Where is Uganda going?

By any measure, Uganda is going in the wrong direction including the recent statement by Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi to transfer land from peasants to large scale private foreign and local developers. Ugandans including those in the NRM government and development partners with their embassies in Uganda know it. In their 2012 report the Foreign Policy magazine and Fund for Peace listed Uganda among failed states with respect inter alia to human rights; uneven development; economic decline; de-legitimization of the state that includes massive corruption and poor governance; group grievances and uprooting of large communities from their homes (as in Luwero Triangle, Northern and Eastern regions and many parts of the rest of Uganda).

The ongoing efforts by some donors to rebrand President Museveni and NRM government whose popularity is sinking very fast and to superficially improve Uganda’s image abroad by inviting Ugandans as speakers in international conferences, using economic growth and per capita income figures that overshadow extreme inequality in income distribution and deepening and spreading poverty as was done in the 2013 UNDP’s Human Development Report and is being done to make Uganda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa (one of the most corrupt, sectarian and poor managers in NRM government) the President of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly will not improve human security in Uganda and will damage the credibility of the United Nations once the international community finds out who Sam Kutesa is. Ugandans including some members of Parliament have verbally and in writing expressed their disapproval of Sam Kutesa who has been endorsed by the African Union as the next President of the United Nations General Assembly.

The militarization of Uganda government and society has gone a critical step further by appointing General Aronda Nyakairima former commander of Uganda armed forces as Minister of Internal Affairs joining General Kale Kayihura who is Inspector General of Police. The ministry of Information and Communication Technology has been placed in Museveni’s trusted John Nasasira who had been demoted as a cabinet minister for mismanaging the Ministry of Works, Transport and Housing. The team has been put together to violate human rights and freedoms of Ugandans as we witnessed last week regarding police occupation of some media offices and crushing the demonstration by journalists.

This brutality occurred the same week Africa was celebrating fifty years of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) and the publication of the report by the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons co-chaired by the President of Indonesia, the President of Liberia and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on Post-2015 Development Agenda titled “A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies Through Sustainable Development”. The panel has singled out five transformative shifts including building peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all. It calls for freedom from fear, conflict and violence as well as the rule of law, property rights, freedom of speech and the media, open political choice and access to justice and accountable government as well as public institutions.

President Museveni has stepped up the abuse of his office in many ways. He has transferred responsibility for preparing the national budget from the Ministry of Finance to the ruling NRM political party. He has also transferred responsibility for issuing identity cards to the military which is under his complete control, implying the possibility of issuing identity cards to foreigners illegally residing in Uganda. The dual citizenship act was passed by rubber stamp parliament to enable President Museveni increase the number of foreigners as Uganda citizens who would support him in his domestic and regional ambitions opposed by Ugandans.

Not least, Museveni is frustrating political processes with a view to installing his soldier son Kainerugaba Muhoozi as the next president of Uganda. The people of Uganda have spoken out loud and clear against this project and the continued militarization of Uganda politics and governance. United Democratic Ugandans (UDU), an umbrella organization of political parties and organizations at home and abroad opposed to the NRM government policies, is calling on all Ugandans to keep the pressure on by peaceful means in the first instance.

UDU is also calling on Uganda development partners especially the United States of America and the United Kingdom who cherish human rights and fundamental freedoms; democracy and good governance; the rule of law and administration of justice for all, checks and balances and separation of powers among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government to extend a helping hand to Ugandans trying to stop NRM government multi-faceted wrongdoing including land grabbing from helpless peasants disguised as willing seller and willing buyer arrangement and suppressing and impoverishing the majority of the people of Uganda to render them vulnerable, voiceless, powerless and easy to govern using broadly defined instruments such as anti-sectarian and anti-terrorism laws.

After many years of suffering, Ugandans want peace, security, equal opportunity, property rights and happiness for present and future generations.

This press statement has been copied to the State Department, United States of America; Foreign and Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom; African Union; United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and President of the United Nations General Assembly for their necessary action.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General, UDU

© 2011 United Democratic Ugandans. All Rights Reserved.