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Monthly Archives: April 2011

The lunatics are in charge of the asylum – Uganda

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By Drew Ddembe to Nina Mbabazi

Nina, when people are appointed to offices because of technical know who and blind loyalty to put their behind behind the president, you get incompetents who walk into traps and react with predictable consequences.

The evolution of this whole thing was very predictable. I predicted the way it would unfold and the idiots who make decisions in government exercised their neanderthal reflexes in exactly the way I predicted to produce the outcome I predicted.

Image is everything. One photo can make or break you and you guys have given your opponents so many you should shoot yourselves in the head. The difference between Mugabe and Museveni is simply marketing. One day can make a difference. Look at the buffoons that speak for this government on FB and in state house.

One day, Ghadafi’s sons were dining and wining the glitteratti of Europe, the next day, they were hunted men with each having a tomahawk missile with their name engraved on it.

Museveni's son: Patrolling the streets of Kampala

The days when Museveni could control the flow of information by imposing a media blackout while panda gari was going on are over. If he is not ready to take the step of becoming a Gbabo or a Ghadafi, its in his best interest to start sorting out an exit strategy both for himself as well as his son and daughters. He really had better be ready to kill lots of people something he should have thought about before he released the dogs of war onto the street.

The world has changed. The masters of the business world are teenage and young people in jeans and laptops. Museveni would not recognise them. He is stuck in an old world where brute force is king. Where the threat of violence or actual violence decides conflicts. Where the most violent man wins. He does not have the reflexes to fight this new war. And neither does his son. You were all caught flat footed because you believed that a 68 percent majority insured you against challenge and life would go on as normal. Because you won a big victory, you guys felt invincible. Feel you could get away with anything. You will notice that I say you because you are still a card carrying and active member of the NRM as is your father and many of your family. There is no way that you are going to be able to distance yourself from this short of cutting up your party card and standing with the people.

I did say that this was going to be a pyrrhic victory, didnt I? And a pyrrhic victory it is. Yet I have a feeling we are yet to see a lot more.

I said before that Besigye and the opposition did not have the power to ignite the masses. I still remain correct. But i also said that there was an increasing radicalisation, an increasing discontent with corruption and prolonged incubence. All that the masses needed to unleash mayhem was a spark and you willfully provided that spark when you so publicly humiliated and beat up Besigye while demonstrating that you were no different to the goons you replaced. This is the sign to the populace to once again clean house.

Security operative vandalising opposition leader, Dr Kiiza Besigye's car while arresting him for driving to town

Spraying Dr Kiiza Besigye with a chemical that has threatened to impair his eye sight

The absolute control that Museveni and the NRM have on the state of patronage that is Uganda whose resources they use to enrich themselves or buy support enrages people who can only watch this greed and impunity.

When Besigye started these walks, he cut a lonely figure with a backpack on his back. He would have fizzled out within a week. Do you see all of those substantial ladies walking to work for any period of time Musumba, Mugisha, Maama Mabira? Or their male counterparts in their suits and paunches? I doubt that he would have been able to walk to Najjanankumbi twice a week.

But you guys had to send your goons out to rough him up like a common criminal, beat him up, humiliate him, stuff him under the seats of a pickup. You would not even accord him the respect of a political leader, one who had attracted more than 2 million votes and one who was the face of the opposition. You demonstrated absolute contempt of the significant minority that did not vote for you.

Democracy that your party president and his lackeys and footmen parrot all of the time, means that while the majority rule, they also undertake to respect and protect the rights of the minority who lost. A government rules with a shadow government from the opposition.

The opposition has a role as a critic of government to keep it on the straight and narrow. It is the role of the opposition to highlight the neglect that is leading to high food prices. It is their job to highlight the wastage of public resources as has happened in the lat few months -650 billion to finance Museveni’s re election which essentially comprised of handing out brown envelopes using state funds, 6.5 billion to bribe LC’s who have never been voted for more than ten years but guarantee the grassroot campaigns, another 6.5 billion to finance the re election of a rubber stamp parliament under the insulting ” supervising government programs”, 7.2 trillion to buy fancy new and utterly useless fighter jets unless your people are planning to start new wars -I hear one useful idiot on your board who sets himself up as a spokesman for the NRM suggested they be used to fight Al Shabaab.

There used to be an idiot in Ethiopia who presided over an arms race in the horn while his people starved and ended up needing emergency Aid from the rest of the world. WHO estimates that less than2 percent of Ugandan farmers received seeds from the government despite parts of eastern and northern Uganda being at risk of famine. There is abundant evidence that despite warnings, this government has done nothing to cushion its citizens against the risk of starvation and high commodity prices. And then out comes a government idiot stating the obvious -that Uganda is not a welfare state. There is a story from the bible of joseph in Egypt who having predicted a famine was put in charge of planning for and mitigating the effects of the famine on the population. That’s what governments do. They don’t just decide that its not their problem and everyone should fend for themselves while continuing to tax and abuse taxpayers money. A government for the people and by the people empathises with the people. but this government is like aliens just came in from space with no kinship to the people or empathy for their suffering.

That is why Walking2Work is so brilliant in its simplicity. Think about it, this was a perfect moment for the middle classes of this country to bond with and show solidarity with the people who have to tighten their belts and walk to work every day even when their meagre pay is stretching less and less every day. You am sure watched that stupid video of Musumba walking to work with one lone young man, past people bustling along their day to day lives and then being stopped by a police officer and literally being arrested for walking to work. she had no crowd behind her. Few were paying her any attention – until the police stopped her. Lukyamuzi played hide and seek and walked to work and the world did not end. Otunnu walked to work thanks to the quick thinking of a professional police officer – and the world did not come to an end. Contrast that with the response of the hired goons in police uniforms following orders from above and one sees clearly where to place the blame for the chaos and bloodshed -on the incompetent police and government response. The very confusion with which Kayihura dealt with Mutabazi tells its own story. First he praised him, then he suspended him, then he reinstated him but then transferred him all in the space of less than a week.

If this was not so deadly and affecting my country, I would have said pull out the popcorn and dim the lights and lets enjoy some circus baboons perform. But this is not funny. it is sad. those people who died are real people. Am sure rubber bullets cost less than mambas. Do you guys realise just how bad those photos and videos look? Of smoke on the horizon and battle ready troops arrayed against an unarmed population? Am sure you would love for them to come with guns so that you could shoot them all. But there again is the brilliance of W2W. Guns aren’t needed except by fools. And when those fools exercise their trigger happy fingers, they create martyrs. Nothing recruits more for a cause than martyrs and brutality and bullies. All those nasty photos will be in every boardroom  of every country that has business in Uganda who will have to evaluate the cost of their association with thugs. And they have already hit every news outlet. And they are being queried in the white house and in the commonwealth. And Museveni is going to have to answer questions  in Perth when he goes to CHOGM and be compared with Mugabe and Ghadafi and Gbabo and Ben Ali and Mubarak. Not exactly great company right now.

Museveni was meant to be different from the others -the ones he called swine. Unfortunately he is now one of those swine. Ghadafi deployed irregular troops to kill protesters. See how quickly that morphed into a real resistance army complete with a sophisticated airforce that destroyed his fancy hardware before it even left the ground.

You guys have already lost the battle for hearts and minds. In the very public beatings and humiliation that was meted out on Besigye, you showed yourselves for what you are. It is obvious that all of the fancy suits and fancy words such as democracy and constitution really just hide plain old thugs. The ones who believe that if they are challenged, the dissent can be settled by cracking some heads.

And the worst part is that you are losing moderate opponents as well as undecided voters. Remember of 14 million eligible voters only about 5 million voted for the NRM despite it boasting of having almost 9 million card holding party members. Essentially your own party members chose not to vote. The radical opponents will not change their views. these images have just increased their resolve and offered them even more or better ammunition than the lies and distortions some of them used to peddle before. Nothing sells like a picture of injustice meted out by a bully. Uganda is run by bullies.

The NRM just crossed a line invisible as it may seem – just like Ghadafi crossed one. The next few weeks will show us just how much damage has been done. We may even know sooner when the cancellations of Kaguta’s inauguration start to come in. Didn’t you guys expect 32 heads of state.. LOL

The blood of innocents will never go unpunished. As people who came to power on the back of the blood of innocents one would have thought that you understood this very well. If your guys really have any sense, they need to call the dogs of war off and send them back to the barracks. You will never win a battle where your opponent is civilian and unarmed with guns armoured cars and live bullets. And get rid of dead wood like Kivedhinda, Kabakumba and Mirundi. They just cause you more damage. And Kayihura -send him to staff college in Siberia, he needs to hide from the public eye for a while. As for that Gilbert guy who effected Besigye’s most recent assault by state goons, you are going to have to find him another identity and another country to go to. Even Luzira maybe too dangerous for him.

Those who the Gods mean to destroy, they first run mad ….

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Posted by on April 30, 2011 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs

 

Outgoing AUPSA Chairman’s Report – July 2010

July 2010

Fellow Ugandans and friends of the Ugandan community, I take this opportunity to thank you for the year we have gone through as an Association of Ugandan professionals in South Africa. Together, we have been able to make great strides.

The idea of forming a formal association of Ugandan professionals in South Africa was adopted on 30th May 2009, in Sandton, Johannesburg and one year ago, on the 4th of July 2009, AUPSA was formally launched at Inkwanzi Country Club in Pretoria.

The main goals of AUPSA include but are not limited to:

•    Supporting and promoting the sharing of skills, ideas and knowledge among Ugandan professionals living in South Africa.
•    Providing a platform for Ugandan professionals in South Africa to promote and market their skills and services.
•    Providing academic, business and career information.
•    Supporting Ugandan graduate students in entering the job market.
•    Providing a platform for Ugandan professionals in South Africa to plough skills and knowledge back into Uganda.
•    Generating ways in which we can contribute meaningfully to South Africa and impact positively to the community we live in.
•    Providing a channel through which people in Uganda can reach the Ugandan professional community here.

AUPSA Launch: The innaugural committee.

AUPSA Launch: Ugandans in SA

One year since taking up the challenge of building AUPSA, I and some of the AUPSA Committee members, step down on 3rd July 2010 and hand over to a new set of people content in the joy that we’ve greatly achieved the tasks we set out to do and have set the foundations of what should become one of the biggest and most productive organisations in the Ugandan diaspora..

When we were elected into office last year, we were given a mandate to set up the structures of a formal association and drive it ahead. Since then, the following have happened or been attained:

•    The name of the association was established as Association of Ugandan Professionals in South Africa, AUPSA

AUPSA Launch: Ugandans in SA

AUPSA Launch: The men are talking.

•    The Association was registered at the Department of Social Development
•    A bank account was opened
•    A website, http://www.aupsa.org.za, was built and a database of Ugandan professionals in South Africa put together. The database mailing list currently consists of over 400 Ugandan professionals in South Africa. The website contains links to various sources of information and also hosts adverts.
•    A very successful business expo was held at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg

Part of AUPSA Committee: Joshua, Stella & Stephen

Part of AUPSA Committee: Stella, David Ruk, Gaya, David Iraka & James.

AUPSA Business Expo Guests

•    The AUPSA chairman was interviewed live on air by Channel Africa
•    AUPSA took part in an in-studio interview on SAfm radio and from the kind of calls received onto the show and subsequent feedback, Uganda was well represented.
•    AUPSA was invited to be part of the audience in The Big Debate TV series conducted by Etv and Dinokeng Studios on the topic “Is our foreign policy immoral?”.
•    A successful family function was held at the end of November 2009 in Midrand and Ugandan families had a great time.

Part of the AUPSA Family

AUPSA family registrations

Relaxation and games time

AUPSA kids time

•    A valentine dinner was held
•    The AUPSA newsletter was launched
•    AUPSA has participated in a community involvement programme where members of the committee, based on their careers, gave a career talk to previously disadvantaged grade 12 mathematics and science learners organised by Star Schools at University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
•    AUPSA was invited by the speaker of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to be part of the Africa Day celebrations in Johannesburg this year
•    AUPSA  has linked many Ugandans with skills and services to people that need them
•    AUPSA is reachable in the search engines and many people have been able to reach us with various requests for information or cooperation
•    The AUPSA Chairman was interviewed by The Saturday Star newspaper to give an opinion of Ugandans’ view on South Africa’s hosting of the soccer World Cup

•    AUPSA has established relations with the following organisations who we feature on our website and they also feature us on theirs:

o    The African Diaspora Forum (ADF) in Johannesburg
o    The Uganda North American Association (UNAA) in the US
o    The Independent Magazine in Uganda
o    Sanyu FM in Kampala

•    AUPSA has become a brand

All this has been achieved without doubt by great sacrifice, commitment and determination on part of the AUPSA Committee. It has been a team that believed in themselves and clearly saw where they were going.

AUPSA First Anniversary: guests

AUPSA First Anniversary: kids @chess.

I would like to thank the AUPSA Events team comprising of Namugaya Kisuule, Stella Ogema and Joshua Zake who, on top of their portfolios on the committee, have been behind all the events we have held. These events were always monumental tasks considering that they were organised at levels unprecedented within our community here in South Africa, but they emerged with flying colours. Most of the above work would not have been possible without the work of our Website Manager, Peter Mugisha, who built and has maintained the AUPSA website under immense time constraints, free of charge using his own resources. His colourful email posters have been a beauty to look during the marketing of our events.

I also thank Beatrice Drabile that has controlled our funds and James Aguma who has been the voice of reason on our team and, as a senior auditor, has helped prepare our financial reports whenever Beatrice was away due to work commitments. I can never forget Hannington Kasirye who, as a marketing manager, has been very instrumental in carrying the AUPSA message around, and Natacia Mpanga who has represented student matters on our team.

AUPSA First Anniversary: party/soccer time - Germany Vs Arg

The ladies behind AUPSA success.

AUPSA Investment Workshop: Johannesburg Stock Exchange

The entire team has worked tirelessly and selflessly during the past year. There was a time last year when we were meeting every week and due to our various locations, our meetings are held in restaurants, mainly Midrand considering its centrality. In everything we have

AUPSA Investment Workshop: Johannesburg Stock Exchange

done – transport, telephone calls, stationary, photocopying and printing, restaurant bills e.t.c, the AUPSA Committee members have paid out of their own pockets – of course not talking about the time. All money collected from various sources has been used to advance AUPSA. This is the kind of sacrifice that leaves me speechless. I am so proud and feel very privileged to have worked with such a team.

Undoubtedly, each and every one of you has made the AUPSA dream a reality and I will forever be grateful to you. Without you, nothing much would have been achieved by the committee. The dedication and trust expressed by AUPSA members has been very remarkable.

I also thank the two sponsors, MoneyGram International and Old Mutual, that have come on board to support one of our events.
There have obviously been challenges in the past year but we have learnt from them. We have seen things that work and things that don’t work. We have seen areas of strengths and areas of weaknesses. All these have shaped us.

AUPSA Investment Workshop: Johannesburg Stock Exchange

AUPSA Investment Workshop: Johannesburg Stock Exchange

Some of us now bow out of the leadership positions but remain committed members of AUPSA and will continue to promote the ideals that promote this Association. We will continue to share the knowledge gained with the incoming group of leaders and support them in their endeavours to strengthen this Association. I am confident that our members will produce the kind of leaders that will take AUPSA to greater heights.

AUPSA has established in its constitution a close that keeps it non-political and non-partisan. This is an ideal it should strive to maintain in order to fairly cater for the interests of all its members and those that seek to associate with it.

I will once again quote former President Thabo Mbeki’s head of policy, Joel Neshitenzhe’s farewell remark, “if from time to time, some of us are mistaken for giants, it’s because we stand on the shoulders of and glow in the halo of genuine articles”. I have stood on the shoulders of and glowed in the halo of genuine articles in AUPSA.

As our motto says, AUPSA we are going forward.

Thank you.

Stephen Twinoburyo

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 24, 2011 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs

 

Stephen, I challenge your opinion on the so-called ‘walk to work’ campaign in Kampala

By Stephen Twinoburyo

This is an email I received from a friend, Robert Muyanga, in Pretoria regarding the views I’ve been expressing on the current situation in Uganda. My response follows:

Stephen, I trust that you are well. In response to your mail below (see the email discussion in the first comment box below), I am not attempting and will never attempt to change your opinion to which you are entitled, I would like to challenge your opinion in relation to the so-called ‘’walk to work’’ campaign that is raging on in Kampala and some few towns.

You will agree with me that in any country that has a democratically elected Government just like ours (Uganda), there are bound to be laws that govern that territory. In this case the leaders of this campaign should have fulfilled the requirements of the law in the land e.g. inform the Police of their intention to walk, ask the Police for permission to walk if they knew very well that they were not going to walk alone but with their supporters (big crowds). By so doing they would have prepared the Police to make arrangements to guide and protect the walkers while ensuring that the rest of the population is not affected by the actions of the minority.

If there is any claim that the permission was not granted or would never have been granted, then I believe there are other means such as approaching the court of law, Parliament, and other institutions inside and outside the country. I believe that the leaders of the opposition or the organizers do not have the capacity to control their followers and yet Ugandans have witnessed, since the beginning of this so-called ‘’walk to work’’ thugs as part of the walkers, break into shops, barricading roads, throwing stones etc. one of my few questions is,

1. what plans did the organizers have to protect those who did not share their views of walking?

2. What was the real intention of the organizers/opposition for organizing the ‘’ walk to work’’?

3. Did the organizers/opposition believe that they can address the issue of inflation through by walking to work?

4. was there any attempt by the organizers/opposition to seek and use alternative platforms that would have made the public understand issues of inflation better and to find a solution to the rising inflation challenges?

5. Is the inflation the work of NRM as a party?

6. Have the organizers/opposition come up with any roadmap that seeks to address the challenges of inflation in Uganda so far?

7. When is it suitable for the organizers/opposition to work with a democratically elected government in addressing challenges that are affecting Ugandans such as Economic, health, illiteracy etc.?

One thing I know for sure is that, Ugandans are not fools much as we may be having a large number of people who are illiterate. They will soon or later turn against the very so-called organizers/opposition who are trying to mislead them and shame them again just as they have doing in all previous election. I am a product of democracy and I would like to see things done democratically. We all know that the constitution accords us all various rights and one of them is the ‘’freedom of movement’’. In other words, you and I to move freely without hindrance. But as you may be aware, Every right can be limited if it infringes on another person’s right. The organizers/opposition are not just ordinary citizens, if within their constitutional right, their actions are bound to cause or lead to public nuisance and encroachment on other people’s rights, then the government has every right/duty to limit such rights of the organizers/oppositions be it in their individual or as a collective as on organization/s.

I regard it as a tired argument with reference to your statement I quote ‘’ There has not been any fairness towards the walkers in the way the authorities have engaged with them. Even if they wanted to demonstrate, it was their right. Only if they broke the law, then they would have been held liable. Here we are not talking about the law made on a stool in Rwakitura as the cows are setting’’. I would like to believe that you were not destructed while crafting out this statement. If you don’t see any law broken here then it is not worth for me to engage in such debate. Why should the Police of our government have to wait until an individual or a group break the law so they can hold culprit/s liable when they can prevent them from breaking the law?

I have listened to you talk and I have read most of your articles, I gather a sense of inaccuracy in your facts on very many occasions. One of the occasions is when you called in a South African talk show radio. Fortunately, I was tuned in that radio station and I had you talk total wrong facts that I may not repeat here. I picked up a phone and called you and I know you remember very well what we discussed although, I have not found time yet to engage with you one on one so we can exchange ideas and I very sure I will learn a thing or two from you. I don’t ask you to be patriotic for your country when you feel things are not going well, but let us be patriotic for our country and stick to the facts. Let us present facts rather than sensational and defamatory words/statements especially when we are beyond borders because we become ambassadors of Uganda in our own rights.

It is my view that that if you are a devoted writer, who want to change Uganda and who is not committed to go to the bush to see the change you desire, I would like to suggest to you that be fair in your writings, have facts, do not appear to be biased and don’t write to appease some of your readers. I quote from your statement ‘’ I see Museveni as a power-hungry autocrat and nothing more’’. I know that this is your opinion, but what informs you that a Democratically elected leader of Uganda is power hungry and autocrat? I would like to share with you, your source of information. I also believe that many of your readers would like you to share with them your source of information to such a conclusion.

Let us respect democratic processes and their outcomes for a better Uganda and ultimately a better world. If the majority say yes M7 we want you let the minority accept and avoid using other platform to undermine the will of the majority.

M7 Oye, Uganda Oye and all Ugandans who believe in democracy.

MY RESPONSE:

Thank you Robert for your response and I appreciate the fact that you took time to respond.

First of all, my take is that this walk did not require any permission as it was a normal walk to work. It’s only when the police intervened that it became violent. The authorities, I don’t know whether out of paranoia or ego, over-reacted. Why didn’t the police observe those walking and intervene if they saw violence? What makes them read people’s minds to assume that they will do something undesirable? How come Museveni managed to move with a group of boda-boda hooligans covered in banana leaves through the city last year? I personally think if the walk had been left to go on without any attention, it would have probably not amounted to much. Now courtesy of the knee-jack reaction, it has hit all major news netwoks internationally. It was covered in all S African major newspapers over the days and in fact Independent Newspapers (Star, Pretoria News, Cape Times, Cape Argus e.t.c) has a link for “Uganda police brutality in pictures”: http://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/uganda-police-brutality-in-pictures-1.1056881?image=2). All this was unnecessary. Museveni’s response itself was not helpful and reminds me of Mubbarak’s addresses during the demonstrations.

Today Olara Otunnu walked to town with his supporters and nothing happened, and indeed police accompanied him. That’s what they should have done with Besigye.

People forget that this walk is not just about rising food and commodity prices. It’s about the president spending Ug Sh. 3.3 billion on his coming inauguration, spending US $1.2 on fighter jets, pouring the country’s resources down his re-election campaign & allege rampant corruption within his circles as Ugandans suffer. This walk is in part an expression of frustrations the majority of Ugandans have been facing after elections.

Time and again Museveni is not listening because he either feels comfortable (mistakenly) or he is misled by people surrounding him that things are fine and that Ugandans are indeed happy. Is it little wonder that after the “68 % victory” the country has not been stable? Look, the man has had 25 years to do something and has been given numerous chances. If he could not do anything in that time, even in 100 years he won’t. The government has failed people in many ways and people have a right to express themselves on this – even if they choose to walk. After the government claim they were voted into power to manage – if they can’t manage, as is happening, then they should quit. The walk is in part an expression of disapproval of government.

Time and again, through different fora, the government has been given suggestions to solving some of the country’s ills but they don’t pay any heed or even care. I have been in a number of discussions where various suggestions have been raised over time.

I agree with you that Ugandans are not fools. They are turning against the government of Museveni. I side with those who contend that this government has passed it’s time – and usefulness to Uganda. The following was my latest status update on facebook:

“It’s unfortunate it has reached this level. I see Museveni as a power-hungry autocrat and nothing more. It is a stand that I am not going to change and yes, I cannot hold a gun but my bush will be the tools of modern technology – a keyboard and a phone.”

Robert, when you talk about freedom of movement or expression, I think you are not talking about Uganda. Otherwise scores wouldn’t have been in prison or Museveni would not be making those unhelpful statements he does from Rwakitura. I am for a Uganda which is democratic and free. The current Uganda is not. The Museveni of 1980 went to the bush to fight the Museveni of today.

I made that statement you highlighted very consciously. Even Mubbarak could have contended that the demonstrators were breaking the law. Gbagbo could have easily charged Ouattara with treason. And yes, they had hordes of youths that did the bidding for them – mostly violently and irrationally.

I spoke on 702 Talk Radio about MTN in Uganda. Swaziland opposition has accused MTN of blocking their communication when they were organising demonstrations that took place there. What I said on radio is that MTN is facing similar accusations from Ugandan opposition in relation to the past elections in Uganda and I explained the accusations. That’s a fact. Those accusations exist and that’s what I said. I was in fact planning a follow article in the newspaper. 702 later asked me to connect them to some people in Uganda they could speak to and I did. They were also going to speak to MTN Uganda to get their side. I also got in touch with Business Day newspaper about the same issue.

On this statement “I see Museveni as a power-hungry autocrat and nothing more”, oh yes, that’s my opnion. That’s my personal summation of him and nobody else has to agree with me. The only mistake I made was, I was supposed to write “..and nothing less” instead of “nothing more”. That’s just a grammer bit but it does not affect the fact as I see it. My blog https://ugandaspeaks.wordpress.com/ carries many of my opinions and analyses. Look, Mubbarak was an autocrat, but he was elected with over 80% of the vote at his last election. Ben Ali was elected with close to 90% only a year before he was thrown out by popular people’s revolts. Yes, 68% of 40% is still something but if more registered voters, including those on the NRM register, stayed away than those who voted Museveni, then I would be very cautious before jumping around with champagne. Is there any wonder that the country hasn’t settled and people haven’t been free since that “popular” vote?

Yes, I am for a democratic Uganda, a Uganda where leaders work for the country, a Uganda where people’s liberties are respected and a Uganda where I will be proud of my leadership.

Today, I asked that “Is Museveni becoming the new Amin?” and somebody asked that “Is Kayihura the new Maliyamungu?”, and I am really pondering over these questions.

I hope to see a Uganda that will make our children proud of the work we did.

Kind regards,

Stephen.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs

 

My suggestion to Ugandans in the diaspora

By Stephen Twinoburyo

I posted the following on A4C page:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_111920255557850&refid=0&m_sess=ACFjf-uMV4EoLe
I suggest that Ugandans living in countries where heads of state have been invited to attend the 12 May 2011, Sh 3.3 billion, swearing-in junket should write to those heads of state urging them not to attend because by doing so, they would be giving a nod of approval to the sufferings of the majority of Ugandans and perpetuating their misery. It should be pointed out that past leaders looked on as Amin butchered Ugandans and current leaders should walk a different path that extols the dignity of ordinary Africans. By attending the Sh 3.3 billion extravaganza in the midst of biting poverty and accompanying diminishing citizen liberties, they would have been hugely insensitive to the plight of ordinary Ugandans – and indeed many Africans that suffer a similar fate (Uganda police brutality in pictures: http://www.iol.co.za/news/africa/uganda-police-brutality-in-pictures-1.1056881?image=2).

I am definitely doing the part on my side. It may not change the decisions of all these leaders but it may make them pause and think, and more particularly look at the country and prevailing situation more critically.”

1986: "The problems of Africa, and Uganda in particular, are caused by leaders who overstay in power, which breeds impunity, corruption and promotes patronage," President Yoweri Museveni said in his inauguration address.

Justin suggested: “Let us include countries whose Diplomats based in Kampala are to attend swearing in ceremony of the brutal tyrant.”

I added:

“Correct Justin. Let this message go to Ugandans in the diaspora. As ordinary Ugandans on the ground face daily brutality from the security forces, this’s a role we in the diaspora can play. Walking to our embassies, yes though it’s good, will mean we will basically be speaking to people who won’t do much and it’ll be an exercise in itself that will not achieve much. Ugandans should instead walk to government offices or parliaments in countries where they live and present the plight of Ugandans to the leaders of those countries. We cannot just sit in foreign countries and shake our heads as we see a 4 year old brutally murdered and not play a part (http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1148904/-/c2na5hz/-/index.html). Our role is to bring the plight of Ugandans to the people we live with, and just like the international community eventually isolated Gbagbo, this struggle, however long it takes, will be for the good of Uganda, and in fact the whole region that is living in fear of a war-monger that’s arming himself to teeth as his people wallow in biting poverty (Uganda to buy fighter jets worth $1.2 billion from Russia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aosA6yFRpqM).

Whatever number of Ugandans is available to present the case doesn’t matter much. The point is that it is presented and it will be on record as having been presented to those leaders. Those who can, please go ahead and do it.”

Arafat Bion Matove: “Can you publish the list please? There is a point in this. We are to save much in case they boycott Museveni’s controversial swearing in ceremony.”

Mary Kelly: “That’s a good idea! We should also make sure on that swearing ceremony, people walk in millions. From Entebbe to Kololo, let invited guests watch how their host treats his citizens.”

The Walk to Work campaign for which people are being killed or brutalised is for a genuine course and in fact the Washington Times sums it up very well:

“Beneath the positive statistics (Uganda’s economic stats as presented by Museveni), however, is massive unemployment among university graduates, rampant corruption, a low manufacturing base and wasteful government spending.

Mr. Museveni helped fund his presidential campaign, estimated at $350 million, through the national treasury and a supplementary budget. Rising inflation has drawn the attention of everyday Ugandans toward the general direction of the country.”

 
9 Comments

Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs

 

What options do NRM supporters have?

By Stephen Twinoburyo

 

This was my pondering during one of the online debates I was engaged in:

After reading the recent posts, I have been thinking, really thinking.

There has been so much pressure on Mat from the debaters here because he agrees that some things have gone wrong but maintains that he would want to remain within the NRM and criticise it from within. After looking at the above correspondence and reading Mat’s submission, some questions have come to my mind: what political systems do we want in Uganda, what do we want to happen to our parties especially the NRM that is in power now, what do we want Mat to do and is there a possibility that he can play a positive role within the NRM? These are genuine questions I have pondered upon.

I don’t belong to the NRM and don’t expect to join it but why I ask this question is, do we want the NRM to disband or the NRM to reform? If we want the NRM to disband, is it the culture we want for our parties or do we want it to begin with NRM? I note that UPC which was extremely loathed was able to reform and come back as a born-again party, is it then not possible that NRM in or out of power can be reformed? I think the biggest problem with the NRM now are the players – like Museveni and some of his people. If the bad apples came out of the NRM, couldn’t the NRM possibly reform? Parties like the ANC have gone through great changes, including throwing out leaders that were deemed to pull the party down, and Mandela came to prominence within the party as a youth because he led a move that cleaned out disfunctional and retrogressive garbage. For instance if I am not happy with the way Obama is running the US, would I want the democratic party dissolved or a change of leadership? Or should the Republican party have been disbanded after Bush’s blunders? There were surely many within the republican party that were unhappy with Bush’s handling of office.

This then brings me to Mat, and other ‘independent thinkers’ that may be in the NRM. What role can they play within the NRM? Couldn’t they be the drivers of change within the party? I think that’s what people like Mat are saying. So my other question now becomes, is quitting the NRM the only option available to NRM supporters than may think the party leaders are not doing well or can these people be drivers of change from within? But then, if they are to be drivers of change, looking at the ruthlessness and craftiness of those that wield power within the party, can these ‘independent thinkers’ manage to push the change?

I think now my thinking has stopped again. I will take a break and think again later.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs

 

“Walking to Work” peacefully…

By Daniel Ruhweza

Introduction –

I am one of those who would normally keep quiet in times of turmoil and conflict. Like many Christians I know, I will normally seek for a ‘comfortable hideout’ where I can watch events roll on from the safety of my burrow. However, this kind of Christianity is not what I believe the Lord has called me to. As events this year have continued to be more and more challenging in Uganda and the world, I believe the Lord expects Christians and especially the ‘professional’ Christians to stand out from the crowd and be relevant. The time for crossed arms across the chest and head shaking in disbelief as events roll by should, in my humble opinion come to an end. The more we keep quiet is the more we Christians continue to be criticised for being irrelevant. In any case I am reminded that ”– if you want to avoid criticism, say nothing be nothing do nothing – Elbert Hubbard (and yet even then you will be criticised – emphasis mine).“ Clearly, -” a time comes when silence is betrayal” as stated by the executive committee of the ‘Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam ( http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45a/058.html ). Therefore, like the hot tong which the Seraphim in the Bible placed on Prophet Isaiah’s mouth (Isaiah 6:6), or the vision of Jeremiah calling him to discard youthful fear and speak, ( Jeremiah 1:7) I add my voice now to those who, like me are concerned about the state of affairs in Uganda and the world.

In discussing below, I must start by declaring that that I am on the side of human rights and good governance – and as a christian and a lawyer, I am cogniscant of the various conflicts that are in my mind as i write this. As a researcher, I am also aware of the various ‘truths’ that can be found in this discourse. I am also aware that mine is just but one view- which i wish to share – and i welcome any contrary opinions hereafter –


The Issue –

It is upon this back ground that I wish to respectfully respond to our First Lady and our mother / sister in Christ, Hon. Mrs. Janet Kataha Museveni who was kind enough to challenge us Ugandans – and rightly so – by her opinion piece in the New Vision Newspaper. (http://www.newvision.co.ug/PA/8/459/752193 ). (reproduced below) I wish to respond to a few of the comments she highlights which I think are pertinent.

A: ‘Walk-to-work’ (W2W) demonstration and the ‘Opposition’ nomenclature

The First Lady notes that the W2W is merely an attempt by the opposition to stay in the media. Whereas it might be true that the opposition seek to remain relevant by riding on any opportunity they can use as would be expected in any free and democratic society, it is unwise, not only to lump the opposition as one homogeneous group and even include all those Ugandans who support the walk to work. There are people like Betty T. Kamya who have stayed clear of and discouraged Ugandans from being a part of the W2W.

There are voices from the public and even within the ruling NRM party who concur that there is need for government intervention in the current financial hardships which the country is facing. http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1146624/-/c2oq3fz/-/index.html. These Ugandans would still hold this view, even if the First Lady has taken an essentialist approach to the opposition as only or mainly Dr. Besigye and the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). Some of these Ugandans have been walking to work, to church, to the mosque and to the market for various reasons and not necessarily to score political sympathies. Some might not even know that the brand W2W even exists today.

Others feel like identifying with this cause even though they might not make their actions publicly known or visible – and this is a right all the groups above should enjoy as provided for under Art.29(1) of the Constitution of Uganda, 1995). That is why, the Dutch envoy Jeroen Verheul, has urged the Government to allow the opposition to express their views through demonstrations, and has criticised the manner in which the Police crackdown has been disproportionate in terms of the risks associated with the W2W”. http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/752354. He therefore has called on the government to ‘relax on the opposition and allow legitimate demonstrations, freedom of speech and assembly to happen in Uganda.”

More crucially however, H.E The President stated that Dr. Besigye has no ulterior motives/plans and that he has discounted any intelligence reports which have insinuated this actually calling them rubbish. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hI6-wVQbN7M&feature=player_embedded). It would therefore be fair to assume that apart from refusing to get police permission for walking (which in my view is not a ‘demonstration’ properly so – called). It can therefore be argued that Besigye as an individual only seeks to exercise his right to walk and to walk to work as guaranteed by Article 29(2) of the Constitution -other considerations not withstanding.

Therefore the subsequent Government message that the said W2W is intended to ” psychologically prepare the masses, especially the youth, for armed insurrection”, or that it is meant to ‘”provoke confrontation with the Police in order to portray the Government as brutal in its actions” and this could cause “disaffection and hatred and if not checked, can lead to negative political, social and economic consequences.” leaves alot to be explained. Why would the government go on to show its brutality if it is not brutal? Why would the government assume that disaffection does not already exist by itself due to the current economic hardships? Why would an economically or socially hard- up person seek to even make his condition worse? These reasons are unfortunately not convincing at all. One need not be in the ‘opposition’ in order to feel the pinch of the economic harships. Wole Soyinka said, “I don’t care about the colour of the foot pressing my neck.–I just want to remove it.”

‘ As stated earlier, even if Dr. Besigye or other opposition leaders like Nobert Mao, Cecilia Ogwal, Anne Mugisha,Olara Otunnu et al were absent from Uganda at this particular time or chose not to walk to work, there would still be politicians and citizens who will walk to work. So whereas we might castigate ”the opposition” for being part of the Ugandans that are currently walking, the fact still remains that many more Ugandans are doing so( and have been doing so peacefully, without being provocative or provoking others – as envisaged in Article 43 of the Constitution.) Therefore there is no need to bribe people -some of whom have been walking even before the said fuel prices surged even further(as insinuated by the Government statement) to walk to work – how absurd would that be? Besides, how can the said ”organisers” ever be able to know how many people are walking to work because they are demonstrating and those who are walking to work because they ‘just want to do so’ or ‘always walk to work’? Insisting on knowing the ‘size of the entourage’ when there is none envisaged does not help. http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/752334

Let us not forget that this is not the first time Ugandans have walked. The mayhem after the Kenyans elections caught our Government flat-footed as the current situation. I recall many Ugandans walking to and from work because there was hardly any fuel. Ugandans even walked in bigger groups that we see today. They did not have to be mobilised to do so. They did not have to notify the police either. Therefore the assertions by the government statement are difficult to accept – indeed being able to show the nexus between walking and overthrowing the government ( beyond reasonable doubt as required by the law) will be such a herculian task for any state attorney- which probably explains the kind of charges that are currently being preferred against the ‘disobedient’.

B: The Price of fuel and other commodities

The First Lady also argues that it is not the government that determines the prices of commodities, but rather the market forces of demand and supply’. http://www.newvision.co.ug/PA/8/459/752193 She further notes the effect of drought and the global fuel prices on the market. However, this, in my view, does not absolve the government of its primary responsibility to us. The government was admittedly, insensitive and didn’t gauge the mood of its citizens as the financial downturn continues to press hard on us.

This was not helped any bit by the rash statements of the Information Minister Kabakumba Masiko. It is reported that H.E. ”(T)he President reportedly took issue with the response given by Information Minister Kabakumba Masiko that the inflation was due to the forces of demand and supply and therefore it was beyond government control. It’s alleged that he described Kabakumba’s response as arrogant and insensitive to the population.” http://www.monitor.co.ug/Magazines/-/689844/1145674/-/peph5a/-/index.html .

These statements were not made any better by the news stories of the government taking ‘$740 million (about Shs1.7 trillion) worth of taxpayers’ money from Bank of Uganda to buy fighter jets and other military hardware from an unknown country ‘http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1133504/-/c3ddrhz/-/index.html or the proposal to spend 4 billion shillings for the May 2011 swearing- in ceremony. http://allafrica.com/stories/201104130065.html, expenditures which are viewed as unwise and exorbitant in light of the current financial situation.

If the above is true, then it is possible that the government can make an intervention. We cannot hide our heads in the sand and pretend that all is well. Rather, we should take the bull by the horns as governments all over the world -and even neighbouring Kenya- are doing by intervening in these dire circumstances.

As Yasin Mugerwa advises, ”without the government intervention, we don’t know how long this agonizing double-digit inflation is going to last.”As ”an interim measure, he argues, ‘the government must deal with this inflation – before prices get out of control.” http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1146494/-/c2orh5z/-/index.html .

Although the President says that the taxes on commodities like fuel are very small, some have argued that they are the comparatively the highest in the whole East African region yet countries intervening -even if slightly- on behalf of their citizens around the region and the world are very many. I submit that it is possible for government to do something – anything to alleviate the situation.


C: Government action or inaction?

Although the First lady ”agrees to a certain extent” that ”the Government should be functioning better than it is”, she does not elucidate on this extent nor does she give reasons as to why this is so. She stops at wondering whether it is the ” calibre of our leaders on both sides of the political divide (sic) is many times a stumbling block rather than a stepping stone?” This is left unaddressed which in my view should be the crux of her argument –

There are wide ranging reasons here;- lack of sensitivity to the people’s plight as alluded to earlier by the President, inter and intra- party conflict, lack of political will, political interference, inter and intra- governmental conflicts, laxity of parliament, laxity in fighting corruption, bad governance, lack of accountability, non- adherence to procurement rules, poor ethical and moral standards, and others. http://www.huripec.mak.ac.ug/working_paper_20.pdf. Clearly, unless these matters are addressed steadfastly, the government will continuously be criticised for its laxity and this will always be a fertile ground for the opposition as would be expected in any democratically elected system.

Be that as it may, I do agree with the First Lady when she states that ”not everything depends on one being in the Government.” This is certainly true and indeed fellow Ugandans, we do need to pull up our socks with regard to our own responsibilities to the nation especially when it comes to individual accountability in our jobs and family lives. We can discuss this more in another article. However, when the First Lady, asks what ”those who have made it their occupation to merely point fingers,” are ”doing for the country”, I beg to submit that ‘pointing figures as of itself is a great contribution’ to the development of the country in the same way that police monitors and maintains law and order or the way the preacherman asks his congregation to repent of their sins.

Thus, classifying a criticism as negative and looking for tangible or other ”contributions” as positive is ad hominem and misses the point. For example, when a doctor diagnoses a disease in a patient, such patient does not ask whether the doctor is taking care of him or herself too – No – It would be expected that the patient will take the medication in order to get better. Neither does a student set an exam for their teacher and grade it merely because the teacher has done the same.

This is where roles and responsibilities come into play. Obviously, this does not mean that there haven’t been examples of ”practical and tangible examples” of those who have been given the opportunity to serve their country – and done a good job. However that is beyond the scope of my submissions today. Besides, it is one thing to cite these examples, and another thing to grade their success or failure rate – which ends up as a subjective test depending on which side of the fence you depend on (not forgetting those like the cat in Animal farm who will sit on the fence itself).

In any case the Bible in I Corinthians 12:12 states that ‘Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.’

It is therefore unwise to assume that those in government are working for their country, while those in opposition are not. In this spirit therefore, I say thank you to all those Ugandans, whether they are in government or not, who have served their country in various ways- be they as mothers, teachers, parents, nurses, soldiers, policemen, traffic warders, farmers, name it. Whereas by their very role, the opposition is a ‘government-in-waiting- in any democratic state, that is an essentialist view of opposition.

There are those within the opposition who also oppose each other (I know am sounding academic here) and there are also those within the government who are also opposing certain actions of the government(A good example is Hon. Theodore Sekikuubo and Hon. Henry Banyenzaki). Like I stated earlier, there are those in other sectors of life who oppose certain things in and out of government – be it the family, education, health, religion etc. – they are all part of the society that envisages forces that tag against each other. Without these forces, we cannot have a discourse of society per se.

D: Way Forward for our Nation

The First Lady then ‘echoes the words of ‘ John F. Kennedy, the former President of the United States, specifically for the opposition. However, taking her cue, when JFK said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country?” he also said ”ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres56.html.

In the same acceptance Speech, JFK said ” (T)o those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—…not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” This is in my view self explanatory when put into the context of Uganda today. The call is not only on opposition, it is a call to government and the entire citizenry.

JFK did not stop at that, he further stated that ” civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate. Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belabouring those problems which divide us.” In our present case, this is is a direct call to the powers that be – I see nothing wrong with the police for example, escorting Dr. Besigye as he walks to his work place instead of refusing him outright.

Neither do I see anything wrong with Besigye participating in any negotiations regarding his safety and the safety of others. However, to merely blanket Besigye’s right to walk-to-work as a precursor ‘violence and chaos’ and regime change while allowing other citizens to walk-to-work, is out rightly unfair and cannot be justified. In my opinion, it is such a far cry from reality. As a lawyer, I still fail to see how walking of itself contributes to ‘violence’ while I can recount numerous times where refusing one to exercise one’s rights has indeed had the reverse effect. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13112592.

It is like the Titanic avoiding the ice-berg only to ram hard into the main glacier or ice-shelf. As a Christian, I am reminded of the words of Jesus Christ when he was accosted for having people sing his praise during his entry into Jerusalem and his response was, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:39). I am aware that in quoting the Lord Jesus, one would easily ask whether I equate some leaders of the opposition to Jesus, which is obviously not my intention- rather, I seek to draw attention to the fact that when something is being said because it is true, no amount of pressure shall stop such truth from being uttered.

The First Lady concludes her missive by calling upon fellow Ugandans to ” recognise that we have come to a critical time in our nations history” where ” (N)ow more than ever, we have the opportunity to determine our destiny.” A good point which I agree with fully. Let us not go back to the days when rights and life were a dream. Let us not go back to the days when the barrel of the gun was the means of communication in all circumstances. Let us not go back to the days when dissent was answered by blood and iron. I do agree with the First Lady.

That is why I also wish to remind my readers that when President JFK called Americans to action in similar fashion, the country as Martin Luther King stated was ‘taking the black young men who had been crippled by (their) society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in South-East Asia( Vietnam) which they had not in south-west Georgia and East Harlem (in USA).” Thus black Americans were ” repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill(ed) and die(d) together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. (they watched)them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit (USA). (This is why Rev. Luther) could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.”( http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/45a/058.html ).

We can make comparisons today – where demonstrations are banned, taxes are unbearable and yet freedom to express discontent is refused. http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1145442/-/c2pgwsz/-/index.html. Thus leaving the individual between a rock and a hard place

In the same breathe, Martin Luther King Jr further noted …

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. In the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defence than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

Similarly, even as our country moves towards the promised land, (a concept which I believe in as much as Boxer, the horse in the Orwellian Animal Farm believed in the concept of the sugar candy mountain but died miserably at the expense of those who benefited from his sweat), so too it is in the current situation: As Ugandans move towards the promised land, let us have due consideration for the input and rewards of all people.

Therefore, as the President starts yet another term of office, we should be gracious enough to admit like JFK that the government’s plans ”will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But, he continues, ”let us begin.” http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres56.html ). JFK further advises that ” Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah—to “undo the heavy burdens … and to let the oppressed go free.” (a)nd if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavour, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved. ‘(http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres56.html ).

E: Conclusion

Therefore, addressing the current economic situation is very advisable and I would like to agree with some of the measures suggested by Yassin Mugerwa http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1146494/-/c2orh5z/-/index.html where he calls upon the Central Bank to take a more nuanced role and control prices to a manageable level, the easy use of money in the national treasury without parliamentary approval should be stopped http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1133504/-/c3ddrhz/-/index.html , illegal spending of tax payers money should be stopped, refurbish the fuel reserves, subsidise motorists and set exchange rates for importers (the import duty for rice stands at 75 per cent in Uganda, 35 per cent in Kenya and Tanzania (Zanzibar) at only 25 per cent.) http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1146494/-/c2orh5z/-/index.html

These are just but a few suggestions on what can be done. Indeed, we cannot just blame the situation on global events and wait for the oil from Bunyoro or the long term plan suggested by the government.http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/752334

So, as the ”Boxers” of this day toil to make a living, it is the duty of our government to help alleviate this burden. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxer_(Animal_Farm)

As for the rights of our fellow citizens, let the universal concepts of human rights as we know them today, apply across the board. http://www.monitor.co.ug/Magazines/-/689844/1145664/-/peph4e/-/index.html. In the enjoyment of various rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ICCPR and the Constitution of Uganda, let all people be allowed to co-exist and enjoy their freedoms – be it of movement, speech or otherwise. Let it not be said of Ugandans, that some cannot walk to work merely because they are politicians. Let it not be said of our nation that ‘some are more equal than others’ or that some are more innocent than others (Art.21 of the Constitution of Uganda- All people are equal before and under the law).

The Bible teaches in Galatians 3: 28 ‘ You are all sons of God … there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus … and heirs according to the promise” (NIV). The US State Department also reminds us that ‘freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental human rights and a critical component of modern, functioning democracies. We call on the Ugandan government to respect the opposition’s right to express its viewpoints and citizens’ rights to demonstrate peacefully and without fear of intimidation.” http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/04/160528.htm . This is because human rights are inherent and not granted by the state (Art. 20 of the Constitution of Uganda, 1995).

As the legal minds of our nation sit to consider the way forward, I hope they will ask these broad questions – why should the Police ban peaceful demonstrations? Is a demonstration to buildings, fields or trees a demonstration as envisaged by the Constitution? Can permission or notification to ‘demonstrate’ be allowed by the police well knowing that the demonstrations have been banned? Why insist that ‘walking’ is a ‘demonstration’ knowing full well that ‘demonstrations’ have specific characteristics to which walking does not fall? Can something surely be ”illegal because the organisers did not inform the Police about it or because the police is banned it?”?

Those questions do need answers – May the Good Lord help us answer them in truth and in fairness

God Bless you All
D.R.Ruhweza
Attorney and Lecturer-at- Law, Makerere University , Member, Uganda Christian Lawyers’ Fraternity (UCLF)- These views do not necessarily represent those of the UCLF or its members
…………………………………………

We shall not be derailed
Publication date: Friday, 15th April, 2011
By Janet K. Museveni

I find it hard to believe that one of our Presidential candidates in our recently concluded elections blames the high fuel costs on the Government as though Uganda is isolated from the global economic conditions.

It is even more perturbing that this same candidate during the elections was pinning the blame on the Government for the low commodity prices. I am sure this individual is well aware that it is not the Government that determines the prices of commodities, but rather the market forces of demand and supply.

Now that prices have gone up, Mr. Besigye sees this as a window of opportunity to draw attention once again to himself.

In Mr. Besigye’s interview of April 13, he states that his walk-to-work demonstration was harmless and was not in any way the political position of his party, Forum for Democratic Change.

It is amazing that the Monitor newspaper of April 11 was privy to the information that Mr. Besigye was planning to demonstrate and published the story, even before the event occurred. As Mr. Besigye left his home in his walk-to-work demonstration, lo and behold, there was the press waiting for him with cameras rolling. Mr. Besigye should not insult the Ugandan people by thinking that we fall for his poorly disguised ploys.

Many in the opposition criticise the way the Government operates, saying that it should be functioning better than it is. To a certain extent, I agree with this opinion, we can do much better. The question is, why aren’t we?

Could it be that the calibre of our leaders on both sides of the political divide is many times a stumbling block rather than a stepping stone?

For those who have made it their occupation to merely point fingers, I would like to ask: what are you doing for your country? One does not have to be in government to make a positive contribution to their country. From a passive observation, it seems to me that Mr. Besigye and his colleagues are very strong on the negative — criticising President Museveni and his government, and painfully low on the positive, actually providing a practical and tangible example for other people to follow. Surely, not everything depends on one being in the Government.

John F. Kennedy, the former President of the United States, once said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country?” I would like to echo those words to the opposition. That apart from demonstrating, walking out of Parliament and spewing negativity on our radio airwaves, what good have you done for the Ugandan people?

The Movement Government, not withstanding its flaws and weaknesses, has a good track record. We can all testify to how far we have come as a nation over the years. We as Ugandans should cherish our stability and know that it is one of the keys to our progress. The tragedy in Africa is that once a nation has developed to a certain stage, there are some elements of the population who rise up to completely destroy and bring to naught all of the progress they have made up until that time. Everything is erased and they have to begin again from scratch. I submit to the Ugandan people that Mr. Besigye and his colleagues are of that spirit. Since they are not happy, because they failed to secure the people’s mandate in a general election, they would rather cause chaos and bring city life to a screeching halt. The alternative for them is their greatest fear, that Ugandans would realise that they are irrelevant and have nothing constructive to offer.

I appeal to Ugandans to recognise this walk-to-work demonstration for what it is — another pathetic attempt to remain in the media — which the opposition interprets as being relevant to the politics of this country.

Our elder statesman, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, once said: “Africa must run while the rest of the world walks.” This is so that we can catch up with the other countries that have enjoyed stability for centuries and thus managed to develop. We have just concluded a lengthy campaign and election process. Three months were gazetted for political candidates to make their case before the people. At the end of that time, the Ugandan people spoke through their vote. If you are a candidate and felt you lost because of any election irregularities, there are suitable avenues to address that. Mr. Besigye already forfeited that opportunity.

There are countries in the world that give a limited time for elections and campaigning. For example, Singapore, assigns only nine days during an election year, for campaigning and one day for voting. After those few days, it is back to work for the people and the transition for the government they have elected. Uganda, being a bigger country allotted more time to this process, but I feel that it is time for people to put politics aside and get back to work. Lord knows we have enough to do, so please let’s not waste any more time.

Regarding the high cost of commodities in the country, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be ignorant of the situation. Uganda has not had sufficient rainfall for well over 7months. This has drastically affected the supply of food. As the supply went down, the price of food increased; the price of matooke has increased to sh15,000 from around sh8,000 last year. A kilogram of beans has increased to around sh4,000 from a mere sh1,500 last year. The price of a goat has risen from sh70,000 to sh100,000.

These are prices at the farm gate and so by the time the produce reaches the city it must be even higher. Although this is a negative situation for the consumers, farmers are making a profit.

The price of oil has gone up to the current $135 per barrel from about $70.

Thankfully, the rains are here now, and we pray that our harvest in August will be better. Some areas in the North eastern region have still not received sufficient rainfall and so the concern is greater than in other areas of Uganda. The government is working to introduce irrigation schemes especially in areas susceptible to long dry spells.

All through the campaigns the President made it clear to Ugandans that NAADS is a big priority for government, precisely because it deals with making households self sufficient and helps them even turn farming into a profitable business. The Government has invested heavily in NAADS to provide better quality of seeds and livestock to farmers with the goal to improving their productivity.

The Movement Government is moving forward with a plan that is consistent with the resources we have at hand.

In conclusion, I would like to ask the Ugandan people to recognise that we have come to a critical time in our nations history. Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to determine our destiny. In the book of Exodus in the Bible, we see the story of the Children of Israel being freed from bondage and going to the Promised land. Within their ranks there were certain individuals, that constantly kept trying to convince the Israelites that they should go back to Egypt. This led to many delays and unnecessary pain, finally God dealt with those characters and the Israelites continued to possess the Promised Land.

I feel there are many parallels to our experience as Ugandans. We have come out of the deep darkness of war and bondage. We are on our way to the Promised Land. It has not been an easy journey but by God’s grace we are making progress. Let us not listen to the voices that try to lead us back into violence and chaos, instead let us continue with faith to possess our own promised land.

God bless you all.

JANET K. MUSEVENI
The writer is the MP of
Ruhama County
http://www.newvision.co.ug/PA/8/459/752193


Posted By Passions, Thoughts, Sights… to Sights and Sighs…


Daniel R. Ruhweza Esq.
Attorney & Lecturer-At-Law
 

Those who stand for nothing, fall for anything. Alexander Hamilton, US lawyer & politician (1755 – 1804)

 
 

Food security and commodity prices -a shortsighted government.

By Drew Ddembe

http://www.facebook.com/muhiire.nathan/posts/203329403023522Museveni says it all -he has the majority and therefore does not need to listen to anyone.

Kabakumba summarises this governments philosophy -Uganda is not a welfare state. So everyone for himself or herself and God for us all!

Museveni adds the icing -exporting food while Ugandans suffer from high prices and food insecurity is good! Its good apparently for farmers -the same farmers who do not grow soap and sugar!

This is in stark contrast to the man who in 1986 thought that the provision of services including food and water was government business!

The WHO reports from 2008 on Ugandan clearly suggested that there was food insecurity. They also suggested some interventions. They predicted that food prices would continue to rise. The same report suggested that government intervention in providing seeds was less than 2%!

A government which in 1986 presided over a population of 14 million now lords it over 33 million more than half of whom are less than 15 years and 78% born during one mans reign! While the man with a vision has encouraged unchecked population growth, he has failed to match this with planning and employment. Revenue collection has increased but so has the size of government, corruption and thieving! But services have not had a commensurate rise to match this revenue collection! Instead the country is overgoverned with numerous useless hangers on including an army of useless presidential advisors not worth the money they are paid! 

These same advisors have been unable to foresee a very predictable food and consumer price crisis and plan to mitigate its effects. Instead, they tell Ugandans to eat cake if they cannot eat bread!

The fact that recent events in northern Africa may have been fuelled by rising food prices is something the visionless leaders of this country seem to have missed. They seem to believe that a hungry population can be contained by tear gas and security crackdowns! What shortsightedness!

Mubarak, Gbabo, and Ben Ali all once powerful men are now reviled and spat upon! Ghadafi is fighting for both his political life as well as his corporeal one! But pride goes before a fall -they will be wondering when the paesants come with pitchforks -why do they hate us so?

When are Ugandans ever going to get a government that really cares for them?

http://www.facebook.com/notes/drew-ddembe/food-security-and-commodity-prices-a-shortsighted-government/10150169839307681

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs