Press Releases

Another promise about to be broken in Uganda

It is reported that the president of Uganda and minister of defense have announced the possibility of a military coup against the constitution and government of Uganda. This has been prompted by the forces of democracy that are gathering speed and demanding answers about NRM wrong doing since before it came to power. Allegations that Museveni’s National Resistance Army (NRA) committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Luwero Triangle and Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Northern and Eastern regions of Uganda together with other wrongdoing in the political and human rights fields are becoming too much for the authorities to handle.

Through civic education conducted by United Democratic Ugandans (UDU), other organizations and the media, the people of Uganda and the rest of the international community are beginning to understand the gravity of wrong doing committed in Uganda by the NRM. The struggle for democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is beginning to bear fruit.

Uganda security forces are beginning to understand that their principle responsibilities are to defend the nation against external aggression and protect citizens against internal oppression and not to sustain the government in power. They are also beginning to understand that it is proper to side with the people against an authoritarian government or to remain neutral as has happened in many places from time immemorial and most recently in Egypt.

It is reported that senior police officers who rejected excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators have been dismissed or resigned. It is also reported that some elements in the military want democracy to succeed. It is further reported that the electoral commission is beginning to exercise some independence. Some of Uganda’s development partners have also joined in demanding that the people of Uganda exercise their rights and freedoms without harassment by security forces and the government be accountable to the people and end corruption that has become rampant. Religious leaders who understand the daily suffering of their flocks are beginning to raise their voices as well.

Consequently, respect for human rights has improved somewhat. Peaceful demonstrations are taking place without much harassment by the police witness recent peaceful demonstrations by spouses of police officers demanding that their husbands be paid so they can meet basic needs including of food, clothing, healthcare and education of their children. The opposition parties are winning by-elections and parliament is beginning to exercise its rights.

In his book titled “Selected Articles on the Uganda Resistance War” published in 1985, Yoweri Museveni promised to bring democracy to Uganda which he quoted as “government of the people, by the people and for the people”. The people of Uganda are beginning to demand that democracy which if conducted in a free and fair atmosphere will see NRM out of power. Since 1996, Uganda has had democracy in the sense of elections at gun point. This is no longer acceptable and Ugandans want true democracy and good governance in the sense of free and fair elections and transparency, popular participation and accountability. NRM government is not prepared to accept these demands.

Accordingly, it is in the process of inviting the military to take over. If a military coup succeeds and forms a government, it means that the president has broken his promise of democracy as “government of the people, by the people and for the people”. The military will then suspend the constitution, dismiss parliament and forget about human rights and fundamental freedoms and rule by decrees at gun point.

UDU calls on the people of Uganda at home and abroad, friends and well wishers particularly our development partners to resist a military takeover in Uganda.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General & Chief Administrator, UDU


Let 2013 be a year of action, peace, security and happiness

Death of women: By and large, 2012 is a year many Ugandans would wish to erase from their memories. It ended on a very sad note with a 24 year old Member of Parliament losing her life in mysterious circumstances and a pregnant woman dying in child birth at Mulago Hospital because she didn’t bribe the medical staff. The international community was shocked at these tragedies that have dented NRM government image nationally, regionally and internationally.

UDU has begun using its networks to make sure that these departed two women did not die in vain. We call on others at home and abroad to protest so that these shameful deaths are not repeated. We call particularly on women and parliamentarians around the world to take action and ensure justice is served. Those responsible must be held accountable. In Uganda none is above the law.

Hard economic times: Ugandans except a few rich households experienced economic hard times that translated into a further deterioration in human condition that for the first time in recorded history Uganda is now behind Kenya and Tanzania. That Uganda is in bad shape was revealed in the president’s New Year message in which he recorded that boda boda (motor cycle transport), hair salons, video houses etc as areas in which Uganda made economic progress, not in agriculture and manufacturing sectors that the president promised to promote vigorously. At one time Museveni vowed to industrialize Uganda within 15 years, declaring that none would stop him. Sadly what Uganda is experiencing is de-industrialization. Museveni also promised to turn Uganda subsistence farmers into commercial producers. Now the government is planning to sell peasant land to large scale mostly foreign farmers.

End of SAP hasn’t improved welfare: Ugandans had hoped that abandoning the painful structural adjustment program (SAP) in 2009 was going to be replaced by a more pragmatic alternative that would create jobs, improve social sectors, regenerate the environment, fight corruption and sectarianism and return land and other properties to their rightful owners.

To our surprise the prime minister reported that the Five Year Development Plan (NDP) that replaced structural adjustment program (SAP) hadn’t been implemented. He further announced that peasant land would be transferred to large scale farmers. Since there aren’t many Ugandans rich enough to purchase all peasant land, it meant that Uganda land would be purchased and owned by foreign farmers that would use capital-intensive methods to produce for the international markets with a higher effective demand than domestic market. The prime minister did not specify what the government plans to do with the dispossessed Ugandans that constitute over 80 percent of the total population of some 35 million. Because large scale farming isn’t labor intensive, there won’t be jobs on large farms – everybody should understand this and stop preaching job creation associated with large scale farming.

UDU determined to bring peaceful change: We, Ugandans in UDU, an umbrella organization of political parties and organizations at home and abroad opposed to NRM policies and practices are determined to bring about change by peaceful means. Too much blood has been shed since the 1966 military attack on Mengo. And the memories of 1979, Luwero Triangle and northern and eastern wars are still fresh. Our investigations show that Uganda isn’t in a mood for another war except in self-defense which we should prepare for. UDU therefore supports peaceful change as plan A in the first instance and Plan B for self-defense and the two are not mutually exclusive organizationally. Those insisting on military action in the first instance should think about the likely human and material cost that could be avoided if Plan A came first. NRM is showing serious signs of imploding. We need to press hard and provide a viable alternative to attract NRM supporters. UDU has already provided that alternative. We appeal to those that haven’t joined to do so quickly. We have a credible National Recovery Plan and capable leadership that is being expanded. There is no need to re-invent the wheel.

Improvements in human rights record: UDU is an organization that gives credit where it is due. We wish to record that in 2012 there was some improvement in observance of political and civil rights by security forces. Demonstrators were not as harassed as in previous years. Campaigns for by-elections went relatively smoothly and the electoral commission exercised some independence and professionalism. We thank all those that participated in these activities particularly the police force and our development partners that spoke publicly against violation of human rights and suspended foreign aid in protest against corruption.

UDU determined to do more: UDU played a critical part in these welcome changes. We made diplomatic contacts, issued press and other statements in the media especially on Ugandans at Heart Forum and Kamunye Luganda news paper etc and called on development partners to tell Ugandans where some $30 billion in donations went.

In 2013, UDU is determined to see further reduction in abuse of individual and collective human rights and fundamental freedoms. We shall also press the government to improve the economic, social and cultural rights. The people of Uganda like anywhere else have a right to march and assemble; express opinions (orally and in writing) and elect their representatives in a peaceful and free atmosphere without harassment by security forces or bribed by candidates and their surrogates. The people of Uganda have a right to demand economic improvements in growth with equity, employment with a living wage and decent working conditions. The people of Uganda have a right to demand a return of their property including land as promised at the start of NRM regime in 1986.

The land board: We call on the land board to be transparent and serve the people, not a select few. Illegal land occupants must return it to their rightful owners. Municipalities should not dispossess land owners simply because their land has been incorporated into the municipality willingly or unwillingly. Land is so critical to the livelihood of the overwhelming majority of Ugandans and must be treated with greatest care. Land disputes some of them fatal are increasing fast and must be stopped. Foreign ownership of Uganda land must be stopped as well. This is a matter of national interest and household security.

Improvements in social sectors: UDU will demand improvements in social sectors. The department of education must improve quantity, quality and relevance. All Uganda children must study in classrooms and sit on desks with adequate textbooks and instructional materials. They must have good teachers that are well paid on time and have proper housing facilities and incentives to make them stay especially in remote areas. Schools inspectors must be appointed and facilitated to do their work efficiently and effectively. Uganda’s quality education and reputation at all levels must be re-established.

The ministry of health that has sadly lost grip on the sector must improve conditions in health facilities at all levels. Primary health care must receive the attention it urgently deserves. Control of diseases must be stepped up. It is shameful that diseases that had disappeared have re-appeared in the 21st century with a vengeance. Uganda must eradicate jiggers that have become a national scandal. Jiggers reflect poor housing and lack of shoes so it is a poverty problem. Sanitation, safe drinking water and general hygiene including decent clothing and housing must receive adequate and urgent attention. Maternal and child mortality must be addressed as a matter of urgency. Women losing their lives while giving birth to new lives must be stopped immediately.

UDU has demanded the minister of health to resign over the tragic death of a pregnant woman who died of neglect at Mulago hospital. Another had died in similar circumstances in eastern Uganda. We demanded that if the minister doesn’t resign voluntarily the president should force that resignation. We are still waiting.

Food and nutrition security has been neglected for too long. Over 30 percent of Ugandans go to bed on empty stomach every night. UDU recommends that Uganda should produce food to feed citizens first and sell surplus in regional markets and beyond. Undernourished women are producing underweight children who develop permanent physical and mental disabilities. When children are not fed properly during their first three years of life they develop smaller brain size than normal with serious implications in terms of learning and labor productivity. The value of people should be assessed more in quality than quantity. Insanity which has increased in Uganda is largely a function of poor eating and stress brought on by economic hardship. Uganda has enough food to feed everyone adequately including providing school lunch if there was sufficient political will especially on the part of the president who as a father and grandfather understands the value of adequate and nutritious diet. UDU will vigorously monitor developments in this area in 2013.

Good governance: UDU will demand improvements in good governance namely participation of Ugandans in decisions and programs that affect their lives. This will involve consultations and debate about whether or not Ugandans want a federal or unitary system of governance; transparency by public officials and their accountability to Ugandans. UDU will intensify efforts to expose corruption, sectarianism, cronyism and mismanagement of public funds including foreign donations. We shall demonstrate against corrupt officials when they travel abroad. We shall call on development partners to ensure that foreign aid is used on programs it was allocated to. We shall demand and scrutinize all recruitments and promotions in public service including in security forces to ensure they are based on merit, not on connections. Ugandans in the diaspora that are willing to serve their country should be given an opportunity to do so, notwithstanding the usefulness of remittances.

Uganda’s environment is in bad shape since Amin’s days when a decree was issued that every piece of land be used to increase agricultural production. This was followed by massive de-vegetation and wetland clearance and resulted in adverse changes in thermal and hydrological regimes with serious outcomes. In Kabale district, for instance, massive wetland clearance resulted in warmer climate that attracted mosquitoes that spread malaria to people without immunity with disastrous results.

The rainfall regime has changed in amount, duration and timing. For example, in Rukungiri district, perennial rivers have disappeared among them the mighty Kiborogota and spring wells have dried up necessitating walking long distance to fetch water; the amount, timing and rainfall duration have changed and the area that had two growing seasons is now unable to feed itself. The weather has changed so much that the region is getting too much rain during harvesting time thereby destroying the crop and too little rain during the planting season constraining germination and early growth. Thus droughts and floods have damaged agriculture.

Uganda turning into desert: Uganda has received expert advice that if steps aren’t taken immediately, Uganda will turn into a desert within 100 years which is a very short time by historical standards. The change of a minister in response is necessary but not a sufficient condition. We call on the new minister of the environment to work with others since environment is a cross-cutting field to ensure that environmental sanity is restored in Uganda without further delay. Environmental restoration is easy if there is political will – restore wetlands, reforest degraded landscapes and improve agricultural productivity instead of extensive agriculture that results in massive de-vegetation. Nomadic herding and introduction of goats on a commercial basis are unfriendly to the environment. Uganda needs to go intensive in its crop cultivation and herding practices. These things are easy to do but NRM lacks political will.

East African community, UDU suggests that we negotiate strategically to get net benefits in trade and other areas. That means appointing good and experienced negotiators to avoid outcomes similar to barter trade experience: appointments based on loyalty will hurt Uganda interests. East African community should strengthen national capacity to provide adequate goods and services. Uganda should not include land in East African negotiations (EU excluded CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] from Lome Convention I negotiations concluded in 1975). Population and animal mobility should not disadvantage Ugandans. Uganda sovereignty and border inviolability must be protected. There is no room for borderless East Africa as Museveni has suggested. Not least, economic integration should be promoted ahead of political federation. Doing otherwise is like building a house starting with a roof.

Diplomatic missions: NRM policy we are told is commercial diplomacy. It goes without saying that our diplomats should be people with experience in commercial and trade negotiations. Many career diplomats have this kind of experience but rarely are promoted to head missions including particularly the ones in Geneva and Brussels were commercial and trade discussions take place. Rewarding political supporters with diplomatic appointments has hurt prospects for doing good commercial diplomacy.

Call to all Ugandans: We call on all Ugandans including in the security forces to work together to make Uganda better for all in present and future generations. Uganda must restore its glory that foreign visitors like Winston Churchill and other travelers bestowed on her at the start of colonial administration when Uganda was christened the “Pearl of Africa” and Ugandans “the Japanese and Chinese of Africa”. Together we shall prevail. Separately we won’t.

Happy New Year

Secretary General & Chief Administrator, UDU

Uganda health minister should resign

Reports that a pregnant woman lost her life at Mulago teaching and referral hospital while giving birth to a new life because she didn’t bribe health officials isn’t only a national disgrace but also a crime against humanity. This is a second report that a pregnant woman lost her life this time in the eastern province under similar circumstances. This is a scandal of immense proportions that should be corrected immediately.

In the year 2000 world leaders met in New York City and adopted a Millennium Declaration including Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It was agreed, inter alia, to reduce by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015 maternal mortality ratio and reduce by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015, under-five mortality rate. It was also resolved that the implementation of MDGs should be reviewed every five years: in 2005 and 2010. Uganda was unable to produce a report in time for the 2010 UN General Assembly review.

Uganda has been a major recipient of vast sums of money for the health sector including funds released under HIPC or debt relief program. Yet Uganda’s healthcare has continued to be underfunded and invaded by corruption including bribes to health officials to deliver services. Consequently, health conditions in Uganda have continued to deteriorate to the extent that maternal and child mortality rates are rising, explaining in part why Uganda didn’t submit a report for review at the General Assembly in 2010. A nurse at Mulago hospital in the children wing lamented through the media not too long ago that she was trained to save lives and not to work in a hospice where sick people go to die as is happening in Mulago hospital. And because many women are undernourished, they are producing underweight children with permanent mental and physical disabilities if they survive thereby undermining Uganda’s future development prospects.

NRM came to power promising to end all forms of suffering and even created the ministry of gender to ensure that women no longer suffer needlessly. That the health sector is so bad and a pregnant woman lost her life because of negligence a few days earlier is perhaps the reason why the president didn’t cover health in his New Year message. Sadly, and no matter what NRM government and its friends at home and abroad say, Uganda has become a country of scandals: rampant corruption, poisoning citizens, children dropping out of school because they are hungry in a country that exports huge amounts of food, human trafficking and sacrifice and women dying needlessly including in child birth. No wonder the president never reports on outcomes but processes of NRM policies and future programs. This situation can’t be tolerated anymore.

UDU recommends that the health officials involved in the death of the pregnant woman should be held accountable and the minister of health should resign immediately. If the minister doesn’t do so voluntarily, the president who is the appointing authority should take action as a lesson to others that incompetence and/or neglect of duty will not be tolerated. Ugandans and donors that pump millions of money into the health sector should demand improvements in the sector without further delay.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General & Chief Administrator, UDU


Plan C of Tutsi Empire might work after all

Press statement

Plan A of the first phase was to capture Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and DRC by military means. It succeeded in capturing and retaining Uganda and Rwanda. The military solution was halted by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe troops.

Without abandoning the military solution, the leaders then moved onto Plan B of getting the Empire through the East African federation via the political route. This seemed slow.

Without abandoning the military and political East African solutions, the leaders then moved onto Plan C which is a combination of military and political strategies. Instead of going for the entire DRC they chose to capture Eastern DRC by military means. The region is now in imminent danger of being lost.

Rwanda and Uganda delegations met a few months ago and decided to abolish national borders among East African states probably starting with the border between Uganda and Rwanda. The two presidents may soon instruct their rubber stamp parliaments to pass legislation merging Uganda with Rwanda under a new name possibly The Republic of Rwaganda.

If you have noticed some names have disappeared from Uganda maps. In other places new names have replaced old ones. Mpororo now runs from Eastern DRC border in the west to Rwanda border in the east. Should parliaments refuse to pass legislation to merge Uganda and Rwanda, people in southwest region of Uganda through which Mpororo name has been inserted may choose to join Rwanda and the annexed Eastern DRC. The new area to which Burundi will be added may be called Tutsi Empire with Museveni as the first Emperor.

Then the second phase will begin of capturing the rest of DRC, Angola, Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya and extend the Empire in Middle Africa to the Atlantic Coast. Stay tuned.


UDU mourns death of four children in electricity accidents

Press statement

United Democratic Ugandans (UDU) commends the wives and children of police officers who exercised their right through a demonstration in Kampala demanding payment of delayed salaries of police officers in order to restore electricity to their homes. We mourn with parents and relatives the four children who lost their lives in accidents related to illegal electricity connections. May the Lord rest their souls in eternal peace!

These accidents and demonstrations represent external manifestation of long and deep suffering of the people of Uganda. If police officers in Kampala can’t be paid on time, imagine what is happening to those in remote places. This is a clear reflection that NRM has failed the people of Uganda. It is also a clear sign of lack of development.

Development means that the benefits of economic growth are equitably shared so that every household meets basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, safe drinking water and electricity, etc. When that doesn’t happen, as in Uganda, there is no development. Thus, those in Uganda and abroad that praise NRM government for success in development are probably confusing economic growth of Gross National Income (GNI) and per capita income with meeting basic human needs.

While controlling inflation, opening Uganda markets to foreign trade and investment, privatizing public enterprises and accumulating foreign currency reserves in the central bank are necessary and commendable, they alone don’t put food on the table. NRM government has failed to enable Ugandans improve the quality of their lives. And the magic of trickle down mechanism hasn’t worked! For 26 years NRM has failed to make appropriate adjustments for lack of appropriate capacity and political will.

In Uganda the benefits of rapid economic record especially in the 1990s have been inequitably distributed making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Over fifty percent of Ugandans are still trapped in absolute poverty and over ten million Ugandans go to bed hungry and the number of women dying in child birth is increasing as well as that of children. Girls are dropping out of school young in part for lack of school lunch which the NRM government has refused to support contrary to the decision of NEPAD and becoming mothers in their teens increasing population growth beyond the capacity of family income.

The situation is getting worse as a result of declining economic growth, now lower than population growth, rampant corruption, expenditure on white elephant projects like the presidential jet, large cabinet and over 100 districts which have been tolerated for a long time including by development partners. In economic, political and human rights terms Uganda has been treated more kindly by development partners than other African countries or Obote II government.

Uganda’s performance should not be measured only in her contribution to peace keeping operations which is commendable but also to the extent to which the people of Uganda have benefited from generous donations and revenue from diversified exports. The latest estimates indicate that Uganda has received over $31 billion in donations but there is little to show for it in development terms much of it lost through corruption.

Let us make it clear: there won’t be peace; security and stability in Uganda with over 80 percent of youth unemployed and rising; over 10 million going to bed hungry every night and rising, with decaying education, healthcare and environment systems, where economic migration from rural areas has exceeded urban capacity to provide jobs and services. Some 70 percent of Ugandans in urban areas reside in slums which are spreading rapidly with all social and criminal challenges.

In Uganda we have had ‘peace’ at gun point and oppressive legislation against sectarianism and terrorism that prevented Ugandans from complaining about injustice but now failing to contain the situation as desperation mounts. Because they have nowhere else to turn, Ugandans are resorting to demonstrations to alert the international community that not all is well as NRM lobbyists have portrayed Uganda in western capitals.

Revolutions are a manifestation of suffering of people for a long time. We saw that in the French Revolution of 1789, Russian Revolution of 1917 and Ethiopian Revolution of 1974. What is missing in Uganda is a spark to set it off. In Tunisia the spark was provided by a young man who set himself on fire for abuse of his rights by a police officer. In revolutions particularly in France and Russia women played a crucial role as we are beginning to witness in Uganda. They were joined by the unemployed and finally by security forces who chose the people over their kings. Soon the soldiers and police of Uganda will join their suffering spouses and children and relatives against the NRM government. That is the remaining piece because the rest are ready.

But we don’t need a revolution to turn things around. NRM can’t do it because it is in disarray and decomposing from within. Rampant corruption, protection of corrupt officials and/or poor managers and struggle for succession are consuming NRM as a party and government which has no time and interest in averting a catastrophe.

A new government is the solution. We therefore need new leadership with impeccable record, demonstrated expertise and experience, truly patriotic and ready to replace NRM government. Military leaders have failed Uganda and none should be supported in subsequent governments. Soldiers are not trained to deal with civilian populations. Soldiers give instructions that must be obeyed and carried out without question. Governing people involves listening, discussing, compromise and adjustment requiring a leadership profile very different from that possessed by soldiers. Wearing civilian suits doesn’t convert a soldier into a civilian leader!

UDU has already provided a framework and a national recovery plan. We invite others to join with us so that we don’t reinvent the wheel. The October 27, 2012 London meeting on federalism which I attended and addressed recognized the need to work together which was confirmed at a subsequent meeting of November 3, 2012 that was held in London at Durning Hall Forest Gate. We now need to go beyond resolutions and rhetoric and embark on concrete actions to prevent Uganda from sliding further into poverty and desperation that could explode into a revolution.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General & Chief Administrator, UDU


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