DRC: Agents do not decide; they are instructed

Those calling on Kaguta, Kagame and Kabila (the three Ks) to pacify the Great Lakes region are exaggerating what the three leaders can do for two major reasons. First, these are military leaders who believe in military solution to problems. Peaceful negotiation or democracy isn’t their cup of tea.

Museveni engaged in a very destructive Luwero Triangle guerrilla war to solve a political problem caused by the 1980 elections which he lost instead of mobilizing for the next elections. If the international community hadn’t exerted pressure on him, Museveni would probably still be fighting the rebels in the north and east of Uganda.

Second, Kaguta, Kagame and Kabila are agents. And agents don’t decide: they carry out instructions. The locus of power and decision making is elsewhere, not even at the United Nations in New York. It is in major western capitals.

During a mission to the Great Lakes region in DRC, Burundi and Rwanda about three years ago, it was made clear from different sources that Uganda and Rwanda and their leaders are mere agents of western powers and corporations. Therefore calling on Kagame, Kaguta and Kabila to end the fighting is a waste of time and money. These leaders are acting on instructions.

Launch of National Alliance for Change

UDU statement

I thank the organizers of this important and timely conference for inviting United Democratic Ugandans (UDU) to the launch of the National Alliance for Change. The conference is taking place so soon after another important conference organized by FDC took place here in the City of London. This is a welcome recognition that when people unite they perform more effectively and efficiently than when they are divided.

Uganda is in a political, economic, social, moral and environmental crisis. It has been described as a failed state under dictatorial leadership. For the last twenty six years Uganda has been driven by wrong drivers, in a wrong bus, on a wrong road. The collapse in 2009 of the economic model pursued by NRM since 1987, the massively rigged elections in 2011 and the current severe economic crisis characterized inter alia by crippling high interest rates, unaffordable and rising prices especially of food and fuel, unprecedented level of youth unemployment, spreading and deepening poverty and the associated moral decay confirm that something is endemically wrong in Uganda’s political economy, calling for change of leadership and launch of a different political and economic development agenda. This is a task that Ugandans themselves have to shoulder with a helping hand from friends and well wishers.

Report of the Secretary-General

Boston Conference October 8, 2011

Birth and Christening of UDU

Madam Chairperson

Fellow Ugandans

Ladies and gentlemen

I thank you all for attending the first ever United Democratic Ugandans (UDU) conference.

I thank in particular Ugandans in the Boston area. Since the stolen February 18, 2011 presidential and parliamentary elections, the group has championed demonstrations that have taken place in Washington DC, New York City and several times here in Boston. The group participated actively in the Los Angeles conference where the umbrella organization was born and christened United Democratic Ugandans (UDU).

The first chairman of UDU Mr. Mubiru Musoke is from Boston as well as the leader of gender affairs Ms Dorothy Lubowa Stweart. Mr. Joseph Magandazi a UDU committee member who is also from Boston and represents FDC has championed work that has established networks here in the United States and between UDU and FDC.

The Boston group is hosting the first conference of UDU. We thank them for the warm welcome that has been extended to us. Please join me in giving them a round of well deserved applause.

The UDU committee was mandated to:

Message to all branches of Uganda security forces

Dear brothers and sisters

As you may have noticed, I have since the beginning of this year (2012), sent messages to Members of Parliament, religious leaders, youth and women. Regardless of our profession, region, ethnic group, faith, age and gender, we are all Ugandans with a common destiny – to live in peace and security, create wealth and enjoy happiness. When this does not happen, we should all come together and find a mutually acceptable solution. Since 1966 Uganda has suffered serious political, economic, social and environmental deficits.

When NRM came to power in 1986, it declared that it was going to end the long suffering of the people of Uganda and even “put back the ‘hair’ on the bald heads of Uganda hills”. These announcements endeared the government to the people of Uganda, friends and well wishers. In response, Ugandans sacrificed and tightened their belts to give all the support the government needed in the early years of its administration. Our friends and well wishers donated generously in money and experts. Notwithstanding these efforts, suffering has spread and deepened and Uganda hills have lost more hair. The suffering of the people of Uganda is everywhere for all to see and cannot be denied. It was adequately summarized during last year’s (2011) Christmas sermons.

If Museveni is reelected Uganda’s future will get worse

Many Ugandans and some non-Ugandans especially from the great lakes region believe – rightly or wrongly – that Museveni will do everything to get reelected to avoid being dragged to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. He will also ensure that he gets over two-thirds of NRM candidates elected so that Parliament rubber stamps his decisions. Then the following will likely occur as mentioned in conversations so far.

1. The defeated Ugandans will adopt a passive resistance strategy that will further cripple the economy that is already in bad shape with over 55 percent of Ugandans living below the poverty line.

2. Museveni will basically retain his present core cabinet of ‘yes men and women’ who will continue to tell him what he wants to hear. He will likely create a new ministry of petroleum or expand the current ministry of energy and appoint one of his closest relatives turning oil revenue from a savior to a curse for Ugandans.

Uganda needs harmony between government and the people

Uganda’s history since colonial days is characterized by forceful relations between the government and people – with the government applying instruments of force on the governed to get what it wants. Resistance to colonial rule ended through the use of force and foreign troops. Other examples of force used on Ugandans during colonial rule include the following:

1. Taxes in cash which were imposed to force Ugandans to become migrant laborers in areas growing export crops. 2. Uganda was forced to abandon industries and to grow cotton, coffee, tea and tobacco for export. 3. Labor reserve areas were forced to not grow export crops. 4. Different tribes with very little or nothing in common were forced into administrative units.

5. Indirect rule chiefs and advisers were imposed on the people. 6. Strict law and order was imposed through an elaborate system of police, prisons and the judiciary. 7. Ugandans were forced to abandon their gods and their traditions including medicine and culture. 8. Ugandans were forced to sell their raw produce cheaply to Asians who processed them and enjoyed the benefits of value addition and higher world market prices.

Donors have no basis to continue praising Uganda as a success story

Since the 1990s, Uganda under the leadership of President Museveni has been described by donors, foreign media and the United Nations as a ‘success story’ and a Washington Consensus ‘star performer’. When the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government came to power in 1986, Uganda had suffered fifteen years of political instability and economic collapse. There was excess capacity of idle labor, land and industries. The latter were performing at twenty percent of installed capacity. What Uganda needed was political stability and some foreign currency with which to import spare parts and inputs like hoes to rehabilitate the economy.

The government restored security in the southern half of the country and development partners provided funds after an agreement was signed with the International Monetary Fund in May 1987 making Uganda a ‘shock therapist’. With the blessing of good weather, excess capacity, resilient and hardworking people, the economy recorded rapid growth reaching 10 percent in mid-1990s albeit from a low base, inflation was tamed by reducing money in circulation, raising interest rates, balancing the budget largely by dismissing civil servants, introducing fees, eliminating some schools or classes and reducing teachers, charging fees for health services and reducing or eliminating subsidies. Because of these reforms, Uganda became a star performer and a successful ‘adjusting’ country.

The impact of poverty and migration on Uganda’s population growth

Because the United Nations Commission on Population and Development has just concluded its 43rd session in New York (April 12-16, 2010) with Uganda delegation in attendance, this is the time to revisit Uganda’s demographic dynamics. According to the United Nations (2009) population estimates, Uganda’s population – using the median variant – grew from 5, 158,000 in 1950 to 33,797,000 in 2010. It is projected to reach 83,847, 000 in 2045 if no major changes take place.

At the national level, population growth is a function of births over deaths, and in-migrants over out-migrants. Therefore to understand Uganda’s population dynamics we need to disaggregate the contribution made by natural increase (births over deaths) and net migration (in-migrants over out-migrants). This disaggregation will help to understand better the causes of each component – why some social classes produce more than others, and why and where migrants come from. This disaggregated information will help authorities and their development partners to make informed and appropriate population policy decisions for each component.

In Africa colonialism is still alive – and well

I have heard many times including at the United Nations commentators warning Africans to stop blaming colonialism for Africa’s ills. They argue that colonialism ended many decades ago and Africans must begin to take responsibility for their commissions and omissions. Before we decide – definitively – whether or not colonialism has actually ended, we need to examine what colonialism was all about and how colonies were administered.

Western countries colonized Africa in order to obtain cheap raw materials for their expanding industries, cheap foodstuffs for their growing populations, markets for their increasing surplus manufactured products and – to a certain extent – a home for their exploding population. Because European powers wanted to run colonies cheaply, they hired local agents through the indirect rule model. The agents had to be loyal and follow instructions from the few European colonial officers like the governor and district commissioners.