By Waniale Patrick
Uganda’s Independence Anniversary would be a day of jubilation by all Ugandans of all walks of life regardless of creed, political affiliation, ethnicity etc.
However, today, Wednesday 9th October 2019, Celebrations are about or have kicked off in the Eastern district of Sironko but many Ugandans across the country have mixed feelings as to whether it is still worth celebrating Uganda’s independence. Many factors can explain the indifference among the Ugandan population.
Uganda’s 57th Independence Anniversary is coming at a time when a big section of Ugandans are disgruntled, growing voices of dissent each day the manner our country is being managed. We in the FDC are out agitating for a fourth liberation for Uganda. Uganda witnessed relative democracy briefly 1962-1965, it is unfortunate since then power in Uganda has fallen into clicks of people who pretend to be patriots only to show their true colors a few years as greedy hypocrite autocrats.
Today the proponents of change in 1986 became proponents of no change a few years after usurping power. In the 33yrs of NRM rule, Museveni and his honchos have worked hard to destroy the political order which provides leadership through popular constitutional means based on peace unity, equality, democracy, freedom, social justice and progress, tenets the founding fathers of our nation were certain would build a better future for all.
The NRM under Museveni have manipulated and adopted a deliberate move to weaken institutions in favor of patronage networks, clientelism and Neo-patrimonialim where informal institutions are subversive of formal ones.
Under the arrangement access to public goods and services as well as economic opportunities depend on being part of the network. Majority of Ugandans who do not belong to this network have been reduced to second class citizens facing all sorts of discrimination, degrading treatment by criminal gangs in police and the army.
NRM has created institutions for advancing democratic governance for symbolic purposes aware such institutions would legitimize their government domestically and before donors. Rather than promoting democratization, these institutions have been systematically manipulated to promote vested political interests of Museveni and subsequently entrench him in power.
In addition, citizens of Uganda have earned more losses than gains under the NRM leadership. The regime presided over the collapse and sale of parastatals which were real investments from the sweat of the founders of our country.
Regional cooperative Unions collapsed and closure of the Cooperative bank. These left farmers at the mercy of Commercial Banks with high interest rates are areas of concern.
Replacement of cooperatives with SACCOS which are mainly lending agencies rather than produce buying entities, Collapse in the production capacity of agro-based industries like BAT and Uganda Millers which was sold off.
Increased poverty levels in the country side because market for agricultural produce slumped with the abolition of cooperatives. Poorly equipped primary and secondary schools, poorly under motivated teachers have compromised the quality of education our children get.
You are also aware the NRM regime presided over the collapse of Uganda Railways Corporation. This has increased pressure on the roads that accelerates tear and wear of roads due to heavy cargo.
Unemployment is at its highest under the NRM government, of the 600,000 who enter the job market only 9000 find jobs. Amidst this rising tide of youth un-employment hundreds of Ugandans have accepted to be subjected to modern slavery, smuggled and trafficked in pursuit of jobs overseas despites reports of low pay, physical assaults, and even death in the Middle East.
Museveni’s politics of patronage may have negative consequences to the economy, rather than use national resources for priority development programs that create jobs, they are instead wasted on rewarding loyalty, buying off opposition, bribing voters and investing in forces of coercion. These are issues making Uganda move one step forward, two steps backward.
FDC is defying Museveni’s style of Clientile, Patronage and Patrimonialism leadership. At this time, we have to pursue our party aspirations of establishing a government where there will be literally equality and fraternity, laws that protect all citizens in equal measure, and strong institutions to ensure continued stability, true patriotism and national identity.
Therefore Instead of attending a partisan national function presided over by the man who robbed FDC of its victory in 2016, I would encourage FDC members to dedicate this day to engagement s with the grassroots, building cells of mentally liberated people who will be prepared to take up tasks and carry out sacred mission of liberating the country.
Less of that, we must get prepared for the consequences of flawed democratic process for Uganda political future, amending constitution to serve individual interests, creating proxy parties, Double standards and hypocrisy while pretending to be democratic.
Thomas Jefferson once said “government can be a monster if the people manning it are not tied down by the constitution” NRM practices have not only marginalized the opposition but have made Uganda’s transition to democratic rule superficial.
As democratic avenues get closed, the possibility of civil disobedience, coups, terrorism and guerrilla wars become options.
The theme of the 57th Independence Anniversary of “consolidating national unity, security, freedom and prosperity” cannot be tenable under this regime of political manipulations, used to further and entrench Musevens’ personal rule at the cost of democratic consolidation.
“boots on the ground”.
ONE UGANDA ONE PEOPLE
Fdc District Chairman