Opposition releases book on ‘reclaiming people’s power’

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The Ugandan opposition has released an anonymous book titled “Reclaiming People’s Power. A Fact Book for the People’s Government.”

The book printed in April 2018 is not attributed to any individual which gives it anonymous authorship.

It only became public knowledge on September 12 when Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] mobilisation secretary Ingrid Turinawe reached out to opposition activists, asking them to pick copies.

According to its table of contents, the book covers the theory of change, the Uganda defiance campaign and its current status, activism and organisation as an inseparable entity, the structure of the people’s government, Tubalemese campaign and how it works.

Released at the backdrop of a new campaign “M7 Must Go” and “People Power, Our Power”, the book chronicles Ugandans struggle for accountable political leadership, struggles to place people’s aspirations and needs at the centre of governance and struggles for the people to recover their power from “a few elements who hijacked it using guns”

The book claims that post-independence leaders have been working as agents of the defeated colonialists than for Ugandans

“Many of them turned unto thieves and new oppressors stealing from te public coffers with impunity. This trend has continued under all the successive regimes in Uganda climaxing into the rotten National Resistance Movement [NRM] rogue dictatorship which has perfected the art of plunder, murder, torture, deceit, tribalism, election theft and subjugation of highly disempowered citizens,” the anonymous author states in his Foreword.

The unknown author further states that “the only way of ensuring a people-centred governance is by empowering the population, making them aware of their rights and strengths, organising and involving them in non-violent civil actions in order for them to be able to exert control overt any government in power”.

The author, however, indicates that they are against regime change through use of guns because the new gunmen, once in power, will also most likely turn into military dictators.

“Shooting a dictatorship out of power dis-empowers the population, kills state institutions, centralises state power into the hands of new rulers and creates untouchable “princesses and princes.”

Opposition says for the last 15 years, it has been mobilising and sensitising citizens on the need to come out and assert themselves over government, demanding their due share of the national cake and to a small extent increasing degree of holding government accountable.

“If government chooses not to listen and not to be accountable to citizens, the people’s mandate which gives them legitimacy to exist should be withdrawn. Citizens must be able to stand up, organise to disobey [defy] any rogue regime and push it out.”

Opposition proposes to achieve this with effective information sharing, deliberate mobilisation and organisation of the masses and finally a relentless struggle against government’s anti-people policies and decisions.

“Once citizens achieve success over government in such a manner, they regain their sovereign authority over any government and with it, a new political order in society.”

The book describes defiance as not “throwing stones but rather applying any legitimate actions which are non-violent. It is all about the population withdrawing cooperation with the existent regime and its supporters”.

Power belongs to the people?

“When our leaders have become misleaders and mentors have become tormentors. When freedom of expression becomes the target of oppression, opposition becomes our position,” Kyadondo East MP Bobi Wine told BBC in an interview.

The lyrics are also from a song titled Situka, which means “Rise up” in Luganda, sung by Ugandan musician-turned-politician Bobi Wine ahead of the 2016 general elections.

The Afrobeats artist was using the song to exhort Ugandans to play an active role in fighting corruption and injustice in the country.

At the time many of the country’s famous musicians backed Museveni’s re-election but Bobi Wine however refused to hop on the bandwagon.

It was then that some suspected that he wanted to play an active role in politics – a change of career which has now led to him being charged with treason and allegedly tortured by the military.

He has thus become the centre of a new “people power, our power” movement that is demanding for change.

The 2016 – 2021 Citizens Manifesto was launched alongside the launch of the different party manifestos around the country at Hotel Africana.

“The Citizens Manifesto is a statement of what we want as citizens, what we deserve, as a people of this great country and what we will do to make our country better,” reads an Excerpt, The Citizens Manifesto 2016 – 2021.

The Citizens manifesto 2016 – 2021 calls for a reclaim of power, based on the proclamation of Article 1 of the Constitution, “Power Belongs to the people…”! This manifesto is informed by 29 other manifestos and several interest groups.

Speaking at the launch that saw participants in hundreds, Mr Richard Ssewakiryanga, ED UNNGOF, stressed that now is the time for every Citizen of Uganda to take care of their country by voting for politicians who shall work towards effective service delivery.

As part of his presentation of the Manifesto, Mr Arthur Larok, Country Director, Action Aid International Uganda described the current manifesto as another effort aimed at raising the momentum to improve social services, and asks the political leadership to end corruption, promote equitable distribution of resources and demand that political parties and government invest in good relations.

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