Uganda’s main challenge

Greetings fellow Ugandans and friends

Making progress in any area of human endeavor begins with a clear understanding of the challenge and how to address it.

1. Uganda’s principal problem right now is Museveni and his political economy philosophy for Uganda and the great lakes region. It has potential for instability that will adversely affect domestic and foreign investments in the region. Bwengye said in an interview in 2005 that Museveni was given a key role in the guerrilla struggle without understanding who he was and what he exactly stood for.

2. As we know Museveni became president in 1986 without legitimacy. He was acting Chairman of NRM after the passing of Yusuf Lule. Elections to replace Lule were delayed until NRM/NRA entered Kampala and Museveni who had been acting NRM chairman became president by default. So he had no legitimacy but nobody raised it.

3. Now that we know who he is we are not going to allow him to govern without legitimacy again. That is why the current negotiations being moderated by religious leaders should not lead us into a government of national unity headed by Museveni because that will legitimize his illegitimate government of, by and for foreigners. Museveni and NRM candidates were voted overwhelmingly by foreigners who were bused in from Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and DRC as well as migrants and refugees.

Similarities between Yoweri Museveni and Oliver Cromwell

The people of Uganda are beginning to take a probing interest in Uganda’s politics. But I wonder whether we understand the potential dangers ahead. The 2011 elections have introduced worrying elements particularly the participation of foreigners in Uganda’s electoral process. If this practice is not stopped, we could easily have an Ivory Coast situation in 2016.

The purpose of this contribution is to compare Oliver Cromwell who started off as a liberator and ended up as one of the worst dictators with absolute power and intolerance of opponents. Let us briefly review conditions that led to the emergence of Cromwell as the Lord Protector of a republican government in England.

The Stuart kings succeeded the Tudor kings of England who had been very careful in dealing with parliament and succeeded in hiding their absolutism. King James I, the first Stuart King of England, subscribed to the doctrine of the divine right of kings and lectured to parliament about it. James wrote “The state of monarchy is the supreme thing on earth” and kings “sit upon God’s throne”. He added that “as to dispute what God may do is blasphemy, so is it sedition … to dispute what a king may do” (N. Barber 2006). Parliament objected to absolute monarchy.

Museveni has no legitimacy to govern in Uganda

Museveni has repeatedly stated that the people of Uganda are sovereign. Ipso facto, Museveni cannot govern without their consent. There has to be a contract between him and the citizens of Uganda. Without this contract, Museveni has no legitimacy. Without legitimacy at home, Museveni and his government cannot be recognized abroad and welcome into the community of nations. Thus, without legitimacy, Museveni cannot represent the people of Uganda abroad or enter into agreement (contract) on their behalf. Museveni may have power through the barrel of the gun, but that does not confer legitimacy. Using power without legitimacy is tyranny.

The people of Uganda have withheld consent because the 2011 elections from the highest to the lowest level lacked a level playing field. They were organized by a discredited electoral commission, some five million Uganda voters were disenfranchised, an equal number of foreigners voted for NRM, there was massive intimidation by security forces, and NRM used public resources to fund its campaigns. The international observer teams have concluded that the elections were not free and fair.

The right thing

As a last resort, the people of Uganda – like people elsewhere – have the right to rebel against the dictatorial regime of Museveni who believes in Social Darwinism. Museveni is falsely convinced that Bahororo people were created with exceptional natural qualities including monopoly on military aggressiveness to rule by divine right and exploit other Ugandans with impunity. That is why he can hire his family members and other Bahororo people in key, strategic and lucrative areas without shame. Museveni does not believe in elections. For him elections are a western requirement to get foreign aid. According to him, elections will never remove Bahororo people from power! The 2011 elections confirm Museveni’s determination to rule Uganda. He openly rigged the 2011 elections largely by disenfranchising indigenous Ugandans and bringing in foreigners to vote for him and his NRM candidates from presidential to the lowest electoral office in the land.

Although Museveni claims he has read history, he appears not to have drawn the right lessons. There is sufficient evidence that rulers who believe in the divine right and military supremacy and impoverish and marginalize their subjects end up defeated.

A profile for future Uganda leaders

Disappointing political and economic performance of Uganda leaders since independence in 1962 has raised questions about the profile of future leaders. The leaders we have had so far have not passed the test in large part because we did not know them well or were imposed through coups and the guerrilla war.

Obote spent much of his time in Kenya. He came back to Uganda a few years before he formed the UPC in 1960 to contest elections in 1961 and 1962. Although his economic performance in the 1960s passed the test, the same cannot be said for political performance.

Ugandans had known Amin to be a rough individual militarily going by his record in Kenya in colonial days and his handling of the 1966 political crisis in Buganda. He became president in the 1970s through a military coup. He was never elected by the people of Uganda.

Museveni shot his way to power from the Luwero jungles through the barrel of the gun. He had worked for a few years as a government research assistant. And he has been with us since 1986.

Uganda security forces can help solve the current political impasse

While security forces exist to defend the state and protect citizens, they can and have helped in addressing political challenges either by joining the people when there is a conflict between them and the government or by staying neutral. Governments come and go. States and people are permanent and security forces are created to defend and protect them.

There are many illustrations of security forces joining the people to stop or remove governments when they oppress the people. In 1789 the soldiers in Paris joined the people when king Louis XVI tried to suppress demonstrations that supported the National Assembly. Other soldiers outside Paris also refused to rally behind the king. His efforts to use mercenaries did not succeed. In this way, security forces prevented the king from dispersing the National Assembly that had gathered to draw up a new constitution for France.

In Ethiopia when there was a conflict in 1974 between the imperial government and demonstrators who were demanding improvements in their welfare including adequate food, the security forces stepped in on the side of the people. The emperor and his government that were not prepared to make necessary changes were swept away.

Uganda’s 2011 elections are illegitimate

There is consensus that the elections results from presidential to the lowest level are illegitimate for two main reasons: disenfranchising some five million Uganda voters and allowing an equal number of foreigners to vote for NRM candidates including the president. The Commonwealth Observer Team concluded that the electoral cycle lacked a level playing field.

The disenfranchised voters are demanding that a transitional coalition government be established to prepare for fresh free and fair elections. In this regard, we applaud the efforts being made by religious leaders to bring the opposition parties and NRM to work out a mutually acceptable political arrangement. The discussions must therefore focus on a transitional government. The idea of giving cabinet posts to opposition presidential candidates with a view to forming a government of national unity is not acceptable. Ugandans also demand that the discussions must be transparent and the terms of reference made public. Secret deals are not welcome.

Museveni’s despotism must be stopped

Greetings fellow Ugandans and friends

We have agreed to adequately prepare an all embracing case for rejecting Museveni as Uganda’s despotic ruler who is increasingly relying on foreigners as Ugandans abandon him. We have also agreed that our grievances should be anchored on facts – not emotions or rumors.

Museveni has violated the constitution of Uganda which recognizes the sovereign and inalienable right of Ugandans to establish a socio-economic and political order based on the principles of unity, peace, equality, democracy, freedom, social justice and progress. Museveni has ruled unilaterally using others as rubber stamp through bribery or people with little or no interest in Uganda.

We have analyzed at some length Museveni’s abuse of our political rights through, among other things, rigging elections since 1996 and using mercenaries from the great lakes region.

When Museveni had an interview in 1994 with an American journalist Bill Berkeley he sent a message to Ugandans that we did not pick up. He said that “I have never blamed the whites for colonizing Africa: I have never blamed these whites for taking slaves. If you are stupid, you should be taken a slave”(The Atlantic Monthly September 1994). This was a powerful message. Why should he blame his white cousins? Museveni believes he is white! I am told that in 1986 he was sworn in by a white judge when he became president! He cannot blame white neo-colonialism which has been imposed on Uganda on his watch.

Museveni has not felt the wind of change

On February 3, 1960 former Britain’s Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan addressed both houses of parliament in South Africa. He warned the Nationalist Government of South Africa of ‘the wind of change’ blowing through the continent. He served notice that Britain could no longer support the policy of apartheid. He stressed that Britain rejected the idea of any inherent superiority of one race over another. He added that ‘individual merit alone is the criterion of man’s advancement, political or economic” (Fifty Correspondents of Reuters, Putman 1967).

Museveni came to power in 1986, at a time of economic and political crisis. The leaders of Africa had been discredited for economic mismanagement and one party political system. There was a search for political and economic stability. The new breed of African leaders shot to the scene through the barrel of the gun including Museveni.

Economic reforms through structural adjustment necessitated curbing freedom to make sure opposition groups did not emerge. In order to implement the austerity program of structural adjustment in Uganda Museveni with tacit support of proponents of structural adjustment allowed abuse of human rights. His abusive actions were conveniently described as boldness. Museveni unlike other leaders was given room to postpone multiparty politics, enabling him to crush DP and UPC.

How French soldiers saved the National Assembly

In 1789, the king of France convened the Estates General (parliament) to find a solution to the nation’s fiscal problems. The meeting took place in the midst of food shortages, rising poverty and unemployment. The commoners (the Third Estate) demanded changes in the voting pattern and sitting arrangement which had advantaged the First (clergy) and Second (nobility) Estates. The King refused, insisting that each estate must meet separately and vote as before. This arrangement had always benefited the First and Second Estates that voted together defeating the Third Estate 2 to1. The commoners who constituted 98 percent of the total population of France decided they were the nation of France. They established a National Assembly to draw up a new constitution for France that would level the playing field. The king ordered it to disperse. It refused.

Because the king did not trust his royal troops, he mobilized mercenaries. When the people of Paris who had been protesting food shortages and rising prices heard that mercenaries were coming to Paris, they decided to arm themselves in defense of their city. They stole arms from a military hospital and proceeded to the Bastille prison (used as jail for political prisoners) to get more weapons and gun powder. The prison guards began to shoot and some of the rioters were killed. The commoners loaded their weapons and fought back. The prison guards had heavier weapons and pounded the commoners who had light weapons.