Press Releases

Splendid news from the Obama administration

On behalf of United Democratic Ugandans (UDU), I thank the Obama administration for taking appropriate and timely stand and calling on Rwanda to stop supporting M23 and immediately withdraw Rwandan military personnel from DR Congo.

The decision comes on the eve of the United Nations Security Council meeting on July 25, 2013 to discuss peace and security in the Great Lakes region. We call on other friends of people in the Great Lakes region to put pressure on state and non-state actors to stop fueling instability that has already caused massive loss of lives and properties, displaced millions from their homes and violated the human rights and fundamental freedoms of many others including rape.

UDU believes that none is more equal or better endowed than others or has monopoly to terrorize others including dispossessing them of their assets including land.

The Great Lakes region has more than enough resources for everyone to live a comfortable life provided the benefits of economic growth are shared equitably and everyone has equal opportunity to develop the God given talents.

Regarding the future government of Uganda UDU has vigorously campaigned for a transitional government to be realized through peaceful methods of all interested parties including NRM to prepare a level playing field for free and fair multi-party elections at an appropriate time.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General, UDU


Go out in large numbers and demonstrate peacefully and oust a corrupt NRM regime

Since its founding in July 2011, UDU has consistently called on all Ugandans including all branches of security forces to demonstrate peacefully against the corrupt, sectarian and incompetent NRM regime. Uganda is a dictatorial and failed state. Museveni is a military dictator in civilian clothes.

NRM has lost direction in all areas of human endeavor, witness nominating corrupt and sectarian Sam Kutesa to become president of the United Nations General Assembly starting in September 2014 for twelve months.

NRM abandoned structural adjustment program (SAP) in 2009 after a miserable performance since 1987 against advice of experts at home and abroad and replaced it with a five year development plan purely for the sake of winning presidential and parliamentary elections in 2011. The plan has not been implemented as reported by the prime minister not too long ago.

To save face against the credible UDU’s National Recovery Plan, Museveni came up with a so-called Vision 2040 the final copy of which he hadn’t seen and which had been cleared in principle by parliament the night before it was launched. In short, the vision was not ready. The barrage of criticisms killed and buried the vision on the very day it was launched. So, Uganda has no development blue print.

Although structural adjustment program was abandoned, Museveni and his team has continued to implement its elements such as inflation control at the expense of employment and promotion of small and medium-scale enterprises that create jobs and promote equitable growth. Export-oriented economic growth of raw materials has also continued including foodstuffs traditionally available for domestic consumption thereby depriving Ugandans of adequate and nutritious diet.

Exchange rate has continued to favor exports and raise the price of imports to consumers and producers with all the adverse implications.

The Uganda market is still wide open to imports of all kinds that have severely undermined local manufacturing enterprises long after it was recognized that the process of market liberalization had proceeded very fast.

Agriculture that forms Uganda’s economic fulcrum has been neglected in favor of Kampala city as the growth pole model whose benefits have not trickled to the 34 million out of 35 million Ugandans that live outside Kampala.

Rampant corruption, sectarianism, cronyism and mismanagement of public funds have continued and possibly got worse as Museveni and his family fear they might be overthrown in a democratic process.

Cabinet and military reshuffle took place recently and Museveni kicked out the individuals he fears or marginalized them in preparation for crowning his son Muhoozi as the next president of Uganda.

That Museveni has no regard for the welfare of ordinary citizens is reflected in the recent budget that has heaped the burden of taxation on the poorest of the poor. This is a regressive taxation that parliament should reject.

Unlike other leaders in developed and developing countries, Museveni has rejected NEPAD’s lunch program for primary school children. He has also refused to launch a stimulus package to ease the unemployment situation especially of the youth which would also accelerate economic growth and equitable distribution of growth benefits.

NRM has been warned that if not checked immediately, environmental degradation will turn 80 percent of Uganda into a desert within 100 years which is a very short time by historical standards. Museveni hasn’t implemented policies to stop and reverse environmental degradation. Museveni is good at talking about what needs to be done but little follow-up action is taken if at all.

All in all as UDU has been arguing Museveni and his NRM government has failed. The longer it stays in power the more damage that will be done to humans and fauna and flora. The result will be severe ecological degradation, climate change characterized by frequent and severe droughts and floods.

Thankfully the donors have now realized the damage and wrong direction and have scaled back technical and financial assistance to send a message of disapproval of what is happening in Uganda. The rest is largely up to us.

Museveni is now vulnerable but he could be dangerous in the final hours of his misrule. We Ugandans should move fast to unseat him. However, we should not give him an opportunity to use the military equipment he has accumulated over almost three decades. Museveni should be removed by peaceful, coordinated and democratic means.

We should oppose his nomination for president of the United Nations General Assembly. Many members of the United Nations know that Kutesa is corrupt, sectarian and a poor manager as exhibited, for instance, in the poor state of Uganda house in New York City next to the United States embassy and opposite the South Korean embassy building. It will be difficult for Kutesa to preside over meetings on democracy including free and fair elections given his record in his constituency and good governance. Not only will Kutesa be uncomfortable but Uganda and the entire African continent that nominated him will be embarrassed. Let Africa look for a credible candidate. There is enough time to do so.

UDU calls on all Ugandans to go out in large numbers and in all corners of the country and simultaneously demonstrate against Museveni for the whole world to see that he has lost control and must go.

Ugandans must also demand that stolen public money and properties by NRM officials like land should be returned with interest to the rightful owners.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General, UDU

Open message to President Barack Obama

Thirty five million Ugandans are more important than one president


From the time you became president of the United States, you have to the delight of Ugandans and other suffering people around the world consistently stressed the importance of democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights and good governance, meaning ending corruption, sectarianism and mismanagement of public funds. You have also eloquently and repeatedly warned leaders who have stayed in power too long. President Museveni came to power in 1986 and has already signaled he will contest the presidential elections in 2016.

Uganda under President Museveni which has been classified as a failed state by Foreign Affairs magazine in collaboration with Fund for Peace with respect inter alia to human rights violation; uneven development and economic decline has continued to enjoy cordial relations with the United States.

Contrary to popular belief, Museveni has been a de-stabilizer, not a stabilizer of the Great Lakes region. His involvement in Burundi coup in 1993, in Rwanda between 1990 and 1994, and in DRC since 1996 is well written about.

At home, rampant corruption, sectarianism, cronyism and mismanagement of public funds are very well known. The current Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa – whose daughter is the wife of Museveni’s son Brigadier Muhoozi who is being groomed to become the next president of Uganda – was censored by Uganda Parliament while serving as minister of state. President Museveni appointed him full minister of foreign affairs. He was suspended but the president returned him to government as minister of foreign affairs before investigations into his wrongdoing were over.

Sam Kutesa did not attend the last two sessions of the United Nations General Assembly. President Museveni has nominated Sam Kutesa to be the President of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly starting in September 2014. Some members of Parliament and many Ugandans have opposed this nomination on account of his rampant corruption, sectarianism and mismanagement record. Uganda and the rest of Africa have better candidates and we recommend that the United States reject Kutesa’s nomination.

It is true that Uganda registered a robust economic growth record in the 1990s reaching 10 percent in the mid-1990s. The growth has since declined rapidly to an average of four percent according to government statistics against a population growth rate of 3.2 percent. What is even worse is that income distribution has been so skewed that a few rich people have disproportionately benefited from economic growth.

Regionally and sectorally there have been distortions. Some 75 percent of GNI is generated largely from the capital intensive service sector in Greater Kampala with a population of some 2 million while 33 million people outside Kampala generate a mere 25 percent of GNI, confirming that economic growth, growth poles and trickle down model has not worked. Nevertheless, Uganda has continued to follow the Washington Consensus neo-liberal model although it was formally abandoned in 2009. Controlling inflation to five percent annually has continued to enjoy priority over unemployment.

Consequently, some thirty three percent of Ugandans go to bed hungry every night while Uganda is a major exporter of foodstuffs; some 80 percent of Uganda youth are unemployed; some 80 percent of primary school children drop out in large part because they don’t get lunch which the president has personally rejected although it was adopted by NEPAD, a branch of African Union. Dropout children start families in their teens and have contributed to rapid population growth, a development that would have been avoided if the children had stayed in school longer. The education and healthcare systems are on the verge of collapse, witness the quality of education and re-emergence of diseases that had disappeared.

The regressive taxation announced recently will impoverish the already poor and vulnerable people even more because it has focused on items of vital importance to poor people such as kerosene, water for domestic consumption and wheat and wheat flour.

Agriculture and rural sector, home to some 90 percent of Ugandans (depending upon how an urban area is defined) have been neglected as seen from budget allocation in the neighborhood of four percent against AU’s recommendation of at least 10 percent of the national budget.

The abuse of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the name of maintaining national security has gone too far. Secondly, NRM government has failed to draw a distinction between national security and human security in terms of individual freedom from want, freedom from fear and freedom to live in dignity.

NRM government enacted anti-sectarian and anti-terrorism laws so broadly that any Ugandan can be arrested at anytime and locked away indefinitely. We have brought this matter to the attention of State Department.

Although Museveni government has cooperated with the United States government in the fight against terrorism, this worthy collaboration doesn’t mean that President Museveni should be treated as more important than 35 million Ugandans that he has subjected to too much suffering in all areas of human endeavor.

United Democratic Ugandans (UDU) recommends that Sam Kutesa’s nomination to become the president of the United Nations General Assembly should be rejected by the United States and Museveni should be discouraged from contesting presidential elections in 2016. Not least, we request you President Obama to accord priority to 35 million Ugandans that are more important in Uganda and USA relations than one individual – President Museveni.

Accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration


Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General, UDU


Museveni stepping up human rights abuses in Uganda

As pressure for political change and economic equity mounts and cracks develop in vital institutions including the ruling NRM party, parliament, police and the military, Museveni has reshuffled staff in the cabinet, police and the military. The police department has been militarized with General Nyakairima becoming minister of internal affairs joining General Kaihura who is inspector general of police. The ministry of information and communication technology has been placed in the hands of trusted John Nasasira.

The departure into exile of General Sejjusa and the regressive taxes announced in the budget that will definitely hurt the poor the most have increased political and economic tensions. Additionally, Ugandans are unhappy about what appears to be Museveni’s efforts to pave the way for his son Kainerugaba Muhoozi to succeed him as the next president of Uganda. These and other unhappy developments have resulted in demonstrations including by Kampala’s Lord Mayor Mr. Elias Lukwago who was humiliated and his rights and freedoms abused by security officers. Some media houses and journalists have not been spared of these abuses. The resulting atmosphere is not conducive to economic development including attraction of foreign investors, thereby undermining prospects for achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

UDU calls on development partners – state and non-state actors – to publicly condemn these abuses by the NRM government and take appropriate actions to drive the point home.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary-General, UDU

UDU welcomes the appointment of Mr. Russ Feingold

On behalf of United Democratic Ugandans (UDU), I thank Honorable John Kerry, United States Secretary of State, for appointing Mr. Russ Feingold as United States Special Representative for the African Great Lakes region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Since its founding in July 2011, UDU has constantly called on the United States and other countries to lend Africans a helping hand in dealing with the crisis that has devastated the region demographically, economically, socially and environmentally.

To end the crisis, we need to understand the root cause and all the players involved. We believe that Mr. Feingold who knows the region very well will get to the root cause and provide appropriate recommendations.

UDU would like to suggest that correcting ethnic distortions and biases in the history of the region going as far back as the 15th century will go a long way in understanding the root cause of the crisis.

Eric Kashambuzi

Secretary General, UDU


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