Sometime back, I warned the country about Uganda reverting back to a catastrophic war. I did this far back in 2012, following the rampant murders in villages which were being stage managed by criminal state agents in order to frame some political leaders. Those who have short memories, however, tend to gain nothing from the lessons of history.
As many of you have noticed, serious instability is creeping back into the country. I see government trying to spin and down play these attacks going on around the country. In 1980s, the UPC government spent precious time trying to spin itself out of the NRA war. As they say, the rest is history. The spinnng did not stop NRA from winning that war.
This threat is real and we all need to take it seriously. Indeed, this time round, Ugandans have a choice to stop this creeping war. Those in government need to heed the call of the opposition groups and immediately introduce the desired changes, for example:
1. Mr Museveni Ruling himself out of the coming 2016 elections
2. Retiring his family clique from the Uganda military and other security services.
3. Creating a transitional arrangement to work on credible reforms which can lead to a free and fair election
4. Release all political prisoners incarcerated in various prisons, both civil, military and safe houses
5. He must enter into talks with all groups in the country to see how this creeping instability can be avoided and get a way forward on serious engagement with all groups, political, religious, cultural, farmers, investors, civil society and other stake holders. This means a national conference beyond politicians, for Uganda belongs to all.
6. Allow free movement and activities of political leaders from all parties in the country without delay
7. Withdraw UPDF from South Sudan to avoid serious destabilisation of Uganda and the region in general.
These demands have been put forward many times by the opposition and other leaders in the country, only to be met by arrogant ridicule from Mr Museveni.
THE PEOPLE ARE SACROSANCT AND ALL POWERFUL.
Country men and country women, we need to understand that if issues of governance are not handled well, they will lead to unnecessary bloodshed. No one should deceive you that Mr Museveni is too strong to be defeated. No government can defeat a popular resistance. It is easy to make Uganda ungovernable and quite unappetizing to those deceiving themselves. Once people are denied their rights and loose hope of possible peaceful means, they tend to revert to despsrate means.
Even this question of thinking that every political group resisting oppression is terrorist or Islamic and therefore a fundamentalist outfit is a mistake. To think that every group that tries to oppose misrule and rampant corruption in these near failed states is terrorist is self defeating. In 1940 and 50s, after the second world war, when Europe had become a savage continent, many liberation forces in the former colonies allied themselves to communist Russia and China and other socialist contries in the world like Yugoslavia. This was quite interesting. For, few of these groups really understood Karl Max’s Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital or Friedrich Engles Dialectical Materialism etc. In anycase, i doubt they would have understood them. So why did these new liberation movements go to communist countries even when they didn’t aspire to communism? Actually many in these new movements were forced to declare that communism wasnt fit for Africa and adopted the so called “African Socialism”. So why? Mainly for two main reasons; the first in my view was the question of MEANS. The Revolutionary means of these communist countries resonated more with new revolutionary liberation movements ideology than the colonial Western Europe.
The second was the easy supply of means to wage war. ARMS. Perhaps, are we seeing many groups allying themeslves to radcal Islam just like it happened then. If this be the case, we need to seriously study the implications.
The question I am raising here is the usual mistake of always recruiting for the enemy Are the people in charge of the current state of imperialism and inequality in the world inadvertently pushing decent and genuine liberation struggles into the fold of extremists? We need to study this because at the current rate, even a school strike for better food at a university is called terrorism by these African dictators and the Western governments buy into that. This needs to be reassessed. Allowing dictators to use fake terrorism songs will complicate matters. It merely radicalises decent political dissent and makes the world more insecure.
Faced with this choice of means and confusion as to the identity of these groups, the groups need to help themselves by not targeting civilians in their struggles for emancipation. These forces which aspire for genuine change must clearly know THAT THE RESISTANCE FORCES MUST ALWAYS SAFEGUARD THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE AND THEIR PROPERTY. THIS IS A SACRED AND INVIOLABLE CORNER STONE FOR ALL PEOPLES STRUGGLES.
GOVERNMENT UNDERHAND METHODS,
I understand government agents are starting to kill civilians and turning round to claim that these killings are being done by groups they claim to be terrorists, tribal militias or other incredible, and even laughable labels that they are manufacturing by the day. This is intended to scare the population so that it can be mobilised against the rebellion now mushrooming around the country. This is not only diversionary, but also criminal. Simply put, the problem won’t go away. This is just the beginning. And, things will only get worse, unless those in charge put aside their arrogance and heed our call for urgent reforms. They need to do this before it is too late.
I wonder if Mr Museveni really knows what is going on in his own security institutions, or has he been rendered powerless by the very monster he created, i.e., personalised rule? It is because the officers who give him intelligence are the same arch criminals who need to cover their tracks. With no functioning systems, you wonder what information the head of state depends on to rule the country. Otherwise, how can he not see the danger he is putting the country into and himself? Not that it matters much though, because either way, he, Museveni, is personally responsible.
THE BOTTOM LINE FOR US IS THAT attacks against civilians ARE NOT permissible under any circumstances. And Ugandans must start taking government to task to come clean on these murders. In 2011, 2012 and 2013, the state sponsored machete wielding killers in many villages in Buganda. The intention was to frame Prof Gibert Bukenya and a few others at the time. These included some senior Baganda army officers. Some of us came out then and warned the country as you remember. Though the government retreated a little at the time, the same leaders are still in charge and their treacherous games continue.
WAYS AND MEANS
With the new situation quickly developing in the country, the opposition need now to seriously start discussing the question of ’Means to propel ther war of libearion’. This debate cannot be put off any longer. We need a consensus on this singular issue.
The key issues to discuss here are the following:
USE OF VIOLENCE AS A MEANS
Under this, there are those who oppose violent means as a principle. These fall under the category of pacifists. These say, they are willing to fold their hands when their liberties are being trampled on. These believe in the notion of “turning the other cheek”.
For these, the question of means is a moral issue.
The other category is of the people are who are opposed to violence, not because it is evil, but because the objective conditions for it are still lacking. These look at violence as a means to an end. To them, it is permissible to use violent means if they will end the suffering of a nation. These are exponents of nonviolence as pragmatists, not moralists. To them violence is means of last resort.
The third category is of “anarchists”. This is not in the classical sense of anarchism as a political ideology, but rather people who do not adequately weight the options available to them before reverting to violent means.
The other category is of idealists. These hope for God’s intervention, like he did for Moses when he crossed the Red Sea. And we have many of these. They have forgotten the old truism that “God helps those who help themselves.”
The last category is of those who are mentally and morally weak. They know the right thing to do, but they lack the guts. They dare not face hot iron, especially the one aimed in anger! To these, I have no quarrel, for I have no mirror to look into men’s hearts.
I therefore request Ugandans to fully engage in this debate because the country is already at the crossroads.
The urgent question to answer is – what should be done when a government stops all peaceful means for those who do not agree with it to organise? What options are left?
What should be done when a regime resorts to violent means to quell peaceful political actions?
TREASON FOR DOING NOTHING
Is doing nothing not treason itself?
President Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of Untied States once said “…to announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public”
Therefore, to all those who advocate that we fold our hands and do nothing, I ask of you – how can we do nothing, while the president of Uganda is abrogating the constitution for which millions sacrificed their lives to put it in place? How can we do nothing, when a president is looting the country and, in effect, enslaving all our children and grandchildren to the yoke of debt repayment, when a president is destroying all the systems and structures of the state which will inevitably lead to instability and loss of life, when a president commits a country to endless wars with no accountability whatsoever to lives of the soldiers being killed and the money being spent on these megalomaniacal enterprises, when poverty and hunger overwhelm an over taxed population, when a president turns a country into a family enterprise, when a president starts using a national army as herdsmen on his numerous cattle farms, when a president orders the introduction of “pass laws”, like was in apartheid South Africa, for political leaders who are peaceful citizens, when extrajudicial killings become rampant? (Note for example, that Mr. Kalungi was found innocent and released. So who killed Hon. Nebanda? Similar?)
Then doing nothing is not only “morally treasonable but is criminally culpable”.
Therefore, some of us refuse to do nothing. It is now the choice of each one of you to take a stand and save your country, or watch it as it slides into war.
MR MUSEVENI’S REGIME IS WEAK, WHY?
1. When he liberalised the economy, he destroyed the source of public income on which dictators would normally rely. Hence, Museveni’s current economy cannot sustain a prolonged war. Because his foreign backers cannot sustain it, nor can his private army of looters.
2. By nature of the Museveni dictatorship, which is family based, also based on nepotism and patronage, it is not resilient in the face of a determined opposition. Simply put, he has no one to die for him. Such a system does not rely on merit but on blind loyalty. And when you put it to test, it will crumble, like the army of Idi Amin n 1979.
3. Mr Museveni’s dictatorship has been helped by a deceptive peace which has allowed foreign investment to thrive, the fact that its benefits don’t benefit the ordinary person notwithstanding. With determined, well commanded resistance, there would be no economy even to feed his few thieves. Foreign investment would end. It is worth noting that the Ugandan economy is not resilient in any fundamental way, because of lack of a viable middle class, but most especially because it is cushioned on purely speculative political rewards of the ruling class and with no production linkages. For example, production levels in the country is back to the levels of 1970s when Idi Amin was president. Mr Museveni cannot sustain a prolonged conflict.
4. The army, which Mr Museveni relies on, is fed up. It is a captive militia force garrisoned by a small clique of carefully chosen soldiers under his son and brother. For instance,in very single month , not lesss that 152 soildiers desert in each Division. There is ofcourse no urge to report because the questions you will face are too dangerous as the poor senior fellows are falling over each other to have access to that Ghost money.
Such a force cannot be able to guard every inch of Uganda, every junction, every bridge, every police station, every inch of the road in the country to avoid ambushes etc.Armies move of morale and stomaches, in UPDF both are in deficit.
5. Intrugue, treachery and injstice in the forces and other state organs.
6. The population: This should perhaps be put at no 1 for it is key to holding power by any regime. And the population is no longer with Mr Museveni.
Mr Museveni has fought insurgencies since 28th August 1986 when 28 battalion under comrade Jet Mwebaze (RIP) was attacked at Bibia by UNLA forces who had retreated to South Sudan. Since that time, 27 groups have fought against Mr Museveni’s government at one time or another.
So why did all these rebellions not succeed?
This was due to three main reasons;
The first reason was lack of ideological clarity. Many lacked a national character, became tribal and targeted the population instead of protecting the people, they fought the very people. A popular resistance cannot afford to be anti-people.
The other reason also related to the first of ideology was the fact that all of them were localised in their TRIBAL areas. For example when the people in the north were fighting, the south was peaceful. So was the east. When the people of Kasese and western Uganda were fighting, Buganda was peaceful. Etc. They failed to generate a national consensus based on generally agreed positions which would cut across their parochial interests. They failed to realise that they needed a well-coordinated resistance in all parts of Uganda. From Moroto to Kabale. From Oraba to Bundibugyo., in the centre, north, south, west, east. If they had done this, there was no way Mr Museveni would have survived.
The third reason was the fact that, although NRM had short comings at the time, it was not yet an outright dictatorship like now. People were ready to give it the benefit of the doubt. This now is no more.
There are three other major reasons why Mr Museveni cannot win this new war simmering over the horizon. But to this, I intend to return in my next communication. Things like the overstretched UPDF, the regional and international imperatives, a weak economy, a hungry and angry population..
Therefore, even to those who are still close to Mr Museveni, especially those who have investments and other interests, it is your duty to save him and yourselves.
HUBRIS,as a mental condition is real. It is scientifically proven. That is why dictators play god and consider themselves infallible and immortal. Yet they are mere paper tigers.
My last word on this goes to my brothers and sisters in UPDF, UGANDA POLICE FORCE and other SECURITY AGENCIES. What side will you be on? Are you going to side with those who are desecrating the memory of those who perished in the struggles to free Uganda? The struggles of your own fathers and mothers, who fought for this liberation? Where are you going to stand in this contest? The side of the people who sheltered us, housed us, protected us and died in millions for the noble cause of a FREE TOMORROW or those bent on a treachereous unconstitutional road of turning Uganda into a POLITICAL MORNARCY?. The choice is yours. But remember, to those that much is given, much will be asked. The people of Uganda trusted you with their lives. To them you will be required to account MORE! . I hope and trust that when that hour arrives, you will not be found wanting at this critical time in our history. Uganda calls upon you again to stand on its side as your gallant and noble founders envisioned. There are many ways of struggle. See where you fit according to your station.
The struggle continues
Gen David Sejusa
FREEDOM AND UNITY FRONT