Democracy that doesn’t serve the people will eventually fail

Democracy that is based solely on elections regardless of whether they are free and fair will eventually fail;

Democracy that keeps the same party and leaders in power election after election will eventually fail;

Democracy that revolves around one all-powerful leader will eventually fail;

Democracy that sends its brightest and /or experienced citizens into exile and then harasses them there will eventually fail;

Democracy that is based on economic growth and per capita income regardless of how the benefits are shared among the citizens will eventually fail;

Democracy that is underpinned by security forces and safe houses will eventually fail;

Democracy that permits corruption, sectarianism and cronyism to thrive will eventually fail;

Democracy that is based on loyalty rather than competence will eventually fail;

Democracy that is not transparent and accountable to the people will eventually fail;

Democracy that defines security in national defense terms and forgets other kinds of security will eventually fail;

Democracy that does not permit freedom to assemble, associate and express opinion against the government will eventually fail;

Democracy that presides over crumbling institutions, infrastructures and systems will eventually fail;

Why Museveni has difficulties explaining his accomplishments

President Museveni is campaigning for reelection for another five-year term. He has been telling NRM supporters that he has a solid record of achievements for the last 25 years. But he does not elaborate on that record. Deep in his heart he knows that his performance in all areas of human endeavor has been dismal. He has been variously described as a dictator presiding over a failed state. Images around the world of Ugandans disfigured by jiggers which he condemned while waging a guerrilla war, children dying of hunger, Ugandans dying in traffic accidents because of bad roads, patients sleeping on hospital floors, children studying under trees, Kampala City under floods, shooting unarmed demonstrators while he was Chairman of the Commonwealth, demonstrations against him in New York City in 2009 and 2010, recent allegations that Uganda troops committed genocide against Hutu in DRC and terrorist attack on Kampala have left Museveni a weak and vulnerable man. That is why talk of his achievements is circumscribed.

Immigrants and population growth in Buganda

Uganda’s ‘explosive’ population growth has become the single most important development challenge to date. It has been reported in major newspapers in Uganda and at international conferences. Seminars have been conducted on the subject and more are planned. The population topic has attracted people from many disciplines, many of them with insufficient knowledge, experience or data to handle the subject professionally.

The causes of Uganda’s problems – poverty, unemployment, environmental degradation, crime, violence, food insecurity, urban congestion and slums, poor quality education and health care, lack of adequate savings and investments etc – are being blamed largely on Uganda’s high fertility rate. Development partners and experts are increasingly concerned about the future of Uganda if the fertility rate is not checked. One reporter in Observer magazine (Uganda) of August 8, 2010 suggested that “Uganda must start aggressively [using force] promoting and funding family planning services” reminiscent of what happened in India and China. Some readers have supported the suggestion without indicating how it should be done and on what groups.

Ugandans did not and still do not understand Museveni’s motive

From grade five through eight I walked to school through a homestead that had vicious dogs. As there was no diversion, I had to face them every day – early mornings and late evenings – when they were unleashed. My grandmother advised me that when moving in the northerly direction, I should throw a stone in the southerly direction, and vice versa, to attract the dogs there. I would be gone by the time they realized it was a hoax. Her advice worked.

Similarly, Museveni has engaged Ugandans in diversions. Right from the start he knew what he wanted to do – to create a Tutsi Empire or something close to it such as the East African Federation. He prepared Ugandans and increasingly east and central Africans to look elsewhere – at the benefits of East African community and population mobility etc. Museveni also knew how to get there – build a strong army led by relatives, bring Baganda, Catholics and foreigners into the fold and use them against Obote whom he painted as a common enemy, and marginalize the rest. Let us trace Museveni’s plan step by step.

Ugandans need to understand the causes of population growth first

Of late there has been a resurgence of writing and debate about Uganda’s population ‘explosion’ or ‘bomb’ that will destroy development efforts because savings are going into feeding unproductive mouths of children instead of investing in productive enterprises. Increasingly we are witnessing people who are not trained in population much less experienced in this complex subject writing and commenting with confidence like they know more than any other Ugandan or for that matter any other expert. Some of these may have had one day or one week’s seminar in population matters and begin to talk with authority.

Population dynamics are very complex in time and space. We have seen the regrettable results of countries that rushed into reducing population growth rapidly by force or couples that did not want children or just one or two. These countries and their governments are now rushing to reverse the trend. Have you heard of “Conception Day” in one of the developed countries where a national holiday has been declared so that the citizens can stay at home and increase their population? Have you heard of a wide range of incentives that are being offered in developed countries so that their populations can have many children? What I am saying is that rushing into curbing population growth can be costly in the long term.