It is factors that cause change; revolutionary minds simply observe & exploit those factors. In 1981, it was not the might of an invade force that made the prospect of change seem real; the prevailing conditions in the country did – what the state was doing vis-à-vis the hopes of the people, there was a huge mismatch. The state in Uganda today is mismatched against the people’s needs for change, and it is their imperative to match for change. A more democratic Uganda is good for everyone. Today an undesirable government exists – the government in 1981 had, by the way, just won an election. It didn’t stop people from matching. Elections have been used by criminal individuals in corrupt governments to perpetuate themselves, putting on a show for outsiders while in the underbelly of sham electoral processes, a rotten political class resides. This is now déjà vu to Ugandans – and Africans.
So, then – what must be done? Everyone should remember that the government exists FOR the people, not the other way round. The people do not exist for government. History shows that the crooked leaders, who tried to reverse that role, are either dead, in prison or in exile. This too, is now déjà vu to Ugandans – and Africans.
Therefore, the people of Ugandans who have been brutalized, or shamed or afflicted in anyway by this self-perpetuating state, your day is as sure to come as day follows night. Your spirit is correct – with so many following you in struggle, the dictator can only hold out for so long. This surge in people’s spirit will drive him a way like a demon.
The factors for political revolution in Uganda started forming two decades ago, when the first breach of constitution was made – with extension of interim government after winning a war in which Ugandans lost almost everything. And later the removal of term limits. From that point, arbitrary use of power, throttling the sovereign freedoms of Ugandans, foreclosure of open assembly, hunting and killing of rivals, misuse of military & police forces, dragging country along expeditions of personal whims & fancies, total disregard & defeating the mandate of parliament, massive theft of public funds – these became all too easy to do.
As Ugandans move decisively move towards change of government, as political elites across different political divides make amends, and deny their services to a government gone rogue, as our neighbors share and support our spirit for change; It is safe to say that Ugandans are near to solving the Ugandan governance problem.
All formations by the political actors are crucial to weakening the stranglehold of the self-perpetuating president; the state is now left with its last card – shading off any pretensions about being quasi-military, and its reliance on a hand-picked group of tribal soldiers to defend its stay.
The work of making country-wide, region-wide and international unity to work for change can be made stronger if we all decide so. It is important for masses to unify, and we have already got where to start.
We cannot deny that there are feather headed politicians, double agents who are not serious about change, and those placing their personal interests/ambition above the match of the country for change. Even so, present reality is that people as a whole will not accept continuation of dictator government – they will be guided by that spirit to separate the wheat from the chaff – when their leaders fail, that only raises the movement for change from political to military revolution, should the double agents try to confuse the people. The people are already conscious about them.
Many Ugandans, especially the poor peasants, had been living in fear of exposing themselves to a murderous dictator. But that is no longer holding, they are aware about his relentless efforts to silence them – using force & brutality of police or petty cash bribery – using their very taxes to silence them, they know these things. They are angry about these things. They are willing to dare for change. They have done so before, they can do it again.
The joy of the triumph of peasants against dictators is déjà vu to Ugandans too. This will be no different than when Obote was overthrown, or Amin deposed, or the juntas removed.
The overhaul of the civil service system to serve Ugandans uprightly, the regeneration of judicial system to delivery justice, separating political regime interferences with judicial processes, religious processes, traditional systems, etc. – these structural elements are important to all Ugandan regions.
We have seen the NRM regime use two factors to devastate democracy – a deeply partisan electoral commission hand-picked to work as an auxiliary of the party rather than for national interest.
The other one is the use of military, police and army to strangulate the free assembly and fraternity of Ugandans. I do not believe that the youth of Uganda are willing to take a chance on their future again. We have already been threatened with military force; many of our colleagues are languishing in prisons on flimsy political charges.
We cannot trust such a government to become people-centered or magically reform. Certainly no trust in a free and fair election in 2016 organized in the auspices of the same criminal government. Even if the electoral body was reformed, it would change little to nothing on account that the freedom of the Ugandans to assemble and that of political leaders to mobilise is curtailed by a different set of regime laws, which serve the same purpose as a fraudulent electoral system. Without freedom of assembly, with a fraudulent electoral process, only the double minded are inclined to play by such rules.
Museveni may have failed to allow democracy in NRM party but he has never failed to define his enemy, and the methods he has employed for his enemies are clear to everyone – brutality. So why would the forces of change and lovers of freedom need to beat around the bush on declaring him enemy? His rogue government bent on denying people’s freedoms should be the target. It is not too hard to isolate the actors and perpetuators of his plan, because they are actively doing it. We should not take chances on our freedom with them anymore. Let us consider the political options in equal measure as the defense mechanisms for our freedoms. These are equal imperatives, and are the tools of the enemy.
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
Letter to Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine)
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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