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Press Releases


May Robinson, Special Envoy for Great Lakes Region

On behalf of United Democratic Ugandans (UDU), I thank the United Nations for appointing Ms. Mary Robinson former President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as the new special envoy for the Great Lakes region, a region that she knows very well and has talked and written about.

I followed her leadership when she served as UN High Commissioner from 1997 to 2002. She exhibited seriousness and dedication always arguing that all political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights and freedoms be treated equally.

We trust that this philosophy will be extended to all the people in the Great Lakes region that must be treated equally because according to Article I of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.

Through its civic education program, UDU has followed developments in the Great Lakes region and we are beginning to see a flicker of hope emerging in the region.

We are confident that Ms. Robinson will come up with recommendations that if implemented fully will go a long way to end the long suffering of the people in the Great Lakes regions.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General, UDU

 

NRM is corrupt to the core

When whistle-blowers revealed that Tutsi and Tutsified Ugandans were dominating strategic sections of Uganda economy and society especially the ministry of foreign affairs, ministry of finance, private sector and security forces, they were threatened with arrest and prosecution or worse for breach of anti-sectarian law which was designed to protect those that practice sectarianism.

In 2002, the anti-terrorism law with a broad definition has made it even more difficult to speak out against any NRM wrong doing. Consequently corruption has gathered speed and the most corrupt officials continue in power. Scholarships go to Tutsi. Good jobs go to Tutsi. Embassy jobs go to Tutsi. International jobs go to Tutsi. Some Tutsi in embassies even refuse to go home when their tour of duty is over. Who is allowing all these things to happen?

Commenting on these things is not sectarianism. It is a national security issue that every patriotic Ugandan should be alarmed about. We are losing Uganda if we don’t act quickly. With land slipping out of Uganda peasants and the prime minister has threatened to hand over land to large farmers who will mostly be outsiders since indigenous Ugandans don’t have the kind of money to buy large chunks of land, with Ugandans getting education that can’t get them jobs, the future of Uganda for Ugandans is very bleak indeed.

That is why the issue of leadership becomes crucial. It is not nnugu to ask questions about how party leaders are chosen as some have reasoned. It is patriotism. We have to be careful whom we pick. People who have been in NRM since it was created and have shifted to FDC can’t change their methods of exploitation to focus on developing the people. This is another mistake that if we don’t correct we shall regret it.

Uganda has received over $30 billion in donations (free money), Ugandans in the disapora send home every year about $1 billion. Uganda was the first country to get debt relief so that the savings fund education, healthcare and infrastructure. Uganda export earnings improved by diversifying exports including foodstuffs that were traditionally consumed at home. Uganda also gets soft loans including from the World Bank and other sources besides ordinary loans. The government boasts it has increased tax revenue collection. Where has all this money gone? Why are we still a third world country soon to become a fourth world with all this money?

Economic growth and per capita income the Human Development Report for 2013 praised has not reduced poverty. Over 50 percent of Ugandans are still trapped in absolute poverty, meaning that they can’t afford basic needs of food in a country that exports food, clothing, shelter, education and healthcare.

Let me touch on another sad point. The Uganda building in New York that houses Uganda embassy is largely rented and collects a lot of money every month. One wonders why it can’t be repaired. This building has become a national disgrace. The exterior is in embarrassing shape – it needs repair urgently. At one time one of the two elevators was not repaired for about a year, if not longer. The heating system in winter is below normal requirement.

The building is situated next to the new American embassy building and the well kept United Nations Plaza building and it sits opposite the new South Korea embassy building.

Someone told me subject to confirmation that the building has been deliberately neglected to create an excuse to sell it and possibly pocket the money. It was also understood that Uganda had a house in New York for Uganda’s ambassador to the UN. If it is true why do Uganda Ambassadors hire expensive residences? The ministry of foreign affairs should clarify these issues.

I have copied this message to the Uganda mission to the United Nations in New York for its necessary action.

Eric

UDU commends Obama administration for its work in the Gt. Lakes region

On behalf of UDU, I commend the Obama administration for its work in addressing the challenges in the Great Lakes region. Since the appointment of the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region and the appointment of the new Ambassador to Uganda in addition to press statements from the State Department, we are seeing real progress to stabilize and humanize the region. The threat of M23 has been contained and those involved publicly condemned. The surrender of Congolese Rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda is a clear signal that things are moving in the right direction albeit more remains to be done.

The new USA Ambassador to Uganda has given useful advice on political, economic, governance and environment issues. We also appreciate the work being done by the Assistant Secretary of State in charge of Africa. We trust that the new Secretary of State whose confirmation statement addressed issues of relevance to the Great Lakes region will add his voice to these efforts.

There is urgent need to understand the history of the region before the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Distortions and stigmatizations have constrained full understanding of the real forces that are destabilizing the area especially since the beginning of the 1980s.

UDU that has researched and written extensively about the region as part of its civic education program is prepared to assist the Obama administration in its noble effort as and when necessary. UDU’s National Recovery Plan (NRP) for Uganda has a chapter on cooperation among members of the East African community. For easy reference, the Plan is accessible at www.udugandans.org.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General, UDU

 

Congratulations and best wishes

Here is the message we have conveyed to the Vatican in Rome through the office of the Holy See in New York

On behalf of United Democratic Ugandans (UDU), I send our warm congratulations and best wishes on your election as Pope Francis I. We trust you will use your powerful position to champion the cause of peace and security around the world as well as social and economic justice for all the people.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General, UDU

Boosting agriculture to end poverty in Uganda

Press statement

On behalf of United Democratic Ugandans (UDU), I thank the United States Ambassador to Uganda H.E. Scott DeLisi for his statement on the role of agriculture in tackling the challenge of poverty in Uganda. The statement is timely and relevant because over 80 percent of Ugandans depend on agriculture for their livelihood and poverty is higher in rural than in urban areas where NRM government has concentrated its effort.

The rural areas in Uganda are dominated by peasants who have been the engine in the production of agricultural export commodities and food crops since the 1920s. It has been demonstrated globally that small holder farmers when facilitated are more productive, more efficient and more environmentally and socially friendly than large scale farmers.

The international community including the United Nations, G8 and the World Bank has agreed to support smallholder farmers in the efforts to increase global food productivity and total production. G8 has already allocated funds for supporting small holder farmers including in Uganda. UDU calls upon the Uganda government to create an enabling environment to boost small holder productivity including through high yielding seeds, organic and inorganic fertilizers and small scale irrigation schemes than replace them with large scale farmers as Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi suggested not too long ago. As agreed by NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development), a development organ of African Union, Uganda should earmark at least 10 percent of national budget to the agriculture sector beginning in the 2013/2014 financial year.

UDU also calls upon the development community including bilateral, UN agencies and the World Bank to recast their priorities in favor of agriculture and agro-processing activities. We recommend that UDU’s National Recovery Plan (NRP) with a comprehensive section on agriculture and agro-processing should provide a basis for supporting smallholder farmers in boosting agriculture and related manufacturing enterprises and services. The Plan is available at www.udugandans.org.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General, UDU

 

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