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How I see the NRM revolution – Part 2

Birondwa Frank

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How I see the NRM Revolution

Part 2: The political order created by the NRM revolution  

For 29 years now, the NRM military revolution and its subsequent quasi-military government has dominated the political space of Uganda. In that period, the country has gone through three different types of government, each running its own duration; first the NRA military takeover; this was followed by a ‘transition government’ of 10 years, which was followed by a ‘one party state’ called Movement. Then the current ‘form of multi-party’ system.

That how academic elites would summarize the political system by which NRM has ruled. The forms of political system and government is important because it depicts the intentions of those using it. It is supposed to reflect the maturity of a country politically.

All other regimes before NRM, what made bad was that the leaders made moves which showed that they were about two things – accumulation of wealth at the expense of tax payers, retention of the political seat and power. They committed heinous crimes on opponents, innocent citizens, the entire population, and disabled the constitutional justice system, to these ends.

You can argue the NRM were trying and abandoning its political methods, one factor was not changing – the one at the head of the systems, the beneficiary of the systems, otherwise known as a president. Looking back, all that period looked like the NRM was searching for a something. What was it? Who were the beneficiaries of those different political schemes?

Inspite of the passage of time, Uganda’s political systems and institutions have remained experimental, not built for other generations to take on. The Political order has been going in circles from Obote 1 to present – the individual creates the political system for which he wants to rule by.

Without changing its form, the political methods are always eclipsed by smaller groups, using whatever manipulations of law possible, to sustain political and economic hold on the country, and therefore the people

The political formats we have seem with NRM, a question is immediately formed; did the architect of the NRM military revolution have a political system for the country, that was not about self-preservation in power? What drives the need by NRM to change the political/governance format every other few years, like channels on a TV, none of which are acceptable forms of governance?

In what century will Uganda build its political system core?

What did the hyped Fundamental Change materialize to in terms of the Political system of Uganda?

The NRM has changed nothing in the political methodology of Uganda. They continue to tell the country that they can lead to economic transformation. Without first transforming political methods, it is merely a massive spread of falsehoods.

The Lesson for Our generation & Next governments to form

The formation of experimental political systems for the exploitation of population through government, such as the ones we have witnessed under NRM, is the greatest danger of our time. New political players have to resist the cheap means of political existence and adopt, uphold transformational political systems for Uganda – one which can be passed on the future generations

If the emerging generation of Ugandan leaders were to use the NRM political manuscript for survival, we would have yet another era of unskilled and unschooled young people, thieves and murders thriving within all echelons of government

They have caused terrible political injustice to Ugandans as we have seen, they are bad for Africa. There is no economic order in such haphazardly. A country without a systematic political order cannot count on the free enterprise of its people because innovation in gun-wielding quasi-military governments is trapped; the free enterprise is stunted by theft in these corrupt convenience government systems, characterized by breakdown of public infrastructure.

Our freedom is established, nurtured and protected in elaborate, consistent, free governance systems. We cannot abide by laws made by corrupt people. The laws that have been made or changed by the NRM, just like the earlier political systems, are convenience laws – no sane society could go by them, only mad. Can you imagine 4 people requiring permission from the state to gather and discuss anything?

The causalities, of course are the mass of peasants who do not realize the great injustices committed against them and their children, until the alarming stage, too late when the state is at their door, killing them or displacing them by the thousand.

We, the young generation have a duty to protect the peasants from the lawless state that Uganda has become. Freedom is never passed on to a generation in a bloodstream. It is fought for. Every generation must protect its freedom. Uganda’s political problems have never originated from the outside. Uganda’s problems arise from the governments of the day.

We must establish a political order that we can respect; one that can contain the aspirations of all Ugandans. The NRM revolution has reverted to the old order they replaced. The fever of revolution has risen again. The present stagnation in our political process will not pass without our involvement. We answer that call to have a new order, of unpretentious democracy, and free enterprise. Nobody is going to pay for our ultimate freedom, just ourselves.

E-n-d of part II

You can read Part I Here or proceed to Part III here

Global Politics

Opposition should protect its Own!

Birondwa Frank

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Opposition should protect its Own

A rare phenomenon exists in the groups opposed to the dictatorial regime in our country today, that makes them seem unfit for the great cause of liberation. Basic revolutionary code demands that a force must protect itself – its fighters, and those who support its cause, from the attacks of their common enemy.

But not Ugandan opposition groups. They view this – protecting the revolution, as the concern of each independent opposition group or person. This is also how they approach the task of liberating the country – going it solo!

They meet, “agree”, even “sign”… and yet before the sun goes down they lie, cheat and betray themselves.  Every day they say “all we want is to – overthrow this dictatorship, create authentic democracy and protect you.

Unless we believe that logic works the same way the chameleon works,  personally I don’t think protection, or democracy could come from one who does not stand on a principle for a full day!

It is because of believing such fallacies (misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning), that those who fought the 1980-86 struggle,  ended up creating bufere democracy and a mafia state 

We all know that the opposition parties/group/camps do not agree (consent), on pretty much anything, it doesn’t matter if they claim to agree, because the actions give it away, but the protection of revolutionary fighters like Nyanzi, and the supporters of the revolution – this is so pertinent that a mutual defense pact needs to be in place, for a common response against the strikes of the mafia regime, against them.

Protecting your own is a cardinal principle in revolutionary politics. Not only locally, but also regionally. The popular rebellion in Sudan North should by now have benefited from loud voices of support from Ugandan opposition.

How to do it – protecting fighters is protecting the revolution

The strategy of political opposition in Uganda should be broad in its coverage of political matters, and all inclusive in terms of its appeal.

Exposing the evils of the junta regime locally, regionally & internally

The opposition groups should seize every incident of the mafia and junta regime, each time they unleash terror against the citizens, killing of innocents, jailing innocents, and using the judiciary system as tools of political oppression. The opposition should seize each and every incident of these to decisively record, report and expose it across all corners of the country, the region and the international forums. This is a core function of peaceful opposition, and it should not be done without coordination of the groups, but all opposition players should have a common approach to exposing the regime. The junta regime loosing credibility locally, regionally & globally for its jailing opponents, activists, shutting businesses of those perceived to be not supporting the military junta in private sector, stiffing free speech by shutting newspapers and radios, and creating  sub-human conditions for citizens in hospitals, schools, jails – these serve as material to build the right momentum for popular liberation of the country.

Pinning down the Individuals who carry out injustice

The individuals within the junta regime who are the executioners and purveyors of injustice who carry out the matching orders from the political junta, against citizens, should be meticulously recorded in the black books of Uganda’s history.  Their names should be mentioned out out of the noise and cries they met on innocents, to be on the record as tools of political persecution, so that they may not escape justice when the junta can no-longer protect them. The opposition needs to be meticulous, thorough and scientific when pinning injustice to the real individuals who carry them out, and all their assistants – you cannot bring justice to a land without pinning the ones who committed the injustice. So all those members in the army, police, intelligence, judiciary and other areas of the junta state who are doing the work of political mercenaries should be well documented and exposed to the public, for the day of reckoning

Again this something that all political opposition would find common ground on, since they’re affected by it, so a common approach and efforts to doing it is the right answer to protecting themselves against the excesses  of the junta regime

It is not logical to say say: we’re going to win the coming election, if you cannot win personal freedom first. Obviously you’re not allowed to mobilise for the said election. If as opposition politician, your personal freedom is debatable, then by all means your mission is not winning elections, it is winning freedom!

Do not claim on the podium, to be the poster child of certain values, while in fact, there is no evidence of you having put such values in action

 

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Letter

Letter to Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine)

Birondwa Frank

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Letter to Bobi Wine aka Kyagulanyi Ssenyamu

Dear Kyagulanyi,

A man in chains stands tall and strong, pushing a child up, towards the sky, as symbol of freedom. The man is a concrete monument that stands in the middle of Kampala city; it represents the freedom and independence of Uganda, from colonialism

No one knew, at that time (1962) what Uganda had in its belly. As it turned out, Uganda produced Obote, Amin and Museveni, to name a few who stood most at the helm of things. Between them, they managed to kill millions of Ugandans, buried in unmarked graves, their names forgotten. Misuse of the centralised form of power, as handed down by the colonialist, has been the bedrock of regimes in our new self-ruling republic

And yet before that, by 1908, Uganda had already captured the eyes and minds of visitors,  anyone who came and saw it, described it as the pearl of Africa; indeed Ugandans maintain the title as the most welcoming and friendly people the world has ever seen.

A question begins to form in mind – if the people are the most welcoming and friendly, and the country is the jewel of Africa, why do millions of welcoming, friendly people continue to fall on the sword of their supposed-to-be freedom, since 1962?

It is not easy to find words that reconcile the world which those people saw, and the world we actually live in.

The Banyankole have a saying – “Enda ezaara mwiru na muhima”, the Luganda equivalent is “Enda muwogo, y’azaala abalungi n’ababi”. In context, Uganda is like a stomach which produces the welcoming, friendly people the world knows, and the power-hungry despots who chain them.

It is against these thoughts that the fixture of our Independence monument kept lingering in my mind, until a message came through. That child being lifted, as a symbol of freedom, in the independence monument is beginning to look a lot like Kyagulanyi Robert Sentamu. The monument woman is carrying baby Wine!

Unlike the first liberations, the act of taking political power by mere words, had never happened in this republic. It has always been – power belongs to the bloodiest. Unscrupulous people making designs on the welcoming, friendly people, usurping their power, never engaging in their real problems, and turning against them

So you stand out for taking political power by use of mere words. The reason you’re wrestling with military and ex-military men on the chessboard of political power, is that you have an edge over them, a type of power the people naturally prefer; the oppressors don’t have that, therefore they must put you in military chains, so that you can look like you’re tanned with the same brush as them in politics! They must make you look like a military man, a criminal, a usurper, someone who took power by force. Lucky for you, that image cannot stick. Every crime they have committed, they’ll try to pacify their guilt by making innocent people look like they did it too. Hosea Ballou says that “Those who commit injustice bear the greatest burden

All you have done is stand on the podium and tell the people the truth – and they believed, in Kyadondo, in Buikwe, in Arua

You cracked the pot, Bobby! Neither Obote nor Amin nor Museveni took power by convincing the people. So they must make you like one of them. Being yourself – a fair brained young man with nothing more than a genuine understanding of the problems the people face. They never cared for the real aspirations of the people, because they had their eyes fixed on the seat power.

Right now the whole world has its eyes out, looking for you; they know that you’re hammering at a principle which the criminal leaders of Africa hate the most – “Power to the People”.  Only the greats like Mandela have ever trodden this path

It is not easy to understand by the educated, who make their living as the coward fixers within the strongman problem.

But the peasant, the street kid, the beggar, the dirt poor – these people understand your message, because they are tired of having their face crashed under the military boot, every time they raise a point of order to the regime. And the rest of the world which has genuine interest in Africa, and an wish to see democracy take root in Uganda, these people know exactly what you have done – making the case of Power to the People vs. power of despots, seem like a simple task

In many ways, this upgrades political intellectualism in our land, from mere commentary on the status quo, to changing the status quo.

Your detractors are keeping the flip-flops running in the media. They’re saying it’s wrong to compare you to “our leaders”, that you’re from the Ghetto – a Ghetto President? They’re like the Pharisees

They don’t know that they’re in the Ghetto too, the difference is, they don’t know the name of their Ghetto. At-least for you, you know that you’re from the Ghetto of Kyadondo, Kamwokya, Boom!

Ghetto is not a place, it’s a concept. If you live hand-to-mouth, with no guarantee of financial or social security for yourself or your children, are you not in a Ghetto? If you live in a country where the hospitals have no medicine, are you not in a Ghetto? Less than 20% of people in the country access electricity, that’s not a Ghetto? Unemployment at 88.30%, no? GDP share by Manufacturing 0.002%, no? Country economy is 0.04% of World Economy, not a ghetto? There is room for stupidity among the ‘elites’, because how do you be in Ghetto, and not know?

It’s a pretty accurate description of the majority of Ugandans, that word ghetto; 93,065 square miles of Ghetto is the Republic of Uganda! People don’t want to face reality.

Without military backing, taking political power with just talking radically changes the character of the country. Are you not a seed in taking Uganda from military to civilian rule, by winning with words? People are now used to AK47s being ever present in the management of politics and elections, and they have never asked – why?

The folks holding you only know military politics, they don’t believe in  “Power to the People”, they believe in “power comes out of the barrel of a gun” – that is the basic Marxist rule

You’re pitching a new political chessboard, and they’re not ready, because they’re holding political power like a thief holding a loot. It is guilt playing on their conscious, to make you look like you’re the one who grabbed power. Winning the population with mere words, living up-to the aspirations of Ugandans as at Independence, breaking away the political chains, winning without shedding blood, this is against the political canvas they have laid.

They must put a gun charge, they must put a treason charge, anything that makes the use of guns in the management of everyday politics seem normal to them and whoever sympathizes with them. So many have been accused of the same; the injustice always resulting in the same: human rights abuses and economic waste

For a long time, the regime had deployed their ideology. For you to unpack the contents of their long held ideology; of fake democracy, fake promises, fake services, you unleashed the young population on them. The days you have been in prison have seen the young generation maturing very fast in politics. Kids previously not participating in politics, who are often talked down to as the young and confused, as the so called leaders of tomorrow – but these names have changed in the last few days. They’re now called Terrorists, Bazzukulu all in the same breath;  its a funny mixture of flattery and threats, designed to make the movement of young people interested in “power to the people”, forget what they must do.

I want to thank you for not being just another Kampala MP, who, like Kato Lubwama quips, are there to “Okulya Obulamu”

You have a higher calling, beyond Kyadondo. The Message of power belongs to the people has been heard in other parts of Uganda. It is particularly good at sending regime candidates to the trashcans.

As to the cases brought against you and 33 others, at least the people know better than to “kowtow in their poohoo“, (in the voice of Mbidde). The people know this a malicious political manoeuvre, and have resoundingly pronounced themselves, saying “Free Bobi Wine”, “Free the 33” political prisoners. It only remains to see how the regime fixers will wiggle out of this one (a case against people who have just beat you in an election), without proving that the the whole thing was a circus.

Those who commit injustice bear the greatest burden. Hosea Ballou

A movement is in shifted gears; a political surge is now a matter of when, and anything can trigger it now. The regime will lose the upper hand in its misuse of soldiers to stifle people’s freedoms. Freedom of Association, Freedom of Assembly, Free speech – these are not negotiable. Your assessment was correct – the regime’s greatest fear is: numbers

I wish you a quick recovery

Yours in Struggle,

Frank Birondwa (birondwa@youngrevolution.org)

Pan African

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