As Ugandans struggle to unseat the failed NRM regime – and all opposition groups agree – that has made Uganda vulnerable to internal and external shocks, two strategies for regime change have emerged. There are those who want war in the first instance by invading the country because according to them that is what Museveni and NRM understand.
But there are many obstacles to the military strategy. The mood in Uganda, in Uganda’s neighbors, in Africa, in Europe, in the Middle East and in the rest of the world is not in favor of changing regimes by military means – regardless of how they came to power. We have seen what happened in Mali and more recently in Central African Republic – the coup leaders were dispatched into oblivion.
In Spain the Basque Separatists (ETA) have abandoned armed struggle. In Palestine various groups (… have all de facto adopted non-violence as their principal method of choice in recent months – albeit to different degrees in terms of formal endorsement and irrevocability” (Michael Broning : The Politics of Change in Palestine: State-Building and Non-Violent Resistance 2011).
As we head for London to attend the Uganda Peace Conference at the end of June, 2014 participants will need new lenses that seek and tell the truth. Uganda which is overwhelmingly a religious country and increasingly becoming enlightened has failed to shed bias and tell the truth, the principal quality of religion and enlightenment traditions.
Because of deep-rooted bias we Ugandans have failed to determine the respective roles of religion and ethnicity in Uganda politics and conflicts; the roles of UPC and KY in the breakup of the alliance; the roles of UPC and KY in locating the central government in Buganda; the roles of the Lukiiko and UPC central government in the 1966 and 1967 crisis; the roles of Obote and Ibingira in the emergence of Amin and Museveni as Uganda leaders; the roles of the military and non-violent resistance in regime change etc. Let us look at the evidence.
Religious conflicts and wars in Uganda since independence
Some Ugandans and others have continued to argue that Uganda instability and wars since independence have been caused in large part by religious conflict over political power. There is no evidence of that. What we know is that when the largely Catholic-based DP lost the argument at the London constitutional conference in 1961 and the subsequent elections in 1962 and 1980, it opted to form an opposition instead of going to war.
As we look for quality leaders to govern Uganda in post-NRM regime, we need to look at those that have led Uganda at provincial and/or national levels and draw some lessons on the basis of a set of parameters. They should include inter alia pragmatism, ability to adjust to changing circumstances and compromise with those he/she deals with. Mutesa II (RIP) met these requirements.
During negotiations for political and administrative reforms with Governor Andrew Cohen, Mutesa realized that the Lukiiko was very unhappy. He quickly changed course with help of a remark that was made by a colonial official in London that East African territories would at some undefined time in the future form a political federation.
During the constitutional discussions for Uganda’s independence, the Kabaka did not insist on getting all that Buganda had demanded. He was happy with what the kingdom achieved and expressed the hope that the rest would be negotiated later.
Not least, regarding one of the most delicate issues in the constitutional discussions – the Lost Counties – it is reported that the Kabaka reconciled himself to the idea of a referendum.
The severity of economic, social and environmental problems under the failed NRM government that has rendered the country vulnerable to internal and external shocks has provoked a reaction from Baganda who are speaking out loudly and complaining that their region is being impoverished economically and socially and degraded environmentally and culturally by unsustainable influx into the kingdom of Ugandans from the rest of the country and non-Ugandans from neighboring countries in search of economic and social opportunities and political security.
Since the colonial period policies have concentrated economic and social opportunities in Buganda while other regions have served as labor reserves. Currently some 80 percent of Uganda’s Gross National Income (GNI) is generated in Kampala and surrounding areas with a population of some 2 million while the rest of the country with some 33 million people generates a mere 20 percent of GNI.
Ugandans won’t understand our troubles fully without studying the genesis of conflicts between UPC and KY and the differences within the Mengo administration. The purpose of my constant writing and talking is to give Ugandans the necessary information to take informed decisions.
Musaja Gyagenda who resides in London has consistently maintained that it was UPC under the leadership of Obote that alone planted the seed that has constrained Uganda’s peaceful development since independence. You have heard his arguments on Radio Munansi and I will not repeat them here. Instead I will give you the other half of the story.
First of all it should be understood that at the start of the UPC and KY short relationship, the two groups were diametrically opposed. UPC was nationalistic and radical whereas KY was conservative and primarily concerned about the future of Buganda in independent Uganda. They came together for the sole purpose of defeating DP a largely Catholic-based party led by Ben Kiwanuka a Catholic who was well educated and fairly experienced Muganda commoner.
At the constitutional conference in London in 1961, Buganda demanded (1) an autonomous federal status; (2) an independent army; (3) a separate High Court; (4) a police force of its own and (5) control of the strategic towns of Entebbe and Kampala (T. V. Sathyamurthy 1986).
Sejusa who has been living in London since May 2013 privately launched the Freedom and Unity Front (FUF) in London in December 2013 with handpicked participants that included a non-Ugandan believed to be an adviser to Yoweri Museveni. There is speculation that some (if not all) of the participants could be ESO agents that Sejusa used while he was head of ESO and ISO, the equivalent of CIA and FBI respectively. Efforts to get the list of those participants have so far yielded no results. We urge Sejusa to release the list to the public soonest.
What also needs to be known is that Sejusa is the sole founder of FUF, a very unusual and disturbing arrangement in the formation of political organizations in time and space.
The FUF conference got off to a bad start when a participant (Monique Wyatt) who had been officially admitted into the conference hall was forced out of the room apparently for asking unexpected but legitimate questions about Sejusa’s alleged criminal activities in Northern Uganda including when he was head of Operation North – a scorched-earth policy to destroy any living object in the air, on land and under water – and escorted to the boundary of the conference premises by security forces, clearing the confusion that she had stormed out of the conference hall on her own.