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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Will Uganda’s National Development Plan translate into progress?

Recently during a face book debate, Mr. Tracy Kagarura made the following appeal: “The National Development Plan 2010-2011/ 2014-2015 has very interesting plans for our country…Please read and contribute to developments in our mother land Uganda.”

Response by Mr. Godfrey Kahangi:

I have located the NDP as a pdf file at http://www.finance.go.ug/docs/NDP_April_2010-Prot.pdf.

For those who want an overview of the economy of Uganda, look at http://www.finance.go.ug/docs/An%20overview%20of%20the%20national%20econ…omy.pdf.

Tracy, just to note, National Development Plans are just that, stated goals. The translation of such plans/goals into activities into realizations requires more than just optimism. This is why Uganda needs to elevate its skill level at top echelons from Peasant Management to 1st World Management.

To date, most of the ‘talk’ is purely to motivate the peasants to vote for NRM. There is also something close to revisionism, since M7 tried to pin all election rigging on NRM. There is also escapism, as M7 tried to validate much of Gaddafi’s militarism and instead just blame the west. For your information, I don’t wholeheartedly support the west’s activity of bombing and destroying Libya, to remove Gaddafi, but the last person to speak of should be M7, who with Uganda oil is definitely in the radar of the western powers. If the Chinese premier visits Uganda, we can only give M7 2 years before his reign is in jeopardy.

Uganda doesn’t need a Museveni and Museveni doesn’t have the administrative strategic skill to manage the transition from third world to first world. And, any economist would have advised him that it is not possible to transition to first world in 5 years, from $1200 ppp to $15,000ppp!!! It is empty rhetoric that is designed to excite, and doesn’t have much basis. Even if Uganda had $20bn/annum revenue from oil, the time to set up the infrastructure, the skills development, and the economic activity to raise Uganda to a first world economy would not permit this in under 15 years.

Tracy, at the very least, the NDP I have seen is a policy statement (which is much better than what the FDC have to show for their desire for power). But it is not enough. For the past 10 years, similar NDP’s have been produced and Uganda has not translated them to their stated goals. As such, I agree with you that “The National Development Plan 2010-2011/ 2014-2015 has very interesting plans for our country” and this is my contribution.

Other responses:

Christine Lubwa Oryema Lalobo:

‎Tracy, I do not see any difference between the current National Development plan and that of 1990/91 to 2004/5 that would make me or anyone excited about a drastic improvement in the delivery of social services and support of economic development for Ugandans?

With the illustrious development plan in place how come that the fuel, food and prices of all commodities are skyrocketing by the day? Can anyone explain to me the linkage between The National Dev’t Plan 2010-2011/ 2014-2015 and the quality of life of Ugandans whose income are being eroded by inflation faster than the exploit of Pheidippides?

Tracy, if the cost of items keep on the trend that we are witnessing, all of us have to brace ourselves for a very tough time ahead.

Godfrey Kahangi,  I would like to thank you for the response to Tracy concerning the NDP. Incidentally Uganda is not in the position that it is today for lack of plans, policies and programs. Most of what you read in these illustrious documents remain intact on the very papers on which they are written and never see the light of day…I would not raise the hope of citizens unduly till we can get to the root cause of the inadequacy of launching the NDP and setting it rolling.

It is good though to internalise the documents as they gives one a framework of expectation and dreams…and that benchmark against which the successes and failures can be measured…

Stephen Twinoburyo:

I was looking at this explanation of an economic bubble:

“Economic bubbles have been around since the birth of currency. Created by a wide range of factors, from excessive monetary liquidity to plain old human greed, exuberance and stupidity, they can be described as a trade in products or assets valued far higher than they should be – which is inevitably followed by a crash in prices.”

A thought just came to me, can Uganda ever suffer an economic bubble in its present state or we only have political bubbles? Is Museveni a political bubble and if so, has he overstretched his turgidity?

Godfrey Kahangi :

Stephen, I agree with you that Museveni is a political bubble, much like Mubarak. Interestingly General Tito of Yugoslavia was also a political bubble, since on his demise the nation splintered into many parts and many atrocities were committed in the process. With such like Museveni and Gaddafi, when they are no longer in the leadership, they leave anarchy and chaos in their wake.

Stephen Twinoburyo:

True Godfrey. I also think another reason that makes Museveni a political bubble is that he’s over-inflated. Any slight puncture as we saw with Mubbarak or Ben Ali will render him completely useless. This is a characteristic of strongmen. They thrive on creating an air of invincibility and being the alpha to omega of everything but inwardly they are hollow. People who are not political bubbles are those that are humble but yet a lot is achieved through them – like Mandela. So yes I agree, Museveni is a political bubble.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2011 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs

 

Uganda’s brain drain and patriotism

By Drew Ddembe

http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=469636102680

Migration is an individual right. It is not only a right for white people! I do not have to explain nor do I have to feel guilt or justify my need to travel, see the world or migrate! It is a wanderlust that is all mine but that was shared …by mans ancestors!

A country owes its people as much as each individual owes its country! It’s not just individuals who have a responsibility to their country. Citizens are entitled to good governance. Good roads. Infrastructure. Returns on their taxes. Garbage collection. Sewage systems. Electricity. Running water. Security. Health care! As it is we get nothing for our taxes and watch as thieves in public offices rob the kitty with impunity! We are spectators while a self styled entitled class rule us in perpetuity and promote their sons and kin!

I watched my father subsidise the government by going to work every day while supporting himself and his family from a private income given his government pay was not enough to pay his transport or lunch nor was it enough to pay a fraction of the school fees for one of his seven children or numerous dependents!

That is called patriotism but am not about to do the same! I owe it to my country to make a contribution. My country owes it to me to provide me with a level field and a living wage!

After working on three continents I went home starry eyed to enquire about work! My professors gave me “fatherly and motherly advice”! “Mwana wange nze nkubuliilira ng’owange ogila obeera yo eyo, ojja kudda edda”! I was shocked! But its the same advice they gave there own children many of whom I can track through facebook!

I attended the same school as Museveni’s son -and spent a lot more time studying and gaining expertise. if I believed that I could join the army, go to cadet school and get a captainship as my first commission on graduation, attend both Sandhurst and Fort Leveanworth, command an elite military corps as well as a major artillery division and move on to being in charge of a major external operation involving the coordination of ground and air troops then proceed to head all of the major elite and crack troops in oil related operations while living a life of luxury, all the time making it to Major and just waiting for the right time to give me a Generals’ pips, -all before the age of 35, I would be in Jinja cadet school in a flash.

While I have nothing against the guy who is actually a nice guy, everything I know about him from school suggests that his skills and aptitude are no better than mine. If anything if grades and academic achievement are any measure, I would venture to say that I should be capable of all of the above achievements but I know that it is not going to happen! “Technical know who” beats “technical know-how” every time in Uganda!

So no serving in his dads army for me – as am not a beneficiary of the hunt, I will leave it to his son to protect the spoils of his dads hunt!! The point here is that all Ugandans have got to believe in this change. We have to believe in the “prosperity” and the wealth ushered in by the government. As it is, a few live in the “kintu” while the rest are mere spectators!! So we do not! We all know that this is a family thing threatening to become hereditary with all of the trappings of family privilege!

I refuse to “eat where I worketh”! I expect to be paid for what am worth. It’s not only the Kagina’s of this world who take home more than 10,000 USD a month who are worth a living wage! I expect to work hard, put in long hours and the overtime but be looked after when I retire with a pension that I do not have to beg for or bribe someone to get! I expect to be respected as a professional doing my job and not be slapped around like some junior minister was reported slapping around nurses at their job! I work no less than the suckers in parliament who take home 15 million shilling salaries or have access to soft loans while having access to overseas health care while I have to make do with worse care than a dog gets in a veterinary hospital!

A colleague once told me he was being paid 10,000 dollars to put in a dogs pacemaker! This dog gets better care than a Ugandan does!!! My parents sacrificed for their country and family and sent me to the best schools my abilities and their money could buy! I refuse to kill my children’s ambitions and stifle their potential by taking them to Kaguta’s UPE kayoola schools because I cannot afford better!

I refuse to live off handouts from the public because they pity me and my poverty when am doing my job! I have always hated the idea of being tipped and having people try to stuff a few hundred shillings in my pocket because they think am hungry or that they will not get a service unless they provide “facilitation”! I prefer my facilitation to come in my pay cheque! I would rather not have to make several trips to the accounting or payroll officer before getting my pay minus their 30% cut! A payroll clerk once told me I did not receive my pay for a year because “I did not know how to do things”!!! Knowing how to do things meant negotiating with them and paying them their cut so I could receive my meagre pay!!! I refuse to play the game! As far as am concerned, I come to work, put in a full day’s work and unpaid overtime, I expect to get my pittance pay without having to waste my time talking to idiots or giving them a cut off my wages to ensure am paid! A brother of mine once had to forfeit six months of his salary in exchange for a job -signed away in advance! And this for an upcountry job without relocation cost reimbursement! He later resigned and went off to the UK after he refused to sign off on dodgy and illegal stuff that his boss was trying to get him to do!!!

When I get a living wage from the government, they are not doing me a favour. It is my entitlement and right for a job well done!!

Examples have been given of patriotism in other countries. Those examples miss the point -that in many of those countries, people expect and receive care from their government. They get paid well, they receive services from the government, they have great infrastructure, they receive reasonable pensions and retirement benefits and if they are war veterans, they will receive health care for life!

There are individual factors in migration as well as push-pull factors determined by the countries environment. The government of Uganda does not care for its professionals!

In one of the facebook debates I have been involved in, a gentleman called Tracy Kagarura has classified all those in the diaspora as street sweepers that are battling for a living.

To Tracy, I say there is nothing wrong with sweeping roads abroad. It is honest work and pays the bills.

It also assists family in Uganda and covers for the incompetence and inadequacy of the NRM government at providing services such as school fees, medical bills and even “unemployment benefits”! the remittances of the road sweepers provide a social security net thus covering for government incompetence!

Furthermore, it holds up the banking system. If you doubt this check out the inflation produced by the ‘summers’ arrival in Kampala at Christmas! The contributions of kyeyo match those of donors!

In addition it provides seed capital for numerous small and medium enterprises thus again covering for the incompetence of the state! These businesses generate taxes that the government collects to cover the other third of government expenditure!

Investment in transport services both private and public are contributed to significantly by those road sweepers!

Likewise investment in housing that provides both dwellings and rental accommodation of reasonable standards, benefits heavily from road sweepers!

Tracy is some low level government technocrat who comes to these facebook debates to expose his ignorance of uganda’s economics as well as the significant input of the ‘nkuba kyeyos’!

Yet these major donors to the NRM coffers are sidelined politically and even denied their basic right to voting -a right that Rwanda a poorer nation as well as Sudan until recently a non nation are able to provide their citizens worldwide. Ugandans in the diaspora contribute a lot to Ugandan’s economy, yet have to put up with being disenfranchised of their rights as well as putting up with abuse from jumped up low-level technocrats like Tracy exposing their ignorance!

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs

 

What to make of Museveni’s criticism of the West over Libya

By Stephen Twinoburyo

When reading President Yoweri Museveni’s 6-page statement regarding the bombing of Libya by allied forces, I never stopped marvelling at the double-standards, contradictions and seeming sense of panic (http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/749765). Museveni can be planted in Gaddafi’s position and he matches the picture. There is little to separate the two men, whether in ambition, mode of leadership, self-importance, arrogance, selfishness or unfortunate choice of words. The whole statement is the case of the kettle calling the pot black. I doubt the west will read this statement and lose sleep. I am not bothered myself.

I will tackle the different points as he raises them:

  • I agree Gaddafi’s support of Amin was wrong. Also his support of Museveni, telling him that revolutionaries never retire and Museveni looking on approvingly and seemingly heeding the call, even though the term revolutionary is self-dressed for both men, was equally bad.

I quote Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s statement on Libya last week: “The scenes of brutality being meted out with sophisticated weaponry by Libyan security forces against their own civilian population make God weep. With every blow they strike, each human rights abuse they perpetrate, they bring shame on Africa. If Africa’s leaders held their peers to account there would be no need for the people of Libya to suffer human rights violations. And there would be no need for United Nations sanctioned military interventions in Libya Instead, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has for more than 40 years honed his skills in the art of resource management to win friends and influence people. And as a result, Africa seems powerless to stop him..” . The archbishop added that the international community must act to protect the people of Libya. I find that Museveni falls in the part of ‘resource management’ that Archbishop Tutu talks about. He’s now able to afford some criticism of Gaddafi because Gaddafi is on the rocks.

 

  • Museveni says in the AU, Gaddafi used to talk to other leaders like he was talking to kindergarten children. This really makes me laugh. Let Museveni replay his speeches and listen to how he addresses other people. One of the reasons he is disliked is because of the way he addresses and treats other Ugandans. He seems to take Uganda as his own house and all his addresses have been full of orders. Museveni does not seem to have the word request in his vocabulary. For more on this, scroll down on this blog and read the article “Why is Uganda run like a spaza shop?”
  • Museveni accuses Gaddafi of overruling other leaders in the AU but Museveni himself is the king of overruling technocrats and his ministers to institute his own thinking, and as a result he has rendered useless  all institutional processes in Uganda.
  • Museveni accuses Gaddafi of involving himself in the internal matters of other countries. Apart from Tanzania, there is none of Uganda’s neighbours that Museveni hasn’t involved himself in. Courtesy of his self-interest incursion in DRC, Uganda has a huge bill to pay and the lives of countless Congolese people were lost or wrecked irreparably. The scars will linger for generations.
  • As Museveni accuses Gaddafi of not differentiating between military and civilian targets, he forgets that his own soldiers have fired on and killed unarmed civilians during civil activities and no action has been taken. Museveni himself has used language to encourage or warn of such actions by his soldiers. Recently when asked on Al-Jazeera why his soldiers fired on civilians in a market in Mogadishu he replied by asking why the insurgents had hidden themselves among civilians. Museveni also forgets that during his bush war, he planted landmines on civilian roads and recruited underage children in his rebel army.
  • Museveni says the west hates independent-thinking leaders and instead prefers puppets. What I think are dictators are what Museveni refers to as independent-minded thinkers or nationalists. Museveni and Gaddafi fall in this category and if there is one person that is used at will by the west and ‘brief-case’ foreign investors, I think it’s Museveni. Museveni has been in power this long largely due to the support of the west. Of course now he is beginning to behave expectedly like Mugabe, Gbagbo or Gaddafi that he sees that the west are no longer excited about non-retiring  leaders and cosmetic democracy. African leaders are good at criticising governments in the west but are very quiet about excesses of their own African peers. Museveni should remember that in the 25 years he has been president, America now has the fourth president. In that time undoubtedly foreign policy changes and subsequent leaders have different views on foreign leaders. I don’t think Obama is interested in promoting African autocracy in exchange for interests. Soon or later, Museveni too will be discarded and I think he is aware of this.
  • Yes Nyerere, Nkrumah and others he mentioned were nationalists. Museveni and Gaddafi are not. In fact Gaddafi may have some nationalism but this gets lost in his self-aggrandisement. There is purely nothing about Museveni to show nationalism. And yes Gaddafi transformed his country using oil resources. But if in the 41 years he’s been in power, he has allowed transitions producing 5 other leaders, maybe Libya would be far ahead. We used to be fed this lie that everybody in Libya is given a free modern house on turning into an adult. Now we are seeing slums on Al-Jazeera. We used to be told that everybody in Libya loves Gaddfi as their god and he himself claims people love him but in a matter of two weeks, ordinary citizens had taken over more than 90% of the country until he employed his murderous ways against his own people.
  • I find Museveni’s analysis of pre-Gaddafi-era oil price viz-a-viz western development very simplistic. Western countries have developed simply because they have worked hard. Countries in the far east too have developed greatly in the last 40 years.
  • On Gaddafi’s positive points, Museveni talks of the good roads he sees when flying over Libya. I wish he could say the same of Uganda, the country he has ruled for 25 years. That makes the difference between him and the other leaders that have truly worked for their countries. Can he please tell us what he sees when he flies over Uganda?
  • Museveni talks of peaceful demonstarions but these are not allowed in his own country. True, in all countries where they take place, they are coordinated with police permission and supervision. In Uganda’s case, Museveni himself declared recently that he won’t allow demonstrations to take place. Though I was particularly not excited about the groups that were organising these demonstrations, the people nevertheless had the right to hold them. Museveni’s periodic window-dressing exercise of elections hardly makes his regime more legitimate than that of Gaddafi or Mubbarak. If a person like Gaddafi or Museveni decides to sit on a population indefinitely doesn’t  it then make the case for foreign intervention justifiable? Why is Museveni finding fault with the no-fly zone over Libya? Gaddafi himself invited that no-fly zone when he started using his military planes over his own people. It should be remembered that it’s Libyans themselves that rose up against Gaddafi, not the western powers. The western powers have simply taken on the moral obligation to defend the Libyans that Gaddafi had promised to decimate. If Africans leaders treat countries like their bedrooms, let them be crushed mercilessly.
  • Museveni says Gaddafi should sit down and negotiate with the opposition. Let Museveni show this example in his own country.

The time for African despots to use criticism of the west to suppress their people and loot their countries is way over. Gaddafi’s achievements are not an excuse for the way he treats his people. True there are double standards. Some of these western concerns are coupled with their interests. For instance, nothing has ever been done about Myanmar. However, we are glad when we are one despot less. Even Uganda was driven by their self-interest in their incursion into DRC. Even right now, Museveni is defending Gaddafi out of self-interest. It is expected that interests will greatly determine America’s engagement. In fact now that Museveni is stepping on oil, his ground has become more slippery. If American interests can help rid us of dictators and non-ending rulers, I am glad.

It is possible Libya may be engulfed in post-Gaddafi confusion but this is expected where despots have wielded absolute control without regard for institutionalised leadership. Of course blame number one for the confusion that will engulf Libya falls squarely on the shoulders of Gaddafi and stale African leaders. Where strongmen have held absolute power without regard for other citizens, it’s inevitable that confusion will follow them. It happened in Uganda after Amin and the resulting confusion is what brought Museveni to power. Amin was removed by Tanzanians and we don’t regret that action. Gaddafi too needs to go at all costs whatever the consequences. Libya will eventually stabilise. Even that oil he’s promising to offer to friendly countries will go nowhere. Gaddafi’s defenders, including Museveni, say that the west is driven by oil. If oil is the fuel that smokes him out, so be it!

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2011 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs

 

Party Primaries Are Not The Panacea for Weak Leadership

By Philip Nsajja

Author: Philip Nsajja

I wrote the comments below in response to Ms. Nina Mbabazi’s suggestion that: “I believe to build strong party leadership, political parties in the IPOD should agree to have party primaries in the same period of time to prevent people from crossing over from party to party and to prevent sabotage. The way they do it in the US.

(http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10150160624681259&id=712431258)

Nina, I’m struggling to see how and why agreeing to party primaries in Uganda should draw lessons from “the way they do it in the US”, or how this can build strong party leadership. In fact, I would submit that if there is anything to be learned, primary elections in the US should be a case study in how NOT to run a party primaries!

I stand to be corrected, but it’s my sense that the spectacle of “crossing over from party to party” that we continuously witness in Uganda, is driven more by a combination of greed and fear of political irrelevance, than any core ideological beliefs.

We’ve been witnessing this phenomenon from the earliest days of our nationhood. In the 1960s as he sought to out-maneuver the opposition, then Prime Minster Obote urged then DP leader Basil Bataringaya to cross the floor of the house and join the government, and Bataringaya obliged. “An opposition is only necessary,” Obote said thereafter, “if it has an alternative policy to offer, but this is not the case in Uganda.” Does this sound vaguely familiar?

Obote then went on to declare that he no longer recognised the ‘official’ opposition. “In the constitution there is no provision for a parliamentary opposition,” he said. “This post died when the former leader, Mr. Basil Bataringaya, crossed over to the government side.” It was a classic and coldly executed coup de grace delivered in vintage Obote style!

In the early 1980s, it wasn’t as subtle. Obote and his UPC opted for more blatant strong arm tactics as a means of political persuasion and coercion. This led to the shameful spectacle that we witnessed at the Busoga Square in Jinja when Busoga’s DP MPs crossed over en masse right in front of Obote and his cohorts. The only hold-out was Professor Yoweri Kyesimira (RIP), and he ended up paying for his perceived obstinacy very dearly. We witnessed variations of this spectacle during the recently concluded presidential and parliamentary campaigns when for instance, several high profile UPC members genuflected before the “man in a hat” by crossing over to the NRM. My guess is that these gentlemen are just your average political opportunists who clearly know which side of their bread is buttered and went with the flow! The president is a man wise enough to have known this, but being the savvy political player that he is, he played along!

And of course there is the most recent case of the so-called independents, which led to a challenge in the Constitutional Court.

Nina, what I’ve observed is that what builds strong leadership and prevents people from crossing over from one party to another here in the US, is not just the fact that they have party primaries. Actually it’s something a lot simpler than that. Elected officials here actually tend to believe in something greater than their most immediate and narrow personal interests. That is primarily what motivates them to join, vote for and seek office under the banner of a particular party. And when they do so, they stay put where they are since they believe that their single vote actually amounts to something. They are not easily swayed by threats from their leadership. They are motivated by a higher purpose and are driven by their own ideological leanings – conservative or liberal and not petty selfish motivations like “Nnalya wa?”  or “Kulembeka”. There is a tendency for politicians and elected officials in Uganda to simply go with the winner. And that winner is usually one with deep enough pockets to shell out an occasional and unsolicited 20 million shillings around election time!

For most people, this ideological marriage to a particular party is a lifelong commitment. Yes, they may occasionally vote with the opposing party but rarely do you see or hear members of Congress or state assemblies switching party allegiances. Even in states that are heavily dominated by a single party, the opposition never sells its core beliefs by merely going with the winner. At the rate at which the fortunes of political parties ebb and flow, we would be witnessing party defections in huge numbers after every congressional election cycle and yet that almost never happens.

Unlike in Uganda where the threat of expulsion from a party hovers over members’ heads if they vote the ‘wrong’ way, representatives in the US are rarely under any such pressure. Yes, parties in Congress have a Whip who counts the votes and may twist a few arms here and there, but such is the nature and beauty of a true liberal democracy. Elected officials usually vote their conscience and party leaders do everything they can to make sure their caucus remains united and intact. The members are answerable to the constituents who elect them and not any particular party platform or the whims of the leaders. They can therefore switch their votes back and forth if they believe it’s in the best interest of the people in their congressional districts or local jurisdictions. In fact if the elected representatives are under any pressure, it’s usually from their constituents and not their respective political parties or leadership. Woe to any politician who puts the interest of the party before his people for they will punish you very severely – at the polls. This is so unlike the farce we constantly witness in parliament in the pseudo-democracy that’s Uganda.

In fact, in the few and rare cases in the US when an elected official switches parties, it’s usually because the party no longer represents the wishes, interests and desires of that politician’s electorate. In other words, the politician’s survival depends on breaking with the party which may have veered to the far-left or far-right.

When it comes to party primaries, many political observers actually believe the primary election system here is broken and has proven to be a huge weakness as it relates to party strength. It usually degenerates into a ‘weeding-out’ process where at least at the state level, ideological purity tramps everything else. The people who usually participate in state primary elections are die-hard left-wing or right-wing party members who rarely tolerate any moderation. That’s why we always witness a phenomenon where an individual who would be otherwise moderate, veers to the extreme right or left in order to win a party primary in order survive just to be able to compete in the general election, at which point they usually pivot back to the middle – the place where American elections are actually won or lost.

The situation may be slightly different at the national level, especially as it relates to the presidential primaries where the national party actually strives to pick the strongest candidate that can win a national election. But critics of the primary election system here in the US (and I am one of them) believe that at the state level, the system is particularly rigged against moderates. The ‘ideological purity’ test only serves the purpose of discouraging good people who are not driven by shallow ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ labels from participating, because quite honestly, if they do participate, such people rarely win party primaries. Quite simply put, with the current system in place, the parties are sabotaging themselves from within.

So Nina, with all due respect, the party primaries in the US that you are citing as something worth emulating in Uganda, are not the panacea for building strong leadership or long-term party viability. In the US they are increasingly considered a huge weakness and liability by most political observers and that’s why most voters don’t even bother to participate in that exercise. The system is structurally rigged in favor of dyed-in-the-wool party ideologues. A lot of times, strong and worthy candidates who have the money to fund their own campaigns outside of the party structure, will simply choose to ignore the primary voters and mount independent runs. Primary voters tend to do a party a major disservice by electing ideologically “pure” candidates who may be strong in the narrow confines of the party but cannot win a general election. Rather than strengthening the parties, primary elections have degenerated into ideological orgies that have disenchanted a broad swath of voters. That, in my opinion, can only be a weakness.

I would therefore go against convention by insisting that the emergence of independent-minded politicians who are not beholden to the whims of their individual parties, but are instead answerable primarily to their constituents, represent not a weakness, but a maturation of Uganda’s political environment. We need more, and not less of them. Political parties shouldn’t be monoliths where homogeneity of opinion is what counts. As Nina noted above, members should be encouraged to have divergent opinions and be at liberty to vote as they please without suffering the wrath of the leaders in the name of ‘party discipline’. Internal democracy that allows dissent and a plurality of opinion would drive a party into making sure it develops a broad platform which in turn leads to internal strength.

That said, I find the claim that the “…NRM allows people with divergent views to be heard…” to be very wanting, because if they do, they sure as hell aren’t showing it. In most cases, all we hear from the “man in the hat” is constant haranguing of those whom he considers undisciplined; those with the ‘cojones’ and audacity to question party orthodoxy and unwilling to tow the official party line. For people like me on the outside who may or may not consider joining this party, that’s a very lousy way of selling their brand. From the outside looking in, this is precisely what Koestler had in mind when he wrote in ‘Darkness at Noon’ that:

 “The party’s course was sharply defined; like a narrow path down a mountain, any slightest false step left or right, sends one down the precipice.”

The NRM party must not only be democratic, but it must be SEEN to be democratic. Backroom wheeling and dealing and mere talk about the presence of “internal democracy” appear to be just empty sloganeering. I would actually like to see it to believe it and so far, I don’t see much of this within the NRM.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2011 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs

 

Selective justice -when young men die for old men: The case of Chandi!

By Drew Ddembe

As usual, you lay it out quite clearly.

There is no problem at all with the way you feel about this. it’s what friends and family do. It is said, that to a mother will cry for her son even if he is a thief. And families visit their loved ones in jail even though they may be guilty.

While I read most of the details in the papers, I long ago arrived at the same conclusion as Justice Katutsi -that there was something suspect about the short selling of the bonds to Crane bank. Some of them simply could not be explained -and i do not have to be financially savvy or a genius to say so!

That shortselling a bond a few days to maturity when not under duress causing a loss of billions (and a profit of billions to the buyer) to your employer is really suspect. I really would have loved for this trial to go beyond this and look at any financial dealings with Crane Bank And Chandi!

There is also the matter of gambling in a Las Vegas casino and buying expensive jewellery using a company credit card.

Furthermore, there was the abuse of office and extending of credit to himself and Kagonyera his deputy to the tune of hundreds of millions of shillings without board approval!

There is also the little matter of a real estate transaction with Nzeyi at the same time as they were negotiating the Temangalo affair. The details of this remain fuzzy but this would constitute a clear conflict of interest!

What I find amazing is that a guy who had everything going for him and had such a good track record allowed himself to get into the situation he is in right now!

The only conclusion I can reach is that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That he was suddenly elevated to this position where because he was sitting on the largest caboodle of cash in the country, powerful people who wanted to access it had to be nice to him and be “friends”.

Chandi and collegue at the hearings

That the presence of powerful “Godfathers” must have made him feel invincible and untouchable -and allowed him to act with seeming impunity!

But it all got unravelled when the proverbial chicken dung hit the fan and he panicked -trying to get out of Temangalo. he “confessed” forcing powerful men to fight for their political lives! Being a soft middle class kid, he had never heard of “kuffa ki offiisa” or cowboys never tell! Essentially for those hardened boys who grew up in hard boarding schools like Matale, if you are caught stealing or cheating, you “died” like ‘an officer” and took the punishment alone without outing your colleagues. Your social capital went up immensely if you protected your mates! But woe betide you if you refused to die alone! Jamwa refused to die alone -BUT at the end of the day ended up dying alone!

While his powerful partners in crime got off with the loot and still have not even handed over the land at the centre of the scandal, 3 years after receiving payment, he ended up coming under the spotlight in what is seeming revenge for having outed his bosses and partners in crime! You see they knew that in exchange for him allowing them to use workers money as a playground, he too had played around with some loose change! It is this loose change that got him!

Unfortunately for him, a lamb does not play with wolves without getting eaten! it so happens that Museveni badly needs a ‘pin up boy’ to send to jail right now on corruption charges! If that boy happens to be an outsider so much the better! Chandi was an outsider who deluded himself he was an insider -and got burned! In the recently concluded elections Museveni was running against a candidate called “corruption”! He was his most powerful opponent! All of the rest were trailing far behind. And even after winning, Museveni knows that this man corruption is going to eat him up if he doesn’t fix him soon!

There are a few other outsiders who thought themselves insiders and got burnt too. The most recent one being Teddy Sseezi Cheeye. Cheeye wrote a sycophantic article in his capacity as “advisor to the president on economic affairs”, one of those many useless people that cost the taxpayer money, arguing the retrospective merits of the Temangalo affair and trying to sweep all of the improprieties under the carpet on the grounds that it was still a viable and profitable deal for NSSF! I wonder how profitable a transaction you cannot take possession of three years later could be! the reality remains that the whole Temangalo deal was corrupt with all of the elements of corruption, insider trading, conflict of interest, cronyism, coercion, abuse of power/office, name it! It was powerful men leaning on a subordinate and coercing him to allow them to dip their hands into the caboodle of cash he was meant to be the guardian of! But they got away with no consequences!

Cheeye a ‘mulebeesi’ who pretended to be an insider ended up in jail for eating GAVI funds making him one of a very small minority! Interestingly there were never any charges of causing financial loss to his employer against the boss of GAVI! An unknown woman also went to jail! If she is not out she would be the only one that has gone to jail on corruption charges and stayed there in the 25 years of Museveni’s rule! The other outsiders who have gone to jail include Ekemu who ended up his career by going to jail on corruption charges. He received a ‘pardon’. While Ekemu was a minster, he was one of those beneficiaries of ‘regional balancing’ in the movement government but not an NRM cadre! Cheeye somehow ended up back on the street after a few short weeks! All of the other thieves who belong to the right party remain on the street with president Museveni claiming they are innocent!  Kiggundo of Greenland bank who together with Salim Saleh brother to president Museveni ended up facing the music alone and actually ent to jail for a few months still ended up on the street! Between the two of them, they virtually managed to bring down the whole banking industry in Kampala! Katto who brokered the junk helicopter scandal and paid a bribe of 800k USD to again Salim Saleh was too charged alone with irony of ironies, Salim Saleh as a witness against him!!! Saleh was ‘forgiven’ by his brother without being subjected to the courts!

Chandi stays alone to face the music! He goes off to jail like a common thief. but who am i to complain. Am one of those who have always found it unfair that a common chicken thief gets killed by a mob or sent off to jail for several year while big thieves who steal billions get away scott free! i should be happy but instead am sad that such a promising young man has while taking his own punishment as he should also taken the punishment of powerful and vengeful old men!

As you can Chandi joins a very small list of people who have faced corruption charges in 25 years of the NRM and part of an even smaller number who have been convicted. If he manages to stay in jail for 12 years or any significant part of that, he would have broken a record for being probably the first person to whom the charges stuck and he actually served out a custodial sentence. if he does manage to stay in jail, it will only be because this government so badly needs someone to stay in jail so they can claim to have ever convicted someone on corruption charges!

Without wishing to influence events, I pray that Chandi in future rejoins society and contributes to the development of our society! As for those who sacrificed a young man, while they went scot-free, shame on them!

 
7 Comments

Posted by on March 10, 2011 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs

 

NRM needs to start thinking differently

By Stephen Twinoburyo

There is a need to carefully examine Museveni’s role in our whole Ugandan situation. If you look at his whole past, it has been one of projecting himself as the good man surrounded by bad people.

Even in the NRM itself, he has projected himself as the only one who has worked to makeparty what it is and as such has made other people in the party seem useless. He has manipulated the party in such a way that members have blindly supported him, entrenching him in his position, enriching him and his family, having little say in party matters and direction, ceasing all crucial affairs of the party to State House and finally being discarded whenever he feels he no longer needs them. The NRM has become a party around him and for this reason the party is likely to go down with him. This means many of the party members will suffer when it’s actually only him that benefited. Museveni is now a liability to NRM. All NRM values are now packaged together with Museveni’s selfishness, uncouthness and bad actions. Of course the NRM has some upward-thinking people and it would be sad if they are lost to the country because of the selfish interests of one individual – and maybe a few people surrounding him. Well, it’s up to those in the NRM. Uganda will remain.

Party bigwigs

If some in the NRM can take time, let them look at how advanced parties like the ANC and Chama Cha Mapinduzi operate. The strength of the party derives in being able to rotate and guide its leaders, and collectively determine policy. Whenever the ANC meet, they discuss a whole range of issues and producepapers or policy on economy, science and technology, trade, international affairs, social conditions within the country e.t.c. They develop a comprehensive plan for the country that they give to government – which they control – to implement. The working plans are discussed by ANC members in their caucuses because the party has got experts in all fields – the NRM too has. Some of the positions are of course changed when other role-players like opposition parties, trade unions or civic organisations oppose them. Whenever the NRM meets however, the whole exercise is to pay homage to Museveni and he spends the entire time bragging, listening to all that are fighting to get close to him and making party members – even professors – look like clowns. The NRM needs to advance beyond this and they cannot do it with a Museveni that craves control. Well, he played an important role in the establishment of the party (or movement) but after 30 years at the helm and member being suffocated of thinking, NRM members need to start thinking beyond Museveni.

Jostling for Museveni's ear

Let’s now look at the army. Why should ordinary soldiers be on the streets everyday awaiting instructions to shoot their brothers and sisters? They are poorly paid – if paid at all, they live in squalid conditions and it’s almost an abomination to be an ordinary Ugandan soldier. They are sent on the streets to kill their brothers and sisters for a man whose family is living in comfort and will just take off and leave them to suffer the consequences. Those who send them onto the street will not be with them at the funerals crying for the departed ones that have been shot. Those who send them onto the streets to kill their brothers and sisters will not be with the grieving families that will never fill the gaps left behind by the departed. The soldiers will bear this pain. Soldiers are trained to defend their countries against foreign aggression but not to be enemies of their own people. At the end of the day they will be in our villages and Museveni and his family will be somewhere else – maybe here in S Africa. Soldiers must think carefully about what their moral duty is and what they are protecting. Egypt offers a good example.

Implementing Museveni's rule

The same applies to police. Why are they becoming enemies of the people? Why do they display extreme anger when they see a Ugandan saying he or she wants to live better? When they go back to their homes, do they think they’ve done the right thing? Do they even think Museveni they are killing for knows who they are? However their neighbours and the people in their villages know.

So much as Uganda needs change, a change within the NRM and existing structures is needed even more crucially. There is a need to start thinking differently.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on March 9, 2011 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs

 

Why is Museveni taking us for idiots?

By Stephen Twinoburyo

I have read President Yoweri Museveni’s article in the New Vision on the following link and I find it a shameless pack of lies:

“Factors behind NRM’s victory”: http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/459/748367

  • He claims the NRM and its predecessors have always been principled forces battling opportunists. Of course this is hogwash. It’s NRM instead that have been opportunists looking at the way they’ve sold away Uganda and manipulated all the country’s institutions turning them into useless shells. It seems without UPC, DP, Amin e.t.c, Museveni will never have anything to say. He is still 30 years back yet we’ve moved on. He cannot give a speech without dedicating a greater part of it to things of the past that he has mentioned over and over again. Maybe that’s why he still thinks he is delivering on the vision of 1986. We need to move ahead. But this may also be an oversold tactic of creating fear based on past wrongs.
  • He blames Uganda’s problems on UPC’s unconstitutionalism but he forgets the way he has reduced our constitution to a useless document. Let him carry out an opinion poll and see how many Ugandans value his relevance to the constitution.
  • He says they have stood for the freedom of the people of Rwanda, Congo and the Sudan. He forgets that he has instead enslaved the people of Uganda and he is no different from Mobutu who he claims he freed the people of Congo from.

Police action

  • He says they always struggle for the interests of the ordinary people. I don’t think the interests of ordinary Ugandans are to wake up every morning to find heavily armed soldiers at every turn. The tonnes of tear gas and riot gear equipment that were recently imported weren’t in the interests of ordinary Ugandans. Ordinary Ugandans’ interests would have been served better had Museveni been importing tonnes of medicines or school books and not blowing public money on his re-election junket such that civil servants and other government employees are now going without pay. UPE and USE are good concepts that have been terribly mismanaged like many other projects under him.

UPE school in Eastern Uganda

  • Museveni promised to transform the traditional subsistence agriculture into commercial agriculture in 1986. He is still promising the same in 2011. That modernisation has not occurred at all and now we are expected to believe that a miracle will happen in the next 5 years. The NAADS he is talking about is a haven of corruption and I would like to challenge him to tell us what the MPs did with the Sh. 20 million he mis-allocated each of them in the abused name of NAADS.
  • If you read this trash of statements, you then understand the kind of leader we have and the cleanliness of his mind: “Therefore, the last 45 years have been a very long journey along which the NRM has been battling oppressors, parasites and opportunists with logic, polemics and, occasionally, with arms….. The oppressors, the opportunists and the parasites try to obscure all these essentials for our people’s survival with lies, distortions, diversions, etc.”
  • When Museveni talks about pacifying Northern Uganda and West Nile, he should actually remember that those areas were not at war before he came. And so too was DRC. He in fact made an attempt at Kenya.
  • When he talks of selfish careerist leaders in the NRM, he should begin with himself. This is actually an insult to other people in the NRM. He should look at other stable democracies like Tanzania, S Africa, Botswana, Zambia e.t.c and count how many presidents the ruling parties have produced during the time he has been president of both his party and country. Sadly due to his selfishness, the NRM may die with him.
  • Recently I asked on facebook anybody to tell me not three, not two, but only one hospital Museveni has built or improved in his 25 year rule and none of the NRM apologists could come up with any. They went around in circles and people kept on asking them to name a hospital but of course even if we gave them a year, they were not going to come up with any. I also see Museveni mentioning things like small pox, polio, tetanus, TB e.t.c that most of the world has eliminated but conveniently omits the crucial issue of general health and hospitals. Recently patients at Mulago hospital went on strike and moved their beds out of the death wards into open air outside. At the largest government hospital, Mulago, pregnant mothers are asked to carry their own surgical gloves when going for delivery. Patients have to buy their own needles for injections and drip outside the hospital to be used in the hospital. That’s our state of health.
  • He praises the youths and then adds this: “Unfortunately, they are resented by the old guards in some cases because the latter think that the sharper insights of these young cadres are a criticism of the failures of the senior members. This is a wrong attitude. The senior members did their bit of, for instance, identifying with the NRM at a time the party was unpopular in some areas. That is good enough credit.” This is aimed at creating divisions between the old members in the NRM and the youths while projecting himself as the good man. This is aimed at endearing himself to the youths and a prelude to phasing out some old members that have stood by him. I guess like he has dealt with most of his past colleagues, some of his old colleagues are about to be discarded after being used in his entrenchment scheme.

Museveni's youth supporters during the 2011 campaigns

  • When he talks of how people are falling head-over-heels at the mention of NRM, he should pause and note how telling it is that far more registered voters kept away from the vote than voted for him. Even of those that NRM claimed were its registered supporters eligible to vote (9 million), only about half voted for Museveni. Something definitely doesn’t add up here. No wonder since that ‘victory’, soldiers armed to the teeth have been on the streets of the country’s towns. Does the president expect to run the country like this for the next 5 years? Is such a situation sustainable? Won’t soldiers grow weary and stressed waking up each morning mindful that they may be ordered anytime to shoot their brothers and sisters while those who order them are luxuriating at their pain? That’s Uganda the president seems to basking in pride of.

Enforcing Museveni's victory 2011

  • He still ascribes the votes UPC and DP got in 1962 to the way the British colonialists demarcated the regions in favour of UPC. The old man sounds more like Mugabe. He mentions opinion polls that gave him 84% popularity. May somebody please remind him of the percentages Ben Ali and Mubbarak got at their last polls? His whole speech is full of bragging and abuse but he does not know that magnanimous leaders reach out to those they defeat. In any case the whole thing of 68% victory is a farce I will never believe in just like the 1980 elections or the elections that Saddam won before he was pulled out of a hole or Mugabe’s previous elections.

The only thing we should hope for is to be like Zimbabwe but unfortunately for Ugandans, there is no country like S Africa nearby to give legal residence to them or promise our country an interest-free loan of $1 billion to sort out our problems. On the positive side, I don’t think Ugandans can be as docile as Zimbabweans.

I am lucky to have built my career without benefiting from NRM’s 25-year rule. By the time Museveni came, I was in high school in a good school and doing well, so I don’t think his non-coming would have stopped my education because neither was I going to fail nor lack fees, and education in Uganda was ok. I don’t consider myself among the people he liberated. I instead consider him to have liberated his pocket and family. Like I mentioned on a different forum, I can never work with or for the NRM as long as Museveni is their president. Period!

 
10 Comments

Posted by on March 7, 2011 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs