Devils Advocates.

Devils Advocates.

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The Pentagon, which is the epicenter of the US Department of Defense, is historically known for playing the devil’s advocate in order to stunt the growth of democracy in most third world countries. As a matter of fact, there has been an increasing silent feud between the State Department (foreign policy) and the Pentagon (Defense). The conflicts are over the decisions on supplying military aid to autocratic leaders; the Pentagon is at the forefront of equipping and training the soldiers of these strong men to fight against terrorism. The absurd thing is most of these allies are African leaders with spotty human rights records such as Uganda, this contradicts the broader U.S. interests, such as promoting human rights.

 

The state department rightly says so military-led programs, without adequate input from the State Department, can overlook key human rights or governance concerns. In practice, the Defense Department often executes even programs that are primarily State Department authorities.

 

A case, for example, the demagogue dictator Yoweri Museveni  ,who  seized control of power through force and transformed himself into a constitutional dictator, by virtue of clinging in office through fraudulent and  severely restricted elections, which are organized by his puppets in  the military junta as they control the whole electoral process. This dictator has been consistently shielded by his allies in the Pentagon; the defense department continues to view Museveni as a dependable ally in the fight against Islamic extremism. Most of the time the state department has clashed with the Pentagon over what action to take against Yoweri Museveni, whose governance record has been criticized by senior Washington officials.

 

Amidst all the feuds, I have variously read opinions from our brothers across Africa scolding President Obama for not doing enough to promote democracy and good governance practices in the continent. However to me, I exonerate Obama from all these voices of accusation because for example Museveni has not enjoyed much warmth from the administration of Barrack Obama, who has always talked tough on long-serving African leaders.  Obama speeches in the African Union and Berlin are just a testimony of his open criticism of leaders who extend their tenure in office by tinkering with the law of presidential term limits. Secondly, the way the institutional systems are set up in developed democracies makes it impossible for the president to trespass on the mandates of the ministers.

Therefore the buck squarely  stops at the doors of the defense department for their double standards ,if you dig deeper, the US Defense department is recklessly anti-democratic .If you carried a quick survey of all the world’s most repressive dictators ,you will discover that they have been friends of the US defense dept. Tyrants, torturers, killers, and sundry dictators and corrupt puppet-presidents have been aided, supported, and rewarded handsomely for their loyalty to US security interests. Traditional dictators seize control through their close friends with the Pentagon. They are commonly referred as “friendly dictators”.

 

Some of the known “Friendly dictators” include; Yoweri Museveni-Uganda ,Salva Kiir-South Sudan,Hussien Mubarak-Egypt,Erdaudo Do Santos-Angola,Marcos, Mobutu SeseSeko –Zaire, Noriega, General Manuel –Panama, Pinochet, General Augusto—Chile,Pol Pot-Cambodia ,Suharto, General-Indonesia,Musharraf –Pakistan, Paul Kagame-Rwanda, Obiang- Equatorial Guinea. The characteristics of these dictators are; their troops receive training and advice from the CIA and other US agencies. Supplied with US military aid and weapons sales to strengthen their armies and guarantee their hold on power. Recently it has been reported in the media that the US government has supplied Museveni`s pet boy the UPDF (Uganda People`s Defence Forces) with 5 brand new attack Helicopters. Frankly, I find it dishonest and insulting to Ugandans for the dictator who has overstayed his welcome to be supplied with these attack helicopters at this material time! When the situation in the country and the region is still very volatile.

In Uganda these sophisticated war machines have not been used to combat any internal terrorism or external aggression but rather for the purposes of  intimidating and harassing the regime’s political opponents, most times Ugandans have witnessed the deployment of heavy artilleries, Air force, Armored vehicles and Infantry soldiers in the streets of the city, towns, and villages. While the economy deteriorates and the majority of Ugandans are wallowing in poverty, the defense department has assumed the roles of the big cheerleader for the repressive Museveni regime.

Bottom line promotion of human rights and democratic governance should be central to the US foreign policy, as long as the United States maintains such blatant double standards, U.S. credibility as a defender of human rights and free elections is seriously compromised and thereby plays right into the hands of autocrats and demagogues like Yoweri Museveni.

 

The Author is Moses Atocon

A Ugandan Political Activist.

Dead dreams of a Nation

museveni-handing-over-a-shs-100m-dummy-cheque-to-mulago-car-washers

 

As a child, I overheard the utopia of Mr. Museveni rattling to us through our then black and white Tactic televisions set, courtesy of UTV (UGANDA TELEVISION). In the 90s, Museveni had a dream. Like every revolutionary theorist, the President dreamt of an industrialized Uganda, moving the economy from a primitive feudal stage to a modern industrialized stage. The 90s paled through a major paradigm shift –i.e. the structural adjustment program (SAP), a neo-liberal agenda that arm-twisted Mr. Museveni into privatizing the economy and retrenching workers. The most difficult, and yet memorable years of the Museveni’s era were the period 1992 – 1996. The year 1996 was the year that a brilliant dream suffered a natural death.

 

I am still intending to gather the courage to write a book, titled: “The Ten Commandments of Failure”. That book will provide a correlation of empirical evidence, to demonstrate how the NRM’s so-called socio-economic transformation blueprint, the Ten-Point program became the commandments of failure. Respectfully, Dr. Frederick Golooba Mutebi a former don at Makerere University has already done a substantial amount of work in this field. However, I feel it is inconclusive and this is where I will work to complete the presentation of this oddity.

 

A few days ago, I was prompted via my social media accounts about a strong presence of the Special Forces Command (SFC) a unit mandated with the protection of the president on Binaisa Road in Kampala. Apparently, the President was there for a full 8 hours to officiate at the opening ceremony of a Shs 1.8million (US$534) car washing bay.  This is the level of “industrialization” that was dreamt of in the late 80s and 90s. The presence of the President in this neighborhood meant that businesses closed for his personal security. These days, the distance between the President and the people of Uganda is so wide that his security now closes the entire length of Entebbe Road (34kms) when he is using it. Imagine what could have happened to the businesses on the entire length of Binaisa Road and neighboring areas that day. Certainly, one can imagine losing more than Shs 2 million per trader along that lane, and the adjacent lanes. But those are the cost of sustaining an illegitimate regime in place.

 

What then shocked me the most was not the Shs 100 million blank check pledge made by the dictator. It was the two snow-blowing machines that the dictator donated to the washing bay. I was shocked that the whole President of Uganda could attend the opening of a Car washing bay in the heart of the City while the Kenyan President, was signing a deal with Volkswagen for an assembly plant to be launched in Kenya. Already, Kenya’s industrial prospects are promising. Many bus companies informed me that their Buses are fabricated in Kenya while the chassis came from Sweden or Japan. That is tangible progress.

 

So, here we are, as a country thirty years after the pseudo revolution and we are still an economically backward country (an economic term to mean not industrialized). I have referred to the NRM so-called 1980-revolution as a “pseudo-revolution” because, in my view, it was typical. Most revolutions have emerged over land related inequalities or disputes, not a mere excuse of electoral frauds. After all, the Museveni-era electoral frauds since 1996 are of Guinness book record proportions. It is such inherent contradictions and obscurantism that pervades our politics today; that nothing works in our society, and yet the government says it works.

 

It is, therefore, comprehensible that the most legitimate era of the NRM milieu ended in the period preceding 1996. After 1996 it was and shall remain a trial and era period that has caused Uganda and Ugandans enormous social, economic and political problems. To remedy these may take another 30 years or more. There are no more dreams for industrialization, economic equality or social justice under this regime. The Private sector craze has already subordinated the Uganda economy to foreign investors. The indigenous Ugandans are back to the pre-Idi Amin Dada where the Indians monopolized commerce and trade and pitifully enslaved Ugandans.

 

If the president can spend 8 hours opening a car-washing bay worth Shs 1.8millions, all we can conclude is that this regime is in a self-sustaining mode, and nothing other. As long as the Police and the Military can subdue the opposition, we shall see more of the President attending small and inconsequential ventures such as brewing Lira Lira or Ajono in the villages. We are back to zero, and a call for a revolution is inevitable.

 

End.

 

 

Written by UG-DP10 Publicity team.

DEFIANCE DOESN’T STOP AT STREET PROTESTS – RABBA NAGA

DEFIANCE DOESN’T STOP AT STREET PROTESTS – RABBA NAGA
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RABBA NAGA, the Ugandan freedom struggle leader who is operating from within the Museveni camp, calls on Ugandans to embrace and intensify the Campaign against Museveni by going beyond street protests to all forms of Defiance.

 

 

 

Defiance(Resistance) campaign in Uganda has been going on since 1970s and 1980s when armed struggles were launched by different groups, UNLA,NRA,UFM,UNRF ETC. Upon capturing power by UNLA, the disgruntled groups launched fresh attacks on the new lords in the city. This took different forms, armed resistance,like NRA, UFM,UFF,UNRF ETC. Again when Kampala fell to new victors of1986, those dissatisfied, again went on with the resistance, the likes of UPDM, Kirimuttu, NALU, UPA,FOBA, LRA, ETC. Some of this defiance or resistance was by way of political agitation by the main stream political parties like DP’s UYD demonstrations and street protests led by Kagwa and others and also through organized political processes like the struggles to open up the political space.

 
RATIONALE
 

The reason for all these unending revolts, some big and others small is because of the miscarried process of total liberation and emancipation of our people.
 

WHAT HAS CHANGED

 
On the causes of this friction, nothing has fundamentally changed on the ground. The reasons that set off the armed struggles of the 1970s and 1980s against Amin and Obote,to a large extent still obtain. Some in worse forms. Like corruption today is worse than had ever been witnessed in this country. Election rigging of the1980s has given way to outright political thuggery i.e., disguised coups when the military is openly unleashed on the population to steal their electoral victories, many times. The violent crimes, murders, impunity, breakdown in social services, poverty, unemployment and many other terrible things happening in the country today are just mind boggling. So in short, nothing has changed.
 

What has changed perhaps is that, by and large, today’s actors are the yesterday’s victors. The Besigyes,Sejjusas,Mbabazis, Muntus and many others.
 

DEFIANCE NOT NEW FORM OF STRUGGLE.
 

This was intended to show that defiance/resistance is not a new form of struggle. It is not a Besigye patent, an FDC weapon or a partisan mode of struggle. It has been used over time by our struggling peoples. That is why all people who are dissatisfied with what is happening in the country need to identify with it. I hear some shunning it because they relate it with Dr.Besigye etc. Him and many others active today happen to have picked up the mantle. We all need to know that as long as the process of liberation we set out to achieve remains incomplete, the defiance must continue. By all of us, irrespective of our political affiliations.

 
It need not be military resistance or street protests etc. only, but must be broadened to include passive resistance, of all forms, at work places, in the gardens, in schools etc. And of course those political actions must intensify, against that corrupt parliament, inept government.

 
All Political parties not tire. Must keep engaged and active. Except of course those who have surrendered to the dictatorship like that of Betty Kamya and a few others. They should set up groups to mobilize the people and get those being detained released. This is an ongoing struggle. It did not end with 18th February2016, but rather, it took a new shape on that day.
 

Don’t tire. Get out do your bit.

HOUSE OF MPIGS!!

HOUSE OF MPIGS!!

pig_parliament_by_lilblondezombie

 

The parliament  of Uganda needs a serious soul search. When Hon Mwijukye Francis stated that the masses have lost trust and faith in Parliament, he was not far off the point. Here is the reality. Uganda’s economy is hurting. Everything is slow. People are desperate because they do not have money. The 1% upper class and the 2% regime Leeches have all the money stashed in their foreign accounts or in transit, being withdrawn from the Uganda’s economy. The bank interests rates are criminally high and yet, the truth is, the working class, what would pass for both the white and blue collar workers, are heavily indebted. They have loans of all sorts and variations, moreover with various interest rates and terms of payments. No one working class is debt free. Here comes the Parliament, the branch of government which should have been independent, but is not. It is fused with to the Executive through the person of the anti-Uganda dictator at the waist, close enough to the pockets but a little space off from the facet where the Judiciary is also attached, dependently onto this Anti-People dictator.
To scorn the people of Uganda, the Parliament has not shied from a spending spree. They have secured the money to spend from the taxpayers; they are badly in need of spending it. Even a funeral of the fly, you will find a minimum of 7 MPs sponsored by the house. The money itches them like a bedbug bite. Now here, they spend this, for car loans, then they spend that for Funerals (as if they were sent there to die instead of improving social conditions to increase health of the people and quality of life. These would increase the life expectancy). These MPs even beg death to visit them concomitantly so they can spend money. That money.
It is such a insensitivity that has placed this Parliament at odds with many suffering Ugandans.

The money siphoned off the economy for the dictator to rig the past elections, and whatever has been pumped into the economy do not add up. Here, pay heed to the plight of those Ugandans who, for reasons not of their own, have to endure the agonizing humiliation of cancer pains, sudden death during delivery, road carnage, etc. Figure that out with the money that the Parliament itches so badly to spend on buying coffins and bijanjalo ( beans) for funerals of MPs who have not even died – yet!! I sincerely wish them the real death, if possible, and I have no regret for this. How many of Ugandans must die first from Cancer while Parliament is spending Shs 600m on Medals and Shs 2billions on this, and Shs, 200m per MP on Cars? ,68 million each set aside for their own funerals .And they want to teach us Patriotism — to love the exploiter?

 

We really have very insensitive MPs, but why do we elect them over and over again? It is nothing, but pure ignorance! But education is not just about going through school and universities.

Members as you know, ignorance and subjectivity can be very costly in democracy. This is compounded by subjective mob-action (mobocracy) and money-led power (moneycracy). It can be catastrophic for the people, if the situation is not arrested early enough.

It can be so foolish, that to illustrate the point, I remember some voters, in Bunyoro, used to retort to my advice to void properly with the answer that: “Nwoye …” nanka (some candidate), “nobwanyampa miira bumira” (literary for them, even if a certain candidate (names withheld) fat, they would just swallow). Such is how low we can go when ignorance is allowed to rule in a ‘democracy’.

Ignorance sets up a chain of vicious cycle (a string of bad things) you can later not easily control as we are seeing today. Let us look at how ignorance may affect our representation in parliament alone; especially if we choose to swallow the fats of both presidents and MPs as it breeds insensitive, callous, greedy, narcissist and ignorant leadership or a kakistocracy (rule by the worst citizens).

I will limit my discussion to two possible types of MPs representation, in order for us to be able to tell what we could have voted for unknowingly:

 

  1. THE TRUSTEE MODEL AND ITS REALITIES
    In this case, the elected should MPs ideally, have better education and be more informed and more understanding than the majority of the electorate they represent, as they are considered to be less fortunate.

This model assumes that the general public are ill-educated and ill-informed and it also assumes that education of the MP assists them in making moral decisions, which makes the more educated MPs more likely to want to perform citizenship duties, and to empower the less fortunate.

 

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THIS MODEL?

The problem is that MPs will exercise their own judgment and do not necessarily have to represent the interests of the electorate, especially if they are selfish and uncouth. We are left at their mercy and goodwill. This is what happens when we rely on independent MPs or representatives.

 

HOW AND WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?

In this case, it is expected that MPs would use ‘mature judgment’ and ‘enlightened conscience’. But is this possible with human nature that is selfish as “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton).

The trustee model suggests that the MP has a formal responsibility for the affairs of others (the people). In other words, the MPs should act wisely on the electorates’ behalf, rather than simply reflecting voters’ views. (All these are in the views explained by Edmund Burke and J.S. Mill).

Now members, as we mourn, if I may ask, according to Articles 79 (functions of parliament) and 80 (Qualifications and disqualifications of members of parliament);

 

  • How much scrutiny do we give to those individuals we entrust our well-being with? Whether, they are of sound mind or the capacity to think and articulate issues on our behalf?
  • Do we check their background and state of mind every time we decide to entrust our Mps with our interests?
  • Are they really more educated or educated enough, than the majority of the electorate or they are just capable of buying us?
  • Do they have integrity (Moral-uprightness or crooked histories?).

 

This is what I mean, when I say the people deserve the leaders they elect to represent them-if you are careless or careful, that is what you get!
If we can answer these questions, I see no reason why we should not blame these MPs for failing to deliver.

 

  1. THE MANDATE MODEL AND ITS REALITIES

When we talk of the mandate model, the assumption is that individual MPs, as members of a larger organization, community, party or movement has received a mandate (authority) from the electorate, and he/she can only implement policies within the manifesto of the organization or community.
In practice, it means that MPs would be restricted to the decision-making based on the promises that they have already made- in either community contract or party manifesto to which they belong.
These conditions, give the MPs the opportunity to react to new circumstances or new issues, according to earlier commitments. In effect, any decision contrary or in addition to the manifesto of the social contract or party (movement) manifesto would not have been endorsed by the voters, who supported the organization/party that sponsored the MP.

 

HOW AND WHY THIS IS SO?

Like in the case of all our MPs in Bunyoro, they have been elected on the basis of the NRM party manifesto (for the last 30 years) rather than as an individual.

Whether, there is an open or hidden agenda of the party you support, to neglect you or improve on your conditions as a constituency, bribe MPs /buy them expensive cars-the people will have little to say or do; and this also depend on the type of government the ruling party puts in place.
Now my questions are:

  • While voting, under the party umbrella, what did we really expect?
    • Have you ever taken time to find out, why our MPs cannot even talk about land grabbing, oil and gas or the poor education in Bunyoro?
    • Is it not, we who overwhelmingly, either vote the less educated, empowered, or NRM/ party that control our MPs?
    • How can we make the MPs independent, in order for them to serve nothing but their own judgment?

 

  1. THE CURRENT POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT?

Most of our MPs are now caught in the crossfire.
While blaming our representatives, there is also the need to know that, to some extend these MPs also reflect a range of different types of people and interests and societies. As individuals, they also have different motives and reasons for seeking to become MPs. Hence, unless you enter a social contract with them, in advance, you never know why will just go and have a field day. I do not want to speculate in this case, but, let us explore the political environment in which our MPs operate:

 

  • Consequently, the absence of self-determination, solidarity and social identity, a clear agenda, puts both individuals (the led and the leaders) and resources, in a very awkward and vulnerable position within the prescribed order. This equally destroys the respect, authority, command and competitiveness of our representatives-hence the lame-duck-like MPs.

To conclude, for now, given this type of environment, if we cared to analyse our current national politics, we could possibly redistribute our failed civic responsibility much more objectively. Whether, the parliament really functional in the real sense? Whether we have democracy in parliament or a mob-power (mobocracy) of less thinking and subjectively elected MPs?

What about the type of government in place?
Is it not authoritarian rule that we have? Is it not a personal despotism (a personality cult)? Is it not, a system with a single individual owing allegiance to no institution rules (parliament inclusive), depending on cultivating fear and strategic rewards, relying on a personal security force to maintain power? How does your MP fit in?

I think if we can answer all these questions, we may avoid the blandness of singularity, in blaming the MPs alone, and by the end, I am confident we shall be marching in a new direction calling for a revolution from below and not a reformation from the top. The solutions seem to be from below. We, who are most hit by this greed, together with a different breed of leaders, can think otherwise.
So ladies and gentlemen which type of MP did you elect?

 

The article was jointly written by;

Steven Biirja

Komakech Morris

Both are executive member of Uganda Diaspora P10