As 2010 folds and 2011 unfolds I want to thank you all and share with you a few principal points.
Twenty ten (2010) has been an important year of reflection and debate made easy by the internet. Twenty eleven (2011) should be a year to launch real action to implement for present and future generations the outcomes of the 2010 debate. We shall need collaboration with friends, neighbors, well wishers and partners to put Uganda onto a growth and development path that is equitable, sustained and sustainable taking into consideration the following points.
First, a society that develops and matures must enjoy all the rights and freedoms that include good education, healthcare and adequate and balanced diet; decent jobs, housing and clothing as well as freedom of expression and assembly. These rights and freedoms can only be enjoyed through a free and fair political system, an independent judiciary and a security system that protects citizens’ lives and properties through established peoples’ institutions and rules.
Second, growth and development takes place from within. Others can only supplement our efforts, not substitute them. Consequently, policies and practices that have facilitated brain drain and capital flight must be reversed. Ugandans must plan, implement, monitor and evaluate their development programs. They must own the process and the product which must be distributed equitably. All this has been lost under Museveni government.
Third, because Uganda borders are porous and authorities have pursued liberal immigration and refugee policies since the 1920s and 1960s respectively, Uganda has ended up with people occupying vital and strategic positions in government, security forces and private sector which they have used to advance interests detrimental to those of the indigenous population.
Many Ugandans got a shock when senior officers in Uganda institutions (including national security and strategic places) at home and abroad (UN, AU and embassies) and private sector who had been trained by Uganda tax payers’ money left for Rwanda in 1994. That should not be allowed to happen again. Policies must therefore be designed that allow a thorough critique of who is who in Uganda from the lowest to the highest level in the land. Existing restrictions such as the anti-sectarian law should be repealed because they have undermined Uganda interests.
Potential leaders at any level must produce evidence of their birth place and ancestral roots to avoid a repeat of what is happening in Ivory Coast. Nobody in the world in time and space wants to be led by people he or she does not know. Therefore Ugandans have an inalienable right to know who is who in Uganda. This is not racism or tribalism. It is the right thing to do. Therefore Ugandans need to identify citizens based on agreed upon profiles that can lead in making comprehensive changes.
Fourth, Uganda needs good neighbors because they contribute to an atmosphere that facilitates full enjoyment of human rights and freedoms. Relations with our neighbors therefore need to change from confrontation to cooperation based on mutual respect.
Fifth, above all, Ugandans – rich or poor, urban or rural – need land on which to grow our food, build our houses, schools, hospitals, factories, airports, telecommunications and drive to and from home etc. We should always be grateful to S. Simpson, Director of Agriculture in Uganda from 1911 to 1929 who worked tirelessly to preserve land for Uganda peasants and for his wholehearted support for retention of native agriculture. In honor of his memory, we should preserve what he fought for. Uganda land must always belong to Ugandans. Any negotiations whether or not in the context of the East African economic integration or political federation that involve loss of land ownership must not be entertained. Any decision imposed by government or leader that leads to loss of land must be reversed at the earliest opportunity because land is life.
Our traditional agricultural systems that have served Uganda well over the centuries must be improved upon and retained. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that small holder farmers are more productive, efficient, environmentally and socially friendly than large scale farmers. That is why they have been recognized at the international level including the United Nations and the World Bank. In its 2008 World Development report the World Bank hailed the role of small holder farmers in leading the way out of poverty and hunger. It also recognized the role of state investment in agriculture and application of subsidies as appropriate (Foreign Affairs November/December 2010).
Privatizing, selling or leasing Uganda land to foreigners must be out of the question. No piece of Uganda land should be taken away in one form or another. The government or president does not have land to dish out to foreigners or even Ugandans. Land is entrusted to and not owned by the president. It is our responsibility to keep reminding him
Sixth, we must all know that good things come out of struggle, diligent and smart work. There is no free lunch. Sacrifices will have to be made. Complaining and praying are essential but they are not sufficient. Ultimately, we shall have to get into the ‘trenches’ using our talents to be able to reclaim Uganda from Museveni.
Museveni and his Bahororo relatives in the great lakes region and in-laws with foreign backers have derailed our country’s development. Industries are disappearing, fisheries are disappearing, forests are disappearing, wetlands are disappearing, lakes, rivers and spring wells are disappearing, schools are crumbling, hospitals are turning into hospices, insanity is rising, criminality is rising, violence is rising, alcoholism is rising and has already put Uganda on top of the world, human sacrifice is rising and mobile phone costs are rising and have increased poverty to most users because they have become a consumer rather than a producer item.
What Museveni defines as national security is in fact repression and violation of human rights. As you know Museveni has finally been recognized internationally as one of the worst dictators in the world.
Can someone tell Ugandans what Museveni has done that Ugandans can collectively be proud of? If there is none then why should he be re-elected? We hope security forces and voters will do the right thing in this regard.
Do not lose hope. Between now and February 2011, let us use our talents and connections to defeat Museveni who should neither be allowed to intimidate anyone nor manage to steal a single vote.
My views have been compressed in ten books and a peoples’ blog www.kashambuzi.com. Please spare a moment and visit it.
I wish you all a peaceful, stable, equitable and prosperous New Year.
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY
December 30, 2010