The Daily Monitor’s Editorial of 12 January 2012 titled “Can federation cut national cake fairly?” raised issues, questioning UFA’s motives for promoting federalism -: (i) “…parochial desire to supplant centralized governance with divisive Buganda nationalism?” (ii) a platform for “uncharitable Ganda nationalists…to secede? (iii) the unlikely answer to “equitable re-distribution of resources” (iv) “unmindful of the economic plight of “marginal and depressed regions…?”. This response is intended to put those reservations to rest.
UFA’s brand of federalism slightly differs from ‘federo”, which, admittedly, looks like a hi-breed of monarchism and federalism. UFA advocates for federalism for the entire Uganda, and in this, differs from FDC, DP and UPC, who, in their respective manifestos, promised federalism for only those regions which want it. UFA believes that federalism is good and should be promoted throughout the country, even among regions that do not want it, because we believe that their abhorance for federalism is premised on ignorance, arising out of calculated distortions of the system’s values, by self-seeking politicians, hence, UFA’s deliberate policy to de-Bugandanize and Ugandanize federalism.
During the 2011 Elections, UFA fielded 65 Parliamentary candidates, only 24 of whom are from Buganda, 125 Local Governments’ Councilors, only 55 of whom are from Buganda. There is not a district in Uganda where UFA did not field a candidate, but more importantly, we won District / Sub county councillorships of Bukedea, Moyo, Manafwa, Bulambuli, Ntungamo, Luweero, Kumi, Pallisa, Malera, Kagadi, Kotido, Kaberamaido, Aleptong, Kalangala and others.
UFA’s Chairman, Peter Mayeku is from Bugisu, Vice President, Boniface Oniba is from Acholi, National Chief Mobilizer, Dr Waiswa is from Busoga, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Christine Kisubi is from Budaka, Chairman of the Federal System Development Commission, Yosam Baguma is from Kigezi, Minister of Finance, Ndugu Omong is from Lango, Chairman of the UFA Youth League, Kennedy Oluma is from Arua, Chairman of UFA UK Chapter, Akim Odong is from Acholi – how can all these people be working to promote “Ganda nationalism and secession?
Personally, with Banyankore children, a Kikuyu mother, Langi first cousins and Japadhola nieces/nephews, not only would I find life hard as a secessionist, I also happen to think it is defeatist. My view is that if you are not getting your fair share of anything, fight for it, but do not run to hide, which secessionism look like, to me!
As for regions that are “marginal and depressed”, Uganda does not have to re-invent the wheel, because old federal states like the USA, Canada, Australia, Malaysia and Nigeria already invented the “equalization grant” strategy, where, the better-off regions pay a special tax to support less endowed ones. This strategy is even provided for in the Regional Tier Act, which foresaw that regions are never equally endowed.
It is worth noting, though, that federalism is not just about resource sharing but more about policies and priorities. Japan does not have oil, but invested in human resource development. They are now world suppliers of electronics and vehicles. Dubai, one of seven Emirates in the UAE, owes its success story not to natural resources, but to a tax-free-trade policy. Sharija, another emirate, has oil but does not have the free-tax policy, and is not quite as rich as Dubai. Federalism creates space for creativity and innovation by different regions, instead of the socialist-like system where all regions wait for the center to think and plan for them.
Uganda will be better off with federalism for Uganda, than with “federo”, which Buganda, FDC, UPC and DP favour.
Beti Olive Namisango Kamya
President
Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA)
0783 438 201 / 0751 590 542
E mail: ufapresident@gmail.com