Posts Tagged ‘Forum for Democratic Change’

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The long dry spell that has hit and affected Teso, Karamoja, Elgon, Busoga in eastern Uganda and other areas of the country has left many without food and water for themselves and their livestock. In Karamoja, we have lost both human and their livestock and in Isingiro families have migrated from their ancestral lands. The dry spell hit the country as early April 2016 and has left millions starving but with little relief interventions to help them survive.

Isingiro is an Agricultural economy based district and many call it the food basket of Ankole. According to Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperative economic profile, 97.1% of the Isingiro district population derives their livelihood from Agriculture. Isingiro district has an equatorial climate with minimum annual rainfall of 1,200mm and the rain season is normally in the months of March to April and September to November.

In November 2016, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Uganda’s opposition political party reached out to the people of Western Uganda in the district of Isingiro where many were migrating to neighboring districts in search of water sources for their livestock and food for themselves to prevail the dry spell that desolated their farms and garden left them with no option but to look for an option for their survival.

I spoke to the FDC Secretary of Mobilization Ms. Ingrid Turinawe and she confirmed to me that 2,000 bags of food were given to the people of Isingiro. This relief was received with gladness by the locals but left a bitter taste in the political mouth of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) leaders.

 

Enter Toroma, Katakwi.

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Following Forum for Democratic Change’s Teso Regional meeting where the party is evaluating itself after the 2016 Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government elections, the leadership had another stop over to make in the region and this had to be Toroma County in Katakwi. I read a Facebook post from Margaret Wokuri Madanda the Mbale District FDC Chairperson; “Off to Katakwi, where the FDC and the People’s Government will hand over food to the community.”

The day started well and that was like good music to my ears, having such a great intervention to be done in Toroma County was a good gesture until the Police and deployed to stop them from distributing this relief. It never hit me that they would stop anyone from receiving food that they are so much in need of until I watched videos of a charged and violent Police force against an angry and hungry population. There was an outburst of Social Media when pictures of Police blocking FDC leaders from giving the people of Toroma County food.

 

84 Year Old Ekilek Defies Police’s Live bullets and tear gas.

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The charged police on the orders of Regional Police Commander Francis Tumwesigye and the Resident District Commissioner Filbert Ocailap were not resting their cell phones, a move that confirmed that they were remote controlled by their superiors. Locals started running out of patience and an exchange between local leaders of the FDC and the Police went on and on. RPC Francis Tumwesigye gave an order to his men to disperse everyone and then live bullets were shot in the air, canes onto the bodies of the locals and tear gas fired all over the place.

When all this happened there was one brave man that defied and withstood all the threats. Mr Vincent Ekilek an 84-year-old from Oboguti village did not move an inch. His mission was to shake the hand of Dr Kizza Besigye which he did while there was heavy shooting and tear gas. He said; “I have been hungry for long and when I heard that Dr Kizza Besigye and FDC were coming to talk to us and give us some food I did not sleep, I woke up early to travel here and be able to get my share.”

All these statements would not change the minds of a charged Police they continued to disperse everyone, including 84-year-old Ekilek to go away from the Toroma County grounds. FDC leaders resorted to using MegaPhones to speak to the waiting locals because the public address system that was hired was confiscated by the police. Later on, Dr Kizza Besigye went to Toroma Health Center IV to visit those that were injured during the scuffle and the Police tried to stop him from entering, but he used another entry point to access the victims of Police Brutality.

After running battles, the leaders of FDC resolved to have food handed over to Citizen Relief Initiative (CRI) that was represented by retired Bishop Obaikol for storage until it can be distributed.

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My Take:

When citizens of any country are going through a challenge like this one that threatens their existence, it is imperative that a bipartisan approach is sought to solve the challenge for the good of the country. In times like these, the people of our country ought to be united as One people solve a common concern. This is when political differences are buried for a greater good. The Toroma Country violence against the peaceful and hunger stricken people was an abuse of the human right to life. Our constitution is charged to provide for the welfare of the citizens of the country.

This duty has been abused and the constitution has been abrogated. Going forward the Police should understand that the reason why Ugandans do not trust them is because they have reduced themselves to an NRM political tool used to settle political differences in the country.

Toroma in Pictures. (Ronald Muhinda)

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The Opening of EALA Plenary 5th meeting 4th session of the 3rd assembly in March 2016. Photo: EALA Website

East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is more of an Inter President affair! The summit discusses and decides on everything even without the involvement of EALA. The scramble for positions here in Kampala is a mere bread and butter issue for the winners, while the real issues that affect citizens in the region are swept and the carpet. I bet General Mugisha Muntu the Forum for Democratic Change party President know this better than anyone else because he was at the EALA. The scramble for these positions in political parties is reduced to rewarding loyal cadres rather than looking at what the country’s priorities and goals in this treaty that was signed. But the real struggle for Forum for Democratic Change is to take power and change the lives of all Ugandans.

Our sole purpose in sacrificing our time and resources has been invested in making sure that we defend the dignity of every Ugandan, expand opportunity, build an economy that creates jobs but also serves and rebuilds households that is the dream some of us are committed to not the scramble for a few jobs to make a small class happy and while millions of Ugandans starve, bleed to death in hospitals and health centres and others are rendered homeless and destitute in their own country.

The Park yard market eviction is before us and as a party that Ugandans have invested in we must show real cause in defending their plight. Our job lies in securing individual freedoms and liberties that are the foundation of real prosperity and socio-economic transformation cannot be achieved by giving up and cutting deals for positions but by standing up to the tormentors and telling his subjects and tools that the problem is real, that there will not be rest unless there are cardinal solutions that change lives of Ugandans. There is no way we can set foot to defend Uganda in the international and regional arenas when at home everyone is bleeding. We must deal with our domestic problems and find solutions for them.

Our job then is to stop the bleeding and participate in processes that can bring real healing and hope that is what our job is not to scramble for survival tactics we must show that we are a selfless breed of leaders who put the people at the centre of this struggle for our dignity.

The challenge that the EALA races continues to show is that Ugandans are divided and this image should be out there at Arusha let no one participate in going and pretending that everything is okay, Forum for Democratic Change’s absence at EALA is the real fundamental divide that Museveni brought to Uganda and this is the reality that his regime cannot follow simple rules and court judgements.

We are who we are until we work hard here at home to change that. Those who are aspiring to go to EALA should know one thing there isn’t a thing in Arusha for them to do, but it will be a holiday kind of for all that go there, I have never seen real policies enacted to solve problems that affect the citizens of this region, this integration is Presidential not for citizens across the region. It was Burundi would not have to bleed that long without a solution.

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October 3, 2016: Uganda Police Force blocks Forum for Democratic Change Party Offices ahead of Dr Kizza Besigye return in the country. Photo by Shawn Mubiru

 

Elections are an opportunity for the citizens of the world to appreciate those that have done well in their assignments in public offices to get re-elected or punish those that have failed to deliver as promised and expected by the electorate by voting them out of those offices. Elections put the voice of the citizen at the centre of policy formulation and implementation, but as we can see the adage of power belongs to the people in every constitution around the world especially in Africa it makes no sense anymore, elections are now rituals used by incumbents to usurp power at any cost. I will concentrate on Africa because this is where I call home and the problem has threatened peaceful handover of power and has now created dictators.

Elections no longer deliver the change for the citizens on the African continent, many countries stick with strong men or dictators as you may choose to call them, these men don’t believe that there is such a time when power can peacefully be handed over from themselves to another leader that successfully challenges the things as they are. That dream has not made sense to many of these strong men. These men prefer the power of the gun to the power of the people who come with the legitimacy to lead. They have continued to claim the popular mandate of the people but their heads are still hidden behind mean faced looking men with big guns, and armoured war trucks.

The story of our continent continues on with disappointed faces because of violence that dominates the rest of the positive side of this lovely motherland, because of greed and love for power.

We seem never to understand the lessons taken during the liberation struggles of our revolutionary men and women of our continent. We have failed as people to overcome greed that has contributed to the loss of the common good. We have forgotten that togetherness in societies led to growth and development we now practice divisions among each other and we have created classes within us and this has continued to undermine the  common good.

In my country Uganda leadership seems not to make sense at all to the led, those in positions of power seek to protect themselves from the ones they lead each day. Our Parliament now is the most guarded or secured institution in our country’s history. Gone are the days when you would easily walk to Parliament to catch the plenary of men and women who loved and did put Uganda first. Our electoral management system is still questionable by the political opposition and civil society that is why we have over 100 Parliamentary electoral petitions in the Court of appeal.

The 2014 National Consultation for Free and Fair raised a number question in our electoral system and the leadership, but the proposed then were all rejected by the Museveni administration.

In February 2016 Uganda went to elections, rejected by all they did not get a clean bill of health to declared them as called free and fair elections until now. Without discussing what really happened in the Presidential elections voices from different Civil Society groups under Women’s Movement are calling on the ‘appointing authority’ to give them a seat at the table so that they can take part in the same mess. With due respect, we have a problem with the way elections, the solution cannot be a new ‘saviour’ at Electoral Commission but reforming the entire management of our electoral system and how to conduct our elections. People should hate it or fear to talk about it, we have a rigged election in between us, we have a presidential candidate who is not free in his country. We have an illegitimate government armed against the people. The problems at hand can only go away when we are free  and choose to talk about the 2016 Presidential and Parliamentary election mess. We have to audit ourselves on what took place and forge a way forward that only puts Ugandans at the centre of all discussion making.

Uganda is heavily laden with a rigged election and a regime armed against its people. The future is bleak the economy is limping, social services are at its worst and with rampant corruption and an environment in a red alert.

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A police Officer manning Forum for Democratic Change’s gate the day Police Besieged the Party Headquarters on 19th February 2016. Photo by Shawn Mubiru

“Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives…The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.” Article 21, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948

If consent of the governed is the most fundamental concept of democracy, its most essential right is the right of citizens to choose their leaders in free, fair, and regular elections. Other rights are fundamental to democracy. Indeed, elections alone are insufficient to sustain it.

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Uganda is a nation built on Godly values, with a national anthem that praises the goodness of God and his blessings for us all and a national motto that puts God first in “For God and my Country.” With such immense declaration you would expect Uganda to be the godliest country of the world but instead, Uganda is overwhelmed by egos of her rulers since independence. (more…)