Kyankwanzi: place of blunders and Uganda’s democracy gets buried


The National Leadership institute, Kyankwanzi is now one of the most popular places in Uganda.  It is located in one of the struggling districts of Uganda called Kyankwanzi in the central part of Uganda.  You can call it “Uganda’s breeding place”. This is where the NRM hatches all plans to run Uganda.

All that we are struggling with today originated from Kyankwanzi.  In 1998 when Col. (Rtd) Dr. Warren Kiiza Besigye Kifefe wrote the dossier that saw him exit from the regime,  he had sensed danger ahead.  However, he was not the first person to detect the cracks in the regime that he was serving.

Way back in the 1996 General elections, Gen. (Rtd) Gregory Mugisha Muntu the then army commander and the current FDC Party president had already passed a warning about some crisis that the country was headed into tough times.

During the said election in 1996, there had been irregularities at the LCV chairperson elections in Ntungamo.  There was an allegation that the Military had gotten involved in intimidating voters.  This was something which affected the outcome of the results.  Gen. (Rtd). Gregory Mugisha Muntu called for a quick meeting to review the process.

He publicly warned of the dangers ahead should the military continue getting involved in electoral affairs.  This was said before the commander in chief and current President of the Republic of Uganda, Gen. (Rtd) Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

Ordinarily in the Military, he (General.(Rtd). Gregory Mugisha Muntu) being the army commander then and making such statements before his boss could have amounted to insubordination, a sin in the military; hence it was a risky move.  Inf fact, this would have earned him a demotion.

Then there came the popular letter that was written by Dr. Kiiza Besigye highlighting how the system had gotten off track.  This letter saw him earning himself sometime off the Ugandan soil and in asylum in South Africa until when his colleagues decided to bring him back and front him as a presidential candidate in 2001.

At the time Dr. Besigye left in 1998, some of his colleagues had not sensed and if they had sensed any danger ahead or any stray from the original plan, they thought it was not real.  This is why some of them shunned him and possibly called him many names.

I recall in one meeting they had after addressing Dr. Kiiza Besigyes’ letter, which of course had some truth but had rubbed the then and the current powers that be the wrong way.  They reached a compromise that after 2001, he (Gen. (Rtd) Yoweri Kaguta Museveni) would not contest come 2006.

This was an understanding.  It was even in the media including radio stations like in Mbarara where the then candidate of the NRM said that 2001-2006 was his last term in office while hosted by Kihurankuba.

The Period after the 2001 elections saw many things happening in as far as tightening the grip to power was concerned.  Most of the colleagues then realised that Dr. Kiiza Besigye was not just making mere allegations about what he had sensed but rather he was spot on regarding building on what Gen. Muntu had warned about in 1996.

In 2004 Uganda’s safety valve was finally broken.  This is when the term limits were removed.  Having won world recognition and praises for having one of the best Constitutions any sane country would have, under the 1995 promulgation.  It never took much time for our selfish legislators at that time to break Uganda’s’ safety valve.

We are told that money exchanged hands in order for this valve to be broken.  Remember some years before that, people had been heard publicly saying that they were serving their last term in office.

Removing the Term Limits gave a lee way to whoever wanted to stand for the office of the President until he or she died.  This is where Uganda’s hopes were first buried.  So it was then that the Legislators killed our Democracy.

The consolation that no condition is permanent ceased in the Ugandan vocabulary and they were all left at the Mercy of their Creator.  Had it not been for the Kyankwanzi blunder of 2004, Uganda could not be as it is today.

Uganda would be a better place.  We would not be measuring our success depending on where we come from but rather we would be measuring it by where we ought to be as our reasonable yardstick.

The Cracks that he (General.(Rtd). Gregory Mugisha Muntu) saw in 1996 had widened by 2001, come 2006 it was very clear, by 2011 you needed no lenses to see the cracks and now in 2016 you and me can tell.

It is President Museveni who appointed the 1988 Odoki Commission to draft a new constitution.  The Odoki Commission traversed the whole country soliciting people’s views on the making of a new constitution.

Among many other views they gathered was one that the term of office for the President shall be five years renewable only once.  This was and is still the view multitudes of Ugandans unanimously supported.

These findings culminated into The 1995 Constitution and there-in was Article 105, which provided for presidential term limits.  The Sempebwa Constitutional Review Commission Report of 2003 also upheld the people’s demand for presidential term limits.
Unfortunately, this particular provision in the Constitution was never allowed by the President to be tested.

In 2005, Shs5 million was paid to each Member of Parliament who was ready to vote to amend Article 105 of the Constitution to remove the presidential term limits and it was done in minutes. Indeed he was resoundingly successful.

The people were not consulted; neither by government nor by mercenary MPs.

In 2005, it was Dokolo MP Felix Okot Ogong who picked nomination forms to run against Mr Museveni as the NRM flag bearer for the 2006 elections.  The NRM’s Central Executive Committee (CEC), its top decision making organ, eventually advised and eased Mr Ogong out of the race.  The MP buckled under pressure and left Mr Museveni to run unopposed.

In 2010, a little known Capt Daudi Ruhinda Maguru popped up to challenge Mr Museveni for the party’s ticket for the 2011 polls.  He took the challenge a notch higher by filing a case in the High Court challenging the President’s nomination.

Early last year again Kyankwanzi sat and amongst the Kyankwanzi resolutions was the proposal to have Mr Museveni as the unopposed contender for the party chairmanship and the sole flag bearer in 2016.

This was another move in the direction of raping our Democracy.

There is no smoke without fire.  We have been reliably informed that now you are hatching a move to even scrap the Age limit and extend the term of office up to seven years.  We wish you all the best.  I wish Museveni could know that those who were born the year he captured power will be 37years old by the time the 7 years in office elapse.  God forbid, if that seven years debate comes to reality.

Kyankwanzi remains this country’s grave yard.

So of what use is this National Leadership Training Institute?  It has turned out to be a hub for hatching every evil deed that now torments this country.

Sunday Apolo

Lawyer and Political Analyst.


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