Uganda: We didn’t know things could turn out like this

Like in the past, we still have many Uganda leaders who don’t want to listen to advice and take appropriate decisions that are not in their immediate interests and when things turn out differently, they claim that if they had known all the facts they would have acted differently. But they still refuse to act even when you tell them what to do to right the wrong. Because of failure to listen and act appropriately, many things have gone wrong. Here are some illustrations.

1. Many Baganda leaders did not bother to campaign vigorously in preparation for the referendum on the lost counties issue, believing that Obote would not let them down and jeopardize the KY/UPC coalition. When they lost the referendum, they regretted why they didn’t act differently;

2. When UPC won the controversial 1980 election, some senior UPC politicians were advised to form a government of national unity including members of DP and UPM. Their response was the “winner takes all” concept doesn’t work that way. They behaved as though they had never heard of the “win-win’ concept. They reasoned that the losers will have to wait for the next elections to try their luck. Instead the losers picked up guns and sent UPC into exile for the second time;

UDU ideas for Uganda’s future are catching on

Press statement

As Secretary General with executive responsibility for guiding the affairs of United Democratic Ugandans (UDU), an umbrella organization of opposition political parties and organizations at home and abroad, I am pleased to report to fellow Ugandans at home and abroad, friends and well wishers, that UDU ideas to effect sustainable peace, security and equitable development for present and future generations are catching on.

These ideas are enshrined in the National Recovery Plan (NRP) supplemented by subsequent pronouncements about the future of Uganda. These ideas include the following:

1. UDU has consistently called for peaceful resolution of political differences in the first instance. This idea was endorsed at The Hague conference of November 28-30, 2013 that brought together participants from home and in the diaspora;

2. UDU has advocated that Uganda belongs to all Ugandans and Uganda comes first. UDU is a forgiving organization but those who have committed mistakes and/or crimes need to come forward and tell us exactly what they did wrong.

3. UDU has called for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to record what has happened in independent Uganda to ensure that those commissions and omissions are not repeated;

A civil war is possible in Uganda

Concerned citizens of Uganda including me wish to warn the world as I have done before that there might be a civil war in Uganda seeing what has happened in Central African Republic where a minority group seized power by force as NRM has done in Uganda since 1986 and what is happening in South Sudan.

When people are tired, hungry and unemployed and nothing is done to ease their suffering they resort to war because they have nothing to lose. They would rather die with dignity instead of going down like sheep.

Those who don’t want to take corrective action at home and abroad reason that Ugandans are docile and are scared of the sound of a gun or when you bribe their leaders you silence the entire group that is in pain. That’s what used to be said of Egyptians until a few years ago. Let us learn from the Egyptian experience that dormant people can erupt into a deadly volcano. Uganda is about to blow up. It is a spark that is waiting to start a wild fire and it doesn’t give a warning.

We can prevent that if what I have been proposing is listened to and heeded:

Museveni’s Achilles Heel is not age

Let it be known that Museveni’s problem is not age. It is a combination of dangerous adventurism, incompetence, rigidity and dishonesty. He became president in his early 40s and has been in power uninterrupted since 1986. With experience of 27 years as executive president and still counting and abundant public good will at home and abroad in the early stages, financial and natural resources and highly educated and experienced Ugandans, Museveni should have turned Uganda into a first world country economically, socially and democratically.

At the start of his administration in January 1986, Museveni launched a very popular ten-point program subsequently revised to fifteen that promised among other things eradicating poverty, hunger, ignorance, disease and suffering in general; commercializing agriculture and industrializing Uganda within fifteen years; periodic free and fair elections that would elect representatives that would be servant and not master of the people. He promised a professional military force that would defend the country against external invasion. He promised security of the person and property, elimination of all forms of corruption, cronyism and sectarianism and return of property including land to rightful owners. He promised freedom, justice and equality of all Ugandans. He promised good neighborliness because doing otherwise would destabilize the region.

The people of South Sudan have been fighting since 1955

Those of us who don’t know, the people of South Sudan had fought for some fifty years since 1955 except for a short period of ten years.

It is generally known after a common enemy has been defeated, groups that had fought together begin to develop differences about how to govern themselves and at times some conflicts emerge. So what is happening in South Sudan is not an isolated incident. What we should be doing is to help them solve their differences peacefully.

What Uganda army is doing in South Sudan to join one side and fight the other side is not the way to mediate. We understand the United Nations Secretary General called President Museveni to mediate. We are also told that the President of South Sudan invited Museveni to help him defeat the Riek Machar opposition group.

Since Uganda presence in the country is not mediating but fighting on the side of the government the United Nations and the AU need to discuss how to deal with Uganda troops. It might be useful that Uganda troops withdraw and UN Peace Keepers increase their presence.

Uganda opposition groups must disclose their strategies and structures

There are many Ugandans as individuals and groups that are participating in public criticism of NRM lack of transparency and accountability but they refuse to identify who they are by real names or what they stand for and how they are organized and funded.

Those especially in military organizations have argued that because of security considerations, their activities including recruitment and organizational structures will remain secret until NRM is removed from power. They will continue to raise funds but will not disclose how much and how they are used. Such groups have no moral standing to oppose NRM when they are behaving the same. In both cases transparency and accountability are missing.

NRM which unseated the Okello regime informed the Uganda people and others what its strategy was and its administrative structure. And the leadership was known by their real names. Lule, Museveni, Kisekka and late Kategaya etc never used fake names. Even the military commanders and leaders of external committees etc were known. NRM began publishing its work from August 1981 until December 1985. See their publication titled Mission to Freedom (1990). Why are current organizations refusing to disclose their strategies and structure or reporting the successes they have made so far?