Reading the Manifesto gives the impression that it was prepared in a hurry by a narrow range of specialists without practical experience. Some areas especially in the social and demographic sectors, regional and external relations appear to have been forgotten or remembered as the Manifesto was going to the press. For example, the East African economic integration and political federation are just mentioned in passing without indicating the benefits and costs to Uganda. The economic sector does not refer to the general shortcomings of the Washington Consensus launched in 1987 and why and how it came about and what was sacrificed in the process.
The Manifesto is largely a description of what has gone wrong in Uganda since NRM came to power in 1986. There is little mention of what needs to be done to right the wrongs with virtually no mention of how it is to be done. The focus on institutions and separation of powers among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government is not enough. In the absence of capable and patriotic leadership and democratic governance institutions can’t work.
The Manifesto does not attempt to establish linkages among economic, social and environmental dimensions to ensure sustainability nor does it address the linkages among peace and security, development and human rights.
The manifesto exhibits elements of appeasement to win certain sections of Uganda and we know what can go wrong with this approach. The Manifesto is very selective and therefore narrow on Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Manifesto does not appear to have given enough thought on how Uganda should be governed in the transitional period and in the long term.
These deficits might explain why FUF officials are reluctant to be interviewed or answer legitimate questions and are beginning to focus on criticizing the work and philosophies of others as well as using unfortunate language to describe others instead of articulating what they want to do to oust the NRM regime and implement their program in political, economic, social, regional and external relations sectors.
By way of comparison, we suggest FUF members read UDU National Recovery Plan (NRP) available at www.udugandans.org.
Uganda voices in the opposition at home and abroad need to come together, harmonize our thinking and speak with one voice. Each one of us has something to put on the table to advance our common cause of unseating the NRM regime. Together we can’t fail; scattered and stepping on one another’s toes and venturing into areas in which we have no expertise and experience we shall take longer or fail totally to realize our mission. These are preliminary comments on the Manifesto.