Deputy government spokesperson, Col Shaban Bantariza, says the first 24 years [after independence] before President Yoweri Museveni captured power, were marred with violence, coups and state of emergency.
“To some, it’s 30 years of achievements. Others say it’s been 30 years of going on as usual. We need to make a comparative analysis,” Bantariza suggested.
He was appearing on NBS TV morning breeze on Wednesday alongside Henry Kasaaca, a political analyst, on whether 30 Years of NRM are worth celebrating.
According to Kasacca, its important to look at the 30 years in the context of the pre-NRM history.
“Is NRM dealing with the threats that might drag Uganda to the chaotic pre-1986 times?” he questioned.
He said there was a recovery period after President Museveni came into power (1986-1994).
“We have moved out of the recovery stage. Ugandans have new demands that can’t be solved by simply reminding them ‘…in 1986…since 1986,” he stated.
Bantariza, on the other hand, said between Independence till 1986, Ugandans were ideologically fragmented.
“1961 elections were repeated because colonial Britain was Anglican and didn’t want to hand over to Ben Kiwanuka, a Catholic.”
He said the NRM government has managed to deal with sectarianism, reducing it to minimal level, stating that more needs to be done.
“Development is a process. It wasn’t possible for the original liberation group to remain original.”
Kasacca deferred saying Uganda has not dealt with sectarianism and kept brushing it away.
“We need to focus on how we can use our differences to build Uganda.”
He said abuse of state institutions is the reason behind post-independence turmoil and yet it continues to exist today.
“Democracy can’t get off our priority list. Today, people are embracing elections but want to rig them.”
“Unless we consolidate what we have achieved, we are likely to slide back to turmoil.”
He said today’s NRM finds itself in a dilemma where it can’t deal with some of its elements because it had a hand in their making.