Incarcerated the former coordinator of Uganda’s intelligence services in the UPDF, General David Sejusa, says government is now using a fantasy coup d’état to divert public attention.
In a letter published by The Observer, Sejusa says the NRM government is moving in a reverse direction from democracy back to dictatorship.
“By the way, people should not confuse a people’s uprising with a coup. A popular uprising is a legitimate struggle whereas a coup is an illegitimate anti-people activity,” Sejusa writes.
Sejusa says when a government has been in power for 30 uninterrupted years, it becomes inevitable that people will start asking questions about service delivery, accountability, and crime and so on and ultimately will start demanding for change of some sort.
“The central role of leaders, therefore, is to confront, head on, the complex issue of how to manage these changes on demands. Many failures often, result from the tendency of the people who are in charge, to keep their heads-down in denial of this fact.”
He said all this turmoil we see today, especially among the political actors and between the different state institutions is an inevitable consequence of maturity (coming of age) of a system, which requires a new, clearly set-out ideological and political framework.
“This is the ideological issue and the core question of our time. And how we handle this issue will determine how Uganda as a country and the East African region will be, not in the next 20 or 30 years, but maybe in five years or less. This is what faces us and must guide us in the choices we make today.”
Sejusa also cites a generation standoff citing four generations which are active in the current political life of the country.
“The first is that of the independence struggle era. These are people who participated in the independence struggle or were part of the political process immediately after independence. This group is represented by elders like our wazei, Kintu Musoke, [Ali Kirunda] Kivejinja, [Henry] Kajura, Bidandi Ssali, Moses Ali, late Eria Kategaya and others.”
“The second category is that which cut its political teeth, so to speak, during the turbulent post-independence years. This group is led by His Excellency the president, with elders like Tarsis Kabwegyere, Sam Kutesa, [Kahinda] Otafiire, Amama Mbabazi, [Edward] Ssekandi, Fredrick Ssempebwa, John Katende, Richard Kaijuka, Amanya Mushega, Tumusiime Mutebire, Ruhakana Rugunda, and others.”
“The third category is the generation of those who were still in school until the overthrow of Idi Amin. This group comprises majority of the current corporate class like Dr Simon Kagugube, Onyango Obbo and others.”
It also includes; generals [Elly] Tumwine, Sejusa, Julius Oketta, Katumba Wamala and people like [Miria] Matembe, [Mike] Mukula, Musa Ecweru, Kassiano Wadri, Mugisha Muntu, Dr [Kizza] Besigye, Richard Buteera and many of the middle-aged professors, MPs and military generals you hear of today.”
The fourth active category is the post NRM/NRA bush war. These, I can safely term as the children of the revolution. Though this has two segments, they can be joined, for their political and social outlook has been determined or influenced by the same circumstances.”
“These include; the late [Noble] Mayombo, Andrew Mwenda, [Robert] Kabushenga, Norbert Mao, etc. To this group we can add the many young professionals in many fields today. People like the young Kampala lawyer Erias Lukwago, Theodore Sekikubo, [Abdu] Katuntu, Frank Tumwebaze, Richard Todwong, etc.”
According to him, unless leaders start focusing on this question, they may not avoid friction and discontent by failure to appreciate the generational gridlock.
He said the other issues is the role of the military.
“Will it remain an embodiment of the power or will it try to subvert the power of the people and by so doing, lose its historic pro-people position, which would of course result in its defeat and, inevitable collapse?” he queries.
On opposition, Sejusa wonders whether they discussed or do they even know what part to play or even how to position themselves in this inevitable national process.
“For instance, what is the ideological foundation of “walk-to-work” campaign? What is its end state as we say in the military? Is it revolutionary in intent or evolutionary?”
He hoped the opposition fully understands the mechanisms of political warfare vis a vis strategy and tactics.
Lastly, he says the most important component is the role of civil society and the population at large.
“With the political and quasi-military (Mchaka mchaka/cadre training, etc) empowerment they have attained in the last 31 years of NRM rule (1981–2016), how will they behave if their power is challenged by the political class, be they politicians or the military? I hope all the leaders understand this reality on the ground.”