Nina Mbabazi: Any lessons from Obote’s rule?

20 May

By Nina Mbabazi

Nina: Obote didn't see the winds of change, do we now?

In response to letters addressed to her by Drew Ddembe.

Dear Drew,

I am glad to see that I can influence you somewhat. From one NRM kid to another NRM kid (you) who has gone renegade and is enjoying it a little too much, I shall labor to answer your questions. I hope I shall not sound like I too am on the verge of going renegade although it may please you greatly if that was the case. In fact, it may please the conspiracy theorists most if I indeed joined you on the other side of renegade. Before I answer your question, I would like to state that I believe that what you should have stated wass, that if NRM of 1986 met with NRM of 2011, they would wonder in amazement if they are one and the same and an arrest would occur.

Now with regard to your letter: Letter to Nina – “If the Museveni of 1986 met the Museveni of 2011, he would shot him on sight”, I have a different take. It is true UPM the pre-cursor to NRA/M scored abysmally in the 1980 elections that were widely rigged by UPC. I mean, I was there as little as I was!

My dad lost to his cousin Hon. James Rwanyarare despite our spirited UPM songs. My uncle, the villagers would later tell me; employed serious kiboko, but with hindsight and seeing endless kichupuli kiboko story about my daddy, I say my mzee lost because he was not as popular as his cousin. Many people lost that day including Mr. Museveni who trailed with 172,000 votes.

This is almost what Chairman Mao Nobert got this time round no? That shows you; don’t give up on your preferred Presidential candidate. May be he will have better luck next time.

Unlike Suubi which was sectarian in this election, the UPM stood on principles of social justice and equality for all. Very noble causes but as the book Wars, Guns and Votes reveals, they rarely win you an election. Kizza Besigye would do well to pick up the book and read it. I am willing to lend him mine when I am done. He will automatically take a chill pill and refocus his energy. I bring Suubi up because in 2011, we have seen the re-emergence of issues that had brought the 1966 crisis to the fore of our National politricks.

Anyway, I digress. That (Suubi) was Patrick’s issue; for me, I just wish to focus on the title of your lovely letter. Let us not go down tribal politricks lines but seeing that you and I are part educated outside Uganda, we need to refocus on examining whether or not your statement is true and what the statistics tell us without resorting to calling each other names and delving in boring figures.

For starters, if we were sitting in the same room as the bush war gentlemen in 1981 at my father in laws Makindye house (Hon Mathew Rukikaire); prior to them leaving to start their mischief against President Obote; who had been declared winner and to add insult to injury, the runner up to the 1980 elections Democratic Party was sharing parliamentary space with them under the leadership of Right Honourable Butagira; I think you and I would probably give the same lecture.

Where you and I would defer would be on one particular point. You would support them to go and I would urge wisdom and planning and a clear understanding on how the numbers influence an election and the need to build grassroots structures to win the next election. For me, an election is all about numbers (never mind that the statistical data shows the falsehood of my frame of mind)

Indeed Museveni must be credited for being ahead of his time and that time seeing the booby trap that DP was landing itself into. As you have probably read, elections in Africa do not necessarily yield a leader who is the choice of the people.

It did in Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, etc; all of this after many decades of struggle and dictatorship. Elections only yield democracy after people’s rights have been abused by all leaders, that is, leaders of the legislative, executive and judicial wings of government. It is only the most depraved leaders who have a tendency of politically motivated violence and deceit, who would carry the day. However, when a decent one comes along, the population asks for all they can get and most likely, he shall only serve one term and lose miserably because honest men according to statistical data don’t win elections in the world’s poorest billion people.

They can be used though as wonderful catalysts to the change that you want. I can tell you about a governor in Nigeria who elevated the standard of living of his constituents, he reduced infant mortality rate, raised their income, and then they punished him by voting for his opponent who was dishing out soap and salt.

No goodie two shoes would thrive. This is why I think that unless Morgan Tsvangrai styles up and becomes thuggish like President Robert Mugabe, he will spend all his frigging time in between jail houses and hospitals. Anyway, don’t let President Obote’s angelic facade deceive you, he is after all the one who said in 1984/5 “ I am the custodian of your ballot”  He wanted to maintain himself as the keeper of peoples ballots, and by extension of the keys to State House.

There were very many imaginative rigging techniques then. Remember Vice President Muwanga introduced the idea of different ballots boxes for different political parties in the 1985 elections that never occurred? If it had occurred, do you know how much bloodshed would have flown to ensure nobody can reach the DP ballot box? Yes, Obote was shamelessly transparent and guess what? That election would have come and gone and Uganda would have had a president. Goes to show, elections are really not a standard for democracy AT ALL. You need to examine the behavior after elections to see if you are really dealing with a democrat.

As it were, Uganda at the beginning of 1980 had a leader who had been restored to his Presidency by Tanzania but before that, he was ejected by his pitbull Field Marshal Idi Amin Dada, Ssalongo, CBE, MBE, OBE, Life President (I think those are his imaginary titles. Feel free to imagine some more).

President Obote had tinkered with the 1962 constitution and replaced rule of law with the pigeon hole constitution as my facebook note from the magazine “Transition” clearly shows. Then what happened in 1966? Waaaaiiiiiit for it,…….the UPC Secretary General Hon Grace Ibingira assisted Obote pass the detention without trial act which was meant to lock up noisy men who didn’t want to hear of the pigeon hole constitution, like Abu Mayanja, Neogy (Transition chief Editor), Binaisa, and that category. By the way, how did Professor Mazrui survive?

President Obote’s paranoia got the better of him and he in turn locked up Ibingira. It was clear in 1966 what Obote’s character traits were. Do you remember what Ibingira said in his book about this incident? (Well I didn’t remember but Charles Onyango Obbo was quick to remind me): He said “Fate is a double crosser”. Ain’t that funny?

Unfortunately for Obote, the very man whom he conspired with (Idi Amin) and raised funds to overthrow President Muteesa had realized that “entebbe ewooma”. I mean, do you remember how much money President Amin was accused of making on the Congo gold scandal? Money that facilitated the overthrow of Muteesa? The reason why Amin assassinated Hon Daudi Ochieng? So all of these characteristics were very evident before 1980 and really people still voted for him. by a landslide of 57%. Remember UPC had 73 out of 126 MP seats?

As a matter of fact, I would say opposition was strong those days. They managed to get 42% of seats in parliament. Do you remember why ordinary wanainchi accepted Obote? Because the British who funded Nyerere told them that we didn’t have another visionary leader. Forget that at that time there was a budding leader David Oyite Ojok and his Military Commission. Fate must have double crossed Ojok and all those leaders. We are lucky Ojok was not ambitious. If he were, we would have seen a new coup, but he was the definition of total loyalty to the main man Obote and the principles of why they fought Amin.

Just to recap; do you think that a leader who overthrew his own government to become President, who arrested the legislative wing of government until they passed his pigeon hole constitution would yield to free and fair elections? It was simply the entire bush group deluding themselves and giving Obote the legitimacy he needed to win. We should have arrested them at that point for being dreamers.

Now after they participated, then they wanted to go to the bush? To repeat your words; the more things change, the more things remain the same. To be honest, it is the NRM of 2011, that would shot the NRM of 1986 calling them a bunch of simpletons and treacherous because what they were planning was total treason to the state, yet a state can’t develop to first world in one day and with politically violent individuals. Rome was not built in a day but centuries.

Here is why I think NRM 2011 would finish off NRM 1986 saying development takes time. It is the wisdom you learn with age. With time, NRM has realized that not all of us citizens think the same. Some are brainer than others, some are more violent than others and some are more productive than others, some just want to kulembeka, and others want to get free lunches. What was the preamble to go to the bush? That the election was rigged and Obote was not a legitimate President. Obote was not yet a monster because he had not yet started killing people. Democracy takes centuries to build like Rome.

People had breathed a sigh of relief that Big daddy Amin with his Malyamungu were gone, but as soon as the “bandits” (for that was what Uganda newspaper archives of 1980-1985 used to refer the NRA/M members as)went to the bush after the Kabamba attack and beginning of war, the death traps of Idi Amin came back. See fear is a very bad disease. It eats at mans’ capacity to do good and he in turn becomes a monster.

Again, if only our leaders had seen this, they would have seen Uganda was following in a predictable trajectory. Did Obote underestimate the power of the bandits? I don’t think so and this is where the story changes and where I believe NRM can safeguard themselves. The winds of change were blowing and Obote didn’t see them. With mobile telephony, youtube, facebook, twitter, flickr, googlegroups, etc; the winds of change are out there and only a blind man can’t see it. Have I not digressed again? Obote, underestimated the dangers in not building systems.

You say that NRM has underestimated the current level of dissatisfaction with their leadership. I am assuming all of them because it is collective responsibility for the party right including your mummy and daddy? How can one living in this global village not see the signs? If one sees them, will they not work towards fixing the problems?

Mark you, what is happening today in Uganda is a typical cycle of development. It is just that we as Ugandans don’t know how to deal with change, but every new generation brings change. Our parents were more progressive than their parents, and we in turn are more progressive than them. They grew up in the village, we grew up in the global village (via TV) our aspirations are different, our demands different. Growth includes taking new steps and accountability.

In ancient India, a man was not considered educated until he was 45 years. This is because he would have learned astology, astronomy, mathematics, the art of governance, arts and science, etc; then they would declare him educated and he can then rule. This they did so that he can measure his decisions carefully.  In Africa, we have parents that educate their kids and don’t understand that you can’t turn around to tell them to switch off their brains.

Life doesn’t work like that, but that was the African chiefs mentality so, we are experiencing cultural clashes of ideas between the generations. I think this is what happened with NRM 1986. They were on a different wavelength than Obote who was an old gentleman, so the clash was inevitable. This is the only instance that is reverse where NRM 1986 would certainly arrest NRM 2011 because the mentality change is significant.

Anyway, let us hope that your cry and those of others is loud enough for even the people who suffer from hearing impairment. Do you think your staunch NRM parents are blind to the fact that all their kids have gone renegade? Maybe it is us young people who are underestimating the capacity of the party members to read the signs. Have you thought about it in that way?

NRM and Obote cannot be the same. Obote underestimated the wisdom in “DO NOT ISOLATE YOURSELF” and “DO NOT GO TRIBAL” then add the generational gap. Our Leader Obote was in checkmate only he didn’t see it but the whole world did. This I believe was his undoing NOT the NRA that remained a rag tag army for most of 1981-1983 when things started to change for them.  NRA’s strength came from Obote’s weakness.

You see, Obote knowing he had rigged the election and wanting to stay in power, made so many false moves on his chess board. If he had learned like President Mugabe how to play one armed force against the other, he would have been a formidable opponent for a little longer maybe another 5 years, except he would have nowhere to run to exile because even Zambia would not have allowed a Mugabe like leader in their country. As it is, NRA found a weakened petulant leader to use your words.

Do you remember Obote’s wrong moves? Do you remember how he arrested Ibingira, hounded Kakonge out of the country? Do you remember how he was clueless that Oyite Ojok had built a tribal army and they were all loyal to him? Do you remember how he isolated himself rather than follow the adage, “keep your friends close but your enemies even closer”? Do you remember how Bazilio Okello was more senior to Obote’s Lango tribesman Smith Apon Achak but he (Obote) bypassed him and promoted him anyway when Ojok died?

First of all, Ojok’s were very big shoes to fill, secondly, Smith was too junior and his rise to that position simply meant that a coup would be in the offing and didn’t it come to pass? Do you really remember how helpless President Obote was when Oyite Ojok died on 2nd December, 1983 and how things fell apart at that point?

Remember, that from the Military Commission days, Oyite Ojok was the defacto President of Uganda and the only one who seemed to hold it together? That is after he (Ojok) had played the worst kind of tribal politics in the army and in the Military Commission? The marginalization of other tribes was just for world cup. The Baganda were the most affected by all of this and do you recall how you Baganda in turn gave NRA/M support and became the victims of Luweero and upto today still claim that you want your big share of the National cake?

There was a formula to the toppling of Obote; It was God’s formula. A series of unrelated events worked to undermine Obote almost as though God was willing us to have a new leader. Obote was a weak leader. Fantastic at oratory but weak at keeping the country together. Change was in the air and it was his time to leave the scene.

I think with NRMs regional balancing act, which itself has limits; has managed to keep all people feeling like they have a slice of the cake, but indeed change is in the air. NRMs problem is going to come when instead of fruit cake, the population upgrades to chocolate ganache and it finds people no longer wish to eat its cake. One would think that the opposition knows that it is their job to design a whole new cake with richer ingredients?

 So why do I believe this time is different from 1980? It is not that Kizza Besigye lacks the will to become the President, it is that he has too much will to become president and we Ugandans have long since become weary of such actions and fear that it they may not provide peace, prosperity and democracy. Democracy obviously doesn’t come with the elusive fundamental change.

NRM can’t fall, not unless the junior officers in the army like the colonels are disgruntled. With Obote, all colonels were loyal to their Acholi tribesmen. I am not sure if we have that kind of sentiment at colonel level, in any case, Besigye has forever assumed that they support him and yet they have never come to his rescue? Why is that do you think? Could it be that he is just wishing upon a star and that it will only be a false move on the part of NRM that causes such a move? In which case, such a scenario is very unpredictable. You can’t tell who shall win and who shall lose. As statistics show, for every successful coup in Africa, there are four unsuccessful ones.

Ugandans are therefore not willing to support such action as another bush war. We watch W2W and we want to understand if the leaders can articulate issues. Not to be condescending, but if we had many leaders who could articulate our issues, we would have built very strong institutions since 1986. As it is, they have under achieved even Besigye when he was still a Minister. I want to know what he did to ensure that demonstrators in Uganda could line up on Entebbe road, but that there were barriers to prevent them from disrupting traffic. What did he do to improve police investigative skills so as to shorten time that public prosecutors bring cases to trial? Maybe he can reinvent himself and tell us his achievements. God knows we want to hear a good story after weeks of chaos.

So the whole fundamental change speech on the steps of Parliament 1986, made us all more cynical and skeptical for political violence to bring the development that is needed by all Ugandans. Instead we want to see him (Besigye) build a strong political party with serious divergent views from NRM. He must build alternate platforms and leave that as his legacy. When opposition retakes 42% of Parliament, then we shall praise his good work.

I know you say that why do we take the speck out of Besigye’s eye when NRM have a whole truckload of logs in theirs. We shall demand for greater performance on NRM side, but while you are being neutral, don’t assume that neutrality is criticizing NRM only; You have  to take up a stand to help Besigye build strong opposition institutions. See our generation does not belong to the school of thought who voted and campaigned for multipartism just to make donors happy, we really want to walk by what we believe. That would be our version of “fundamental change”. See this is why for me, I am rolling over with laughter because me and 7% of all Ugandans voted best in the referendum. We chose the Movement system knowing full well, that some of our leaders would find it hard to operate in a multi platform setting and would resort to tribalism, bribery, etc.

Are young Ugandans frustrated by the fact that the government right now does not seem to be aware that to prevent them from hitting the streets and burning tyres (as we saw on NTV), they would have to seriously create upto 1M jobs a year? An insurmountable task for any African but imagine if they could do it? Do they know that we look to Rwanda and ask why they (tiny Rwanda) can have pothole free roads while we don’t?

Maybe as statistics also point out, it is because Rwanda is a dictatorship. Any dissenters are locked up for good measure under the guise of “inciting for genocide”. The advantage to that is, Kagame then has time to focus on work rather than endless verbal and political battles. But,…BUT,….Uganda never chose an autocracy, we chose democracy and as statistics also show, democracy among the world’s bottom billion only works to increase infant mortality, poverty and poor government performance and any attempt to move to dictatorship only accelerates regime change so leaders are caught in a dilemma. Perform and get voted out, or permanently impoverish your people. There are a few cases where democracy has brought development but those are in the countries with term limits which you don’t have.

You and I really had a go at each other before elections about Mulago. If you need a clear example of the dangers of democracy among the world’s poorest, go to Mulago. Yes, unlike you who has your babies abroad, some of us who have not gone renegade still have to use the service of Mulago. Although just stepping there many times has almost pushed me over the boundary to the renegade side.

Oh dear, I digress again. We are speaking on legitimacy and elections right? Uganda has 13.2M voters roughly. Only 59% showed up to vote. What we should be examining is why did the other 41% stay home. This does not give Besigye legitimacy to demand for a fresh election. Let us look at the numbers and understand what they really mean. If jointly opposition got 2.5M ballots making it about 30% (Besigye and others), when looked at against the total voters, their percentage drops to 19%. Likewise NRMs final score was 68% but when looked at compared to all 13.2M voters it was really 41%.

This percentage is a sign that there must be a policy shift to engage and dialogue with ordinary Ugandans. In other words, the fruit cake is no longer appreciated and NRM 1986 would see it and sound an alarm here which NRM 2011 should do well to heed.

 NRM needs to upgrade to chocolate ganache or black forest gateaux because omulimo will become abysmal if they stay with the fruit cake. another thing the book War, Guns and Votes taught me, is that statistics prove that you can only impoverish your population on time, after that, it is performance which means bye bye or violence which means quicker bye bye. Either way, Jasmine train seems to know its trajectory.

The opposition is weak, but the voter turnout drop has to be examined. What caused it? Interestingly the same Afrobarometer poll that showed NRM victory at over 62% also showed that over 50% people believed that elections didn’t mean anything in terms of enjoyment of the democracy. A high number also believed that elections were commercialized. The Ugandan population has come to the realization that elections do not guarantee prosperity. How about Kizza Besigye chews on that paradox for a second and sees how to move Uganda back to 42% opposition?

So to conclude, Obote always overthrew the constitutional order to have his way, He did it in 1962, he did it again in 1980. NRM has stuck to their promise of democracy and elections but with mixed results on prosperity. I think what we need to discuss is what next?

Can we examine whether or not elections and multipartism can bring us from low income to first world. I believe that democracy alone can’t do this. It requires system build up, it requires confidence in the systems’ ability to work and whether or not we are committed to making it work.

I like that your parents went to Kololo for the swearing in but I guess despite their support, NRM is outnumbered in your household alone but let us be honest.; it is not because you support Besigye, but that you are fed up of the perceived status quo of failed government policy and the refusal to listen to the people.

Can I just highlight Nigeria here for a second (or maybe two minutes)? President Obasanjo never wanted to leave the chair. Anti, entebbe ewooma! So when the time came to look past him, he started the shenanigans of removing term limits. This President had built a strong robust economy. Nigerians worldwide were proud to call themselves Nigerians, but others in his party also had other plans, so they defeated his plans. Do you know what saved Nigeria from turning into an Obote state? It was Obasanjo himself. He immediately shifted his Finance minister (a strong no nonsense woman) to another Ministry because he had to plunder the treasury to sell an otherwise unsellable Umaru Yar Adua. As fate would have it, Nigeria is a shining star now, not by luck but by that saying “fate is a double crosser”. It was not Nigeria’s fate to be without fault and when they went on the anti corruption route, it was the corruption route that saved them from anarchy.

Anyway, back to the NRA and its transformation to what it is today. It seems to me that in 1985 the winning formula was the introduction of the LC system. For once Ugandans felt that their views were heard. Unfortunately the Rubaramira Ruranga 2006 law suit made the LCs ineffective and no funds ensured no vote in five years.. Now notice I say LC not NRM structures for the two are different totally.

Without an active LC system, grassroots corruption which is far more dangerous that public service corruption crept in. People have to pay the LC who was not elected 10,000 or more just for an introduction letter. People had to pay the LC to settle rape cases and such matters. Justice was for hire, you know the story. This I believe is what pushed the voter turnout to be the lowest it has ever been but I could be wrong. I am working under the assumption that people are more concerned about their community governance than National.

The problem with low voter turnout is that statistically, all evidence points to increased political violence in elections to come. It also points to increased commercialization with elections to come, it certainly points to a voting category of people who are not ideologically grounded so they will vote for their favorite who may not necessarily support the party principles and then the party becomes more unmanageable because various competing forces are in place. I am sure you may have heard of people who sold cows to win the LC1 Chairmanship primary. What do you think he/she is going to do to get that cow back? Yupe you guessed it!

 NRM in 1985 which controlled many areas introduced the LC system where people could go and be heard. People found them a breath of fresh air because they listened. This is why archives show us areas under the control of NRA/M in 1985 were more stable than other parts of the country at that point.

Over time, in the politics of the worlds’ poorest nations, extremists take center stage and make the various parties about choosing us or them or you are either with us or them and by so doing they turn the parties into organizations that don’t listen. By so doing they have make them look like they are coming apart at the seams, but I am sure with countless renegades world over like yourself (oh yes, please don’t think you are the only one. It seems renegade waters exist in all countries), these renegades will all wake up and hopefully bake a chocolate ganache. Those renegades go by the name  foresight.

In other words, NRM needs to go out looking for “foresight” because foresight is out of sight. He has gone AWOL. It is time we looked for that renegade “foresight” and put him under house arrest and tell him to bake us a cake. Who would shoot who for foresight? We can only wait for time to reveal this to us.


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


13 responses to “Nina Mbabazi: Any lessons from Obote’s rule?

  1. Grace

    May 20, 2011 at 09:56

    Twino, please post the Drew letter to which she is responding. I can see Museveni was a good student of Obote. He mastered the tricks for I see a lot similarities in the machinations.

  2. Twino Speaks

    May 20, 2011 at 16:25

    Thanks Grace. This is the original letter from Drew Ddembe that Nina is responding to:

    Letter to Nina -Those who cannot learn from history, are doomed to repeat it!

    Dear Nina,

    Now you are about to be declared my muse.

    Todays letter has been inspired by two quotes from your FB page. One is about an event in Uganda’s history and a letter written in 1967 about events that perfectly mirror Uganda today. Given that those events led to chaos and disaster as well as hundreds of thousands of deaths and we are yet to recover, it behooves everyone to read that letter and the events carefully.

    The 1967 constitution was illegal. It was written by two people in what Binaisa boasts was one night. It was introduced to a compromised (an illegal parliament) that was detained till they passed it. It was called the famous “pigeon hole” constitution!

    The KY-UPC post independence government was a constituted as a coalition in the Westminster tradition. When differences emerged in 1966, it should have been resolved and the parties should have returned to the electorate to get fresh mandate for their new ideas and a new government.

    Instead, Obote staged a parliamentary coup, deposed and exiled the head of state, unilaterally declared a republic without seeking fresh mandate to do so and declared a state of emergency. He subsequently abrogated the constitution and imposed the pigeon hole constitution. He then arrested and detained dissenting citizens and politicians. In the events of 1966 when sections of the country specifically in Buganda rose up gainst him in unarmed protests, he ordered them beaten and shot. As you are ware, Museveni has already repeated these events despite declaring when he came to power that Obote was wrong in all of his brutal actions in 1966 despite provocation.

    This in effect made Obote Uganda’s first dictator. He went on to rule without seeking fresh mandate until he was deposed by his pet bulldog Idi Amin in 1971.

    The main highlight of the 1967 constitution was consolidation of power into one mans hands. The lead up to that event was the destruction of other power centres the biggest of whom was the social giant, the Kabaka of Buganda. Other power centres like the opposition were detained and imprisoned. Of note is that Museveni passed the “Kabaka muzzling bill” in a rushed and incompetent process soon after bribing members of parliament, recalling them after recess for elections and rushing through the debates and extending the session into the late evening until it was passed -all in one day. This bill was primarily targetd at another social giant, the present Kabaka who happens to be the son of the previous “social giant” Obote’s actions were targeted at.

    The powers of the presidency were made more absolute. All checks and balances on the power of the presidency were effectively removed. This needs to be remedied to begin with by returning term limits.

    The 1995 constitution retained the same principle of an over arching overiding presidency with little or no checks on his power. In the presence of a toothless parliament not immune to financial and political coercion and the winner take all politics that can doom one politician to a life of political exile from the eating table and the exercise of power for life in what are virtually one party states in all but name maintained by political patronage using the power of the states significant resources put at the disposal of one man and his interests, its no wonder that its virtually impossible to dislodge a sitting president through the ballot. Virtually all politicians are too busy jumping over their mothers to get to the table while the rest who maintain a principled stand are humiliated and beaten up when they are not busy fighting state harrassment through the courts using repressive laws like sedition laws and other laws targeting political activism.

    Now the bar is being set even lower to cover nebulous economic crimes, vague definitions of rioting and terrorism and even more vague definitions of treason! Basic freedoms like the right to protest or the simple rights to habeas corpus or the right to bail as well as the right to the presumption of innocence are being attacked.

    There is a need to cut down on the powers of the presidency and bring the president back to heel in the service of the people. Like Mbeki, the people and the party should have a mechanism in which a president who becomes a serious liability to the state can be relieved of his duties. Museveni has become a liability to both the NRM as well as this country.

    In the case of Mbeki, his long running legal battles with Jacob Zuma were interpreted as continuing harrassment and misuse of the states resources and the powers of the presidency. He was forced to walk the plank and had to resign after a national ANC meeting. The numbers were against him so he had to comply. He is now a private citizen.

    In Australia when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd threatened the future electoral chances of his party through his high handedness and alienation of their voters in their local constituencies, a hastily called meeting of the party caucus saw his deputy challenge him behind closed doors. After showing him she had the numbers to deliver him a devastating defeat in the party caucus, he resigned the same day and she resumed power, then called an election within a few months. Kevin Rudd had defeated the powerfull and long running John Howard.

    In the UK, when Tony Blair grew too big for his boots, he was forced to a showdown and had to step down. He now advises third world dictators for a living but the recent overthrow of Mubarak should teach him some lessons.

    The point is that these countries that do not even have term limits have got mechanisms for controlling their leaders. In our case short of a major stroke, our leaders will continue abusing our patience until we have to go through a destructive war to remove them or their children from the centre of our politics. We keep leaders long enough for their children and sometimes even grandchildren to get a foot hold and even a stranglehold on political power creating political dynasties of parasites.

    In this letter to Nina a few days ago I suggested that Besigye, Mao or Otunnu as presidents in a system without a functioning opposition as well as other semi autonomous and independent institutions of government and civil bodies would be a dictator too. They would be able to rule virtually unchallenged for decades, would have the states military and police at the beck and call to beat up opposition, and virtually be able to order the central bank governor to print money so they can buy votes to maintain the semblance of elections that are just window dressing to keep their handlers in the west happy. Using the states considerable resources in a state in a system of patronage that ensures that ones fortunes depend on their allegiance to the state as well as creating a class of cronies and relatives through nepotism reliant on the state ensures that there will be enough vested interests as well as enough fear of change due to the fear of prosecution or losing the lucrative contracts to a new set of political cronies ensures tht there will be people virtually willing to commit murder to maintain the staus quo.

    But there is a point when the disenfranchised achieve the numbers and enough awakening of conscience and awareness to demand their rights.

    What we are seeing right now is that awakening in some way ironically stimulated by the states barbaric behaviour in the last few weeks.

    What this letter shows is that we have learnt very little from the events of 1966/67 that led us to the chaos and wars that have characterised Uganda todateAs for Museveni, he is very much a product of those times. Museveni was trained by Obote. In many ways he has now converged with his teacher. This letter was written around the time that Museveni was working with UPC/GSU/Presidents office.

    The second quote from your FB page is of words attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte. He apparently said that, “Never interrupt your enemy while he’s making a mistake. That’s bad manners.”

    I will continue to exercise bad manners and interrupt you and your uncles while you are all making a mistake. the mistake of continuing to allow one man to continue deluding himself that he is indispensable to the stability and future of Uganda despite increasing evidence that he risks taking our country back four decades!

    Sir Winston Churchil paraphrased George Santayana, a spanish philosopher, when he said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it!”. George Santayana’s original quote was, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

  3. Twino Speaks

    May 20, 2011 at 16:51

    Below is Drew’s reply to Nina’s letter above:

    Letter to Nina -The ultimate truth is penultimately always a falsehood.

    By Drew Ddembe.
    20 May 2011

    Dear Nina,

    You couldnt have chosen a worse day for your outpouring of love, but I will try to rise to the occasion.

    “The moment of truth, the sudden emergence of a new insight, is an act of intuition. Such intuitions give the appearance of miraculous flushes, or short-circuits of reasoning. In fact they may be likened to an immersed chain, of which only the beginning and the end are visible above the surface of consciousness. The diver vanishes at one end of the chain and comes up at the other end, guided by invisible links. ” Arthur Keostler

    Girl, now we are getting somewhere. Am glad to see that you have stopped playing hard to get!

    Many thanks for your long awaited letter. It will be my pleasure to respond to it.

    To begin with you have just demonstrated that you agree with me on lots of things. you are just too afraid of stepping out of your confort zone. Having been born into and brought up in the kintu, I can appreciate how scary it has got to be to contemplate life outside in the cold. But hey, out there in the cold is where the rest of us who happen to be the majority have always been. If you wish to be called a leader, you are going to have to step out of your confort zone and walk with real people. This is what all great world leaders have done -the ones that are still followed by millions of people. Here am talking about leaders like Moses, Jesus, Buddha and Mohamed. People who had realtively priviledged lives but only came into greatness when they stepped out of their sheltered lives and walked with the masses. The same masses that old man Nagenda that once brilliant writer now refers to denigratingly as the great unwashed -the dregs of society! He forgets that its these dregs that sweat and die so that he and his cronies can live in comfort. You suggest that I would be pleased to see you cross over to my side -what you call being a renegade. Actually I dont consider myself to be a renegade. I am that enemy who choses to interrupt you while you are making a mistake (actually your best friend). I see you making a mistake and feel the need to save you from yourself. For you see if you continue on the course that the NRM government has embarked upon, you will be destroyed together with your children. At the very best, you will have to return to exile. Trust me exile is not a picnic for upper middle class girls brought up with house servants and mod cons. But worst of all, the course that Museveni and the NRM have set themselves upon leads to war and destruction.

    How do we know this, we know this by reading our history. You see those NRM kids you mentioned of which you are one are not all the same. There are those like you who were eating sausages in Nairobi and Stockholm and those like us who were hyperventilating when the bombs and bullets were flying. Those who had access to state house scholarships distributed under the bed and those who had to amke do with mango tree university. Those who are acustomed to walking to work and those who think that its a crime to walk to work. Those who get their uncles to send them to recruiting offices with chits for choice jobs and those whose CV’s grw yellow and mouldy while their shoes develop holes looking for jobs. Those who have access to choice contracts worth hundreds of millions to billions fall their way because they “fought” while the rest just died, and those they refer to as lazy, dregs of society, scum of the earth who are poor because they are lazy! Those who are entitled and those who should be grateful for nothing! Those who have babies on the floor in Mulago and and various other unmentionable places and those who go to Paragon and kololo hospital or even those who are flown to Germany at tax payer expense!We are at a cross roads. Indeed it would be the pleasure of many to see you cross over to stand ith the people who are now accustomed to standing on the outside watching you and your uncles enjoying the feast from the animal that we all helped you kill but you insists on eating alone. Our sacrifices and our lives have been buried in the narrative of 27 men who with no help at all fought and overthrew Obote’s hordes while the rest of us were sleeping or hiding unde the bed. But I do remember a childhood shattered by guns used by bad men. Bad men who had been stirred up by a band of what Obote called bandits but we now call heroes! Oh how narratives do change!

    Acknowledging that we are all of course Museveni’s children (NRM?) is a first step. But you make the mistake of assuming that when I say that we are NRM kids, I mean we are/were all NRM supporters of children of NRM supporters. I refer specifically to children and young teenagers who grew up and came of age during Museveni’s wars and his regime. Many of these are under the age of 40 -45 and they now form the majority in this country. They constitute a mindset that differs from those in the NRMO or those who fought in the NRA. They also differ in mindset from those of their parents and grandparents generations who were adults in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s. As children, we knew what war and fear meant. We knew the sound of bullets and saw death at an age when children should not know death. We knew that adults were not fearless having watched them hyperventilate many a time.

    In 1986, we listened to the fine words of hope for a better society that Museveni said on the steps of parliament and for the next few years learnt to chant the patriotic songs. In school and at university we went for muchaka muchaka. We marveled at this man who declined the trappings of power and espoused small and accountable government as well as people friendly security forces. He preached against backwardsness and a lack of development and was enthusiastic about helpng our country develop. He was apalled by the state of the infrastructure such as roads and observed that the potholes in Kampala could make a pregnant woman miscarry. This man who said things that we all agreed with like the problems of Africa is leaders who do not want to step down from power to people like Moi, Nyerere, Kaunda, Mobutu, Mugabe etc. A new breed of leaders had been born and the future appeared rosy and bright.We were the first generation to go out in the night dancing and walk back home from Ange and Silk at 4 am without fear of being molested. Some went for muchaka muchaka and handled guns. Talked back to soldiers and policemen and challenged unfair laws and regulations. Watched as our elders gave their views as the nation discussed a new constitution. In between some of us had a our first beer. I am yet to have my first one but who knows. Others had their first girl or boy, got married and had children. all the while we cheered the fighters on even though we took very little actual interest in politics. We were too busy compensating for our deprived and bullet ridden childhoods. You see we grew up taking cover from all sorts of deadly missiles, jumping over dead bodies watching our elders hyperventilate. Many of us voted for the first time for we came of age during Museveni’s regime even though most of us simply couldnt be bothered. We left the voting to the elders. Ditto the talk about politics in which we had every little interest.

    In between we occasionally heard of a conflict hidden away and often not mentioned for months. I first heard of this conflict in high school when a friend whose home was right next door to Layibi college, could not go home for his hollidays. He stayed in Kampala with his elder brother and we caught up during the school holidays. His elderly retired father had refused to leave his home. Later I saw him off when he went to America where he went on to college and University. He has never returned to Kampala and his home has never had peace since. Many years later, it occured to me that our society had really failed the people of Gulu. That our parliament was really useless for a campaign like W2W with people insisting on sleeping on parliamentary avenue would have ended the IDP camps years earlier.Doctors are taught never to make the treatment worse than the disease they are treating. In trying to deny Kony a space in which to grow, the NRM government adopted a scotched earth policy of emptying the villages and detaining everyone into camps. My own grandmother who lived in eastern Uganda has never been buried by her family because she refused to move when Lakwena’s hordes came around. While the government argues that it saved lives by incarcerating its people, other sources of evidence incldung a paper written by Dr Olive Kobusingye on excess mortality in IDP’s suggest that the policy of IDP’s was responsible for increasing the mortality of residents significantly in comparison to all other parts of Uganda. There is no doubt that IDP’s caused death to the residents of Gulu and around. We may have had little conflict around Kampala over the last 25 years but conflict has never been far from us. even when we try to ignore it it refuses to go away. It is becoming more and more obvious that unless something changes we are headed for the dreaded conflict of our childhood. Over 25 years, we have come to know Museveni and his men very well. We have followed their every word, their every contradiction, their every metamorphosis from men of apparented principle to men who are simply men. Men who are greedy for the trappings of material wealth even when they did not earn it.

    “Politics can be relatively fair in the breathing spaces of history; at its critical turning points there is no other rule possible than the old one, that the end justifies the means. ” Artur Koestler

    You chose to differentaite between Museveni and the NRM. I dont. Museveni is the NRM and the NRM is Museveni. All of the rest including your dear daddy are just along for the ride to give Museveni the semblance of legitimacy. They are choir singers to be trotted out when it suits Museveni to legitimise his disguised life presidency. I see men and women who are weak. People who have grown soft. I no longer see any of the young men who fought for what they believed in even when the odds were clearly against them. Like in the old fable of the emperor and his invisible clothes, the courtiers of Museveni including daddy dear continue to alow him to delude himself that he is indispensable to this country. For allowing one man to hijack the dreams of 33 million people of this country, the members of the NRM are traitors to this country. indeed, the band of young men be it in 1980 or in 1986 who were willing to lay their lives down for what they believed in would have had them lined up and shot trough their fat tummies. But bullets were scarce in that war so the ‘kakumbi” would be even better. This was the penalty for traitors in the bush no? No bullets were wasted on them. Your fabled collective responsibility is only collective responsibility for the failures of the NRM which are many while the King Museveni takes all of the credit for the presumed victories.

    People like my parents may vote NRM but they are not really NRM. Like many people, they have lived through all of the disastrous governments of Uganda. Each time change has brought death and more suffering to them and their families. Like many Ugandans, they are afraid of change. They have never been within the eating circles. They just want peace and to be left alone to do their own thing. It took me years to recognise that my mother has got undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) suffered during Obote II. At the end of the day they vote for the devil they know even though this does not blind them to his weaknesses. Of course they are outnumbered. You see they have seven children all “Museveni children” and none of them would vote for the NRM.

    I have no doubt that the 1980 elections were rigged. I also have no doubt that that election was designed purely for window dressing. Stories are told of upcountry opposition MP’s who were detained at road blocks until nomination was over and their opponents returned unopposed. You see the weakness of a man tells one a lot about that man. Power was Obote’s weakness. He exalted in wielding it. Everything about his history suggests that he had to win at all costs and would never have allowed himself to lose. The presence of a client army led by partisan Oyite Ojok and the client caretaker government of Paul Muwanga was never going to allow for a free and fair election.

    “The ultimate truth is penultimately always a falsehood. He who will be proved right in the end appears to be wrong and harmful before it. ” Arthur Koestler

    I can see you attempt to separate the LC system from the so called NRM grassroot structures. The reality is that the two are one and the same. The LC system came with a stamp on it -NRM. It till exists despite its tenuous legality and controls access to the grassroots. Quite frankly it should have been dissolved in 2006 after the legal dissolution of the NRM and transition to multiparties. Its a system that the NRM built using state resources that no other party can duplicate. During the last election, the NRM paid an ex gratia payment amounting to 6.5 billion just before the campaigns for elections. If this was not a bribe, tell me what else it could be. So essentially money from the public purse was paid to what you admit is an illegal structure important for campaigning at the grassroot level just prior to the presidential election and you do not see a problem with that?

    “Space-ships and time machines are no escape from the human condition. Let Othello subject Desdemona to a lie-detector test; his jealousy will still blind him to the evidence. Let Oedipus triumph over gravity; he won’t triumph over his fate. ” Arthur Koestler

    Elections can yield democracy. But elections organised in an undemocratic way by an undemocratic government cannot yield anything else but chaos. They certainly cannot yield democracy. The principle of informed consent is a basic tenet of medical ethics. As a matter of fact autonomy is central to the practice of medical ethics. A person is autonomous in their decisions if they understand the pros and cons of their decisions and have the means to carry out or exercise that autonomy independently. A democratic government ensures that the voters are informed and empowered to make informed decisions. The NRM preys on an uninformed population. As such one has to question the so called democracy in Uganda. Just how informed is the average paesant in Uganda who constitutes the majority?Is it any wonder that the enemies of the NRM in the last few years are those who offer information to the general public. Those who offer alternate sources to “President museveni yagambye …”. Those who offer an alternate narrative to that fed to us for over 25 years? People like Nambozo, whose FM radio campaign was one of the most effective before FB took over. Journalists like Mwenda before he became mellow with vested interests. Journalists like Kalyegira who depite his often wild imagination presents alternate opinions to the official narrative. People like Obbo before he was kicked upstairs. People like the Mengo government or Suubi and now the internet and FB. This government went after all of them including going as far as holding Namboozo beyond the courts and closing down CBS on trumped up charges. Unlike all of the first sources, the internet is out of the reach of Museveni and his government which is why they are now squirming. And squirm they will for the winds of change are upon them and they have to adapt or die!

    Do I support Besigye? No. Do I support Besigye’s right to protest and exercise his right to oppose this government? Yes. Do I believe that his party the FDC is the best thing since sliced bread? No! Do I hve reservations about Besigye? Yes, lots. In many ways his personality and that of Museveni are similar. I would only trust him in the presence of structures to control the power of his presidency. But then there are very few people I would trust with virtually absolute power particularly people who seek power. I am more comfortable with those who do not seek power than with those who seek and believe that the only way to control them and their. But at the end of the day, Besigye has stood up to be counted and that should count for something.

    “If conquerors be regarded as the engine-drivers of History, then the conquerors of thought are perhaps the pointsmen who, less conspicuous to the traveller’s eye, determine the direction of the journey. ” Arthur Koestler

    At the end of the day, the era of Museveni and your father is over even though they do not seem to know it yet. Like all regimes that have come to their end, they wait until they have to be dragged out from a hole in the ground before they realise the end is here. I have come to accept that power creates a delusional state that makes those in power lose touch with their surroundings.

    “God seems to have left the receiver off the hook, and time is running out. ” Arthur Koestler

    It is time for an exit plan. If your father and his generation cannot save themselves, then you have to save yourself and your children. If you insist on continuing to stay on in one mans delusion, then you have only yourself to blame. At the end of the day Ugandans will blame all of ou in the NRM for failing to stand up and be counted on the sied of the people of Uganda. For failing to recognise that Museveni has lost his way and his quest for power too personal, too individualistic. Thay you have all become “useful idiots”! If you guys do not find a way of removing him, and handing power back to the people, the people will find ways of removing you all.Change is here. The winds of change that blew away the Pahraoh of egypt Mubarak as well as Ben ali of Tunisia have changed course and blown the Jasmine train into Kampala. And nothing will stop that train forom docking for that multitude of unemployed youth, the impunity that your uncles have enjoyed, the cronism and corruption in this government, and the longevity and obvious dynastic plans are the fuel on which the Jasmine train feeds. You can only delay it but you will not stop it from docking.

    The death of the vegetable seller and all of those innocents who were killed in Kampala shall not go unpunished.I leave you with this photocollection documenting this governments brutality. Surely no one who has got a conscience can continue to support the men and women who did this.

    “The most persistent sound which reverberates through man’s history is the beating of war drums. ” Arthur Koestler

    At the end of the day, Ugandans may have to resort to warfor sometimes avoiding a war that needs to be fought simply delays the inevitable. God knows we do not need any more wars but if war does come, the NRM and Museveni will be to blame for they alone have got the power to stop it from happening.

  4. Twino Speaks

    May 20, 2011 at 17:59

    This article that appeared in Uganda’s Observer newspaper seems to give an indication of what the ‘Museveni children’ are thinking:

    Will you be more serious this term, Mr President?

    By Enoq Omwanawomuntu
    Wednesday, 11 May 2011

    My dear Mr President, as I drive on our roads early in the morning on rainy days, many times at snail’s pace – lest I splash water on the young kids who would be braving the early morning drizzles to wade their way through potholes and mud to go to school, my mind is immediately drawn back to a screaming headline of the expenditure of Shs1.7 trillion on fighter jets (more than twice the health budget).

    Also, as I write, someone could be dying of malaria in the country yet we spent about Shs 3 billion on your swearing-in; what an irony!

    Today, as we witness your swearing-in, my biggest question remains: shall we have the broken bridge that has not been repaired in the last twenty-five years repaired? Shall we have the good plans, well articulated budgets, promised reforms that have stalled or not been implemented miraculously tackled in the next five years?

    As a sceptic, I have a few more questions for you, Your Excellency. Back when you took power in 1986, I was in nursery school, but in 1990 when I first saw you on TV, you mentioned that we were the leaders of tomorrow. You will have made 30 years in office by 2016. Your cabinet has been largely dominated by the same people, some of whom are beyond retirement age. My question is: when shall we be the leaders of tomorrow?

    Admirably, Uganda has continuously registered a growth rate of an average of 7% for the last ten years. But this growth has not translated into economic development as income inequalities remain very high. Child and maternal mortality are still too high and though the HIV/AIDS prevalence fell from 15% in 1990 to 6.2% in 2000, it appears to be rising once again.

    Malaria continues to be the main cause of mortality In Uganda today. Over the years, we have seen districts being churned out like they were mandazi. To date, we have 111 districts, implying we have 111 women MPs and 111 RDCs!

    Do we, Mr President, require 111 women MPs to represent women in all those districts? Uganda has now surpassed Russia to become the country with the largest number of sub-national administrative units in the world. Has the creation of new districts really led to more service delivery so far?

    Mr President, the findings of the African Peer Review Mechanism, 2009 as well as the Global Integrity Report, 2008 awarded Uganda a score of over 90% for the existence of a strong legal framework for good governance and anti-corruption, but they highlighted a 51% policy/practice gap.

    The other studies show Uganda as having basic institutions, systems and laws but experiencing continued non-compliance/non-enforcement and impunity. The above findings tell us that the enforcement institutions are too politically influenced. How differently shall we do it in the next five years? Shall we walk the talk on corruption, for example?

    Mr President, we would also like to commend the education environment that has led to about 400,000 graduates every year from colleges and universities, but the downside of all this is that the employment sector can only absorb about 20,000 per annum. This leaves the biggest chunk unemployed.

    The growing industrial and service sectors that have over the years overtaken the agricultural sector can’t absorb the excess labour as Uganda is still largely a peasant agricultural country.

    By the way, after you signed the EAC agreement, how is someone in Kabale going to trade with someone in Bagamoyo, Tanzania with such infrastructural bottlenecks in the road, railway and ICT networks?

    And, as famously put by your minister, Ephraim Kamuntu, the shortfall in rural electrification means that rural people go to sleep just after dusk and that explains the population explosion the country is now facing. This has created high dependency and less investment.

    To conclude my submission, as aforementioned, Mr President, in this coming term, isn’t it high time we started addressing the problem of income inequalities in our beloved country?

    The author is an economist.

  5. Twino Speaks

    May 21, 2011 at 10:18

    Nina responds to Drew:

    Letter to Drew: “The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children – Clarence Darrow US

    Dear Drew,

    This letter writing business is getting addictive. You have noticed how WDR is also getting aggressive about having me beaten into your renegade mold. SM, calls it going rogue. I like that. It sounds better than my renegade label. Well, I am not spoiling for a fight, but bring it please. We are after all on the same side when it comes to our love for country.

    Anyway seeing as both of you are former NRM and UPC kids respectively, I thought I might speak to us as citizens who are predisposed to caring for affairs of the State. I am sure you have heard of Charles Darrows’ (the lawyer) famous quote: “The first half of our lives; is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children.” If you hadn’t before, you have now. Don’t confuse him with Clarence Darrow the gentleman that invented the board game Monopoly though. But in that statement is a conflict that we are all experiencing. The conflict is growth and change of belief systems.

    Anyhow, both gentlemen gave us something to think about. One taught us to acknowledge our internal conflict and the other showed us how to play around with our internal conflict and make faux money from it. What they both didn’t teach us was that we would all experience going through the “faze” of coming of age and graduating to politically conscience citizens and into that mold of “the parent”. The journey of moving from child to adult can be destructive if our parents and society do not manage that change well.

    Drew! You remember listening to that fundamental change speech? You remember how we all crammed the ten point program and how we all decided to follow it as our Bible? Well, remember the debate clubs? We (Mbabazi kids) had our young people’s LC at UEB club at Kololo, where did you do yours? I think in 1987 when we returned from Sweden, I was almost 12 years old and there was a certain vibe in the air. The Movement had brought back life and free thought or so we all felt. I recall being given topics and we divided ourselves into “proposers” and “opposers” and we argued it out in front of our school mates. Now, we seem to be doing it in electronic letters cross continent. What was important was that we communicated and were willing to listen to each other and work together.

    Nobody could make a point without a point of reference or evidence and if you made an argument and the crowd asked for proof, you presented it or you were booed. This is the education our parents didn’t pay for but we got it anyway, it was out of class and out of school activity. I wonder if they still do that in schools these days?

    Anyway, since you have declared me an “almost muse”, I thought I would start by doing the recap.

    Your letter: “Letter to Nina – Those who cannot learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.” Easy now; when you write something, be careful what you write or it might turn into a self fulfilling prophesy.

    I take it you are taking issue now with the power of the Presidency. For once I plead ignorance. I have never read about the power of the Presidency although I do read repeatedly condemnations of African Presidents having too much absolute power. I think I may have to research this before I comment. Don’t want to sound unintelligent now do I?

    You say that there are insufficient checks and balances to control the excesses of a President in Uganda and even if Dr. Besigye, Mr. Otunnu or Hon. Mao Nobert were to take over the reins of power, it would be dangerously suicidal for us to leave things as they are. The powers were made more absolute in the 1966 “pigeonhole” constitution of Obote and when the framers of 1995 wrote the constitution, they left the powers intact. You say, the only way to manage these excessive powers is through term limits. I will focus on your point of term limits because I am at a loss for words on the powers of the Presidency. I think the lack of knowledge will necessitate a visit to the Makerere library this coming week.

    It almost sounds dire though because you say as well as absolute Presidential powers, parliament is toothless or corrupt or both and since they are easily bought; Uganda will not see the restoration of term limits. My observation here is, considering that they are the only ones who can restore the term limits, don’t you think that insulting them is defeating your campaign even before it begins? Self-fulfilling prophesy perhaps?

    I must say though, with NRM controlling 73% of the parliament, and restoration of term limits being a demand by members in the oppositions and over 60% of Ugandans according to Afrobarometer, would it not be counterproductive to pursue this line with all the negativity especially since the population that stated that they would vote overwhelmingly for NRM in that very Afrobarometer poll, are on your side on this particular point? If I can quote from the latest Tamale Mirundi youtube video : “Whati does oppozitioni wanti? Do they wanti to pulay oni the footu boolo pitchi aloni?

    If Tamale Mirundi was a comedian, one would laugh over these remarks, but as avid readers of history, his statement sent me back into the online archives of one of my greatest Presidents’. The Second President of the United States, John Adams said: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” It would not be wise to ignore wise counsel from Tamale Mirundi.

    Mr. Tamale Mirundi as simple as he sounds, speaks for the majority Ugandans. For the last decade, I have watched Ugandan elite characterized by the John Naggenda type that call those simple people dregs of the earth; I have watched them undermine and most times under look the biggest section of our society because those he calls dregs (rioters) are now 78% of the population. Do not fall into this trap.

    Mr. Mirundi’s words are simple testament of fact and that is that opposition politicians want to set the rules of the game, decide who plays, and then endlessly shift the goalposts when out on the pitch. Even when the crowd is not cheering them on; and the opposing team seems to be getting louder cheers, they still want to have the command to determine the rules of the game. My friend Drew, what did Tamale Mirundi say in that video again? This is all about “boolo control”

    This impractical “politricks” that we are being spoon fed is not new to Uganda, you need only look at the nature of our pre-independence politics to see that opposition is not playing a different game from the Ugandans who were advocating for Independence then. I think history speaks for itself when it shows that kind of politics fell apart 4 years after independence. It was just not sustainable.

    Uganda unlike her East African neighbours, didn’t have to fight like the Mau Mau and Majji Majji for Independence. We were helped by the neighbouring turbulence and so this too has become our characteristic as people. We are non violent in nature and we hope that external factors can always help us achieve our aspirations. On the term limits restoration, I think again your neighbours may help you, but we shall come to that later.

    Your other non political aspirations notwithstanding ; indeed all of us who watched the “fundamental change” speech and have grown up under NRM aspire to see a better Uganda, a stronger Uganda and a Uganda that can give us what we so envy from the developed nations. We have already agreed in previous letters that the NRM of 1986 would be astonished when put in the same room as NRM 2011 and an arrest would occur.

    This is because these two are totally different organizations and characters. 1986 group had foresight and the 2011 group have hindsight and knowledge that running a country is not an easy task. However, this does not excuse some inexcusable failings but it is one of those John Adams hard facts that have evidence to back them up.

    Back to term limits.
    You state that Uganda has undergone at least 15 years of bad governance and that the bar subsequently has been set lower. I disagree here. The bar for democracy has been set high but because we as a nation are churning out ideologically bankrupt leaders, it appears like we are headed for doom. Fear not my friend. This is one of NRMs greatest victories. The population is acutely aware of their rights even amidst leadership bankruptcy.

    You say that the bar is being set lower for 2011-2016 by NRM because they are trying to gain an unfair advantage by suffocating out opposition, suffocating out free thought using the NRM caucus, and subsequently setting the stage for nebulous economic crimes. All of this because the seventh parliament betrayed the country when they removed term limits. You go on to give Mbeki, Kevin Rudd and such economically empowered countries as examples.

    It is good you gave those examples, because all of them indicate that the organizations in question, listened to the will of the people whether the leaders wanted to or not. That is paramount in any democracy. You say these countries don’t have term limits because there are other mechanisms for controlling their leaders. In short institutions have been allowed to thrive. Can I say here that all these countries at some point were grappling with very serious governance issues? Have you forgotten that? They walked to the middle ground, the safe ground on their own volition because internal dynamics would not have allowed anything but.

    Uganda is experiencing the same dynamics but unlike those countries, we seem to be suffering from what I call negative mentality.

    When we were growing up, all parents wanted to mold us into what they all had aspired for. While they were growing up, the cream of society was going to Gayaza, Kings’ college Budo etc. Most of the other parents went to village schools, but they heard of the so called “best” and so they aspired for all their children to go there. We in turn didn’t disappoint and by the time we were coming of age, we were all cramming to get into those schools. Gayaza had changed markedly from when Hon Betty Bigombe and her generation were there. We were eating posho and beans and sleeping on double deckers.

    The Bigombe generation used to get bread, eggs and such luxuries supplied at school, they also had shared rooms with fewer people. They spoke Queens English and were rather polished people. So while we listened to them reminiscing about the wonders of Gayaza, some of us were wondering when we would “leave” Gayaza. The school sold us a false dream so we thought then, but now with hindsight, I look back at the school with the fondest of memories.

    “Memory” is a great deceiver I think. As Darrow said “the first half of our lives are ruined by our parents and their imaginary memories.

    So we took on our parents’ dreams and they lived Gayaza/ Budo/Namilyango through us, I am sure you did a Budo, Namilyango, Kisubi dream. And you realized when you were there that it was only just a dream (not your dream) and then you started to make your own judgments’ based on what you construed to be fact. Fact is, the days of Betty Bigombe, Cecilia Ogwal (boy was she a beauty at Gayaza), Sheba Rukikaire were the days when they were few, they were taught etiquette, taught how to interact with others, etc.

    While we were there, these were things that were hard to learn because our classrooms no longer contained 15 students but 45. Everything becomes three times harder to do, so you develop your own interests and that my friend is what growth is all about.

    Then comes the life after school, which you feel prepared for. Intellectually you feel like you’re on top of your game. You are a politically conscience citizen, with dreams of making the big time in your country and quite possibly buying the Ferrari. You remember your parents’ stories of how they walked for 7-10 kms everyday to school, then you compare it to you who was dropped in a Nissan Laurel and you see growth. REAL GROWTH! But it is not the growth you want. MTV is introducing you to another dream.

    You are a wife/husband now and you have your children. You are driving a car better than a Nissan Laurel, even though it is second hand from Japan. You want your kids to develop “fond memories” like your edited Gayaza/Budo memories, you look for the schools that can re-inact that so that the kids may be as ambitious as you and possibly if you fail to buy the Ferrari, then they can buy you one.

    But as time progresses, you realize that while you were progressively growing, your country may not have been growing at the same pace and maybe the management of the country if not handled better will jeopardize your “Second hand Toyota” because by now you have downgraded your dreams to something more practical.

    Let’s face it, your keen interest in reading has shown that perhaps Uganda will take the same amount of time to reach first world as other countries and unlike Deng Xiao Ping who fast tracked China’s progress, you definitely don’t see a Deng in Uganda. He just doesn’t exist. Seriously,….he does not exist!!!

    Now the practicalities of being a parent set in and the whole desire to improve your kids’ lives drains the living daylights out of you. Damn, you say to yourself; Second half of my life ruined by my kids. But is it really ruined? Is that what John Adams fact and evidence are showing you? Have you not seen growth? There is still hope.

    Drew, I think we can now set ourselves in the urban elite mindset. The problem with the urban elite mindset which is the mindset that led the 1986 NRM group is that you KNOW what has to be done to get that Ferrari, but here is the difference. The 1986 group had the courage to do it. Do you have the courage to bring change? Have you identified your problem? Is term limits the only problem?

    While you were identifying your problem, did you realize that maybe you were in the minority? That 75% of the country actually missed out on all the good things you got and they don’t even have aspirations close to yours. Some of them don’t even have aspirations at all save for desire for peace to live out the rest of their lives. These people have long lost faith in electioneering to bring positive change in their lives because let us face it, politicians tell lies. They do not deliver on their campaign promises except close to an election. They already know that something is smelling “fishy in Rome” and for them in their simple wisdom, they have identified it.

    Statistics show that in Africa, the electorate when they became disillusioned, decided to start getting all they can from their leaders. They know leaders don’t care about them, they only want to use them to guarantee jobs. Is there evidence to show that people feel this way? Absolutely! Look at this new parliament, it contains close to 70% new faces. The electorate got fed up with the old lot and replaced them. Term limits have been restored at constituency level. But if you watched the NRM internal primaries, it was a precursor of things to come. The violence experienced in some areas showed that when the rural folk want their rights, they will fight to get them.

    Unfortunately this cycle is the cause of escalating poverty in the country. But what causes it? It is caused by you failing to get to the ground with the right message. The simple man has identified the problem, but he knows he is simple. He knows you the urban elite can move things, but you have cut yourself off from him and so for the next four years he will only get silence from you, then you shall go to him to ask him to put term limits and he will ask you: Where were you when my crop was failing two years ago? Where were you when I needed this information two years ago? Are you trying to use me again?

    The opposition and you are still in our proposer/opposer mindset. Very elitist. Very much like those American town halls, but don’t forget the per capita income there is $20,000 and here is $270 for the Kigezi people so your superior attitude won’t work. Opposition always makes one major mistake that is they believe in setting their rules, they don’t realize each society develops with its own science and ours already has pre-defined rules.

    Another common mistake they (opposition) make is to abuse the opponent. I have already told you that Franz Fanon, Sun Tzu, Confucius would all have sat Obote down and advised him not to isolate himself from people. Isolation is the worst disease for policy change. Ditto that for opposition. How about they try to say the Serenity prayer. “God grant me the wisdom to change the things that I can change and to accept the things that I cannot change; and the wisdom to know the difference between the two.”

    For example, it would be detrimental to Nina’s vote if you went to Buhoma which is doing good tourism business and told them that Nina has sold Bwindi forest. People would vote for their self interest and kick me out. But if there is no evidence and you fabricated the story, most likely, they will listen to you the first time, but will ignore everything you say the subsequent times even though they may make sense.

    When did we have this bad element of lies introduced into our system? Remember during the Amin days? (I was too young but my aunt’s told me) Someone would go tell Malyamungu or Amin or his soldiers, after having a bar fight with you the previous night; that Drew had spoken like this and that about them. Without even waiting for evidence, a team would be dispatched to kill the person. Very effective way of eliminating the competition. Normally this syndrome of peddling falsehoods happens from a group that have no moral scruples. I am afraid it exists in this day as well.

    So there is a financial and emotional gain in lying and a deadly payback to someone who you hope is not you. This is also how Hitler, Saddam and such thrive. Remember we had such characters at school as well, those who would not stop at anything to get their way? Even engage in some serious he said, she said intrigue? So that my friend is you reality.

    Opposition leaders who carry out the pre independence style added with Aminism politics are unfortunately fighting a losing battle. This is when you need “boolo control” my friend. But you would never get boolo control without learning how to play as a team.

    Simply put, our belief systems changed with the successive government that has empowered the people but we still have psychological problems. These same wanainchi when empowered led to the successful kicking out of Mbeki and Kevin Rudd. Focus on the people Drew or you are doomed to repeat your same mistakes of assuming that because you are intelligent in Kampala and you went to school, you can get term limits. That is Hubris!

    On the upside, this debate is not new. We all had it in 2005 in various quarters. I recall as always I was in the minority. I advocated for term limits saying that Ugandans whose per capita income was not sufficient to enable them decide on such an important question, should be given time to test it. Those others who decided to advocate for the “let the people decide” won the day. One particular friend said, he advocated for removal of term limits because Ugandans are such “fallas” and must always learn everything the hard way like they learned how to guard peace after the Luweero NRA war. Remember that I, who was effectively in the minority then (2005), a decade back (1995) when they were writing the constitution was in the majority. I respect the will of the people and have played along.

    Since you Drew, want to restore term limits because you fear what would happen if a Besigye, Otunnu took over; what are you doing about it? Waiting for East African Federation? Well, that is just a 50: 50 chance. If you are willing to hedge your bets on that, go ahead. It is after all your right. Just remember your title of this letter, those who don’t learn from history, are doomed to repeat it. Who will you permit to ruin your life, your parents, or your kids? We have forgotten the good lessons our parents imparted and by so doing are sabotaging our children’s future. Remember, we get the leaders that we deserve : Boolo Control.

  6. Eagle1

    May 21, 2011 at 15:51

    ‘Preventative arrest’ akin to apartheid pass laws

    So, lets closely examine this.

    They told him he was not allowed to leave his home or he would be taken to the police station(arrested). What about the option of him going about his business, which is exercising his freedom of association, expression or movement? An inherent one that is not given by any mortal(apart from immortal M7).
    But by virtue of breathing and being human/existence.

    It is now patently obvious that UG. is a virtual police state, with very no room for democratic expression/space and hope of a peaceful transfer of power, given that elections are merely staged,rigged and bought. And there are no term limits for presidents!!!

    For those in the diaspora and friends of Ug, the question is this, what country are people hoping to go back to,invest in or retire to? A somalia, Libya or zimbabwe?Indeed can you be sure that when you land at EBB, you will be safe? Or you will be able to enjoy your hard earned dollars,pounds,euros,yens and dinars when tear gas,hooded goons and paramilitaries are shooting un-armed populations, that involved a baby(2yrs) and a pregnant woman?

    Thirty millions Ug who live in it are held hostage by a dictator with his private cohorts. What the have stolen,destroyed, imprisoned, killed and invaded in twenty six years is not enough!!! The ship is sinking, the captain is tired and erratic(dangeorus) and the foot soldiers are trigger happy on the edge.

    It is important to emphasise that this is not about M7 or Besigye or any other individual. This is about for the common good of the 31mn ugandans and those that depend or call it home. Indeedv for the entire region at large.

    Therefore, democratic transition has to be supported and space for expression, assembly and respect for human dignity has to be demanded at every opportunity by all of us, irrespective of background.

    Today it is Besigye tomorrow it is you and me. And indeed, if they can do that to Besigye, in broad day light in front of the world’s press, what do they do to the unknowns in the dark?

    Folks, jump from your comfort zones and support in any peaceful,democratic and lawful manner those who have sacrificed everything for the common good.

    When the British remained neutral whilst hitler invaded Poland, they never thought that he would attack the house of commons and the entire country.

    Simply put, evil and injustice only thrives when good men that mean well remain indifferent and neutral. And so it is for this generation of Ugandans with the elephant in the room,M7.

  7. Twino Speaks

    May 22, 2011 at 01:00

    Nina continues her boloo conturol:

    Letter to Drew: A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.

    Dear Drew,

    I was thinking on your last letter titled: “Letter to Nina -The ultimate truth is pen ultimately always a falsehood.”

    Funny, my thoughts exactly! I spent the day reminiscing on Karate Kid. Remember that 1984 block buster? Thought I would share this clip with you when Master Miyagi made Daniel realize exactly what you stated above.

    Daniel: Hey – you ever get into fights when you were a kid?

    Miyagi: Huh – plenty.

    Daniel: Yeah, but it wasn’t like the problem I have, right?

    Miyagi: Why? Fighting fighting. Same same.

    Daniel: Yeah, but you knew karate.

    Miyagi: Someone always know more.

    Daniel: You mean there were times when you were scared to fight?

    Miyagi: Always scare. Miyagi hate fighting.

    Daniel: Yeah, but you like karate.

    Miyagi: So?

    Daniel: So, karate’s fighting. You train to fight.

    Miyagi: That what you think?

    Daniel: [pondering] No.

    Miyagi: Then why train?

    Daniel: [thinks] So I won’t have to fight?

    Miyagi: [laughs] Miyagi have hope for you.

    I can see from your title, that there is hope for you yet; to come to the football pitch without the mission to destroy the pitch along with the players. See, all fighting is the same, whether you are in the US or on Uganda. The human “psyche” never changes; it is only the knowledge of our weaknesses that change.

    I agree with you on many things, we only tend to disagree on modus operandi and ideology. While you believe that the world is worse off for these “endlessly useless” ideologies that African leaders think up, I believe that we must have a firm purpose on what it is we wish to achieve.

    I think if Arthur Koestler was alive today, he would have seen this invisible link you and I have acquired through social networks. That invisible link is the “ekintu” that you think I am too afraid to step out of. Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t the “ekintu” better defined as Uganda? I forgive you for mistaking the “ekintu” with NRM government.

    What is it Americans do best? (You should know since I think you enjoy their territorial delights.) Teaching patriotism and ensuring all remember to pledge their allegiance to the flag and to the constitution of the US. We did the same in my primary school in Nairobi. Every morning we started the day pledging our allegiance to the Republic of Kenya and to the President of Kenya, Nyayo.

    So let us be very clear, my “ekintu” is Uganda not NRM. My allegiance is to country first, ideology second. Many people who are politically active think that it is ideology first and country second. This is where all the acrimony comes from don’t you think?

    The actions of Leaders like Moses, Mahatma Gandhi can then be explained better. All of them grew up learning that country came first and whenever there was a question, the answer was clear. They never came into greatness by stepping out of their sheltered lives, they came into greatness by fighting for the principles that they had been taught as truth and justice. This was never out of their comfort zone. It was always their comfort zone. The irony of their affluence is not lost on me either; it is true affluent families spend considerable amount of time and money trying to broaden the minds of their children, so more than likely, those will sense the trend of where their country is headed and when the time comes to walk the walk, they will either do it extremely well, or shy away exceedingly.

    I appreciate greatly that you have found me a worthy subject to save from the so called fractious path that the NRM finds itself on. Is it not your dear Mahatma Gandhi that said “Be the change that you want to see”? It is in order then for you to point out through criticism what you perceive to be wrong with the goings on of the NRM. I must hasten to add I am not their spokesperson so I can’t speak for them.

    It is only though listening to you that I believe I will never see exile again. That you also accord me equal respect by allowing my voice to be heard is a remarkable step in the right direction.

    Now you say that the course NRM has taken will only lead to war. The signs are there you opine because as an avid reader of history you have come to understand that mankind has a tendency to self destruct, and it is only those who can see and understand the signs that shall avoid that option and NRM is blind or traitors.

    The current majority (18-35 year olds) have barely seen war. They have had 25 years of relative peace, of course excluding northern Uganda and parts of Teso. They have gone to UPE schools; they have gone to USE schools. In many ways, NRM is a victim of its own good policies. It has churned out citizen after citizen that has foresight and knowledge of sorts. It has allowed free thought and the development of the intellect, and in the end, you and me have formed our opinions in these NRM years.

    If there are few victories of NRM, you must admit, it is education. Yet Education is like a double edged sword; the expectation of the educated is high and they are anxious to move forward.

    This is a state all developing Nations find themselves in at some point. This is when the progress of a nation can no longer permit for leaders to take steps backwards. It is then that leaders must listen.

    So this time Drew, it is you that must step out of your comfort zone and meet “ekintu” half way. Sir Winston Churchill said: If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.

    If you fight now, you are sure to be heard by many. I marvel at this fickleness of assuming that because people ate sausages while others ate bogoya, they cannot sit together and chart a way forward for country. Your schooling alone taught you better than that.

    How many kids did you find whose parents were the top brass of our society while growing up? Don’t you recall doing better than the so called “rich kids”? Can you honestly say, that life was more favorable to them because of who they were? Have you not heard of many in our generation who have far better jobs and income than the so called “sausage eaters”. Are they not the new sausages eaters or “nouveau riche”?

    It didn’t matter to us where we came from, but where we were going. When you regress into that Nairobi – Stockholm talk and hyper-ventilators, you fall into the trap of those that you despise the most. Those who asked you over and over again where you were when they were in the bush? The issue is where are you now? What is this animal that you talk about that is being eaten alone? Is this not a falsehood though you perceive it as true?

    Most times when people don’t get these issues settled early, it clouds their judgment and causes them to ignore the fact that each and every war is a war of the mind and no matter who is where, it is about connecting with those people. You Drew, you are different though; you feel the need to save me from a sinking ship and that there, …… that there is different. Just don’t save me then call me a sausage eater.

    Maybe you can be more specific, during the 1981-1985 period, were people engaging in such open and frank discussion with the so called “abali mukintu” group? I think for us to understand if indeed the ship is sinking, we will need to understand this; put emotion aside, and analyze with a razor sharp knife. It could be that the compass is not working and we need a new one to get on the right track. You never know until you have asked really.

    But the frank discussion notwithstanding, are you aware that you and I are engaged in the most civil of multi-party debates? This is in fact how it is supposed to be. You are all Museveni children indeed. You all grew up under the Movement system of government where we were all expected to focus on one National vision and discuss within the party how to get there. That was then; we are in the now.

    This is a different dispensation. We have one vision with multi-ideologies and it is important for us to raise this debate so that people can tell the difference between the various platforms. You Drew, belong to the individual merit platform. You say you have no ideology save for love of country. Your ideology can’t be about assigning blame without solutions? We have one thing in common and that is love for country.

    So since you believe the NRM ship is sinking, can we actually discuss how the ship is sinking? We are all aware that 18-40 make up 78% of the voters, but just because we have the numbers, it does not mean that your view is automatically shared by all. I am yet to find anyone in NRM that does not love country. They all do, but they have divergent opinions with regard to how the country should be run.

    Let me remind you of the referendum 2005, we were only 7% who did NOT choose multi-partism and I stand very proud of my choice because of these comments of yours of “ekintu” etc.

    My reasoning then was that NRA/M sold us the one party state idea under the assumption that the past mistakes committed by political actors were because of the Multi party setting and cheap populist leaders.

    This was a very false assumption. Multi-partism had failed because we did not allow ourselves to develop the institutions of parties, our history had shown that there was a cultural clash whereby politicians were intolerant to divergent views and would stoop so low so as to use religion, tribe among others to gain an upper hand. We actually never had multi-party setting before; just frivolous parties.

    The British divided us like all African countries along ethnic lines because it would be easy for them to manage us. The North had control of the Military, and the South were the civil service. The politics that took shape after 1962 therefore were not multiparty but tribal all with an intention of being in your “ekintu” so that they could eat. You would be amazed if you read Michela Wrong’s book about “Its’ our turn to eat” how similar Uganda history is with Kenya. Multiparty politics in Africa tended to not focus on issues but ties between kith and kin.

    This can explain why the fight between FDC/IPC and NRM tends to degenerate into name calling and focus on personal, fickle issues sometimes. Parties are still in 1960s mindset.

    I sense within you a burning conflict, you know something is wrong, but you have not quite put your finger on it. It becomes easier to take a dig at me, not because you hate me but because you are trying to put an exact finger on what is it about me who according to you represents NRM that you really don’t like.

    Again, when did you start to think that this meant a sinking ship? It simply means that you are doing exactly what you are supposed to do. Moving forward, moving away from the personality politics and actually trying to figure out how we can ideologically differ and yet share your “ekintu/Uganda”. That is how I see it anyway. That is the interlink right there. That question obviously was not answered sufficiently during elections but because we are debating, we should get to serious ideological issues sooner rather than later.

    When you speak about the conflict in Northern Uganda, again; I find it hard to disagree with you. The conflict destroyed the social fabric of a whole region and though we, citizens and the ICC have hipped blame on both sides, I think what we have to do is understand how to move forward. The Kony war will take decades to fix.

    When you look at the destruction that the Americans left behind in Vietnam, it took a quarter of a century to fix some of the damage. 2 million people became refugees in their own country; agriculture was destroyed; Saigon destroyed; America dropped 8 million tonnes of bombs between1965 and 1973, some still going off till today; forests and farm land were sprayed with chemicals and destroyed. A German proverb says: A great war leaves the country with three armies – an army of cripples, an army of mourners, and an army of thieves. Ditto that for Kony war.

    I personally hate war. I prefer we take up the approach of Costa Rica which believes it is the state that accelerates the likelihood of violence. If you look at Lakwena, it all started with those who were in your “ekintu” who lost out and decided to fight the new “ekintu” group. I recall the scandal of ghost soldiers, showing the depravity of mankind and their desire to make money off other men no matter the suffering.

    But if you recall, it is the very State under NRM that blew the lid on this graft and acted on it. Now that physical peace has returned to Northern Uganda, we have to deal with psychological peace. That is what war does and it seems only the depraved characters can call for war. The end will never justify the means, NEVER.

    Other than war, you have taken great issue with ensuring that I acknowledge NRM and Museveni are one and the same. You have stated this repeatedly. Of course this quote below seems to sum up your frame of mind; “The ultimate truth is penultimately always a falsehood. He who will be proved right in the end appears to be wrong and harmful before it. ” Arthur Koestler Let us wait and see. Only time can tell if this assertion of yours is true or false.

    Can I ask you something? How can you state that one man has hijacked the dreams of 33 million Ugandans and NRM are traitors for allowing it. Which dream are you talking about? Don’t you think that rather it is the attitude in that statement that really betrays the weakness of all to impart their mindset? You say your parents may vote NRM but they will just as well be happy with the next person. So do you expect others to do the work for them of bringing a new leader if they don’t put in any effort?

    See this is the attitude that I find most baffling. You don’t trust NRM, You don’t trust Besigye, you have no trust for any of the viewpoints that are out there, yet you have not attempted to create an alternate platform. You are content to speak on it but you can’t be bothered to work on it.

    What exactly is stopping the parties from building grassroots support? Besigye has stood up to be counted among the urban elite and it counts for something among you but again remember, you are in the minority. There is no effort on your part to reach the grassroots. Instead, you say NRM structures and LC are one and the same and you are content to continue to delude yourself of such. This fallacy is probably the reason why NRM has never felt pain with regard to its support.

    For your information, there are 57,295 villages in Uganda. They will be more by 2016. There are 7,142 parishes. NRM has 1,719,000 delegates at village level. The LCs are 11 I think at village level. So considering that other parties have not built structures to that level, there is no competition at that level and so when you add those LCs, NRM has 2.3M officials at village level. More than Besigye’s National vote. Now imagine when each of them is tasked to mobilize only 3 votes?

    The first falsehood I see on your part is you refuse to accept that NRM is not the same as LC. You refuse to accept the fact that people at LC1 level are very keen on governance of their community and if you have no way of interacting with them, you are not likely to get your message across to them, so defeat will be inevitable. Once you fail to provide competition and instead spend time engaging in roadside battles, you will lose. It is really as simple as that.

    Performance after victory is another issue. If you don’t have capacity to make your government that has been elected accountable, do you think that you will have improved services? There is enough statistical data to show that when a community comes together to handle its affairs, infant mortality falls and productivity comes up. There would be no need for handouts then.

    If the LC system is not agreeable to you, why don’t you discuss another structure as your options of administrative reforms? You know other democracies always review these administrative structures for efficiency. So far we have seen no policy paper from opposition with regard to this.

    I want to see what suggestion they have. I want to read what suggestion you Drew have that they can use to advocate for the shrinking of administrative units at that level and then how they shall fill up the offices to ensure a level playing field. All LC1’s do voluntary service. If someone can’t interest people to believe their ideology out of election season, how do they hope to even make government accountable? Making noise in Kampala is just a joke. How many citizens are here? Isn’t it only 15%? How do 15% think they can influence the other 85% when they have isolated themselves from them?

    Elections will only yield a truly democratic government when parties stop playing around and get down to doing what they are supposed to do, ie, listen to the people and communicate their needs. Any other formula will at best bring you bad luck. You say, “President Museveni yagambye …”. Well, if he is the only one attempting to talk to the people, how do you expect them to listen to you? Through telepathy perhaps?

    The Nambooze style of abusing and inciting unfortunately does not work outside in the rural areas. It can in urban areas because urbanites are more critical of government, but not in the villages.

    I think what you have to understand Drew, is that the era of assuming that Kampala talk shall bring a change is over. If anyone did not get the memo, consider yourself served. You want to defeat NRM as you call it, get ready to get your hands dirty.

    You want to bring change that we all believe in? Be the change that you want to see. The era of laying all the blame on NRMs footsteps is over. They are not perfect human beings, but one thing I know about them, they listen to the people, even if it means them sitting down with them for ten hours which you the urbanite and myself haven’t done. Although we may disagre with what happens after the listening and the work put in after, they listen and the people in turn listen to them because NRM seems to be the only one with leaders who allow themselves to be questioned by their electorate.

    When other parties find out that indeed Uganda is their oyster and that people are also willing to listen to them and to hear what policy issues they have however simple they are, then we shall have truly entered a democracy that is solid.

    That will be a truly magnificent moment to experience and then I shall know that the winds of change are blowing and we will be able to get a whiff of the sweet fragrance of Jasmine not the smelly rotten fish of Rome.

    You say “The most persistent sound which reverberates through man’s history is the beating of war drums. ” Arthur Koestler. Are you hearing the right sounding drum or have you confused the sound of tins for the “ngalabi”? The ultimate truth is penultimately always a falsehood.” If you can’t convince me that your side makes sense, how do you expect me to cross over?

    We are at war all the time. Such is the very nature of man and like Master Miyagi told the Karate Kid, we train to fight in these (political) battles, so that we can have peace (on the political playing field).

    Now this is me being the devils’ advocate. Over to you Drew!

  8. Twino Speaks

    May 22, 2011 at 01:16

    Drew responds:

    Letter to Nina -impatient young men … are tempted to turn to revolt because no notice is taken of their questions.

    By Drew Ddembe on Saturday, May 21, 2011

    Dear Nina,

    Am glad you have not kept me waiting. Now i know that you are really ready to return the love. Today I remembered this letter I wrote you when you were really playing hard to get. I wondered who Nina really was or wanted to be. It was returned “return to sender”. .

    In that letter I wondered whether you were really just going to cruise along on family credentials or whether you were going to really put yourself out there. I think we are now well on to the way to finding out whether you will continue to play it safe or whether you are going to step out of the comfort zone of being a princess of the ruling elite. Of course I will not mention the one where you tried to give a dressing down for being so forward!!!

    But now you are talking to me so we must move this forward. I hope you are aware that there is an immense amount of interest out there in this exchange between you and me. Its not just David William Rukanshonga and Stephen Twinoburyo who want to get in on the conversation. Am getting friendship requests every day at a very high rate. I say, the more the merrier. What say you.

    Of course we are on the same side in so far as you profess an interest in Ugandans and their interest and not the interests of daddy, party and president. For while I accept the fact that you are a loyal daughter, this course you have embarked upon goes far beyond your personal loyalties.

    You are aware that I am not a politician, have no interest in politics and for the most part despise politics and politicians. That of course sounds like a paradox given that many of my opinions are about politics. That however is primarily because my primary interest is services and the delivery of services to the people. Museveni in 1986 stated that politics is about the delivery of services to the people. Judged purely on the basis of the provision of services to Ugandans, it can be comfortably said that Museveni and the NRM are failures. Here I refer to basic things like roads, health, community policing and justice, housing, transport, schools. By that criterion as well as the management of corruption, in my opinion one would have to ask whether Ugandans are morons for voting NRM again after two and half decades of abuse.

    Yesterday I picked up a new word, “Oprahfication”. It is apparently an affliction of the upper middle classes and elite who have apparently become accustomed to letting it all hang out on Oprah. They treat her show as a confessional and she has taken on the role of a confessor, a pseudoconsellor handing out banal absolutions that allow the rich to let go of their own responsibility and blame someone else. So there is always someone else to blame. Never the individual. So over the years I have formed an opinion of many of Oprahs clients -if they are successful its in spite of their parents, while if they are failures its because of their parents! It seems to me that you are one of those oprah fans. Female, priviledged, MTV generation, westernised. Am sure you have watched your share of oprah.

    But in this case I have got to agree with you. In this case as Museveni’s children, we can blame our father for ruining our lives. While he was running around playing guerillas with uncle Obote and Amin, tearing up the countryside because of disagreements with Uncle Obote that quite frankly we as children did not give a damn about, while conscripting some of us into his army and teaching us to kill before we could drink a beer or chase after a woman, let alone wipe our bottoms properly, our childhood was ruined. I find it interesting therefore that we are supposed to be greatful almost three decades later to the man who ruined our childhood. I believe this calls for an Oprah moment. Get up there, lay it all out, tell daddy we hate him for ruining our lives and walking off the set freed of our childhood demons. Unfortuantely he doesnt wish to go. Not only do we have to carry the scars of an abusive parent, but he insists on staying in our lives and even demands the right to mess up that of our children. But we must protect our children from him, else they too will acccuse us of ruining their lives.

    We Museveni children did not graduate into political beings. We never ever had a choice. Politics was forced upon us. Its why we spent most of our adolescence and early adulthood ignoring everything to do with politics and playing catch up to compensate for a lost childhood. We are political beings from when we were little. We know the difference between good and bad governments. In a bad government, your good law abiding tax paying parents live in fear. Fear of death and torture from the government and its agents. The same government that takes your taxes. think about this -at the age of ten or eleven, I went to and from school in Nakasero through 16 roadblocks every day.

    In 25 years you learn a lot about a man. You learn his strengths and his weaknesses. We grew up on the sound of bullets. We listened to news and birango everyday. People were afraid that if they missed the birango, they would miss the death of a relative from a sudden encounter with armed men. We therefore know a lot about Museveni and his men. And we now know that their so called revolution was all about young men whose elders would not listen to them wrestling the ‘animal’ from their elders with us paying the price for their foolishness. Now they are old men, they wish to prevent other young men impatient with them, from doing the same thing that they did to their own elders! So now we know that the band of 27 is no different from those they the end of the day, they view the people they lead as a means to an end. Their word means nothing and is not binding upon their actions. Its this very fact that you attempt to hide behind the excuse of hindsight. We too do have the benefit of hindsight and this hindsight tells us that the emperor is naked.

    Museveni and his band of rebels were not the first Ugandans to rebel against their elders. And neither was the generation of the Obote’s before them. Before that there were Baganda nationalists who rebelled against the colonial government and in many ways set the stage for the Ugandan nationalist struggles that followed. There were also other earlier struggles like the Bataka rebellion. The Walk2Work organisers probably believe that they pioneered unarmed resistance or rebellion in Uganda. Bu as you point out Uganda did not have a history of armed war for independence. ths does not mean that there were no struggles. The tools and weapons used then are no different from those used today. What you call lies were called “subversive rumours” and “radical rudeness” used by Ganda activists to disrupt social relationships between colonial government and local elites.

    I find most interesting this paper regarding the activities of Ganda radicals in the 1940’s that clearly demonstrate an orchestrated campaign of unarmed activism. This paper talks about the ruling elite of that time and their attitude towards the demands of young men. Quote, “As ministers, Nsibirwa, Kulubya and Kawalya Kaggwa showed little interest in modifying their rule to make room for young men’s demands for public participation, democracy and change. They saw such innovations as disorderly, disruptive, and fundamentally inappropriate. As prime minister, Kawalya Kaggwa dismissed the radicals by calling them lazy, and saying “What have they done … so far? Have they improved their country in any way? Have they cultivated and kept good farms? No!!”. Kawalya Kagwa lacked understanding of young men’s discontent, to the point that the former missionary HM Grace chided him for his rigor, arguing in the aftermath of the 1945 strike, “impatient young men … are tempted to turn to revolt because no notice is taken of their questions. And a few become revolutionaries such as those you have in prison now…. Now you can’t repress this movement–it will grow even more as your soldiers return, and the more who are educated the more this movement will grow. This urge for some voice in government comes from reading the history book, the overseas press, protestant theology, and even the Bible. This young Africa is an explosive force and though the numbers may be small, it will have growing power and it all depends how it is treated now whether it becomes a curse or a blessing. I beg you and the other chiefs will deal wisely with it….” Kawalya Kagwa rejected such recommendations, perhaps provoked by the regular abusive telegrams he received from Mulumba and other Bataka party members. The radicals had more success with British officials and missionaries than they did with the leaders of the kingdom’s government.”

    I would recommend that you read the paper as clearly demonstrates that as the young men of the 40’s rebelled against the Buganda kingdom officials and the colonial government and those of the 50’s rebelled against the colonial government leading to independence, those of the 80’s rebelled agains Obote and wrestled him for power at great cost to all of us, its now the turn of Museveni and the NRM. The young men are circling him. He may shoot them and kill them but ultimately he will lose.

    I first got introduced to debate when I was about ten or eleven. I relished in debating any side and any point and demolishing my opponents. In high school I lost interest until a teacher, a Kenyan introduced political debate as an extacurricular activity. How he fired up the boys! He was such an orator. He so fired up the boys that they rebelled against the school food. The brothers were so incensed they invited a platoon of soldiers who were camped close by. That was the first time we were exposed to indiscipline by an NRM soldier. One of the older boys in A level was singled out for rough treatment and canes by one soldier who apparently had some sort of vendetta against his parents. We were all quite apalled. This was within a few months of takeover by the NRM. All the fancy words of discipline among their troops suddenly felt empty. The Kenyan teacher was blamed by the brothers for the strike and disappeared. He reappeared a few weeks later in full military uniform and it turned out he was an NRM political Commissar. The story was that he was a Kenyan dissident who had been involved in an attempted coup against Moi. The Kenyan government apparently expressed their dissatisfaction with his presence ad he ended up in Sweden as a refugee.

    My debate was informal and consisted of mainly baiting savdees. You see in those days I could quote the bible backwards and confuse most savdees. You see i had little interest in politics and preferred other pursuits.

    You feign ignorance of the power of the president. You also misquote me when you say I said the “only way” … Actually I said that one of the things we need to do towards curbing the powers of the presidency is term limits. There are other things that need to be discussed. To begin with term limits would curb the ability of the presdent to use his incumbency and state funds to subborn the process of democracy. You see democracy as you said is not delivered by elections particularly flawed ones. In Uganda we have a president who acts like a village chief. He is everywhere and into everything. He settles disputes between boda bodas and market vendors, receives small time conmen from Mumbai posing as investors, gives away government land, meets small fictitious kings like the Sabanyala, creates small non viable districts and constitutencies, settles pay disputes with Makerere lecturers or disputes for allowances with Makerere students etc. In doing all of this he undermines everyone including his own ministers. He takes over the role of the technocrats and as such has had a few scandals coming back to him like AGOA, the Aya brothers land giveaway or the Shimoni land giveaway or the various taxpayer funded rescues from bankruptcy for Basajjabalaba. He has taken us into more than one war without involving our legislators or having any form of national debate about whether we wanted to die in foreign wars.

    But most disturbing of all is that there is virtually no curb on what he can and cannot do. There appears to be no mechanism for relieving him of office even if he maybe destructive. His persecution of Besigye for example using state resources is less than what lost Mbeki his presidency for using the state prosecutors to hound Zuma. Its even less than the ills that saw the prime minster of Australia kicked out of power. Neither the legislature nor the party appear to have any power or mechanisms for controlling the power of the presidency or for dealing with an incompetent president. He has undermined virtually every institution and usurped their powers. Institutions like the legislature, and the judiciary have all been turned into client structures without discernible independence from the presidency. If the presiend fights with the Kabaka, he instructs parliament to provide him with a Kabaka muzzling bill -for a fee! If the new enemy is walk to work activists, again parliament obliges him with another law. if he wishes to rule till he drops dead, for 2000 dollars (how cheap), parliament again tampers with the constitution. Now he wishes to extend term durations so he doesnt have to go back to the electorate for fresh mandate -no taking chances on a fickle public controlled by the dregs of society so parliament will be happy am sure for a fee to provide him with one!

    You have issues with what you call insulting members of parliament. I do not insult them. To call a corrupt fool a corrupt fool is not to insult them and neither is pointing out the fact that both the seventh as well as the eight parliament were traitors to this country. Both parliaments took bribes from the executive in exchange for their vote on bills introduced by the presidency for the bnefit of the incumbent. For those crimes history shall judge them harshly. But so will the ninth parliament if they extend the term durations for the benfit of the incumbent or fail to return term limits back into the constitution. They will also be judged harshly if they bend to Museveni’s will and interfere with the constitution to take away the right to bail and the presumption of innocence as well as the right to afair trial. These are things that they need to know. We need to set the bar for our legislators higher, demand more from them and make it clear to them that they are elected to serve the interests of the people and not those of the ruling party of the incumbent. In Uganda we set the bar for MP’s and politicians so low that people believe all they need to do is say they are ‘honourable’ and we are supposed to believe they are honourable. They dont actually have to act with honour or even serve our interests except to come back every five years to buy us some waragi in exchange for a vote. And tribalism demands that we bask in their glory even when we benefit nothing from it. Did you notice the Basoga jubilating because Kadaga was the speaker? Seriously, could you go to Busoga and see the jiggers and poeverty and still take pride in electing this government? As my grandmother would say, “eyalooga bano yali tanaaba”!!!

    Tamale Mirundi is a fool. I think you give him too much credit. I have heard things more nasty than me calling him a fool said about him by the people you suggest he speaks for. The last time I checked, Tamale Mirundi is the simpleton that you NRM elite use to say the stupid things you cannot say yourself. Its a bit like hiring the village drunkard and buying him a few so that he can insult your rival. he does not speak for the “dregs” of scoiety who you admit are the majority. He is actually a hired gun who speaks for the ruling minority elite just like Nagenda even though he sounds more coarse and crude. today i read Kabushenga’s interview with BBC in which he preapeats the very same lies that form the official government narrative. Mbu the videos of Besigye’s arrest were edited. One wonders what the chances of a conspiracy involving all of the journalsist from various services could be. And where is the missing footage anyway?

    In looking up the NRM and Museveni’s innauguration speech, I came across events in South africa from the same time. It occured to me then that it was impossible to get something from someone who does not want to give it to you if you are playing on his field using his own rules. In Uganda, the NRM owns the field grace to the virtual carte blanche our parents gave them. They had twenty years in which they suppressed other political party’s activity while they used state resources to consolidate their hold on power. USing state resources they built the LC system and other grassroot structures which became an extension of the NRMO. This grasroot system has access to every villager. To get any formal papers such as a passport one needs an introduction from the LC’s. In the absence of a formal address, its the LC’s that vouch for ones identity. These structures are stamped NRM and controlled by the NRM. It is therefore misleading to try and claim they are not grassroot NRM structures. We saw how they were manipulated finacially just before the last election. We do know however that the NRM was dissolved so these NRM structures should have been dissolved too. But hey still ecist even though all of them are as corrupt as the NRM government.

    The preindependence politics was not the problem. The problem was politicians who refused to play by the rules that brought them to power and sought to change and rewrite the rules and change the venue to one they control. Thats exactly the same politcs that Museveni and the NRM plays. But it wishes to be lauded for playing fair when we all know there is no fairness to this game nor the venue. the opposition in Uganda is there only to legitimise the NRM -exactly the same role that Museveni accused DP of serving. They are supposed to be good and play nice even when they are being hamstrung. To go back to my question regarding how to get something from someone determined not to give it to you at all cost, the ANC would never have won power by fighting the aprtheid government on its terms. To succeed they had to change the rules, chose their own weapons. Thats the brilliance behind walk to work. It doesnt matter how many tanks and guns you have, you will still lose. Walking is a simple everyday affair for many people. It is natural and an inalienable right. You cannot stop people from walking without making yourself look like a fool. Many governments spend millions of dollars to enourage their people to walk. But walk to work is only one of many strategies

    Ugandans do not connect their rights directly with the provision of services. If they did, why would they vote for Museveni and the NRM after 25 years? Museveni indulged in a subterfuge during the last election. Everywhere he went, he displaced responsibility from himself and the government onto anyone else he could grab. Who in Uganda would dare to contradict the president in public? Health centre has no drugs, blame the doctors. Kampala has potholes, not his governments fault. IDP’s suffering and dying in neglect, blame Kony even though Kony was not in charge of the IDP’s. IDP camps were established by the NRM which displaced paesants from their land. It therefore had a duty of care for the residents of those camps. The well documented excess mortality in those camps for more than a ecade has got to be placed directly at the foot of the NRM government. The social costs of those camps cannot be blamed on anyone else too. In any other society, the residents of those camps should have been suing this government for opportunities lost and for lives lost as the government failed in its duty of care.

    What the last 25 years under Museveni and the NRM represent are opportunities lost. Instead of building for the future we have spent most of our time entrenching one man and his family into our politics. Instead of fighting corruption even with all of the goodwill this government has had, it has instead entrenched it. Instead of fighting nepotism and tribalism, it has become a way of life. Instead of fighting impunity, it has been promoted to an art. Instead of promoting security, it has now built a police state. Instead of revamping our infrastructure, we boast the ‘best’ potholes in the world! And instead of at last having the chance of handing over power peacefully, we are risking another war because another set of old men do not recognise when their time has come to go!

    I am who and what i am because of what my parents did for me not because of who they are. While I never really valued school while I was there, and took it for granted, I still knew it was the best school in the country. In many ways my failures are mine while my successes are the successes of my parents. I would never go as far as saying that the first half of my life was ruined by my parents. And if there is anything good in the second half of my life its because of my parents. When I was a teenager, I resented the control that my mother had over every minute of my life. In retrospect, it occurs to me that controlling the movements of their children was the best way of keeping them safe in a country where death was always close by. Sometimes i wonder how we ever even became normal adults and for that I can say thanks to my parents. So no my parents didnt ruin the first half of my life and neither did they ruin the second.

    You make the mistake of settling for second best -setting the bar too low. Me i still want that ferrari, children or no. Today a perfect stranger looked at my car and said single mans car. No its not a single mans car. Its my car. children or no children. Yes they have or will have great education, the best that my money can buy. They certainly aren’t going anywhere near Museveni’s bonna basruwale schools. They will become their own person and make their own choices -and move out of my home. And I will go off fishing or buy a rocking chair when the time is right. I will not keep them beholden to me because I believe they owe me. You see thats what a parent who loves their children does. He or she allows them to grow up and make their own decisions and respects those decisions but does not seek to continue controlling them well into their adulthood. Such a parent would be called a controlling parent. In mny ways Museveni is controlling. With an ego and a degree of narcisism to match, his ego will not allow him to step off the treadmill he has set himself upon. Museveni is a narcissist. Narcissists thrive on power and control. Thats why he cannot contemplate retirement. To a man like him retirement is like death.

    I know that most Ugandans do not wish for a ferrari. I also know that for many, the simpler things in life would be enough. But we are not talking bout luxuries here. We are talking about basic things. Not to be killed by the state that is meant to protect you. Not to be harrassed by the police that are supposed to be your friends. Not to die from preventable diseases because the government has misplaced its priorities and prefers to buy ultramodern fighter jets instead. Not to die from hunger in a country gifted by nature. Not to have a miscarriage due to Museveni’s terrible roads. Not to have your house flooded because the government cannot maintain simple things like storm drains and urban planning. Not to die an early death due to simple treatable diseases. Not to have my car damaged on top of all of the taxes i have already paid. Not to have to put up with corruption by the people who are meant to pevent it. To live under an accountable government. All of thse are simple things. They do not require a genius. Neither are they rocket science. Its called provision of services -the core business of government according to Museveni in 1986. Do you want to tell me that with hindsight Museveni and the NRM do not find any of these things reasonable any longer? That their foresight was based on naivety? Why then do they not tell the people to stop aspiring for these simple things?

    When you put rats in a jar and starve them, they will start to eat each other. Thats the story of the NRM primaries. Politics is the best paying job in this country. And you dont even have to have any specific qualifications or job experience. If you are gifted with the gab and have little scrupples, then you will have a job in politics. and you dont even have to turn up for debates, dont have to read the bills, dont even have to make your maiden speech. You get to be called honourable, have a choice of maidens, get a taxpayer funded car and a salary that professionals with decades of training and decades of experience can only dream about, get to gate crash every funeral on the village as well as every wedding whle getting applauded regardless of whether what you say makes sense or not! The NRM has created a system pf patronage where all of the resources in this country are hoarded by the state and used to maintain the incumbent in power! Do the rural folk really fight for their rights or do they fight for individual politicians? As I stated in my last letter, true autonomy implies that the person making that choice is well informed. The NRM deliberately keeps its people uninformed of their rights. Many even believe that the government is only doing them a favour when it delivers a service.

    LOL at predefined rules. there are no predefined rules here. There are rules that the people tried to set up in 1995 that the NRM and Museveni have since demonstrated mean nothing to them. Museveni makes the rules to suit himself but expects everyone esle to play by those same rules. No reasonable person expects to play a game on anothers turf using anothers rules and hope to win unless they are deluded. the rules that Ugandans agreed upon have been tampered with or are not enforced. The only way to win or have a fighting chance is to change the rules. who says that Museveni’s rules have got to be the rules by whic the game is played anyway? So welcome to the new world where Museveni and the NRM do not set the rules. Actually they themselves are playing catchup. Interestingly the opposition itself are not the originators of thiese rules. Others not even interestsed in politcs have been setting the rules. In Egypt when the Jasmine train docked, El Baradei was pushed aside. He had assumed that when the people overthrew Mubarak, they would automatically look to him. You are aware that Marchiavelli states that people wilfully change their rulers if those rulers show themselves to be unjust.

    If the evidence of the last few weeks counts, lying is very much a preserve of the NRM and its cadres. We have seen the president telling lies about the so called riots -events that were captured on camera. We have seen a minster present the same lies in parliament -accompanied by a doctored video. We have seen Kabushenga present those lies to the BBC. Nabakooba and Opolot as well as Kayihura have outdone themselves. Talk about uncoordinated troop movements!

    The referendum in 2005 was a sham because the question had already been decided in parliament by a compromised parliaement. It now goes down in the annals as a failed experiment in trusting our leaders to self regulate. Its why I would not trust Besigye or any of the others to regulate themselves in a system where the winner takes all, the opposition is toothless, and the government is allowed to use public resources to maintain an individual in power.

    As for what am doing about reimposing term limits, we are talking about them arent we? He who can change thoughts has the power to change history. You would be very surprised how many people are following this debate.

    There is a fable that Ugandans have been told for many years. Its the story of economic growth. The way this story is told, economic growth is everything and tells the whole story. But something keeps bothering me. Why if the economy is growing steadily, are people complaining of extreme poverty? Is economic growth as quoted enough t maintain stability? How much of our economic growth is true growth and how much is just simple ‘recovery economics’? You see post conflict countries have very little trouble achieving a growth rate of 10%. Democracy and elections in particular in africa do not guarantee stability. Economic growth matters to conflict probably through its effect on employment. Unemployment particularly of young men increases the risk of further war. Collier, Hoffler and Rohner in 2007 demnstrated that if the proportion of young men in a society with thrid world characteristics is doubled, the risk of conflict goes up from 4.1% to 30%. In another paper by Collier and Hoeffler in 2007, they found that increased military spending by a thrid world post conflict nation rather than decrease the risk of conflict actually significantly increases the risk of conflict. The most obvious infrastructure needs in a post conflict economy are power, ports and roads. The offer the best returns on post conflict development. Without reliable power, the formal sector cannot develop. Uganda is cited as a country where the biggest impendiment to investment was power. The failure to plan for power is a major policy failure. I have always wondered how Museveni hoped to drive his so called industrialisation and investment without relaible power.

    Technically Uganda shouldnt be a post conflict country 25 years after the takeover of the NRM. Nevertheless we reamin a fragile country. In many ways our economic recovery has been mismanaged with over reliance on the raw figures of economic growth without telling Ugandans that in recovery economics, it is not unusual for post conflict economies to maintain a 10% or higher growth rate. Unemployment and the distribution of wealth as well as the large population of young men are factors likely to increase conflict. Increased government spending on military hardware is a factor that has been shown to increase the risk of conflict too. The ability to attract skilled manpower back is also useful in speeding up recovery. In Uganda’s case, we are more efficient at haemorrhaging skilled manpower!You stated that you believe that we are not at risk of war -I would say you are wrong. everything suggests that we are. The gap between the haves and the have nots, the impunity and corruption, the nepotism and cronism are features we share with all of the noth African countrie recently visited by the jasmine train. An oppressive and abusive government is a very effcient catalyst for conflict and a recruiting agent for the enemy.

  9. David William Rukanshonga

    May 22, 2011 at 07:37

    @Nina. Hmmm, I know that love letter that was well written and well thought was meant for Drew’s eyes only but being the peeping Tom kinda guy, I thought I should budge in and shed a bit of light on your points and perhaps ask you a question or two.

    You say the NRM of 2011 would instead arrest or fight the NRM of 86??? Well, in 86 I was a rye old who was just about to join secondary and I was among the few hundreds who descended and gathered at the parliamentary buildings to witness M7 being sworn in with my late dad.

    He worked at the parliamentary buildings which housed the ministry of foreign affairs then and had been employed there since Amin’s regime, Obote II and served a few years for the current regime.

    Much as I was a kid who hadn’t officially turned 14 as my birthday is in Septembers, I remember a few of M7’s words in his speech. The promises, the vision etc and though my dad was a staunch UPC man, I remember him praising M7 for the well articulated speech, plans and vision M7 had for the country. He further went to say that “I think this man will do a good job for the country”. He sounds intelligent and wise. Little did he know he was praising a con man if I may put it point blank.

    In his speech and many other speeches that followed during his first few years, your uncle kagu mentioned something to do with a ten point program to help the economy grow and make all Ugandans self reliant. He branded the west as blood suckers and greedy whose economies partly relied on our natural resources looted indirectly from us or for which they paid us peanuts and later sold them to us at exorbitant prices which were 4 or 5 times more than the price they’d paid initially.

    I remember in his many “siasa” speeches, he gave an example of how the British donated landrovers to us at no cost at all but dictated to us where and from whom to buy parts which in turn, they charged almost triple for those parts. He further went to say, it would be better if we bought those vehicles our selves and decided where and from whom to buy the parts. He also reasoned that they were imposing expensive vehicles on us yet we are a poor country that could do well with cheaper second hand cars for the east thus the halt on expensive Mercs from Germany that most ministers used during previous regimes and opting for cheaper Nissan Laurels for all ministers. (Remember them?)

    I also remember the barter trade story where he encouraged all Ugandans to grow crops, put aside some for domestic / self consumption and sell the rest to cooperatives who in turn would sell them overseas or exchange them for products that our industries couldn’t manufacture locally instead of wasting hard earned cash to pay for everything little thing such as salt and sugar which we were still importing from neighboring countries like Kenya. Govt promoted the idea by rigorously advertising and educating masses on TV and radio everyday. Govt also gave seeds to people to grow and he promised to put tractors and district headquarters for people to hire at very low and affordable costs.

    Today, its Sarah Buganzi and a few other entrepreneurs out there buying and selling those seeds to people. The money that could have been used to buy tractors and assist in farming crops (which is our main source of revenue), he his buying jets to show off at inauguration ceremonies (which happen once every five years), independence day celebrations, which happens once a year and perhaps that dreadful date of Jan 26. The rest of the 363 days, they’ll just be parked and gather dust at the old airport while at the same time, millions of peasants tax money will be used to pay the “expatriate” pilots who fly them heavily every month while they wait for those 3 special days to arrive.

    I remember him mentioning that the bed on which he sleeps on in state house was made at katwe, he drinks locally processed coffee and drinks from a TUMPECO mug. He suggested Ugandans assist govt through cost sharing especially at Mulago hospital since govt didn’t have enough funds to buy all drugs needed and equipment for the hospital’s up keep.

    Today, M7 takes his daughters to deliver in Germany with a private jet at a cost of 350,000 US$ of tax payers money because “he can’t risk his daughter’s health” and because there no drugs and proper equipment at Mulago and other govt hospitals.

    I remember reading a story a few weeks ago about some guy who lost his dear wife because the hospital didn’t some equipment needed to use during the operation. He was told by the specialist (who was supposed to do the operation on his wife) to raise Ug. Shs 150,000 of which he only managed to raise about 120,000 and that led to his wife’s loss of life.

    You also said that Obote promoted his tribes men like Smith Upon Acak instead of more experienced officers like Bazilio etc. What experience does Muhoozi have to head up such a crucial and sensitive battalion as well as the PPU? I don’t want to sound tribalistic but of all the army officers with the rank of general, apart for J J Odongo and Katumba Wamala, who else isn’t a Bahima which is M7’s tribe?

    You talked of “entebe ewooma”, its true but let me remind you, perhaps you were still a kid in 86 when your uncle came in power. I vividly remember him saying that one of the mainly reasons democracy fails in Africa is because of leaders who want to cling on power forever and over stay their welcome. He further said that he only wanted 2 years to implement his 10 point program then relinquish power and hold “free and fair elections.” No sooner had he said that, the 2 years elapsed. He asked for a further 3, then 5 then eventually abolishing all political party’s.

    This meant Uganda was now a one party state and no one would question when he was going to leave and hold the elections as promised. In the mean time, he built his NRM brand at the expense of DP, UPC and other parties by ridiculing their leaders and constantly telling Ugandans how no other party or person was capable enough to lead the country apart from him. The ten point program (which I doubt he still remembers any point) disappeared in thin air and he then reintroduced multi party politics but constantly rigged his way back to the highest office in the land.

    You say, Obote quashed the first constitution and replaced with something as good as one of your face book notes. I and many Ugandans agree with you and that’s why everyone supported the idea of a new constitution. In fact he (M7) himself said that the then constitution was written by one man (Obote) and not by all Ugandans thus the need for a new one written with suggestions and ideas of all Ugandans which everyone should respect and never change. No sooner had it been accepted by all Ugandans, that greed kicked in and he quickly sent his balebeesi to hand over brown envelopes to greedy clowns and peasants purporting to represent the people in parliament to pass the motion of changing it.

    Now tell me, which M7 would arrest the other, the visionary man of 86 or the greedy heartless and self centered thug of 2011?

  10. Twino Speaks

    May 23, 2011 at 11:30

    My top five ‘issues’ from Nina’s letters.

    By David Bikaako

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    1.Nina, I see why you would prefer ‘ekintu’ to refer to ‘Uganda’ or even the NRM. Like Grace Ssuna points out eslewhere, the word is used differently and you know this. You know that it used in relation to that ‘small’ group, clique, or circle of individuals and families that appear to have benefitted disproportionately from the current government – with the good jobs, contracts, wealth, power and influence etc. Please do not spin a word that has grown ‘organically’ to reflect genuine concern about the government’s use of power to reward family and friends.

    2. I note from your third letter that you were not keen on the restoration of the multi-party political system in the first place. Alarmingly, this is very much reflected in some of the arguments and assertions you make – reading some of them like ‘parties are still in the 1960’s mindset of name calling..,’ ‘parties in Africa do not focus on issues but ties between kith and kin..’ is really like a return to NRM’s early years.

    Surely, even in Uganda, it is many years now since we ‘reached’ the view or consensus that parties in themselves are not the problem, they are simply the ‘vehicle’ through which we wish to identify and organise ourselves politically. The issue has always been and remains our ‘political culture’ of incompetence/mediocrity in public life, arrogance, intolerance, antagonism etc. (Just take a look at your government’s response to the walk2work protest!). Let’s not return to confusing the deficits in our ‘political culture’ with the merits or demerits of political parties. The deficits will remain even if we returned to your preferred ‘individual merit ‘system.

    3. I laughed at your little tirade in letter 3 against what you see as Drew’s ‘baffling’ stance … “You don’t trust NRM, You don’t trust Besigye, you have no trust for any of the viewpoints that are out there..”, But then, I just can’t understand your assertion that Drew has “not attempted to create an alternate platform.” And that he is “content to speak on it but you can’t be bothered to work on it.” Nina, I know you have such an elevated opinion of Drew, and for good reason, but surely you are not expecting him to create some sort of political grouping or even party?

    Surely, there should be space, in any functional ‘political ecosystem’ for political practitioners, like yourself, and the non-practitioners, like Drew, but who choose to openly and honestly express their views? Or is it that you try to make the point that Drew should publish a ‘policy paper’ on the issues before he is taken seriously?

    Also, anyone who has followed Drew long enough on many of these online fora will no doubt know that there is perhaps not a more prolific ‘writer out there. He has generated more ideas and suggestions for those of you in power than anyone I know. I think the problem is that you are not listening attentively enough!

    4. I agree that one should expect much more from the opposition in terms of well-articulated positions and plans on the day-to-day problems facing the country. True, they need to raise their game so much more.

    I find though that you have no insight at all into the effect on the opposition/FDC of the ‘patronage state’ that your NRM has created over the last 25 years. Or if you have the insight, you conveniently tuck it away. My opinion is that the opposition is weak in-part because the NRM has literally sucked all the ‘oxygen’ out of the ‘political space.’ Look at how many of you in the NRM would potentially belong to a different political party if the ‘price’ of doing so was not so high. The ‘high price’ people have to pay to belong to the opposition is simply there for all to see – harassment, intimidation, no jobs, no business contracts etc. Tamale Mirundi’s view that it is all about ‘boolu contorolo’ is dishonest. That is only one variable. Even in football, ball control becomes effective in a context of fair rules and regulations, with a referee who ensures strict adherence by the teams. Sadly, in the opposition’s case, they have to play in a ‘game’ where even the referee has been bought off by the other team!

    Anyone who touts the most recent election result as some sort of measure of where the ‘opposition’ is at, in terms of its support or popularity, is simply deluded or being intellectually dishonest. The worry for you people should be that the opposition managed to get that percentage of the vote despite all the hurdles you put in their way. No wonder you guys got caught off-guard by the expressions of public support for walk2work protests and for Besigye on his recent return from Kenya. If the opposition isto get to the 1980 levels, that is 42% of the vote, as you point out in letter 1, then you guys are going to have to learn to compete fairly and ‘open up’ the space to them. Of course, this is not way means letting them play alone on the football field!

    5. I see that you highlight, without a sense of irony, the 1980 elections results whereby UPC ‘won’ with 73 MP’s of a 126 member legislature, I laughed loud at this. Just consider this – the NRM ‘won’ the most recent election with 263 (!) or a 375 (!) member legislature. Even population changes don’t account for this ‘massive growth.’ I came across a New Vision article recently which reported that “MPs to share Office Space” due to the creation of new districts and that an extension to the parliamentary buildings will have to be done soon!

    In the election post-mortem, we looked at some of the challenges faced by the opposition.

    I wrote thus (slightly edited): The opposition are beginning from a very low base in addition to the obstacles thrown their way. The FDC, created just 6 years ago (2004), managed to field parliamentary candidates for 49% (185 candidates) of the possible 377 parliamentary seats. Of course, the NRM fielded 100% but interestingly, UPC and DP, despite their woes, managed 34% (130 candidates); and 26% (99 candidates) respectively. The quality of these candidates or support from their central office is another matter.

    One issue that has not been highlighted enough, in this or other recent elections, is clearly the ‘gerrymandering’ by the NRM that has consistently taken place. Its effect has been massive, not only for the parliamentary but also for the presidential contests.

    The example that highlights this tinkering is of Betty Namboze, in Mukono. (Yes the Namboze you guys think is abusive.) In addition to the obscene amounts of money thrown at the electorate in Namboze’s Mukono, NRM was also able to neutralise her effect in another way – that is, cutting and slicing of her “constituency” a good number of times to benefit the NRM.

    You know that whereas at one point Nambooze would have represented “Mukono North” – an area with both urban and significant rural parts, this time she will only represent a tiny geographical area – Mukono Principality! The area that was carved off now forms the bulk of “Mukono North” – and apparently has only about 70,000 residents compared to 200,000 for the average constituency. And you guessed right, it was won by the NRM in the February 2011 election – Kibuule Ronald!

    Well, I looked at the numbers for both Mukono Municipality and Mukono North and they were telling – Betty had 26,184 votes which won her Mukono Principality. Her DP colleague in Mukono North had 1,200 votes, giving a total DP vote in both of 27,384. NRM’s Kibuule won Mukono North with 13,343, and his NRM colleague who lost to Betty in the Principality got 12,444, giving a total of 26,787. Actually, Betty’s vote alone almost equals NRM’s in both constituencies. But, thanks to gerrymandering, the NRM have an extra MP in the area.

    This cutting and splicing has been repeated in many areas – in Buganda, whose importance NRM understands well, constituencies have increased from 14 (1986) to 80 (2011)?. Nationally, we see that parliamentary seats have increased from 76 (1986) to 377 (2011)! Any wonder why the FDC, DP, or UPC are failing to field candidates for every seat – it is hard to keep up!

    Apparently, the effect of this cutting and splicing of constituencies has been looked at in a study ACODE. Even though there is no guarantee that Museveni/NRM would win in the newly created constituencies, he/they have been the biggest beneficiary. Of the new constituencies created before the election in 1996, Museveni won 89.2 per cent of the vote against his national average of 74.3 per cent.

    Of course, a separate but closely related issue is the creation of new districts. From 33 in 2006, to 112 in 2011. In the last ten years alone, 52 new districts created, ostensibly for better service delivery, but really it is all politics, patronage and pork barrelling. Apparently, the ACODE study has shown that in 2006, Museveni won 73.6 per cent in the new districts he created, against his Ugandan average of 59.3 per cent. It would appear this time, 2011, he secured nearer 100% in the districts he created – much higher than his national average of 69%. He lost only Nwoya district to Mao, and Amolatar to Besigye.

    Lets not kid ourselves, this is a bigger problem than we may be highlighting. It is impossible to have a fair contest in such a context

  11. Twino Speaks

    May 23, 2011 at 11:33

    Dear David: Return to sender with comments. (A few suggestions for the IPOD)

    By Nina Mbabazi on Monday, May 23, 2011

    Dear David,

    Thank you for the information that you have given here. What I find most interesting is the ACODE study quoted by you. In this study you say that there is a direct co-relation between gerrymandering and NRM Presidential candidates score in the district. Can you send me a copy please? I would have also liked to hear members or leaders in the political parties make a case for reviewing the law on creation of administrative units, but so far nobody has. Why is that I wonder? I wish you could pass on your love for reading to them. They can sense something is smelling in Rome but they don’t bother to find out what exactly. You know research is one of the key’s to running a good team.

    I would like to give an example of un-researched thinking and how it affects the perceptions of everyday people. Someone asked me recently why I am showing signs of leaving the NRM and why I am acting “disgruntled”. Of course, I laughed it off and then sat the person down and started explaining to them in a language that I knew they would understand, the true meaning of Multiparty politics. I will explain your points the same way.

    See I believe that these people who were advocating for Multiparty did so without understanding that in a multi party setting, you must also define the ground rules of the game and it is not just about constituencies, leadership positions, election days, constituency sizes, age of voters, names of voters, etc. Tamale Mirundi as you rightly asserted talked about Ball control which is but ONE element. But it is really about boolo control when you hit the pitch, but back to basis because if a pitch has ditches in it, nobody can play.

    The reality is, politics is like the Premier League. You have twenty teams and beautiful stadiums. If you end up at the bottom you are relegated to an inferior league. The goal is to end up at number one. So the first rule is to define who the 20 teams are and we do that by a score chart. This has been done by National Electoral Commission which registered the political parties or football teams as we know them.

    After a football team is selected for the league, they define their team. It has the owners (members) who have vested interest; it has the Coach who is the KEY person in the team; it has the captain, mid fielders, goal keeper, strikers, defenders, etc. These in political party speak are the leadership of the party and the political players that become the face of the team. As you rightly pointed out NRM filled its team 100%, FDC 49%, UPC 34% and DP 26%. Already judging by the team composition, NRM was going to come out number 1. You can’t play on pitch without filling the whole team. NRM even has reserve players sitting on the side as substitutes so its team had over 100% + subscription.

    Now, Liverpool is the oldest Premier League team right? I am told that the powerful teams at the beginning of the league were Liverpool and Newcastle. The older generation supports Liverpool and Newcastle; quite similar to our politics here don’t you think?

    But let us move to Manchester United the most successful team. By the way, Alex Ferguson has been leading the team since 1986 even though he has bad manners, the foulest mouth and requires a bleech rinse. Listerine can’t work on the man, phew! You have heard him cuss and swear? I digress; where were we?

    After the players are selected by the coach, he starts to test them in different positions to see how they work (that is if the scouts who found them were not so sure of where their talent was), so he will decide who is midfield and who is goal keeper. They will then train intensely to ensure that the team comes together and that they understand the various tactics and signs from him. This training in political party is the five years between each election.

    Through the game, I see the coach making all sorts of signs for players to this differently and play differently. The Coach has an assistant coach who does coaching but really he sits and watched video of his team all the time and checks out their strengths and weaknesses. But the team has to work with an off team crew as well like the physiotherapist, the chefs, the strategists, the scouts who find new talent, etc

    This in multiparty politics is simple. There are those who appear in the limelight, those who work from the back, those who do strategy, those who do research to allow the strategists to work.

    Manchester United has shown that they are the most powerful team because they do all these well. They also have the money to do all this and this comes from people who are investing in them hoping to make money off their sweat. In political parties, you must build a base of funders.

    The political parties have normally gotten money from abroad which is illegal and is not constant so, they are not able to build a strong team. They have also accused NRM of using government resources but they don’t come down hard on them because they hope that when they take over, they will also dip their hands into the kitty so there is no incentive to curtail this vice.

    If political parties want to seriously grow they have to take a firm stand against this and have a thorough investigation done by independent sources who are not the electoral commission. They have to also get serious about setting funding targets.

    You have heard of other countries producing a separate ethics body that monitors political parties with neutral and respectable members of society. So they separate the electioneering body and the monitoring body. Anyway, those are some solutions.

    When the strategists develop a plan for the team, one group goes out to sell that plan so that they can get funding. I recall when strategists developed plans to sell T-shirts and now Premier league merchandising is making clubs so much money so that they can pay their players more and scout for the best talent worldwide.

    Political parties need to start operating like corporate bodies but when that happens you need an ethics body to control the lobbists. You see, every advancement brings its own problems. Forget political propaganda. It is only useful for an election year. You must walk the talk.

    So back to the coach. Have you noticed how Alex Ferguson has managed to get the best out of all his players even putting on Katebe those who feel so hot? For a political party to be successful, the leader has to be focused and clear on who does what. That will prevent intrigue, this tribalism nonsense of ring fencing specific positions for specific tribes, etc.

    All members of the team will know their place and the coach will tell them why they are where they are. What happens if say a midfielder starts to think he is striker, or defender? The team will fall apart.

    In 2006, I must confess, all political parties didn’t follow this principle, you saw MPs as soon as they swore in not wanting to listen to Kiiza Besigye, NRM also ignoring party structures, etc. In 2011, if the stories in the media are to be believed, then Kizza Besigye and Musumba selecting their candidate for leader of opposition, it means they are beginning to see their weaknesses and are beginning to think in group collective. Very good trend for political party growth and shows all is not lost.

    See, Liverpool fell from the top because they had a bad coach and other better coaches had come along who were able to pull less popular teams together, hence the emergence of Chelsea and Manchester United. Political parties need to give their parties time to get the best coaches and best everything. A good coach with bad players is a losing team. Good players with a bad coach is a losing team. If we focus on the game, one day you shall see the ones with vested interests sacking the coaches when they fail to bring in the money.

    In short, if we look at the football pitch right now, you say it is skewed. Let me agree with you for arguments sake. So if it is skewed, what are you going to do about it? Drew has chosen the option of just being a fan of football (Uganda) and he reserves his right to stand in the rows and shout when his team is messing up or if he is neutral, he just shouts how they are all messing up. Of course where he is sitting, the neighbor might be from the other side, so they shout it in a civilized manner so that they don’t punch each other. You might want to think of penalties for players who use bad language on the pitch like Wayne Rooney.

    At the end of the game, the fans go and have a pint together; they are after all football (Uganda) fans. So, shouting on the side does not mean someone is disgruntled. It just means they are sitting at an elevated point and can see the game from a better view than you who is on the pitch and tell me, don’t all football teams depend on their fans?

    Now, as a football (Uganda) fan, can we all tell our teams what they are doing wrong so that maybe when they go to the Inter Party forum, they can try to level the playing field and we all enjoy the football?

    If this is a patronage state, what are you going to do about it at the IPOD? If you are disgusted with what you perceive as “ekintu” politics, what will you do about it? If political parties that are the vehicle (football team) are the problem, what are you going to do about it? Nobody is expecting you to create a political party unless you want to and if you want you, it is your right; but who told you voicing your opinion and working on it means you will be creating a new party?

    Are you saying change shall come only when you create a new party? Cool! The Premier League has 20 teams, we have room for all kinds of parties. Why don’t you allow Drew to publish his policy paper and we see if indeed our government doesn’t think. He is after all shouting from the stadium maybe he has seek a technique to win that the coach didn’t see?

    Stop blaming NRM for the so called “hurdles” that have been put in the way. You sound like you are suffering from battered wife syndrome. She gets beaten and she doesn’t want to leave. Well if you want to stay, fight back.

    It is after all allowed in a multi party setting. For me who may sound disgruntled to some, I reserve my right to sit in the stadium and shout suggestions to sides and if they don’t listen, I will buy a vuvuzela. If that doesn’t work, I will buy a public address system or go into the commentators stall unannounced. Agreed?

  12. Twino Speaks

    May 23, 2011 at 13:31

    David Bikaako responds:

    … a quick note to Nina!

    Monday, May 23, 2011

    Dear Nina,

    I knew you wouldn’t disappoint but frankly, whilst I enjoyed the football ‘analogy’ taken to the extreme, I would have wished for a much more direct response to some of the issues. Seeing that yours is a tactic of ‘glossing’ over it all, I will do the same and keep this note brief.

    I thought I should grant your wish and avail one of the studies that deal with the matters I raised in my letter. It will not be the ACODE one, because I am sure their offices in Kamwokya can’t be too far from where you are. Grab a cab and speak to them directly. The one attached is a lot more robust, and I am hoping that when you have read it you might want to edit your earlier letter to me? .. Elliot Green (2005) Patronage, District Creation and Reform in Uganda, Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics.

    Something else, as you read Elliot’s paper, please bear in mind that it uses figures on Districts from 2005/6, six years ago. Since then, the creation of districts has gone on unabated. We are at 112 now?

    By the way Nina, for the avoidance of doubt, I have nothing to do with IPOD (?). Do you not have their address? If not, then maybe you should try your security guys, they usually have the telephone and contact details of the IPOD guys. And I don’t mean that in a bad way.

    Also, if I am going to engage you on some of these matters, I prefer that we progress things rather than run on the same spot. You see, a ‘discussion’ should be ‘a dialog between people in which the participants that are willing to alter their position if it makes sense to do so.’ My good friend Drew, taught me the important of this. If you agree to this principle, then attached is a simple chart – prepared very helpfully by a one James – that should guide us.

    By all means give me a shout when you have finished with the reading. In the meantime I will return to my chores!

  13. Twino Speaks

    May 23, 2011 at 13:37

    Drew Ddembe adds onto David Bikaako’s posts:

    On the manipulation of districts, a recent example in the Red Pepper is pertinent. While the Red Pepper is not my usual source of information, it occasionally has some accurate reports.

    “It is stated that a meeting was a few days ago summoned by Kigongo to discuss this matter (internal bickering among Kibaale MPs which led to the downfall of former Kibaale woman MP Juliet Kabonesa). Those in the meeting included Minister Matia Kasaija, MP Bakeine, Kabonesa, MP-elect Nabbanja among others. It was then agreed that a new district called Kakumiro be created to cater for Kabonesa’s return and the area MPs agreed not to fight again.”

    The second example is of Saleh and Nakaseke district. In 2010 in anticipation of Salim Saleh standing for parliament, Nakaseke was split into two constituencies effectively splitting it into a soft district of Bahima cattle keepers within Buganda for Saleh.

    Saleh then indicated his intention to stand. He subsequently pulled out ostensibly due to local wrangles.

    These above two examples are some of many that suggest a deliberate gerrymandering of constituencies to ensure that the NRM has a majority of MP’s in parliament.

    The fact that the districts and the constitutencies themselves make no sense is even more evidence.

    The fact that these new districts almost always return an NRM candidate as well as the fact that wherever there is a powerful anti NRM candidate there is a new district formed as in the example of Nambooze in Mukono is even more evidence that the creation of new districts is motivated by nothing other than political goals.

    Of course the fact that Museveni himself promises and grants these districts for political reasons rather than administrative reasons then the technocrats have to scramble around to form them again suggests gerrymandering.


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