We’ve had a year of major twists and turns; of optimism and despair; of great personal and national losses; of great and indelible pain; but also moments of joy, jubilation, and of some rare achievements.
Christmas is a time of reflection on all these. It’s a time to reflect on our values, desires, affections and traditions. We reflect on the boundless love of God that is symbolised by the birth of Christ.
It’s through such a reflection that we can meaningfully interpret the state of our country today and respond to it appropriately.
Many in our country will be having nothing to eat this Christmas; many are jobless and without hope for any job; many are in agony from illnesses they can’t get remedies for; many have no shelter or clean water; many are out of school, even when there is UPE & USE; and Makerere remains closed.
This Christmas should challenge us to reflect on this state of affairs. I’ll be soon sharing some views on what we ought to do in 2017 to get our country back on her rails. Let’s commit ourselves to dealing with the pain and suffering of our compatriots.
May this Christmas sparkle with love, joy, revival and goodwill that flow out of God’s presence!
The People`s President Dr Kizza Besigye.
Office of the People’ s President,
October 6 ,2016.
Members of the media.
We warmly welcome you to this press conference and to our home.
We highly appreciate the role the media is playing in the ongoing Uganda peoples struggle for freedom and justice, for fair play and fair distribution of national resources , for equal opportunity for all citizens .
You the media are constitutionally mandated to reach everywhere, unearth what is hidden by wrong doers and expose them in public interest.
Some of us have been denied our rights to live as free citizens just because we have dared to stand up and play a frontline role in the struggle as you the media are doing everyday despite all the risks. We must stand together on the peoples side, the side of justice and peacefully defy the oppressors even if they are still backed by some gunmen.
It is of great concern to us that Parliament which is supposed to be a peoples institution and therefore an ally of the media is turning itself into an enemy of the media and summoning editors for trial. We must resist that and defend freedom of the media which is enshrined in our Constitution.
In this struggle, which we must emphasize must be carried out by we Ugandans ourselves, we also need allies from the international community, especially from those with economic and geopolitical interests in our country or our region which could be jeopardized if the inevitable transition coming after Mr. Museveni rule is not handled well.
You are all aware that following the disputed Presidential election, whose official outcome we the FDC and the people still do not accept, a political stalemate was created in the country.
You are also aware that soon after our election victory was robbed, as all the observers noted, they also robbed our freedom and they have with impunity continued to keep me a prisoner, of conscience, without any crime committed.
We therefore travelled to UK and USA soon after I was released from jail to do some diplomatic work for our struggle ,to explain the bad situation back home to some of those with interests in Uganda and to win new friends.
We got two rare chances to address two respected and influential Think Tank platforms, the New York City Bar Association and the Chatham House in London. The two institutions separately influence both public and private sector policies in those countries. Attendance was by invitation only and there full houses We learnt and got a lot there.
After the addresses to the two Think Tanks, we were invited for Radio programs on VOA and later BBC.
We also held a fruitful discussions with USA Assistant Secretary of State in charge of Africa in Washington .
In London, we held several interesting closed door meetings with investors who want to invest more here but are anxious about the fluid political and economic situation in our country.
Although we had largely travelled for diplomatic work, we also found time to attend and address two conventions of Ugandans, UNAA in Boston and UK Business Convention in London where we held exciting debates on our country.
We learnt with great satisfaction that since the February 2016, general elections, Ugandans in diaspora have minimized Party rivalry and united under P10 to do diplomatic work and also raise whatever funds they can manage for the defiance struggle.
Overall, we got urging from most of the dignitaries we interacted with in USA, UK and mainland Europe to seriously explore the possibility of a structured national Dialogue to discuss our political stalemate and transition.
I AM BACK – KIZZA BESIGYE
First of all, I am back. Nkomyeewo.
I have been away for more than a month and I had a very busy schedule with a lot of activities which I intend to brief you on comprehensively. In truth, I had fruitful engagements and soon I will report to the country the details of the trips I took in the United Kingdom and United States.
Today I will focus on what unfortunately happened at Entebbe Airport. As you all know, since the elections, our country is in a stalemate; in a stalemate because it is very clear that the people of Uganda made a choice as to who should lead this country- a choice has been fiercely fought by force of arms by Mr. Museveni’s group which is seeking to perpetuate themselves in power.
So very clearly, we have the people of Uganda on one side and a group of armed men using arms to terrorize the people on other side. We have a country that is divided – people on one side and gun men seeking to dominate the people on the other side, gun men seeking to dominate the people of Uganda.
I was charged for treason because we declared ourselves winners. But very clearly, anybody who cares to know what is going in Uganda knows that the people who are committing treason are Museveni and his group because they are using guns to suppress the will of the people and to establish an administration that contradicts the will of the people of Uganda. That is demonstrated very starkly, very clearly on what has happened at Entebbe Airport.
Today, I was just returning home. I travelled on a commercial flight. Certainly, they (security) know I was travelling unarmed. But because they fear the people who voted me in February Presidential elections, they would not want me to pass anywhere where people are gathered.
As I came out of the Kenya Airways plane, the goons were waiting on the steps of the plane, this time wearing Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) uniform. Can you imagine the death of our national institutions? The people who captured me from the steps of the plane were wearing CAA uniform, the vehicle they put me also belonged to CAA vehicle. They picked me up, drove me to the old airport and put me into waiting police vehicles. Six police vehicles with a saloon lead car took me out of the old airport that now acts a military airbase and drove me through sections of the Entebbe-Express Highway, Nakawuka, Nateete Busenga and I was dropped at my home in Kasangati.
What happened is a clear demonstration that there is the president of the people of Uganda. The regime’s role now is to ensure that they prevent the president to get to his people. The lesson we take is that if people choose to withdraw their support, their cooperation from the regime, the regime falls. It cannot survive. That is exactly what we shall continue doing- to mobilize our people to withdraw their cooperation from these imposters. We shall tell our people to stand firm and see that no dictator will ever again emerge to lead Uganda.
The revolution taking place in Uganda is of major interest to the whole of Africa. Since independence, the people have never regained their power taken away by colonialists. Those guns used by colonialists were handed to Africans who are using them to silence and dominate the people. What is happening now in Uganda is being watched closely and monitored across the African continent as people of Uganda seek to regain their power from gunmen and force leaders to be servants not masters. I guarantee you that people will regain their authority in this country, not having leaders who treat citizens with contempt. That is going to happen in Uganda.
We are in the process of carrying out very serious revolution/transformation because the actions of the Museveni regime concede that I have much authority to lead the people of Uganda. The Museveni regime accepts that it is besieged.
What happened should be condemned because it clearly demonstrates that unpopular regime can kidnap a senior citizen from the airport- because up to now I don’t have my luggage, my passport is not stamped and therefore I am in the country illegally. Some police men attempted to claim my luggage from Kenya Airways.
This must be condemned that we have a regime that behaves criminally by arresting me from a plane in full view of all travelling passengers who could have thought I am a terrorist.
These scenes are very unfortunate and they are not good for our country. I hear the Museveni regime talking about Investment. When I was in London, I attended a Uganda Convention in UK and I was frank with them. You cannot invite investors who see political instability on the steps of a plane. If there were investors on that Kenya Airways plane and watched how I was handled, they must have got second thoughts on investing in Uganda. The people who are killing investment in Uganda are Museveni and his group. Anybody trying to invest in Uganda must be sure of political stability. So the enemy of Uganda’s progress is the Museveni regime and their criminal behavior.
I understand the frustration of our supporters who are disappointed that they were not able to stand on the road side to wave at us because that is the best they can do- I salute you and appreciate your resolve and show of support to our efforts to defeat the dictatorship. I am aware of your commitment to defy the dictator. I am aware of the threats by Andrew Felix Kaweesi to charge our supporters with treason for recognizing the government you elected. Make no mistake; don’t get tired, we are going to win by defiance because we are getting better organized. We shall win because we are going to have new campaigns all over the country.
Lastly, I understand many of our supporters were arrested, of course in complete breach of the law. We demand that our people should be released immediately and unconditionally so they can be free in their country.
We are fully set and we shall not turn back.
FULL SPEECH by Dr. KizzaBesigye explaining the challenges of the more than 20-year struggle he has led to end Museveni’s grip on power. Dr Besigye’s lecture that focused on “Fighting for Justice, the Rule of Law, and Democracy in Africa: Lessons from Uganda” was delivered at the New York City Bar Association in New York, United States of America.
Address To The New York City Bar Association
By Colonel (Rt) Dr. KizzaBesigye
New York City Thursday, September 1, 2016
Co-Sponsored by The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice The African Affairs Committee of The New York City Bar
Thank you for the very kind introduction and warm welcome, [Name].
I would like to start by thanking the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice for hosting this historic event.
I would in particular like to thank Mr. Alexander Papachristou for his unwavering dedication to the cause of freedom and democracy in Africa. It’s hard to overstate how important it is to have reliable friends when you are in the trenches fighting for freedom.
Alex has been a source of great inspiration to many of us in Africa. I am particularly grateful to him for his wise counsel and support, always reminding us why democracy and the rule of law matters.
Thank you, Alex, for your support and friendship to the people of Uganda and Africa. I would also like to thank the staff of the Cyrus R. Vance Center who have worked tirelessly to make this event possible. In particular, I would like to single out Dr. Brenda Kombo for her leadership in organizing this event.
I would also like to extend a special thank you to the African Affairs Committee of the New York City Bar for co-sponsoring this event. I understand from reliable sources that you have been a bulwark supporting the rule of law in Africa. I salute you for your dedication and contributions to a better Africa and a better world.
I see in this audience many friends and familiar faces. Thank you for welcoming me and for making me feel at home. It’s good to be amongst friends. And it’s especially inspiring to be amongst those who labor to promote justice and democracy around the world. Distinguished guests, Ladies, and Gentlemen.
Introduction It’s a unique and singular honor to stand here today to address this august institution which represents, in its finest form, the ideals and the pillars of an open, democratic society—the rule of law.
In a democratic society—and in a diverse and pluralistic society—it is the Temple of Justice that we go for the peaceful and just adjudication of disputes.
It is at The New York State Supreme Court Building that it is written, with good measure, that:
“The True Administration of Justice is the Firmest Pillar of Good Government.”
It is also in the founding document of the modern constitutional government, The Magna Carta of 1215, that is written:
“To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay right or justice.”
These statements go to the very foundation of the rule of law—Justice.
I am an African
And it is justice, at its core, that is the foundation of democratic government, and without which there can be no open society.
It is with this firm understanding of the rule law that I stand before you today to talk about
“Fighting for Justice, the Rule of law, and Democracy in Africa”
I take my lessons from Uganda—that favored land from which I hail.
Despite our many problems, we still like to call it “The Pearl of Africa.”
Whenever I hear “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika”—God Bless Africa—the anthem of Africa
I think of those rolling hills and the rugged ridges of Rukungiri, where I was born.
I think of the verdant valleys of Northern Uganda
The green pastures of the West Nile Mount Elgon and The Mountain of the Moon
I think of the Nile and Bwindi impenetrable forest
I think of the ancient heritage of Buganda and Bunyoro and the Luo
Then I remember, with no small measure of pride—
That it was my ancestors—our people from all across Africa—
That erected the pyramids and invented the hieroglyphics. That the first footsteps of man is to found in the heart of Africa.
When I remember all these, and the rich culture of our people, and the great civilizations they forged and will continue to forge until the end of time—then I find the courage to stand here before you.
I find courage in my past and I am buoyed by hope for the future. As Thabo Mbeki would say, I am, after all, an African! A Ugandan, yes! But above all an African!
Let me begin with a personal confession.
I stand before you as a man who has been living under the shadow of the law—not in its brilliant and luminous radiance.
I stand before you as a man charged with treason in his land of birth.
I am here today, outside Uganda, by the permission and grace of the Uganda High court, to which I am very grateful.
What treason means
I will begin by explaining the nature of the treason charges against me. There are, specifically, two charges against me.
During the last presidential campaign in Uganda, which culminated in the February 2016 presidential elections, which I contested and which I believe I won convincingly, I campaigned on one radical and threatening idea:
That all Ugandans—all my compatriots—must be citizens and not subjects. That was the core of my campaign: citizens versus subjects.
To understand the force of my argument and the power of our campaign, we must briefly revisit the political history of Africa.
The Colonial State in Africa.
Colonialism in Africa stood for one radical idea: that no African could be a citizen.
And that by the edict of nature and some inscrutable faith, an African was forever consigned to be a subject. Under apartheid, Africans were “drawers of water and the hewers of woods.”
The colonial state—and the entire edifice of the colonial system—were based on the belief and the simple premise that Africans were inferior human beings—beings destined to be governed by a stern state or a stern master.
This is the colonial idea of tutelage. Africans were projected as naturally backwards and in need of tutoring in the art of modernity and civilized existence.
Upon this ideology was erected the concept of people as subjects. In fact, people as chattels. In colonial Africa, Africans were simply subjects—people to be governed from a distant metropolis by unaccountable but “enlightened” despots. Colonialism meant total domination: No power to decide how and by who people would be governed and no power over their resources (including their labor).
The Neo-Colonial State in Africa
After independence, the African elites inherited the colonial state and hardly buried or interred the colonial ideology that Africans are merely subjected. The African elites have
used the same coercive tools to perpetuate monopolization of decision-making, State institutions, and resources.
The neo-colonial state –and most states across Africa are neo-colonial state—continue to treat Africans as subjects.
The colonial states turned Africans into subjects and the neo-colonial African states have perpetuated that colonial ideology.
Kwame Nkrumah Patrice Lumumba Steve Biko Nelson Mandela—all the heroes of the pan-African liberation struggles—revolted and waged pitch campaigns of defiance against this racist ideology.
They refused—and defiantly did so—to accept Africans as mere subjects and not citizens. They refused to accept that we, as Africans, are children of a lesser God.
Thus, at the core of the pan-African liberation ideology is the radical belief that every African is a citizen.
That we are children of a benevolent God just as any other race of this earth. That, my friends, is our campaign in Uganda. That is our campaign of defiance.
The campaign that every woman and man and child in Africa is a citizen. That every African—by birthright—is a citizen of our beloved continent. That we, as citizens, determine how and who governs; that we control State institutions and our national resources.
Masters, not Servants—My Act of Treason
Where there are citizens, the people are the masters and the state is the servant. Where there are subjects, the state is the master and the people are the servants. This distinction—between citizens and subjects—is at the heart of our campaign in Uganda. We are simply seeking to democratize Uganda—to have free and fair elections, and to have basic human rights, including the right to free speech and assembly. That is the profound nature of our struggle.
That is the act of treason I have been charged with—that I dare, in the face of corrupt power, to say that Africans are citizens.
That is my act of treason. And to that, I plead guilty. It’s an honor to plead guilty. And I carry that charge, as an African and as a human being, as a badge of honor. In the face of oppression and injustice, one must bear witness. Today in Uganda I am a witness. The second treason charge leveled against me is about the outcome of the February 2016 presidential elections.
With almost no exception, all election observers declared that the elections were deeply flawed and comprehensively rigged. For example, the Commonwealth Observer Group, the European Union Election Observer Mission, and United States Government declared as “deeply inconsistent with international standards and expectations for any democratic process.”
The election returns received by my own party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), show that I won the elections convincingly.
But a thoroughly compromised National Electoral Commission (NEC) declared the loser to be the winner. So I did something entirely radical.
I asked for an independent international audit of the elections.
I said let’s determine the winner of these disputed elections through an impeachable empirical audit.
For that, I was charged with treason.
I was charged with treason for questioning the outcome of the rigged elections and for proposing that an objective audit should resolve the dispute.
Free and Fair Elections and the Rule of Law
You might ask, rightfully, what do free and fair elections got to do with the rule of law?
The Rule of Law v. Rule by Law
You can have oppressive laws and you can have undemocratic laws. Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa illustrate why the phrase “the rule of law” can be meaningless, even dangerous, without the constraints or the requirements of justice.
The rule of law alone, in itself, is not sufficient in a democratic society.
The rule of law, to be beneficial and enlightened, must be undergirded by justice. That is, the rule of law must be morally defensible. In modern terms, it must be democratic; it must satisfy certain core requirements of an open and democratic society.
The two—the rule of law and democracy—are inextricably linked. You cannot, in an enlightened society, have the rule of law without democracy; and you cannot have democracy without the rule of law.
Democracy and Citizenship
But what is democracy in the modern context? Simply defined, democracy is rule by the people. It means that the people are the masters. It means that a community of citizens and not a community of subjects.
It means, at its core, universal suffrage and the accountability of the government to the electorate.
But the people cannot govern as a mob. Democracy is not an exercise in mob rule. It must be structured through free and fair elections.
Free and Fair Elections
It means, therefore, that the will of the people must be expressed through regularly scheduled free and fair elections.
So democracy means, in brief, rule by the electorate through universal suffrage expressed through regularly scheduled free and fair elections. That is also the definition of citizenship: the people as the electorates.
For elections are the instruments through which the people—not acting as a mob—exercise their power and will.
Where there are no free and fair elections—the process by which the government is held accountable—there can be no citizenship, and there can be no democracy.
In Uganda, we have not had genuinely free and fair elections since 1963. Democracy and citizenship are inextricably linked. We can, therefore, redefine and restate what democracy means.
It means government by citizens who exercise their rights of citizenship to hold their government accountable through regularly scheduled free and fair elections based on universal suffrage.
The Rule of Law Restated
Allow me, then, to redefine the rule of law as I understand it. As a civilian.
The rule of law must be based on rules made in a democratic society by citizens who exercise their rights of citizenship through governments that are elected through free and fair election based on universal suffrage.
That is the basic requirement and the foundation of the rule of law: free and fair elections based on universal suffrage.
But our restatement is still incomplete. It is still not sufficient.
The modern rule of law must, at a minimum, have protections of minorities, and must enshrine and respect the freedom of speech and assembly and the free exercise of religious beliefs.
For without these freedoms—freedom of speech, of assembly, and religion—you cannot have free and fair elections or a free society. Without these freedoms, you cannot have a government that is accountable to the electorate.
And there is one other requirement: that good laws must be impartially enforced. In our case, we have on several occasions challenged presidential election rigging. Unfortunately, the courts have failed to enforce the law so that the candidate that rigs does not benefit from the rigging.
Citizenship and the Rule of Law
We have defined citizenship as the right to hold the government accountable through regularly scheduled free and fair elections based on universal suffrage.
And you cannot have free and fair elections without the basic freedoms that I have just enumerated.
The rule of law, therefore, must be firmly based on the freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion—the pillars and foundations of a free, democratic society. They are also the foundations of citizenship.
Without citizenship you cannot have the rule of law—understood as laws based on substantive justice.
These, then, are the theoretical and ideological foundations of our struggle in Uganda and Africa: the rule of law as the quest for justice and democracy.
The rule of law as the product of citizenship, and as the product of free and fair elections. The problem of democracy in Africa
As I have stated earlier, the problem of democracy in Africa is the problem of elite politics divorced from the masses.
Effectively, in Africa, it often is the rule by minority—family, ethnic, racial, religious, Or a criminal syndicate, that has a monopoly of coercive forces.
In Africa, the state has been the master, and the people have been the servants. Instead of citizens, we have subjects. Instead of accountability of government, we have a predatory and parasitic government.
We have had a society of subjects and not citizens. This is the colonial legacy in Africa—a legacy our political elites have heartily embraced.
The people of Africa have, for the most part, remained supplicants to their governments. The strong man owns the country. The resources of the country are his own. “My army”;” my oil.”
Legitimacy and the Rule of Law
In a society of subjects, the concept of legitimacy is reversed. Instead of the government being accountable to the people, it’s the people who are now accountable to the government. It is no longer a government of law but a government by law. More appropriately, government by fiat and dicta.
The government makes the law as it pleases. It holds the people accountable to its edicts, however grievous, bizarre or oppressive or predatory. Even the constitutions are merely indicative. In a non-democratic society, there is no government of law.
For without citizenship, defined as participation in governance through free and fair elections based on universal suffrage, undergirded by the freedom of speech, assembly, and religion, there can be no rule of law.
Africa, Pan-Africanism, and the Rule of Law
The struggle in Africa is the struggle to reclaim citizenship and, therefore, to develop and enshrine the rule of law.
The colonial powers saw Africans merely as subjects. The African elites have continued that racist ideology of treating Africans as subjects and not citizens.
Let there be no doubt that no one can credibly claim to be a pan-Africanist or a defender of the African people who does not defend the right of every African to citizenship. Please allow me to redefine pan-Africanism.
Pan-Africanism is an ideology which insists that every African is a citizen with indefeasible rights, which must include the rights to free and free and fair elections through universal suffrage, and the freedom of speech, assembly, and religion which make possible the rights to free and fair elections.
Let no African dictator claim, therefore, to be a Pan-Africanist.
Lessons from Uganda
Our struggle in Uganda has been singular. How to restore the citizenship of our people. That is my only commitment in politics: to finish the struggle for the African liberation. To allow every African to be a citizenship.
And freedom begins with reclaiming one’s citizenship.
Kwame Nkrumah was right: “seek ye first the political kingdom.”
I say, seek ye first to be a citizen before other blessings can be bestowed upon you. Seek ye first to be free.
That is our campaign of defiance in Uganda—to complete the vision of Kwame Nkrumah and Patrice Lumumba and Steve Biko.
Just as during the struggle against colonialism and apartheid, we do not beg to be free. You must walk for your freedom; you must march for freedom, and you must fight, with every new, for freedom if you are to be free.
Freedom is not given. Freedom is earned.
You go to jail for it, as did Mahatma Gandhi;
as did Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr;
as did Rosa Park;
as did Vaclav Havel;
as did Nelson Mandela;
as did Wangari Maathai;
as did Aung San Suu Kyi; among the great heroes of the universal struggle for freedom.
Totalitarianism and Oppression Require Silence
Totalitarianism and oppression succeed by enforcing silence. ·
They want to silence the victims · They want to silence the people of conscience · They want to silence the witnesses ·
They want no testimony or evidence against their evils
That is why totalitarian regimes and dictators rule by fear. They want to force the victims to police his or her conscience and remain silence.
They oppose freedom of speech and freedom of assembly because they want to silence.
They muffle the press and the voices of freedom because oppression can only thrive where there is silence.
They jail their opponents because they want to silence. So I refuse to be silent.
Because there is only one moral response to oppression and injustice: you must stand up and bear witness.
The path to serfdom is paved by silence.
We must refuse to remain silent in the face of injustice and oppression.
§ Mahatma Gandhi refused to be silent
§ Kwame Nkrumah refused to be silent
§ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr refused to be silent
§ Jomo Kenyatta refused to be silent
§ Julius Nyerere refused to be silent
§ Jaramogi Oginga Odinga refused to be silent
§ Patrice Lumumba refused to be silent
§ Leopold Senghor refused to be silent
§ Steve Biko refused to be silent § Rosa Park refused to be silent
§ Vaclav Havel refused to be silent
§ Nelson Mandela refused to be silent
§ Elie Wiesel refused to be silent
§ Aung San Suu Kyi refused to be silent
Please stand up and bear witness. Please refuse to be silent in the face of oppression. Refusing to silent is our campaign of defiance in Uganda.
DEFIANCE: This means that our people minds must be freed for them to take on the new status of citizens; they must acquire organizational tools that allow them to speak and act together in challenging domination; and lastly, they must together deny the dictators their cooperation until they concede that people are supreme.
Let me end by quoting a great African hero: “It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees”
That was the late Professor Wangari Maathai.
Please do your little thing. In Uganda, I am doing my little thing by refusing to be silent. And that is how we defend the rule of law and freedom and justice and democracy.
Please do your little thing!
*A speech by Rt. Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye in New York.
Dr.Kizza Besisgye is a genius ,there was stone-cold silence in the courtroom as he made this emotional submission before the magistrate.
President gave a very touching emotional narrative of how he survived assassination by masked police goons in Moroto and he further expressed fear about his security and life in Luzira prison, citing many prisoners who have mysteriously died of poisoning in the prison.
HE asked a pertinent question,” why the state does not first carry out an investigation before the arrest?”.
He stresses his life is still in danger so long as he remains in hands of his persecutors, HE asked the court not to allow the ” investigations are still going on syndrome by state” to deny prisoners justice. He says it’s a delaying tactic to full fill their motive of harming him.
Besigye condemned the government for turning his cell in Luzira a prison inside the prison which is ever guarded day and night and that police’s failure to produce him in court is as if they (police) want Besigye in a court only attended by police.
HE Kizza Besigye further accused the government and security agencies of arresting his relatives in their pursuit to obtain the information they can use in this case.
Prosecution Doreen Elima asked the court to give them more 2 weeks to finish their investigations as magistrate refuses Besigye’s claims that the court is restricted to his relatives where the magistrate says that if it was restricted, all those in court couldn’t there.
Meanwhile, Dr. Olive sister to HE Dr. Kizza Besigye was denied entrance into the court as the magistrate made the statement.
Silence gripped the court as people pensively waited to hear from the magistrate after that emotional submission.
The case was adjourned to 29th June and the attempt to hide the elephant continues but we shall never turn our backs on HE Dr. Kizza Besigye.
May 30, 2016, The Honourable Chief Justice of Uganda Kololo, Kampala
Attn: Hon Mr. Justice Bart M. Katureebe
Dear Sir, RE: COMPLAINT ABOUT MISTREATMENT
Accept my congratulations on your appointment to the high office of Chief Justice of Uganda in 2015.
Beyond extending my congratulations, I also write to you, as the head of the Judiciary to voice my concerns over various matters which involve my person. Given the experiences I have gone through over the years, it is perhaps time to officially put forward my concerns with the hope that these will be addressed.
As you may know, I have participated in the political processes in Uganda since the early 1980’s when I joined the guerrilla force of the National Resistance Army. Convinced about the need to contribute what I could in changing the course of the political, social and economic narrative of Uganda, I plunged into the effort.
Part of government
Following the five-year Bush War, the NRA/NRM captured State power and formed a government. I was part of that government until my retirement from the Uganda People’s Defence Forces in 2000. Thereafter, on account of a careful analysis of the political events of the day, I sought to continue shaping that narrative by participating in elective politics for the highest office in Uganda.
You will also recall that I was a delegate to the Constituent Assembly that debated and promulgated the 1995 Constitution of Uganda and, therefore, has the advantage of direct personal participation and enriching experiences in many events that have shaped present-day Uganda.
I am a firm believer that change in leadership is critical for any nation, whether developing or developed, perhaps more critical for the former category. As a believer in and practitioner of democratic ideals and principals, I have devoted my energies since the 1980’s towards the pursuit of good governance, the full observance and enjoyment of human rights as well as politico-socio-economic transformation for my beloved country. My commitment to change and transformation of Uganda for Ugandans has been and remains total.
My resolve to observe the Constitution of Uganda has been and remains steadfast and although I have endured tremendous suffering at a personal level because of my beliefs and convictions, I have remained steadfast that true democratic governance will come to Uganda.
Owing to my efforts at pursuing a legitimate shot at the presidency, I have been demonised by the government and ostracised repeatedly and my actions and utterances painted as criminal acts. In this context, a number of issues have arisen that are critical for you to examine and perhaps act upon.
Shortly after the 2001 general elections, where violence was unleashed on and used to terrorise large swathes of the population, I was driven into exile. My return in 2005 was premised on the need to clear my name and be present to continue pressing for transformative and democratic political practice and enlarged and free political space in Uganda.
A few days after my return, I was arraigned in a court and charged with the capital offences of rape and treason. Together with 22 other Ugandans, we were shuttled to and from the High Court on the treason charge. We were also charged with terrorism and arraigned before the General Court Martial for trial. Trials over the same allegations were to be conducted in military and civilian courts.
While this was going on, there were orders by the High Court that we should be released on bail. I was nominated as a candidate in the 2006 presidential elections while in prison. Eventually, after much contestation, I was released on bail. During this period, the rape trial commenced and was conducted concurrently with the gruelling nation-wide campaign for votes.
Eventually, the court acquitted me on the rape charge. In that case, it was found that evidence had been fabricated by a senior police officer who was also the director of Criminal Investigations Department gainst me. No disciplinary action was taken against this officer. Thankfully, the court was bold and affirmed its independence by acquitting me as no case has been made out requiring my explanation.
The treason trial commenced shortly after the elections were concluded. Fabricated evidence was again assembled against me. In an unprecedented act by security forces, the High Court was raided twice to deny my co-accused bail which had been granted to them by the High Court. There were attempts to remand them in a civil application brought in the main criminal case. They were also charged with the murder of non-existent persons allegedly committed in Arua and Bushenyi.
When they were eventually freed, my co-accused were re-arrested violently from the court premises and returned to incarceration where tempting offers for amnesty were dangled at them on a daily basis to persuade them to plead guilty.
Some were swayed by these offers while others, knowing that they were innocent, remained steadfast. These events led to the death of one of my co-accused also my brother Joseph Musasizi.
The treason case was eventually dismissed on account of the intervention of the Constitutional Court which recognised that the acts of the Government of Uganda towards both the accused and the High Court made it clear that a free and fair trial would not be possible as the only verdict the government was willing to respect was a verdict of guilty.
I did not agree with the results of the 2001 and 2006 elections respectively and challenged these in the Supreme Court. Although I did not agree with the decisions from this court, I respected them.
In 2011, I participated in the general elections. The results again returned Mr. Yoweri Museveni as the winner. Owing to the unprecedented use of money in that election, Uganda’s economy suffered so much with inflation rising to unacceptable levels leading to serious socio-economic effects.
In April 2011, many Ugandans, including myself, joined activities of the walk-to-work campaign. The reaction of the security forces to my participation and presence in these peaceful activities which were intended to draw the attention of the government to the sky-rocketing prices of fuel and other basic commodities was most shocking.
Our decision to walk along the roads to and from our workplaces was interpreted as a threat to national security.
In a most high-handed and unnecessary manner, we were regularly brutalised for choosing to stand with other Ugandans to call attention to a state of affairs that made a life for all and sundry unbearable for many months. Various experiences from this period will demonstrate the level of victimisation suffered:-
a) I was arrested at each attempt to join the campaign, whether held in Kampala or elsewhere. These arrests resulted in court appearances on charges alleged to be of public order. Some were traffic related offences. In none of the cases prosecuted was I found guilty or even required to defend me.
The cases were either withdrawn or did not survive beyond the “no-case-to-answer” submission. In several of these cases, the witnesses were clear in their evidence that I had committed no offence. Nonetheless, the Uganda Police Force and the then Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Richard Buteera, continued to arrest, harangue and attempt to try me, always without success. I am aware that the Inspector General of Police was promoted to a full general and Mr. Buteera promoted to the Court of Appeal.
b) On one occasion, I was assaulted with various noxious substances in toxic doses for a sustained period nearly leading to loss of sight. This assault was committed by a police officer called Gilbert Arinaitwe Bwana.
Driven and transported at break-neck speed on the back of a police pick-up, the experience was so horrendous that I had to seek treatment in Kenya when I was eventually allowed to leave the country.
Even in a state where I could not see or even walk on my own, I was arraigned before the Chief Magistrate’s Court at Kasangati to plead to charges around the public order. It took the sustained resistance of my lawyers for the court to allow me to seek medical attention first. I am informed that this police officer was publicly applauded and perhaps even promoted for these heinous acts.
c) On another occasion together with four others, I was charged in the Chief Magistrate’s Court at Nabweru. The Chief Magistrate, Ms. Justine Atukwasa, refused to hear our bail application on grounds that she was busy and instead remanded us to Nakasongola Government Prison.
Expecting to return to the same court for the hearing of the application when the when the magistrate had time for us, we were surprised to be brought before the same magistrate in Nakasongola. Apparently, the court had moved to where we were being held instead of hearing our application in Nabweru.
Our lawyers did not appear and the court surprisingly granted us bail on its own volition. I gather that this magistrate has been promoted to the High Court and is now a registrar.
d) On another occasion, I was shot in the finger and it remains of limited use to date.
The Uganda Police Force suggested that I had injured my finger to attract sympathy. In the period 2011 to 2016, I became the subject of regular harassment, accosting, intimidation and multiple arrests, and have seen the inside of police cells in various parts of the country although my most regular visits have been to Nagalama Police Station.
In the vast majority of the cases where I have attempted to travel to Kampala city where I conduct legitimate business or to seek medical care or engage in social activities such as weddings, church services or public sporting events, or attend political meetings of the Forum for Democratic Change, I have been violently arrested. Sometimes, I am returned to my home in Kasangati. Frequently I am first detained at Nagalama Police Station for hours and then dumped at my home between 11 pm and midnight.
When the police found this strategy ineffective or unsustainable, they resorted to keeping me detained at my home in Kasangati with no access to the outside world, either through human contact or through other communication methods.
On many occasions, communication around my home was jammed.
Guests intending to visit me, including my lawyers, were repeatedly denied access to my home or only allowed access when permitted by senior police officers such as Andrew Kaweesi.
Frequently, my visitors were required to record their particulars in a book kept by the police and were either photographed or filmed by police camera crews. The police and other security agencies assembled and remained on my land for many days. Without the provision of sanitation facilities, this army of security services soon converted parts of my land into toilets, making them impassable and a life health hazard.
Having been incarcerated at my home for more than 30 days, on the advice of my lawyers, I sought the intervention of the Chief Magistrates Court at Kasangati in an application seeking to secure my release. A similar application had temporarily secured my release in 2011 when placed in similar circumstances.
The application was argued in April 2016 and adjourned for a ruling to be delivered the following day. In a surprising turn of events, the file was recalled to the High Court the same afternoon it had been argued, allegedly for revision.
The revision was allegedly requested for by the Director of Public Prosecutions who was not even a party to the application.
It was unsuccessful as the High Court judge did not find fault with the orders given by the magistrate who had entertained that application. The file was returned to Kasangati to be concluded. While we were waiting for a ruling, another strange event intervened.
On April 29, Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma granted an ex-parte order against the Forum for Democratic Change and myself barring a number of things. This order was obtained in the presence of Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana and two other ministries of Justice officials. This order included two very strange decisions.
Ordered not to deliver her ruling
Firstly, the magistrate in the Kasangati case was ordered not to deliver her ruling. Secondly, another application Misc. Cause No. 32 of 2016 which I had filed in the High Court against the Attorney General to secure freedom and have the government stop violating my rights, and which was also pending a hearing, was restrained.
While I found it fit to attempt to secure my rights using the Constitution and the courts of judicature, Mr. Kavuma, and the Attorney General saw it best to deny me that avenue and effectively surrender me back to the whims of the Uganda Police Force. Service of the order, the petition or the application in the Constitutional Court has to date not been effected on me.
The two applications that were affected by the order of Mr. Kavuma had been filed in order to secure my release because I was being detained without trial. As you are aware Article 43(2) of the Constitution does not permit detention without trial. The effect of Mr. Kavuma’s orders was to perpetuate my detention without trial.
As you may know, during the 2016 presidential campaigns, I asserted that we would win by defiance. This word seems to invoke the worst in the security services yet it is a principle embedded in the duties of a citizen as articulated in the Constitution of Uganda.
The specific duty in issue here is the promotion of democracy and the rule of law. Where the law is being abused, citizens are required to resist such abuse because that is the only way to ensure the rule of law.
Where corruption, bad governance, wastage of resources, poverty, lack of health facilities and care, etc. abound, any citizen has a duty to resist such things and defy anything that feeds off such vices.
Our campaign was, therefore, a clarion call for citizens of Uganda to resist illegality and injustice as they are duty bound to do. We have been demonised by the police and some State institutions for calling on citizens to defy illegality and injustice.
The most recent events are not any different from what I have endured in the past. In exercising my freedom of movement, I went to Kampala city on May 11. I was violently arrested and driven to Nalufenya Police Station in Jinja District and incarcerated there. In the evening, I was flown on a police helicopter to Moroto District to be detained at Moroto Police Station.
On May 13 at 6.40pm, I was arraigned before Moroto Chief Magistrate Charles Yeteise and charged with treason. I did not, contrary to Article 28(3) of the Constitution, have legal representation. The particulars suggest that between February 20 and May 11 at various places in Wakiso and Kampala districts, I, together with others, were engaged in treason. I was then remanded to Moroto Government Prison.
On May 16, I was again taken before the same magistrate and orders were issued to transfer me to Luzira prison in Kampala. I was flown back from Moroto on a private fixed wing aircraft to Kajjansi Airfield and eventually transferred to Luzira prison in the afternoon.
On May 18, I was taken to Nakawa Chief Magistrate’s Court where fresh charges of treason were again read to me. Although the production warrant suggested that the case was fixed for 9am, I was produced in court shortly after 8am and within a few minutes the matter had been concluded and I was returned to Luzira on remand where I remain to date.
Once more, I did not have legal representation and even when I tried to raise my concerns at that time, the presiding magistrate refused to listen to the concerns I wished to address him on and advised that these should be raised with the prisons authorities or the High Court! Today [June 1], I was supposed to re-appear in Nakawa Chief Magistrate’s Court for the mention of the case.
I was not taken to court but was advised that the court was being moved to hear my case at Luzira prisons ostensibly because of security issues.
From the narration above, I wish to make the following two simple points:
a) My rights as a citizen of Uganda are being abused repeatedly. The police have turned my home into a holding cell. I have been denied freedom of movement and have been arrested each time I set foot outside my house. I have been denied society with others and been turned into an object to be feared or avoided. I am not permitted to even go to a shop on my own.
The choice that I face increasingly is where I should remain incarcerated – either at my home in Kasangati or at Luzira prisons. Detention without trial is illegal as far as I can remember. I am being produced before courts outside the normal working hours for these courts. To date, I have not been allowed to have lawyers in court. It seems that while others enjoy the presumption of innocence, in my case I enjoy a presumption of guilt. My appearance in court is regularly shrouded in mystery so much so that friends, relatives, doctors or other members of the public who would wish to attend are denied access.
b) The independence of the Judiciary is increasingly being questioned and as the head of this arm of government, it is incumbent on you to come out boldly and clearly and act to ensure proper administration of justice. As my experiences illustrate, justice is being administered at the whims of the judicial officers to whom the cases are allocated or through interference and undue influence practiced on those individual judicial officers.
I, therefore, seek your intervention to issue such necessary orders and directions to the courts in order that my rights are not trampled on. How, for example, can one court order another not to hear a case before it when each court is supposed to be independent and not come under the control of any person or authority?
It appears increasingly that I might be tried in secret and that the court will be facilitated to handle my matter in Luzira prison. Perhaps the same approach is being considered in respect of the other cases to which I am a party.
My experiences may be viewed as personal to me. However, in my own analysis of the political landscape in Uganda, it is critical to keep in mind, while considering whether to attend to this letter or not the words of Edmund Burke who said that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
Further, it is critical to recall the political events in Uganda’s history including those that affected the office you currently occupy.
I am reminded in that context about the words of Martin Niemoller to whom a powerful poetic speech is attributed: “First they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist; then they came for the Trade Unionists and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist; then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew; then they came for me – and there was no one to speak for me.”
Col (Rtd) Dr. Kizza Besigye
The new president of the republic of Uganda His excellency Dr.Kizza Warren Besigye get sworn in. It’s a new era in Uganda.
From the archives.
In 1999 HE Dr. Wrn Kizza-Besigye launched the struggle for democratisation by publishing this missive.
Ever since the, he has been the most consistent face of resistance against the one man show totalitarian regime of Museveni.
This missive is a very prophetically insightful political masterpiece and it still breathes.
This letter brought to light that side of Museveni the world didn’t know. Because of this letter, HE KB has nearly paid with his life, he has been exiled ,tortured,imprisoned for more than 50 times . The struggle still continues and together we shall liberate ourselves.
I have taken keen interest and participated in the political activities on the Ugandan scene since the late 1970s. This was during a period of intense jostling to topple and later succeed the Idi Amin regime. I am, therefore, fully aware of the euphoria, excitement, and hope with which Ugandans received the Uganda National Liberation Front/Army (UNLF/A). Ugandans supported the UNLF’s stated approach of “politics of consensus” through the common front. It was hoped that the new approach to politics would be maintained and Uganda rebuilt from the ruins left by the Amin regime. Unfortunately, instead of nurturing the structures, and regulations which bound the front together, we witnessed a primitive power struggle that resulted in ripping the front apart to the chagrin of the population.
Some of us young people were immediately thrown into serious confusion. We had not belonged to any political party before, and we did not approve of the record and character of the existing parties – UPC and DP. Spontaneously, many people started talking of belonging to a Third Force. This force represented those persons who wished to make a fresh start at political organization, with unity and consensus politics as the centre pin. With a few months left to the 1980 elections, the Third Force crystallized into a new political organization– the Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM). The population, to a large extent, expressed their appreciation of the ideas and opportunity presented by the young organization but was pessimistic regarding its electoral success.
Pessimism was justified because the new organisation simply had no time and resources to organize effectively nationally, and UPC was already positioning itself very loudly and arrogantly to rig the elections and seemed to have what was essential for them to do so successfully. After the sham 1980 elections, when Paulo Muwanga, a leader of UPC (and chairman of the Military Commission) took over all powers of the Electoral Commission and declared his own election results, there was widespread despondency and tension. While the “minority” DP Members of Parliament took up the opposition benches in Parliament, the rank and file of the party rapidly united behind the new forces of resistance to struggle against the dictatorial rule. The Popular Resistance Army (PRA and later, NRA) led by Yoweri Museveni which started with about 30 fighters, was overwhelmed by people seeking to join its ranks. The NRM was born as a political organization in June 1981.
It was created by a protocol that effected the merger of Uganda Freedom Fighters UFF (led by the late Prof Y.K. Lule and Museveni’s PRA). The armed wing of the organization became the National Resistance Army (NRA). The NRM political programme was initially based on seven points which were later increased to become the well-known Ten-Point Programme. The basic consideration in drawing up the programme was that it should form the basis of a broad national political and social force. A national coalition was considered to be of critical importance in establishing peace, security, and optimally moving the country forward. The political programme was, therefore, referred to as a minimum programme around which different political forces in Uganda could unite for rehabilitation and recovery of the country.
To achieve unity, it was envisaged that the minimum programme would be implemented by a broad-based government. After the bush war, discussions were undertaken with the various political forces to establish a broad-based government that would reflect a national consensus. The NRM set up a committee led by Eriya Kategeya (then chairman of the NRM Political and Diplomatic committee) for the purpose of engaging the various groups in these discussions. This exercise was, however, never taken to its logical conclusion. It would appear that once the leaders of the political parties were given “good” posts in the NRM government, their enthusiasm for the discussions waned, and the process eventually fizzled out. In spite of the lack of a proper modus operandi, the initial NRM government (executive branch) was impressively broad-based. Consensus politics conducted through elections based on individual merit and formation of broad-based government became the hallmark of the NRM.
Broad base undermined.
However, the popular concept of the broad-based government, which had also received the support of most political groups, was progressively undermined. It ought to be remembered that due to the support and cooperation of other political groups, no legal restrictions were imposed –on political parties until August 11, 1992, when the NRC made a resolution on political party activities in the interim period. In my opinion, there were three factors responsible for undermining and later destroying the NRM cardinal principle of broad-basedness, especially in appointment to the Executive: The NRM had set itself to serve for a period of four years as an interim government, then return power to the people. However, it was not very clear how this would happen at the end of the four years.
Some politicians in NRM government who came from other political parties set out to use their advantaged positions to, on the one hand, undermine the NRM and on the other, strengthen themselves in preparation for the post-NRM political period. Consequently, they fell out with the NRM leadership, and a number of them were arrested and charged with treason. Historical NRM politicians who thought that they were not “appropriately” placed in government, blamed this on a large number of the “non-NRM” people in high up places and set out to campaign against the situation. They created a distinction between government leaders as “NRM”, and “broad-based”. If you were referred to as “broad-based”, it was another way of saying that you were undeserving of your post, or that you were possibly an enemy agent (“5th Columnist”).
After some years of NRM rule, some in the leadership began to feel that there was sufficient grassroots support for the NRM, such that one could “off-load” the “broad–based” elements in government at no political cost.
These factors were at the centre of an unprincipled power-struggle which was mostly covert and hence could not be resolved democratically. It continued to play itself out outside the formal Movement organs, with the results of weakening and eventually losing the concept of consensus politics and broad-basedness. By the time of the Constituent Assembly elections were held in 1994, the NRM’s all encompassing, and broad-based concept remained only in name. For instance, while the CA electoral law clearly stated that candidates would stand on “individual merit”, the NRM Secretariat set up special commercial committees at districts whose task was to recommend “NRM candidates” for support. Not only did the logistical and administrative machinery of NRM move against the candidates supporting or suspected to be favouring an early return to multi-party politics, it even moved against liberal candidates advocating for the initial NRM broad–based concept.
That is why many people were surprised and confused when some senior NRM leaders declared that “we have won!” after the CA results were announced. Who had won? It was clear that there were two systems; one described in the law, and another being practised. Moreover, the conduct of the CA again exhibited the contradictions between the principles of NRM (and the law) and the practice. I was quite alarmed when I read a document titled ‘Minutes Of A Meeting Between H.E The President with CA Group Held On 25.8.94 At Kisozi.’ The copy had been availed to me by my colleague Lt Col Serwanga Lwanga (RIP) who attended the meeting. Present at the meeting was recorded as H.E. the President (Chair), Eriya Kategaya, Bidandi Ssali, Steven Chebrot, Agard Didi, George Kanyeihamba. Miria Matembe, Mathias Ngobi, Mr. Sebalu, Lt Noble Mayombo, Jotham Tumwesigye, Aziz Kasujja, Beatrice Lagada, Faith Mwonda and Margaret Zziwa. The introduction of the meeting reads in part as follows:
The National Political Commissar introduced this committee as a Constituent Assembly Movement Group which wants to agree on a common position.
The arbitrary hand-picked group went ahead to take positions on major areas of the draft constitution, which we members of CA, (considered as “NRM supporters”), were supposed to support in the CA. It is interesting to note that among the 16 hand-picked members of the group, only six were directly elected to represent constituencies in the CA. The others were presidential nominees and representatives of special interest groups. One member was not even a CA delegate. We strongly resisted this approach, and after intense pushing and shoving, this group was replaced by the “Movement Caucus” under the chairmanship of the National Political Commissar, Kategaya.
The Movement caucus acted very much like an organ of a ruling party. All ministers (except Paul Ssemogerere who later resigned from the government) were members. The hand-picked group, and the Movement caucus after it, both undermined the principles of the Movement and the law. The Constituent Assembly was negatively influenced by executive appointments. In the middle of the CA proceedings, a cabinet reshuffle saw Speciosa Kazibwe elevated to the vice presidency, Kintu Musoke to the premier and several other delegates appointed to ministerial posts. Many others were appointed to be directors of parastatal companies. It is my opinion that after these actions, some CA delegates took positions believed to attract the favourable attention of the executive. Most CA delegates also intended to participate in the elections that would immediately follow the CA.
This had two negative effects:
Being aware of the previous role of the NRM Secretariat in elections, some CA delegates would be compromised to act in such a way as to win the support of the secretariat in the forthcoming elections. Some CA delegates saw themselves as the first beneficiaries of the government structure and arrangements that were being constitutionalised. So, they took positions which would favour them, and not the common good. As a result, the CA progressively became polarized, and its objectivity was diminished, especially when dealing with political systems. For example, at the commencement of the CA, every delegate made an opening statement highlighting major views on the draft constitution. Analysis of these statements shows that few delegates supported the immediate introduction of the multiparty system while the majority supported the continuation of the “Movement system” for a transitional period of varying length.
The positions expressed were very much in line with the views gathered by the Constitutional Commission. The commission noted in its report (paragraph 0.46) that a consensus on the issue could not be attained. This was demonstrated by the statistical analysis of views gathered from RC 1 to RC V, plus individual and group memoranda. It will be seen that nationally, at RC 1, “Movement” supporters were 63.2% and this percentage decreased progressively as they went to higher RCs until RCV (District Councils) where Movement supporters were only 38.9% and multiparty supporters were 52.8%. Among the individual memoranda, 43.9% supported a multiparty system, while 42.1% supported Movement. Among the group memoranda, 45.1% supported multiparty, while 41.4% supported Movement. It is important to note that these views were gathered at a time when there was no impending election, and therefore, no campaigning.
Accordingly, the Constitutional Commission proposed the following, as the only limitation on political party activities (in Article 98 of Draft Constitution): “For the period when the Movement is in existence, political parties shall not endorse, sponsor, offer platform to or in anyway campaign for or against any candidate for public office.” The CA under the influences outlined earlier ended up with restrictions contained in the highly contentious article 269 of the Constitution. The character of the Movement gradually changed, and the process of change was not determined democratically. Instead, it was continuously manipulated. Established Movement organs were continuously undetermined, and others completely ignored. For example, the National Executive Committee (NEC) of NRM was the organ supposed to be coordinating a change in the NRM, yet NEC had not met for more than three years prior to the promulgation of the 1995 constitution – in spite of a requirement for it to meet at last once every three months. Instead, covert and arbitrarily constituted groups came in, like district election committees, special CA groups, Movement political High Command, Movement caucus, Maj Kakooza Mutale’s group, etc. The Movement created by the CA and completed by Parliament (through the Movement Act 1997) was different from the one of 1986-1995.
The Movement Act 1997 created a political organization with structures outside the governmental structure. For the first time, the Movement was a political organization distinct from government, the only remaining link being that it was funded by the government.
Unfortunately, instead of describing the Movement as a political organization, the CA chose to call it a political system – distinct from “Multiparty Political System”, and other systems that may be thought of later. This was, in my opinion, a grave error. We even ignored the advice given to us through a letter by President Yoweri Museveni (chairman NRM and Commander in Chief NRA) to the CA-NRM caucus delegates, dated June 21, 1995. In the letter, the chairman says, “the NRM is not a state but a political organization that tries to welcome all Ugandans. It, therefore, cannot coerce all Ugandans to be loyal to it. Loyalty to NRM is voluntary.”
The reality of the Movement today is that it is a political organization in much the same way as any political party is. Having no membership cards does not make it less so. In fact, in the letter referred to above, President Museveni further explains: “then some people may ask the question. If NRM could be all ready to compete for political office with opposing political forces in future, why not do it now? Do not support doing it now because it is not in the best [interest] of governance and fortunately, now the people still agree with us. It is only when the majority of the people change that we have to adjust our position. It would be something imposed on us by circumstances.” So the NRM/Movement system is convenient and, for the time, popular means to political power.
The characteristics which made the NRM government popular, such as the broad- based strategy, principle of individual merit, and the 10-Point Programme have been seriously eroded. This is evidenced by the bitter antagonism and animosity which exists between Movement supporters in many parts of the country, e.g. Kabale, Ntungamo, Kasese, and Iganga. After more than 13 years of NRM rule, armed rebellion rages on in northern Uganda, and has also become entrenched in the western part of the country. All in all, when I reflect on the Movement philosophy and governance, I can conclude that the Movement has been manipulated by those seeking to gain or retain political power, in the same way that political parties in Uganda were manipulated. Evidently, the results of this manipulation are also the same, to wit: Factionalism, loss of faith in the system, corruption, insecurity and abuse of human rights, economic distortions and eventually decline. So, whether it’s political parties or Movement, the real problem is dishonest, opportunistic and undemocratic leadership operating in a weak institutional framework and a weak civil society which cannot control them.
I have shown that over the years the “Movement System” has been defined in the law in a certain way, but the leaders have chosen to act in a difficult way. This is dishonest and opportunistic leadership. I have also shown how changes have been made to the Movement agenda, and other important decisions have been made outside the Movement structures. This too is undemocratic leadership. In my opinion, the way forward in developing a stable political situation is to do the following: Urgently revisit the legal framework with a view to making an equitable law and regulation for all political organizations. The Movement should be treated as a political organization. Implementing this would need amendments to the Constitution, including amendment of articles 69 and 74. This requires the approval of the people through a referendum and the forthcoming referendum could be used for this purpose. In any case, laws are a reflection of the political will, so if there is the political will to correct a situation, finding a way is easy.
The primary guarantor of democracy, human rights and the rule of law must be the civil society. Its capacity should, therefore, be quickly developed. Focus on a programme that could quickly raise the standards of living of our people to a decent level. This is an essential antecedent for our society to build a viable democracy. Of course, the approach to raising the standards of living is highly debatable. I have personal views that I hope to share with the public at another time. I pray to the almighty God to guide us so that we do not tumble again.
HE KIZZA BESIGYE.
Warren Kizza Besigye Kifefe, commonly known as Kizza Besigye, is a Ugandan physician, politician, and former military officer, in the Uganda People’s Defence Force.
Born: April 22, 1956 (age 59), Rukungiri District, Uganda
Spouse: Winnie Byanyima
Party: Forum for Democratic Change
Home town: Rukungiri
Children: Anselm Besigye
Education: Makerere University, Makerere University School of Medicine.
1975: Went to Kampala
1979: Joins Museveni’s movement
1982: Becomes Museveni’s doctor
1986: Named minister
2001: Challenges Museveni in elections. Flees Uganda after losing elections.
2006: Charged with treason and rape before the election – later acquitted on both counts.
2011: Participates in a sham elections and starts street style civil defiance campaign Walk to Walk.
2012: Almost died in the hands of Uganda police, later to be flown for treatment in Nairobi, thousands thronged the streets to cheer opposition leader Kizza Besigye on his return from Kenya, where he was recovering from a beating by Ugandan police two weeks ago.
Across town, crowds waving tree branches began flocking to Mr. Besigye’s three-car convoy as it slogged its way from the Entebbe airport toward the capital, Kampala.
The charismatic Dr. Warren Kiiza Besigye Kifefe was born in Rukungiri, southwestern Uganda, in April 1956, the second child in a family of six and the son of a policeman, both parents died before he finished primary school. He attended Kinyasano Primary School and Mbarara Junior School. He later joined Kampala’s Kitante High School and then Kigezi High School in the southwest. He is married to Winnie Byanyima, a former MP who is seen as intelligent and ambitious and who was once a close personal friend of Mr. Museveni. Dr. Besigye and his wife have one son.
Besigye enrolled at the prestigious Makerere University in 1975, graduating with a degree in human medicine in 1980. He then worked briefly at the Aga Khan Hospital and then the Kenyatta National Hospital – both in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
Dr. Besigye fled to Nairobi after he was imprisoned for two months in the Nile Hotel in 1981, accused of working with the rebels, and tortured. And in 1982 joined Mr. Museveni in the bush, where he became his personal doctor.
When Mr. Museveni came to power, Dr. Besigye, aged just 29, was appointed state minister of internal affairs and national political commissar. In 1991, he became commanding officer of the mechanized regiment in Masaka, central Uganda, and in 1993 was appointed the army’s chief of logistics and engineering.
In 1999, Besigye wrote a document critical of the government, entitled “An Insider’s View of How the NRM Lost the Broad Base”. The document accused the NRM of becoming a sectarian kleptocracy and a one-man dictatorship. Besigye was charged before a court martial for “airing his views in the wrong forum”. He later brokered a deal in 2000 in which the charges were dropped in exchange for an apology for publishing the document.
In August 2001, Besigye fled the country, citing persecution by the state. He said he was afraid for his life. The authorities started to monitor Besigye’s movements and linked him to a series of explosions that hit Kampala, the capital, after the election. He was intercepted by security forces at Lukaya as he traveled to the southwest and was eventually forced to seek asylum in South Africa, where he lived. He lived in South Africa for four years, during which time he continued to criticize Museveni’s government.
On his return in 2005, he said: “I left in order to continue to be politically active rather than being behind bars or six feet under as had been threatened.”
After he returned to Uganda ahead of the 2006 elections, he was arrested and charged with both treason and rape. His party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), was formed while he lived in exile and he returned to Uganda in 2005 ready to contest the 2006 elections. Three weeks after his return he was arrested by the government and charged on trumped-up charges of rape.
Dr. Besigye himself says his mission is “to work with millions of other Ugandans in bringing about a stable democratic and peaceful Uganda”.
Dr. Warren Kiiza Besigye Kifefe did record a summarized version of his experiences in life “aged 18, I was in a Kampala hotel about to have dinner, I decided to go to the toilets while walking I stopped to talk to a former class mate. Suddenly a huge man lifted me up by the collar and slapped me hard across the face and sent me sprawling to the floor. I never made it to the toilets, and never ate my dinner, I picked up myself up and ran for life”.
I was in prison in 1981 and almost died. Many of the people I was with in that prison have never been seen again. I went to exile.
I was in govt in 1986, I was a minister in NRM I was the NPC I was a minister of the presidency.
I was in the military as a member of the High Command.
I went to exile ran away from NRM I have been in NRM prisons countless times.
Those in NRM today love it coz it has power.
We loved NRM when it had no power.
We worked with Museveni when he had nothing.
It’s from that background that I come to talk you. In spite of the.
Struggle the situation is still too bad.
For more than 50 yrs. none of the leaders has handed over power.
Museveni bombed his way to power. If history is to repeat itself.
He might be waiting to be bombed out of power.
Where ever you go in this country poverty is very weather and citizen has been turned in to beggars.
You have health centers like this one in Kwapa that don’t have drugs and other don’t have medical.
Workers at independence Uganda was at the same level of development as Singapore.
What is the problem? The problem is that we have no citizens.
I suspect that all of you here have registered as a citizen!
What are citizenships? Coz you are born in a country’s boundaries?
You became a citizen coz you have the power of your country. You only become the head of your family.
Only if you can control it.
Power means you have the ultimate authority to decide for your country.
Nothing should be decided without your authority.
The Constitution says that power belongs to the people.
What is decision taken in this country is taken with your consent?
Do you have any authority as to how your money is spent?
Do you have any authority as whether our children should go and fight outside Uganda?
The second thing that power gives you is the power over the country’s wealth?
If you don’t have that power, what is the difference between you and a refugee?
We go to elections to give power.
When you go to an election without power, the ballot remains a piece of paper. And M7 has always told you that a piece of paper cannot remove him.
Those papers can be burnt; they can be changed.
When you don’t have power you can’t talk about elections.
In 2006, we knew we had won the elections but different results were announced. We went to court and the Supreme Court said the elections were not free and fair.
Gen. Sejusa while in London said that in 2006 we got 69% of the election. Now while in Kampala.
Gen. Sejusa repeated the same thing and said the same thing.
Since they were just pieces of papers, they couldn’t make me President.
Unless you get power, you will not be able to change anything in this country.
You will remain in poverty, without services.
Power in Uganda since colonialism has remained with the gun. It’s the guns that make us fear as it was the case when a white man brought the first gun.
Fear has become part of the culture.
We have a local saying that ‘you rather be ashamed than dying’ we must come out of fear and become confident that we can change that thing.
For the last 30 years, we feed M7, we buy him clothes.
We buy him vehicles we pay him a salary.
He should be the one to be begging, but it’s the reverse.
We must change our mindset. You don’t stop at fearing M7 alone, you fear the GISO, RDCs who.
Are actually your servants. For years, we have developed a mentality submitting to our servants.
We must change this and become the owners of this land so that whoever is working for us is us.
Workers not our masters.
We should know we have no power but we can get it.
We must unite and coordinate.
That is why the dictator employs that tactic of divide and rule.
If you are coordinated and work together, you can get power.
Some time back, govt put allot of conditions to the businessmen in Kampala. They asked govt to reduce the condition which govt refused. They coordinated and they closed their shops.
The govt couldn’t find anyone to Teargas, couldn’t arrest them, and could not run the shop after three days they govt was not getting taxes. Govt bent and called them to a round table and gave in to the businessmen.
Because of they organized and acted together, they were an able win…
Be confident that this is your country Organize in groups of 10 members, the 10 should each get other 10 that when we have information to send to you, it becomes easy to communicate and act together.
We will be able to achieve our goal as the trader.
Going to the next election without power is a wastage of power.
Mr. M7 has the power to appoint and fire the entire EC.
This is like two teams in a football match, one of the team its coach is the referee, its supporters are.
Linesmen and forth official. When the other team player is about to score, they rule him off side, their best defender is given a red card.
Would you allow to play such a game? NO, we must keep in the field, stop the game until the rules are clear, a neutral referee is chosen then the game can be played.
We can’t boycott, coz when we boycott the other team is given three points.
If Museveni doesn’t surrender the whistle, we shall not allow the game to start until his term.
Expires on 12 May 2016 and he leaves so that we organize a Free and Fair election.
So if you want to be rich, you must have power and control over your wealth. Forget these propagandas of Bonna Bagagawale. They can’t save you.
We can maneuver by working together with Mbabazi Sejusa, and others and see M7 off, but this will Still leave you powerless.
I have retired from the army I have retired from the medical profession I have retired from FDC Presidency
But I will never retire from fighting for freedom.
Be firm, you may be inconvenienced for some time you may suffer for some time but this is the only way we can give our children a good future.
Part of the evidence we took to court was a Declaration Form where we got 500 Votes and M7 Got 17. The EC announced the we got 0 and M7 got 500
Hobbies: Reading, debating, Charity, Politics, Rural Development, Music, Movies, Dance, Family.
Besigye trials, tribulations in 2001 and 2006 elections
Dr. Kizza Besigye waves to his supporters as he leaves the High Court after his bail was granted but was immediately taken to the General Court Martial for another trial in 2005.
Uganda has had six elections in its 53 years of independence. The forthcoming February 18, the general election will, therefore, be the seventh. Save for the 1962 independence election organized by the departing colonial government, the running thread in all the country’s elections has been one malpractice or the other. There have been gains and there have been losses at every electoral turn. In the last part of our series, Saturday Monitor’s Eriasa Mukiibi Sserunjogi looks at some the hurdles that Dr. Besigye had to jump before he could get on the ballot paper.
The 2001 election had left a bitter taste in the mouths of Dr. Kizza Besigye and his supporters. Some of his supporters, in fact, appeared to believe that should their candidate dispute the results of the election, an armed action akin to what President Museveni took after the 1980 election, would follow.
To compound the uncertainty, Dr. Besigye refused to denounce rebellion as a possible means of changing government should all legal means fail.
When he broke ranks with Mr. Museveni, Dr. Besigye claimed he had 90 per cent support in the military. While campaigning in Rakai for the 2001 election, a man handed him a hammer, asking him to knock the “cotter pin”, which President Museveni had called himself years earlier, out of Uganda’s power machine.
After the 2001 election, however, Dr. Besigye chose to test the court system by lodging in the Supreme Court a petition challenging Mr. Museveni’s re-election, in the process convincing all the five justices that the election had been riddled with irregularities. Three of the five justices, however, upheld the election, reasoning that the irregularities had not substantially affected the final outcome.
In reaction, Dr. Besigye pledged to respect the decision of the court, although he said he disagreed with it. Whereas Mr. Museveni’s government had been rendered legal by the ruling, he said, “it will never be legitimate”.
“If Mr. Museveni chooses the path of repression,” Dr. Besigye warned after the ruling, “he will face stiff resistance.”
The State responded by placing Dr. Besigye under a 24-hour surveillance and later virtual house arrest at his then home in Luzira. However, on November 3, 2001, he beat the surveillance and escaped to exile, eventually settling in South Africa until October 26, 2005, when he returned to Uganda.
He remained a vocal critic of the government while in exile, and the government in return accused him of preparing for armed action under the auspices of the Peoples Redemption Army (PRA). PRA remained shadowy and facts as to whether it really existed or not remain scanty, but Dr. Besigye denied any involvement with rebel activity.
Between 2003 and early 2005, the State arrested a number of alleged rebels, some reportedly from the Democratic Republic of Congo and others from different parts of Uganda. Some 22 of these alleged rebels would be thrust into the center of one of the bitterest controversies in Uganda’s judicial history.
The now famous 22, including Dr. Besigye’s late brother Musasizi Kifeefe, had been detained in different military facilities without any charge until Dr. Besigye was arrested shortly after his return to the country. They were then jointly charged with Dr. Besigye with treason and misprision of treason. Dr. Besigye had a separate charge of rape, allegedly committed in 1997, also slapped on him.
Enter Black Mambas
Then came a hearing of a bail application on November 16, 2005, before the High Court judge Vincent Lugayizi. The Constitutional Court had ruled earlier that bail is a constitutional right and that so long as the applicant satisfied the court that he would show up to attend the trial, he would be granted bail regardless of the charges against him. Mr. Lugayizi granted 14 of the accused bail.
A Pandora’s Box had been opened. Even before the hearing ended, armed men dressed in black, laid siege on the court and surrounded the holding cells in which those who had been granted bail waited for the paperwork to be done. The men in black, dubbed “Black Mambas” by the press, even entered some offices and sabotaged the processing of bail. In the end, the suspects chose to be returned to Luzira instead of being re-arrested by the Black Mambas.
Then Maj Felix Kulaigye, the army spokesperson, said the Black Mambas had been deployed at the High Court to re-arrest the 22 suspects if they were to be released on bail because they had new charges to face before the army’s General Court Martial (GCM).
Dr. Besigye was himself granted bail on November 25, 2005, but, on the basis of a warrant of commitment on remand issued by the GCM, he was not released.
The charges in the GCM, which were based on the same facts as those before the High Court, were eventually read out to the suspects, who had been picked up from Luzira prison, on November 27, 2005.
Legal experts weighed in with criticism of the double trial – both before the High Court and the GCM. Mr. Ronald Naluwairo, a law lecturer, eventually weighed in with an authoritative paper on the trial, titled The trials and tribulations of Rtd Col Dr. Kizza Besigye and 22 others (http://huripec.mak.ac.ug/pdfs/Besigye_trials_1.pdf).
The concurrent trials still continued for some time, however, until Dr. Besigye applied to the High Court to suspend the trial in the GCM to allow the Constitutional Court to decide on its legality.
The application was granted and Dr. Besigye later made another application, prompting the now retired Justice John Bosco Katutsi to declare that Dr. Besigye’s continued detention on a warrant of commitment from the GCM was “illegal, unlawful and in contempt of the High Court order to release the applicant on bail.”
He ordered Dr. Besigye’s immediate release, which was done on December 19, 2005, but not after President Museveni, responding to queries by diplomats from Europe and the US, issued assurances that Dr. Besigye would not be tried in the GCM.
Besigye nominated while in jail
On December 14, 2005, Dr. Besigye was nominated to run for president while in jail, but only after a series of arguments.
The most memorable opinion was offered by Dr. Kiddhu Makubuya, then Attorney General, who argued that Dr. Besigye would not be nominated in jail because, having been arrested over links with “serious crimes”, he was not at the “same level of innocence” as the other candidates and had categorically refused to renounce rebellion although he denied participating in it.
In the end, Mr. Adolf Mwesige, then Deputy Attorney General, wrote to the then Internal Affairs minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, clearing Dr. Besigye to be nominated while in jail.
The prisons authorities at Luzira, which fall under the docket of the Internal Affairs minister, had confiscated Dr. Besigye’s nomination papers and the Electoral Commission had vowed not to nominate him unless he personally showed up at the nomination venue at Namboole stadium.
With this hurdle eventually cleared and Dr. Besigye finally released, the stage was set for yet another violent election campaign that ended in controversy.
Source:The Daily Monitor.