By Stephen Twinoburyo
On Sunday 12th December, I was invited to an FDC general meeting in Johannesburg after a resolution from their previous meeting to make all efforts to invite me to be part of their meetings. I was indeed humbled that they assigned some people from amongst the FDC SA Chapter committee to undertake this task. I was not disappointed when I attended.
I found the FDC SA Chapter to be a very organized group and I was moved by the determination and genuine concerns I saw expressed by members about the future of Uganda. More importantly, I was impressed by the role the members were willing to play and their commitment to personal sacrifice towards a better Uganda.
The meeting started with an update from the chairman, Mr. Tom Mugizi (Major), who carried members through a summary of the state of the organization and the role FDC chapter expects to play towards the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Uganda. He explained the recently adopted “Power of Five” concept of the FDC which puts special attention onto five national pillars: jobs and economic empowerment, quality education, a functional healthcare system, roads and infrastructure, and support for farmers/agriculture. To help the FDC, and indeed the IPC which the FDC is part of, move towards these goals, well-wishers are encouraged to recruit at least 5 people per month and contribute at least UG Sh. 500 (for those in Uganda through mobile money using the numbers: 0718932055/0776433555/0756755555).
The meeting, noting that communication is an important component of any cause, requested me to help communicate their message to broader audiences. A better Uganda is a better Uganda for all including my children and I agreed to do so. Any positive message deserves a wider reach.
The following issues were discussed and agreed upon:
- The FDC SA Chapter undertakes to suggest to and sponsor a communication/media consultant to be based in Kampala for two months that include the elections to help professionally organize and coordinate the outflow of information.
- The FDC SA Chapter undertakes to sponsor a tally center in Kampala to help tally the votes timeously as soon as they are counted at the polling stations. For this purpose a number of computers and other necessary materials have already been acquired. This is to help improve the transparency of the vote-counting process.
- It was agreed to have greater media liaison with various media networks.
- An sms system that can even be managed in S Africa will be set up to communicate messages to the grassroots. The youth in Uganda are to be encouraged to use social networks like facebook to share information and also report on what is taking place on the ground, for instance to use their phones to captures images of what the rest of the world needs to know.
- Fundraising activities will be stepped up and this will include tapping into the corporate sector, reaching those that are interested in the cause for a better Uganda. IPC/FDC Support cards will be produced within the next few days to help raise funds and these cards will cost R150 each. Some people already paid for theirs at the meeting. The fundraising activities will be extended beyond Ugandans.
- Members will be given information about, and encouraged to aid individual IPC candidates that may need financial or material support.
- A panel discussion on Uganda involving African intellectual heavyweights in S Africa will be looked into. Those with wider connections in this area were tasked to explore the matter.
A substantial amount of money was raised as contribution toward the IPC campaign in Uganda. Regular meetings will be held to help in the attainment of these goals and the next meeting will be held at Capital Protea hotel in Pretoria on Sunday 19th December 2010.
The chairman’s conclusion summed it all: “the way we add a voice or contribution, one by one, adds up to make a huge difference”.