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.

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