OBAMA’S SPEECH IS SIMILAR TO THE WORDS KIDS MADE DURING THE CA


President Obama’s address is similar to the proposals our kids made in parliament during the Constituent Assembly Delegates conference in 2004. Our papa Stephen Akabway was the chairperson and David Pulkol (minister of education) was the chief quest. If you remember, each district was asked to send two young delegates to present their proposals to be included in the new Constitution. I was seated among several headteachers. Kids read their speeches. Much of the stuff was very good but none seems to have been included in the new Constitution that came into effect the following year. I still remember two interesting observations:

A boy from Kotido shocked us when he stated that he felt he was not a Ugandan because looking at glittering and well cared for children from other parts of Uganda, it seemed for them from Karamoja, they were from another poor country, why the discrimination, he asked. You could hear sighs from almost the entire room.

Another thing I remember was a proposal from one delegate kid: that parents should have a maximum of 4 children and that they must pay taxes for any extra children. One headteacher observed and said, ” These children are unfair to us, so Mudidi, how much tax would you be paying if this proposal is made into law?” I listened attentively and realized they had several children [ These were powerful policy issues which would serve our country well if examined and shaped] I guess our presidents must have felt uneasy at that Addis meeting with Obama.

It would have been too bad if Obama had asked them by show of hands who was ready to leave voluntarily; and it would even been more interesting if he had asked some leaders to comment about his observations; for example if had asked Presidents Mugabe, Museveni and Kikwete to respond! Obama was only 19 years old when Mugabe became Zimbabwe’s leader; now Obama is about to retire from the US presidency but Mugabe is just beginning anew.

Even the best dancer knows when to leave the dance hall. In leadership development course, Harvard lecturer Professor Ronald Heifetz likens good leadership to a situation where a dancer leaves the hall to watch how other dancers are taking their strokes (Going to the Balcony). The observer will note how some of the dancers are missing their steps and if he had admired one of those dancers messing, then he realizes he was equally wrong and if he went back to dance, he will be conscious of the missteps and avoid repeating the same.

The professor was advising leaders to take time off to consult, reflect on one’s performance and know when to leave for others.

Peter Simon Okurut via the UAH forum

Peter Simon Okurut via the UAH forum

UGANDA WILL GO THROUGH POLITICAL CHANGES WHETHER M7 LIKES IT OR NOT


obama - Copy
Can you imagine how long it would take Obama to complete to read the list of those African leaders that have refused to give way? He would need at least 30 minutes if he was an average reader: from Mugabe, Museveni to even new Kiir who is clinging on power through the support of you know whom I am referring to.

However, I have some hope left, soon we shall see changes whether they like it or not; one by one, we get some change: Gaddafi is gone, Hosni is gone , I do not know who is next; but we should salute some like President Kikwete that have followed Mandela’s example.

Yes, Obama must have surprised his elders by such bold American talk, no mincing words. Ask Haji Ahmed to comment on term limits and you will have to go to Kotido via Bundibugyo to hear his answer having started from Mpigi, meandering left, right, up and down before he struggles to give a vague answer, by which time you are already asleep just like when his mentor addresses his audience in parliament, nearly everyone sleeps; that is my good Haji Ahmed.

Peter Simon Okurut via the UAH forum

VOA is a tool of US imperialism


By Mayimuna Nabagereka via UAH facebook

VOA is a tool of US imperialism. You won’t find a single instance of VOA taking on the CIA for sponsoring Taylor, facilitating Taylor’s escape from prison and his unencumbered passage back to West Africa. There is nothing credible about VOA.

The VOA is the media arm of American imperialism; that is an institutional matter. If a media house has a weak critique of western imperialism, then I think we have to wonder about its agenda and interests. I can defend a few of individuals who work for VOA and that is a different matter. For example, Shaka Ssali seems to be a fair-minded journalist. But even he was weak on US imperialism, in my view. You wont find Shaka or any VOA journalist addressing that important issue in a serious way.I say, and continue to say, that any American president is worse than 20 Gaddafis. US foreign policy is consistently in violation of international law and, even worse, catastrophic for human progress.

VOA is funded by the CIA, I think we all know how the CIA works–it spend lots of time undermining the sovereignty of other nations. When VOA does an exposé on the relationship between the CIA and Taylor (or general CIA malfeasance) then you could make a case for limited autonomy of individual journalists. But that aint gonna happen. I have a pretty good grasp of what the State Dept and the Pentagon does. They agree on imperialism only the method might differ a bit. “Soft” imperialism is still imperialism. Sometimes we academics “complicate” and “nuance” things that are pretty straightforward. If the VOA can help expose the many injustices done by its boss, the CIA, then the VOA is an enemy of African progress.

INDIANS IN EAST AFRICA NEED TO CHANGE THEIR WAYS OR WE BRING IDI AMIN BACK


By Mayimuna Nabagereka

Indians in all East African countries have gone back to their old ways: discriminating against black people in almost everything, and this needs to stop.Indians still look at Africans as of less value to the country than them.Is it an unofficial policy for the government of Uganda to pay back the Asian community for the wrongs apparently done to them during the Idi Amin mayhem? Some of them think they are owed that much.

My view is there is no enough integration between the African and Asian (read: Indian) communities since the latter have taken long term refuge in the city centre at the expense of the former.

In Tanzania, for instance,I know of one 26 houses block in Upanga where only two families were African. This issue is serious: in some of the new apartment blocks I was told by informed individuals that they are for ‘Asians only’ (by Asians themselves.) It is easier for a new immigrant, many of them illegal, from Pakistan or India, to be accommodated in these compounds than natives. To make things interesting, someone should ruffle up the feathers a little bit.

The solution is simple: they either accept to be fully Ugandans and integrate with us or we get another Idi Amin to ship them out of the country.

WHO IS NOT TIRED OF MUSEVENI IN UGANDA? BUT MBABAZI……………!


By Mayimuna Nabagereka

I’m not sure that what’s happening these past few days is healthy for the political system of the country, such as it is.Hardly a day passes without a Tom, Dick and Harry coming up to say he wants to be president.The office that we used to look upon with awe and wonderment has been rendered ordinary via its occupation by a man who sees himself as a small god for 30 years. Why is Museveni arresting Mbabazi’s supporters? For, that seems to be our quest: Take an already bad situation and do all we can to make it as bad as it can possibly be, and then see what happens.

It’s already known that the political system in Uganda is so corrupted by money that it would take an inordinate number of people and huge quantities of time and goodwill to fix — even it were just to bring the amounts (and types) of money spent at least to acceptable levels of sanity. For instance, most of the so called NRM youths in Museveni and Mbabazi camps are in it for money. None of them love Uganda. But if im put on gun point to vote in NRM, I would vote for Mbabazi instead of Museveni.

Yet, the country as a whole is in for trouble. Clearly, these masquerades we call elections will never deliver leaders worth the name. They will be exploited for a long time to come by the Artful Dodgers who have taken our systems hostage, and over and over again, the people will be prevented from generating the meaningful leadership they so desperately need.

WE DON’T NEED MORE DON WANYAMA’S IF WE NEED TO SAVE TAX PAYER’S MONEY!


By Mayimuna Nabagereka

Don Wanyama has been pretending to be a professional journalist for decades. The moment his hands are caught in the jar, Museveni rewards him with a position as the special media Assistant at the NRM secretariat. This is another bill Ugandans have got to pay for, and for what exactly? The man himself looks like a Sudanese than a Ugandan. For all I know, we may be employing a Sudanese to handle our national affairs.

Then there is the office of the minister of presidency now occupied by this noise-making boy, Frank Tumwebaze. Do we really need that?

Why is Uganda being run a personal property of the president? Atleast the dictator in Senegal has started supporting any changes that will save the tax payers money, unlike Museveni. Senegalese lawmakers, who are divided between a 150-seat national assembly and a 100-seat senate, voted to do away with the senate, passing a law which dissolves the institution in order to save an estimated $15 million.

Now, isn’t this a very brave political move? Abolishing the senate and the office of the vice president! Talk about making democracy less expensive and more development-friendly on the continent. Then talk about the political will to move a state forward.

I was thinking exactly about exactly this same solution for Uganda too, in the wake of the obscene amounts regarding the remunerations of our legislators! The imperative of reducing our overbloated public sector and reallocating the savings toward capital projects and social services (such as education and health care) far outweighs any benefits of the legislator and the Don Wanyamas, if there is any to start with.

What we need is the will. Certain entrenched interests will likely oppose any movement in this direction.I am willing to join up with whoever really wants to see change in this direction.

MAKERERE UNIVERSITY SHOULD CONSIDER SOLAR ENERGY


By Mayimuna Nabagereka via UAH Facebook

I have been asking my friends why Makerere,IUIU, Mbarara Universities have not made the transition to solar energy. A nation cannot run its business on generators. Since hydropower really isnt enough for us, and as the technology for converting solar energy becomes more and more available, it would make sense for institutions such as Universities to lead the way in energy independence.

Which of our Universities has made any significant mark in the cure or treatment of malaria and sickle cell? Universities lead innovation and even commercialise such innovations. While I do not expect our Universities to reinvent the wheel;they can make it spin just a little faster.

Government institutions can follow; businesses know reliance on diesel is unreliable: it is in the final analysis unsustainable in the long term. In fact the running cost after a while will become more expensive than solar energy, which’s cost is mostly front loaded. All these over time will leave hydropower largely for domestic use. There is no mystery to energy independence. The technology for generating electrical power is now one of the oldest in human civilization. It must be decentralized and diversified. All we need is serious-minded people!

The nuclear destruction of the Fukushima plant in Japan in 2011 got the country thinking of alternatives and solar fields were planted.

HON. OKELLO-OKELLO’s Statement to Parliament on the Issue of Acholi Land


INTRODUCTION

Mr. Speaker Sir, over the last couple of weeks, Acholi land has become very topical. It is being discussed in various fora such as meetings, the media – both print and electronic, including the Internet and so on, from morning to evening, Sunday to Monday. It has attracted much attention not only here within the country, but overseas as well.

BACKGROUND TO CONTROL AND MANAGEMENT OF LAND IN UGANDA.

In 1900 the Protectorate Government signed an agreement with the Kabaka of Buganda – the Uganda Agreement, which was in 1909 amended to read Buganda Agreement. Under this agreement, land in Buganda was shared out among the Protectorate Government, the Kabaka, Chiefs and notables. The unit of measurement used during this land settlement was a square mile. Those who were allotted square miles of land started calling their percels “Mailo”, a word which was given legal recognition by The Land Law, 1908, hence Mailo Land. Mailo Land tenure is found in the districts formerly known as East Mengo, West Mengo, Masaka, Mubende and the former lost counties now Kibale District.

In 1900 and 1901, the Protectorate Government replicated similar arrangements, but on a much smaller scale, in the Kingdoms of Ankole, Toro and also in Kigezi and Bugisu. Land was given out to the Kings and Rulers in freeholds instead of Mailo. In Bugisu, only the colonial Chief Administrator, Semei Kakungulu, was given ten (10) square miles. In the North and East, people rejected the idea of sharing out the land between their leaders and the Protectorate Government. Any land that was not allotted to the Kings and other rulers automatically fell under the control of the Protectorate Government – i.e under the Crown of England – and became known as Crown Land till Independence in 1962. Anybody who wanted to lease land would apply to the Governor in Entebbe.

After Independence, the UPC Government decided that the control and management of the former crown Land should be returned to the respective districts. There were sixteen (16) districts at Independence. District Land boards were formed and land within the boundaries of their districts was vested in them.

In 1969, the Government decided that the control and management of land should be re-centralised in order to speed up development. Parliament accordingly passed a law, the Public Lands Act, 1969, which abolished district Land Boards and established Uganda Land Commission (ULC) to hold in trust, for the people of Uganda, the whole country, minus Mailo Land and freeholds.

The military regime of the late Idi Amin in 1975 promulgated the Land Reform Decree, No. 3 of 1975, which abolished all interests in land greater than 99 years. Freehold and Mailo interests were reduced to 99 and 199 years for individuals and public bodies, religious organizations and other charitable organizations, respectively. This was nationalization of property without compensation. The actual conversion of Mailo and freehold titles to conform to the decree never happened for reasons I cannot go into here.

THE 1995 CONSTITUTION

The 1995 Constitution vests land in the citizens of Uganda. Articles 237 (1) refers. Clause (3) of the same Article provides for the tenure systems under which land should be owned, namely; Customary, Freehold, Mailo, and Leasehold. This means the majority of land in Uganda is now private property and is no longer under the control or management of Government.

The position of land in the Constitution did not originate in the Constituent Assembly (C.A). it was demanded by the people of Uganda. Please refer to the Report of The Technical Committee on Land Tenure Law reform, June 1993.

When one flies over Acholi land, the entire country-side is just a dark jungle. It looks like land just created by God yesterday and God is still thinking about creating human beings to occupy it. The owners of the land are for the last ten years interred in squalid Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camps, dotted along the roads and trading centres. The entire rural land now belongs to wildlife. It is sad.

Mr. Speaker Sir, for the last twenty years, we have talked about peace in the North; we have prayed in churches and mosques; we have held meetings, seminars and conferences without tiring. This is because peace has eluded that part of our country for so long. In the same vein, we have talked about Acholi land for more than a decade now. We shall continue to do so until there are completely no more threats over that land. Mr. Speaker Sir, there have been real threats over Acholi land as the following incidents will prove:

a. In 1992 the Government of Uganda signed a protocol with the Government of Libya giving away the following large chunks of land:

i. Bukaleba Beef Ranch 4,000 hectares

ii. Aswa Ranch 46,000 hectares

iii. Maruzi Ranch 16,376 hectares

b. In 1999, a company called Divinity Union Limited came up with a proposal to turn Uganda into what it called the Bread Basket of Africa. The land targeted for this proposal was basically in Acholi sub-region. Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) fought this and it never took off.

c. In the same year 1999, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) moved to acquire Lipan Controlled Hunting Area and turn it into a national game park. UWA dealt with the then chairman L.C. V of Kitgum and the technocrats without involving other elected leaders such as Members of Parliament, District Councilors or even the District Land Committee. As a Member of Parliament for the area then, I was contacted when the matter was about to be tabled in cabinet for approval and subsequently to Parliament. I stopped it.

d. In May 2003, a programme entitled Security and Production Programme (SPP) was produced. The author of this programme is difficult to pin-point. The implementing agents were, however listed as: Ministry of Defence (MOD), Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), Ministry of Water, Lands and Enviroment (MOWLE), Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Health (MOH). The proposal was to plan and turn Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps into permanent settlements. The three districts of Acholi then – Gulu, Kitgum and Pader – convened a meeting of about 380 selected people in Kitgum in October that year and the proposal was unanimously rejected, save for two or three people who supported the idea.

e. Again, in December 2005, as presidential election campaigns were gaining momentum, the Office of the Senior Presidential Advisor on Reconstruction of Northern Uganda, Luwero and the Rwenzori came up with yet another project called “Food Security First 2006 – 2010, Gulu, Kitgum & Pader”. The senior Presidential Advisor was none other than Gen. Salim Saleh. The project was to cost Shs. 92,181,230,000/=.

This project proposed to allocate two (2) acres of land to each family in the three districts of Acholi. Each family would then choose two crops to grow from among the list of crops given. The list of crops does not include millet, which is the main staple crop in Acholi. The question is: If the Acholi are on their land, who was to allocate them two (2) acres per family? What would happen to the rest of the land? How does one provide food security in Acholi without millet? And so on so forth.

f. During the recent tour of Acholi sub-region by APG, we received report that some unknown people had surveyed a huge chunk of land measuring ten (10) square miles under the protection of UPDF at a place called Got Apwoyo in Purongo sub-county, Nwoya County, Amuru District. APG went to this area and walked the thick grass looking for markstones. One freshly planted markstone was found. It was photographed and recorded on video by the journalists accompanying APG. APG also saw two large farms being guarded by UPDF soldiers. One was reported to belong to Col. Walter Ochora, RDC Gulu, and the other to Col. Charles Otema Awany, the 4th Division Commander. In addition, APG had received reports of a serious land dispute between a lady called Harriet Aber and Hon. Maj. Gen. Julius Oketta in Amuru sub-county, Kilak County Amuru District. This matter is now before court and I can not say much about it. The cultural leader of the area also put an announcement over radio MEGA F.M. appealing to the parties to the dispute to stop using UPDF soldiers and the gun.

The scenarios listed at paragraph 10 above are some, but not all the attempts that have been made to grab land in Acholi. In view of all this, APG met here in Kampala before the commencement of its tour of Acholi, which ran from 23rd November – 2nd December, 2006, and resolved on the issues of land as follows:

g. That it is wrong for anybody now to start acquiring large chunks of land in rural areas under the pretext of investment when the entire population of Acholi is still interred in squalid IDP camps. They should wait until the people have returned home and peacefully settled on their land. We think this is a reasonable demand, which any reasonable person should support.

h. We shall welcome investors, who wish to assist our people develop the land. However, such investors must go direct to the people, when they are already back home and should never go through the state or state agents.

i. That the investors should partner with the land owners where land will be used as equity in the intended investment so that the profits can be shared between the investors and the land owners. Such profits should not be carried wholesale back home by the investors.

j. Outright sale of land or long leases such as 49 or 99 years to investors are not acceptable, because our people have been made destitutes, and are not capable of negotiating fair deals with the investors. The idea is to avoid landlessness to our people or another Kibaale situation.

k. That those investors who may not want to partner with our people should hire/rent the land on short-term basis of between 5-10 years renewable.

l. That when we talk about land, we do not mean plots in urban areas. Those may be acquired by any investor any time. We mean the farm land in rural areas that can be acquired in large chunks — “the land that feeds us”.

m. That land grabbers, who use force or tricks to acquire the land will be fought in all possible ways. They are not different from any bank-robbers. Land is the only asset that the people of Acholi are left with. It should not under any circumstances follow the livestock.

n. That Government pays compensation to people on whose land IDP camps, Army barracks, Army detaches and any other Government projects have been established without their consent. The fertility of such land has been completely destroyed and will take years to restore.

APG put its position on land as above to the people at all the rallies it addressed during the tour. The people enthusiastically and unanimously approved APG’s proposal on land. Anyone who doubts can go and find out.

OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN HIGH POSITIONS IN GOVERNMENT

We appeal to our brothers and sisters who hold high Government posts, including ministerial posts, to really go slow. They should use their high positions to rescue our people who are being exterminated in IDP camps. Calling us names, insulting us or abusing us will not help our people. For whether they like it or not we are currently the elected leaders of the Acholi people at the highest level – Parliament. Remember, there were many like you before. Some of them are now like us. You will also one day be like us.

GULU MEETING

When we first saw in the Daily Monitor of Wednesday 29th November, 2006, that my brother, Hon. Daniel Omara Atubo, Minister of Lands, Housing & Urban Development had called a meeting in Gulu to sensitise Acholi leaders on land issues, we were at breakfast table in one of the hotels in Gulu. I straight away called the Minister and tried to persuade him to call off the meeting. The Minister insisted that it was a cabinet directive that must be implemented. APG met on the same day and wrote to the Hon. Minister.

The meeting went ahead, but in the end it was a big flop. Many categories of the invited leaders boycotted the meeting, namely; MPs, all the District Executives, religious leaders (except 3) and cultural leaders (except 4). This is the reason why the meeting had to be hurriedly shifted by radio announcement from its original venue at the World Vision Centre to Ker Kalkwaro (Lawirwodi’s Palace). First, to make it appear that Lawirwodi was now in support of the meeting. And secondly, by tradition no one can be sent away from Ker Kalkwaro, unless one has committed a crime there.

The attendance of the meeting was 90% NRM(O) people.

It is absolutely false to say that Lawirwodi blasted APG members for boycotting the meeting. He could not have done that and at the same time told the meeting that no one should think the “MPs are fools. There is no smoke without fire”. His statement is on tape. APG warns politicians who cannot convene their own meeting to steer clear of Lawirwodi. Please do not soil him with your dirty politics. He is for every body.

KAMPALA MEETING

The Minister of state for Lands, Hon. Dr. Kasirivu Atwooki invited APG to meet with officials of the Ministry of Lands, Housing & Urban Development in that Ministry’s Boardroom last Friday. However, when we pointed out the inappropriateness of that venue, they kindly accepted to meet us in Parliament. The meeting was called off mainly for two reasons:

First, the Rt. Hon. Speaker had granted permission for this statement to be made on the floor of this August House. Second, the notice of the meeting was received when most members of APG had already committed themselves elsewhere and could not attend the Friday meeting.

As things stand today, we do not consider it feasible any more to meet Hon. Daniel Omara Atubo, Minister of Lands, Housing & Urban Development on this particular matter of Acholi land, because of the following reasons:

o. Stakes have now been raised to much higher levels than that of the Minister

p. The minister has no olive branch to offer as illustrated by:

i. Stopping publication of my interview on Acholi Land Issues in the Rupiny volume No. 9, November 29 – December 5, 2006.

ii. Blasting APG members on MEGA FM radio talkshow of Monday 4th December 2006.

iii. Ordering the management of radio MEGA FM not to host APG at the end of its tour of the Sub-region.

However, if Government still thinks that the matter should be discussed further after this statement, we shall be willing to attend a meeting convened at a higher level than that of the Minister responsible for Lands. For example, if such a meeting can be convened by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister/Leader of Government Business, but we are demanding it.


GOVERNMENT LAND.

19. Governments all over the world must own some land. There must, however, be proof of that ownership. APG has been requesting those who claim that Government has a lot of land in Acholi Sub-region to come up with clear proof. They must, however, know that land owned by parastatals is not Government land. Parastatals are legal entities, which own land in their own rights. The current saga in the National Forest Authority (NFA) proves the point. Constitutionally, the only body that holds Government land is Uganda Land Commission (ULC).

20. After the inauguration of the current Constitution on 8th October 1995, there was some confusion as to which was now Government land. It will be recalled that at the inauguration of the Constitution, H. E. President Museveni did not hide his dissatisfaction with the position of land in the new constitution. Subsequently, a management meeting was convened in the Boardroom of the Ministry of Lands and Surveys, where I was the Commissioner of Land Administration, to discuss land and agree on a common position. It was agreed that Government land was : (a) that land with land title in the name of ULC, and (b) any land that had already been gazetted as Government land before 8th October, 1995.

THREAT TO LIFE.

21. Mr. Speaker Sir, we have been receiving some reports of unfortunate statements being made by irresponsible leaders in Acholi Sub-region. These careless and reckless leaders reportedly make statements to the effect that those us who are educating the people about their land rights do not know the forces behind the land grabbing in Acholi. That we shall be arrested or killed. We have no means of stopping anybody killing us. We place our lives in the hands of the Almighty God. But our message to such people is this: there is no better cause to die for.

WORKING WITH GOVERNMENT

22. It is a fact that, for the time being, NRM(O) Government is in-charge of the country. Therefore, all law-abiding citizens must work with it to deliver the much-needed services to the people of Uganda. On our part, as APG, we pledge our commitment to work with Government to particularly restore dignity, freedom and human rights to our dehumanized people in Acholi sub-region, Eastern Region and elsewhere in the country.

We appeal to Government, likewise, to work with us to serve our people. For now, we are the leaders of our people. A fact no one can wish away. In particular, we appeal to the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister/Leader of Government Business to crack whip on some of his ministers who seem to regard those in opposition as less human beings.

Mr. Speaker Sir, we decided to treat this matter in great details, because it was, for no reason, becoming contentious. I sincerely thank you for giving us this opportunity. I thank the Honorable Members for listening to me.

For God and My Country

BY

HON. OKELLO-OKELLO JOHN LIVINGSTONE

CHAIRMAN,

ACHOLI PARLIAMENTARY GROUPS (APG)

Besigye’s letter from Luzira Prison 2005


On Friday December 17, 2005, then opposition leader Rtd Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye wrote from Luzira Prison where he was remanded, replying President Yoweri Museveni about his (Besigye’s) arrest and trial. Museveni had said the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leader created the problems resulting in his arrest and that the government could only have principled and not opportunistic resolution of the situation.

Below is the letter from Luzira

Earlier, on December 11 President Yoweri Museveni had issued a statement saying Besigye is characteristic of his dishonesty.

That the NRM (read Museveni) has been firm in dealing with wrongdoers: It is an indisputable fact that under the Museveni regime, ‘wrongdoers’ are not treated equally as demanded by the Constitution. In Uganda, there are three criminal Justice systems:

a) One for Museveni loyalists.
b) One for the general public.
c) One for Museveni’s political opponents, imaginary or real.

Numerous commissions of inquiry have compiled evidence and recommended prosecution of senior military, public and political leaders. The Museveni loyalists, far from being arrested and prosecuted, have been promoted and praised for ‘liberating’ our country!

On the other hand, crimes have been invented for members of the political opposition, who are promptly arrested, tortured and detained for long periods before the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) ‘loses interest’ in the cases. Some people have been in prison for more than five years, without trial. My wife, Winnie Byanyima, was arrested three times, and the charges were either dropped or dismissed by Court. This is Museveni’s “firmness with wrongdoers”.

Principled reconciliation: In Museveni’s world, “principled reconciliation” can only happen when the “wrongdoer first admits his/her mistake”. Obviously, he cannot understand that reconciliation is not about managing “wrongdoing”, but rather about managing opposed or conflicting situations towards an amicable solution. That is why reconciliation is usually managed by mediators or facilitators, who help the conflicting parties to appreciate each other’s position and to move towards a harmonious solution. Naturally, in the process of reconciliation, wrongdoing on either side may be found and accordingly managed; without losing the primary goal of creating a harmonious understanding known as ‘reconciliation’.

For that matter, the DPP, the Courts of Law and the Military Court Martial cannot be the appropriate agents for reconciliation. I advise President Museveni to seriously consider the statement by religious leaders of UJCC (Uganda Joint Christian Council) published in The Daily Monitor of December 14, 2005 and the offer they make.

The cases of Kizza Besigye: When I came back to Uganda to face the so-called criminal charges against me, I did not ask or expect to be treated preferentially by the justice system or by anyone in authority in respect of the charges that have been preferred against me.

I only ask, and EXPECT to be treated fairly and in accordance with the law and its due process. As a matter of fact, I rejected ‘preferential treatment’, which came in the form of an offer by President Museveni, to remove me from prison “immediately” and put me under “house arrest” at my residence.

This was partly because I thought it was irregular and inevitably shrouded with many uncertainties. I also rejected Museveni’s preferential treatment that if I should sign amnesty papers, I would immediately be discharged of all my cases, including rape! The Government of Uganda knows that I have a significant team of lawyers who would be aware of the Amnesty Law. Why then, would it be the Government, the law enforcer, pressurizing me to apply for amnesty? Does President Museveni consider this a legitimate role of political leaders in handling criminal matters?

My concern and the concern of many people and organisations that have made public expressions are the following:

Timing and management of my cases

i) The cases I am charged with were allegedly committed between 1997 and 2003. Until November 14, 2005, no charges against me had ever been brought before any court, this in spite of the fact that I have publicly and repeatedly demanded over the past five years that if there were any charges against me, they should be put before court and that I was prepared to face the law. President Museveni’s letter to his Cabinet just before my return stated that “there were long-standing criminal charges that would be brought against” me if I came back, although the DPP had just denied any knowledge of impending cases against me.
ii) The Uganda Government knew exactly where I was living in South Africa; if I was plotting to overthrow it, why wouldn’t they complain to the friendly government of South Africa. Indeed, shortly before my return to Uganda, President Museveni boasted that if his government needed me to answer any charges, they could easily ask for my extradition from South Africa. So why did he not arrange to extradite me, if I had “long-standing criminal charges” known to his government all those years?
iii) My co-accused were arraigned in court more than a year ago. I only became part of their case on November 15, 2005. All this suggests that these cases were not managed transparently and in accordance with the established legal process. This concern is further accentuated by the fact that I was arrested while very busy doing political work in preparation for the oncoming presidential elections. Further, every effort has been made to deny me bail.

Trial by Military Court Martial

Through our lawyers, we opposed trial by the Military Court Martial because:

i) The UPDF Court Martial is not an independent and impartial court to which people have a constitutional right. It is really a service court intended to enhance discipline among errant, serving soldiers. It is therefore inherently not intended to be impartial because:

It is headed by the Commander-in-Chief, who is the President.
All the Court Martial members, including the prosecutor, are senior UPDF officers, appointed by the President and operating under his continuing and direct command. He deploys them, promotes them etc.
It is to him that an aggrieved soldier appeals in case of delays of their trial, etc. There is therefore no way this court can be impartial to a person seeking to replace the President. Certainly, I would never willingly subject myself to the jurisdiction of the UPDF Court Martial and expect justice through it. On the other hand, I would be prepared to battle any number of charges in a civilian court.

ii) We believe the Court Martial action was intended to defeat the ends of justice to deny us bail. This was precisely the reason for the “Black Mambas” abomination and why the High Court hearing of my bail application was delayed so that I could be charged and remanded by the Military Court Martial, first! If the military prosecutor had fresh evidence necessitating fresh charges, why couldn’t they just pass it on to the DPP to institute these further offences against me?
iii) The Court Martial case is based on exactly the same facts as those for the treason case before the High Court. Therefore, we are being tried in two courts for the same alleged acts.
iv) The Military Court Martial was established to regulate the discipline of soldiers, deriving authority from Article 210 of the Constitution. It is not right to try civilians who have nothing at all to do with UPDF under its court, more so, when it violates their fundamental right to appear before an independent court or tribunal.
v) The Court Martial is not authorized to try the case of terrorism with which we have been charged in that court (that of illegal possession of firearms being an alternative charge). Section 6 of the Anti-terrorism Act, 2002 states as follows:

“The offense of terrorism and any other offences punishable by more than 10 years’ imprisonment under this Act are triable only by the High Court and bail in respect of those offences may be granted only by the High Court”.

It is for those reasons that we have petitioned the Constitutional Court and High Court for appropriate action.

President Museveni claims that the use of the Military Court Martial to try civilians has helped deal with crime since civil courts were overstretched. This assertion is an insult to Ugandans. Some people have been waiting in prison for over four years for their cases to be disposed of by the General Court Martial since 1999. From the information I have received while in prison, people who were arrested by Wembley and VCCU (Violent Crime Crack Unit) operations since 2002 are 560 people, of whom 448 have not yet been tried:

250 people are in Kigo Farm Prison.
130 people are in Luzira Upper Prison.
60 people are in Makindye Military Police cells.
98 people have been released on GCM bond after paying a bribe of between sh500,000 and sh2,500,000.
12 detainees have died in prisons, mainly from untreated torture injuries.
Only 10 people have had their cases disposed of by the GCM.

The 440 people pending GCM trial, whose names and details I have compiled have been in prison for one to four years, yet Section 190 of the UPDF Act provides that a person triable under military law who has been detained in custody for 90 days before commencement of her/his trial shall be freed all the 440 illegally detained men have families; most with very young children.

These families have fallen into destitution as a result of the GCM, to which the President of Uganda is happy to divert cases from civil courts. Such is President Museveni’s sense of justice!

President Museveni is wrong. As a prisoner of conscience, I neither seek nor expect preferential treatment from him or from anybody else. I will willingly fight the political battle both politically and in the Civil Courts of Law, and I am confident that the truth will set me free, but I will never subject myself to his idea of “preferential treatment” or his dubious and impartial GCM.

I may be imprisoned but the political issues I have raised and my resolve to fight for freedom will never be imprisoned. Let’s all work to keep hope alive.

For God and my country.

No UR 898/05

Luzira Maximum Upper Prison

THE 1999 KIZZA BESIGYE DOSSIER VERBATIM


I have taken keen interest and participated in the political activities on the Ugandan scene since the late 1970s. This was during a period of intense jostling to topple and later succeed the Idi Amin regime. I am, therefore, fully aware of the euphoria, excitement and hope with which Ugandans received the Uganda National Liberation Front/Army (UNLF/A). Ugandans supported the UNLF’s stated approach of “politics of consensus” through the common front. It was hoped that the new approach to politics would be maintained and Uganda rebuilt from the ruins left by the Amin regime. Unfortunately, instead of nurturing the structures, and regulations which bound the front together, we witnessed a primitive power struggle that resulted in ripping the front apart to the chagrin of the population.

Some of us young people were immediately thrown into serious confusion. We had not belonged to any political party before, and we did not approve of the record and character of the existing parties – UPC and DP. Spontaneously, many people started talking of belonging to a Third Force. This force represented those persons who wished to make a fresh start at political organization, with unity and consensus politics as the centre pin. With a few months left to the 1980 elections, the Third Force crystallized into a new political organization– the Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM). The population, to a large extent, expressed their appreciation of the ideas and opportunity presented by the young organization, but was pessimistic regarding its electoral success.

Pessimism was justified, because the new organisation simply had no time and resources to organize effectively nationally; and UPC was already positioning itself very loudly and arrogantly to rig the elections and seemed to have what was essential for them to do so successfully. After the sham 1980 elections, when Paulo Muwanga, a leader of UPC (and chairman of the Military Commission) took over all powers of the Electoral Commission and declared his own election results, there was widespread despondency and tension. While the “minority” DP Members of Parliament took up the opposition benches in Parliament, the rank and file of the party rapidly united behind the new forces of resistance to struggle against the dictatorial rule. The Popular Resistance Army (PRA and later, NRA) led by Yoweri Museveni which started with about 30 fighters, was overwhelmed by people seeking to join its ranks. The NRM was born as a political organization in June 1981.

It was created by a protocol that effected the merger of Uganda Freedom Fighters UFF (led by the late Prof Y.K. Lule and Museveni’s PRA). The armed wing of the organization became the National Resistance Army (NRA). The NRM political programme was initially based on seven points which were later increased to become the well-known Ten-Point Programme. The basic consideration in drawing up the programme was that it should form the basis of a broad national political and social force. A national coalition was considered to be of critical importance in establishing peace, security, and optimally moving the country forward. The political programme was, therefore, referred to as a minimum programme around which different political forces in Uganda could unite for rehabilitation and recovery of the country.

To achieve unity, it was envisaged that the minimum programme would be implemented by a broad-based government. After the bush war, discussions were undertaken with the various political forces to establish a broad-based government that would reflect a national consensus. The NRM set up a committee led by Eriya Kategeya (then chairman of the NRM Political and Diplomatic committee) for the purpose of engaging the various groups in these discussions. This exercise was, however, never taken to its logical conclusion. It would appear that once the leaders of the political parties were given “good” posts in the NRM government, their enthusiasm for the discussions waned, and the process eventually fizzled out. In spite of the lack of a proper modus operandi, the initial NRM government (executive branch) was impressively broad-based. Consensus politics conducted through elections based on individual merit and formation of broad-based government became the hallmark of the NRM.

Broad base undermined

However, the popular concept of the broad-based government, which had also received support of most political groups, was progressively undermined. It ought to be remembered that due to the support and cooperation of other political groups, no legal restrictions were imposed –on political parties until August 11, 1992 when the NRC made a resolution on political party activities in the interim period. In my opinion, there were three factors responsible for undermining and later destroying the NRM cardinal principle of broad-basedness, especially in appointment to the Executive: The NRM had set itself to serve for a period of four years as an interim government, then return power to the people. However, it was not very clear how this would happen at the end of the four years.

Some politicians in NRM government who came from other political parties set out to use their advantaged positions to, on the one hand, undermine the NRM and on the other, strengthen themselves in preparation for the post-NRM political period. Consequently, they fell out with the NRM leadership, and a number of them were arrested and charged with treason. Historical NRM politicians who thought that they were not “appropriately” placed in government, blamed this on the large number of the “non-NRM” people in high up places, and set out to campaign against the situation. They created a distinction between government leaders as “NRM”, and “broad-based”. If you were referred to as “broad-based”, it was another way of saying that you were undeserving of your post, or that you were possibly an enemy agent (“5th Columnist”).

After some years of NRM rule, some in the leadership began to feel that there was sufficient grassroots support for the NRM, such that one could “off-load” the “broad–based” elements in government at no political cost. These factors were at the centre of an unprincipled power-struggle which was mostly covert and hence could not be resolved democratically. It continued to play itself out outside the formal Movement organs, with the results of weakening and eventually losing the concept of consensus politics and broad-basedness. By the time of the Constituent Assembly elections were held in 1994, the NRM’s all encompassing, and broad-based concept remained only in name. For instance, while the CA electoral law clearly stated that candidates would stand on “individual merit”, the NRM Secretariat set up special commercial committees at districts whose task was to recommend “NRM candidates” for support. Not only did the logistical and administrative machinery of NRM move against the candidates supporting or suspected to be favouring early return to multi-party politics, it even moved against liberal candidates advocating for the initial NRM broad–based concept.

That is why many people were surprised and confused when some senior NRM leaders declared that “we have won!” after the CA results were announced. Who had won? It was clear that there were two systems; one described in the law, and another being practised. Moreover, the conduct of the CA, again exhibited the contradictions between the principles of NRM (and the law), and the practice. I was quite alarmed when I read a document titled ‘Minutes Of A Meeting Between H.E The President with CA Group Held On 25.8.94 At Kisozi.’ The copy had been availed to me by my colleague Lt Col Serwanga Lwanga (RIP) who attended the meeting. Present at the meeting were recorded as: H.E. the President (Chair), Eriya Kategaya, Bidandi Ssali, Steven Chebrot, Agard Didi, George Kanyeihamba. Miria Matembe, Mathias Ngobi, Mr Sebalu, Lt Noble Mayombo, Jotham Tumwesigye, Aziz Kasujja, Beatrice Lagada, Faith Mwonda and Margaret Zziwa. The introduction of the meeting reads in part as follows: The National Political Commissar introduced this committee as a Constituent Assembly Movement Group which wants to agree on a common position.

The arbitrary hand-picked group went ahead to take positions on major areas of the draft constitution, which we members of CA, (considered as “NRM supporters”), were supposed to support in the CA. It is interesting to note that among the 16 hand-picked members of the group, only six were directly elected to represent constituencies in the CA. The others were presidential nominees and representatives of special interest groups. One member was not even a CA delegate. We strongly resisted this approach, and after intense pushing and shoving, this group was replaced by the “Movement Caucus” under the chairmanship of the National Political Commissar, Kategaya.

Changing Movement

The Movement caucus acted very much like an organ of a ruling party. All ministers (except Paul Ssemogerere who later resigned from government) were members. The hand-picked group, and the Movement caucus after it, both undermined the principles of the Movement and the law. The Constituent Assembly was negatively influenced by executive appointments. In the middle of the CA proceedings, a cabinet reshuffle saw Speciosa Kazibwe elevated to the vice presidency, Kintu Musoke to premier and several other delegates appointed to ministerial posts. Many others were appointed to be directors of parastatal companies. It is my opinion that after these actions, some CA delegates took positions believed to attract the favourable attention of the executive. Most CA delegates also intended to participate in the elections that would immediately follow the CA.

This had two negative effects:

Being aware of the previous role of the NRM Secretariat in elections, some CA delegates would be compromised to act in such a way as to win the support of the secretariat in the forthcoming elections. Some CA delegates saw themselves as the first beneficiaries of the government structure and arrangements that were being constitutionalised. So, they took positions which would favour them, and not the common good. As a result, the CA progressively became polarized, and its objectivity was diminished, especially when dealing with political systems. For example, at the commencement of the CA, every delegate made an opening statement highlighting major views on the draft constitution. Analysis of these statements shows that few delegates supported the immediate introduction of multiparty system while the majority supported the continuation of the “Movement system” for a transitional period of varying length.

The positions expressed were very much in line with the views gathered by the Constitutional Commission. The commission noted in its report (paragraph 0.46) that a consensus on the issue could not be attained. This was demonstrated by the statistical analysis of views gathered from RC 1 to RC V, plus individual and group memoranda. It will be seen that nationally, at RC 1, “Movement” supporters were 63.2% and this percentage decreased progressively as they went to higher RCs until RCV (District Councils) where Movement supporters were only 38.9% and multiparty supporters were 52.8%. Among the individual memoranda, 43.9% supported a multiparty system, while 42.1% supported Movement. Among the group memoranda, 45.1% supported multiparty, while 41.4% supported Movement. It is important to note that these views were gathered at a time when there was no impending election, and therefore, no campaigning.

Accordingly, the Constitutional Commission proposed the following, as the only limitation on political party activities (in Article 98 of Draft Constitution): “For the period when the Movement is in existence, political parties shall not endorse, sponsor, offer platform to or in anyway campaign for or against any candidate for public office.” The CA under the influences outlined earlier ended up with restrictions contained in the highly contentious article 269 of the Constitution. The character of the Movement gradually changed, and the process of change was not determined democratically. Instead, it was continuously manipulated. Established Movement organs were continuously undetermined, and others completely ignored. For example, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of NRM was the organ supposed to be coordinating change in the NRM, yet NEC had not met for more than three years prior to the promulgation of the 1995 constitution – in spite of a requirement for it to meet at last once every three months. Instead, covert and arbitrarily constituted groups came in, like district election committees, special CA groups, Movement political High Command, Movement caucus, Maj Kakooza Mutale’s group, etc. The Movement created by the CA and completed by Parliament (through the Movement Act 1997) was different from the one of 1986-1995.

The Movement Act 1997 created a political organization with structures outside the governmental structure. For the first time, the Movement was a political organization distinct from government, the only remaining link being that it was funded by the government. Unfortunately, instead of describing the Movement as a political organization, the CA chose to call it a political system – distinct from “Multiparty Political System”, and other systems that may be thought of later. This was, in my opinion, a grave error. We even ignored advice given to us through a letter by President Yoweri Museveni (chairman NRM and Commander in Chief NRA) to the CA-NRM caucus delegates, dated June 21, 1995. In the letter, the chairman says, “the NRM is not a state but a political organization that tries to welcome all Ugandans. It therefore cannot coerce all Ugandans to be loyal to it. Loyalty to NRM is voluntary.”

The reality of the Movement today is that it is a political organization in much the same way as any political party is. Having no membership cards does not make it less so. In fact, in the letter referred to above, President Museveni further explains: “then some people may ask the question. If NRM could be already to compete for political office with opposing political forces in future, why not do it now? Do not support doing it now because it is not in the best [interest] of governance and fortunately now the people still agree with us. It is only when the majority of the people change that we have to adjust our position. It would be something imposed on us by circumstances.” So the NRM/Movement system is a convenient and, for the time, popular means to political power.

Manipulation

The characteristics which made the NRM government popular, such as the broad- based strategy, principle of individual merit, and the 10-Point Programme have been seriously eroded. This is evidenced by the bitter antagonism and animosity which exists between Movement supporters in many parts of the country, e.g. Kabale, Ntungamo, Kasese and Iganga. After more than 13 years of NRM rule, armed rebellion rages on in northern Uganda, and has also become entrenched in the western part of the country. All in all, when I reflect on the Movement philosophy and governance, I can conclude that the Movement has been manipulated by those seeking to gain or retain political power, in the same way that political parties in Uganda were manipulated. Evidently, the results of this manipulation are also the same, to wit: Factionalism, loss of faith in the system, corruption, insecurity and abuse of human rights, economic distortions and eventually decline. So, whether it’s political parties or Movement, the real problem is dishonest, opportunistic and undemocratic leadership operating in a weak institutional framework and a weak civil society which cannot control them.

I have shown that over the years the “Movement System” has been defined in the law in a certain way, but the leaders have chosen to act in a difficult way. This is dishonest and opportunistic leadership. I have also shown how changes have been made to the Movement agenda, and other important decisions have been made outside the Movement structures. This too is undemocratic leadership. In my opinion, the way forward in developing a stable political situation is to do the following: Urgently revisit the legal framework with a view to making an equitable law and regulation for all political organizations. The Movement should be treated as a political organization. Implementing this would need amendments to the Constitution, including amendment of articles 69 and 74. This requires the approval of the people through a referendum and the forthcoming referendum could be used for this purpose. In any case, laws are a reflection of the political will, so if there is political will to correct a situation, finding a way is easy.

The primary guarantor of democracy, human rights and the rule of law must be the civil society. Its capacity should, therefore, be quickly developed. Focus on a programme that could quickly raise the standards of living of our people to a decent level. This is an essential antecedent for our society to build a viable democracy. Of course, the approach to raising the standards of living is highly debatable. I have personal views that I hope to share with the public at another time. I pray to the almighty God to guide us so that we do not tumble again.

KIZZA BESIGYE

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