Archive for November, 2014

NAMBOOLE: Dark skies over Namboole Threatening to rain.

NAMBOOLE STADIUM: Dark skies over Namboole Threatening to rain. Photo by Shawn Mubiru

The traffic leading to Namboole was normal and the usual hype of fans coming from all parts of the country was absent, but for a real fan the Togo loss takes nothing not your loyal to Uganda Cranes. Yours truly punched his phone maths and got his buddies to the stadium and made it count. With the gloomy skies over Kireka and Bweyogerere, that wasn’t a reason for us to login no show, I told my buddies that was the reason we needed to show that we were indeed The Cranes and we dared the rain to come down on us in the name of those three points. I believe that the dark skies also contributed to some fans’ absence from Namboole as the boys played their lungs and hearts out.

UGANDA Vs GHANA: Dark Skies Over Namboole Stadium

UGANDA Vs GHANA: Dark Skies Over Namboole Stadium Photo by Shawn Mubiru

I remember when I was a fully signed WAMA FC player in the first divisi,on back then in Jinja coach Kirya used to tell us boys! You got die a little in order for us as a team to be able to take all three home. The animated Micho on the touchline all the 90 minutes through his actions and shouting at them boys demonstrated to me that he wanted them to die a little during this do or die game. The boys did die a little!

As a nation, we ought to look back and know that 1978 is truly a whole lot of history to ignore as a nation. We need to catch with 1978 and get to ask ourselves what manner of men managed to play in the Africa Nations Cup finals. What was their resolve and mission? Why has it taken us 35 years to qualify for the biggest tournament on the continent? Okay put that aside, yesterday was a memorable day in our football history as a country. The fans that were at Namboole sang, danced from the first minute to the end of the end.

I would like to say that our boys played like Champions and at this moment the Nile Breweries Limited cheque on the Nile Special brand has truly been earned, behind me was the Airtel Advert in hot red reading “Together We Can” to me who understands the power of branding and winning the loyalty of the fans to these brands saw the real moment for the brands that associate with Ugandan football. But Football branding still lacks in our nation this is something that still needs a lot of thoughts and brainstorming in marketing teams of the brands that are involved in our game.

The three points did not come alone, but brought in jubilation all over the stadium. For you who were at the stadium I know have different short videos and photos, but here I am sharing a Uganda Cranes Lady fan who danced Chameleon’s Wale Wale song with all his booty, heart and strength.

As we look to beating Guinea to our qualification to Equatorial Guinea next year AFCON2015 our national team needs to maintain the same attitude and know that we are champions and champions never rest until they have the crown.

National Consultation on Free and Fair Elections' Poster.

National Consultation on Free and Fair Elections’ Poster.

The discussion of Free and Fair Elections that started as regional consultative meetings has culminated into a National Consultation on Free and Fair Elections.

On 12th November 2014, at Hotel Africana the conveners of the process addressed a huge media presence in which the National Consultation on Free and Fair Elections was unveiled to the people of Uganda. According Crispy Kaheru, of Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda, the Coordinator of the National Consultation, the regional forums have been conducted for two months during which over 3,000 leaders from across the political, religious, and professional divide among other affiliations united as Ugandans to facilitate a discussion about the future of Uganda.

Conveners of the National Consultation on Free and Fair Elections Crispy Kaheru (L), Fr Gaetano Batanyenda (C) and Ms Lina Zedriga Waru address the Media PHOTO BY DOMINIC BUKENYA (Daily Monitor)

Conveners of the National Consultation on Free and Fair Elections Crispy Kaheru (L), Fr Gaetano Batanyenda (C) and Ms Lina Zedriga Waru address the Media PHOTO BY DOMINIC BUKENYA (Daily Monitor).

During these regional meetings, it was evident that men, women, youth and children did set aside their differences in favor of putting Uganda first. For instance in Kigezi, I noted the people’s resilience which was manifested through a school choir that recited a poem and sang a song that left many of them emotional about the Uganda they want for all.

The National Consultation is expected to be graced by over 1,000 delegates representing all political parties, labour movements, trade unions, academia, women, youth, religious affiliations, the business community and civil society organizations across the country. The three day event which scheduled to take place from the 24th to 26th November 2014 at Hotel Africana is expected to be opened by the President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

Top on the agenda of the National Consultation is deliberation on a wide range of constitutional and electoral reforms whose need cannot be over emphasized owing to the recurrence of this discussion in many different meetings without logical conclusion. According to Father Batanyenda Gaetano, “This is a very important process for our country, things have been done for us, and this is the time for us to do things by ourselves.”

The Conveners of the National Consultation believe that this event will generate consensus among the citizens to fortify a logical way forward for free and fair elections in Uganda.

It is imperative to note that the National Consultation comes at a very opportune moment, at the epitome of the launch of the Citizens’ Manifesto, the roll out of the Free and Fair Elections Campaign, the interparty Political Organization dialogue and now the cabinet matrix on the electoral and constitutional reforms. In essence, this national consultation offers another stage for Uganda to sit down and create a meaningful discussion that might usher in a new dawn in the history of Uganda.

The story of the controversial 1980 general elections has been told for long enough. Even after the promulgation of the 1995 Constitution, the general elections held since then have been contentious with others resulting into rigorous court battles. Several reports have qualified our general elections to have fallen short of being free and fair. However, instead of Ugandans learning from their mistakes and resolving not to repeat them, the irregularities have been swept under the carpet and life has moved on.

By and large, the National Consultation is a major success to all Ugandans that generated this idea and how other players will embrace it is a debate for another day. Even as Uganda’s history has been characterized by political and constitutional instability, a new page has been opened to facilitate a discussion about our future. A peaceful transition is possible if it is managed by competent systems some of which will be realized through constitutional and electoral reforms.

The concept of internal democracy within our political parties has been admired but has not been practiced. Analysts have observed that if our political parties still lack internal democracy then their party flaws will affect the nation. A case in point is the recent storm within the National Resistance Movement Organization which many attribute to lack of internal democracy. If party members cannot agree on their flag bearers for different leadership positions, how then will they conform to democratic governance principles when it comes to general elections? This is one of the reasons for which the National Consultation will address political party internal democracy as a cardinal element for the democratization of Uganda as a nation.

In order for efficient management of elections and better performance of constitutional commissions, Ugandans want a competitive recruitment process that emphasizes meritocracy and impartiality in building our country. Many Ugandans lost faith in Electoral Commission steered by the Eng. Dr. Badru Kiggundu and they believe that should change. It is my humble belief that even if Eng. Dr. Kiggundu was removed today and the same electoral rules were maintained, a new Chairperson of the Electoral Commission would still make the same mistakes.

Uganda deserves a new competent and independent electoral management system to restore faith in the Electoral process and to allow the people of Uganda to freely exercise the power to choose who to govern them and how they should be governed. Our 1995 Constitution provides the avenue for exercising that power and that is through regular free and fair elections. In our current electoral system, it is not even criminal to disfranchise a citizen through deletion from the national voter register. It should be our concern that every 18 year old is given an opportunity to be registered as a voter and once registered, only death should be the basis for  striking off a voter from the register. In that regard, the citizens are demanding for an accurate Voters’ Register that is permanently displayed and available to all stakeholders.

Similarly, the appointment of election management staff should be streamlined and made transparent since these are at the forefront of managing the exercise of our power to choose leaders.

I have said it on many occasions that a country without an independent legislature and judiciary is not a government, but only a regime that is impersonating the role of a legitimate government. Without independence of these arms of government there is no governance.  The National Consultation has a whole set of reforms that citizens want and among these is the need to ensure effective redistribution of power among the agencies of state and building a strong system of checks, balances and accountability.

Not long ago the spokesperson of our national army called upon media houses to desist from involving the army in partisan matters. But I have asked myself what is the army doing in a partisan parliament, are they guiding the elected MPs on how to conduct business or they are engaging in partisan debate? Many Ugandans want the role of the military in our politics redefined. Personally I believe that our army has no space in partisan discussion.

In recent times, our politics has been described as the ‘Tuli Mu Kintu’ (We are in the system) and now it has been elevated to the ‘Pilao’ politics. Service delivery has been transformed into service diversionary. When citizens are deprived of their rights to service delivery, they resort to being beggars in their own country while the leaders qualify themselves as the providers or givers. This trend has monetized our politics and made politics a lucrative business at the expense of service delivery. The monetization of politics also saw Uganda’s economy come to its knees after the 2011 general elections that were followed by catastrophic inflation. Inflationary pressures resulted in high commodity prices and interest rates and it is basically the common man who could not afford some basic commodities. Therefore there is a need to adopt rules that prevent the misuse and/or misappropriation of (public) funds in our elections and other important political processes.

The three day national consultation is set to address electoral and constitutional reforms. According to its conveners; the main outcome of the National Consultation will be the Citizens’ Compact on Free and Fair Elections, which will contain the citizens’ agreement on the way forward. The Compact will be presented to the Parliament of Uganda for enactment into legislation. During Parliament’s Plenary session on 11/11/2014, the Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Hon. Kahinda Otafiire said that the 21st November 2014 is the deadline for all reforms to be presented to Parliament and whether the citizens’ proposals will not be late Father Batanyenda said that this process of the National Consultation is too important to be excluded from the proposed constitutional amendments otherwise who will they be doing the amendments for?

Every citizen becomes proud once they are given a favorable environment to do their work and develop their nation. Lao Tzu said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and the National Consultation on Free and Fair elections is one step towards creating favorable environment for peace, sustainable development and democratic governance in Uganda.

Youth Activists from Political parties and Civil Societies address after addressing the press.

Youth Activists from Political parties and Civil Society Organizations after addressing the press.

11 NOVEMBER, 2014

|1000 TO 1200HRS|

1 Katonga, Kampala, Uganda

First off, we would like to profusely thank our colleagues, friends and fellow citizens from the Fourth Estate for graciously honouring our invitation to this briefing.

Before you this morning are youthful Ugandan men and women from various civil society organizations, political parties, tertiary institutions, religious affiliations, professions and vocations.

We have convened this media briefing for two reasons:

  1. To address the nation on a matter of a fellow citizen, friend and colleague, Mr Sam Mugumya;
  2. To demand an explanation from the Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs and from the Ugandan diplomatic corps that is resident in the DRC concerning our fellow citizen;
  3. To express our unshakeable solidarity with Mr. Sam Mugumya and, in view of the failure to arraign him in a court of competent jurisdiction for formal charges, demand his immediate and unconditional release.

Having given the above pointers, we will now explain ourselves in detail:

News of the arrest and detention was first broken by Lt. Col Paddy Ankunda the Army and UPDF Spokesman, who in a TV interview charged, prosecuted and summarily convicted Mugumya for subversive activities, details of which he did not provide. Days later, Lt. Col. Ankunda changed his narrative and stated that the UPDF was not in possession of Mugumya and was instead waiting for him to be extradited to Uganda by the Congolese authorities.

Yesterday, the Director of the Government Media Centre, Mr. Ofwono Opondo uploaded an exclusive image of a bare-chested Sam Mugumya, purportedly under detention in the DRC.

Since when did announcing the arrest and/or detention of a citizen in another country become the prerogative of the UPDF and why is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conspicuously silent about this matter?

Where is Maj. James Kinobe, the Ugandan ambassador to Kinshasa in all this?

To the Congolese diplomatic corps resident in Uganda, why hasn’t the Government of the DRC confirmed the arrest and/or detention?

And finally, how did Ofwono Opondo access such an exclusive image and what proof do we have that our fellow citizen is actually in the DRC?

It is evident from our questions that the actions and omissions of the Government of Uganda and the UPDF raise more questions than answers.

We will not relent from the demands we have made in the foregoing until Mr Sam Mugumya is either released or arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction.

As the youth of this country, we will never waver from defending our fellow citizens regardless of their political affiliation, religious profession, ethnic background or socioeconomic status…all persons are equal before and under the law. The presumption of innocence is a cardinal tenet of our criminal justice system and must be respected by government.

We demand answers to and action relating to Sam Mugumya by the relevant parties cited above.

Thank you for your audience.