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Friday, 17 January 2014

When American dictatorial client regimes give no damn about the poor: Striving tooth and nail to please his master –Babylon USA: President Museveni uses Money of Poor Ugandans to finance UPDF soldiers’ fighting in Sudan



 

Uganda has made it its business to seek to topple governments in the region or to militarily protect those in its good books. The motive behind all this is Museveni’s personal glory as the region’s kingmaker and serving Western imperial objectives with a view of driving Western powers into a conspiracy of silence about his tyrannical record. Thus, when the West (America) wants to kick out a ‘bad guy’, they have ready boots on the ground–UPDF. That is why he can afford to invade, topple regimes, loot and kill (DR Congo) without provoking retaliation from the international community. When Charles Taylor did in Sierra Leone exactly what we continue to do in DR Congo, he was hounded out of office, tried and convicted by the ICC. On the other hand, our president, the ‘beacon of hope’ is always selected to lead mediation efforts even when his fingerprints are all over the crime scene or when he is clearly partisan and fuelling conflict with unhelpful ultimatums. He does all this, not because he is the regional military giant, but because he has the strongest global power behind him. He has identified his role in the perpetuation of the global American hegemony and is more than willing to play the lackey’s part. He sometimes pretends to be promoting African interests by using Pan-African slogans to hoodwink his peers so as to deliver them to his masters without much ado. His reward is an assurance that he will get away with his crimes as long as he plays succor to Western imperial designs. His benefactors will conveniently argue that whereas he is bad, they do not see a credible alternative to run the country. What they actually mean is that they do not see someone willing to do their bidding as faithfully as President Museveni has done. Pursuing imperial designs or being an agent of imperialism has a cost. It breeds hostility from the dominated. There is no doubt that Ugandans are hated because of meddling in other people’s domestic affairs. SAM MUGUMYA, Can Uganda Afford to Police the region, The Observer, Thursday, 16 January 2014)

 
 A poor Uganda School Child with hands infested by jiggers

Show me any project and I will tell you where the money has come from. We have borrowed a trillion shilling from China for the Entebbe express highway, borrowed $100 million from the EU to expand Northern by pass and construction of Mbarara by pass, borrowed $80 million for Karamoja high voltage line, borrowed over $100 million for the new Bujagali-Kawanda-Masaka power line etc. Even these short stretches of Kampala roads like Bukoto- Kisaasi and Kawempe-Ttula have been constructed on borrowed money. That is why our total debt portfolio has skyrocketed to nearly $6 billion having been reduced to about $1.5 billion in 2006. Uganda’s annual budget is about $4.5 billion. The bulk of the money that we raise locally has been turned into pocket change by our leaders. It is mainly local revenue that they pack in sacks and boxes and distribute to various groups. Packing money in sacks and boxes has become a full time job for Brig Proscovia Nalweyiso at State House Entebbe. African strongmen don’t respect fellow citizens but they respect white people. That is why when donor money about Shs 40 billion was misappropriated under the nose of Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, our visionary leader repaid it using our taxes.
(Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, How NRM has turned citizens into Beggars, http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=27186&catid=93 )


For many decades now, we have been ruled by guns, by gunmen, and that is what we hoped would be dealt with by the NRA/NRM struggle in 1981-1986. But as soon as Museveni came to power, he abrogated all the arrangements that had been prepared for a transition and, instead, he concentrated on how to perpetuate himself in power using the same means we previously rebelled against. We decided to challenge him and it is the work that I have set out to do, year in year out, until it is achieved. Dr.Kiiza Besigye



Patients on the floor of Mulago Hospital, the National Referral Hospital. Photo courtesy of williamkituuka.blogspot.com


Machar’s fighters kill UPDF soldiers




By Barbara Among


Posted  Thursday, January 16  2014 at  02:00


In Summary
Ugandan soldiers were killed and others injured when the UPDF engaged the rebels just 90 kilometres outside Juba.

KAMPALA.
President Museveni yesterday revealed that the Uganda army is actively fighting rebels led by Riek Machar in South Sudan. He also disclosed that Ugandan soldiers were killed and others injured when the UPDF engaged the rebels just 90 kilometres outside Juba, just a day before Parliament approved Uganda’s deployment in the world’s youngest nation.

 
A woman carries her children on her bicycle through a town.newvision

“Only the other day, January 13, the SPLA and elements of our army had a big battle with the rebel troops about 90km from Juba where we inflicted a big defeat on them,” Mr Museveni told fellow regional leaders in Luanda, Angola. “Unfortunately, many lives were lost on the side of the rebels. We also took casualties and had some dead,” he added without giving figures.

Claims confirmed
The admission by President Museveni that Uganda is fighting on the side of President Salva Kiir confirms claims by MPs that Uganda was actively involved in fighting in South Sudan and had lost soldiers in the crisis that started December 15 in Juba.

 
Patients on the floor of Mulago Hospital, the National Referral Hospital.

The army had severally denied it is involved in any combat operations in South Sudan.
Questioned about the developments, Defence minister Crispus Kiyonga deflected the question to the army spokesperson, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, who said: “Well, the President has said it.” He added: “Details are scanty at the moment but all I can say is that our forces had a very successful battle.”

Speaking at the International Conference on the great Lakes Region, Mr Museveni said by yesterday evening, the government of South Sudan, with the support from UPDF, had regained control of Jemeza. He also accused former south Sudan vice president Machar of planning and executing the failed coup. “… the question is: “If Riek Machar did not plan a coup in Juba, then why did his supporters capture Malakal, Bor, Akobo, etc?” ...”

Museveni condemns rebels
“In my opinion, if Machar had not planned a coup and it had all been mistakes on the government side, he could have done two things: withdraw to a remote area of the country to avoid attack and start talks unconditionally so as to resolve the problem quickly and not to protract it,” said Mr Museveni.

 
An NGO volunteer treats a jigger infested resident in Busoga  

According to President Museveni, the crisis is a result of power struggle and “You detect ideological, organisational and discipline issues in this situation.” He also blamed the fighting on the indiscipline of the SPLA soldiers.

The SPLM party, the President said, should resolve their disagreements within the party structures, and advised that those dissatisfied should form their own party. The conference attended by presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and host Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola, also discussed the fighting in the Central Africa Republic and DR Congo.

The President’s remarks drew condemnation from the Shadow Attorney General Abdu Katuntu.
Mr Katuntu said the MPs will task the Executive to explain and account for Ugandans they put in harm’s way by engaging in combat.

 

Pupils on a boda boda to school. newvision

 

By taking sides, he said the government had pitted Ugandans against ordinary South Sudanese.

“As Parliament, we need to take steps immediately now that we know we were lied to. We want the Executive to account for Ugandans they took in and put in harm’s way in the conflict because they got our approval fraudulently,” said Mr Katuntu.

Comment > From Barbara Among
President Museveni’s revelation, a day after our Parliament overwhelmingly stamped a motion tabled by Defence minister Crispus Kiyonga, to retrospectively ratify the UPDF deployment in the world’s youngest nation has once again left the MPs holding the can.

One wonders how irrelevant our Parliament continues to play on issues that need its oversight.
The MPs passed the motion on the premise that the deployment was for peace enforcement purposes, with the responsibility of evacuating Ugandans too and concerns about the dangers of taking a partisan stand raised by Mr Wafula Oguttu, the day’s Leader of the Opposition, were casually brushed off.

President Museveni’s position, however, reveals a long known public secret; Uganda has taken a stand against Riek Machar and his group - a matter that will worry many a Ugandan with or without interests in South Sudan.

But is South Sudan’s conflict a military one that Uganda’s army can resolve or a political problem that Uganda will now aid to quickly turn into a military problem?

The current crisis was destined to befall South Sudan. A chronology of events that preceded the December 15 alleged coup attempt indicates that President Kiir had long fallen out with his then deputy and several other top SPLM leaders.

The brewing dispute was a time-bomb waiting to explode. The grudges went public before the much celebrated July I, 2011 independence. It is noble to have solution to the problems in one of our strategic regional partners, but by taking drastic partisan military action, Uganda stands to lose in many ways in the long-run.

Ms Among is the Daily Monitor’s Diplomatic Affairs Editor, responsible for Regional and Foreign content



For God and my country or For my stomach, my family, relatives and friends: The paradox of Museveni’s 2 billion Car amidst a dead health sector, increasing poverty , youth unemployment and struggling economy

http://watchmanafrica.blogspot.com/2012/10/for-god-and-my-country-or-for-my.html




Angry MPs summon Kiyonga, Nyombi 


A belated admission of UPDF’s active combat role in South Sudan by President Museveni, hours after Parliament approved the deployment retrospectively, has stirred angry emotions across the political divide.
Defence minister Crispus Kiyonga, his junior Gen Jeje Odongo and Chief of Defence Forces Gen Katumba Wamala had successfully persuaded Parliament that the army was deployed in the volatile South Sudan largely to rescue trapped Ugandans and provide humanitarian services.

They fervently denied allegations of combat operations and roundly dismissed any suggestion of causalities.
On Tuesday, Kiyonga invoked memories of the 1994 Rwanda genocide and told MPs that the Ugandan army had moved into South Sudan to prevent such a scenario.

But hours after securing Parliament’s approval, President Museveni told fellow heads of state attending the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in Angola on Wednesday that the UPDF was playing a more active role than MPs had been told.

“Only the other day, January 13, the SPLA and elements of our army had a big battle with the rebel troops about 90km from Juba where we inflicted a big defeat on them. Unfortunately, many lives were lost on the side of the rebels. We also took casualties and had some dead,” Museveni said.

Reacting to the President’s confession, some angry MPs yesterday resolved to summon Kiyonga and Attorney General Peter Nyombi to explain the UPDF’s role in South Sudan. Parliament’s committee on Defence also learnt yesterday, following a review of the Status of the Forces Agreement Uganda signed with South Sudan on January 10, that Uganda is bearing all costs of the war.

Apart from being exempted from South Sudanese taxes, the Ugandan contingent is meeting all its liabilities, including medical expenses for injured soldiers. During a heated committee meeting yesterday, the deputy chairperson, Peter Eriaku, said the minister of Defence and the Attorney General had been summoned.
“I hereby direct the Clerk [to Parliament] to send out invitation letters to both of them,” Eriaku said.
Summoning the two officials was mooted by Muwanga Kivumbi, the Butambala MP, who said he was privy to official information indicating that fighters loyal to Riek Machar, the former vice president, had killed some UPDF troops in battle last week.

“The minister of Defence should be summoned to explain what they (UPDF) are doing in South Sudan. It seems that they lied to Parliament before approving their deployment. They told us that they were going to be impartial but the commander-in-chief is saying that they are involved in battles and our soldiers were killed and that UPDF killed Machar’s fighters,” Kivumbi said.

He added that the Hansard should be analysed to establish beyond doubt what the motion was about. The MPs also queried the authenticity of the agreement Uganda signed with South Sudan, especially after they failed to establish the name of the South Sudanese official who signed for Juba.

“We would like to know who is committing the country to this mission and its scope and we need to know exactly what they are doing there [in South Sudan],” Bubulo  East MP Simon Mulongo added.
On his part, Kyadondo East MP, Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, who had engaged Gen Odongo in an exchange before parliamentary approval was granted, said Kiyonga had told “lies” to Parliament but that is all he knew.
“I don’t have anything to demand from Kiyonga because I highly doubt he has full details of what is transpiring in South Sudan,” Ssemujju said. “He told Parliament what he thought was the right information, yet he had been told lies by the people who know the truth.”

Ssemujju added that only Museveni and “some few people around him like his son [Brig] Muhoozi” have an idea what is going on.
“Kiyonga is also looking for information like any other Ugandan and some of us have more information than him, so I’m not angry with him because when you try to [dig] much about military issues, Museveni will bury you six feet [under],” Ssemujju said.

Shadow minister for Defence Hassan Kaps Fungaroo told The Observer that it was unfortunate Parliament was not being taken seriously. He called on his colleagues to exert themselves.
Besides summoning top government officials, the committee asked Parliament’s Legal Department to scrutinise the Status of the Forces Agreement, which some MPs said was unfair to Uganda, and report to Parliament on Tuesday next week.

“The visiting forces will be responsible for meeting the cost of medical, optional and hospital treatment for members, for arranging evacuation in the event that suitable medical treatment is not available,” reads article 10 of the agreement.

Army Spokesman Lt Col Paddy Ankunda confirmed in an interview on Thursday, that “the UPDF is obviously in full combat.”

Asked about the casualties, he said: “We wouldn’t tell you how many they are until we have informed their next of kin, but the truth is that we have lost some soldiers and we also have some few who were injured.”
Last week, Aruu MP Samuel Odonga Otto said some of the dead Ugandan soldiers had been sneaked in from South Sudan and buried in parts of northern Uganda. He claimed the army had lied to relatives of the deceased, that the soldiers had died in a fatal accident on Masaka – Mbarara road.

Otto, who says he attended the burial of Sgt Santos Ocen at Onywana village in Omoro, Gulu district, and Pt Richard Oyaka at Ongako, adds that he had crossed-checked with traffic police and there was no such accident on the said road.

 When Ugandans wake Up to the reality that it is the USA that is supporting Museveni's dictatorship in order to further its imperial interests. Check this article below
 
President Museveni’s recent ultimatum to the rebelling SPLA soldiers was laughable but not funny.

To many, it was an utterance by someone consumed by self-importance and one that never ceases to poke his nose in other people’s affairs believing that it is his God-given duty.

What, therefore, informs Museveni’s foreign policy positions?

Our engagements in foreign lands have been clothed in high-sounding motives like Pan- Africanism (SPLA), war on terror (Somalia), protecting our borders (Congo and Central African Republic), helping our ‘brothers’ to return home (Rwanda) or African solutions to African problems (Mali and Libya though in this case forces were never deployed).

A microscopic examination is, therefore, required to establish the truth behind the stated motives and resolve whether such an aggressive foreign policy is in the interest of our country and whether it should be done in our name.

Uganda has made it its business to seek to topple governments in the region or to militarily protect those in its good books.

The motive behind all this is Museveni’s personal glory as the region’s kingmaker and serving Western imperial objectives with a view of driving Western powers into a conspiracy of silence about his tyrannical record.

Thus, when the West (America) wants to kick out a ‘bad guy’, they have ready boots on the ground–UPDF. That is why he can afford to invade, topple regimes, loot and kill (DR Congo) without provoking retaliation from the international community.

When Charles Taylor did in Sierra Leone exactly what we continue to do in DR Congo, he was hounded out of office, tried and convicted by the ICC. On the other hand, our president, the ‘beacon of hope’ is always selected to lead mediation efforts even when his fingerprints are all over the crime scene or when he is clearly partisan and fuelling conflict with unhelpful ultimatums.

He does all this, not because he is the regional military giant, but because he has the strongest global power behind him. He has identified his role in the perpetuation of the global American hegemony and is more than willing to play the lackey’s part.

He sometimes pretends to be promoting African interests by using Pan-African slogans to hoodwink his peers so as to deliver them to his masters without much ado. His reward is an assurance that he will get away with his crimes as long as he plays succor to Western imperial designs. His benefactors will conveniently argue that whereas he is bad, they do not see a credible alternative to run the country.

What they actually mean is that they do not see someone willing to do their bidding as faithfully as President Museveni has done. Pursuing imperial designs or being an agent of imperialism has a cost. It breeds hostility from the dominated. There is no doubt that Ugandans are hated because of meddling in other people’s domestic affairs.

Our traders in South Sudan have been singled out for harassment and murder by our ‘pan-African’ brothers whom we supported during their war of independence. Our railway line was uprooted in Kenya because we were perceived to have meddled in their elections in 2007.

Our citizens were brutally killed in Kampala because of our involvement in Somalia and our citizens were sent packing in Tanzania because we are considered ‘the neighbour from hell’. Uganda is supposed to pay war reparations to the tune of $10 billion for the looting, killing and rape that we occasioned in Congo.

While there, we have fomented trouble and armed rebels but today we condemn a section of SPLA for trying to use ‘unconstitutional’ methods to acquire power. What a contradiction! Whereas Museveni uses foreign wars to maintain internal stability in the UPDF by having soldiers busy all the time thus entrenching himself more in power, the ordinary citizens bear the burden of his ‘community policing’ programmes.

Ugandans must, therefore, oppose these designs after all when we had the LRA, no neighbour found reason to intervene. If we treated ours as a domestic problem that did not call for external intervention, there is no reason for us to seek to regionalize other people’s problems to rationalize our intervention. It is not our duty to police the region and besides, tyranny, which is the cause of strife in this region, is very much alive here.
If we have failed to resolve it at home, how can we purport to exorcise it abroad?

We have neither the reason nor the resources to police the region. Let the Sudanese, Somalis, Congolese, etc. strive to solve their own problems as we have been struggling to solve ours without their direct military intervention.

The author is a political activist.
0755145122



Army not to disclose UPDF casualties in S. Sudan 
Publish Date: Jan 16, 2014
Army not to disclose UPDF casualties in S. Sudan

UPDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda
newvision
By Raymond Baguma

The army will not reveal details regarding the numbers of Ugandan troops killed in South Sudan as well as identities of the casualties in the ongoing conflict between SPLA government troops and soldiers loyal to former vice president Riek Machar.



UPDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda said that revealing the number of casualties and troop deployments could be ‘tactical suicide,’ if the information is released and ends up in the hand of opposing forces.


“We don’t reveal casualties before we inform relatives. It can be devastating to learn about the death of their people through the media. At an appropriate time, government will be brought to account and reveal those numbers,” said Lt. Col. Ankunda.


Ankunda was on Thursday addressing a press conference at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala.

On Tuesday while in Angola, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni that the Ugandan army is engaged in direct combat with rebels fighting against the South Sudan government of President Salva Kiir.


Museveni while speaking at the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Heads of State summit in Angola, said that UPDF incurred casualties and deaths during a battle about 90 kilometers from Juba.


Narrating the circumstances under which UPDF was attacked; Lt. Col. Ankunda said that UPDF soldiers fell in an ambush laid by the rebels loyal to Riek Machar. However the UPDF was able to beat the ambush.

Ankunda said that Uganda could not stand by as a removal of a government using unconstitutional takes place and UPDF troops would not hesitate to put themselves in harm’s way in order to ensure and prevent a likelihood of genocide in South Sudan.


He said that by Monday, the UPDF has repatriated a total over 40,000 people who include Ugandans since the fighting first broke out in South Sudan.

He said that following the approval of UPDF deployment by parliament recently, the deployment will be formalized with the ratification of a Status of Forces Agreement between Uganda and the Government of South Sudan. The agreement spells out how the UPDF troops are supposed to conduct themselves.


“We are under a bilateral mandate and troops were deployed on the invitation of Kiir who requested Museveni to deploy troops. Salva is frustrated with regional leaders who did not respond to his call. 
                
                  

Familiar: President Museveni (L) with South Sudan President Salva Kiir
We are not in full charge – SPLA admits The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon has asked President Museveni to mediate an end to the fighting in South Sudan, hours after the South Sudan’s army (SPLA) acknowledged that it was “not in control of Bor (Jonglei’s state capital)” after forces loyal to renegade Gen Peter Gatdet Yak overran military bases on Tuesday and took over the town on Wednesday evening.

Speaking at a news conference last evening, Fred Opolot, the Foreign Affairs ministry spokesman, confirmed that Ban Ki Moon spoke to President Museveni by telephone on Wednesday and asked him to intervene.

“The UN Secretary General had a phone conversation with President Museveni and asked him to intervene by finding a political solution to the problem,” Opolot said at the news conference at the ministry of Foreign Affairs offices.

In response, Opolot said, President Museveni has asked Okello Oryem, the minister in charge of International Affairs, to join the African Union team that left Addis Ababa last evening en-route to South Sudan.
The AU team heading to Juba is led by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who is also the AU chairperson.

Opolot said the situation in South Sudan remained  tense and appealed to Ugandans in Sudan to be careful.
“The airport, main highway and the official border points with Uganda have now been opened. In addition, some businesses have resumed normal operations,” he said.

The ministry appealed to anyone with information on any Ugandan casualties to notify the Ugandan embassy in Juba. Meanwhile in Juba, SPLA spokesperson Col Philip Aguer said the national army was meeting to discuss its next move in light of the rebel takeover of Bor amid growing international concern for the humanitarian situation in Jonglei’s state capital.

The SPLA said today that Gatdet, who was a commander in charge of the SPLA’s 8th Division in Jonglei state, had defected from its ranks. He reportedly fled over allegations that his tribe, the Nuer, had been targeted in the current tensions.

Over the weekend, clashes erupted in Juba between units of the presidential guard from competing tribes of the Dinka and Nuer. The fighting spread throughout the city, which led to the death of at least 500 people, with hundreds more injured.

In a TV appearance on Monday, President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy, Riek Machar, who hails from the Nuer tribe, of staging a coup attempt, along with other prominent South Sudanese officials from the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).

Observers and independent analysts have expressed fears that Gadet’s defection could complicate the security situation in Jonglei where government forces have been battling to exert full control in areas where rebel leader David Yau Yau has remained active since 2012.

In a statement released today, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said the “security conditions in the Jonglei state capital of Bor have deteriorated significantly during the course of the day”.
“UNMISS has received reports that heavy fighting erupted in the city in the wee hours of this morning and continued for four hours. The violence triggered an exodus of civilians out of Bor, and thousands have sought shelter at the mission’s compound on the south-eastern outskirts of the city,” the statement said.

Ready for talks

President Salva Kiir has said he is ready for dialogue with his former deputy, Riek Machar.
“We are open for dialogue with anyone who is willing,” Kiir told reporters in Juba, raising hope for a peaceful resolution to the volatile situation.

The president, on Monday, blamed the skirmishes on forces allegedly loyal to Machar, which the latter denied in an exclusive interview with Sudan Tribune.
“There was no coup. What took place in Juba was a misunderstanding between presidential guards within their division. It was not a coup attempt. I have no connection with or knowledge of any coup attempt,” said Machar.

He claimed that no official from the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) had any connection with the alleged coup. The United Nations Secretary General, in a phone interview with Kiir, expressed deep concerns about the current situation in South Sudan.

“I spoke to President Salva Kiir yesterday morning, urging him to do everything possible to end the violence and to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law,” Ban Ki Moon said in a statement.
“I impressed on him the need to resume dialogue with the political opposition”, he added, in reference to reports that Kiir was willing to talk with his opponents.

Hilde Johnson, the special representative of the Secretary General, also called for urgent political dialogue in the country.

“This is a political crisis, and urgently needs to be dealt with through political dialogue. There is a risk of this violence spreading to other states, and we have already seen some signs of this,” she said.
It is essential to protect the human rights of all those who are detained, Johnson stressed in a statement. The UN Mission in South Sudan said it had received reports of many people being killed and injured, with nearly 20,000 people reportedly displaced.

“We are in the process of verifying the reports,” the UN said, raising possible fears of more displaced people in Jonglei state.

Meanwhile, a UPDF statement said the Ugandan army had deployed troops at the border with South Sudan, to ensure security on the Uganda side.

  
  

What Uganda agreed with S. Sudan on UPDF mission



By  Barbara Among

Posted  Friday, January 17  2014 at  02:00
In Summary
Despite stating that the UPDF will be given freedom of entry and exit, among others, the agreement is silent on several critical issues on the rules of engagement about the UPDF involvement in the war.

KAMPALA- Uganda could incur the cost of the war in South Sudan, according to the status of forces agreement between the government of Uganda and that of South Sudan.

The agreement availed to Parliament on Tuesday states that Uganda will meet all medical costs and arrange evacuation of its troops whenever needed.

However, the agreement is silent on several critical issues on the rules of engagement about the UPDF involvement in the war of world’s youngest nation. There is no mention of scope of operations, duration of stay in South Sudan.

Though it states that the UPDF will be given freedom of entry and exit, the pact is silent on the duration of Uganda’s stay in South Sudan.
The agreement entered into on January 10, last year bears the signature of Defence minister Crispus Kiyonga on behalf of Uganda and an unnamed South Sudan official, whose designation is also not shown.

It also makes no mention of the signatories and witnesses by the commanders and foreign affairs’ officials of the two countries.
A section of Members of Parliament had on Tuesday, while debating the deployment in South Sudan, demanded that Uganda engages for a defined period, suggesting a one-month stay.
The seven-page agreement is silent on who would meet the cost of the war but mentions that Uganda would use its own military equipment and allow it to freely move its military gear into South Sudan.

Uganda also undertakes in the agreement to compensate any third party claims arising from acts or omission by its soldiers. But neither South Sudan nor Uganda shall make any claims suffered by its servicemen or for damage or loss of property during the war.
It also makes no mention of compensation of families of the UPDF soldiers that die in line of duty.

Immunity from prosecution
The agreement, however, shields the forces from being tried under the South Sudanese law or their courts. “Member of visiting forces shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the sending state’s law and courts in respect of any disciplinary or criminal offences which may be committed by them in the territory of the Hose state,” read the agreement.

“In case the host State establishes any member of a visiting force has committed any criminal act in the territory of the Host State, the Host State shall promptly inform the sending state of the alleged criminal act of its member and avail the sending state material evidence pertaining to the criminal act alleged,” reads the agreement.

It also says that any dispute will be resolved through consultaion between the two countries. This means Uganda could be shielded from referral of any cases to the international courts such as the International Criminal Court or the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Uganda would also avoid a scenario of 2005, when DR Congo sued it and the ICJ found that Uganda violated the principles of non-use of force in international relations and of non-intervention; that it violated its obligations under international human rights law and that it violated other obligations owed to the DR Congo.

The Juba agreement between the two parties instead requires that south Sudan reports any criminal case to it and hand over the evidence pertaining to the criminal act alleged.
UPDF will be exempted from income tax and any other form of direct taxation on their pay, allownaces, remittances and other emoluments and benefits.

Simon Mulongo, (Bubulo West): “In the agreement, I don’t see issues related to resources accompanying the forces. There are only administrative costs to do with their health .There are critical issues missing in the agreement. “We want the principle, scope and projected duration and whether it is to be extended.”

MP Saleh Kamba (Kibuku):“The Chama Cha Mapinduzi party in Tanzania moved a motion to debate Uganda’s compensation of their forces in the 1979 war but our agreement is not addressing the losses and compensation to families of the dead soldiers.”

MP Semujju Nganda (Kyaddondo East):“A love letter between the two governments with no compensation for lives lost. We are buying the food and uniforms for our soldiers and we find this very strange.”

Uganda parliament okays troop deployment in South Sudan 

By YASIIN MUGERWA and MERCY NALUGO | Wednesday, January 15  2014 at  11:27




 
 
A special session of Uganda's parliament called to discuss the deployment of UPDF soldiers in South Sudan. PHOTO | DAILY MONITOR 
After vehement disagreement initially, Ugandan MPs on Tuesday grudgingly okayed the deployment of the country's army in South Sudan.
Weeks after Ugandan troops were rushed to Juba, the MPs criticised the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) leadership over its response, which many said had not been endorsed by Parliament.
Matters were not helped when the very motion seeking House approval had to be amended on the floor after it was realised that it had been made under the wrong legal provisions.
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga begged MPs to allow Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga to make the amendment, reminding them that South Sudan leader Salva Kiir had personally asked Uganda to help stabilise the situation.
Ms Kadaga told MPs that the purpose of yesterday’s special sitting was not to seek approval as many MPs were led to believe, but rather to update Parliament on the deployment and seek support of members.
But speaking on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition, Bukhooli Central MP Wafula Oguttu said the motion should have been bipartisan. He was backed by Shadow Attorney-General Abdu Katuntu who criticised the country’s leadership for treating an issue of national importance as an NRM affair.
“We support the deployment as long as it is for evacuation of our citizens from South Sudan,” Mr Oguttu said. “When a country is going to war, leaders consult widely; we should learn to work together. What’s happening in South Sudan is a result of bad governance. We don’t have sufficient resources to maintain another country in the neighbourhood.”
He added: “The government is killing and the rebels are killing but for us to get involved we must get a clear mandate.”
Conformity with laws
Opposition MPs appealed to the NRM majority to take a conscious decision that will not be regretted in future. “The UPDF (Ugandan People's Defence Force) have taken sides in the conflict to the extent that once you identify yourself as a Ugandan, you’re finished; that’s your death sentence,” another MP, Mr Kassiano Wadri, said. “The motion is vague; it means UPDF may even stay in South Sudan forever because there is no timeframe.”
Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi responded to accusations that the army was illegally sent to South Sudan, saying “there was necessity to act the way we did” because there was an imminent threat from an “ungovernable South Sudan”.
Mr Mbabazi quoted Article 209 of the Constitution which sets out the army’s functions, including preserving and defending Uganda’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. He said under international law, you can even defend your territorial integrity beyond your boundaries.
“This is a case where unity must be demonstrated, this matter should not divide us,” the PM said.
But his submission also indicated a further blurring of the official position on South Sudan. He reversed the President’s recent suggestion that the deployment was for peacekeeping and peace enforcement purposes. Mr Mbabazi said this was not the case, although he emphasised that every action taken by the President is in conformity with the laws of Uganda.
Dr Kiyonga said: “We are in South Sudan to evacuate our citizens but also close any gaps that may endanger our security.”
And the army chief, Gen Katumba Wamala, said: “The situation in South Sudan was threatening our security and we had all reasons to intervene. We have an obligation to see South Sudan stand as a nation.”
Other MPs wondered how the Dr Riek Machar's “rebels” fit into Uganda’s January 10 agreement with the government of South Sudan on the status of forces. Ms Kadaga asked the committee on defence to study the agreement and report when Parliament resumes on February 18.
The MPs also noted that the government motion had made no mention of the need to support ongoing peace talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The scope of the UPDF’s deployment was also not specified, they observed.


Now Museveni reveals Uganda combat role in South Sudan 

By BARBARA AMONG | Thursday, January 16  2014 at  14:23

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni addresses heads of state during the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region in the Angolan capital of Luanda on January 15, 2014. PPU PHOTO.  
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has revealed that his forces are actively fighting rebels in South Sudanese territory, and that the country had already lost some of its soldiers in combat.
The disclosure came after Uganda legislators had retroactively backed the deployment of Ugandan soldiers to South Sudan, on the premise that they were mainly there on peacekeeping basis and helping to evacuate Ugandan nationals. (Read: Uganda parliament backs troop deployment in South Sudan)
But the Ugandan leader later said that the country's army was fighting alongside loyalist South Sudan forces.
"Only the other day, January 13, the [South Sudan army] SPLA and elements of our army had a big battle with the rebel troops about 90km from Juba where we inflicted a big defeat on them," Mr Museveni told fellow regional leaders meeting for a summit in Luanda, Angola.
"Unfortunately, many lives were lost on the side of the rebels. We also took casualties and had some dead," he said, without giving figures.
The admission by President Museveni confirms claims by Ugandan MPs that the country was actively fighting in South Sudan and had lost soldiers in the crisis that started on December 15 in the capital Juba.
The Ugandan army had several times denied it was involved in any combat operations in South Sudan.
Asked about the developments, Ugandan defence minister Crispus Kiyonga deflected the question to the army spokesperson, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, who said: "Well, the President has said it."
He added: "Details are scanty at the moment but all I can say is that our forces had a very successful battle."
The President’s remarks drew condemnation from the shadow attorney-general Abdu Katuntu.
Mr Katuntu said MPs will task the Executive to explain and account for Ugandans they may have endangered by engaging in combat.
By taking sides, he said the government had pitted Ugandans against ordinary South Sudanese.
"As Parliament, we need to take steps immediately now that we know we were lied to. We want the Executive to account for Ugandans they took in and put in harm’s way in the conflict because they got our approval fraudulently,” said Mr Katuntu.
Failed coup bid
Speaking at the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, Mr Museveni said by Wednesday evening the government of South Sudan, with the support from [Uganda army] UPDF, had regained control of Jemeza town. (Read: Great Lakes leaders hopeful of quick South Sudan deal)
He also accused former South Sudan vice president Riek Machar of planning and executing a failed coup. "… the question is: 'If Riek Machar did not plan a coup in Juba, then why did his supporters capture Malakal, Bor, Akobo, etc?'..."
"In my opinion, if Machar had not planned a coup and it had all been mistakes on the government side, he could have done two things: withdraw to a remote area of the country to avoid attack and start talks unconditionally so as to resolve the problem quickly and not to protract it," Mr Museveni said.
According to President Museveni, the crisis is a result of power struggle and "ideological, organisational and discipline issues." He also blamed the fighting on the indiscipline of the SPLA soldiers.
The ruling SPLM party, the President said, should resolve their disagreements within the party structures, and advised that those dissatisfied should form their own party.
The conference attended by among other presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and host Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola, also discussed the fighting in the Central Africa Republic and DR Congo.

Kizza Besigye says protests can pre-maturely force Museveni out of power
Former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) President Kizza Besigye used the funeral of the political comedian Paddy Ssali 'Bitama' to solemnly declare that mass protests were the only sure way to cause change.

Speaking to mourners in Nansana on Sunday, Besigye urged those who crave political to keep faith in 'Arab Spring'- style demonstrations, which brought down dictatorial regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya between 2010 and 2012. Bitama died from cancer on Saturday.

Besigye rallied Ugandans to embrace the Arab Spring kind of street protests, which brought down dictatorial regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen between 2010 and 2012.

"Dictatorships can easily be fought if people decide," said Besigye, who has challenged and lost to President Museveni in three previous elections.

He, however, ruled out supporting an armed uprising. Accompanied by Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago to Bitama's home, Besigye argued that while an armed struggle could cause regime change, it would not necessarily guarantee peace.

"If all farmers decided to cut off food supply to Kampala, the government would collapse in a matter of days."

The former FDC leader assured mourners that such citizen actions can be all-conquering even in cases of extreme military might and big money, which he claimed President Museveni uses to win elections. Besigye cited the example of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted by people-power despite having an army of one million troops.

Before he succumbed to cancer at Mulago hospital last Saturday (January 11), Bitama, 34, had became one of the consistent opposition activists battling the police in the Besigye-led 'Walk-to-Work' protests on Kampala streets. Bitama had declared himself a contender for a parliamentary seat in Kyadondo North. Indeed, while Batama's star as a comedian was on the wane, his political fame gained momentum each time he was arrested alongside Besigye in the demonstrations.

Besigye challenged mourners to accomplish Bitama's dream by getting involved in the struggle through demonstrations. Meanwhile, emotions ran high moments before Lukwago and Besigye spoke to mourners, when electricity was switched off, allegedly on the orders of area police chief Mohammed Kirumira, who was at the funeral to monitor the duo's activities. Coincidently, power was switched on after Besigye's speech, infuriating mourners further.



Why the elite avoid Besigye





Frustrated: Kizza Besigye wants more elite participation in ousting President Museveni from power
After Dr Kizza Besigye criticised the Ugandan elite for refusing to support his grass-roots campaigns to challenge President Museveni’s hold on power, many have responded in an equally strong tone, saying the former FDC president’s protest-politics is both unfashionable and unsustainable.

The standoff raises serious concerns for those who would like to see Uganda transition from being ruled by the same group of gunmen that captured power in 1986 to truly democratic leadership.

Experts believe that such a change, as has previously happened in Ghana, cannot come easily without the involvement of the middle class, something that puts Besigye’s outburst into perspective.

In a surprise show of frustration two weeks ago, Besigye said: “The educated elite are extremely selfish. Each one is trying to look for a share of spoils...Anybody called a professor is a curse to this country. They are all hopeless and you can name them, they are all nodding their heads to what the dictator is saying. Museveni has become a tyrant because the people around are not telling him what to do.”

But various political analysts and scholars, while admitting a trait of self-preservation among the elite, have suggested the problem is largely Besigye’s. Mohammed Kulumba, a senior lecturer in Political Science at Makerere University, described Besigye’s comments and strategies as misplaced.

“The elite and middle class in general are not known for political activism. And, even when they are to participate, they don’t do it like Besigye wishes them to do it. The middle class only participates depending on who is dealing with them and based on clearly drawn strategies,” Kulumba told The Observer recently.
Giving the example of academics, Kulumba says they will not go on the streets to demonstrate. They may, however, contribute to change through making critical analyses of the actions of the regime – and, perhaps, contributing resources. And this, he argues, they have done.

He might have had in mind people like Joe Oloka Onyango and Mwambutsya Ndebesa, both Makerere dons who have often published eloquent critiques of government actions.

Opposing Museveni

Kulumba believes Besigye can find some consolation in his own history of the anti-Obote rebellion.
“He was part of the NRM and he knows very well how the middle class contributed. It was the external wing that provided the artificial blood life to those who were in the bush,” he said.

Besigye joined the opposition in 1999 after a bitter fall out with the NRM regime. He first challenged Museveni’s presidency in 2001 and lost. He has since stood two more times and lost. A recent survey carried out by this newspaper found that under President Museveni, Besigye is probably the most hunted and prosecuted opposition leader in post-independence Uganda.

The Observer reported that over the last five years, the former FDC party president has been arrested at least 28 times, charged in court at least six times, and locked up in Luzira prison once. Whereas Besigye’s political resolve is unquestionable, his political struggles have not been overwhelmingly embraced by prominent elite or the middle class, leading to his frustration.

Narrow middle

According to Dr Julius Kiiza, a political economist at Makerere, part of the problem is the fluid nature of Uganda’s class structure. For instance, doubts remain whether Uganda has a middle class in the conventional sense of the term.

“How does it survive? Can it really be termed as a middle class in the real sense? All these questions have to be answered before anyone examines its viability,” Kiiza said.

The phrase middle class which finds its expression in the works of a German philosopher, Karl Marx, has been given a modern meaning to refer to a portion of the population that includes businessmen and professionals, who have capacity to spend an extra portion of their income on anything after paying for basic needs.

American political science professor Samuel Huntington argues that in virtually every country, the most active supporters of democratisation are the middle class people.

“A rising middle class unleashes a constellation of social forces with the organisational capacity and education to press for democratic governance,” argues Huntington in his book, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century.

In support of his argument, Huntington cites the example of the French revolution as well as Argentina, Brazil, the Philippines, Taiwan, Korea, Spain, Peru, and Ecuador in the late 1970s and the 1980s, as examples of societies whose political process and democratization has been influenced by the participation of the middleclass in quest for better things.


Kizza Besigye takes on police during the walk-to-work protests in 2011

It is believed that the Arab Spring, particularly in Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria and Libya have been spearheaded by the middle class. Kiiza argues that unlike in other societies, it is unfortunate that Uganda has a narrow middle class that cannot influence Uganda’s political agenda.

“We are very few who can function independent of the political system. Majority of the perceived middleclass in Uganda survives on the political oligarchy. And, this cannot be a middle class,” he argues.
Kiiza argues that the business community is also a product of the current political regime. “Majority of the so-called rich business people became rich after 1986, which means that the regime provided their foundation. So, they cannot survive without the regime, which also explains [why] their participation in politics is to support power consolidation for the regime,” he said.

This view is echoed by Asuman Basalirwa, the President of Justice Forum (JEEMA): “Many professionals, scholars derive their livelihood by winning contracts from government. So, it has become difficult for them to ask for change as it will be self destruction.”

Indeed, one former media manager has told The Observer that he lost his job after the regime got to know that he was sympathetic to the progressive forces. “When you participate in the quest for political change there is a risk of losing your job and not everyone is brave enough to weather the challenge,” he said.

Circumstances don't warrant

Dr Golooba Mutebi, a political scientist and renowned researcher, argues that the middle class is not known for political activism.  They only get involved if their survival is gravely threatened.

“There is sufficient freedom to warrant the comfort for the middleclass. The situation is not like it was during Amin’s or Obote’s time which pushed everyone to the front of seeking for change,” Golooba said.

He argues that those who favour change differ from Besigye on the means: “Some believe that there is need for change but they don’t necessarily agree that change can come through running battles. I don’t know Besigye’s ideology.”

Kulumba argues that Besigye’s strategy is not based on a reasoned plan of action.
“What is the strategy here? Have they sat down to analyse why walk to work failed before they launched another protest and others which they announce without focus?” he asked.

In defence of the protests, Basalirwa says their activities are planned. “Walk to work was based on a plan and everyone knows how the state machinery was deployed to make sure that it does not do what it was formed to do.”

Strategies

In his book, From Dictatorship to Democracy, Prof Gene Sharp, an American political scientist whose work has guided many non-violent political struggles, says that spontaneous uprisings often face serious limitations.
“Frequently, the democratic resisters have not anticipated the brutalities of the dictatorship, so that they suffered gravely and the resistance has collapsed,” he says.

Ultimately, Sharp argues that it is prudent for opposition activists to always calculate the most effective ways and times when it is ripe to bring down a dictatorship. One important point is the vision and mission of democracy activists. Sharp argues that movements that define their mission narrowly, in terms of unseating a dictator, risk failure. Seizing on this point, Kulumba argues that Besigye and group should gear their efforts towards embracing democracy and transparency in their parties.

“The political parties should work towards strengthening their structures as well as internal democracy and transparency from within, as this would help in making parties attractive. And, it is from then that they will have a critical mass,” he said.

In addition, Kiiza argues, the opposition should lobby for the state to improve services – building good roads, hospitals, schools and a good economic environment that will enable the expansion of a middleclass.
Others could argue, however, that Museveni’s government is irresponsive. And how does the opposition make an impression on an entrenched government? Besigye’s solution is street protests – which the elite have shunned, leading to frustration.



On Thursday last week, I travelled to Karamoja with the parliamentary committee on the National Economy to assess the viability of four projects which, if properly implemented, have potential to turn around this sub-region.

These are a high voltage industrial power line from Soroti to Moroto, rural electrification, paving the Muyembe-Namalu- Moroto road, and establishment of an agricultural zone with piped water, power, functional schools and hospitals – much like the millennium model villages.


The government has presented to Parliament requests to borrow more than $100 million to finance these projects. (The loan for the road has not yet been tabled.) The committee on the National Economy, of which I am a member, is responsible for scrutinising these loan requests on behalf of Parliament but of course it has turned itself into a rubberstamp.

The bulk of these loans will be obtained from the Islamic Development Bank. Contrary to what our visionary leader keeps telling the country, we are still a very poor country that relies on loans for its major infrastructural developments.

Show me any project and I will tell you where the money has come from. We have borrowed a trillion shilling from China for the Entebbe express highway, borrowed $100 million from the EU to expand Northern by pass and construction of Mbarara by pass, borrowed $80 million for Karamoja high voltage line, borrowed over $100 million for the new Bujagali-Kawanda-Masaka power line etc.

Even these short stretches of Kampala roads like Bukoto- Kisaasi and Kawempe-Ttula have been constructed on borrowed money. That is why our total debt portfolio has skyrocketed to nearly $6 billion having been reduced to about $1.5 billion in 2006.

Uganda’s annual budget is about $4.5 billion. The bulk of the money that we raise locally has been turned into pocket change by our leaders. It is mainly local revenue that they pack in sacks and boxes and distribute to various groups.

Packing money in sacks and boxes has become a full time job for Brig Proscovia Nalweyiso at State House Entebbe. African strongmen don’t respect fellow citizens but they respect white people. That is why when donor money about Shs 40 billion was misappropriated under the nose of Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, our visionary leader repaid it using our taxes.

And the features of corruption are visible in Karamoja. Local MPs showed us some three bed-roomed houses constructed using Peace Recovery Development Plan (PRDP) donor money each at Shs 300 million.
Visibly, each of these houses cannot be constructed at more than Shs 50m but the Office of the Prime Minister spent Shs 300m on each. My hope is that when we finally approve these loans, the scavengers will not feast on them.

This particular visit was my second to Karamoja and the farthest I have ever moved into this sub-region. Karamoja, until this government came into power, was a region of two districts: Moroto and Kotido. It has now been chopped into seven districts: Kaabong, Abim, Amudat, Napak, Nakapiripirit and the original two.
The 2002 census put the population of Karamoja at 882,881. The same census put the population of Wakiso at 907,988 and Kampala at 1.1 million. Today Karamoja is represented by seven women MPs yet Wakiso and Kampala have one each. Obviously, you can understand why there are more NRM MPs than opposition in Parliament.

That is a subject of a future article in which I will explain how the visionary has used this constituency gerrymandering to create artificial numbers in Parliament. This short visit exposed me to some grave happenings in Karamoja that we must address together as a country.

At Lolengedwat sub-county in Amudat district, we bumped into a group of mothers who had taken their children for immunisation. Each mother would be given some posho in return for taking their child for immunisation.

I was then told that, actually, for them to do the right things, Karimojong have to first be bribed. Children who attend classes are given cooking oil and other items for them to stay at school. And many of the Karimojong that you meet on the way raise their hands to ask for something or point at their mouth to inform you they want something to eat/drink.

No wonder Karimojong children have become experts at begging on Kampala streets. I am no expert on Karamoja and cannot claim vast knowledge just by one or two visits but I detest begging. Project, project, project, is slowly becoming a Karimojong word even by their educated leaders.

And because they vote wisely, nobody should force them to grow food for their own consumption but World Food Programme and UNICEF must provide. At a nearby UPDF unit in Lolengedwat, soldiers have grown everything from watermelon, tomatoes, maize.

The neighbours are waiting for World Food Programme to feed them. As a result, more than 50 people have starved to death. Yes, someone has to go slow on Karimojong but we better force them to grow food than encourage them to beg.

And we don’t have to be iron fisted but must provide leadership and stop being opportunistic. Let the government concentrate on paving roads, electricity and other social services. In Karamoja, we are providing food and in other areas, sacks of money. We must stop this nonsense.

semugs@yahoo.com 

The author is Kyadondo East MP.


Former FDC boss insists he is done with elections
In his 13th year of active opposition to President Museveni, Dr Kizza Besigye, a three-time presidential candidate, has insisted that he can no longer offer himself as a candidate in elections organized under the ruling NRM government.

In a weekend interview with Deo Walusimbi, the retired colonel makes a case for civil disobedience as the only effective way of dislodging Museveni from power.

He also discusses exiled Gen David Sejusa, the option of war, and the dangers of UPDF deploying in South Sudan, among others.
Excerpts:

What are your plans for 2014?
This year, for me, is just another day on the calendar. I don’t think it marks any drastic change and in the last 13-14 years, my entire engagement in the opposition has been to struggle for a democratic transition in Uganda. And by this I mean where the people of Uganda would truly participate and determine what affects them in their country.

For many decades now, we have been ruled by guns, by gunmen, and that is what we hoped would be dealt with by the NRA/NRM struggle in 1981-1986. But as soon as Museveni came to power, he abrogated all the arrangements that had been prepared for a transition and, instead, he concentrated on how to perpetuate himself in power using the same means we previously rebelled against.

We decided to challenge him and it is the work that I have set out to do, year in year out, until it is achieved.
In the previous years, we have been engaged on one level of awakening the people of Uganda to realize the injustices that have been put around them and how captive our country has become and that awakening their consciousness is aimed at empowering them to reassert their rights as citizens to control governments not to be controlled by governments.

You are talking of people controlling governments, how many governments are in Uganda?
This [NRM] is not the first government in Uganda, we have had many of them, even this one has been changing within itself though we have the same faces in new governments but there [is] supposed to be a new government, but most importantly, people should be empowered to know that they are the ones to control governments, to know that the governments are their employee and that they must hold them to account, and that is the struggle we have been engaged in through giving them information.

We have tried to do that using every avenue, including participating in elections that we knew were inherently fraud and would not be fair.

Why did you continuously offer yourself in an electoral process well knowing it was a sham?
We had reasons; to mobilize our people because it is a good platform, and to some extent we have had freedom to make rallies and talk to our people. We wanted to use it in influencing the formation of the political will of the people.

We also wanted to demonstrate what the regime is because people will not have known that they have a dictatorship in their country, a regime that is not fair, a regime that does not respect rule of law, if we didn’t go to elections, and I think we have achieved that.

The regime also may have appreciated how discontented the people are, because sometimes dictators live in the clouds thinking that everybody loves them and it’s through an election that this might be demonstrated, and sometimes a dictator may reconsider and allow some kind of transition and some dictators have done so.

Have you achieved your objectives particularly in the awakening campaign?
I think the people of Uganda know, that they have a rogue regime which is just stealing from them, which is undermining their rights and that it doesn’t provide them with the services the government is supposed to.
So, we have largely achieved on the awakening campaign. The demonstration of what the regime is has been achieved because everybody knows it.

As a perennial challenger of Museveni; what have you learnt about him?
In the course of all the engagements, I think we have also clearly established that Museveni is determined to go down with the country, not to give the country a chance, unlike some other dictators who realize that time has come and they leave the country. I think Museveni has adequately demonstrated that he would rather go down with the country.

But I think the stage is set now for Ugandans to take back their country where it deserves to be, but no one who wants freedom should think that it will come on a silver plate, we must all stand up and fight for those rights and so in the last three years, since the elections of 2011, our focus shifted from awakening the people to know the kind of regime they are dealing with, to confronting the regime, to bring it down, not through an election but through organizing defiance with the people of Uganda.

But the regime successfully foiled the demonstrations on the streets of Kampala and you were subjected to 24-hours-surveillance…
If they successfully foiled it, then that surveillance wouldn’t have been there. I have variously pointed out that you only fail when you fail trying; even when we had guns in Luweero it took us five years; the South Sudanese took 50 years to get a country to govern.

Struggles may not end as quickly as people would want them to. What must be kept in mind is that as long as the unjust regime is in power, people will continue to suffer; in fact if they don’t struggle, they may become permanent slaves. Whether it takes time, we have no choice but to struggle to reclaim our country.

But the defiance methods you are applying seem not to be working; some will say they only make people vulnerable.
Actually the people of Uganda are not timid. The misfortune we have is that there are few leaders, especially in the elite class of our country, who are grossly selfish and optimistic. Even if they are not in comfortable zones, they aspire to get there alone, not by helping the country to realize the fair system within which all have equal opportunities.

They would rather betray their communities in order for them to enter the comfort zone. And the regime has been taking advantage of that; when you start to rally people into action, they are easily compromised. That is a big challenge we are still facing, the problem is not the people, but the leaders.

Aren’t you partly to blame for this, because ordinarily, the elite class leaders follow ideologies. Have you presented one that they can follow?
The strategy we have taken is very clear and that is defiance, call it civil disobedience.

It is said the elite will generally not get involved in confrontational defiance….
If they can’t get involved, that means that they are part of the problem which must be solved and by the way, the elite during the NRA war were not involved in the large measure. The people who fought were peasants.

Yet some of the fighters, like you, were elites.
Yes, but we were very few just as it is today. There are a few elites who are involved in activism today.
But with or without them, we must cause change. The elites can continue to look for greener pastures within Uganda or even abroad; when change comes, they will come but that is none of our worries.

You sound like you are disappointed with a non-cooperative section of Ugandans.
I’m disappointed but not surprised because it is the nature of our education that creates parasites rather than people who have patriotic values that offer service to others.

You have entered the 13th year of your struggle against Museveni; do you still maintain your position that you won’t offer yourself come 2016?
My position has been very clear that it doesn’t matter which year the elections are in, I said I cannot offer myself for an election under the conditions in which we have been having them. In other words, in an election which is organized by a military regime. I have told you that the benefits we wanted in the elections we have been participating in were well achieved.

But there are efforts to amend the Electoral Commission Act … in fact, they are aspiring to call it Independent Electoral Commission...
You cannot have an independent electoral commission under a military regime. You cannot have fair rules or laws under the military regime. The other day the courts said that Lord Mayor Lukwago is still a valid mayor. But why isn’t he in office? … the dictatorship defied the rule of law.

So, it doesn’t matter whether there is an electoral commission that is constituted differently, it cannot achieve better results. And even if it was there, how would it stop soldiers arresting candidates’ agents from the polling stations and stuffing boxes? So, you cannot have free and fair elections under a rogue regime which doesn’t respect its [own] laws and international laws.

Is it your view that through an election you can’t eject Museveni?
These are not elections; it is a ritual which is performed under the military, police, which always vandalize polling stations, and stuff ballot boxes, etc… it’s not an election. And for me and you, the time has come to confront the dictatorship directly not through the elections that they stage-manage.

Ever since you started opposing this regime, you have never thrown a stone; how do you hope to dislodge a state machinery armed to the teeth?
When the struggle is called for popular defiance, the people use their power to reject the regime. No amount of guns will stop them. Can you imagine if people stopped supplying food in Kampala for two weeks, what would the regime do with their guns and tanks?

People have power and they are ruled because they have accepted; if they don’t accept, the regime is gone. What we are trying to do is organize for that rejection to be widespread and once that is done, the regime however much guns it might have, can no longer impose itself on them.

But some say you are just fed up with challenging Museveni who has beaten you at every election...
Nobody has hired me. Nobody pays me, and nobody feeds me, I do it on my own volition. If anybody thinks that what I’m doing is not the right thing, they should do what they think is the right thing.
They are Ugandans just like I am; they have equal power like I do, so anybody who feels he/she can do it in a better way, then they can come in because no one is stopping them.

Where would your non-participation in 2016 elections leave you politically?
Who says I’m not participating?

But you have just said that you will not offer yourself again?
Participating in a political process is not only about becoming a candidate. My objective is not to look at 2016 but it is to end the dictatorship today or at the earliest possible time. I don’t care about 2016; I care about ending the dictatorship whenever it is possible to do so.

We are simply talking about different struggles; there are people talking about a struggle of an election, we are talking about a struggle of removing the rogue regime. And we are saying that we shall not remove this rogue regime through an election; we want to remove the rogue regime, even the people who will go to the election hope that they will remove the regime.

So, I’m not seeking to get out of the process, I am participating very effectively in trying to remove the regime, only that the method we are going to use may differ; ours is fighting day in, day out.

Could that mean that as opposition you are busy preparing the candidates you will field in 2016?
I’m not a leader in the opposition political parties; I am not a leader whatsoever.

But you are an elder in opposition, particularly in FDC...
An elder yes, but I’m a former leader of a political party who can offer my advice if they seek it, they can take it or leave it. But what I will encourage the other parties that want change to do, we must deliver that change and focus on it. We may even take different courses.

Some people who still think that elections can still cause change can continue and organize for an election, those of us who think elections can’t do it, we shall continue and fight outside the electoral process.

Of the two, Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu (FDC president) and former VP Gilbert Bukenya, who has offered you a cabinet position, whom would you support?
Bukenya declared that he would contest, but General Muntu has not and I’m not going to focus my energies on electoral processes under this regime but those who think they can focus on elections can go on and do so.
I have never been engaged in this business of fighting for a job in government and I have never applied for any government job in my life. I’m completely capable of living decently outside government. Even when this current regime is fighting me, I can survive.

How do you assess the chances of a divided opposition dislodging Museveni?
What I have said in my own analysis, whether united or not, you cannot dislodge Museveni through an election he organizes, supervises and controls.

The issue is not unity or disunity. The question is the system under which an election is conducted. If there was a free and fair election, Museveni would need to get more than 50 per cent in the votes he wins. Even if you are 60 candidates and everyone gets one  per cent and he fails to get the 51 per cent, we would go back for a re-run.

To you, what explains the weakness of opposition and in your view, is there an opposition in Uganda or just individual opposition to Museveni?
What constitutes the opposition are people who disagree with what the regime is doing. Everybody who disagrees with what the regime is doing is the opposition and the number of the opposition is growing everyday.

So the opposition is stronger everyday since Museveni came to power and you remember Wasswa Ziritwawula in the National Resistance Council publicly rejecting what was going on in broad daylight, and there are those who have never supported NRM since it came. Even when I challenged the regime in 2001, many of [my] colleagues remained there [but] by 2006 they had all left.

What I mean here is that the NRM regime is weakening and that is the strength of the organizations within the opposition. But mind you, opposition organizations cannot be strong under a dictatorship because a dictator has a lot of power to stop them from doing their activities.

FDC lost a senior member and founder in Sam Njuba; what is your view about his book which the state says you authored?
What State House says, that I wrote that book, is ridiculous; we know the book could have only been written by the author himself. And he had his personal experiences whether with Museveni, Idi Amin and what have you, but as far as I’m concerned, the strength of writing is a record to be referred to.
So for people in State House, the most important thing would have been to look at the issues and evaluate whether they are correct or wrong.

Having spent a good time in opposition politics; would you agree that there is a leadership deficit in opposition?
I think there is a leadership problem not just in the opposition, but in the country. It is a cross-cutting problem, be in it church, business and in politics.

Have you as a leader taken any effort to address this problem?
I think this is not a matter that can be solved through one individual; it is a structural problem which we must solve structurally. What type of education do we have, what type of upbringing is in the families and some other aspects?

You cut your term short as FDC president to join the broader opposition politics; have you reaped any benefits?
Well, the idea I think is not to determine what kind of benefit I have got out of the actions I have undertaken when I left the party, I can only say that I have continued to apply myself to the extent that I can, whether serving within or outside the party, to bring about the change our country deserves.

So, I wouldn’t say that I’m achieving out of the party, I think what is most important is that we all need to do what we owe, to empower our people and through offering leadership and this is supposed to be done whether you are in the party or outside it.

Do you in anyway feel frustrated that your energies have not borne any fruits?
I’m certainly not frustrated, the fruits of our efforts, not me alone, because I am one of very many people who have been sacrificing, struggling for change in this country. Some people made bigger sacrifices than me. Some are dead; I am lucky I am still here.

So, it is not a personal question whether our efforts have had results. Secondly, the results of this kind of struggle are incremental, they are not dramatic. When we started challenging Museveni, there was a one-party state.

Everyone was required to participate under the Movement state. It was our challenge that demonstrated that there was no such a system, but it was simply a one-party state and that is how we got evidence to take to court for it to declare that the Movement was a one-party state and other parties should be allowed to organize also.

So, ending the Movement system was one of the earlier benefits we got out of this struggle. It is a process and I am quite encouraged by the progress of the struggle. In fact, I think that the struggle is coming to the climax when the regime cannot continue. You see because of the pressure we have exerted on the regime, it is now clear that dissenting views are increasingly coming out.

The term of office of the leader of opposition whom you actually appointed instead of subjecting him to a vote has come to end. Are you content with Nandala-Mafabi’s performance, would you want him replaced?
First of all, his [Mafabi] appointment was done out of the party processes, not that I acted capriciously. He was appointed through agreed party processes and I think he has tried to do his work through offering effective responses to government positions.

He has been challenging government on various issues in Parliament, but I think it will be unfair for me to evaluate his performance because in the last three years as I have said, my focus has been in a different territory.

And secondly, I think it will be prejudicial because the party leadership is in the process of evaluating and determining the leadership positions they would want to have without me and I am very confident that the party structures we have will enable the leaders to make good decisions.

Why don’t you endorse the fugitive General Sejusa?
I don’t know whether there is any formal process of embracing people who come to be in the opposition. When I came to the opposition there was no ceremony by anybody to embrace me.
So I think anybody who opposes what is going on is a positive voice. I think Sejusa did a very good job indeed, pointing out various excesses. Many of them we had already talked about, but the fact that he took the risk and made the sacrifice to come out and talk, I think he is commendable and for me, I am now an individual, I can’t speak on behalf of other people; FDC and others.

But I have no problem working with Sejusa for change. If Sejusa made mistakes before, those mistakes cannot be corrected unless we have a just system and the first struggle every Ugandan is welcomed to, is to work for change and then if someone has complaints about another one, I inclusive, he/she can subject them to a just process.

At what point did your talks with Sejusa stop?
No… talks continued. I have absolutely no problem coordinating with Sejusa to cause change; so, we shall continue talking and doing whatever is necessary to bring about change.

Would you follow Sejusa if he chose war to dislodge Museveni?
I have never ruled out the use of violence in causing change in this country. It is violence that brought this government in power, and if Museveni believed that he used means that are legitimate in coming to power then that legitimacy cannot obviously end with his own struggle.

However, the means of struggle we have chosen for ourselves is the peaceful means and it is well considered.
First, we think that it is through peaceful means that all Ugandans can participate in the struggle and that all Ugandans must be empowered to cause change on their own because if they do so, then that change is irreversible, but if we used guns like we did in NRA, even if you succeed in taking power, the power would remain in those holding those guns and it would be a matter of goodwill by those who have the guns whether to pass over power to people or not.
And I think that is not sustainable.

Could that mean that if Sejusa uses that path, you will not join him?
The use of force is also legitimate but it is a choice I will not choose and it is inappropriate in our circumstances. And my judgment call is to use peaceful means.

What do you make of the sudden death of the renegade Col Patrick Karegeya whom you worked with during the NRA war?
Karegeya went away in 1990. What has been happening in Rwanda, I’m not so much informed about, but also situations within countries are quite unique to those countries, but it is certainly sad that he died the way he died.

You got a chance to work with President Kagame and President Museveni; how do you compare the two leaders?
I have worked with Museveni as a president; I have never worked with Kagame as a president, but I know Kagame from a different perspective.

The issue I would have talked about here is that there are a lot of debates about freedom and rights in Rwanda, but one thing which is also indisputable is that the Kagame government has delivered public goods in a shorter time despite the terrible situation of genocide, but there is less corruption, there is a lot of development yet Museveni has not done much in the so many years.

As a person who was in the bush; did you ever agree on the issue of succession with Museveni?
What was agreed on was the management of the transition process. The idea was that the war had been waged to remove a dictatorship and organize to transition to a democratic process within four years, from 1986 to 1990.

The constitutional review process will be undertaken, institutions of state will be reconstructed, and democratic elections will be undertaken. But this did not happen. Instead, it was sabotaged by Museveni. The constitution-making process was sabotaged; the building of state institutions was sabotaged. So, there was no transition and that is why we are still struggling that that transition comes.

One would blame you as fighters for over trusting President Museveni?
I don’t know whether it is over trusting. I think one certainty is that Museveni is not to blame, I think those of us who were in positions of leadership are more to blame than himself, for not stopping him from sabotaging those processes, but he is to blame for executing things which are treasonable in this country.

But we too allowed them because you had leaders who could not stand up to him and in doing that, we facilitated him in committing treason. It is not Museveni alone to blame on this but lack of action on our part because people used to be bribed, and what have you.

What is your view about UPDF’s intervention in the South Sudan conflict?
It is problematic from many accounts. First of all, it was deployment of troops outside our borders which requires parliamentary approval which was not sought though Parliament was still in session by the time they went to Sudan. If government had intentions to do it, it would have been able to do so.
And if Parliament had been on recess, it would have been recalled following the law that gives them 21 days to deal with it but up to now I have not heard of any attempt to recall the House.

So, this is another act of a rogue regime which does not respect the domestic or international laws not for the first time but it has invaded many other countries like Somalia. The more problematic one is to deploy those troops and take sides; even in the deployment of UPDF in Somalia, my concern was to take sides yet most times people fight civil wars.

I don’t think the deployment of foreign armies solves the problems in those countries; it [creates] more problems. And in the case of Sudan, it endangers the lives of Ugandans there, and the government was saying that it had gone to evacuate them but shortly after that, we had that they had gone with tanks, securing airports and I think our own country is going to be sucked into that war.

It undermines the security of Ugandans in South Sudan, it undermines the security of our country and it undermines the security of the region because all countries might start fighting proxy wars.

walusimbideo@gmail.com



We deserve better than just ‘at least..’


 

‘At least we can now sleep…,’ was the central justification for the first decade or so of the NRM government and the leadership of Gen Yoweri Museveni.

It was also the single most important reason for the officially announced landslide victory in the 1996 presidential elections, and then carried forward as the flagship message for Museveni’s reign in the 2001 elections.

However, by 2006, this refrain had become somewhat stale, rather unappealing especially to Ugandans born in the mid-1980s and after, who couldn’t identify with the overemphasized narrative of a turbulent political past supposed to have been ended by the 1986 ‘messiahs.’

Thus, we didn’t hear much of a resonating campaign message in the 2006 elections. Instead, outright intimidation, sustained violence and ballot stuffing were brought to bear on the election outcome. Although many Ugandans defied state-sponsored brutality to voice their dissatisfaction with the rulers, in the end, as Joseph Stalin aphoristically stated, it’s not important who votes but who counts the votes.

General David Sejusa, by far the foremost player in fixing that election, has confirmed that indeed Museveni never won the 2006 electoral contest. We also know that pressure was exerted on the men on the bench, in the Supreme court, to quash the presidential election petition, with at least two judges reportedly revisiting their rulings at the eleventh hour.

Enter 2011. The ‘at least we can now sleep’ mantra had long been forgotten. And the macabre acts of violence had backfired in 2006. So, change of strategy was pertinent. The new strategy was two-pronged.
First, it entailed what in old international relations praxis was called gun-boat diplomacy: displaying military might without necessarily unleashing it, thus sending an insidious but chilling fear. In the run-up to, during and after the 2011 polls, Kampala had more than a passing semblance of a military garrison. The second, and perhaps the more decisive, aspect of the 2011 strategy was to literally buy votes, one-by-one and at an unprecedented fee.

The inevitable ramification, of course, was that the Ugandan economy reached the cusp and the entire country went into a tailspin, precipitating the walk-to-work protests. But the 2011 election strategy bathed a new political mantra, one that has surreptitiously replaced ‘at least we can now sleep.’ Now we’re told, ‘at least the man does not kill his political opponents.’

They oppose him, go to bed sure they will wake up and continue opposing. That he is more tolerant, less brutal, takes a conciliatory approach and is more magnanimous than other autocrats. While the old refrain may have sprung from the lived experiences of ordinary people, the new minimalist narrative, hardly veiled in its apologist tone, is the handiwork of a section of the Ugandan intelligentsia.

We are basically told to be contended with the status quo because elsewhere things are worse, or because we came from a direr past. It’s because of this minimalism that, for example, instead of demanding full and thorough value for money accountability from KCCA under Jennifer Musisi, who earns a stupendous salary, we say, well, at least things are now better. ‘At least now there are no road-side kiosks in Bukoto,’ ‘at least there’s less garbage around the city,’ and many other ‘at leasts…’

This minimalist reasoning is embellished with the platitude that ‘we should give credit where credit is due.’ Of course! But should we dwell on giving credit where it’s obviously due or we should relentlessly and unfailingly demand fully what’s due to the public?

It’s the same intelligentsia who, through mainstream media and increasingly social media, consistently ridicule the opposition as incapable of providing alternative leadership, in effect saying Uganda is forever condemned to the misrule of Museveni. One wonders if the alternative leadership we so desire shall fall from heaven, or we shall import it, to pull us out of the doldrums of the NRM rot.

For the vast majority of Uganda’s intellectual class, and different strands of the middle classes (including myself), our contribution towards wheeling a social force for an alternative political leadership is zero. The best we do is standing on the sidelines and pour scorn on those in opposition trenches. This, we do, by appealing to the dubious claim of non-partisanship.

In essence, though, what we are actually doing is being opportunistically apolitical and selfishly indifferent in the face of blatant injustice and political decay. We look for quick sources of income to supply individual solutions to otherwise collective problems.

Instead of demanding for better government, we reason that the status quo is bad but the alternative can only be worse. Rather than speak truth to power, and tell Museveni and the coterie around him that they are running down the country, a section of the Ugandan intelligentsia is wont to worship the powerful.

Thus, it’s not uncommon to hear name-dropping talk of general so and so being a friend and having a car ride with minister A. It’s our cheap worship of those in power that spurs the rulers to continue misruling us and wreck the country unabashedly.

moses.khisa@gmail.com

The author is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Northwestern University, Evanston/Chicago-USA.


See, how the American neo-liberal elite Andrew Mwenda stealthily blames Museveni’s dictatorship on the opposition . Also see, how Ugandans expose Mwenda’s hypocrisy in the comments to the article   

 


What keeps Museveni in power


http://www.independent.co.ug/the-last-word/the-last-word/7653-what-keeps-museveni-in-power

Friday, 12 April 2013 07:08 By Andrew M. Mwenda

How the President’s success in retaining power rotates around his obsessive focus on all threats to it.


A friend recently sent me a text message saying: “Man, what’s up with the Mbuya and Bombo attacks and an attempt on Kale. Ankunda’s answers in the Observer and Tinye’s incoherence don’t inspire confidence. I hope I am very, very wrong.” 


I told my friend that I too hoped he was wrong adding that initially I had thought it was an inside job by security organisations to create grounds for arresting opposition leader Kizza Besigye and charging him with treason and terrorism. I told him that I just cannot understand how any rebel would dare attack a UPDF military barracks like Mbuya unless they are suicidal.


My friend answered by asking me if Besigye is still a factor in Uganda’s politics. I told him that he was asking the wrong question. The right question should be: Does President Yoweri Museveni still consider Besigye a factor in Uganda’s politics? The answer to this is a big YES.


My friend retorted that he had met and had a conversation with Besigye’s wife, Winnie Byanyima, and she did not seem to think “there is any more headway.” I know Winnie as an incredibly astute analyst of Uganda’s politics. When she is not involved in a partisan fight but is slightly detached and analytical, she gives the best insights of anyone I have listened to. If she says there seems to be less headway for the opposition in Uganda today, she has her onions almost about right.


The most important thing is to understand Museveni’s mind. I get the sense that for whatever reasons, Museveni is terrified of Besigye. That makes the president overestimate Besigye and hence overreact to his every move – or even suspected move. And I think this has been Museveni’s greatest strength which the opposition is perennially blind to. 


I think one major source of the longevity in power is his obsessive sensitivity to threats to his power. He leaves nothing to chance, takes no risks at all and spares no effort to identify any real, potential or even imaginary threats to his power and nip them in the bud.


Thus our president will tolerate a lot of things in Uganda – public officials that loot the treasury with impunity, incompetent ministers and civil servants who delay dams and roads or build substandard or ghost hospitals and schools etc. Thus, public investments suffer from unnecessary gridlock, senseless public debates and eventually fail or succeed after a decade. 


However, if anything posed an existential threat to his power, Museveni will be quick, uncompromising and decisive. The lesson from this is built in the military doctrine of “identification and maintenance of the aim.” A successful commander must clearly define the aim and whatever he does must seek to achieve that aim.


The legendary Chinese military strategist, Sun Zhu, wrote in about 600 BC that wars are lost or won before they are fought. By this he meant that it is the planning, strategising, preparation, reconnaissance, training, logistical build-up etc. that determines the outcome. If your prior planning on all these elements is poor, it is very unlikely you can prevail in war. 


The modern equivalent of this Sun Zhu concept was stated by a business strategist I cannot remember. He argued that champions do not win the title in the ring; they are only recognised there. In other words, it is the effort put into training, studying the opponent and mastering his strength and identifying his weaknesses that win the boxing match.


This is exactly the experience I read about the boxer Joe Louis’ first match against German’s Max Schemeling in 1936. Louis had won all his previous 28 matches before he met Schmeling, now aged 30 and considered by critics to be on the downhill of his career. Louis thus underestimated Schemeling, spending more time playing golf than training (a mistake Mohammed Ali made against Joe Frazier in 1971 leading to his loss of the bout). 


On the other hand, Schemeling’s managers studied Louis’ boxing and noticed that whenever Louis sent a left hook, his right hand went down, thus exposing his jaw. Schemiling capitalised on this weakness and constantly jabbed Louis on the right. In the thrilling match in the Yankee Stadium in New York, Louis was stunned by this trick and was knocked out in the 14th round.


I recently watched a documentary on Real Madrid’s Ronaldo – one of the most naturally talented soccer players of all time. However, the documentary makers showed that he spends more time in training than other players. His managers have spent lots of time studying the shape of his legs and feet, the pace and flow of his hands and legs when he is running. 


They have also studied how he curves each of his feet when he is kicking the ball and the effect of all these on how the ball moves towards the goal. So they design his boots to reflect all these unique features thus giving him greater possibility and probability to score. The lesson I picked from the document is simple but powerful: Natural talent needs a lot of unnatural reinforcement to better its performance.


I suspect the opposition in Uganda has failed to make significant progress in their struggle to wrestle power from Museveni because of lack of proper assessment of their opponent. In every single election battle, he has overestimated their capacity to defeat him while they have underestimated his capacity to win.


They have therefore mobilised less ammunition than is necessary to shake his hold on power. On his part, Museveni leaves nothing to chance, using everything at his command – money, coercion, subterfuge, mass media, and technology.


I do not see this level of doggedness among those who organise resistance to Museveni. All too often, they seem comfortable to lie to themselves that he is weak and wobbly. They assume, quite wrongly, that the public is tired of the general corruption, incompetence, inertia, indifference, apathy and incoherence in his government. 


From this assumption, they proceed to project that the public is ready for change. Yet I sometimes feel that many of these dysfunctions are often functional for NRM’s politics. Nothing has been more crippling to the opposition than this constant underestimation of their opponent.





Comments on  article 

written by pqr, April 13, 2013

But Mwenda,you amuse! If M7 prints 2trillions of money to buy an election, how can that be seen as the opposition underestimating him? Where would you want them to get 2t from to counter him even if they take him seriously, which I think they do? If m7 empties the barracks on election day and deploys the army at polling centres, something you dont see in any other country, what would the opposition do even if they take M7 seriously, where would they get an equivalent militia even when their polling agents get arrested?



written by pqr, April 13, 2013
Lets take the last election for example, the opposition started calling for election reforms including changing the composition of the election commission more than 4 years before the election, which m7 ignored. What more serious can one be? What would you have wanted them to do? Kill Kingundu so you see they are serious? If M7 fills the tallying centre with CMI operatives with the consent of the same EC what would you like the opposition to do even if they were taking M7 seriously? I can go on and on...



written by pqr, April 13, 2013
But the point Iam making is that as long as M7 uses all the power at his disposal as you rightly stated, it does not matter how seriously you take him, it wont give you victory. Actually for M7 the more you show that you take him seriously the more brutal he becomes and the more illigality he commits against you because of fear. Thats why the 2001 when Besigye showed the serousness that shook M7, that year's elction was the most brutal election in the history of the country. Even when Winnie says there is no light at the end of the tunnel, she is just being realistic about a chance of removing a dictor from power using civil means.




written by Musinguzi, April 14, 2013
Andrew: In your apology for M7's overstay in power, you metion, as we know, that he will do anything to retain power but equally will close his eyes when public resources are being looted- that results in no service to the electorate.He looks on impotently. The question I should ask people like you is why does he need power, just for its sake? Why should you fight ferocious battles for a beautiful woman you cannot impregnate or satisfy due to your impotency? If she one day asked you what you want her for, what would be your response? The answer to this will help me understand M7's reasoning


written by kanimba, April 14, 2013
Dictators don't fall like ripe mangoes but they do eventually fall by their own deeds. M7's swipe at the ICC was an exposure of his inner most fears, because he is destined to end there and perhaps share a room adjacent to his adversary Kony. The is no way for M7 escaping ICC, his trail of atrocities, plunder of Congo, elimination of opponents and extra judicial murders have an open trail traceable by even the blind. Ugandans wont stand by M7 when this time comes, because his hand shake has extended beyond the wrist and elbows, it is now a wrestling match. Now that M7 is swimming against the ICC tide regardless of his destination, lets hope he has his cyanide handy, because the higher you climb the heavier the fall.











What keeps Museveni in power

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How the President’s success in retaining power rotates around his obsessive focus on all threats to it.
A friend recently sent me a text message saying: “Man, what’s up with the Mbuya and Bombo attacks and an attempt on Kale. Ankunda’s answers in the Observer and Tinye’s incoherence don’t inspire confidence. I hope I am very, very wrong.”
I told my friend that I too hoped he was wrong adding that initially I had thought it was an inside job by security organisations to create grounds for arresting opposition leader Kizza Besigye and charging him with treason and terrorism. I told him that I just cannot understand how any rebel would dare attack a UPDF military barracks like Mbuya unless they are suicidal.
My friend answered by asking me if Besigye is still a factor in Uganda’s politics. I told him that he was asking the wrong question. The right question should be: Does President Yoweri Museveni still consider Besigye a factor in Uganda’s politics? The answer to this is a big YES.
My friend retorted that he had met and had a conversation with Besigye’s wife, Winnie Byanyima, and she did not seem to think “there is any more headway.” I know Winnie as an incredibly astute analyst of Uganda’s politics. When she is not involved in a partisan fight but is slightly detached and analytical, she gives the best insights of anyone I have listened to. If she says there seems to be less headway for the opposition in Uganda today, she has her onions almost about right.
The most important thing is to understand Museveni’s mind. I get the sense that for whatever reasons, Museveni is terrified of Besigye. That makes the president overestimate Besigye and hence overreact to his every move – or even suspected move. And I think this has been Museveni’s greatest strength which the opposition is perennially blind to.
I think one major source of the longevity in power is his obsessive sensitivity to threats to his power. He leaves nothing to chance, takes no risks at all and spares no effort to identify any real, potential or even imaginary threats to his power and nip them in the bud.
Thus our president will tolerate a lot of things in Uganda – public officials that loot the treasury with impunity, incompetent ministers and civil servants who delay dams and roads or build substandard or ghost hospitals and schools etc. Thus, public investments suffer from unnecessary gridlock, senseless public debates and eventually fail or succeed after a decade.
However, if anything posed an existential threat to his power, Museveni will be quick, uncompromising and decisive. The lesson from this is built in the military doctrine of “identification and maintenance of the aim.” A successful commander must clearly define the aim and whatever he does must seek to achieve that aim.
The legendary Chinese military strategist, Sun Zhu, wrote in about 600 BC that wars are lost or won before they are fought. By this he meant that it is the planning, strategising, preparation, reconnaissance, training, logistical build-up etc. that determines the outcome. If your prior planning on all these elements is poor, it is very unlikely you can prevail in war.
The modern equivalent of this Sun Zhu concept was stated by a business strategist I cannot remember. He argued that champions do not win the title in the ring; they are only recognised there. In other words, it is the effort put into training, studying the opponent and mastering his strength and identifying his weaknesses that win the boxing match.
This is exactly the experience I read about the boxer Joe Louis’ first match against German’s Max Schemeling in 1936. Louis had won all his previous 28 matches before he met Schmeling, now aged 30 and considered by critics to be on the downhill of his career. Louis thus underestimated Schemeling, spending more time playing golf than training (a mistake Mohammed Ali made against Joe Frazier in 1971 leading to his loss of the bout).
On the other hand, Schemeling’s managers studied Louis’ boxing and noticed that whenever Louis sent a left hook, his right hand went down, thus exposing his jaw. Schemiling capitalised on this weakness and constantly jabbed Louis on the right. In the thrilling match in the Yankee Stadium in New York, Louis was stunned by this trick and was knocked out in the 14th round.
I recently watched a documentary on Real Madrid’s Ronaldo – one of the most naturally talented soccer players of all time. However, the documentary makers showed that he spends more time in training than other players. His managers have spent lots of time studying the shape of his legs and feet, the pace and flow of his hands and legs when he is running.
They have also studied how he curves each of his feet when he is kicking the ball and the effect of all these on how the ball moves towards the goal. So they design his boots to reflect all these unique features thus giving him greater possibility and probability to score. The lesson I picked from the document is simple but powerful: Natural talent needs a lot of unnatural reinforcement to better its performance.
I suspect the opposition in Uganda has failed to make significant progress in their struggle to wrestle power from Museveni because of lack of proper assessment of their opponent. In every single election battle, he has overestimated their capacity to defeat him while they have underestimated his capacity to win.
They have therefore mobilised less ammunition than is necessary to shake his hold on power. On his part, Museveni leaves nothing to chance, using everything at his command – money, coercion, subterfuge, mass media, and technology.
I do not see this level of doggedness among those who organise resistance to Museveni. All too often, they seem comfortable to lie to themselves that he is weak and wobbly. They assume, quite wrongly, that the public is tired of the general corruption, incompetence, inertia, indifference, apathy and incoherence in his government.
From this assumption, they proceed to project that the public is ready for change. Yet I sometimes feel that many of these dysfunctions are often functional for NRM’s politics. Nothing has been more crippling to the opposition than this constant underestimation of their opponent.
- See more at: http://www.independent.co.ug/the-last-word/the-last-word/7653-what-keeps-museveni-in-power#sthash.Oe1d6dKl.dpuf