Wednesday, February 19, 2014

THE CALIBER OF UGANDA'S PERPETUAL LEADER!

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The Elephant in Uganda's Fledgling Democracy!


There is one thing despots are good at:

Demagoguery:

a person, especially an orator or political leader, who gains power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people.

M7 is playing on the homophobia of Ugandans to divert attention away from the real problem in Uganda: his overextended stay in power!

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Pathetic spectacle of Uganda’s priorities


Excerpt from Uganda's Daily Monitor | Monday, September 16 2013

A brand new state-of-the-art, no expenses spared ambulance costs less than $250,000 in North America. Unaffordable you say? Not when you consider some of the comforts that Uganda’s rulers allow themselves. To celebrate Uganda’s 50 years of independence, the Ugandan ruler acquired at least one Mercedes Benz Pullman S600 whose sticker price is at least $1.4 million.

The cost of the President’s Benz would have acquired six top-of-the-line ambulances, with lots of spare change. And if the Ugandan ruler really cared about his people, he would not have spent $55 million on a Gulfstream G550 plane to ferry him on endless junkets around the world

It is all a matter of priorities, of course. The Ugandan regime happily throws money at luxuries and other unaffordable, unprofitable ventures while the majority of tax paying citizens make do with little
- Muniini K. Mulera

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Uganda's conscientious & perceptive but unsung massage by Dr. Olara Otunnu!


Excerpt from Uganda's Saturday Monitor | September 14th, 2013 The Setting

Our country is in the grip of a grave national crisis. The country is broken. And the signs are all around us. Staggering and wholesale plunder of national and public resources. Absolute humiliating poverty - - actually programmed poverty. Systematic destruction of cooperatives (rural economy), Jinja industrial hub, and railways. Rampant land grabbing. Almost total non-delivery of social services. Complete collapse of the once solid systems of public education (both primary and secondary) and health service.

Deliberate gutting and destruction of national institutions. Sham elections and bogus multi-party space. Genocide in northern Uganda. Death of rule of law and celebration of impunity. State terror and ‘safe houses’. Brutal suppression of opposition and dissent. A land of segregation and discrimination. The list goes on.

This landscape of destruction and ruin, despair and humiliation, is the fruit of 28 years of President Museveni/NRM rule and the much-trumpeted ‘fundamental change’. In consequence, the country is now facing nothing short of an existential challenge. Sometimes I fear that some of the damage have been so radical and cut so deep into the fabric of our society that they may prove irreparable in the post-Museveni era.

These conditions under which Ugandans live lie deeply embedded below layers and years of doublespeak narratives, a well-financed and well-orchestrated infrastructure of lies and disinformation. The image of Uganda that has been assiduously cultivated and projected, particularly to the outside world, has no bearing whatsoever on the realities within the country. There is a complete disconnect. But by dint of sheer repetition, these fraudulent narratives have acquired the aura of truth.

The truth is that the Museveni regime has been a catastrophe for Uganda. It has driven the country into comprehensive ruin and brokenness. Faced with this dire landscape, we need to make a fundamental shift in the trajectory of our national destiny. We must embark on an agenda and programme of radical renewal, not a cosmetic make-over. A process that can lead to a born-again country.

To achieve this radical renewal, we need to pursue a radically new national agenda. This agenda composes six principal planks:

Removal of the Museveni regime

Undertaking an independent Truthtelling, Accountability and Reconciliation process , to pave the way for genuine healing

Convening a National Convention to adopt a new National Covenant

A return to the national project. I mean a conscious return to the mission of reuniting the country, of rebuilding the broken sense of common belonging and shared destiny

The fifth plank is a long term challenge, namely rebuilding and transformation. Because beyond regime change , there is the far more daunting task of overcoming the Museveni system and legacy -- this edifice of ruin, deformations and mindsets, spawned by 28 years of NRM’s toxic brews of policies and practices, indoctrination and conditioning

And, finally, and most critical of all, we must embark on a far-reaching moral revival in our country

Part 1: Regime Change and 2016 ‘Elections

The first order of business, our top priority without any equivocation, must be the removal of the Museveni regime. This is the immediate and most urgent goal of our struggle. Why am I so categoric about this? Certainly, at both the political and moral levels, the regime has lost all legitimacy. As the Chinese would express it, the emperor has long lost the ‘mandate of heaven’.

Most important, because in the context of Uganda, regime change is the key to everything else. As long as this regime remains in place, all our aspirations and preoccupations will remain blocked. Plainly , under the Museveni regime, it is now impossible to revive service delivery, revamp and fix the broken school and health systems, stem the onslaught of plunder and corruption, have fair taxation , build multi-party democracy , reinstitute the rule of law , reorganise Kampala city or Makerere university , have free and independent media , or reunite the country .

Thus, regime change is not an end in itself; rather its significance lies in opening the way for the far more consequential process of transformation. Any efforts to fix these problems in a piecemeal fashion are futile. Because these problems are mere symptoms of a wider systemic malaise and brokenness.

While recognising particular trees in the midst of this forest, we should, keep our focus on the forest as a whole. The individual trees will not progress one iota until we have changed the situation and environment that is killing the entire forest. This regime is itself the source and perpetrator of these problems, and has been responsible for their entrenchment for nearly three decades. That is why to propose a reform agenda for the Museveni regime is a misnomer, an illusion. This regime cannot be reformed; it can only be removed.

Regime change

Regime change can come about in one of four ways: armed struggle; military take-over; popular uprising; or through free and fair elections. I am opposed to the first two options. The preferred method, by far, is free and fair elections. But when this option is definitively blocked, then Ugandans have to assume their responsibility and take charge of their own destiny through a popular uprising, employing positive non-violent resistance.

At this existential moment for our country , we need to build a social movement for change that brings together all democracy-seeking and patriotic social forces in our society - - political parties ; civil society ; religious organisations ; women organizations ; youth organisations ; traders ;organised workers ; and professional associations.

What unites us is our common hunger for liberation, dignity and genuine democracy. This social movement should also include many of our brothers and sisters in NRM, those who care deeply about the future of our country. This is an inclusive citizens’ struggle. We must work to forge maximum unity among all democratic and patriotic forces in the country. But this should not become an excuse or alibi for lack of action to remove the regime. We cannot wait until there is complete unity before we act. South Africans did not wait for ANC and PAC to end their bitter rivalry before liberating the country.

The civil rights movement in the US did not wait for Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Stockley Carmichael and the ‘moderate’ clergy to resolve their conflicts before toppling segregation. Similarly, in the 1960s, most of Africa attained independence without first resolving that seminal debate and rift - Independence Now vs Gradual Self-Government.

Our struggle must proceed from a state of relative unity, progressing from a united front of those who are willing and committed today, to a critical mass that can move this to a tipping point tomorrow. It is in this broader context of the social movement that the opposition should work to rebuild inter-party cooperation. In the immediate, we should construct our collaboration around concrete projects of common preoccupation.

I believe that the first and most urgent project on which we should unite is the campaign for free and fair elections in the context of 2016. Collaborating on a concrete project is also good for building trust and confidence, and the habit of working together. From this specific project, proceeding naturally and deliberately, we can graduate to deeper and more ambitious levels of togetherness.

2016 road map

This brings us to the so-called road map for 2016. Before we can discuss anything about elections in 2016, we must first ask: what kind of elections? The current Museveni/Kiggundu system will produce the same sham elections as in the past. It is designed and operates as the rigging machine for Museveni/NRM. What Ugandans should focus on now is not a scramble for 2016, but a robust campaign for a new electoral system that can ensure genuinely free and fair elections. Ugandans should never again accept to escort Museveni into another sham elections.

Concretely, the campaign for free and fair elections should focus on undertaking four tasks. First, it should put forward a basket of specific demands, proposing remedies to the key concerns which have bedevilled previous elections.

This basket should include proposals on: independent electoral commission; clean and verifiable register of voters; role of security forces and militia; financing of elections and deployment of money; demarcation of constituencies; securing the journey from counting, to collating , to announcement of results ; and adjudication of dispute for presidential election .

Second, this basket of demands should be discussed by all stakeholders, in a national forum, in order to garner national consensus on a new and legitimate system.

Third, it is imperative to mobilise serious concerted pressure in favour of a new electoral system. This should be the immediate priority for the social movement. Museveni/NRM will always contrive to continue with sham elections. They will only accept new arrangements when, under pressure, they are left with no other option.

Finally, whereas a national dialogue is necessary on this matter, it should not be open-ended. It should be undertaken within a specified sunset time frame, to avoid stonewalling by Museveni/NRM. The country needs to know the outcome in good time in order to chart the path forward accordingly.

In embarking on this new campaign, I very much hope that we have learnt some critical lessons from the painful debacle of 2010/11. At that time, within the then opposition umbrella (IPC), we adopted a common position with clear-cut demands. We announced and reaffirmed this position several times.

Internationally, some key constituencies had been mobilised in support of this campaign. For example, the Congressional Directive on Free and Fair Elections in Uganda. Museveni was under great pressure. Sadly, at this critical moment, the rest of IPC members suddenly made a U-turn and abandoned our collective demands.

This was a tragic error, for which Ugandans have paid a high price. And with this U-turn, how could we expect international sympathisers to remain fighting for our cause? This episode damaged our credibility and commitment for change. I hope this time Ugandans have the resolve to pursue the campaign to its logical conclusion.

Election snub

In the event that Museveni/ NRM rejects the demands for overhauling the electoral system, my position remains the same as in 2010/11-- Ugandans should not accompany Museveni/NRM in yet another sham elections in 2016. In all this, Ugandans must realise that there is no magic wand that will miraculously deliver us from this fascist rule. Change will only come through the engagement of a critical mass of Ugandans, through our personal and collective agency.

We, Ugandans, must become the change agents we wish for in our country. To prosecute this political project requires, above all, one indispensable ingredient: RESOLVE. This ingredient has been conspicuously missing from the Ugandan scene. Without resolve we would have never witnessed the recent successful uprisings in the Middle East and elsewhere, the collapse of apartheid in South Africa, or the ending of segregation in the United States.

For nearly three decades, the regime has drummed great fear into our people. Worse, Ugandans have been conditioned to internalise and accept the oppression and humiliations visited upon them as ‘normal’. It is particularly striking that , with notable exceptions , the intelligentsia (who bears special responsibility for leading a change agenda) - - the political class , civil society leaders , the professional classes and associations ,etc. , have been largely unengaged , watching from the side-lines as this catastrophe swallows up the country. Many are self-absorbed, most are afraid and risk-averse. But all are longing and praying for change. More of us must be willing to become the agents of our own liberation. This is entirely attainable. But we must be prepared and have the resolve to suffer a little, to sacrifice a little, and, if need be, to die a little.

This is the only path to liberation and taking back our country from those who have hijacked it, and who have subjugated us for the last 28 years.

The second part of Dr. Otunnu’s proposal: setting out a radical shift in our national trajectory, Reinventing Uganda.

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Monday, May 27, 2013

The dichotomy of Colonialism & African development!


If the leaders that lead Africa to independence had pursued a non xenophobic leadership approach and maintained arm's length partnerships with the expatriates from all over the world (who, despite some misgivings, the colonial governments used to establish the infrastructure that Africa still relies on even to this day), Africa's woes wouldn't be so dire.

The USA is the greatest nation in the world today, largely because it accepts people with talent and ingenuity from all over the world. Historical figures like Albert Einstein, Louis Armstrong, Martin Luther King Jr., president Barack Obama, and many others including Ngugi wa Thiong'o illustrate the benefits of America's tolerance for foreigners.

On to the questions regarding why there is no African corporations or armies in the west, the answer is simply: Africa does not yet have the capacity for such endeavors! Besides, African governments also never had friendly environments for corporations to form. As to the NATO intervention in Libya, it was a UN mandate, which the majority of Libyans supported and without which Gaddafi's dictatorship would still be in place.

And thank havens we never had an African government led by the likes of Kwame Nkruma let alone Robert Mugabe!

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Bukenya May be God's Saint Paul to Uganda!


Uganda is caught up in a perpetual paternalistic political quagmire, in which there is really no innocent political choice. And we are all responsible for it in one way or another. Ugandans can demonize Dr. Bukenya as many are doing so far but that's a sure guarantee that M7 will win in 2016; or they can coalesce behind the most expierinced but less than perfect Bukenya that may actually turn out to be God's Apostle Paul to Uganda's sane political future.

And here is why:

Paul the Apostle is generally considered one of the most important figures of the Apostolic Age and one of the greatest religious leaders of all time without whom, Christianity would not be what it is today.

And yet, before his conversion, Paul, then known as Saul, was a "zealous" Pharisee who "intensely persecuted" the followers of Jesus.

The Conversion of Paul, in spite of his attempts to completely eradicate Christianity, is seen as evidence of the power of Divine Grace, with "no fall so deep that grace cannot descend to it and no height so lofty that grace cannot lift the sinner to it. It also demonstrates God's power to use everything, even the hostile persecutor, to achieve the divine purpose.

The best antidote to M7's overextended incumbency advantage is someone whose experience in leadership office M7 will be had pressed to malign!

Paul the Apostle

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Monday, May 06, 2013

Dr. Bukenya deserves a Chance!


It takes courage for such a senior and staunch follower of M7 to break ranks with the status quo! Bukenya's action, by itself says volumes about this man.

NO BODY IS PERFECT!

So is former president Bill Clinton! Even Obama himself, smoked pot in his youth!

If Bukenya is given a chance he is more likely to bring along other NRM stalwarts that will otherwise hang with M7.

Baganda are once again throwing another of their own under the bus for the sake of petty grudges and political expediency as they did with the late Ben Kiwanuka.

Bukenya is the best among Uganda's bad choices at the moment. He is the most viable with all his years as vice president, which will make it more likely for him to break the paradigm of M7's hegemony than any of the other choices; if Ugandans can unite behind him.

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Sunday, May 05, 2013

Bukenya is a glimmer of light under the tunnel of M7's hegemony in Uganda!


The irony of professor Gilbert Bukenya's challenge to M7 is that Bukenya was one of the various Vice Presidents M7 has hand picked over the course of his perpetual 27 years in power.

Which begs the question, what took the former VP so long to realize the emperor has been running around with no clothes on?

This is either the smartest political scheme, the NRM has devised to cling to power or M7's hegemony is finally bearing the weight of his overextended stay in power!

As a challenger, professor Bukenya has considerable experience and knowledge not only of M7's government but also an insider knowledge of M7's strength & weaknesses!

M7 will be hard pressed to patronize Bukenya the way he decimated Otunnu in the 2011 campaign by accusing the distinguished former UN ambassador of staying outside the country while he, M7, was liberating the country.

The saddest legacy of M7's overextended stay in power is the bankrupting effect it has had on Uganda's capacity for leadership talent.

How can a nation of over thirty million people lack the capacity to come up with smart and able leadership talent to challenge M7's 30 year uninterrupted stay in power, in a democracy?

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