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Press Releases


Uganda should refute allegations of involvement in DRC

Press release

United Democratic Ugandans (UDU) is concerned about allegations that Uganda and Rwanda were supplying weapons to the M23 Congo rebels whose insurrection has resulted in loss of lives and displacement of some 500,000 people from their homes. Uganda shares a common border with DRC. For peace, security, stability and development Uganda should make an effort to maintain good neighborly relations with DRC.

During a mission to DRC including to Kinshasa, North and South Kivu provinces about three years ago there were stories from formal and informal meetings from a wide range of people – Congolese and others – that Uganda and Rwanda had been destabilizing DRC through among other things creating and arming militias and plundering its resources including minerals and timber. There were also stories of a possible loss of Congolese territory in the eastern region that would either declare independence or join Rwanda which has been calling for redrawing African borders demarcated under colonial rule.

It is UDU’s humble view that if Uganda hasn’t been involved in any way with M23, it should refute those allegations for all to see. Threatening to withdraw Uganda troops from Somalia and Central African Republic unless “these malicious allegations are withdrawn” and the international community at the United Nations assures Ugandans that it appreciates the sacrifices being made may give the impression that there is something Uganda is hiding which could damage Uganda’s reputation.

Ipso facto, UDU advises that the government of Uganda should come clean so that the people of DRC and the rest of the international community are satisfied and then demand that the UN panel of experts that prepared the report withdraw the malicious allegations with an apology to the government and people of Uganda.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General & Chief Administrator, UDU

 

If we don’t rise above sub-nationalism, Uganda development will remain stunted

Since I joined Uganda political debates, I have been concerned about the degree of sub-nationalism, albeit subsiding. I had hoped that the suffering we have experienced as a nation, not as individual regions or families, would bring us closer together to forge a common front, liberate ourselves and lay a strong foundation for sustainable peace, stability, security, prosperity, equity and happiness for all Ugandans. I was invited to co-host an English program on Radio Munansi. As the debates proceeded we began to lose focus on the country as a whole and drifted into sub-nationalism accusing one region for all the troubles in Uganda and vowing not to allow another national leader from there. Thankfully, others stepped in and we resumed the national debate. Based on the information we gathered among Ugandans at home and abroad and friends and well wishers, a consensus emerged that opposition groups needed to come together under one umbrella and speak with one voice for efficiency and effectiveness. Another consensus emerged that we should use our respective talents, expertise and experiences in a mutually reinforcing manner, regardless of region, religion, ethnicity, gender, age and size, etc.

In July 2011 various parties and groups gathered in Los Angeles, USA and founded United Democratic Ugandans (UDU) as an all inclusive umbrella organization to bring about political change in Uganda by peaceful means in the first instance. We had an intensive and interactive brainstorming session that laid out the contours of the work to be undertaken by UDU. Members of the executive committee were elected by acclamation based on talent and comparative advantage. The office bearers in the committee were also elected on the basis of the work to be done in the first three months in preparing for the second meeting in Boston, USA in October, 2011. We deliberately elected a lawyer as chairman because the committee felt that the top priority was the registration of UDU and writing the constitution. It was also decided that the secretary general post should be filled by someone with diplomatic and international economic relations experience and writing skills and would also be responsible for managing UDU affairs on a daily basis.

When the report of the Los Angeles meeting with names of committee members and office bearers was distributed through Ugandans at Heart Forum, the only comment we received was a complaint about why the majority of committee members have come from one region and wondered aloud why one region was not represented on the committee. We explained that two members from the region in question were nominated but declined to serve. The matter of representation came up at the Boston meeting. There was again a general consensus that positions should be filled on merit only, the idea being to rise above parochialism which has impaired Uganda’s development. The Boston conference agreed unanimously that the committee should continue to serve, with a focus on civic education and diplomatic networks in relation to developments in Uganda.

Because of his broad mandate the secretary general has been active in UDU activities especially in civic education within the framework of the National Recovery Plan (NPR) and diplomatic work. Consequently, Ugandans naturally wished to know more about the individual. As a strong believer in transparency, I circulated my profile in three parts: political experience; leadership experience and business and public service experience accessible at www.udugandans.org. To my surprise the provision of this detailed information in response to public demand has given rise to different interpretations about the motive and sponsorship as members of Ugandans at Heart Forum have read. Some comments have resurrected sub-regional feelings which UDU has been trying to put behind us. Because some Ugandans don’t use their real names it is difficult to tell who they are or whether they are genuine in their statements or are acting on behalf of someone else with the intention to dent the record.

While UDU work as a framework for collective national engagement has been well received and we are very grateful, the leadership of UDU has become a thorny issue. We believe that for national unity and progress, leadership should be decided on merit and agreed–upon profile only. The selected leader must serve all Ugandans without discrimination and performance monitored closely to ensure compliance. Uganda’s experience has shown that benefits to a region are not commensurate with the number of people a region has had at the top of the government pyramid. Ipso facto, sub-nationalism must be excluded in selecting Uganda leaders.

For God and My Country

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General & Chief Administrator, UDU

Preliminary remarks on cabinet reshuffle

Press statement

1. Eighty cabinet members: ministers (32) and ministers of state (48) is a luxury Uganda can’t afford. Administrative costs are going to eat deep into development funds leaving insufficient resources for development. The faces or names are the same. This is a cabinet that serves political and not development purposes.

2. To be effective and efficient ministers should be assigned to ministries for which they are qualified. Many of the ministers are qualified and experienced but are in wrong ministries, compromising their performance.

3. The Vice President should have been given a full ministry to engage him visibly and reduce size of the cabinet.

4. At a time when the economy is in trouble, an experienced economist in public and private partnership should have been among the top three. Two lawyers and a political economist or political scientist at the top is not the right mix.

5. Planning and economic development should have been split from finance in view of the Five Year National Development Plan (NDP), leaving finance to mobilize resources to fund the Plan. In the present setting planning is a junior partner to finance.

6. It is difficult to reach decisions with such a huge cabinet unless the head of government simply dictates decisions.

7. The way the cabinet is structured, it will be difficult to effect inter-ministerial and intra-ministerial coordination. We live in an interconnected environment and compartmentalization as shown in the cabinet reshuffle is out of fashion.

In a globalized world, countries that have capacity to negotiate and influence deals in national interests will survive. The cabinet line up doesn’t give that impression right away.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General & Chief Administrator, UDU

 

Congratulations Stephen Kiprotich

Press statement

On behalf of UDU, I extend to you our warm congratulations on the historic performance in the Marathon race during the 30th Olympiad in London, UK. The Gold Medal you earned has made all Ugandans at home and abroad, our friends and well wishers very proud. Friends and colleagues of mine around the globe have asked me to send you their warm congratulations.

What you have done demonstrates that with determination, dedication, hard work and above all discipline the sky is the limit. I trust you will serve as a role model for our youth to emulate what you have just accomplished. UDU has drawn up a National Recovery Plan (NRP) and appointed on its executive committee a member responsible for all affairs including sports related to our young men and women.

We look forward to seeing you and many other Ugandans at the 31st Olympiad which will open on August 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

For God and My Country

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General & Chief Administrator, UDU

UDU Congratulates Winniefred Kiiza on her election to parliament

Press statement

On behalf of UDU, I congratulate most warmly Hon. Winniefred Kiiza on her election as a Member of Parliament for Kasese district. Your resounding success is testimony to your campaigning skills which hopefully you will transform into debating skills in parliament to benefit the women of Kasese district that gave you a list of what they want you to accomplish for them. Remember that as MP you now represent all women of Kasese district. I wish also to congratulate FDC for supporting Winniefred to an election that is reported to have taken place in a relatively free and fair atmosphere.

UDU also thanks NRM, security forces and electoral commission for providing conditions that facilitated campaigning and casting of ballots, counting and announcing results.

If recent by-elections are any guide, then Uganda is about to join other countries where democracy is taking root and people are given the opportunity to choose their representatives and hold them accountable for their commissions and omissions. What is needed now is to improve on voter registration, creation of an independent electoral commission, standardization of campaign finance and restoration of term limits in preparation for 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Let me end by noting that when fear wears off, as is happening in Uganda, positive results occur. Furthermore, when opposition parties and groups work together they generate a critical mass that lifts the jointly endorsed candidate to success. At the diplomatic level, UDU has worked tirelessly to help level the playing field.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General & Chief Administrator, UDU

 

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