What is needed for a demonstration to succeed?

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.

4. There must be a critical mass of demonstrators from all walks of life including children, women and the elderly. And the mass must increase over time for quick outcomes. The Cairo demonstrations are a good example.

5. Demonstrations must be sustained until the goal has been realized. Demonstrators must be ready for protracted hardship and sacrifice including arrest and detention or worse.

6. Demonstrations usually start in major cities: Paris during the French Revolution, Addis Ababa during the uprising against the emperor, Soweto against apartheid regime, Teheran during the 1979 revolution and Cairo against Mubarak etc.

7. Successful demonstrations do not necessarily need leaders. If leaders at all, they must emerge from the people not necessarily appointed. The Paris mob was leaderless. They formed a people’s ‘army’ or National Guard and appointed a commander much later. Should leaders be detained the demonstration must continue. Cairo demonstrations were virtually leaderless. And when a few suspected leaders were arrested the demonstrations continued and increased in size.

8. Demonstrations against the government do not need police permit because the police will never give a permit to people bent on overthrowing the government. Museveni did not obtain a permit from Obote to wage a guerrilla war against his government.

9. Demonstrators must constantly communicate among themselves about progress, emerging difficulties and new strategies thanks to the internet and mobile phones.

10. The goal of planned demonstrations in Uganda must be clear and peaceful demonstrations must succeed in forcing Museveni to step down so that a coalition government is formed to organize free and fair elections.