Ours will be a liberal democracy

Liberal democracy has two main components. First, it is based on free and fair elections which are held regularly so that all eligible citizens choose their representatives and form a government. Second, a liberal democracy guarantees that rights for individuals and groups are protected and ipso facto cannot be taken away by government. Put another way, liberal democracy is a form of government that combines representative institutions of government including free and fair elections with liberal values in terms of individual rights and responsibilities.

It is important to stress that it is citizens that vote in a free and fair environment. And government cannot take away inalienable rights and freedoms of citizens.

In writing chapter two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) which was released to the public for comment last week, United Democratic Ugandans (UDU) committee examined the elections and governments in Uganda since 1961. All of them did not meet the two components of a liberal democracy. Citizen participation in elections and government has been less than satisfactory, elections have not been free and fair, foreigners have been allowed to vote and governments have violated human rights and fundamental freedoms of Uganda citizens.

Political and social revolutions are a copycat affair

Uganda leaders and their foreign backers who believe that Ugandans are docile and will not be influenced by Arab Spring Revolutions need to think again before it is too late. The Egyptians had all along been regarded as docile people. But at the start of 2011, they rebelled against what was considered to be a stable government with strong foreign support, powerful military and sophisticated secret service and within less than three weeks, the government was gone. Foreign backers switched sides and congratulated the revolutionaries for a job well done in the name of democracy and will of the people.

History is full of cases which show that a revolution in one place impacts on subsequent revolutions in places where there is discontent. Common discontent such as poverty, unemployment, hunger, inequality and police brutality etc brings people together as in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen to get rid of a government responsible for their suffering. The discontent in Uganda is similar to what obtained in these Arab countries before the revolutions: high levels of poverty, unemployment, hunger, inequality and police brutality etc. In a world that has been reduced to a village by transport and information technology news and ideas are being shared instantly. For example, many Ugandans already know the details of how Wael Ghonim and colleagues organized the Egyptian revolution from his book titled “Revolution 2.0” published in early 2012. Here are a few illustrations.