Fellow Ugandans, we see there are people who are now beginning to claim that they are “game changers” when they joined the opposition not long ago, some of them having served the NRM regime in senior positions until recently and possibly responsible by commission, omission or delegation for crimes against humanity. On the other hand, there are those who have been in serious struggle immediately after the 2011 stolen elections.
UDU which was created in July 2011 has been working tirelessly to mobilize Ugandans at home and abroad for a peaceful change of regime in the first instance. We have written to all sectors of the population including the military and the police, gender, youth, civil society organization and religious leaders etc. urging them to join the opposition. Therefore those late comers who are now claiming that their success is within sight need to think again.
While we welcome everybody to join those struggling for regime change, we must avoid a situation where late comers may be tempted to claim victory the winner-take –all style. We should avoid what happened in Ethiopia immediately before the imperial regime collapsed in 1974.
In an effort to beat The Hague process (the work being undertaken by Ugandans since we met in The Hague in November 2013 to stop 2016 elections, change the NRM regime by non-violent means and establish a transitional government to conduct a population census, organize a national conference so Ugandans decide how they want to be governed and ultimately organize multi-party elections), Sejusa has rushed into forming a coalition of so-called military groups that he will lead hoping to oust the NRM regime ahead of The Hague process.
History is full of examples of what goes wrong when coalitions are formed in a hurry to block or oust a competing group. Let us begin with Uganda.
1. Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) entered into a rushed coalition of convenience with Kabaka Yekka (KY) when their ideologies were totally different for the sake of ousting the Democratic Party (DP) from power before independence (DP had formed the self-governing government). Within two years the marriage was in trouble and ended up catastrophic in 1966/1967 political and constitutional crisis.
2. The marriage of convenience between Obote and Ibingira to stop Kakonge from becoming a popular national figure ended up in a catastrophe with Ibingira and his colleagues in the cabinet arrested for plotting to overthrow the government.
As you are aware, I have written and talked a lot about my support for a federal government over the unitary arrangement we have in Uganda. Those interested please visit www.kashambuzi.com or www.udugandans.org. I have used the examples of Switzerland and Nigeria among others in support of federalism for Uganda.
Nigeria is currently reviewing its federal arrangement as it celebrates its founding 100 years ago. I urge you to follow the developments for clues as to how we should do it in the aftermath of NRM that has rejected a federal system even when the majority of Ugandans want it as contained in the Odoki report.
President Jonathan has led the process along the following lines and with the following message.
1. As defined by the 1979 Constitution ‘federal character’ is “the distinctive desire of the people of Nigeria to promote unity, and foster national loyalty and give citizens of Nigeria a sense of belonging to the nation notwithstanding the diversities of ethnic origin, culture, language or religion which may exist and which in their desire to nourish and harness to the enrichment of the federal republic of Nigeria”.
The principle method of UDU is to conduct civic education to bring about non-violent change in Uganda. This is the mandate we were given at the Boston conference that built on the Los Angeles conference, three months earlier.
Accordingly we have done some research to learn lessons from those that struggled before us. Studies have shown that non-violent methods are producing more results than armed struggle. Over 70 percent of authoritarian regimes are being removed by non-violence. And violent means can’t succeed unless they have external support including mercenaries as Duncan Kafero of Ugandans to the Rescue (UTR) is doing and made a very unsuccessful attempt to convince Uganda several weeks ago.
Armed struggle has been abandoned in Spain and Palestine. It was abandoned in Iran, East Timore (Timor Leste) and The Philippines. Here is what happened in The Philippines.
When people are frustrated – as many Ugandans are – they tend to grab anything that can ease their pain. In these circumstances, many pet projects float around. Those with ideas begin to talk and write. Ideologies fly around using language – like ethnic cleansing – that may please listeners. Some want to go back to the golden past and launch traditional ideologies based on past glory. In an attempt to push their ideas through, they frustrate those with opposing views.
Sadly, this is what has happened to radio munansi. At the beginning of 2011, there were progressive anchor teams as well as listeners. It was hoped the country would be liberated in a short time. But when this didn’t happen disillusionment set in. People with extreme views including secession by military means using mercenaries if necessary to enhance delivery of results entered the debate.