Posts Tagged ‘Ugandans’

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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.

Even as Rosa Whitaker is detached from the realities of the Ugandan people, she has miraculously made herself an expert on Uganda’s affairs.

To begin with, Whitaker needs to humbly disqualify herself from the position of an expert on Africa because her lack of knowledge and disinterest in the plight of the African in this case Ugandan people deny her the title. Unknown to her, the Ugandan voters braved long queues under the scotching sun or under heavy rains to choose their leader only to be denied of their victory. The aftermath of the general elections are a clear manifestation of what sham the election was.

Now in Whitaker choosing to rely on “officially tallied votes” and independent opinion polls to claim the election was not stolen is an insult to the Ugandan voters. If Whitaker cared to know, she would have informed herself that the tallying process was largely questioned for lack of transparency and the discontent with the tallied results is not hard to find if you search for it. For instance election materials were delayed in opposition strongholds with ill intention and many voters were denied the chance to vote or their vote was falsified in the tally but that does not matter to Whitaker. Perhaps it would have done Whitaker some good to study all the Election observers’ reports and also acquaint herself with the situation pertaining in Uganda before rushing to endorse the stolen election.

The people of Uganda have unresolved issues concerning the rule of law, human rights and governance of their country and that is why there are relentless calls for dialogue and reform. There would be no calls for change if the majority of the Ugandan people were happy with the breakdown of the social services amidst human rights violation, flagrant abuse of law and poor governance.

Whitaker seems to suggest that she knows what Ugandans voted for, apparently peace and stability. If Mr. Museveni had not overthrown a validly elected government in 1986, perhaps there would have been no political instability to talk of. He is the very one who having lost the 1980 election declared war on the legitimate government basing on mere allegations of vote rigging that have never been independently confirmed to date. Therefore Mr. Museveni’s claim of delivering peace and stability when he is the very one who caused the instability is self defeating. Aware that Uganda has never had a peaceful change of government, Ugandans rather largely voted for peaceful change of government since thirty years down the road; Mr. Museveni has not delivered the peaceful change of government that Ugandans deserves.

The ignorance of Whitaker needs to be put to rest. Dr. Kizza Besigye, the Opposition’s flag bearer has never expressly or impliedly threatened even in the slightest form to overthrow the regime through violence. It is for statements such as these that expose Whitaker’s sheer lack of knowledge on the situation in Uganda.

Personalising the fight against terrorism in Somalia and making it a Museveni issue is absurd. A peaceful Somalia is not a one man cause. Just as the Ugandan troops are fighting to pacify Somalia, so are the armed men and women of the Kenya Defence forces who are fighting as well to pacify the region. In any case it is the good will of the people of Uganda that has contributed to the accomplishment of the US interests in Somalia.

Whitaker was quick to criticise the American diplomats who followed the European Union and walked out on the inauguration of Mr. Museveni, whom she refers to as a respected African leader. Well, if the so called respected African leader commanded respect, then he would have conducted himself so respectfully that there would have been no need for the walk out. In all honesty, a verbal attack on one’s own invited guests using local dialect reeks of disrespect, should be frowned upon and is alien to the African culture and values. In Africa, we warmly welcome visitors but if for any reason they feel unwelcome they do not have to pretend and be hypocritical to keep up appearances. Thus the walk out was far from theatrics. Whitaker would have preferred that Bruce Wharton and Ambassador Debora Malac sit through an unwelcome environment, in simple terms to pretend that all is well, very hypocritical.

Whitaker ought to know the implications for a State to ratify a treaty. Uganda ratified the Rome Statute and the people of Uganda have never through Parliament declared that they want to get out of operations of the International Criminal Court. In fact Uganda handed over Dominic Ongwen, one of the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel leaders to the Court and he is currently being prosecuted in the same court for war crimes. If Uganda cooperated with the Court in that regard, why not cooperate with the Court when it comes to the Crimes against humanity that were committed in Darfur region of the Sudan? By sheltering Omar al-Bashir from the Court isn’t the so called respected African leader exhibiting double standards?

According to Whitaker when she was in government, she had explicit instructions to lobby African countries not to sign the Rome Statute. It seems she was not up to the task and largely failed in her job to lobby to the African countries because not just Uganda signed the Statute but a whole host of African countries.

For Whitaker’s information the walk out on Mr. Museveni’s inauguration was no insult to Africa and certainly not to Mr. Museveni. The lawyers have a saying that those who come to equity must come with clean hands, meaning if you want good to be done to you, do good. If you want fairness, be fair. So Mr. Museveni’s undesirable remarks squarely entitled him to the actions that followed.

The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda enacted in1995 mandates the Uganda Police Force to protect life and property as well as preserve law and order among other functions. Article 221 of the Constitution further directs the Uganda Police Force and any other police force to observe and respect human rights and freedoms in the performance of their functions.

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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…)

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.

Hon. Nathan Nandala-Mafabi Chairman BCU & MP Budadiri West

Hon. Nathan Nandala-Mafabi Chairman BCU & MP Budadiri West

  1. On behalf of Ugandans who value knowledge and on my own behalf, allow me to congratulate Hon Dr. Ezra Sabiti Suruma, for availing this sincere piece of knowledge to us. It takes a lot of wisdom, courage and thinking above -self to come out with such a damning and insightful writing if you are a member of the ruling party and an Economic Advisor to the President. Suruma, I salute you and hope that others will come out to give their candid opinions about the affairs in our country.
  2. This is a comment on chapter 17 “Oil: Blessing or Curse”. I will mention the areas I agree with the author then move on to give some other considerations about Uganda’s oil management.
  3. My first point of agreement is that indeed, Uganda’s unemployment and under employment levels are turning into a security threat and as Dr. Suruma’s statistics on students enrolment show, in five to seven years, if nothing is done, the situation could go out of hand. If 366,423 students completed national secondary program in 2010 and only half proceeded to post secondary, it means that about 183,211 youth entered the job market[1]. This number is then added to the thousands   who graduate every year but find no employment. In simple terms, we are talking about thousands of young people on the street every year. These energetic but idle youth pose a bigger threat similar to Al’ Shabab, yet, government continues paying lip service to productive sectors like agriculture that could absorb this labour.
  4. I agree with the author that the oil sector if well managed will create a lot of opportunities such as drivers, wielders, accountants and many others as listed by Dr. Suruma on pg 138[2]. Yet, as discussed, this will also come with other distortions as many people are likely to be excited over oil money. We draw the example from Gabon, where oil money has created a feeling that other menial jobs are below standards of the people of Gabon[3]. Artisan work is left to other African migrants from neighbouring states like Congo, Togo or Ghana. Also, while the per capita income of Equatorial Guinea rose from $ 368 in 1990 to over $2000 in 2000 as a result of oil, it is documented that the country slipped ten places  down the United Nations Human Development ranking[4] and the country’s   agriculture and manufacturing sectors  fell to less than two percent[5]
  5. On ‘who has the right to oil money’ I again totally agree with Dr. Suruma that some of this money must go directly to address the dehumanizing conditions in which our people have been condemned to live. Actually government should not wait for oil money to address the plight of the unemployed, people with disabilities, the terminally sick and all other vulnerable groups.  We should have started this yesterday so that oil money can only make a boast. The money that the President carries in bags and dolls out to his cronies during his internal travels must be put in a fund and given to the very deserving vulnerable people.
  6. Indeed, corruption and absorption capacity are big threats to our oil revenues. The raging Mukono/ Katosi saga is an eye opener of what would happen if over $2bilion was allocated to the infrastructure sector. But beyond poverty and income insecurity causing corruption as highlighted in the book, there are other underlying factors that the author fails to bring out. In Uganda, corruption is on the increase despite the extensive institutional mechanisms aimed at curtailing the vice because of the lack of will by those in power.  Uganda is now the second most corrupt country in East Africa after Burundi[6]
  7. Having noted the above, I would like to state that Dr. Suruma has written with a lot of reservations perhaps due to his position in government. I am more inclined to think that Uganda’s oil has already turning into a curse and I have reasons to think so.
  8. Countries like Norway whose citizenry has benefitted from oil and other mineral resources are very transparent. This is missing in Uganda. Much of the information about oil is held by very few people. The country is yet to sign the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) agreements. The minister for Energy has in several foras promised to do so but nothing has materialized. The other guiding pointer to this oil curse is to consider the institution and persons guarding the oil fields in the Albertan region. Is it the Uganda police or some other security entities and why?
  9. Also, good oil management has been exercised in democratic  countries like Botswana which is in contrast with the stark dictatorship in Uganda. Eventually, it has become a reality that whoever aspires for the top leadership of the country is treated as an enemy of the President! I laughed when I read on pg 145, Dr. Suruma saying, ‘The NRMs original philosophy rested on two pillars; anti sectarianism and anti totalitarianism[7]. Am sure Dr. Suruma would want to revise this sentence given the circumstances that have unfolded in the last five days. President Museveni has already emulated the late Umar Bongo, whose management of oil was done by his family and a few loyalists in State House. Before he passed away, the late Bongo acted like a village super chief, resolving disputes, intervening in students’ strikes and handing out cash![8]
  10. Remember why Hon. Ssekikubo, Hon. Niwagaba, Hon. Tinka and Hon. Nsereko were expelled because they raised governance issues in oil sector. Umeme contract renewed for 20 years, without due diligence by same Minister of Energy who approved the contract while a Civil servant. This is same person managing oil sector.
  11. The other issue that I felt Dr. Suruma should have addressed is the role of the international agencies in Uganda’s emerging oil sector. Many times, development partners, multi-nationals companies, the World Bank and IMF have ignored local voices demanding for democracy and instead chosen to entrench the dictators who serve their interests[9]. We know that while oil is a cause of conflict, external actors like Private Security organizations, mercenaries, International traders, armed suppliers and other powers pursuing strategic and economic interests have fueled these conflicts[10] . Is Uganda able to maneuver these international lobbyists with multi-layered interests to ensure that Ugandans benefit from the oil resource?
  12. I agree with Dr. Suruma’s call that the opposition should “stand shoulder to shoulder with government to maximize an opportunity that at best arises once in a life time”[11]. However, this can only be possible if government revisits its perspective and begins treating opposition like partners in this country rather than foes. If government allies with particular multinational companies to oppress the opposition, there is no way the opposition will not ally with another.
  13. In Conclusion, I agree that oil is a great opportunity for Ugandans which could lift many Ugandan lives from the tortuous unemployment and humiliating poverty levels. I also have agreed that in using proceeds from oil, we need to think beyond roads and dams and provide immediate needs to vulnerable groups in the country; and that there is need to strengthen capacity and fight corruption which pose a threat to the countries oil sector.
  14. I however think that given the increasing totalitarian tendencies exhibited by the President and his ruling class, there is no hope that Ugandans will benefit from the oil resource. I have highlighted that as a country, we need to be keen about multinational companies and lobbyists who often fuel internal conflict in oil resource countries for their selfish interests. I support the issue of transferring 50% directly to the population and putting 50% to support the budget.
  15. Once again, I thank Dr. Ezra Suruma for finding time to piece up this very enlightening book.

Nathan Nandala Mafabi

Chairman Bugisu Cooperative Union (BCU) 

MP Budadiri West

[1] Suruma E. Sabiti; Advancing The Ugandan Economy: A personal Account pg 135

[2]  Ibid pg 138

[3] Nicholas Shaxson (2007);  Poisoned Wells: The dirty politics of African  oil pg 66

[4]  Ibid pg 142

[5] Nicholas Shaxson (2007), Poisoned Wells: The Dirty Politics of African  Oil pg 142

[6]  http://www.google.co.ug/#q=corruption+index+2014

[7] Advancing  The Ugandan Economy: A personal account pg 145

[8] Shaxson  (2007), Poisoned Wells: The Dirty Politics of African Oil  pg 76

[9] Massey &May, (2010) Oil and War in Chad  in Southall Roger & Melber Henning  ; The Scramble for Africa, pg 223

[10]  Obi Cyril (2010), Scrambling for Oil in West Africa in Southall Roger & Melber Henning; The Scramble for Africa pg 199

[11]  Advancing The Ugandan Economy: A personal Account pg  146