confessed to the crime, giving his full names that were published in the media. If the confessed killer had already been arrested, what are the arrested persons still in jail? Why are they charged with murder?

On 12th April 2012, Nyanjura Doreen, Bagaya Ibrahim Kisubi, Kyeyune Moses and Mugabi Vicent, all Makerere University students were arrested when they attempted to launch their book; “IS THIS A FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE” they were charged with illegal assembly. Nyanjura was remanded to Luzira up to 24th, April 2012. Hon. Kasibante Moses was also arrested on the same day and he is in Luzira on fake charges of incitement of violence. This tantamounts to political persecution, and injustice which can not be tolerated in this era.

Owing to the fact that our colleagues are being politically persecuted and the State has failed to respond to our appeal, we shall go ahead with our planned peaceful demonstration on 16th April 2012 by Marching to CPS, The Police Headquarters, CID headquarters and other selected Police stations across the country to express our dissatisfaction and demand for their freedom.

This is our right. And no one can deny it to us. NO amount of threats or blackmail will deter us from pursuing total freedom for all Ugandans, regardless of their political, religious or ethnic identity. Uganda belongs to all of us. Let no one make us squatters in our own land, because they hold state power, which they have usurped from the people.

We call upon the members of the Press, who are fellow victims of this perpetual blackmail, intimidation and harassment by the state, to remain firm to their commitment to inform Ugandans of all atrocities.

We call upon the religious leaders to intervene in this matter as a matter of urgency. We also appeal to civil society organisations to rally behind the call for a totally free Uganda, devoid of institutionalized corruption and harassment of those who stand for the truth and demand for justice and the unconditional release of political prisoners.

We hope that the international Community takes note of this dangerous trend of events in Uganda which, if not checked now, will result into instability in Uganda and the whole region. Diplomacy works better in stable societies. Foreign investment becomes profitable only in an environment of political stability.

Monday 16th April 2012 is the day to demand full compliance from the State to release all political prisoners listed above and all the others languishing in prison unconditionally.

Semalulu Kaaya Rajab

VICE CHAIRMAN FDC YOUTH LEAGUE – BUGANDA REGION

0704-16 77 11 / 0757-88 13 06

cc: Minister of Internal Affairs

cc: Inspector General of Police

cc: Director of public Prosecutions

cc: Chief Justice

cc: Speaker of Parliament

cc: Head of the Delegation, European Union

cc: British High Commissioner

cc: Ambassador of the United States of America

cc: Leader of Opposition

cc: All members of Parliament

cc: Arch Bishop Luke Orombi

cc: Arch Bishop Dr Cyprian Kizito Lwanga

cc: Supreme Mufti Sheikh Zubair Kayongo

cc: Arch Bishop Metropolitan Yonah Lwanga

cc: Dr Sserwadda Joseph

cc: Uganda Human Rights Commission

cc: Director of Public Prosecution

IPC PRESS STATEMENT ON THE STATE OF THE NATION AS NRM CELEBRATES 26 YEARS IN POWER


INTERPARTY COOPERATION, IPC

IPC Bureau, 6, Katonga Road, Lower Nakasero, KAMPALA

 

 

+ Embargoed for release before  0930 Hrs EAST January  17, 2012,

 

PRESS STATEMENT

ON THE STATE OF THE NATION AS NRM CELEBRATES 26 YEARS IN POWER

 

 

Kampala, Tuesday 17th January 2012

 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,

 

Please accept our most heartfelt best wishes for a happy and prosperous new year, 2012. We hope that it will bring joy to you and your loved ones. We are optimistic that this year will bring major victories in the struggle for genuine democracy, and good government. This year is important.  This October, Uganda marks 50 years of independence. It is time to take stock of the achievements and failures of the last half a century and propose a way forward for our country.

You have all heard that the NRM government will, as usual, spend huge sums of tax payers’ money on its own January 26th anniversary. The theme of NRM’s 26th Anniversary is:  “Uganda the land of opportunities: NRM’s Contribution during the last half of the 50 years of Uganda’s Independence”.

This ever lavish celebration comes at a time when over 7000 teachers have not received their December 2011 salary. This is the same time when the government has, to date, barely five months to the next budget reading managed to release only 20% of the development budget. The level of unemployment among the youth in Uganda has shot to a dangerous 83 per cent. This puts Uganda in second place after Niger in the world to have the youngest and most unemployed population.

They celebrate this January when we all recall that this last Christmas alone, at least 14 mothers failed to witness the joy of childbirth when died while in labor at only two hospitals that were reported. At Mulago Referral Hospital, 12 mothers were reported dead while two others died at Lacor Hospital in Gulu. We all know that many others countrywide died unrecorded. How can a woman celebrate this day?

 

  1. Uganda’s external debt has risen nearly fourfold in three years to $4 billion, or 24 percent of gross domestic product, and is expected to rise to 31 percent of GDP by 2015, according to a government report released in March 2010. Uganda’s external debt stood at $1.1 billion in June 2006. Yet there is nothing to show for the huge debt burden, most of which has been squandered by corrupt government officials. The health system is down, the roads are in shambles, the education sector is ailing – teachers at all levels of education are threatening to strike again unless their grievances are positively responded to.

 

  1. Corruption scandals have bedeviled the nation, involving some of the most influential officials in the NRM government. Nearly half of the cabinet is implicated in one way or the other in a corruption case. In their preliminary defence, some implicated ministers have mentioned the president’s name. This can not be taken lightly. This is the year to uncover all the truth regarding corruption at the highest level in this country. This is the year when citizens should demand full accountability without fear or favor.

 

  1. Inflation in Uganda is at a staggering 31%. Interest rates have risen to un-proportional levels, the cost of money is killing business. The traders are on strike. Schools are opening shortly with hiked fees, parents, whose salaries and incomes in general have not improved at all in the past year are at a loss at what to do. We know where it all started. During the last fraudulent Presidential elections of February 2011, the ruling party, under the leadership of the president raided the national coffers and spent over USh. 650 billion, (without approval by parliament), in voter bribes and other election related pledges. USh. 169 billion has been paid out to one individual, the chairman of the NRM Entrepreneur League in dubious circumstances that the president attempts to deny any knowledge of.  We know who is responsible for the economic hardship Ugandans are facing today and we will not tire until all those who have caused this crisis are held accountable for their actions.

 

  1. Uganda’s human rights record has continued to plunge. Authoritative  reports including the Uganda Human Rights annual reports document The Uganda Police Force as  leading in human rights abuse. In response, the president found it ‘prudent’ to reward the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura with a new contract and promoted him to Lt. General.  Now, Elizabeth Kuteesa, the infamous former head of CID who confessed to having forged evidence in the scandalous rape case of Col. Kizza Besigye has been seconded by the government and appointed to an important INTERPOL job. We condemn these two developments in the strongest terms and call upon all Ugandans to petition fellow citizens and the international community to see that these two persons who should be answering serious charges of human rights abuse and professional indiscipline respectively, are not rewarded. Impunity must stop.

 

  1. While Uganda at he national level currently produces sufficient food to meet the needs of its population, the proportion of Ugandans unable to access adequate calories increased from 59% in 1999 to 69% in 2006 (2010 estimates: 72%). 38% of Uganda’s children under 5 years suffer from chronic malnutrition (stunting). 16% suffer from underweight. 6% suffer form acute malnutrition. In response, the president of Uganda has publicly opposed the school lunch programme in UPE schools.

 

  1. With all these and other outstanding failures of the government, it is inconceivable that the NRM government should be celebrating. In fact the whole idea of January 26th being a National day should be abolished, as it is a partisan celebration in a multiparty democracy.  It should be conveniently forgotten just like the Idi Amin’s January 25th liberation day celebrations. For the deplorable economic social and political condition in which Uganda finds herself today, the party that boasts of having contributed to half of Uganda’s independence period, NRM does not have the moral authority to celebrate. The gross leadership failures of NRM cannot be the just price of the hundreds of thousands of human lives that were lost and the tremendous social cost of   the 5 year guerilla war in which we all participated or were affected indirectly or directly.

 

  1. 07.  We call upon all Ugandans to boycott the forthcoming scandalous January 26th celebration and demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the 26 year mismanagement and plunder of their country through every constitutional and democratic means available to them. We appeal to all Ugandans to organise activities to denounce the 26 years of lies, public theft, land grabbing, hoodwinking and selfish leadership.

 

  1. IPC has warned Ugandans for years now, of the dangers of state inspired corruption, endless presidential term limits and excessive presidential powers. Now the results are here for everyone to see. IPC will vigorously continue with the struggle for electoral reforms. There cannot be genuine democracy unless term limits are restored, the powers of the president moderated and an independent Electoral Commission is constituted. These are critical for the future of democracy in Uganda. We call upon all Ugandans, especially organised civil society groups, to campaign aggressively for social. Political and economic reforms.

 

  1. We call upon all Ugandans; students, youth, traders, importers, exporters, farmers, teachers, medical workers, drivers, artisans, factory workers, civil servants in general, those employed in the informal sector, employers, tenants –  all – to dedicate this year of Uganda’s 50th anniversary to organise themselves and demand for their rights, and insist on accountability from the NRM government which has made it its business to steal public funds, lie, hoodwink, threaten, bribe, and to brutalise peaceful demonstrators. We shall stand by anyone who seeks redress and unjust treatment by this corrupt government. We will announce the schedule and nature of our own activities in due course.

FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY

On behalf of:

Hon. John Ken Lukyamuzi, President General, Conservative Party, CP

Col. (Rtd) Dr. Kizza Besigye, President, Forum for Democratic Change, FDC

Hon. Mike Mabikke, President, Social Democratic Party, SDP

Owek. Joseph Mulwanyamuli Ssemwogerere, Patron, Ssuubi

Signed:

 

Asuman  Basalirwa, President, Justice Forum, JEEMA                                                         CHAIRMAN IPC

 

 

 

 

UK FDC PUBLIC Debate- Paper delivered by UUPF on the day


UGANDA AT CROSS-ROADS: WHICH WAY FORWARD

Uganda United Pro-democracy Forum (UUPF) is of the view that Ugandan citizens and its well- wishers cannot effectively discuss what is good for the country today and have it implemented under the current regime because of the following reasons;

1. Criticising government policy is becoming illegal in Uganda.

2. Peaceful demonstrations are interpreted as treason

3. Gov’t is trying to enact a law where political discussions have to be authorised by the police

4. An effective discussion for the country would include all stakeholders i.e. the ruled and the ruler. But today we have a rogue regime with whom we cannot hold such discussions

5. Resources are so highly misappropriated and unequally distributed such that some of our people have totally lost hope and meaning to life. One cannot engage such a people for meaningful discussions, little wonder many are accepting bribes from the regime as a way of survival.

6. Potential gov’t sabotage, harassment and intimidation cannot provide a conducive atmosphere for open free discussions on the way forward.

7. Lack of national independence. We need to regain our country from these foreign rulers before embarking on a conclusive discussion on the way forward for Uganda.

Although the list above is not exhaustive, one can conclude that the only option Ugandans have today is to strive and achieve a levelled ground through regime change in order to facilitate meaningful plans and discussions for the way forward for our Nation. The question is how?

By getting rid of not only Museveni but the whole rotten regime.

How are we to achieve this?

By recognising the following?

1. The regime is extensively weakened today and it is only thriving on intimidation, bribing the people, coercion and a divided army/force.

2. Any divisions within the opposition strengthen the incumbent

3. Foreign perception of Uganda has changed Museveni is no longer that golden boy in the eyes of the international community.

4. Today the whole country at large apart from those linked to the regime is feeling the hitch. People are fed up to such an extent that damage or pain inflicted on the public by gov’t agents be it accidental or otherwise will spark off a people riot. We heard what happened in Tororo where a police car knocked a boda boda man dead and the whole town erupted into riots.

How can we capitalise on the current situation

UUPF- Still believes that Uganda can be liberated from the current regime through a non-violent Revolution. We commend the efforts done by the opposition including A4C in trying to achieve the above.

In our view in order for progress to be made on this front certain changes need to be embraced.

1. We need to recognise that this is no time for political party, tribal, religious or regional politics. We need a national cause for all citizens to rally behind it. This cause must be inciting, of substance, burning and imminent in nature.

2. There should be no identifiable leader of the revolution in the initial stages otherwise the gov’t will easily curtail the revolution by capturing the leader. A few examples are available from the recent incidents.

3. The organisers must be a fluid group without an office or proper identity i.e. tasks should be allocated to individuals/groups without permanence but on merit.

4. Top mobilisers and role prayers should be individuals/groups without high political offices e.g. MPs and other political party leaders should be followers other than visible organisers because their movements can easily be monitored by the government and thereby restrained.

5. The revolution can be started by mobilising through other non-political but social-economic groups for example boda bodas Assoc, teacher’s assoc, Traders assoc, tax operators etc. However the number of groups should be kept to a minimal for easy of execution and dialogue simplicity.

In light of the above we believe that A4C may be part of the revolution but refrain from leading the mobilisation for reasons mentioned above. An ideal situation would be a day when a demonstration starts but Dr Besigye stays at home because by coming out to physically participate in the initial days will stifle the revolution when he ends up being out rightly arrested yet by staying home and mobilise his followers to participate could achieve the required persistence. For progress to be made we need the demonstration to persist for some time which in effect will help to overcome the fear factor within the potential participants hence more people physically joining the cause.

Dealing with hindrances to potential revolution participants

1. On several occasions we have heard people talking about not being able to work or transact business whenever demonstrations are held.

Although it is true that everyone must chip in or be ready to sacrifice, we must come up with a universal rule to help this cause. One of the ways this can be achieved is by declaring that during the period of demonstrations all commercial or residential landlords will have to forego their rental income hence no one will be expected to pay rent. Organisations like umeme must be treated likewise.

2. Medical facilities: Some element of communal service to this effect needs to be set up in various regions.

3. Provision of water is paramount not only for drinking but also to be used to minimise the tear gas effects.

4. Channels of communication both locally and internationally need to be addressed.

5. Diaspora operation branch for logistical and other purposes would be crucial given the chaotic nature of the demonstration environment which may hinder execution of certain tasks locally.

In summary we suggest that a non-violent revolution is the way forward. In our view a focal, nationalistic rallying point today is the struggle for Uganda’s independence.

Why: Although previous regimes have been corrupt but the current regime’s corruption is unimaginable and we attribute the extent to lack of national interest by the regime, which is not surprising anyway from a foreigner. Uganda has been torn to pieces and evidence can be seen through degradation of schools, hospitals, abolition of cooperatives, our coffee export is now history.

Little wonder recently when Ugandan schools/teachers where craving for funding, they were told that the government had no money yet just in a few days thereafter , the Rwandan National who also doubles to be the Ugandan President donated millions to a school in Rwanda.

Ron Paul in his book The Revolution a Manifesto said “Dictatorial governments encourage racial thinking and undermines individualism because its very existence encourages people to organize along racial lines in order to lobby for benefits for their group. That lobbying, in turn creates animosity and suspicion among all groups, each of which believes that it is getting less of its fair share than the others. When this happens society gets divided hence empowering the regime in power due to lack of a united opposition”.

Fellow Ugandans let us join together to liberate and regain Uganda’s independence until then will we be able to seat as Ugandans and effectively discuss the best way forward of this project Uganda.

Moses Kiwanuka

Chairman

UUPF, UK

Ugandans Abroad react with mixed emotions to Gaddafi’s death


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The death of Muamah Gaddafi has been received with mixed reactions from Ugandans abroad. Some are happy while others want this to be a lesson to everybody including the remaining dictators in Africa. One Ugandan, Dr.Owor Kipenji, who is based in Australia said: ‘Much as some are moaning, others are rejoicing the death of Moamar Gaddafi, I think the world is letting go of opportunities that can help future generations from suffering the wraths of the likes of Gaddafi and his brood. Looking at how all these fascist despots came to power, on the belief that they were the “saviours” of their oppressed peoples, it would help us to know what it is that is peculiar to these brood that turns them to become despots.’’

‘’People like Saddam Hussein,Osama Bin Laden,Moamar Gaddafi and those soon to join them like Museveni should have their brains studied so that Medical science can figure out what aberration exist in them and see whether that can be used to predict the fascist tendencies that these fellows end up with. If that can be pointed out, definitely the international community would act to stop such people from gaining power. The megalomania that characterizes these despots should not be left unstudied to save the world from their fantasies.

‘’You now hear Mr Museveni bragging of being ‘’Ssabalwanyi’’. I wonder whether he thinks he is unbeatable. I hope he has not during the years built an underground tunnel to Gisenyi from Rwakitura, otherwise the day Ugandans will agree to beat him up, all those fake titles he brags about will fall off the roadside. Gaddafi’s demise should make Mr Museveni rethink his strategy otherwise he will go worse than Gaddafi has had his life ended, just like a rat thief in a water sewer!’’

Anotheer Ugandan at Heart based in NewYork, Edward Pojim, responded to Dr.Kipenji with his own analysis of the mental disorder that is disturbing dictators:’’The cause of this mental disorder is called hubris: an exaggerated confidence and belief in indispensability. Once he wills himself into believing his own insurmountable might, the dictator will start creating ascending orders of titles to match his ever expanding ego and delusion.

‘’But, as we saw today, no title will save a brutal dictator like Gadaffi when the people finally undress the king and mete out a revenge. History is littered with supposedly untouchable dictators who died similar undignified deaths.’’

‘’The Poet, John Donne said ” No man is an island unto himself and therefore every man’s death dimishes me, for I a part of the mankind.” May be so, but today, will with Victor Hugo’s time-tested warning, “No might of an army can stop an idea whose time has come.” The writing is on the wall.’’

OCAYA Mike pOcure, based in USA, also added:’’ First, none can do some clear researches and, or studies on such persons because, the world is being ruled by paranoia whereby there exists the justice of an eye for an eye which is being peddled by America – the World’s Only Super Power with her allies in Europe!’’

‘’Take the example of how Saddam Hussein was killed because they fear if Saddam were to be brought to the open world Court he would say many things which would entice the American regimes. Again, they have to kill OSAMA, and now they have to kill this brute Gaddafi meanwhile they are leaving Mubarak for their own individual analysis. People in Egypt do know that Mubarak was kept that long in power because of unwritten agreement with the American State and Defence Departments!’’

‘’Second, their justice system is just a mirror of racism as we are seeing on the former Yugoslavia in the ICC but not George Bush Jr and Tony Blair! So brothers, and sisters do not trust this type of study to take place in the near and, or a longer future!’’

While one Charles Kamukama sent a message to UAH: ‘the real question is “when will some people in Europe be ready to accept that Africa is part of the global human family,and not an
irrelevant appendage whose marginalization is un acceptable outcome “The arena through which Gaddafi has been ousted out by NATO under the disguise of the Libyan rebels is true manifestation of vicious neo-colonialism.

‘’Borrowing a proverb from Runyankole that “eziguruka zitamanyiine ziterana amapaapa” which literally means that’ birds which fly without mutual concession hit wings amongst themselves’, this should open eyes to all African heads of states to mutually come together and fight this imperialism that is cropping up in the name of bringing peace and protection of human rights.

‘It is true that peace doesn’t mean stationing soldiers at every locus that seem to burst against the dysfunction of the state but freedom of people to live together and respect each other within the established constitution. Peace is in the hearts of Africans and isn’t based on the guns, but on the sense of humanity. Therefore, our dear leaders; peace is no less than war but rather; idealism and self-sacrifice and a righteous and dynamic faith willingly to accept changes according to the asocial demands. Leaders build this internally and foster it to all African states this will seal off lines of weaknesses and inevitably dismantle this neo- colonialism.’’

Mike Mukula Comments on the Wikileaks Report that has made things difficult for him with M7


PRESS RELEASE

REF: PR/005/2011
7th September, 2011

Mike Mukula.

My attention has been drawn to recent media reports of a leakage from the Wikileaks of a discussion between myself and Mr. Aaron Simpson, the political and economic affairs chief at the American Embassy in Uganda. I wish to state as follows in respect of the media reports in order to address incessant inquiries from members of the press and the general public.

1). That the discussion in question indeed took place and was intended to be a lunch meeting and in confidence. However, the reporting has been characterized with a lot of distortion and certain inaccuracy to flavor their report. I must hasten to assert that it is not in my character to discuss internal party matters in the media; rather, as I have done in the past, I am comfortable to raise such weighty issues in the appropriate fora in the party and body politic of Uganda. However, now that this matter has found its way into the public domain, it is only responsible for me to own up and further state that:

· The views therein represent to a large extent my honest thoughts then and now in respect of the state of affairs in the NRM where I am currently the Vice – Chairman for Eastern Uganda. However, without appearing to want to undermine the party, we have worked to build in the last 20 years, I want to further state that I will at an appropriate time raise these issues at the appropriate fora both within the party and in the body politic of Uganda because I strongly believe that these issues must be openly and freely discussed by all Ugandans as we chart our way into the future.

· I hold no ill – will against the person of the President and his entire family. In any case I have over the time cultivated a neat respectful relationship with the President and the rest of the first family. I must categorically state that the matter of succession arose in the course of my discussion with Mr. Simpson. This matter, however, has been totally misrepresented as it is in the wikileaks. My position to Mr. Simpson was that incase, and I mean just in case , the President was ever contemplating a succession plan involving his son, I would have no problem as long as it is not imposed on the party but rather subjected to an honest democratic process involving all interested individuals. I clearly pointed out that I would strongly object and vigorously oppose all forms of adulterated democracy (stage – managed) engineered to leverage any individual to the Presidency, irrespective of who that individual is.

· The other very important issue that came up in the course of my discussion with Mr. Aaron Simpson is the issue of the restoration of term limits. In respect of this issue, I no doubt affirmed to Mr. Simpson that it is an issue that must be re-considered urgently before 2013, the projected year of the proposed East African Federation. This, I pointed out, will be critical because we must harmonise our political systems and processes with the rest of East Africa. As things stand now, we are the only country in East Africa without term limits.

· Our party must be proactive, not only in the management of this country but also in realigning Uganda to move in tandem with the rest of East Africa. I will therefore undertake to pursue this matter with the view of redressing it once and for all. It is a matter that I consider central to our harmonious progress, both as a country and the region.

· I also want to put the record straight on the issue raised in respect of the winning strategy of the NRM in the last elections. The Wikileaks gives the impression that I under estimated percentage points President Museveni could garner to only 49% 10% points fewer than what he received in 2006. While this is true to an extent, I, however was referring to our parties standing prior to the official campaign period and of course mindful of the fact that there were issues we needed to address such as the tension between the central government and Buganda, and a whole host of other sensitive issues at the time. I however had no doubt in my mind that once the campaign machinery of the NRM was rolled out we would be able to reclaim our ground and gain percentage – wise. This was indeed the case when most of northern Uganda, Teso and Busoga yielded to my party’s campaign effort.

Above every other consideration, I am strongly of the view that those who love both our party and country must stand up to be counted both in the informal and formal discussions that will follow arising from the progressive issues in the wikileak. As I have said, I will bring these matters for consideration in the correct fora in my party and country.

2). About my own political future, I will at the appropriate time launch appropriate comprehensive consultations within the party and beyond with the sole view of weighing my options in respect of a post – President Museveni era.


DR. FLT. CAPT.GEORGE MIKE MUKULA PhD (MP)
NATIONAL VICE- CHAIRMAN NRM EASTERN REGION
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT SOROTI MUNICIPALITY

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