The Ugandan Community responds to the Petition as submitted to President Jacob Zuma on the 10 May 2011, by Twino and co.
Dear fellow Ugandans,
As you may have heard or read, on the 10th may 2011 a handful of Ugandans made their way to the Union buildings and submitted a statement to the President’s office (https://ugandaspeaks.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/petition-to-president-jacob-zuma-by-the-ugandan-community-in-s-africa/). We have been studying the whole process and making our investigations into the degree of consultation that this group could have made with the Ugandan community in South Africa, so as to claim to represent the Ugandan community here. Our findings are well alarming to say the least. We present to you a concerted representative response to this absurd action by Twino and Co.
Some of the key questions on the minds of the Ugandan community here include; who is Twino? Since when did Twino and Co begin to represent us? What water does the petition hold anyway? It is these and other more subtle issues that we intend in this communication to present as debated by the people.
Ugandans strongly feel that they cannot any more be taken for a ride by the likes of Twino and co. Self proclaimed intellectuals who think they can at any time say what they want and purport to represent them. Efforts have been undertaken to democratically constitute the Ugandan community in South Africa into various groupings, organizations and associations, both Political and Social, which fairly represent their opinion on issues. These processes were intended to put an end to the Twino syndrome: Intellectuals hijacking the people’s voice and creating an impression of being representative emissaries of the people. Social bodies like Buganda Cultural Association, UCAN, USAA, and political groups like the NRMO-SA, FDC, UPC, KY, etc have undertaken processes to democratically elect their leaders. They have by the same token endowed the power of representation with these leaders. As the Ugandan community, we recognize these structures and are well willing to discuss and make consultations from time to time on issues that affect us. We denounce the instance of some few unelected individuals purporting to represent us. These individuals, just like any other Ugandan, are free to either join with existing organizational structures, form a constituent grouping that we should feel free to identify and recognize, or simply represent themselves. They should stop this dictatorial, embarrassing and uncouth usurping of the people’s right to democratic representation.
What water holds in the petition?
Reference has been made to general characteristics of a dictatorial government with an obvious lack of empirical correlation of matter and facts on the ground. Meanwhile the language is strong in painting a terrible image of the NRM government, the real question should be: How true and empirical are these allegations? Any well meaning reader of this petition should be able to ask this simple but fundamental question. The essence of what is written does not lie in the writing, but in the actuality of the substance. It is just befitting that some of the allegations that Twino and co. raises should be put to the test here.
- Erosion of the Rule of Law: Is this really true of our Uganda today? What law is Twino referring to? The NRMO government, much unlike others before, has wisely entrenched its workings in the democratic processes of representation and the law. On no single occasion has the government arbitrarily passed decrees or acted outside the rule of law. If any matter needs redress or attention, the people’s parliament has been consulted and its input solicited to enact relevant amendments, new legislation, etc.
An interesting analogy could be drawn with the case of Besigye arrest. As a democratic leader of the people of Uganda, the onus rests on Dr. Besigye to live by example in respecting the rule of law. Just like in South Africa, the country that Twino is petitioning, the Police have the legal duty to ensure order in matters of any demonstration. They are supposed to guide the demonstrators. It is the duty of every citizen to respect this guidance. Dr. Besigye on the contrary chooses to disregard the police guidance. What do you expect of government then? Just like any other Ugandan, Dr. Besigye with all due respect is obliged to live under the law of the country. Did the arrest have to be violent, however? Of course not, but any arrest will certainly turn violent in a case where the suspect is resisting arrest. The police are empowered to use all necessary force to ensure compliance to the law by every Ugandan, the Dr. included. One is left to wonder whether Dr.Besigye could have targeted to gain sympathetic political capital from all his dramatic gesturations. We will not debate that here.
- Crumbling Infrastructure: Oh please Twino. Where is your basic economics? Can you honestly stand and tell Ugandans that their infrastructure is worse off today? It is a general point of agreement for both Ugandans in Uganda and in Diaspora that the economy of Uganda is better off today. Under the NRMO government, we have maintained the highest rate of economic growth for more than a decade to date; at 10%, this rate is only second to the Guangzhou province of China’s rate of 11.3%, and well rivals that of Angola at 10%. Both social and economic infrastructure has been strengthened under the NRMO government. The average Ugandan is happier today. Economic liberalization has finally given fruit in form of an increased private sector and elevated average enjoyment by Ugandans. In a strategic cooperation between Government and the Private sector, more schools, hospitals, water supply networks, power sources, etc have been built. The common Ugandan now holds the real power of self-determination in form of economic empowerment. It is high time Twino and co. went back home to witness this, before they sing the obsolete tune of misplaced irrelevant political statements and self defeating arguments that are coarsely embarrassing.
- 3. Non Delivery of Social Services: It is obvious that Twino and co. have the dangerous Homesickomeosis. This is a terrible non medical condition that many people in Diaspora tend to contract. Symptoms include a sickening lack of facts on the ground in the home country, a fixation with destructive propaganda, mental stress arising from failure to revisit their home country and a childlike cry for help to anyone who cares to listen. Homesickomeosis is worse in cases where the patient has economic impediments to going back home or has personal matters with the regime in power like a criminal record, especially if someone jumped bail. Short of this, there is no more logical explanation to Twino and co’s problem. On a more factual basis, since 1995, with the adoption of the IMF Structural Adjustment Programme, Uganda was militated against to reduce its public sector in favour of an expanded private sector under a more liberalized economic environment. With full conviction and against all odds, the NRMO government pursued this policy. Today Uganda is reaping fruit in form of increased local government delivery systems. With Decentralization, the people of Uganda at a local level freely determine the speed and degree of social service delivery in their localities. An expertly drawn budget system ensures that local government structures have increased budget allocations and diversified sources of revenue to effectively render social services to the communities they serve. Is it all perfect then? Of course not. There is still room for improvement and that is why the NRMO requested Ugandans for another term in government; a request that was well granted by more than 60% in the February general elections. Elections the EU Commissioner to Uganda, Mr. Roberto Ridolfi is said to have declared as Free and Fair.
- 4. The 18th February 2011 General Elections: It is high time Twino and co. plus all opposition learnt to take the bitter pill. I will be the first to admit that the NRMO party used money in this election. But yet again, which party does not use money in an election? Ugandans and friends of Uganda should not be fooled by this incessant cry of foul play. A real objective analysis will indicate that a genuinely level ground was presented to all parties in the country to compete. Dr. Besigye leading the Inter-Party Coalition (IPC) was fouled by his own campaign team. Apart from internal wrangles that saw division, indifference and sabotage within the coalition ranks, a fatal mistake of Assumption was committed by the campaign team. They assumed that the incessant noise that is made by a few street vagabonds would practically result into a winning vote. My honest advice: Dr. Besigye, Twino and Co. and all opposition should go back to the drawing board. Instead of wasting more time with political stunts and stale bickering in the cities of Uganda, they should strategically reach out to the general population, especially in the rural areas. They should be able to sell a manifesto that runs beyond simplistic catch phrases “Omusajja Agenda” (The man is going; in direct reference to President Museveni). Such political hyacinth was effective in luring some simpletons in the old days, but not today. Ugandans want more realistic substance. They have learnt to analyze political promises. They vote for ability. This level of political maturity is well substantiated by the trend in some areas where people voted. It was common to have the choice of Museveni for Presidency and have an opposition candidate win in local representation. It simply means that Ugandans know what they want and are not blindly following the NRMO party.
- 5. The Petition Requests: I have personally held Steven Twino in high regard both as a friend and a colleague from the old Makerere University days. But my grounds for this respect are being threatened by the base ideas that are put at request to President Zuma in this petition.
(1) That Mr. Zuma should turn down Mr. Museveni invitation to the Presidential Inauguration. Of course Twino and co should not have expected that baseless simplistic distortions of facts on the ground would have been enough to convince President Zuma in this direction. Certainly a Head of State, like President Zuma would need more than that to take up issue with President Museveni government. One should have expected President Zuma to know that there must be more than meets the eye behind this petition. In a different communication, one Ugandan has given a profiling of the members of the group that Twino blindly led into this selfish ambition and it is appalling to say the least. It summarizes the fact that the majority of them left Uganda under a police hunt for arrest. Some stole money from companies that employed them, raped girls, sold military equipment to gangs of thieves, and some committed murder. Many of these cases are still pending their return to the country.
(2) That President Zuma should DEMAND President Museveni to release all detainees in prisons. Comrades, allow me address Mr. Twinoburyo and his gang to say; Next time you try to pull off such a stunt, you should take time to study what you are presenting before a Head of State. Under what political arrangement can President Zuma make such a demand on our Presidency? Don’t you think that President Zuma is well schooled in diplomatic relations between states and the respect for the sovereignty of independent states? Such demands only exist in your small world of idealists, Mr. Twino.
Our Conclusion on the matter
Meanwhile the exercise of a Petition on any matter by Ugandans in Diaspora is not unwelcome; it should be grounded on substance. As leaders of our people, it is expected of us to use the opportunity to guide them in generally reaching and acceptable factual issues. Occasion should never be taken by anyone to misrepresent Ugandans at any time. If we fail to respect the people we lead, they will in turn disrespect our intentions. As Ugandans, let us develop a more acceptable approach to issues that concern us, other than rushing to make allegations, slinging mud at those you selfishly hate. The likes of Twino should learn to fight the temptation to drive selfish routes on the bandwagon of people’s misfortunes. People lost lives and property in the opposition disturbance. We should not turn such unfortunate incidents into pillars to build political capital.
For God and My Country
This response is written by the Office of the NRMO-SA resulting from a wide consultation with Ugandans in South Africa.. Contacts: Douglas Kabanda (Chairman) 073 971 3481 or David Rwamutemba (Secretary General) 073 9062546.