Archive for February, 2010

As reported on Monitor Online

“there is one sentence in this whole article that sums the entire thing up and i could not have said it any better myself  “Museveni has so changed Uganda that everything revolves around him.”” Rebecca Fowler

NRM failures at a glance

* Failed to deliver free-and-fair elections.

* Failed to create consensus on democracy, citizenship, political systems, respect and protection of human rights, fundamental freedoms and electoral system.

* The President has an over-bearing influence over Parliament, often pushing MPs to pass laws he is interested in.

* The appointment of political cadres to the bench could jeopardise the independence of the Judiciary

* Other agencies like the Police, Civil Service, Teaching Service are also being “infiltrated” by military and political appointees.

* Political parties have been denied space to organise while the Movement continues to operate side by side with other parties despite claims of a multi-party dispensation.

* Employment in the formal sector remains low.

* Tax collection has stagnated at 12/13 per cent–below the African avarage of 18 per cent.

* Corruption has reached the Mobutu/Suharto/Ferdinand levels.

* Too many ghosts. Ghost teachers and students, ghost health workers and health facilities.

* Merit no longer a requirement in appointments and promotions in government jobs.

* The North was at war for over two decades and remains underdeveloped.

Mr Augustine Ruzindana served in the NRM government as Inspector General of Government and also represented Ruhaama County in the 7th Parliament. The Forum for Democratic Change Secretary for Research explains why no one should toast to President Museveni’s 24 years of power.

The last 24 years have been a mixture of successes, failures and disappointments. Museveni has had significant impact on so many aspects of the country and the lives of its people and within the Great Lakes region but I will only be able to deal with a few of them, in particular governance and politics.

His greatest success has been his ability to hold power for so long no matter what he has done with that power. His greatest disappointment has been failure to deliver free and fair elections and to transform the country from least developed to a developed industrial country which he had been accusing other leaders of failing to do.

He has also failed to create consensus on such issues as democracy, citizenship, political systems, respect and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, electoral system (see the representation of NUDIPU an NGO, UPDF, NOTU in parliament), system of local government (federalism) and the separation of his party from the state.

After 24 years the basis of Museveni’s tenure of power remains Legal Notice No.1 of 1986 issued immediately after the NRA captured power on January 25th 1986. Museveni, as Chair of the High Command of the NRA, ruled by decree until Legal Notice No.1 of 1986 (Amendment) Decree of 1987 vested “All Legislative powers” in the National Resistance Council (NRC).

During the initial years major decisions like the four-year initial transitional period and the restoration of the Kabaka were made by the NRA Army Council not the NRC, which was the top political organ of the NRM party and also chaired by Museveni.

Thus, Museveni was legally the head of the Legislature and the Executive at the same time until the 6th Parliament elected in 1996 under the 1995 Constitution. This should explain why the checks and balances of the 1995 Constitution failed to work.

With the experience of the bush days and the first 10 years of NRM rule, Museveni still looks at Parliament as an organ of the NRM and the Speaker as one of his appointees deployed to chair Parliament.

This explains why the late James Wapakhabulo and the late Francis Ayume could be removed from being Speaker without raising a murmur of protest. This is also why Museveni still decides what laws Parliament passes and when. The Land Amendment Act and the Regional Tier Bill are recent examples. In reality the independent Parliament created by the Constitution does not exist, it is just the NRC with another name.

The only organ of state that did not come under the President’s direct control was the Judiciary and to this day, even if it is gradually changing through appointment of NRM supporters, it is still under frequent unjustified attack by the President.

Militarised Police
Similarly, the Police never came under the direct control of the NRM until recently when serving military officers were appointed to head it, thus facilitating the posting of military officers to various departments and sections of the police, especially the intelligence department that replaced Special Branch.

The Civil Service and the Teaching Service are also undergoing similar changes through appointment and the recent patriotism programmes. This is the background to the power equation under Museveni/NRM rule. All the congratulatory messages in the media capture this reality by showing the picture of the man to whom the messages are sent.

One man’s show
Power in the army, the executive and the legislature has been held by one man since January 1986. He has exercised this power largely to continue as president indefinitely.

The first 10 years were of great promise and registered most successes. The President formed a broad-based government accommodating different political views and interests. The system of decentralisation and resistance councils (now local councils) with elected leaders was introduced.

Increased press freedom coupled with freedom for civil society to organise seemed to create prerequisites for a thriving democracy. These measures created immense good will and popularity for Museveni and his party. However, from the very beginning at no time was freedom for political parties to organise tolerated.

This has been a consistent position which to this day accounts for persisting police repression of activities of political parties.
While addressing the Movement National Conference on March 30, 2003 Museveni told the participants: “Because of the nature of our society, we shall not be a party”, but “we must have a system of allowing people who do not want to be part of the Movement to find their own home.” (New Vision, March 31, 2003).

Thus the movement system continues to operate as before side-by-side with political parties which are allowed to operate within restricted bounds.

Case of EC
The NRM political school managed by the UPDF continues to operate as before. The movement-era Electoral Commission remains in place with members appointed on the same criteria and in the same manner as RDCs. To maintain local councils as structures of the NRM, competitive elections have not been held since 2006 when their terms of office expired.

With regard to the economy, there were successes in turning round the economy and in maintaining macro-economic stability.
The rehabilitation and reconstruction phase attracted huge international support resulting in improved physical and social infrastructure. Employment levels in the formal sectors remain very low.

Tax collection improved but is dominated by indirect and import taxes and has stagnated at 12/13 per cent far below the African average of 18 per cent (Kenya 24 per cent).

Reports of foreign investment are of licensed projects by the UIA not of actual investment made. The country has registered respectable growth rates but the high birth rate and huge disparities between the rich and poor make the growth another ghost to the majority.

Governance, human rights protection, openness and accountability, due process and fair trial improved for sometime but there has been a sharp decline in the last 10 years.

The levels of corruption have reached the Mobutu/Suharto/Ferdinand Marcos levels and the regime can be rightly classified as a kleptocracy; corruption, loss of gains that had been made, has occurred at central and local government levels undermining service delivery so much so that no one takes the President’s lamentations seriously.

There are ghost teachers and students, ghost health workers and ghost health facilities and payment for air supply has become common place. Numerous scandals involving high level personalities have created a thriving sector of commissions of inquiry. Nepotism and cronyism are dominant features in recruitment, promotions and in doing business with government.

Greatest failure
The greatest failure, however, has been the failure to deliver free-and-fair elections, the alleged cause of the Luwero war. The elections of 1996, 2001, 2006 under Museveni have not been deemed free and fair.

It seems this is an ingrained character trait as in some of these elections Museveni could have won without rigging.
For elections to be considered free-and-fair, there must be agreed rules for the electoral process and they must be conducted by an electoral management body accepted and respected by all the participants in the elections.

Failure to meet this requirement explains why elections are always considered rigged and do not achieve the finality they should.

Museveni has so changed Uganda that everything revolves around him.

The 24 years have been a movement from chaos (Lutwa) and tyrannical instability (Obote 11) to relative peace and more or less tyrannical stability.

via Daily Monitor: Truth Everyday; Uganda News, Business, Travel, Sports, Elections  – MUSEVENI 24 YEARS LATER: It has been a move from chaos to tyranny and tyrannical stability.

So i have lots on my plate this year, which is quite exciting for me now as i’m no longer working.

This year i’m dedicating my time to ensuring my health gets better as this “hypothyroidism” really sucks crab big time and i’m so over being exhausted and sick. I’m also dedicating my time to some new volunteer work at the Horn of Africa Relief and Development centre, hopefully helping newly arrived Sudanese to learn basic English to help them gain employment.

I’ve got some great things booked already for Invisible Children Aus, like the Orientation Day stall at Notre Dame University in February of this year and am hoping to have a stall at the Blacktown Festival in June of this year also.

Since seeing the Invisible Children Documentary i have felt blessed to be able to help in a way that i have but sometimes it feels like its not enough, like if i died would all i have done gone noticed? i don’t feel so, i know do alot for others but in a way i feel constricted to the computer, like i have not done enuff “hands on” work, so my goal is to get to Northern Uganda in April of 2011 and do some “hands on” work with 3 great organizations, Invisible Children, Joy for Children Uganda and Compassion Australia.

Whilst in Northern Uganda i wish to briefly study the effects of war and poverty within the community as well as document stories of those affected by the war and poverty as well as the AIDS/HIV virus. I will then be visiting my sponsored children in Western Uganda before heading home to apply to University. I’m not quite sure exactly which course i want to take as yet as i’m still conflicted between Journalism and Peace & Development as i’m not totally sure which one of those would help me achieve what it is i want to achieve in my life.

I love being able to inspire people and report injustices, unheard stories and helping others understand the plight of those in war & poverty.

Where i live, we have a large Sudanese Community who are settling here and i feel that we need to understand more what these people have lived through and how better we can serve them to help them become fantastic community members as well. The racism i see going on is wrong.  I myself have been a victim of racism by a newly arrived Youth quite recently actually and found myself quite shocked by this youth’s behavior and clear lack of respect for anyone but himself.  It really upset me that i was just driving down the street and suddenly this youth stepped out on the road in front of my car and expected me to be able to stop for him! when i called out the window and proceed to explain he had stepped out on the road and it was not a footpath,  i was told in quite a forceful manner to “f**k off!” well i lost it right then and there and told him in my best Aussie Accent “no mate, you f**k off, this is a road not a footpath!! your lucky i was able to stop!” I held no racism nor hate or malice against this youth but it really pissed me off that he EXPECTED me to stop my car immediately and let him walk across the road! Then it kinda made me wonder what this youth has been through both before coming here and then after coming here and what could have happened to him to make him be so rude and forceful, was he a victim of racism by our local community?  I felt ashamed and really not proud of myself for my outburst but i had just had enough.

Over the last few weeks i have come to see that there is SOOO much racism in Australia its not funny and yet we are built on a foundation of multiculturalism, how did we get like this? The Aussie way is giving a hand to the battlers, giving people a fair go, yet all i hear are people complaining about our govt letting in refugee’s and immigrants. Do these people not deserve a fair go? Refugee’s are the most resilient and strong people on our earth, they have faced such hard times and suffered things, we in our beautiful country have not had to experience, yet you all complain?

Unless your an aboriginal, REMEMBER your family immigrated here sometime either recently or in history!! Our penal colony country has evolved into a haven of racism and hate and it really saddens me to see i, but can we expect any less from a country that was founded with criminals?

My parents immigrated here when they were children with their families, had they not, i’d probably be Dutch and living in the Netherlands. What country would you have been born in if your parents were not blessed to call Australia home? think about it!

so as not to end on a downer, i really wanna congratulate Invisible Children on winning the Chase Community Giveaway through Facebook! $1 Million Dollars!! $100,000 of that has been pledged to Haiti Relief and the rest will be used to build schools and water wells as well as maintain the cotton farm in Northern Uganda so that very soon the Tshirts you buy will be MADE on Invisible Children Cotton from Northern Uganda, how cool is that!!! Invisible Children keep on fighting for the end of a war that has been raging for around 24 yrs now. Will you join in the fight? the fight to end the Longest Running War in Africa?

– Rebecca Fowler