From time immemorial when people stand together they win

One thing that is indisputable is that Ugandans including many in the NRM want change preferably by peaceful means. War has no support domestically and in the international community. On the other hand, the ruling clique in the NRM that wants to hang onto power and hand over to their children when they retire is working hard to keep Ugandans divided as illustrated by the creation of over 100 districts that has killed the unity project which was NRM’s flagship at the start of its administration in 1986. History shows unambiguously that when people are divided they fail and when united they succeed in their endeavors. The purpose of studying history which everyone should do at school or through self education besides passing examination is to draw lessons about what to avoid and what to emulate with modifications as appropriate. NRM has definitely mustered the history lesson of keeping Ugandans divided including encouraging them to seek work abroad so that it weakens the middle class that champions agitation for change. The following paragraphs will demonstrate using examples from different parts and different times how unity brings about success.

Uganda: Let us mean what we say about national unity

We have heard calls for national unity for a very long time. Yet national unity has not been realized. If anything national division has become the norm witness the division of Uganda from 18 districts at one time to over 100 districts today operating virtually as independent entities. One day you hear some commentators on radio or in private conversation claiming they belong to their tribe or region first and the next day they preach Uganda first.

National unity should be preached out of conviction, not out of convenience. There is enough evidence that “unity of convenience” to solve immediate problems has caused medium and long term troubles, some of them very serious. We should constantly remind ourselves of these experiences in order to do better. Elections for whatever office, assignments and promotions should be based on merit, on what individuals have accomplished and what they can offer to Uganda not on empty promises or who they are or where they come from or what faith they follow or their age or their gender.

Unity underscored at the London conference

Preliminary reports coming out of London indicate that the Uganda conference on November 12, 2011 was well attended and interactive. That NRM attended the conference is commendable. It appears though that the agenda was tilted towards political aspects related to the NRM regime perhaps as a result of participants’ profiles. A contribution to the conference on the National Recovery Plan (NRP) is available at

Understanding where we are in Uganda is a historical and multi-sector process that needs to take into account political, economic, social and regional aspects that have contributed to the present impasse. Political conflict is by and large a reflection of economic and social inequities that undermine liberty, justice and dignity.

We hope that this is the first meeting in a series of others to follow. A report of the meeting with a clear message on outcomes and follow-up actions made available to the public will be helpful.

Those who deny that Uganda is not at a crossroads need to reexamine the basis for drawing that conclusion. Uganda is in real trouble politically, economically, socially, morally and environmentally. The long-term intentions of current leaders need to be understood clearly as a pre-requisite for finding solutions.