The presidential and parliamentary exercise that ended yesterday fell far short of expectations. It is unprecedented in Uganda’s elections since 1961. This was not an election in the true meaning of the word. Elections follow norms or standards with minor unintended irregularities here and there which can be excused. The whole electoral cycle was a fraud. The electoral commission chairman’s remarks that irregularities occur in young democracies should not be accepted. To facilitate debate, here are some illustrations of what went wrong throughout the electoral cycle.
1. The Electoral Commission was partial. Museveni refused to appoint an independent commission implying he planned to rig the election.
2. Inflated voter register was compiled by a partial electoral commission. In Museveni’s home area of Ntungamo district where his wife contested a parliamentary seat, there were more than 2 million registered voters. This is outrageous! Earlier warnings that the register in Ntungamo had been inflated were denied. In Kawempe a small residential area in Kampala City another outrageous voter figure of more than 1 million was recorded.
Reading his address to journalists one gets the impression that Museveni had in mind ignorant people who have no clue what has happened in Uganda over the last 25 years. How can he transform Uganda into a second world when he has driven it into a fourth world? Uganda was a third world country when he came to power in 1986. For all intents and purposes, Uganda is now a fourth world using the yardstick of diseases of poverty that have spread to all corners of Uganda. We had some manufacturing enterprises that created jobs when he came to power. They are mostly gone. Uganda has de-industrialized and is now dominated by neglected agriculture using hand hoes and no fertilizers and services based in Kampala and dominated by foreigners.
Instead of pushing forward Museveni has been driving Uganda backward –possibly deliberately to create a marginalized and easily exploited society. Structural adjustment that was supposed to drive Uganda from third to second world failed miserably and was abandoned in 2009. Since then he has no plan to talk of, in any case, the government has been declared broke. God knows where all the donor money that was poured into the country from bilateral and multilateral sources a few months ago besides export earnings has gone. Ugandans and donors must demand a full account of what has happened.
As we prepare to elect our leaders on February 18, 2011, we wish to make it clear that the will of the people of Uganda must prevail this time. Since 1961 our will has been trampled by selfish leaders in collaboration with foreign interests. With education, travel experience and a better understanding of our inalienable human rights, Ugandans are more enlightened than they were in 1961.
We now understand the dangers of divisive politics along religious, geographical and ethnic lines. The days of Catholic and Protestant conflicts are over (Bairu of Akole should take notice). We are all Ugandans. The days of northern and southern conflicts are over. We are all Ugandans. Even within regions say southern region, Banyankole will not be pushed into conflict with Baganda. Those days are over. We are all Ugandans. The days of Nilotic and Bantu conflicts are over. We are all Ugandans.
Change of government in Uganda has been violent – in 1966, 1971, 1979, 1985 and 1986. In 2011 the change of government should be peaceful. But why do we need a change now? Here are some compelling reasons.
1. Museveni was groomed in the early 1980s and imposed on Uganda by powerful western powers to serve their interests in the Greater Lakes region and not those of Ugandans.
2. Museveni waged a destructive guerrilla war with backing of foreigners – some 25 percent of guerrillas were Batutsi from Rwanda who ran the country until they left for Rwanda in 1994 and took our national security secrets with them making Uganda vulnerable. Some still hold key positions in strategic public institutions and business sector and will continue to do so as long as Museveni is in power. Uganda’s economy is in foreign hands – even the strategic post office!
3. Museveni has treated Uganda and Ugandans as conquered territory and people. Since 1986, he has openly despised us as primitive, bankrupt, empty cans, lazy and drunkards not only at home but abroad as well including in the United Nations General Assembly Hall where 192 heads of state and government meet every year in September.
There is evidence in time and space that when conditions become unbearable the downtrodden masses revolt. Time has come for Ugandans to do the same. The precondition for successful revolutions is to overcome the psychology of fear.
For the last twenty five years Ugandans – except Bahororo and their cousins – have lived in hell on earth worse than for serfs in the Dark Ages in medieval Europe.
Serfs or peasants in the Dark Ages fed on a meal of wheat, beans, peas and pork which was better than cassava and maize for the majority of Ugandans today. But there was a lot of injustice and suffering as lords accumulated wealth at peasants’ expense. The priests kept telling peasants not to worry about deprivation on earth because their rewards were in heaven. Eventually serfs in Western Europe got fed up when exploitation became unbearable overcame fear and revolted. The peasant revolt of 1381 in England was led by priest John Ball and peasant Wat Tyler who mobilized some 100,000 peasants and matched in protest in London and elsewhere. Eventually they triumphed and feudalism came to an end.
You have taken us for granted for too long. You hood winked us with your ten point program when you knew you were not going to implement it. Instead of development you have brought hell on Uganda soil. You have reduced a country of hardworking, innovative and cheerful people to a semi-desert where rivers are disappearing, lakes are shrinking and water tables are dropping. Hospitals have turned into hospices, maternal mortality and insanity rates are on the rise. Ugandans have become number one alcohol consumer in the world. You are selling food to earn foreign currency when Ugandans are starving to death. You have refused to allocate money for primary school lunch causing girls to drop out of school and forced into teenage pregnancy and having children they cannot afford. You are encouraging poor families to practice birth control for lack of resources, yet you are selling or leasing Uganda land to foreigners to produce food for their people. Land is the only asset Ugandans have. Education has not provided them an alternative source of income.
Fourth appearance on Radio Munansi
Greetings fellow Ugandans and friends
In this session I wish to share with you why in Uganda land is life and cannot be sold or leased to outsiders as is being done by NRM government.
1. Every human being needs land for a house, factory, recreation, garden, final resting place or a combination of all these functions.
2. Thus, every Ugandan whether educated, urban dweller, wage earner or not should have a piece of land. President Museveni stressed this point of land ownership when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 23, 2008. He stated that in Uganda all families own land. This point was well received by the audience.
3. Land ownership is especially vital for those who do not have non-agricultural skills.
4. Based on how an urban area is defined, some 90 percent of Ugandans still derive their livelihood from land.
5. The issue of land occupied the attention of colonial authorities. After serious debate between London and Entebbe taking into consideration the failure of European plantation agriculture in the 1920s, the colonial administration decided that Uganda’s land would be owned and worked virtually by Uganda peasants.
Third appearance on Radio Munansi
Greetings fellow Ugandans and friends
1. Yesterday the world witnessed a momentous and historic occasion unfold before our eyes – a revolution occurred by unarmed, fearless and gallant people of Egypt. Egyptian men and women in uniform have set very high standards for others to emulate by extending a helping hand to demonstrators. And that is how it should be because the military’s job is to defend the people against internal and/or external aggression.
2. The demonstrations in Egypt and Tunisia were about winning back God-given human rights – including dignity, liberty and equality that have been trampled by political inequities and injustices. Human rights are inalienable. They are God-given and not privileges given and taken back by leaders. Therefore human rights cannot be taken away by anybody. Leaders in Tunisia and Egypt who trampled peoples’ human rights were resisted and defeated.
3. We warmly congratulate the demonstrators in both countries.
4. The wind of change that marked the start of Africa’s de-colonization process in the late 1950s and early 1960s is upon us once again. Southern Sudan is now liberated. Tunisia and Egypt have just gotten rid of dictators and many countries are agitating for change.
This 2011 election will save or destroy Uganda. Re-electing Museveni will change Uganda as we have known it – make no mistake about it. The trajectory is very clear. Museveni is already negotiating with foreigners to sell Uganda’s land – the deal with Egypt is in final stages of finalization.
When Roman food crop producing peasants were forced to sell their land to large scale farmers, the latter switched from food crops for peasant consumption to grazing cattle and sheep or growing grapes and olives for rich families. Rome’s population declined in part from high mortality rate of impoverished, hungry and sick peasants. The weakened Rome was invaded and conquered by barbarians.
Similarly, through the sale of Uganda’s land to foreigners who will then grow foodstuffs to feed their own people, Uganda peasants will dwindle and be replaced by ‘invaders’ through East African economic integration and political federation. This is not a joke. The brilliant, dynamic and jovial children that Uganda has known will be gone as education standards decline and child malnutrition and associated diseases take its toll.