Uganda Federal Alliance

Jan 08 2013

The Constitution of Uganda cannot steer this country to democratic order because it suffers from internal contradictions. If independence of the three arms of the State is the fulcrum of democratic governance, having the President appoint judicial officers, 20% of the legislature and the entire State infrastructure, as Uganda’s constitution provides, raises the concept of confusion to unprecedented levels.  The State of Uganda must be delinked from Govt, even if the USA does not fully delink them, as some people argue. Uganda’s constitution must be designed to serve the interests of Ugandans, not emulate other countries’ constitutions.
Govt serves on a management contract, which may or may not be renewed by voters.  It might even not serve the full contract term due to impeachment, death or resignation of the president.  The State on the other hand should be permanent and non-partisan, providing infrastructure to any Govt and all citizens, without fear or favour. Fusing Govt and the State, the way the Constitution of Uganda provides, creates a powerful center, patronage, job insecurity and sycophancy. Delinking the State from Govt guarantees job security, meritocracy, efficiency, equity, predictability and continuity.
Uganda’s constitution instructs that the President appoints all political officials and non-political public officials from the rank of commissioner upwards.  President Museveni has used this provision to appoint all NRM politicians who lost in their Party primaries and National Elections as ambassadors, RDCs, Presidential Advisors, Board Members of Statutory Bodies and Commissioners of State institutions.  So, when Uganda Federal Alliance went to Lira on 17 Dec 2012 to launch the National Referendum program to trim the powers of the presidency, an activity compliant with the Constitution under Article 255(1), the RDC, Town Clerk, RPC, DPC wouldn’t let us, because, according to the official letter we received, “the Lira Local leadership might be misunderstood to be collaborating with UFA against the President”. We explained to them that we were operating within the law, but  “we might be misunderstood…., especially that Hon. Norbert Mao, President of DP, was the Chief Guest!”, they said!
The opposition can’t engage in any political activity in peace, because the IGP and all State Departments’ officials owe loyalty to the appointing authority!
Opposition Ugandans like Anne Mugisha had to denounce her opposition conscience in order for the NRM Govt to second her for a UN job. Prof Kanyeihamba who would not denounce his opposition conscience wasn’t seconded to a UN job by the NRM Govt, so the job went to a non Ugandan. Dr Otunu had to seek citizenship elsewhere to get a UN job, because the Govt of Uganda would not second him!
While all this discrimination happens, Parliament, whose ONLY constitutional role under Article 79 of the Constitution of Uganda is to “make laws…for the peace, order, development and good governance of Uganda” are busy fighting consequences of a bad constitution, which they have authority to amend!
Fortunately, Article 255(1) of the constitution provides for ordinary citizens to make direct decisions, without reference to Parliament, the Executive or Judiciary, through referenda. Citizens only need to raise 10% signatures of registered voters, from at least 1/3 of districts of Uganda, submit them to the Electoral Commission, which must then organize a referendum on the contentious matter.
Ugandans must hail Hon Norbert Mao, President of the Democratic Party and Hon Isha Otto, former MP for Oyam County, for being the first and second signatories, respectively, to the petition for a national referendum to overhaul the constitution and trim the authority of the presidency, so that no public official is blackmailed into partisanship while on duty.
Beti Olive Kamya-Turwomwe
Chief Petitioner,
National Referendum to amend the Constitution

May 30 2012

Uganda’s Golden Jubilee

For 49 years, it’s been known that in October, 2012, Uganda would celebrate her 50th Independence Day Anniversary – yet year 50 is here but there is no indication that there is anything to commemorate!  There is “The Uganda Jubilee Handbook 2012”, courtesy of Uganda Jubilee Network, a consortium of Faith organizations. (The) Daily Monitor and New Vision have each reserved a weekly column to mark the jubilee, the NGO Forum are planning something low-key, known to very few and some other organizations are individually planning things, but where is the official Govt of Uganda plan?

There is likely to be uncoordinated flurry of activities without a common theme, leading to triplication of costs, but leaving no mark of the occasion. What happened to old-fashioned, coordinated, long-term planning? I would not be surprised if, to some people, the “obvious” theme is “consolidating the achievements of NRM” all dressed up in yellow!!

Remember the respective 1977 and 1978 Church of Uganda and Catholic Church Centenary celebrations? They were launched in the January of the respective years, at the village church level, with a national theme that run horizontally through all churches and vertically through the Churches hierarchy, building upward momentum through the village, parish, archdeaconry, diocese, reaching crescendo at the Archdioceses, with celebrations that lasted the whole month of December with different activities each day.

As part of the centenary commemoration, each level of the church hierarchy was required to perform a modest development activity such as renovation of the church or acquisition of a musical facility for the church.

Construction of the (“defunct”!) Church of Uganda Centenary House on Kampala Road was inaugurated in 1977 as the major activity to celebrate 100 years of the Anglican Church in Uganda.

Themed songs and poems were composed. Themed music, dance and drama festivals and competitions were held in schools, churches, youth and women groups. Thematic clothes were worn – almost everybody was drawn into the “Centenary” mood because of activities that were visibly, audibly and psychologically coordinated.  Is it possible that 35 years later, in the global village of internet, professional consultancy and advisory services, Ugandans can’t do better than in those “..dark days of Amin”?  

I suggest that while it is too late, it must be done. The appropriate Ministry should commission (obviously they are incapable of putting together) a program that should begin with each household required to do something for themselves, e.g. plant a tree in their homestead, paint their house or formalize their marriage. This should lead to Village Councils initiating a community project and express, in writing, their consensus view on the good and ugly in their village, during the past 50 years. Seminars should be held parishes, sub counties and districts, on a given topic, conclusions of which should be compiled in a “Golden Jubilee Book of unedited views of Ugandans of the fifty years of independence – the past, present and future”. Views of the young, youthful, middle aged and old should be captured separately. Songs, poems and drama shows on a national theme should be encouraged and construction of a National Asset, such as Mulago Hospital should be seriously considered.  Through such activities, true feelings of Ugandans will be manifested.

Now that we are late, planning for the celebration should begin immediately, and 9 October 2012 should be used to launch a year-long program of Jubilee activities that should end on 9 October, 2013 – with the official opening of the National Asset.

Beti Olive Kamya – Turwomwe (0783 438 201)


Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA)

May 30 2012

Public discontent in Uganda is no longer a matter of speculation, but reality, to which several political players have responded differently: – (i) Parliament has attempted the legislative channel to block oil contracts and State House budget, censure Ministers and the Governor of Bank of Uganda, impeach the president, and now, restore terms’ limit, yet, one year in office, they have nothing to write home about. (ii) A4C have been walking for over a year to overthrow Museveni, and still walking. (iii) The Clergy  have sought the pulpit, but may need a miracle as well (iv) Owekitiibwa Muliika and Bishop Nyiringiye are traversing the country,  agitating against the status quo (v) Some Opposition Parties convey their frustration through press briefings  and (vi) Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA) is working on referenda to change the governance system and to restore terms’ limit. In the olden days of “Snow-White and the Ugly Queen” Fairy-Tale, the question would be asked “So Who Is The Fairest Of Them All?”

I love the referenda route because not only is it rooted in the constitution through Article 255 which provides for “citizens’ right to demand referenda ON ANY ISSUE”, it is also “SMART”- as in Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound, attributes globally acclaimed as basic tenets of a viable project. 

UFA’s “referendum project” is Specific, it specifically seeks to replace unitary with federalism and to restore terms’ limit. It is Measurable because we need to collect 10% signatures of registered voters from 1/3 of total districts in Uganda (i.e. 37 districts) and present them as petitioners to the EC, upon which the EC MUST organize a referendum. Collecting petitioners’ signatures from just 37 districts, moreover, where one can pick districts with the least voter population makes the referendum option Achievable. If it took me two weeks to collect signatures from 113 districts to support my nomination as Presidential candidate, operating in just 37 districts is Realistic. Once the petition for a referendum is submitted to the Electoral Commission; the law specifies Timelines for each successive activity during the referendum process, within which the Electoral Commission must operate or else suffer dire constitutional repercussions.

Once the petition is delivered to the EC, the EC must verify the petitioners’ signatures within two weeks then issue a Certificate of Compliance, after which the EC has one month to declare the referendum date. The EC then has one month to cause the framing of the Referendum Question to the satisfaction of the referendum promoter(s), after which, the EC has two months of voter education, and one month to display of the Voter Register. The referendum must then be held and results declared immediately. According to Article 255(3) “the referendum results are binding on all organs and agencies of the State, and on all persons and organizations in Uganda….” – in short, once we submit the required signatures of petitioners to the Electoral Commission, the referendum process is regulated by the Referendum ACT like clockwork, or else the EC faces the wrath of the constitution.

The referendum option is free of Party Caucuses, Cabinet or Parliamentary Rules and Procedure, it is The Peoples’ Process! It has a clear beginning with specified activities, milestones, timelines, destination and output, not to mention the opportunity to traverse the country, at State expense, sensitizing Ugandans about the benefits of power devolution and term limits, plus, political party bosses cannot order the public what not to discuss. With the referendum option, Ugandans need not lose their limbs, lives and property, fighting police. They can just sit home, listen to “Yes” and “No” debates on radio and wait to vote. Yes, there will be challenges in the referendum process as there are elsewhere, but, it provides the most conclusive, safest and clearest sequence of activities to deal with the current impasse.

Beti Olive Kamya-Turwomwe


Uganda federal Alliance (UFA)

Jan 19 2012
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


Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA)

0783 438 201 / 0751 590 542

E mail:   

Jan 19 2012

The 9th Parliament must be congratulated for fighting corruption. My concern, though, is that they are shooting at consequences of Uganda’s problem rather than its cause. Corruption, human rights abuse, electoral malpractices, Mbabazi, Basajjabalaba …

Aug 09 2011
My beloved Baby Sister, Edith Mpanga of London – and Walk-to-Work enthusiast, warned me not to say “I told you so!” when it was reported that FDC had abandoned the A4C initiative that left several dead, maimed and jailed, on grounds that it is ungracious and reflects poor breeding, and I fully agree with her, so I apologize to her for this article, but it is intended to thank FDC, through their Spokesperson Hon Wafula Ogutu, who was not pretentious, but simple and honest, when he said “we have stopped W2W….., it has turned disastrous, people have lost lives, limbs and property…..”
Having witnessed many losses and casualties since 2001 when I joined full-time politics on the opposition side to the NRM Govt, my humble proposal to my colleagues in the opposition is that we should begin to conduct political business as a modern business, where, for every proposed activity, is defined the overall activity goal, activity objectives that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound), a work plan, projection of risks, management of casualties, activity budget, projected profits and losses. It may sound hypothetical but all modern war-planning rooms go through this exercise thoroughly, before they send troops to war – and war may mean a football contest, launching a new brand, race driving, starting a business, buying a new dress, getting a new school for your child, courting a woman / man or renting a sex-worker. Field commanders, where applicable, are taken through this complete picture and even guided on when to call for a withdrawal of troops to minimize war losses, so that all participants are inspired and driven by a shared vision and common goal!
For the past ten years or so, it has been common to read / hear “the opposition are disorganized, they are divided, they need to work together…. in order to unhinge Museveni…., there is no single party that can dislodge Museveni alone…..”, but are we all clear and agreed on a shared vision, mission, goal, work plan and have we established SMART objectives? Are all opposition members equally inspired in the same direction? To remove a sitting Govt is not a tea-party, it is hard work, long hours!
NRM appears strong only because the opposition are ad hoc, do not invest in research, planning, long hours and grassroots’ mobilization, have no clear short term goals, no SMART objectives and only provoke police to teargas them while they wait for three months to the next election, to swing into vote-hunting action. To some people, poverty is the problem so when they get some money or a job from Museveni, their problem is solved, they down their tools. Others just need their political parties to get into power so that they can fix poverty through jobs, so Museveni must go, yet to others, their grandfathers belonged to a certain political party and that is where they will die, so Museveni must go.
To Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA), Uganda’s problem is more complex than Museveni, poverty, potholes, poor social services, etc, all of which we consider consequences, not the problem cause, hence, mere replacement of Museveni, without changing the unitary governance system which over-centralizes power and national resources, might replace him with maybe a worse Museveni, an exploiter and beneficiary of the inappropriate system, just like all previous Presidents were. In UFA, having learnt our lessons from the past, we wish to dialogue and plan how to change the system, rather than the just the current President.
My humble advice to colleagues in the opposition is that toying with ideas and experimenting with each every other day, without adequate research and planning will not deliver the beef, but will continue costing time, lives and property.
Beti Olive Kamya-Turwomwe
0783 438 201

Aug 09 2011
Congratulations to those people, in Govt and Opposition, that have been entrusted with managing Uganda for the next five years. 48 years of poor management have abject poverty for the majority amidst obscene opulence for the minority, to show!  The mistaken view, though, is that the opulent are supporters of NRM, while the opposition are all comrades-in-suffering. If truth be told, opposition members with salaried responsibilities are part of the opulence while NRM members without salaried responsibilities suffer like their opposition counterparts. In other words, it is true that there are two political shades in this country – those who toil and those who enjoy the benefits of toil, not, as popularly believed, those in Govt and the opposition. Take, for example MPs, who, regardless of political affiliation will take home an average of Ushs 20M per month, not to mention a top-of-the-range-car, numerous Business Class travel and generous per diem opportunities, never mind the VVIP treatment in Uganda. Does that make the DP, UPC, FDC, JEEMA & CP Member of Parliament a comrade-in-suffering to the ordinary Ugandan? Isn’t the opposition MP 100 times better off than a teacher subscribing to NRM, who earns Ushs 200,000 per month?  Were an opposition MP to slander Museveni, daily, for 30 days, s(he) would still earn the Ushs 20M per month, while the worst that could happen to him/her is a highly publicized summons to a Police Station, a dramatic trip to Court with the world cheering, and a cash free bail “sentence”. Conversely, a little-known NRM member may sing Museveni praises for 30 days, but if s(he) is lucky, s(he) may get a yellow t-shirt, once in five years, during campaign time! The question to ask is: who of the two, the small time NRM supporter and the opposition MP, really enjoys the benefits of the “NRM excesses” (“ani ali mu kintu”)? Mind you, it does not matter which regime is in power, that is the way it’s always been, with just some MPs changing seating sides!
After colonialism, we boast of nine Heads of State, nine regimes, two referenda, two liberation wars, two military coups, seven elections, three Constitutions, four armies, billions of donor-dollars and an incredible endowment of resources, but, Uganda remains poor and turbulent, with the desired status not foreseeable!  Yet, we continue with the small argument of “Museveni must go (Agende)”  Vs “Museveni has the Vision (Abeerewo)”, while leading proponents and opponents of this argument bask, equally, in opulence, at the expense of the ordinary Ugandan!
Surely, isn’t it time to review the meaning of mere regime changes to the ordinary Ugandan and to reflect on whether Uganda’s problem isn’t more complex than just the sitting Head of State? That was the crux of Uganda Federal Alliance’s (UFA) campaign during the last elections. Given the 9th Parliament’s unashamed anxiety about their own emoluments, in the midst of public outcry about galloping commodity prices, we must face that review.
Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA) contends that the problem of Uganda is the inappropriate Unitary System of governance, which was deliberately designed to exploit colonies, by siphoning resources from each corner in the colonies, centralized them in one treasury controlled by the Governor, who forwarded it to the Imperial Treasury in London. After independence, the centralized, exploitative system that should have been dismantled, was inherited by successive post-colonial Govts, which now consisted of the Executive and the multiparty Parliament, who serve themselves first, and when they have their fill, throw crumbs to other Ugandans. This system must be replaced by the more equitable Federal System, because it CONSTITUTIONALLY mandates Regional Govts to manage the bulk of resources in their respective regions, where the majority people live. The Federal System limits Central Govt’s unabated access to all resources, whereas change of regimes is mere change of guards, as exploitation flows uninterrupted! Let’s go federalism for entire Uganda!
Beti Olive Kamya-Turwomwe

Aug 09 2011
In an article by Moses Mugalu titled “ Kamya attacked on ‘walk to work’ ” published in The Observer of May 23 – 25 May, 2011, Timothy Kalyegira and Dr. Aaron Mukwaya are reported to have said that I felt isolated and fearful of becoming irrelevant for not participating in walk-to-work, hence my visit to Mulago Hospital and Luzira Prison to comfort the wounded and jailed, to grab media attention. Mukwaya is also reported to have “wondered why I should have gone to FDC Headquarters to express “….sympathy for Dr Besigye after their bitter fall out that saw Kamya quit FDC”, except that I needed to remain politically relevant . The general tone of the article, beginning with the Editor’s title choice, is that I need media attention or risk obscurity in the limelight!
I was disappointed with the reported views of both gentlemen, whom I hold in high esteem. Surely, if publicity is what I needed, the easiest way to get it would have been to inform the press that I was going to walk, organized UFA and Lubaga North youth to walk with me, we would have been arrested ten meters from my gate, the youth would have put up a spirited resistance, which police would have quelled with teargas and live bullets, killing and maiming some, taken me to Buganda Road Court, and I would be the day’s star! After that, I would have joined the fanfare to welcome Dr Besigye from Nairobi. It does not take much to make news in Uganda. But for me to visit the walk-to-work casualties was consistent with my refusal to join the demo, because, I said I feared for the lives of the young rioters, innocent by-standers and passers-by. I went to Nakawa Court to stand surety for my friend Anne Mugisha, because we always hold each other’s hand, even as we went separate political ways, we remain friends. 
What Dr Mukwaya does not know is that while he reckons Dr Besigye and I became life-long enemies, we actually remained cordial to each other. I continue to call him KB, when he had an accident in 2009, in Acholi, I rang to ask if he was ok, when I was hospitalized he sent flowers and a get-well-soon message through his wife and my friend Winnie Byanyima, and recently, when he flew to Nairobi after the Arinaitwe saga, I called to express my sympathies. It may surprise some readers to know that we do not always do everything for the press and that holding different opinions and applying different approaches does not always make people enemies! After ten years of confrontational and combative politics, my view is that we should review its effectiveness in terms of costs, benefits, delivery of desired goals and investigate alternative approaches – but that should not make me enemies with people who hold different views.
My worry about the politics of Uganda is that a thick line has been drawn between pro and anti Govt camps, there is no middle ground, there is no tolerance for other views and woe to anybody who does not fall in one of the two camps. In rising to the challenge, political analysts and critics on both sides of the divide have also taken “critic” to literally mean to criticize negatively. There is so much negativity in Uganda today, that one cannot but fear for the children we are raising. Some opposition politicians think that the hardliner, no-dialogue attitude endears one to voters and donors, so instead of advising voters who may not know better, that dialogue sets the agenda for the cherished peace, leaders lead from the rear, in order to endear themselves to voters. The atmosphere in Uganda is poisoned with negativity, and the press love it, it’s their fodder!
May I put to rest the speculations of Dr Mukwaya and Timothy Kalyegira that I do not have to define myself in anybody’s terms or to toe anybody’s line to get publicity, in fact, the most publicity I ever got was when I remained my own person and pursued my conscience.
Beti Olive Kamya-Turwomwe
0783 438 201

Aug 09 2011
At the beginning of the Libyan rebels’ uprising, I sympathized with the rebels and wanted Col. Gaddafi to go. I still do… but am worried about the new world order in which the “USA and Allies” have assumed to “solve world problems”. They initially come as gallant Big Brother, “to protect innocent civilians”, then take centre stage, begin supplying arms to rebels and directly fighting the sitting Govt, then issue bold statements like Hillary Clinton’s “Gaddafi must go….”, which bear no resemblance to their original mandate of “protecting innocent civilians”.
Young countries (organic growth of nations was interrupted by colonialism, creating instant, “genetically modified” countries!) should be very afraid of Big Brother’s new scheme. Whereas naked colonialism was easy to combat because although it came hiding behind the Bible, it was visible, tangible, audible, had a clear agenda, and the gun to execute the agenda, Neo-colonialism was subtle, it skillfully navigated colonies through the struggle for independence, through the cold war, with its strings-attached-aid and sarcastically refers to Africans as “development partners”.
There is now a new world order, but make no mistake, it is a monster more lethal than good old colonialism of known geographical boundaries or Cold-War colonialism of “are-you-pro East-or- pro West?”. In the new global order, Monster smells the coffee (read oil), and all they need to do to get the coffee is to create and prop a would-be-puppet-who-turns-into-a-dictator, go behind his back at some opportune moment, sponsor a rebellion against him ….. and begin drilling…! I fear that the new trend opens doors for sinister ambitions. With the “Neo-scramble for Africa” between the USA and China, it’s easy to sponsor provocation of a sitting Govt, say, by breaking a few laws or cause riots, or attack a village police unit. The largely militarized, low income countries will respond by unleashing State terror on the population, the rest is predictable, and before you know it, Big Brother will be in charge,  drilling!
Big Brother preaches democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights, with passion…. but practices them only when they are convenient to him. If you are alert you will have discovered that those values were conveniently forgotten during the USA trespass of Pakistan space to kill Osama Bin Laden. Where did Obama get the authority to bury Osama’s remains at sea? But his rating in the USA have soared, the world hailed him and nobody is calling the USA to account for trespass into a Sovereign State and murder of unarmed person in that State, without trial before a competent Court, as if two wrongs make a right! We all know about Guantanamo Bay and the swift execution of Saddam Hussein. According to Big Brother, when Israel kills innocent Palestinians, they are defending themselves but when Gaddafi defends himself against rebels, he is killing innocent civilians. As a Ugandan, my point of absolute departure with Big Brother is when they literally ordered the Parliament of the Sovereign State of Uganda to get the Anti Homosexuality Bill off the Order Paper and harassed Hon David Bahati, who was going to table the Motion in Parliament, when they could have democratically campaigned against it with all the money they have! For the record, I do not support the Bill.
Clearly, there are two sets of worldly values, one for the “USA and Allies” and another for the rest. The developing world is trapped between the USA/Allies’ race against China and despotic dictators, either way, we are losers. If we do not ask the  ‘USA and Allies” to account for their inconsistent arbitration of world affairs, we endorse the dual-value system – a looming global phenomenon worse than colonialism and neo-colonialism – and if we do, we keep the African dictator! The modern day challenge, therefore, is to decide which is the lesser evil!
Beti Olive Namisango Kamya-Turwomwe
TEL : 0783 438 201

Aug 09 2011
There is so much public and media ado about the President’s choice of Cabinet that I must also put in my two cents worth of opinion.
The spirit of the Constitution of Uganda is that the people elect a President with whom they entrust management of this country for five consecutive years. The Constitution also provides that there will be a cabinet which will support the President to deliver his / her manifesto. However, the choice of who to hire, (within the confines of the Constitution), is the President’s prerogative, because it is s(he)  who accounts to the stakeholders for the five years in office – hence cabinet is really an extension of the Presidency, it being appointed to specifically help deliver the President’s manifesto. It is for that matter that Ministers’ loyalty to the author and trustee of the manifesto is a requisite, that the principle of collective responsibility is a given, and why, when a Minister has irreconcilable differences with the President, it is always the Minister, never the President, who goes. It is also for that matter that politicians subscribing to competing political parties wishing to serve as ministers must relinquish their former loyalties and join the party in Govt, or eventually get fired – but that will be a topic for another day.
As a way of further supporting the President to perform well, the Constitution mandates Parliament to endorse the President’s appointments, but the President bears the ultimate responsibility of delivering her/his manifesto, to the voters. If the current Parliamentary Appointments’ Committee interpreted the spirit of the Constitution this way, they should have one known standard for the moral issues but keep their views on competence more or less advisory, rather than crowd the President’s space to pick his team, because by so doing, the Committee unknowingly assumes some responsibility for the executive’s performance, because the President could easily claim that the committee frustrated his plans when they rejected his first choice team.
Appraisal of the President’s performance is the prerogative of the electorate, done at the next election and if he appointed an incompetent cabinet, he is the one who tastes the voters wrath, not the Parliamentary Appointments’ Committee, not Ministers, who might even be appointed by the next President, without reference to the Voters.
Mind you, the same Constitutional spirit does not hold for other offices appointed by the President such as the Speaker of Parliament (yes, we know that President Museveni has influence on who becomes Speaker), Chief justice, Chairman of Electoral Commission, IGG, Chairperson of Human Rights’ Commission, Auditor General and heads of other statutory bodies because their role is not to support the President but the reverse –  to keep Govt in check over negative excesses. The vigor used by the Committee to scrutinize ministers should have therefore been reserved for officials of the oversight and regulatory bodies, while the President should have been allowed space to pick his team, with which he would fall or rise, as is the spirit of Uganda’s Constitution!
For lucky President Museveni, though, rejection of the five minister-designates was a win-win because he is not short of people to pick from, he has paid his moral obligations to the now-rejected and will improve his PR ratings amongst his supporters by appointing more of the long, long waiting list. Infact, the more Parliament’s Appointments’ Committee rejects appointees, the better for M7.    
Beti Olive Kamya-Turwomwe

Aug 09 2011
Recently, the Netherlands’ Institute For Multiparty Democracy sponsored an IPOD (Inter-Party Organization For Dialogue) workshop to discuss the 2011 Elections. The Opposition dwelt on the need to level the electoral ground while government insisted all was well!
I agree with the Opposition’s lamentations but recollect that all pre-2011 elections in Uganda were manipulated. We must, therefore, examine the genesis of electoral malpractices in Uganda rather than take them to be the problem per se!
Uganda’s first elections, held in 1961, were won by the Catholics’ dominated DP but an influential section of society cried foul, causing a repeat in 1962, to the satisfaction of the Anglo-Saxon-Protestant umpires, who I am sure, would have died before leaving the colony in Catholic hands!
Prior to independence, it had been agreed that in 1964, a referendum would be held in Bugangaizi and Buyaga, for residents in the two “lost-counties” to decide whether they wished to remain part of Buganda or go back to being part of Bunyoro, where they had belonged prior to colonialism. Since only residents of the two counties were going to vote in the referendum, Kabaka Mutesa of Buganda, set up residence in Ndaiga, a locality in Buyaga, the intention of which was to lure loyalists to follow him, settle there and vote in Buganda’s favour. Luganda songs were composed urging people to follow the Kabaka to Ndaiga. One such song ran “… tuvuge tugende, e Ndaiga Omutanda akuze….” Loosely translated, it urged motorists to follow the Kabaka to Ndaiga.
Buganda lost the vote and Kabaka Mutesa, who was also President of Uganda, was so understandably irked that he would not perform the President’s Constitutional obligation to endorse the referendum results.
If, like the Colonialists, DP leader Ben Kiwanuka and Buganda’s Kabaka Mutesa had power to enforce their preferred positions regarding 1961 elections and the 1964 referendum, respectively, Uganda’s history would read differently, today.
The 1962 Constitution provided for five-yearly elections, but President Obote called off the 1967 polls. His successor, Idi Amin, did not care for elections so we didn’t hold them in 1971 and 1976. The 1980 elections were held on the terms of Paulo Muwanga and UNLA, Head of State and the army, respectively.  There were no elections in 1986 and 1991 because Museveni, President and Commander-in-Chief had things to do, first. The 1996 and 2001 elections were under the Movement System because Museveni thought that was best for Uganda. We all know about the 2006 and 2011 elections.
The moral in Uganda’s elections’ history is that ALL elections and referenda have been manipulated and who held state power has been a common factor in the manipulations. The logical action plan then should be to deal with that power, instead of focusing on transient mortals who misuse the power, but leave it in State House for the next transient!
Electoral malpractices is just one of several consequences, features and indicators – not the cause –  of poor governance. We need to diagonize the causes, and if Uganda’s history is anything to go by, absolute power has a lot to do with the questionable electoral process, even during colonialism.
Uganda can smoothen her path to democracy by addressing the absolute-power-monster vested in the Central Government. That is what the USA, Canada, Australia, India, S. Africa, Nigeria, Brazil, Argentina, the United Arab Emirates and Kenya did, after gaining independence.
For peace, even Britain, architect of the centralized-power system abandoned it after pressure from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Uganda must objectively examine the entire post-independence governance system instead of examining piece-meal frustrations such as electoral laws!
Beti Olive Namisango Kamya
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