The current struggle for political change in Uganda has arrived at a pivotal stage.
The warning lights for Mr Museveni to leave power, in order that Ugandans can begin to construct a new society that is politically stable, socially cohesive and economically fair and progressive, are no longer mere warning lights, but flood lights, foretelling the coming victory of the People in the decisive final battles for change.
The dismantling of Mr Museveni’s corrupt and repressive regime has entered a new critical phase where all the patriotic freedom forces, be they political opposition groupings, youth movements, religious organisations, civil society activists or even progressive Ugandan citizens within the NRM ruling party, are converging into a formidable anti-regime frontline determined to deny any political oxygen to Mr Museveni and the few remaining supporters of the embattled regime.
And for those who may not know, there is now clear evidence that even Mr Museveni himself is aware of the disastrously fragile state of his government and the unstoppable and incredibly formidable forces that are now assembled against the regime.
Unfortunately for Mr Museveni, the goings-on in Uganda’s current political space are rapidly becoming an inextinguishable political dynamite, and his usual ‘bully-boy’ tactics and violence-parked survival antics are edging to near-obsolete. The fear-factor and scaremongering techniques which he has habitually applied to tame and silence anti-regime activists is no longer applicable, as the people have lost their fear and their determination to stand up and be counted is at its highest since Museveni came to power.
Within the ruling echelons, not only have the topmost government leaders and party functionaries abandoned Mr Museveni, but, even the NRM youths and grassroots activists, who have always been the mainstay of the ruling establishment, are now actively involved in the struggle to take Uganda to the next juncture beyond Museveni. In the next few months this precarious situation for the president will unravel into an unstoppable dynamic of revolutionary activism for change even within his own NRM party.
In the meantime, the traditional opposition political parties and formations which have, hitherto, been divided and fragmented in their approaches to the regime, and also indecisive as to which path to take in regard to the way forward, are now beginning to unanimously echo one serious message between them – they are all starting to call upon the masses to prepare to confront and disable Mr Museveni’s final tramp card in his floundering survival game-play – i.e., the 2016 election.
The resounding message, that is shaping up by the day, right across the nation is that the masses will not allow Mr Museveni to ever again organise and make happen the type of sham and fraudulent elections that have been the norm throughout the nearly three decades of his rule.
The people of all political persuasions are preparing to prevent Mr Museveni to operationalise the nakedly fraudulent processes and illegalities which have qualified the 2016 elections, even before they can happen, as being “already rigged” and incapable of being free or fair.
The 2016 elections are “already rigged” because of the fraudulent processes of ID provision, which are involving the giving of Ugandan IDs to foreigners, while denying them to many Ugandan citizens without any reason, unacceptable practices of bribing some sections of the electorate, and the wanton misuse and abuse of state resources and institutions to ensure a Museveni victory, not to mention the absolute determination by Mr Museveni to maintain the current biased and zealously pro-regime electoral commission structures and processes unreformed.
Truth be told – the Mr Museveni, with his entrenched undemocratic credentials, is not about to suddenly change his colours and deliver the necessary electoral and political reforms to ensure free and fair elections in Uganda. Whoever is hoping for this eventuality must be the greatest day-dreamer in the country.
The hard choices before the Ugandan people, therefore, are only two:
Whether to allow Mr. Museveni to remain in power indefinitely, by letting him to carry through his 2016 and post-2016 “family project”, which seeks to create a life-presidency for the incumbent and his family,
Or, on the other hand, to say NO – IT WILL NOT HAPPEN, and proceed to dismantle the regime, in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, whereby the people are supreme and are required to express their patriotism by intervening and putting a stop to the type of grievous violations and rape of the constitution witnessed by Ugandans across the decades.
Embracing the Struggle for a New Political dispensation Without Museveni.
With the Uganda nation firmly positioned at the cross roads of its political destiny, Ugandans are not only becoming bold enough to publically and determinedly demand for their rights and freedoms as citizens and human beings, but they are also starting to engage in an open debate about the type of society they would like to live in, post-Museveni.
Of course, it is only logical that a fully-fledged national dialogue will be inevitable to harmonise all the various strands of political, economic, socio-cultural aspirations and ideas that have been taking shape in the diverse public spaces, be it among political activists, civil society campaigners, religious fraternities, youth forums, rural community settings, market places, work places and all other such localities.
That dialogue will capture the unavoidable practical realisms, such as how to set up an all-inclusive transitional political governance arrangement to oversee the creation of a new constitutional framework that can ensure that Uganda is a truly modern state with all the inherent rights and freedoms for the country’s citizens not only guaranteed as such, but permanently safeguarded with the necessary enforcement and actualisation systems and institutions.
It is worth noting that, already, a national consensus does exist around the fundamentals of the new society that has to emerge once the dictatorship is fully dismantled
The fundamental pillars for building a new society will include a properly functioning and unadulterated judiciary and legislature, an unviolated Bank of Uganda and the rest of the banking sector; security services that are non-partisan and are not subjected to abuse by those in power; the all-important conducive democratic infrastructure that is fortified by an independent electoral commission; and all the other associated democracy-defining indices, such as the citizens’ right of assembly and freedom to protest; as well as a free press and the media in general that is nourished by the core values of freedom of expression and freedom of speech, and not one that lives in total fear and gets calls from state operatives and is under constant threat of closure.
Regrettably for Uganda, the last three decades have seen Mr. Museveni, capture, subvert and personalise the only existing institutions of state, an incredible idiosyncrasy that has, for example, transformed the country’s elections from a process of democratic contest into a presidential procession, where a disempowered, choice-less electorate and subservient institutions, such as the police and the security services, merely escort the incumbent president and his ruling party to statehouse.
To bring about an enduring and sustainable democratic infrastructure in a post-Museveni Uganda, all the citizens will have to embrace, the virtues of constitutionalism, and, in particular, the principles of accountability for those tasked with managing the country’s affairs. It is important to note that this is not just about any reforms that would merely alter the status quo, but rather a systemic overhaul of the decayed state.
The new Uganda will be a place where public institutions are respected and protected, and not abused or misused; where corruption and nepotism and all manner of bad governance, are not tolerated; where tribalism is rejected, and multiculturalism and inter-ethnic co-existence are upheld; where religious tolerance is the norm, and social harmony as well as mutual inter-dependence of all the people of Uganda define the collective identity of the New Uganda – a Uganda where all citizens are equal before the law of the Land.
The emergence of a totally new political dispensation will help to usher in a pro-people governance and societal management ethic, where those in power are subservient to and not masters over the people.
Federal Arrangement for the New Uganda nation:
Power will be devolved away from State House right to the people, through a mutually agreed Federal governance arrangement that emphasizes the centrality of the people themselves in developmental decision-making.
Accordingly, all the nation’s economic advancement and development will manifest through the principles of equitable sharing and distribution of the country’s wealth and resources to ensure progress for all.
Fellow citizens, lets us all work for a new future and destiny. Let us embrace a new beginning that will bring love between the peoples, rather than hatred; reconciliation and forgiveness, rather than revenge and retribution.
Message to Mr Museveni:
As for Mr Museveni – the special message to you is as follows – you have made your contributions to Uganda during the nearly 30 years of your presidency – some positive, but others grievously negative. Your time to retire from public office is HERE AND NOW. And it makes great sense for you to retire peacefully and honourably, just like the First Lady, Mrs Janet Kataaha Museveni has pledged to do in her recent proclamations.
It does not make any sense whatsoever for you to wait to be forced out of power in ways that could sink the country into the ultimate abyss. Uganda is bigger than any individual, including you, Mr Museveni. It is a Land of 35 million citizens, and we all, in our individual capacities, have a choice to make – either to destroy ourselves and our Motherland and have nowhere to call home, or to embrace the promise of hope for a better future for us and our children to come, and to work for that future by doing the right and honourable thing.
Truth and reconciliation:
In the spirit of mutual understanding, and through the inevitable processes of TRUTH AND RECONCILLIATION, Ugandans, in the new Uganda, will be capable of examining what went wrong in the past, and going forward, they will seek ways to unite the country in a manner that ensures that the ominous and ruinous demons and nightmares of our dark past do not rear their ugly heads ever again.
Dr Vincent Magombe, Secretary Free Uganda Leadership Committee and Press Secretary FU, also head of PRU Diaspora Mobilisation.