Some Ugandans and non-Ugandans who have doubts that peaceful demonstrations alone (which I support) will squeeze Museveni and NRM illegitimate government out of power have asked me to explain the mechanism through which it will happen. Let me state right away that I have opted for peaceful demonstrations because their potential for human loss, injuries and displacement as well as destruction of property is much lower than the military option.
Uganda is a small country with a vulnerable economy dependent on external forces through exports, donations and soft loans, foreign investors, foreign experts and advisers, tourism and remittances by Ugandans living abroad. All we need to do is to convince these forces including our neighbors and all members of the East African community to cooperate with the suffering Ugandans to change the regime through peaceful means.
Sustained demonstrations and civil disobedience will create economic disruptions and security response will generate instability. These developments will constrain production of goods and services, cause supply to fall below demand, raise prices and force more Ugandans including NRM supporters to join demonstrations in protest against rising prices especially of food thereby denting the popularity of Museveni’s illegitimate government. Deterioration in economic activity will reduce the tax base and government revenue forcing it to cut back the provision of services further reducing its popularity especially its illegitimate leader Museveni.
Uganda’s Inspector General of Police, Major General Kale Kayihura has issued two press releases and addressed the press in Kampala on peaceful demonstrations designed to reject the 2011 elections. He is reported to have warned that “The call for mass protests to challenge the results of the presidential elections is a declaration of war on the Government”. The warning has shifted from possible violent demonstrations to a declaration of war on the government. By declaring war means that the security forces are going to intervene either to prevent peaceful demonstrations from taking place or disperse them when they see fit. Let us share the following information with the Inspector General and the general public so that we fully understand our individual responsibility, accountability and liability.
First, the people of Uganda, like people elsewhere, have an inalienable (natural) political right of peaceful assembly and association. They also have the fundamental freedom of opinion and expression as well as the right to take part in the government of their choice, directly or through freely chosen representatives. These rights and freedoms are incorporated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and political Rights to which Uganda is a signatory and legally-bound.
Greetings fellow Ugandans and friends
The following requirements must be met in whole or in part for a demonstration, revolt or revolution to succeed.
1. There must be deep-seated, long-held grievances that translate into sufficient frustration and anger for change.
2. The goal must be clearly defined. The Peasant Revolt of 1381 in England was against feudal exploitation and war costs. The mob in Paris in 1789 was a protest against poverty, unemployment and rising cost of living. The Peasants in the French Revolution were against feudal exploitation and injustices. The Cairo Revolution was about unseating Hosni Mubarak.
3. There must be a spark for spontaneous demonstrations. The 1973 famine in Ethiopia sparked Addis Ababa demonstrations, introduction of Afrikaans language in Black schools in South Africa sparked Soweto student uprising, enforcement of a poll tax in England in 1381 sparked peasant uprising in southeast England. These demonstrations and revolts were leaderless and spontaneous precluding application for police permits. This is what is likely to happen in Uganda when peaceful demonstrations occur against illegitimate presidential, parliamentary and local elections.