Another promise about to be broken in Uganda

Press statement

It is reported that the president of Uganda and minister of defense have announced the possibility of a military coup against the constitution and government of Uganda. This has been prompted by the forces of democracy that are gathering speed and demanding answers about NRM wrong doing since before it came to power. Allegations that Museveni’s National Resistance Army (NRA) committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Luwero Triangle and Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Northern and Eastern regions of Uganda together with other wrongdoing in the political and human rights fields are becoming too much for the authorities to handle.

Through civic education conducted by United Democratic Ugandans (UDU), other organizations and the media, the people of Uganda and the rest of the international community are beginning to understand the gravity of wrong doing committed in Uganda by the NRM. The struggle for democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is beginning to bear fruit.

Uganda security forces are beginning to understand that their principle responsibilities are to defend the nation against external aggression and protect citizens against internal oppression and not to sustain the government in power. They are also beginning to understand that it is proper to side with the people against an authoritarian government or to remain neutral as has happened in many places from time immemorial and most recently in Egypt.

It is reported that senior police officers who rejected excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators have been dismissed or resigned. It is also reported that some elements in the military want democracy to succeed. It is further reported that the electoral commission is beginning to exercise some independence. Some of Uganda’s development partners have also joined in demanding that the people of Uganda exercise their rights and freedoms without harassment by security forces and the government be accountable to the people and end corruption that has become rampant. Religious leaders who understand the daily suffering of their flocks are beginning to raise their voices as well.

Consequently, respect for human rights has improved somewhat. Peaceful demonstrations are taking place without much harassment by the police witness recent peaceful demonstrations by spouses of police officers demanding that their husbands be paid so they can meet basic needs including of food, clothing, healthcare and education of their children. The opposition parties are winning by-elections and parliament is beginning to exercise its rights.

In his book titled “Selected Articles on the Uganda Resistance War” published in 1985, Yoweri Museveni promised to bring democracy to Uganda which he quoted as “government of the people, by the people and for the people”. The people of Uganda are beginning to demand that democracy which if conducted in a free and fair atmosphere will see NRM out of power. Since 1996, Uganda has had democracy in the sense of elections at gun point. This is no longer acceptable and Ugandans want true democracy and good governance in the sense of free and fair elections and transparency, popular participation and accountability. NRM government is not prepared to accept these demands.

Accordingly, it is in the process of inviting the military to take over. If a military coup succeeds and forms a government, it means that the president has broken his promise of democracy as “government of the people, by the people and for the people”. The military will then suspend the constitution, dismiss parliament and forget about human rights and fundamental freedoms and rule by decrees at gun point.

UDU calls on the people of Uganda at home and abroad, friends and well wishers particularly our development partners to resist a military takeover in Uganda.

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