Saturday, November 05, 2005

What Do All These Mean?

Many things are happening in Uganda that would cause one to fear for the country.

From the Monitor newspaper of January 20, 2006
Emmanuel Gyezaho, Evelyn Lirri & Francis Mugerwa

A SPEEDING army truck yesterday dispersed a crowd that had gathered to listen to Uganda Peoples Congress presidential candidate Miria Obote at Kasambira Gombolola headquarters in Mubende district.

The army truck Reg. No. DO 1DF004 first sped past the rally venue, stopped abruptly after 100 metres, made a U-turn and sped back sending the crowd scampering for safety.

MAKERERE The National Resistance Movement Secretary General, Mr Amama Mbabazi, has said the ruling Movement still has the capacity to go to the bush to defend the country from dictatorial regimes.He was speaking at the launch of the National Youth Conference at Makerere University on Saturday. Mbabazi told students leaders from various institutions that though it is their role to ensure continuity of peace and prosperity ushered by the Movement government, “the elders will not fold their hands if the youth decide otherwise”.“I may look old but if it is necessary to go back to the bush to save Ugandans from suffering, I can still join that struggle since I was part of the team that changed poor leadership in Uganda,” he said. “

On the military side: Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who heads a regiment of the Presidential Guard Brigade is Museveni's own son. This is the closest to a private army Museveni has ventured. Then comes General Aronda Nyakairima, a close supporter of Museveni, who has been made Chief of Defense Forces, replacing General Kazini. Aronda will do Musevni's bidings. Major General Kayihura who was Museveni’s aide and a military commissar in the UPDF replaced the Inspector General of Police, General Wamala. Museveni never liked the police and never trusted the police because of their penchant for evidence or releasing "suspects" {criminals in NRM/Museveni lingo) for lack of it. Now the police can arrest you on trumped up charges. And if they can't, the army will sure get you!

All these people mentioned will have no jobs when a new party forms the government. All of them have a lot of questions to answer to Ugandans ranging from the way soldiers were deployed in Congo to looting of mineral from that country. Now, if they can conceal, they will do so. If they can steal, they will and if they are willing to go back to the bush then why even bother leaving the power in their hand? Museveni has laid out a carefully crafted plan to retain power under various possible circumstances, with or without winning the election. For each scenario, Museveni has the winning numbers.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Gen. Kony's Lord's Resistance Army Turns into 'Crude Oil!'

There is a strong connection between Southern Sudan, Kenya and Uganda. The recent peace accord between the SPLM and Sudan government was negotiated and signed in Kenya, while Uganda gave SPLM support and accommodation. Meanwhile, Sudan hosted the LRA.

Now the table is turning. Garang was sworn in as first vice president of Sudan and the south effectively given self-government or autonomy. In six-year time the south will decide in a referendum whether to secede from Sudan or not.

Garang then made a visit to Kenya and decided to pass through Uganda on his return trip to Sudan. On his way back to his base in New Site in Sudan, Garang was killed in a Uganda presidential helicopter crash. That crash has been mired in controversies prompting Museveni to come out with several conflicting statements about it. In one, he claimed that '"Some people say accident. It may be an accident, it may be something else," Museveni said, according to radio and news agency reports. He said the helicopter was "very well equipped . . .The one I am flying all the time. I am not ruling anything out. Either the pilot panicked, or there was some side wind, or the instruments failed, or there was an external factor."' The Sudanese were baffled.

Before he left Rwakitura, Museveni's Ranch, Garang had made a statement that "Kony won't be hiding there for long. It is not only Kony, but also all the militias who have been operating in the area. We need to provide peace, security and stability, so the militias including those that were formerly supported by the government, must be disbanded."
The terms of the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement effectively splits Sudan into two 'states' and with the existence of large reserve of crude oil particularly in the south, many companies and groups are already vying for prime spot in the country. It would not be surprising if Salim Saleh, Museveni's brother, moved his base into Sudan to 'finish Kony and his LRA.'

What would Museveni the tactician do in such a situation? Less than a month, Silva Kiir the man who replaced Garang made a similar visit to Museveni on September 7, 2005. Garang died in helicopter crash July 30, 2005 after discussing LRA with Museveni. Kiir also discussed the possibility of Sudanese soldiers joining forces with Ugandan army to fight the Lords Resistance Army based in southern Sudan. Now, all of a sudden, Kony and his LRA has shifted further north of the 'red line' deeper into Sudan and Museveni needs to get closer to them! Is Kony the red herring to allow Museveni occupy Southern Sudan?

As reported:
On September 4, 2005 PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has asked Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir to allow the UPDF to pursue LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony, who has fled beyond the Red Line.

A few days later:
KAMPALA, 15 Sep 2005 (IRIN) - A group of about 40 raiders believed to be fighters of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel movement attacked villages in southern Sudan earlier this week, setting homes on fire and abducting several people, officials said on Thursday.There was no report of casualties.

The plot thickens when the LRA, which has hitherto not operated across the White Nile, attacked villages, burned houses and traveled west with the intention of entering the DRC. The cycle is complete. Museveni is positioning himself for a piece of the action in Sudan. In this scenario, Southern Sudan might as well bid goodbye to peace!

In the case of Congo's mineral resources, Museveni paired with Kagame to topple Gen. Mobutu and installed Laurent Kabila. Then the mineral rich areas in the east were occupied by Ugandan and Rwandese troops. These armies were under separate command. In fact, there were several face-offs between Rwandese and Ugandan armies that prevented Museveni from subverting Rwanda's sovereignty.

Will Salva Kiir allow Museveni to wedge Uganda soldiers between Juba and Khartoum? Interestingly, Salva Kiir, when asked about the need for "one Sudan", after Garang's demise, said that "Let us cross the bridge when we reach it". He was referring to the referendum on the issue of a united Sudan, which is due to be held in six years. Museveni may be trying to speed up that day.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Museveni Makes a Surprise Skirmish into Sudan

Museveni Makes a Surprise Skirmish into Sudan

When Museveni went to Sudan to attend the funeral of General Garang he decided to test a few theories along the way to Yei. In the process he was able to violate the sovereignty of Sudan and test the response he would get if it were a real invasion of Sudan. He attempted a similar trick with Kagame in Rwanda, but it did not work. According to report in the Nation, "A source said Khartoum is particularly concerned that President Museveni entered Sudanese territory without informing the central authority. According to military sources, the president entered Yei under heavy military escort including battlewagons and heavy artillery."
Museveni has used this trick before after concluding the Nairobi peace accord with the UNLA Military Junta of General Tito Lutwa, which has been dubbed "peace jokes." Museveni had demanded that his troops be allowed unrestricted access to the barracks to mingle with the rest of the army. Instead, he used the opportunity to grab weapons and launch an onslaught on the UNLA from within. That should explain why Museveni "entered Yei under heavy military escort including battlewagons and heavy artillery."
Now Museveni's minister for defense, Amama Mbaazi wants $200 million to finish Kony. Meanwhile, Museveni asked Khartoum to "allow" him to follow Kony up to north of Juba Road because Kony has moved north of that road! At the same time Museveni claimed in Gulu that he could finish Kony in 30 minutes thereby stretching the imagination of we ordinary Ugandans. If Uganda army is now located north of Juba road a big logistic nightmare would have been solved in preparation for following "Kony" all the way to Khartoum. In line with Museveni style, the SPLA would now be foolish enough to renege on the peace talk that allowed power sharing and go for the seat of Omar Bashir where General Kony is supposed to be running to. What else would Museveni want from SPLA?
Museveni is the one to lose from a stable Sudan after the peace accord signed in Kenya because it would make him look out of place with the northern Uganda war which has no meaning whichever way you look at it except to generate millions of dollars for Museveni in the name of fighting terrorism. The late Garang and his deputy, Salva Kiir, fought a long war that has now been ended and they have started moving towards coexistence. They know what is best for their people. All that Museveni want to do is wreck the SPLM peace with Khartoum because it puts him in a bad light.

I, seriously, would wish the Sudanese government to allow Museveni to move his troops in Gulu to north of Juba road so that peace can return to Acholiland.
Khartoum, grant us that one wish!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Regional Security?

Events that have occurred in the last days of July and the early part of August this year 2005 have indicated that the NRM leaders do not respect us as individuals. The very notion that the fundamental freedoms as enshrined in the United Nations Charter are directly applicable to each individual is viewed differently by the NRM. Also the propensity for the NRM translating issue only in it own preferable ways came out clearly when Museveni himself said that nothing could be ruled out in Garang’s helicopter’s crash. No sooner than the independent FM station joined in the debate did Museveni do a complete about face. He not only declared that, Mwenda, the host of the FM station could not only say what he Museveni had already said, but he even made sure that Mwenda was arrested and the radio station closed down because he was 'playing with regional security.'
But the truth is that anything that affects any of the leaders in our regions affects us all. Therefore, collectively as a civic duty we are bound to seek to know why something has happened so that we can formulate the most appropriate response. Garang’s death affect many people in the regions that include Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Chad, Congo, Somali and Egypt just to mention a few countries. Northern Uganda has not known peace for as long as Museveni has been in power. With the installation of Garang as first vice president of Sudan, the situation was expected to change. Southern Sudan was also expecting much better conditions and they put all their trust in the vision of Dr. John Garang. It is instructive to know that the reaction to Garang’s death in which more than 100 people died was not because who killed Garang. It was simply an expression of deep and unacceptable loss that no one had a way of addressing. It was total disbelief and inability to accept that Garang whom just yesterday they pinned their hopes and aspirations on, was today gone forever. Never to be seen again or heard from. The riot was a reaction to the tragic loss of a one whom they had become endeared to but not because of how he died. Of course, during the riot other factors may increase or decrease the intensity of the riot. In other words, one could manipulate the riot in a given direction as towards a group or idea or goal. There is no shortage of that in the region!
In Kampala it was an opportune moment to rein in the pesky Monitor and its popular radio station hosted by Andrew Mwenda. The signal came in an outburst reminiscent of Idi Amin’s days in which Museveni threatened to close down any newspaper that “plays around with regional security.” Immediately, broadcasting commission wrote a letter closing the radio station on the ground that it aired ‘seditious’ material. So, while the people are mourning Garang, Museveni is reaping benefit by clamping down on the opposition, drawing the attention away from the recent tampering with the constitution and the failed referendum exercise. In fact, this is the time when Museveni slides the timeline all the way back to January 26,1986.
So, whenever you hear Museveni lashing out at everybody a la Amin, and security matter is thrown in anyhow among the sentences for the right effect, and the crowd roars with approval, know that the time has come for him to take some very drastic and irrational action. It usually comes in the form of ‘military matter,’ ‘national security,’ ‘regional security’ or any such combination that would allow them to take action without being held accountable.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Museveni Bares His Teeth

Museveni has clearly told the people of Uganda in no uncertain language that the Movement (a code name for Museveni) will continue ruling Uganda irrespective of the referendum. The referendum is his way of ferreting out the opposition with bait for political pluralism then liquidating them. At the same time he is ensuring that anyone that remains in the NRM must follow what he Museveni wants. Anytime you disagree with him, Museveni, you will be kicked out the NRM, and subsequently out of political power. You will then be subjected to the machination of the NRM who are dubbed 'the people' in the referendum exercise.
To choose a side in the referendum, there are two symbols: The Tree and the Hut with a closed door. Museveni is leading the team campaigning for the Tree and other Movement supporters or die-hard are campaigning for the Hut. So, if you vote for the Tree, you vote for Museveni. If you vote for the Hut, then you vote for maintaining the current system, which is being lead by Museveni himself. That is why so many people find the exercise meaningless.

In a newspaper report:
Museveni said that the referendum is not a contest between political parties and the Movement insisting that it was important to free those who feel conscripted into the Movement, disarm those that have been spreading damaging propaganda against his government in the international community and to allow the minority that have refused to embrace the Movement ideology to belong to their own home.
"We are not asking you to vote on what is better between the Movement and political parties; that one we decided a long time ago. The Movement wants to rid itself of those people," Museveni said. "There is nothing wrong with the Movement; it is the best. The question is how long should we wrestle with people who have persistently refused to join us for the last 19 years?" he said. End of newspaper report.

Looking at it another way, political parties have already been registered by an act of Parliament. So, if the notion that the majority of Ugandans are already NRM members is true, why waste money on a referendum that makes no sense anyway? The majority will simply vote for the NRM and save the 22 billion for other urgent projects.
Last month MPs backed a controversial amendment to the draft constitution, which would scrap limit on presidential terms. And now the referendum is going to be used to stifle multiparty and entrench the NRM as the only political system. And Museveni will rule as long as his system stands. There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. No Change or Kisanja wins.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Museveni Lays The Last Straw on Uganda's Back

IRAQ is rapidly approaching a watershed moment: the unveiling of its new constitution. This event will probably be seen in retrospect as either the moment that the leaders of Iraq reconsecrated their troubled nation, or as the opening act of the country's descent into civil war. It is troubling, then, that events are proceeding with undue haste and a lack of public input, either of which might doom the process and invite a conflagration that would make the insurgency look like a garden party.

Excerpt from NY Times by
J Alexander Their
Published: July 14, 2005
Stanford, Calif.

In a similar vein, events unfolding in Uganda parallel that of Iraq as it attempts to form a government of national unity. There are more serious issues that demand the actions of the Uganda Parliament more than this vain referendum exercise in which the people have no idea what is required of them. People in Acholi and other parts are living in camps and the children have known no peace. Every night they trek to the town for safety. This matter should be on the referendum but it is not even considered in parliament.

The dramatic change in the constitution for the benefit of one man marks a watershed in Uganda history. This event was not reached through consensus but bribery.
Not every time a leader dreams of new ideas should the people be approached go through a referendum exercise. Such actions are very costly and do not reflect the free choice of an informed populace. Instead it could only reflect the response of the sycophants and those benefiting directly from maintaining the current status quo. Forcing a referendum down the peoples throat is the surest way of entrenching dictatorship under the guise that “the people has spoken.” We know that the ordinary people have neither the means nor the cohesion to spontaneously come together in such an important topic.

When the matter of changing the constitution was first brought to parliament, it was defeated. But Museveni would have none of that. He manipulated the parliament to have his way. Subsequent votes show that the Museveni clique won. Why did this happen? Because voting was not necessary to achieve this aim and many members simply complied with Museveni’s wish. Parliament is rubberstamp. Museveni would get what he wanted irrespective of the voting. And there were/are MPs that are considered Museveni’s property. These people have no way to avoid doing the Museveni jig. Everything was done in a great hurry without giving people time to build consensus and trust.
Kony has been a convenient scapegoat but what is going to happen will make Kony insurgency look like ‘a garden party.’ This is neither a threat nor a prophecy. It is merely an observed fact of life under dictatorial regimes.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Museveni's Expose

This address to Acholi elders/leaders is the greatest insult to Acholi and Uganda as a whole. No Head of state worth the title would have acted and spoken as Museveni did like that.
Museveni has been using divide and rule since he usurped power through the barrel of the gun up to now. Divide and rule is not a British phenomenon. The fact that there were many Acholi in the army reflected the exploitation of the tribe by the British at that time. This was made easy by the fact that the Acholi were well settled and well organized to defend their land. They had very strict rules that governed the going to war. Acholi would not start a war merely to show their strength. But there are principles worth dying for and for those principles, Acholi would go to war as a last resort. Fairness was an important aspect of considering war. As a result many of its neighbors lived in peace with it. The British came using various tactics to conscript Acholi into a standing army of the British Protectorate. They interrupted the economic life of the Acholi and replaced it with military culture. The only means of sustaining livelihood under the British for Acholi was to be conscripted into the army. Those who were conscripted were released with benefits that encouraged others to join the army. It had nothing to do with being "a martial people" as Museveni is now peddling.
What kind of crap is Museveni talking here?
"Those lies and distortions went to the heads of whatever leadership was available at that time which, in turn, amplified and spread them to the rest of the population."
Can you see where Museveni is leading to? He is basically saying that since the Acholis were thought of as "martial race," whatever he means, he Museveni is the one to prove the British wrong.
But why did he have to do this? Because the so call 10-Point Program that Museveni used to wage war against the elected government of Dr. Obote would not stand the rigorous scrutiny from the Acholi. They would be the first people to confront Museveni with any anomalies in the 10-Point Program. But as a tribe the Acholi had become disillusioned by Uganda politics and they sought to leave that behind to those that so wished to follow. Furthermore, at no period in the checkered Uganda history have the Acholi seen peace under any of the government in power in Uganda. Under the first UPC government, Brigadier Pyerino Okoya and his wife were murdered in cold blood. Then with Amin's coup, more Acholi soldiers were killed. Amin was overthrown and still more Acholi soldiers were being killed under dubious circumstances. Many were being taken home in coffins during the Luwero Triangle war of Museveni. So, at last they decided to leave Kampala to return to their homes in Acholi district when Museveni dishonored the Nairobi Peace Talk Agreement. General Tito Lutwa did his part to bring Ugandans to the table to discus their grievances and bring peace to the nation, but Museveni would have none of that.
Our real issue as Ugandans is the relevance of the Constitution vis-a-vis the tribal and sectarian attitudes towards each other.
The three dimension force or army that Museveni is talking about is not for national unity. This army is Museveni’s army that he has forced upon the people of Uganda to allow him to talk that kind of thrash. This army is to protect Museveni and his cohorts, to allow them do whatever they want in Uganda. It is therefore tragicomic to call it a force for democracy.
Bad politics The undoing of Uganda right from the days of colonialism was the problem of bad politics. Bad politics means politics that is devoid of principles that are designed to uplift the people of Uganda out of their backwardness
The only thing I can say loudly is that Museveni has failed Uganda and has thrust us back into dark ages. So, it is not longer possible for Museveni to command the respect of even the most foolish Uganda. We have waited to see the reasons why Museveni went to the bush to topple the elected government. All we see is conditions getting worse for all people except his cronies from the bush. All army command positions are given to his closest tribesmen; in fact, to his clansmen only! The powerful post and ministries are all in Museveni√É‚’s cronies hand. Uganda is more divided than at any other time in history. Museveni has used up his time and he should now leave Uganda alone!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Confused Editorial from the Monitor of April 7 2005

The Monitor editorial of the 7th April 2005 is one of the weakest and most confusing editorials to have been written for readers at a time when the country is bordering a crisis. It is almost equivalent to the “Irresistible Force and the Immovable Object" case where no meaningful action can be taken. It would have been good to know that there is going to be no more secret voting in parliament. But this open voting is only for the constitutional amendment, because it is so important that posterity should see how our representatives voted. This is yet again one example of the NRM/Museveni junta manipulating parliament to get what they want!

The Editorial says:

Amending the Constitution is no small matter. The men and women who have the power to represent or quash our aspirations should be ready to stand up and be counted. But we also know that the reasons for the push for open voting were not entirely altruistic. The government and proponents of this method appear to want to send a message to MPs that “We are watching you.”

The editor was addressing the removal of secret voting from parliament in the pending amendment to the constitution. The NRM has been in power for more than seventeen years now. And now when it is facing a stiff resistance to changing the constitution to allow Museveni further term to rule Uganda, it wants to get it by way of threat.
In other words, if the members of parliament defeat the ammendment to the constitution through secret ballot, the NRM would have no one to go after. But they will certainly go "back to the bush." On the other hand, open voting would allow easy identification of those who may vote against the amendment and single them for some form of punishment as a good example for people to see what can happen to those who dare oppose the NRM. The good part is that the people will have seen and will not support the NRM this time around. Still it is the last gamble that they can play without going into their usual routine (Luwero, skulls, Mucholi, Obote, back to power)

Take a stand! This is a time for specific action. We do not have time for this kind of classroom logic. I am not against taking into consideration or looking at all possible scenarios before making a decision. But after doing so, specific action should be taken or definite side should be chosen. This is what makes a difference between a good leadership and a bad one. That editorial of April 7 2005 is incomplete because it leaves us in confusion and should not have been written. Editorial should be clear-cut and represent a strong stand that the editor is taking; a moral suasion and not classroom logic.

The Editorial is appended below.

MPs should stand up and be counted
As expected, Parliament on Wednesday voted to do away with secret voting on the Constitution Amendment Bill. The government and the Movement majority supported a motion providing for open voting on constitutional amendments. Supporters of open voting argue that it is a transparent method that forces people’s representatives to account to their constituents. Opponents argue that many Members of Parliament would be easily intimidated into voting for the government’s proposal to remove term limits and such related controversial amendments if voting were to be conducted in the open. They add that those who oppose the government’s proposals would be subjected to harassment later the voting were by secret ballot, it is argued, many MPs who would have feared to vote openly against the government position would do so because of the protection that secrecy would afford them. Both sides have a point. While there is a legitimate case to be made about how voting by secret ballot protects MPs from intimidation by ruling governments, there is an equally compelling case to be made for the principle of open voting in the legislature. Members of Parliament should be accountable to their constituents. The easiest and most reliable way for voters to establish whether their representative is in fact representing their interests in Parliament is if they are able to follow his or her votes on the major issues before the House. Amending the Constitution is no small matter. The men and women who have the power to represent or quash our aspirations should be ready to stand up and be counted. But we also know that the reasons for the push for open voting were not entirely altruistic. The government and proponents of this method appear to want to send a message to MPs that “We are watching you.” Whatever the motives of the proponents and opponents of open voting, not all is lost. Members of Parliament can still go into division lobby and record their votes. The country should know where MPs stood on the third term, on the regional tier system, on dual citizenship, on giving the president powers to dissolve Parliament, in fact on all the proposed constitutional amendments. Let our representatives show us, and posterity, where they stand.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Zimbabwe's Election

First I would like to note that the Zimbabwe election has two major components: 1. International communities consisting of USA and Britain or coalition of the willing and the MDC party in Zimbabwe. 2. ZANU-PF and majority of the population.The first component believed that MDC was going to win the election unless it was rigged by ZANU-PF. They claimed that there was intimidation although Mugabe relaxed the tight grip weeks before the election.The second component also believed that ZANU-PF was going to win the election. And as has been shown by the latest count, they did win. They blamed the poor showing of the MDC due to inappropriate or wrong strategy. The MDC should have been courting the Zimbabweans instead of courting the international USA and Britain.
Personally, I believe that Mugabe has stayed in power too long and should retire now. But the war that is going on in Zimbabwe seem to be totally different from one of mere democracy and presidential tenure. Britain and USA seem to be reflecting a feeling against the removal of land from former white farmers. So unless they stay away, no meaningful democratic movement may win the election in Zimbabwe. It is also important to note that President Bush won a second term on the back of Christian fundamentalists and Mugabe came back on the back of the landless Zimbabweans.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Prelude to Disintegration

Everything that is happening in Uganda indicates that the corrupt regime of Museveni is gaining momentum for final disintegration. There is going to be no guns fired. This is simply the peoples power at work. There will be some unscrupulous people who will attempt to hijack it but they will be crushed because the people have had enough suffering in the hands of various opportunists. So, if you are an opportunist, my advice to you at this time is to wait on the side until sanity has returned.

The Museveni empire/rule was built on chaos and misguided tribal sentiments and a horde of dissonant ideas:

  • That the north versus south was the issue
  • War in Acholi was keeping peace in Buganda and so on.
  • That Acholis and Lugbaras were banyanyas and biological substances
  • That only the NRA/NRM/Museveni could assure Ugandans of peace

It was divide and rule pure and simple.
The constitution was manipulated and doctored to suit the NRM but even then, it was pure brute force that kept Museveni in power all these years. And Ugandans, in their ways, have been tolerant of Museveni for various reasons, one of which is that they simply wish to get on with their lives. This is always mistaken for support for the existing regime.
Museveni missed many chances of becoming a truly great Ugandan leader in spite of the utter use of the military for his political purposes. People begged him and showed him the way, but he refused.
That many of the Museveni supporters in the army were from the west does not detract from the fact that those very same people are independent nationally oriented individuals who for one reason or another followed or joined the NRM. However, the sycophants like Bantariza wake up make their usual cry of LRA in the morning, herd people in the north to the concentration camp withouth means for survival, and call that a development program. A day's worth of work has been done. They then get rewarded by adoring soldiers who have no idea these leeches are the bane of Uganda and the reason why he is carrying a gun against his fellow countrymen.
The Bugandans have agitated for various forms of special treatment, but their messages never get through clearly. Opportunists jump in and confuse the issues that should be looked at, and in the end the central government is able to garner more support to the detriment of Ugandans and Bagandans in particular. Now we are moving towards that conditions in which a regime is suddenly going to be forced out of power and very soon, too. This should be the time for sanity and respect for all sections and communities in Uganda. We need no army to ensure peace in Uganda if the people are to remain supreme. We do need police power for civil purposes so that other political activities can be undertaken to establish the framework of Uganda government.
Museveni and his cronies are not going to take this lying down. As a matter of fact they are going to inject as much confusion as they can in the opposition parties. Messages of discord will be propagated. I dare say that the speech by Gilbert Bukenya telling Catholics that they will be the next president is very much in line with a Museveni tactic. It serve no useful purpose in ridding Uganda of NRM hegemony and can very well weaken any political party aligned with Catholics. Do you see where things are going?
I hope that the people of Uganda will not choose this path of divisionism but instead embark on creating a framework for a robust participatory and lawful administration.

Thanks be to God

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Die Is Cast

The die has been cast. Museveni is surely running for election. But, more than that, it means that Museveni's plan to become president for life is now being implemented. Think of it: Why would Museveni change a whole constitution in order to benefit another president? The truth is that Museveni and his henchmen are not willing to leave power to another party. They would not change a constitution merely to allow Museveni to run. That would be risky because he could lose the election thereby installing an opponent to a life presidency. And that is not the aim of the demand for a change in the constitution.
This is a serious crisis. Museveni has been ruling Uganda for the last twenty years under dubious code names for democracy and each time Ugandans watch without as much as a simple raising of a hand. Museveni eluded detection by hoodwinking the majority to think in terms of northerners versus him leading Uganda. They say Animal Farm is a classic but that is an understatement. It is actually the bible of achieving power and keeping it.
As we approach the month of April 2005, here are the probable scenarios that will unfold in Uganda:

  1. Harassment and intimidation of opponents and non NRM supporters as has already happened to Peggy Ntegyereize of Kampala, will become widespread.
  2. People will lose their livelihood, then their homes as has happened in Acholi.
  3. Then, there will come a spate of arrests and confinements in various ungazetted locations.
  4. Next will come extra judicial killings then a state of emergency will be declared, elections will be postponed and all political parties banned forever.
  5. As a result, many people will go underground, form factions and armed units fighting initially independent and uncoordinated guerilla wars.
  6. And, finally, when NRM/NRA is sufficiently weakened, the various factions from all corners of Uganda shall unite to form the new Supreme Uganda Army, ushering in a new era of independence, equality and dignity and development for all. Museveni will be known as the last tyrant Uganda has known.

All these may occur simultaneously or one after the other, but the fourth stage is the point of no return with a complete ban on all political activities except those supporting NRM. So, Ugandans can prepare to live with this increasing tyranny or oppose it with all the force in their power now and avoid traveling through all these six stages. The fate of the country is in your hands.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Peace Related Work

This excerpt from Online Journal of Peace whose web address is given below may shed light in why peace talks have been failing in Uganda. There is a general underlying effort to 'finish them off' that makes government to aim at capturing rebel leaders during peace talks instead of conducting sincere talks.
  1. First of all there is no desire on part of the government to restore peace in northern Uganda.
  2. Secondly, there is no clear assessment of the reason for the war.
  3. And lastly, the venue for peace talk is not conducive to peace talk.

    Below is the excerpt.

    In spite of the defeat of Lakwena in 1987 and the 1988 peace accords, the war up to 1991 continued in much the same vein as it had prior to these events. A.G.G Pinycwa has commented that, "It is the persistence of the rebellion despite the defeat of Alice Lakwena in 1987 that irked and prompted Major General David Tinyefuza [sic] to launch the four month (April to July) intensive military operation of 1991 in which much of the Northern Region was for some time held incommunicado with the rest of the country…."(18) In fact, by Tinyefunza's own account to Parliament in 1996, as Minister of State for Defense in 1991, he should not have been the one to conduct this operation. However, the situation on the ground was such that the rebels appeared to be winning the war controlling the administration centers of both districts. In Tinyefunza's own words "I told you (Parliament) the army in Gulu was under siege; rebels were camped at Gulu post office…The forces of the enemy had occupied Pajim barracks and the town of Kitgum…"(19) Operation North, as this 1991 operation was known, is said to have been extremely brutal and, by many accounts, fueled feelings of disdain by Acholi toward the NRM. Though Operation North failed in its ultimate objective to end the insurgency once and for all, it took some time for the LRA to collect itself and the next couple of years saw a reduction in rebel activity.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

What Is Behind Lifting the Term Limit?

If Museveni and his NRA up to now still claim that Uganda is not ready for multiparty politics, or that only Museveni can lead Uganda, then it may be time to review their approach of using force to topple the previous government. A peaceful and progressive society cannot be built on force alone. It evolves from mutual understanding and needs between the members who are truly free to make their choices as they wish. It is also participatory in nature, thereby, allowing people to adjust their behaviors and expectations to blend with the whole society.
The so-called 10-Point Program adopted by Museveni while he was still in the bush was simply a means to capture the imaginations and subsequent support of the masses in order to gain power over them. Once there, the need for these encumbrances dropped off.
Just look at the NRM second 10-Point Program. It says, ‘Second, because insecurity in Uganda had been largely the result of "state-inspired violence," it could be eliminated through local democracy, "a politicized army and police, and absence of corruption at the top." Yet, nineteen and now going on to twenty years since NRM captured power, state inspired violence is the order of the day in Northern Uganda, particularly in Acholi. And as for corruption at the top I can say very little unless the top is Obote. This is now where NRM ‘leftovers’ and ‘rejects’ make their fortune before joining the inner circle of Museveni’s government. Acholi is now their proving ground!

What is the implication of Mbabazi’s defense as reported by Badru D. Mulumba in the Monitor of Mar 15, 2005?

He said term limits provide a weakened presidency because focus shifts from policies and legislative programs to campaign pledges and plans for presidential candidates

So if this is the case, how is lifting the term limit so Museveni can serve one more term going to help the presidency? Just one more term, which is his last, would make him a lame duck president. And automatically this would bring us to the weakened presidency, which is supposed to be corrected by lifting term limit. It seems to me that the NRM is simply duping the people one term at a time. What they really want is 'No limit' for presidential term when their man is in power and 'change limit' when UPC or any other party is in power. Some have gone as far as saying 'lift term limit for Museveni but thereafter, maintain it in the constitution.'

Because of these kinds of inconsistencies, it is easy to see that the NRM are not interested in democratic process unless it favors them. The cry for the lifting of term limit is intended to shield and give more time to inner NRM circle to hold onto power and hope that Museveni stays longer to their advantage. So behind the lifting of the term limit are:

  1. The military commanders who owe their existence to Museveni.
  2. Businesses that have benefited from Museveni autocratic rule.
  3. People who have committed excesses under Museveni.
  4. The sycophants

This is why nothing is changing in Uganda since NRM/Museveni came to power by force of arms. In fact now that Museveni has completely consolidated his power base and the whole machinery is working to their liking, there is no need to please the people. Hence the 'Omnibus,'- remember 'Umbrella?'- has been rolled out to take care of those pesky problems of passing every law in parliament. The 'Omnibus' will take the NRM to their ultimate destination of perpetual rule.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Hard To Change One's True Color

From its inception, the NRM has always sought to win the hearts of the masses while at the same time seeking to close the eyes of the people to total and meaningful freedom. It has been doing exactly what it accused former regimes of doing. In fact it has exceeded the previous regimes in all areas doing bad things to Ugandans. Its main aim was the comfort of its core leaders. Like the pigs in "Animal Farm" they have sought and reserved the best of the country for themselves.
Since they looted the Uganda Commercial Bank in Kasese, they have never found a more lucrative lifestyle than living on the sweat of the people while they threatened any uprising with "you don't want the northerners back" type of cries. If there was one thing the animals were united on, it was that they did not want Mr. Jones back. And so the NRM eluded detection for a long time.
How can Museveni and his henchmen equate peace in the south and west part of Uganda with misery and displacement of northern and eastern Uganda population? Museveni and his henchmen in the army are well aware of the possible consequences of their barbaric rule but they couldn't care less! Ugandans will have to sort the mess for themselves.
The drive for so call third term is a drive for more time to attempt to eliminate evidences of corruptions and outright theft and looting of the national coffer. Ugandans must unite to bring and maintain sanity in the country and rehabilitate the areas and people trampled over by the nefarious NRM.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Peace Negotiation? Stupid!

The message that major peace negotiators from LRA sides have defected should be viewed with skeptics.
These officers have been fighting for the last seventeen years, coming and going between Sudan and Uganda. Now, there is a chance to negotiate for peace. Is this the time they would surrender? Of course, not.
Reports from Kampala say that the donors are unhappy with LRA for resumption of hostilities against civilians. Why would the donor say something like this without also saying something about the government’s part in the resumption of hostilities? Remember it was widely reported that the donors want Museveni to negotiate peace with the LRA. Therefore, this Kampala report is a distortion or statement meant to mislead the general public.
There is no independently verifiable source that Uganda armed forces are not carrying out the atrocities against civilians.

DONORS have appealed to the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels to urgently demonstrate its commitment to peace by stopping attacks on civilians, reports Joyce Namutebi from Kampala.

This statement can mean so many things and chief among which is that attacks on civilians are perpetrated and controlled solely by the LRA. Or it can mean the donors control the LRA. We know that this is not true as the government soldiers are also attacking civilians with same effect as attributed to the LRA. Government soldiers also frequently pose as LRA.
Kampala administration is tailoring it’s response to the donor pressure that there should be a negotiated settlement to the conflict, which Museveni does not like. This attempt to negotiate peace with Museveni in the bush in Uganda should have been seen as a meaningless exercise intended lure the top LRA commanders as has happened. It happenned before to Eric Odwar's group in Corner Kilak.

We know that atrocities in the north are being committed by the NRA now UPDF. That is why the army does not allow independent reporters in Northern Uganda. For us to accept the government news sources, there must be confirmation from independent sources.

When the US went to war in Iraq, they had news reporter embedded with the battalions. Much as the news reporters seemed to have been too open for the army’s liking, they were more beneficial in according credibility to field commanders’ actions.

While Acholi clamors for peace, their weak position make it worthless for Museveni and his rebels-turned-government soldiers to take heed.

Herein, lies the path to peace in Acholi.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Arrest of Alice Lakwena's Father

The Uganda military have arrested Severino Lukoya, a pastor of a little known church. The offence is that the church does not have a license. Apparently, there is no authority dealing with licensing of organizations like churches in Gulu. If the licensing authority sits in Kampala, then there is no reason to expect Severino Lukoya to need a license to operate his church in Gulu. At this time we do not know wether this church needs a license, who gives the license and also do not know wether Severino has applied for a license , the application is pending or the application has been denied.
Severino Lukoya is the father of Alice Lakwena who led the Holy spirit force against Yoweri Museveni's miltary government in the late eighties (1986-1988).
Even though the church does not have a license why did the game rangers arrest the church's pastors and handed them to the army instead of the civilian authorities? Is it the army's job to regulate associations and religious groups? Why would a Deputy Director for Mobilisation in the Movement Secretariat carry orders from State house to Severino Lukoya about closing his church? How is the local government being run in Acholi these days?
It is clear that the north part of Uganda is being governed as personal fiefdom of NRM big shots. Museveni has given Acholiland as a gift to his cronies. This is why there is no civil authority and the war in the north will not end as long as the military commanders have their say in the matter. Ending the war is the same as ending their lucrative business which bring in money in the name of defense or operation budget.
People like Severino Lukoya are a threat to the military chaos created by the NRM for the purpose of looting both the regional and central government coffers.
To ensure normal operation of local government authority, the army should be moved to the border of Sudan and Uganda where they can keep an eye on Kony's movement. Otherswise, Ugandan should know clearly that the NRM has instituted a system of looting one area of Uganda at a time.
One would think that the RDC would be working for progress and facilitate the infrastructure of the community but here we have obstructionists instead.
All is not well under NRM government of Museveni because it has introduced croniysim and absolute corruption and a zero production administration.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Waiting for a Showdown

Museveni will not pardon Kony nor will he bring peace to Acholi. As a matter of fact, Museveni has, and is still preparing his son to take over after he "leaves" the throne.


His son is the commander of the presidential brigade. Can anyone think of one good reason why there should be a presidential brigade while there is also a regular army?

All dictators have no plans for succession and trust no one except those close to or in his immediate family.

There is constant tampering with the constitution in the hope of bulldozing their own wishes into the constitution. Two terms then three terms then whatever they want goes under that category.

Eyedema's example is a precedent that Museveni is going to emulate or copy, unless the AU acts decisively to discourage Togo' Eyedema from usurping power.