Death of women: By and large, 2012 is a year many Ugandans would wish to erase from their memories. It ended on a very sad note with a 24 year old Member of Parliament losing her life in mysterious circumstances and a pregnant woman dying in child birth at Mulago Hospital because she didn’t bribe the medical staff. The international community was shocked at these tragedies that have dented NRM government image nationally, regionally and internationally.
UDU has begun using its networks to make sure that these departed two women did not die in vain. We call on others at home and abroad to protest so that these shameful deaths are not repeated. We call particularly on women and parliamentarians around the world to take action and ensure justice is served. Those responsible must be held accountable. In Uganda none is above the law.
Here are the principal highlights.
1. The mysterious death of a twenty four year old member of parliament has cast a thick shadow over the credibility of the government. Rightly or wrongly, the people of Uganda appear to have made up their mind thereby denting the image of Tutsi-led NRM government. The puzzle that MP Hussein Kyanjo was poisoned remains unsolved. The latest scare that the vice president had been poisoned and had to rush to hospital has left Ugandans wondering who is safe in Uganda and abroad. The allegation of poisoning Ugandans needs to be taken up in 2013.
2. Politically, NRM fared badly in 2012. A new government within NRM government was formed by Ssekikubo, Baryomunsi and Nawagaba. The fight for presidential succession by the first lady, prime minister and speaker of parliament raffled NRM feathers. To put a halt to it, the president announced a year after he had been fraudulently re-elected that he was seeking re-election in 2016. The potential for NRM implosion shouldn’t be underestimated. Meanwhile, Museveni is grooming his son Muhoozi to succeed him, witness rapid promotions including the one conferred on him by the late Gaddafi. To keep NRM together and his involvement as chairman of regional organizations, Museveni is spending less time on Uganda’s economic, social and environmental development.
Lest we forget, let us remind ourselves of the discussions we have had so far and the issues that have emerged. My contribution has been publication of ten books, creation of a blog www.kashambuzi.com, co-host of an English program on Radio Munansi, participation in debates through Uganda Observer newspaper, Ugandans at Heart Forum and as Secretary General and Chief Administrator of UDU. I have avoided discussing or writing about private lives or family matters of Ugandans I have referred to. Without understanding our history and political experience, we will continue to engage in misinformation and misinterpretation of developments. Uganda’s history and politics have been distorted to serve parochial interests and setting the record straight has created some of the controversies we have witnessed. Because the highlights cover discussions of a year and half, the article is therefore a bit longer than usual.
As we move forward we should be governed by reason and tolerance, not emotion and intolerance; equality, not superiority; merit, not favoritism as to religion, region, gender, age or ethnicity etc and civility and decorum, not abuse or threat. We must always remember that Uganda belongs to all of us. Not one single individual or a group of few individuals should be allowed to determine the country’s future trajectory. When one attempts, Ugandans must act boldly and swiftly and nip the effort in the bud. Here are the highlights.
Message for Members of Parliament
United Democratic Ugandans (UDU) wishes you, your families and constituents a Happy and Successful New Year.
2011 was a year of elections and extraordinary economic and social hardship, calling for reflection and consultation on the way forward. The time for promises is over. Now in 2012 is the time for real reforms to bring about real and positive change in the quality of life of all Ugandans.
Addressing Uganda’s challenges will require contribution from everyone including development partners under your leadership because you represent the people. You have a duty to promote, protect and defend their interests.
As part of its contribution to the debate on reforms UDU prepared a National Recovery Plan (NRP) and circulated it widely for comments. The draft was amended accordingly and presented at the UDU conference held in Boston (USA) on October 8, 2011 for debate after which it was adopted. The final version is posted at www.udugandans.org
UDU believes in resolution of conflicts by peaceful means in the first instance and in inclusiveness and full participation. It also believes in real reforms with win-win outcomes. For a start, in 2012 parliament should consider and adopt reforms in the following areas.
Let me end 2011 with this short message in part as a response to Museveni’s end of year message.
First, Ugandans must understand the simple truth: Museveni is committed to implementing Bahororo 50 year Master Plan which was adopted at his Rwakitura residence under his chairmanship on March 15, 1992.
To realize the Master Plan, non-Bahororo Ugandans must be kept poor economically, socially and politically by denying them what would empower them such as quantity and quality education, jobs, nutrition and access to resources. It is a zero-sum game. Because of this game, poverty has remained very high – over fifty percent – and some 20 percent in the lowest income bracket have got worse.
To explain high levels of poverty, youth unemployment, hunger, disease etc, Museveni has always blamed external forces and “Acts of God” beyond NRM’s control or the opposition. And he gets away with it! It is mainly NRM’s commissions and omissions that are overwhelmingly responsible for too much suffering in Uganda – a country so well endowed to make everyone happy with a surplus. In true democratic countries Museveni and NRM would have been voted out of power a long time ago.
Twenty eleven was a year in which, inter alia:
1. “The Pearl of Africa” fell and faded again at home and abroad;
2. The costs of elections exceeded benefits;
3. Graduates from Dar es Salaam eclipsed those from other universities in strategic areas;
4. Corruption became so rampant that cabinet ministers and senior officials pointed a figure at the source;
5. NRM government demonstrated insensitivity and non-caring for Ugandans in the midst of unprecedented high prices, youth unemployment, poverty and collapse of institutions that made Ugandans proud like Mulago national referral and teaching hospital;
6. NRM dangerously drove the East African economic integration and political federation bus with a potential for permanently changing the demographic map of Uganda;
7. The economy of Uganda became unhinged reflecting NRM’s failure to adjust to a shift from pure neo-liberalism to public-private partnership;
8. Bahororo ruling clique in the NRM tightened its hold on power and is preparing the young generation to take over and continue to implement the 50 year master plan to be realized by denying other Ugandans access to good education, good and strategic jobs and resources resulting in mass poverty, vulnerability, powerlessness and voicelessness in the political, economic and social arena. Lack of opposition in Uganda, collaboration with Rwanda and possibly Kenya will pave the way for realizing the Tutsi Empire dream in the Great Lakes region disguised as East African political federation with Museveni as the first head;
Summary: The assessment of Museveni’s 25-year record in economic and political areas at national, regional, continental and global levels demonstrates triumph of failure over success.
To undertake a proper assessment of Museveni’s record one has to fully understand his overall goal. Museveni wants to be remembered as a great and bold leader at the regional, continental, commonwealth and global levels. He made this clear in early interviews after he became president. In one of them he said he would quit Uganda politics for pan-Africanism as soon as peace returned to Uganda. Thus, he has used Uganda and Ugandans as a spring board in pursuit of that larger goal. In short, leading Uganda and promoting Uganda interests were not his main reason for waging the devastating guerrilla war. Neither was it in sympathy with Baganda nor Catholics that felt had suffered under Obote leadership. Rather Museveni wanted a starting point – using Baganda and Catholic frustrations – which he failed to get in 1980 elections. The ten-point program and broad-based government at the start of his presidency were designed to consolidate his support among all Ugandans because he captured power in 1986 with a very narrow base.
The world we live in is very unpredictable and Rwanda is a good example. Until the economic crisis that started in 1989 with the collapse of coffee prices on the international market, Habyarimana’s economic and social programs had been hailed by the international community and Rwandese as success story to be emulated by the rest of Africa. By 1990, a weakened Rwanda was under attack and the government collapsed in 1994 in the midst of genocide. What caused the change of circumstances – from success story to genocide in a four year period?
Chris Atim has reported that four developments contributed to a quick shift from success story to genocide. But first, let us briefly examine the economic and social situation between 1973 when Habyarimana became president in a bloodless coup and 1989 when the price of coffee on the international market plummeted.
The population dimension has featured prominently in the reviews of Uganda’s five-year development plan which was launched on Monday April 19, 2010. In considering this issue let us remember that:
First, individuals and couples have a human right to determine freely the number of children they need, when to start having them and how to space them. This is in line with the 1994 Cairo conference on population and development and the recently concluded 43rd session of the UN commission on population and development. Authorities should provide information and facilities to enable individuals and couples full fill their rights voluntarily.
Second, according to Article II (iv) of the Convention on Genocide (1948), imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group [e.g. of poor people] constitutes an act of genocide.
Third, population growth in a country is largely a result of poverty and migration. Poor people as we have in Uganda tend to produce many children because mortality rate in that group is still high, poor parents depend on children in old age, and a subsistence economy requires more hands than a modern one. Children of poor people drop out of school early and get married in their teens and begin to produce children right away. Reducing poverty and keeping girls at school beyond primary education and empowering women reduce fertility rates without controversy.