When a new road develops potholes in some sections after a period of intensive traffic use, a complete new surface may not be necessary if the potholes can be repaired in good time. However, as wear and tear takes its toll, large sections of the road become unsafe necessitating a new surface altogether on the entire section of the road. This resurfacing gives the road a new beginning that facilitates smooth, fast and yet safe driving.
Uganda received a new political surface in 1986 with the arrival of NRM system and its government because the political potholes were too many to fill up. The new political landscape permitted Ugandans in some sections of the country to engage in rapid economic growth and poverty reduction reaching a peak in the mid-1990s when the economic growth rate hit ten percent per annum.
Then the political landscape began to develop potholes beginning with signs of sectarianism, corruption and rigging of the 1996 presidential and parliamentary elections. Attempts were made to fill up these political potholes by dismissing and censuring some ministers. Others lost reelection contests. Commissions of inquiry were instituted and institutions were established to restore political order.
Notwithstanding these corrective steps, the political landscape continued to develop potholes faster than they were being filled up. Ministers and their principal supporters became more corrupt stealing for instance GAVI and CHOGM money in broad daylight. They began counting their money in millions of US dollars. They lived a lifestyle unprecedented in Uganda’s history, even building palaces in rural and subsistence environments where absolute poverty is the order of the day because they have too much money at their disposal. Many of them have boasted that they fought the guerrilla war and the sky is the limit regarding the accumulation of wealth. Ugandans have heard that the politicians involved in massive corruption are so powerful that nobody can touch them.
Uganda’s political surface has thus developed so many potholes since the mid-1990s that patching them will not improve the situation. What is needed right now is a complete overhaul of the political landscape to give Uganda a new beginning. The rejection of 2011 elections by opposition parties sent the signal that removing a corrupt politician here and there would not be enough. Since February elections many organizations have been formed at home and abroad to oppose and bring down the NRM regime by legitimate means and not to wait for another election which NRM will steal again given that it has perfected the instruments of stealing elections. Uganda is very thirsty and hungry for a new beginning – not patching NRM potholes here and there.
In July 2011 these organizations and parties opposed to NRM formed an umbrella organization known as United Democratic Ugandans (UDU) to coordinate activities and speak with one voice for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
In preparation for a new beginning, UDU has developed an alternative development plan to the failed policies of NRM. The plan has been distributed widely at home and abroad and has been well received.
The good news is that an increasing number of Ugandans including key supporters of NRM are beginning to feel that a new beginning is what is needed if Uganda is to be saved from political instability and the associated adverse economic and social outcomes.
We appeal to our development partners to join Uganda voices at home and abroad calling for peaceful regime change. We believe that prevention is better than cure. Uganda must be prevented from sliding into chaos.