Uganda Peoples Congress
UGANDA PEOPLES CONGRESS
(Office of the President)
BY A. MILTON OBOTE
PRESIDENT: UGANDA PEOPLES CONGRESS
TO: THE DONOR COMMUNITY.
DICTATORSHIP AND THE SUPPRESSIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN UGANDA
- I am the President of the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC), the only Party, which has formed the government of Uganda twice, and each time after free and fair multiparty elections. Every other government of Uganda since Independence in 1962 has been either military dictatorship or one-Party government or as present one-Party cum military dictatorship.
- The purpose of this Memorandum is to appeal to the donor Community to place Uganda on the same terms and conditions by which their finances are made available to other African Countries which are endeavouring to develop good governance on the basis of the enjoyment and exercise by the citizen of his/her human rights and freedoms.
- In Uganda and for the past 14 years, since 1986, the system of governance has suppressed the enjoyment and exercise by the citizen of his human rights and freedoms. In those 14 years, the donors have made their funds available to Uganda but the people of Uganda as a whole, on the other hand, have had no voice in the deployment and usage of such funds.
- The donor funds made available to Uganda are voted by the respective donor Parliaments to which donor Ministers are accountable. There is no corresponding Parliament in Uganda. All the members of the Uganda Parliament belong to one Party; even persons elected as Independents are, by law, conscripted to be members of the ruling Party.
- Uganda's ruling Party is the political Wing of an insurgent army once known as the National Resistance Army (NRA). The army has since changed its name to Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) and its political Wing has also changed its name from the National Resistance Movement (NRM) to The Movement. Despite the change in names, the political Wing of the UPDF is now the Movement. Uganda therefore has been, for 14 years - a military cum one-Party State.
- Besides being the political Wing of the ruling army and being the government of Uganda and outside the provisions of the Constitution promulgated in 1995, the Wing has also been made a system of governance. Thus, in Uganda, the political Wing of the ruling army and the government of the Wing, constitute a system of governance and is in the Constitution as the Movement Political System to be adopted either through free and fair elections or through a referendum although it is already in existence.
- The essence of the Movement Political System is that there must be no other political Party or Parties to compete with the Movement in politics and elections and secondly under the law enacted in 1997, all public institutions such as Parliament and all Lower Councils as well as government Departments, the Army and the Police have been made organs of the Movement.
- Competition in politics and elections by political Parties was prohibited and severe restrictions on the activities of the political Parties were also imposed both in 1986 - 14 years now - without even any legislation. The prohibitions and restrictions were codified and made an Article in the 1995 Constitution. In the past 14 years, Uganda therefore has had only one political Party, the political Wing of the ruling army, participating in politics and in elections and that is provided in the Constitution as Transitional. Transitional prohibitions and restrictions have therefore been the case for 14 years.
- Although Article 29 of the 1995 Constitution provides that it is a fundamental human right and freedom of the citizen to form or belong to a political Party, the same Constitution also provides that the enjoyment and exercise of the same fundamental human right and freedom of the citizen be determined by votes in a referendum and not by every individual citizen in accordance with his/her conscience. Subjecting the nature and level of the enjoyment and exercise by the citizen of his/her human rights and freedoms to be determined by votes in a referendum has been described and is regarded by Uganda's political Parties as an evil.
- The Referendum law provides for a three-sided contest by three political systems. In reality, only the Movement system shall be in the referendum. This is because one of the systems is totally unknown and has never been experienced in Uganda. The third system, the multiparty system which is well known in Uganda is crippled by the 14 years old restrictions on the activities of the political Parties and by the restrictions being in force in the run up to the referendum.
- It is known and I personally know that the British government made representations to the Uganda dictatorship for the restrictions on the activities of the political Parties to be lifted a year before the referendum. The representations were rejected and despite or in spite of the rejection, the British government is now a leading supporter of the referendum being held with the restrictions on the political Parties still in force.
- The restrictions debar the political Parties from participation in the referendum in support of the multiparty system in the same way as they have, in the past 14 years, debarred the political Parties from participation in politics and elections. The restrictions which are in an Article in the Constitution are as follows:-
- No Party is to open and operate any Branch office;
- No Party is to hold a Conference of its Supreme Organ (to formulate its policies and/or elect its national leaders);
- No Party is to hold any public rally or meeting;
- No Party is to sponsor or offer any platform to or in any way campaign for or against any candidate for any public elections; and
- No Party is to carry out any activities that may interfere with the Movement Political System for the time being in force.
- The restrictions constitute a leading pillar and core of what is the Movement Political System and they also leave the Movement to be alone without a competitor or competitors in politics, elections and the referendum. Governments in the donor countries would not accept any elections or referendum to be held elsewhere in Africa, except in Uganda and Rwanda which is a satellite of the Uganda dictatorship, on the premise of the restrictions in the Uganda Constitution. The exemption of Uganda from good governance and respect for human rights and freedoms which is the policy of the donor Community elsewhere in Africa, makes it appear that the policy which the donor Community are pursuing elsewhere in Africa is only a holding operation until such time as the Uganda system can expand through wars and engulf the whole of sub-Sahara Africa.
- Despite the firm decision of the Uganda dictatorship for the restrictions to remain in force in the run up to the Referendum, some governments in the donor Community have been urging Uganda's political Parties to participate in the referendum. The idea is for the Parties to participate when all their Branches are dormant and the Branches or organs of the Movement are all active and when the Supreme Organs of each Party has not met to formulate any policy or elected national leaders. It is the firm opinion of Uganda's political Parties that any such participation would be spurious and would be a specious chicanery to give credence to what is essentially a referendum in which the Movement alone and all its Organs shall be free to participate.
- The goal of the referendum is presented by the Uganda dictatorship as choosing and adopting a system of governance and the donor Community have accepted that presentation at face value. The goal is, in fact, as provided in the Constitution, to move Uganda from a de facto military cum one-Party State to a de jure military cum one-Party State; and that is the reason for the restrictions to remain in force in the run up to the referendum so that there should not be even a fluke of a chance for the Movement System to lose.
- It is provided in the Constitution that a system chosen (and the political Wing of the ruling army is a system) shall enact legislation which will include imposing discrimination whereby the chosen system will give different treatment to different people attributable only or mainly to their respective descriptions by political opinion. Elsewhere in Africa, the donor Community do not accept a political Party as a system of governance but they do accept such a clear case of dictatorship in Uganda.
- When the British government failed to get the Uganda dictatorship to lift the restrictions on the political Parties a year ahead of the referendum, the British government adopted another course which, though it would not lift the restrictions, would also give the dictatorship the means to declare the existing Parties illegal and not to allow the formation of any new Party. The British government is urging the dictatorship to enact a law for the registrations of the old existing Parties and the formation and registrations of new Parties. The dictatorship has made drafts of the law. The provisions in the latest draft presume that no Party exists or has existed in Uganda.
- The latest draft provides that for a Party to exist, it must first be registered. To register, a Party must have a specific number of supporters in 2/3 (two-thirds) of the administrative areas known as District. This means, for instance, that my Party, the first to be formed in Uganda in 1952 with the name of the Uganda National Congress (UNC) and which has formed the government of Uganda twice, has been made by the 14 years old restrictions not to exist and must show afresh that it has a specific number of members in at least two-thirds of the Districts. Although I believe that my Party can overcome the obstacle, intimidation or worse to discourage members from allowing their names to be exposed in a defacto one-Party situation where the ruling Party is vehemently against the existence of any other Party, cannot be easily discounted.
- The registration of any new Party shall be even more difficult. Since the sponsors of any new Party cannot, according to "the Movement Political System for the time being in force," hold public meetings to promote their new Party and recruit members, the sponsors will have to operate in clandestine ways. By operating in clandestine ways to recruit members, the sponsors will also thereby send signals to potential members not to come out in the open for fear of intimidation or worse.
- The system of governance elsewhere in Africa which the donor Community are supporting, does not include the registrations of political Parties under conditions designed to make them all fail the test for registration; does not include severe restrictions designed by the ruling Party to debar all other Parties from participating in politics, elections or referendum; does not include the ruling Party declaring itself a system of governance and therefore not the equal or competitor of any other Party or Parties and does not include the holding of a referendum as a contrivance leading to one-Party dictatorship. The donor Community have no reason, based on the enjoyment and exercise of the human rights and freedoms of the individual by the people of Uganda for not placing Uganda on the same terms and conditions by which their finances are made available to other African countries which are endeavouring to develop good governance on the basis of the enjoyment and exercise by the citizen of his/her human rights and freedoms.
- What is woefully missing from the position of the donor Community on Uganda, is how they have ignored the existence in the Uganda Constitution of the very system of governance, which they support elsewhere in Africa. The fact is that the Uganda Constitution is in two parts. The first part which both the Uganda dictatorship and the donor Community have ignored, contains an elaborate non-discriminatory system of governance which is accessible to all political Parties and to all citizens. The second part, which is termed Transitional, contains a discriminatory one-Party dictatorship under which the ruling Party has removed all other political Parties from politics, elections or referendum through a severe and crippling set of restrictions. The referendum is designed so as to enable the discriminatory system to supersede the non-discriminatory system.
- In the non-discriminatory first part, the Constitution provides that: -
- The Constitution derives its authority from the people who consent to be governed in accordance with (this) Constitution.
- The people shall express their will and consent on who shall govern them and how they should be governed through regular, free and fair elections of their representatives or through referenda.
- The fundamental human rights and freedoms of the individual are inherent and not granted by the State.
- No citizen is to suffer discrimination based on his/her political opinion, sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, or social or economic standing or disability.
- All persons are equal before and under the law in all spheres of political, economic and cultural life and in every other respect and shall enjoy equal protection of the law.
- Every person shall have the right to: -
- Freedom of speech and expression, which shall include freedom of the press and other media;
- Freedom of thought, conscience and belief which shall include academic freedom in institutions of learning;
- Freedom to practise any religion and manifest such practice which shall include the right to belong to and participate in the practices of any religious body or organisation in a manner consistent with this Constitution;
- Freedom to assemble and to demonstrate together with others peacefully and unarmed and to petition; and
- Freedom of association which shall include the freedom to form and join associations or unions, including trade unions and political and other civic organisations.
- Members of Parliament shall be elected on adult suffrage in free and fair regular elections.
- The President shall be elected on adult-suffrage in free and fair regular elections and shall appoint ministers with the consent of Parliament.
- The power of the Judiciary is derived from the people and shall be exercised by the Courts in the name of the people and in conformity with law and with the values, norms and aspirations of the people.
- Public Service is not to be under the control of a political Party.
- Lower Councils are to be elected on adult suffrage in free and fair regular elections.
- By consistently for 14 years, strongly endorsing, supporting, financing and praising a totalitarian system of governance established by an insurgent army and its political Wing, governments in the donor Community effectively established Dual Policy on human rights and good governance in Africa. Unlike elsewhere in Africa, the Dual Policy made governments in the donor Community to treat Uganda, for 14 years, as a sacred cow, which is free to suppress human rights and good governance. The Dual Policy therefore: -
- emboldened the insurgent army and its political Wing to devastate parts of Uganda through wars characterised by genocide, massacres and despoliation which no government in the donor Community condemned;
- emboldened the insurgent army and its political Wing to invade Rwanda in October 1990 and conquer it in 1994, to destabilise Burundi, to invade Zaire and remove President Mobutu and his regime and to invade the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in August 1998 and because of the Dual Policy, no government in the donor Community condemned these aggressive and expansionist exports of death, devastations and despoliations;
- gave the insurgent army and its political Wing a free hand to rule Uganda by suppressing, for 14 years, the human rights of the individual and to design a referendum which will make the suppressions of human rights permanent; and
- gave the insurgent army and its political Wing a free hand to institute corruption as a feature of governance.
- On 5 February 1981 - 19 years ago -, the army which since January 1986 has been governing Uganda together with its political Wing, launched a civil war in Uganda. The entire country including the launch area was at peace, which made that army to adopt a most vicious policy against the people in the launch area. The insurgency was defeated in 1984 and the leader of the insurgent army, Yoweri Museveni now President since 1986, fled to Sweden. After the military overthrow of the elected government in July 1985, the insurgency again broke out in September 1985 a month after Museveni had returned to East Africa.
- Between 1981 and 1984, the insurgency was confined in a small area and its environs in the Southern Region (Province). The rest of the country remained peaceful. Between September 1985 and January 1986, the insurgency covered areas in the Southern and Western Regions or Provinces. The army, which now rules Uganda together with its political Wing, overthrew the military Junta on 26 January 1986. The overthrow of the gormless and much detested Junta was welcomed throughout the country and the Party whose government was overthrown by the Junta welcomed the ouster of the Junta as a poetic Justice. Peace, contrary to the perception in the donor Community however, did not return to Uganda.
- Although no rebel groups, armed or political, existed and the second largest Party (Democratic Party) joined the new administration to give it much credence and credibility, the ruling army and its political Wing invented and instigated rebellions. The inventions and instigation of rebellions by the ruling army, in various forms, caused the rise of rebel armies when local people in many areas banded together to defend the lives and property of their families. That turned out to be what the ruling army wanted namely, the excuse for extensive massacres, devastations and despoliations. Until October 1990, the commanders of the ruling army were predominantly Tutsi Rwanda refugees who treated the people of Uganda as conquered people and therefore whose massacres were of no consequence.
- What the ruling army did to the people of Uganda in the late 1980s, were, because of the Dual Policy, never condemned by governments in the donor Community. Even when Museveni publicly disclosed genocide in 1989 that military operations had uprooted two point seven (2.7) million people from their homes and that the army had destroyed the entire foodstuff in areas formally inhabited by some five million people, governments in the donor Community responded with increased aid to Uganda although they must have known that some three million people perished during those military operations which were clearly to commit genocide.
- On the other hand, the same governments in the donor Community continue to condemn me and my government for the atrocities committed between February 1981 and June 1984 in an area with a population of 600,000 where Museveni had launched his insurgency. Neither my Party nor my government nor I had launched that insurgency. It was in the interest of my government to contain and defeat the insurgency, which was done. It was not in our interest to allow the national army to commit atrocities and thereby create a condition for the expansion and success of the insurgency. In condemning me and my government, governments in the donor Community are erecting and have erected a screen to conceal the fact that the nature of the atrocities committed in the insurgency which my government defeated has been repeated with much virulence under Museveni as President and involved many millions of people and vast areas of Uganda. Another screen is that the Uganda economy has been doing very well under Museveni despite wars in Uganda, in Rwanda, in Zaire, in Sudan and now in the DRC. The screens constitute the essence of the Dual Policy of the donor Community to detract attention away from the suppressions of human rights, carnage, genocide and corrupt practices by the Uganda dictatorship.
- A Third-world country which has been subjected to wars for the past 19 years and a regime which has been waging wars in and out of the country for over 14 years, which is Uganda's very traumatic experience, its economy cannot be said to be doing very well. That, however, is the chorus of the governments in the donor Community. On that chorus that the Uganda economy has been performing very well, those governments in the donor Community have not only ignored the impact of wars on the lives of the people and on the economy, the suppressions of the inalienable human rights of the individual and the instituted rampant corruption but have also adopted a Dual Policy on financing Uganda on one hand and on the other financing the rest of Africa. Uganda is financed despite the suppressions of human rights and rampant corruption in high places whereas elsewhere in Africa, those would be grounds for withholding aid.
- Whereas the donor Community are, in most praiseworthy ways, promoting and encouraging the development of respect and observance of human rights and multiparty rule in Africa, they are also simultaneously, promoting and encouraging the entrenchment of military cum one-Party rule in Uganda and in Uganda's satellite, Rwanda. This Dual Policy has existed since 1986 - now over 14 years.
- Some of the gravely disturbing consequences of the Dual Policy have been and are as follows:- (i) The Uganda dictatorship, which no government in the donor Community recognises as such, was emboldened by the Dual Policy to invade Rwanda in 1990 and to have its army in occupation of Northern Rwanda for 3 1/2 years until the invasion army conquered Rwanda in 1994. No government in the donor Community because of the Dual Policy condemned the invasion or the occupation of Northern Rwanda by the Uganda army. (ii) Rwanda was at peace at the time of the invasion. It was invaded because the regime of the late President Habyarimana had adopted and was implementing the multiparty system of governance. When Burundi adopted the same system and held the first multiparty elections in 1993, a former military dictator of Burundi who was living in Uganda went home and arranged for the assassinations of the elected President and some of his ministers. (iii) The development of democracy and the enjoyment and exercise of human rights and freedoms by the citizen in Burundi and Rwanda have been reversed by the Uganda dictatorship because, on account of the Dual Policy, the governments in the donor Community chose not to censor but to allow the dictatorship to have hegemony in Burundi and Rwanda where, like in Uganda, the rulers are vehemently and aggressively opposed to the establishment of democratic multiparty system of governance. (iv) The successful export by the Uganda dictatorship of human carnage and loss by the citizen of the enjoyment and exercise of his/her human rights and freedoms to Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which export was never condemned by any of the governments in the donor Community, now threatens development of democracy in Uganda's neighbourhood. The next probable targets are Zambia and Kenya. There have been reports in Uganda of Zambian and Kenyan rebel armies being trained in Uganda. (v) The donor Community by tying their loans, grants and technical assistance to countries such as Zambia and Kenya to governments respecting the human rights and freedoms of the citizen (which is a very good policy) when, on the other hand, the same Community provide annually huge financial subventions to Uganda which are not even loosely tied to requiring the dictatorship to respect the human rights and freedoms of the citizen (which is a very bad policy), the Community are making some politicians in Zambia a nd Kenya (and in Uganda) not to work for democracy but for dictatorship in their countries in the belief that the Uganda brand of dictatorship is the system most favoured by the donor Community. (vi) In Uganda, the policy of the donor Community to finance, facilitate and praise every scheme for the suppression of the enjoyment and exercise by the citizen of his/her human rights and freedoms; every scheme to remove the political Parties and competition of ideas from Uganda's body politic; and the policy to underwrite or make good the huge local resources which the dictatorship votes annually for its army of oppression, have created the culture of rebel armies which, because the political Parties have been debarred and prohibited from participation in politics, are led by persons who in normal multiparty situation would not be leaders. (vii) Also in Uganda, where corruption has been instituted as a means to recruit political support and for the management of the economy, the most effective and ubiquitous police against corrupt politicians or government namely, the political Parties and competitive politics and elections have been removed from Uganda's body politic to thereby allow corruption to grow. Only a few of its ugly face are cited below: - ? To hoodwink the donor Community that there is free debate of public affairs, supporters of the dictatorship debate corruption eclectically but the political Parties are not permitted to convene public meetings in order to debate corruption or any public policy and certainly not the embezzlement of public funds. ? In 1987, for instance, when new currency was introduced and a development tax of 30% was levied as part of the conversion, the money raised has never appeared in any budget because the huge sum was pocketed by the President. The supporters of the dictatorship, who are the only people with voice in the politics of Uganda, have not dared to question where the money ended. In 1998, the largest Commercial Bank, a parastatal, was made under the guise of privatisation to loan to the brother of the President who is a very senior army officer, a sum of money greater than the purchase price of the bank. The army officer used part of the loan to "buy" the bank. The sale of the bank was not advertised and it turned out that the purchase was a fraud. ? In July 1989 President Museveni pronounced at a press conference his policy on corruption which has remained to date. The policy has two legs; the first is that for him "to stamp out corruption, would cause problems" and the second is that "there are more important things to do such as developing the economy and maintaining peace than to battle with corruption." ? In October, 1990 when President Museveni left Uganda for New York, he took with him Uganda's entire foreign reserve. On return, he did not pay back to the Bank of Uganda any balance. (viii) The army of the Uganda dictatorship has committed and continues to commit genocide, massacre, devastation and despoliations which the governments in the donor Countries have ignored and condoned or ascribed to the rebel armies even where overwhelming evidence exonerated the rebel armies such as in the following instances and events: - ? In November 1986, Museveni's ministry of defence issued a bulletin, which stated that it was "Government policy for the army to destroy whatever food or whatever would give succour to rebels." Since there is no food anywhere in Uganda or elsewhere in the world which can give succour only to rebels and not to the people as a whole and although The Geneva Convention forbids the starvation of the civil population as a weapon of war, not a single government in the donor Community condemned or censured the Uganda dictatorship. ? To implement the above policy, the dictatorship introduced a scheme which was carried in the East and North throughout 1987 by which able-bodied men in a village were summoned to gather at an appointed place, date and time to allegedly be addressed on agricultural production and all who went to any such gathering were arrested and massacred. One of the massacres in the third week of January, 1987 in Northern Uganda was even covered by Journalists who were told that the 600 and more victims were "rebels". Museveni and his field commander both described what happened as "the massacre of those chaps very badly." Museveni is the only President in Africa whose regime adopted and executed and can adopt and execute military operations for crimes against humanity and who admits massacres by his army and still remain very much the favourite of the governments in the donor Community. ? In a press interview in June 1989 Museveni disclosed that as a direct result of military operations to destroy foodstuff in vast areas in Eastern and Northern Uganda, "there isn't any food anymore to destroy" and also disclosed that the military operations had rendered 2.7 (two point seven) million people destitutes who had lost everything including homes, foodstuff, livestock and personal effects and were, at that time, living in makeshift camps without adequate food, water and no blankets. The disclosure left out some three million inhabitants of the areas of operations who have never been seen since. This was definitive genocide but no government in the donor Community condemned it and instead, each increased its subventions to the dictatorship when what President Museveni disclosed was clear genocide in which millions of people perished. ? The other response of the governments in the donor Community to Museveni's disclosures of June 1989 was the chorus that "there was much improvement in human rights observance." That accolade was bestowed in spite of the definitive situation where the political Parties and competitive politics had been removed from Uganda's body politic; and where over five million people - 3 million of them massacred - had been uprooted from their homes and their areas rendered desolate. 32. Never before have the people of Uganda suffered so much death, so much deprivation and so much loss of liberties as under Museveni.
33. There appear to be two grounds upon which the governments in the donor
Community have supported and still continue to support, finance and
facilitate the entrenchment of the Uganda dictatorship. The two grounds
which, in fact, are false and highly simulated purport to claim and present
(i) the situation in Uganda in terms of human rights, wars and good
governance was worse before Museveni became President and established a
unique home-grown democracy which has given the people of Uganda peace and
(ii) Museveni initiated the market force economic policy and programmes,
which the previous government elected in multiparty elections in December,
1980 failed to initiate.
34. Even if the two grounds were valid, which they are definitely not, they
do not, in the first place justify the very active collaboration between the
donor Community and the Uganda dictatorship for Uganda to be governed
through the suppressions of the citizen's enjoyment and exercise his/her
human rights and freedoms; through genocide, massacres, devastations and
despoliations in unceasing wars; and through corruption.
? Second, the praises, support and financing and facilitation by the donor
Community of every scheme to entrench the suppressions of the enjoyment and
exercise by the Uganda citizen of his/her human rights and freedoms, make
the policy of the donor Community in countries such Zambia, where aid is
strictly tied to respect by the government of the citizen's human rights and
freedoms, to be a stratagem to underwrite and to promote the export of
dictatorship, suppressions of human rights and freedoms, wars, genocide,
devastations, despoliations which have existed and continue to exist in
Uganda in the absence of the political Parties in politics or elections for
14 years now.
? Third, it is woefully reprehensible that the tax money of citizens in the
democratic countries should be used to finance and facilitate schemes which
entrench the suppressions of human rights and freedoms or used to replace
local funds which the dictatorship diverts to its army of oppression or to
enable the leaders of the dictatorship to embezzle some of the money because
opponents of the dictatorship are prohibited from questioning or debating
the usage and deployment of such subventions all of which the political
parties, having been debarred from contesting elections, cannot also make
? These two grounds have become a screen behind which the crimes against
humanity by the Museveni dictatorship are concealed.
HUMAN RIGHTS AND GOVERNANCE BEFORE MUSEVENI.
35. On the fall of dictator Idi Amin in April 1979, the people of Uganda led
by the Uganda Peoples Congress, debated for a whole year which system of
governance should be adopted. The consensus was the multiparty competitive
politics and elections. Amongst leading personalities who were strongly
opposed to the consensus and who, instead, wanted one-Party cum military
rule, was Yoweri Museveni. He had by then, as he discloses in his
autobiography "Sowing the Mustard Seed" (page 105), more than 9,000 men in
his personal army.
36. Less than a month before the fall of Amin, the government of Tanzania
hurriedly organised a conference of Uganda exiles which was held in March,
1979. The conference founded the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF),
the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) and the Military Commission of
37. The leadership of the UNLF, because of the manner in which the
conference was organised namely, by marginalising the political Parties and
projecting individuals who prior to Amin's coup d'etat of 1971 were
virtually unknown in the politics of Uganda, was alarmingly fractious. The
only matter on which the leadership agreed was for Uganda to be a one-Party
state. The first Administration of the UNLF fell in 68 days and the second
in 11 (eleven) months. The Military Commission therefore took over the
Administration in May 1980 and immediately, on the basis of the consensus,
announced the holding of multiparty general elections by the end of the
38. It so happened that when the Military Commission took over the
Administration, its Vice-Chairman, Museveni, was away in Tanzania. On return
to Uganda, Museveni worked very hard but unsuccessfully for the Commission
to reverse the decision to hold a multiparty election and instead, to
pronounce the indefinite one-Party cum military rule. The failure made
Museveni to form a political Party, which was called the Uganda Patriotic
Movement (UPM). The UPM was dissolved by a mere announcement in 1994 without
its members being given opportunity to debate its future or demise in a
39. After he formed the UPM, most of Museveni's speeches were on war. The
theme was that should his Party not win the elections, he would launch a war
and make Uganda be like Vietnam (which he had visited during the time of Pol
Pot). It was not an idle talk or threat; his private army was of about the
same strength as the nascent national army and he had shown by various deeds
that he strongly believed in violence as a means of governance.
40. The UPM did not publish its election Manifesto. In fact, only one Party,
the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC), of the four Parties, which contested the
1980, elections published a Manifesto. The damage, which the Amin
dictatorship had inflicted, was so deep and myriad that it was difficult and
daunting for the Parties, except the UPC, to dare to show the road ahead.
41. The Commonwealth Secretariat appointed a Commonwealth Observer Group,
drawn from nine Commonwealth Countries namely, Ghana (Chairman), Australia,
Botswana, Canada, India, Barbados, Britain, Cyprus and Sierra Leone, to
monitor the elections. In their unanimous Report the Group wrote: -
".......We believe this has been a valid electoral exercise which should
broadly reflect the freely expressed choice of the people of Uganda."
"Surmounting all obstacles, the people of Uganda, like some great tidal
wave, carried the electoral process to a worthy and valid conclusion."
42. The elections were held on 10th December but the new government took
office on 15th December, 1980. Museveni's Party won only one out of 126
Parliamentary seats and himself lost in his Constituency. The elections were
held under the overall supervision of the Military Commission of which
Museveni was the Vice-Chairman. Never during the run-up to the elections or
after did Museveni or anyone from his Party publicly presented complaints
about the elections. Second, although the electoral law provided for an
aggrieved candidate or voter to make Application to the High Court for
redress, neither Museveni nor anyone from his Party made any Application.
43. On 5 February, 1981 when the entire country was at peace, Museveni
launched his war and later issued bulletins stating that he did so because
the elections had been rigged. The war was launched not directly against the
government or government installations. The targets were first, persons
whose ancestors came from the North and East many decades back and were
residents of the launch District. Second, members of the Party, which had
won the elections. The two groups were attacked in their homes on the night
of the launch and following days and nights. Thousands upon thousands of
men, women and children were massacred; their homes and granaries were
ransacked and then burnt.
44. All roads into and out of the launch District were heavily mined by
Museveni's army. The deployment of the national army around the launch
District boxed Museveni's army in the District and the war of attrition
lasted for close to four years with the defeat of Museveni's insurgency.
45. When the national army first entered in May 1982, into some parts of the
launch District, the troops found hundreds and hundreds of dead bodies but
without heads. The puzzle of the missing heads was solved in 1986 after
Museveni had become President. His army went to the launch District and dug
up graves with the missing heads, which were then displayed in various
places and claimed to be evidence of massacres by the national army.
46. The entry of the national army into the launch District beginning in May
1982 and the exigencies of war, made Museveni's army to be very vicious. Its
units would, for instance, in official uniform, attack a village claiming to
be a unit of the national army. While that unit was still in the village
brutalising the assembled inhabitants and killing some, another unit, not in
uniform, would appear and the attackers would run away without a fight. The
second unit would then persuade or force the entire inhabitants to go to a
safe zone to be under the protection of Museveni's army. The attackers would
then return to ransack homes and granaries and burn them.
47. In the safe zone, the perimeters of which were heavily mined, female
victims of all ages, old or unfit men and boys under 8 years of age were all
massacred. Some of the victims from the villages escaped from the safe zone
and told of the crimes against humanity. In 1986, President Museveni
virtually admitted the crime. When asked why only male child soldiers were
in his army, his reply was that his army found only male children in
abandoned villages and adopted them. Throughout Uganda, the culture of war
is to kill, when necessary, male children and not girls or women. That,
however, is not the culture of the Rwanda Tutsi who were the commanders of
48. The government contained and defeated Museveni's insurgency in the
launch District and its environs with a population of some 600,000 people.
It was the policy of the government which went under the generic name of
"Development In A Secure Environment" which prevented and stymied the spread
of the insurgency out of the launch District. The policy had two legs. The
first was respect by government of the human rights, freedoms and ideas of
49. Throughout its tenure from December 1980 until it was overthrown in a
military coup d'etat on 27 July, 1985, the government never banned nor
restricted any political Party - not even Museveni's Party, the UPM; never
enacted any law which suppressed or restricted the enjoyment and exercise by
the citizen of his/her inalienable human rights and freedoms. Not many
governments in Africa would have behaved in the same way in the face of a
vicious insurgency. Museveni certainly has not behaved in a similar manner.
50. The second leg of "Development In A Secure Environment" policy was the
economic policy and programmes for the rehabilitation of the economy and
social services which the government introduced, published and vigorously
ECONOMY AFTER THE DECEMBER 1980 ELECTIONS.
51. The Party, which won the 1980 elections, published a Manifesto before
the elections. It was the only Party, which did so. Market Force economy was
promised by the Party. Programmes and priority projects for the
rehabilitation were promised. The policy Programmes and priority projects
were defined, listed and published in 1982 in a government document
entitled: Recovery Programme.
52. During the run-up to the elections and after the Recovery Programme was
published in 1982, Museveni repeatedly and viciously attacked the Uganda
Peoples Congress (UPC) accusing it of selling the country to the capitalist
West when what was necessary and appropriate for Uganda was a Marxist
53. Uganda was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to adopt in 1981 the
market force economy and structural adjustment. The vigorous implementation
of the policy and programmes made the Vice-President of the World Bank to
visit Uganda in 1983. The budget presented to Parliament in July 1985
showed, for the first time since before the Amin coup in January 1971, a
surplus and estimated growth of 6% for the following year.
ECONOMY UNDER MUSEVENI
54. When Museveni became President, he found himself at sea on the economy
very much like the military Junta, which had ruled for six months before
him. For two years, 1986 and 1987, the economy, which in 1985 before the
coup was on the upswing, went again into recession. Museveni rejected the
policy of market force economy and structural adjustment and imposed barter
trade as the leading strategy. The donor Community responded by suspending
aid to Uganda.
55. The very serious recession which was raging following the suspension of
aid, forced Museveni in 1988 to summon to a meeting a team of officials who
had knowledge of the economic policy and programmes which he had viciously
condemned. He was given the Revised Recovery Programme of the UPC government
published in October 1983 together with the details of the funds, which the
UPC government had already negotiated for the financing of the programmes
and projects. Museveni ordered that the document be rewritten but the
programmes and priority projects be left intact and that the new document be
published with a new title.
56. The new document, published in June 1988 bears the title: Rehabilitation
And Development Plan. The programmes and the priority projects in the
earlier document of 1983 appear in the same serial order in the latter
document of 1988. This documentary fact disproves the claim, belief and
praises of the donor Community that it was Museveni who initiated the
economic policy he has been pursuing since 1988. Museveni, in the face of a
raging recession, abandoned his Marxist posture and barter trade, adopted in
entirety the economic policies, programmes and projects of his bete noire,
the UPC, after which donor aid was restored and Museveni benefited not only
because the funds for the programmes and projects had already been
negotiated by the UPC and had only been suspended but also benefited because
he did not have to agonise in adopting the policies, assembling the
programmes and selecting the projects. All of that fell on the shoulder, of
the leaders of the UPC.
57. The terms on which the donor aid was restored, unlike elsewhere in
Africa, left out respect for and observance of the human rights of the
citizen and good governance by the recipient. Even now, in the year 2000,
the donor Community appear not to want to include what was left out but
which are a must elsewhere in Africa. It would therefore seem as if to the
donor Community, financing and entrenching dictatorship in Uganda is a very
good policy but financing and entrenching dictatorship elsewhere in Africa
is a very bad policy.
58. The documentary evidence also raises the question as to whether or not
support by the donor Community of a man who launched a vicious war in which
his army massacred thousands of Ugandans; a man under whose Presidency
millions of people have been engulfed in wars of genocide, massacres,
devastations, and despoliations and a man who has suppressed the human
rights and freedoms of the citizen and has invaded other countries, is not
for some other hidden grounds than the two (in para 33 herein) which have
been and are being propagated. Furthermore, contrary to the saturating
propaganda about the economy, there is much debilitating and abject poverty
throughout rural Uganda of a nature never before known by the people. The
root causes of the debilitating and abject poverty are obviously the wars
and the suppressions of the flow of ideas in the public arena and
59. The wars, in and out of Uganda, genocide, massacres, devastations,
despoliations, the suppressions of the inalienable human rights of the
individual and the documentary evidence that Museveni's economic policy is
the product of plagiary, all of which suggest most strongly that the support
and praises are uncomfortable grounds for praising Museveni by the donor
Community, appear therefore whether intended or not to have been designed to
make him strong so as to undermine democracy in sub-Sahara Africa.
EVIDENCE OF DICTATORSHIP60. It is an undisputed fact that Museveni's army has fought wars in all the four Regions of Uganda - South, East, North and West - against disparate adversaries. It is still fighting wars in the North and West while throughout the country and much as the people are not and were never with the rebel armies, the Museveni dictatorship is also uniformly detested. 61. In every theatre of war in Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, Zaire and now in the DRC where Museveni's army has fought against disparate adversaries, the nature of the atrocities, particularly genocide and massacres, has been the same. The donor Community have, however, persistently chosen to exonerate that army and its leader from the crimes against humanity committed in each theatre. The exoneration does not only embolden Museveni and his army to commit the same crimes again and again but also impel the victims, in desperation, to defend themselves where-ever and whenever they can acquire arms. 62. The policy of the donor Community that rebel armies should negotiate peace with Museveni is misplaced and is a prescription for more wars. Peace was negotiated before by several rebel armies only for new rebel armies to emerge precisely because the negotiated peace left the dictatorship intact to continue with the suppressions of human rights, violent persecutions, massacres as a means to plunder, rape and sodomy and abject poverty in a situation where there is no free flow of ideas in the body politic. 63. The cruellest irony in the Uganda tragedy is that the political Parties which are slated to be removed from Uganda's body politic by the referendum, have because of their opposition to war, been the power which isolated and weakened the rebel armies. When the Parties are removed, it is most probable that millions of their members will join the existing rebel armies or raise new ones. 64. The donor Community, on the other hand, have ignored and, instead, financed and facilitated the following clear tenets and evidence of dictatorship in Uganda;- ? Evidence One To Five. These are the five separate and debilitating restrictions imposed on the political Parties in March 1986 which suppressed the enjoyment and exercise by citizens who are members or potential members of the political Parties of their human rights and freedoms and which have been codified and made Article 269 of the Constitution promulgated in October 1995. The Article stipulates that except for the Party of the dictatorship which was once known as the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and now called the Movement:- (a) No Political Party is permitted to open and/or operate Branch offices; (b) No political Party is permitted to hold a Delegates Conference (Convention) in order to formulate its policies or elect its national leaders; (c) No Political party is permitted to hold public rallies or meetings in order to debate public affairs or official policies; (d) No political Party is permitted to sponsor or offer a platform to or in any way campaign for or against a candidate for any public elections; and (e) No political Party is permitted to carry on any activities that may interfere with the Movement System of governance which does not permit competition nor opposition. Article 269 of the Constitution is therefore in the first place, a sinister violation of the entrenched Article 21 of the Constitution which prohibits, inter alia, discrimination and giving "different treatment to different persons attributable only or mainly to their respective descriptions by ...... political opinion ......" The Article violates the inalienable human rights and freedoms of citizens who are members or would want to be members of political Parties by its five different provisions and should be taken as containing five and not one piece of Evidence of the suppressions of human rights. ? Evidence Six. (a) The mode of elections imposed by the Museveni dictatorship, disenfranchises the entire electorate and is a farcical and chicanery ploy to confirm the dictatorship in office. The mode prohibits the presentation to the electorate as a whole, throughout the country, of policies for the governance of Uganda articulated by different associations (Parties) from which to choose. Every candidate in an election must stand as an individual upon "personal merit" and therefore after elections to Parliament or lower Council, no two elected members would have been elected upon a platform known to the electorate throughout the country or area of a lower Council and even the Movement does not publish an elections Manifesto. (b) The ruling army, which seized power in January 1986, has a political Wing (Party) once called the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and now called the Movement. While the political Parties are prohibited under Article 269 and under the electoral law, the chicanery to confirm the dictatorship in office allows supporters of the Movement Party to sponsor candidates and to campaign for their elections and allows supporters of the Movement Party to campaign against the elections of Independents with no organisational support. (c) The mode of elections conceals the fact that the NRM as it was and the Movement now, was and is used by the dictatorship to describe three different Constitutional positions. At times the NRM or Movement was and is a system of governance which should not therefore participate in elections and at other times, the NRM or Movement was and is a political Party of the army and thirdly the NRM or Movement is the government of Uganda but that government has never been elected in any competitive election while in 1986 it was simply imposed by the army. The donor Community have financed and facilitated since 1989 all the farcical and chicanery elections designed to confirm the dictatorship in office. After the farcical elections in 1989, 1994 and 1996, the President declared "We have won and defeated the political Parties" and thereby exposed the lie that the NRM or the Movement was or is not a political Party which, alone, is permitted to contest and win elections and defeat the debarred political Parties. ? Evidence Seven and Eight. The Movement Act enacted in July 1997 is a classic evidence which makes Uganda, except in name, a de jure one-Party dictatorship. The law provides for the automatic conscription into the Movement of anyone elected, not on the Movement ticket, to Parliament or lower Council. Parliament and the lower Councils have thus been made organs of the Movement. The law provides for all local Authorities to be organs of the Movement. The army, Police, Prison Service and Public Service have become, under the law, not public but Movement institutions. This Act therefore violates in two different ways the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the citizens. Conscription of the citizen into an organisation is a gross violation of his/her freedom of conscience and making national institutions and public service into organs or institutions of one political Party is also a gross violation of the inalienable human rights and freedoms of the citizens to have equal access to institutions of State. The Act therefore contains two pieces of Evidence of the existence of dictatorship in Uganda. The donor Community are under-writing the budgetary shortfall of the dictatorship and thereby subsidising the dictatorship to fully implement the provisions of this law which entrenches dictatorship. ? Evidence Nine. A draft law exists which purports to provide for the registration of the political Parties. ? The real goal is for the political parties, two of which were formed in early 1950s, to fail conditions for registration and then to be declared as not existing. One such condition is that a Party must have a specific number of members in two-thirds of the Districts. There are now 45 Districts but that is not a problem for the Parties. The crucial problem for every Party is that how can they fulfil the condition for registration in a very hostile situation which in practice makes the restrictions in Article 269 of the Constitution to be regarded by ordinary people as a law which prohibits them to belong to political Parties. It is most probable that all the Parties will fail this test not because of their own doing but because of the force majeure imposed on them by the very one who now demands that they pass the test when the force majeure is still subsisting. ? The registration, even if any Party or Parties should succeed to be registered, will be hollow. The draft law provides that even after being registered, no Party shall be permitted to participate in politics or in elections. In other words, the provisions of Article 269 of the Constitution (cited here as Evidence One to Five) will still obtain to prohibit any registered Party from participating in politics and elections. ? Two of the Parties, which the registration law will seek to declare as non-existent, were formed respectively in 1952 and 1954. The latter formed the government of Uganda from April 1961 to April 1962 while the former did so from May 1962 to January 1971 and again from December 1980 to July 1985. Museveni wants to remove them from Uganda's body politic because they are obstacles to the realisation of his objective of one-Party cum military rule. ? No government in the donor Community as far as is known has expressed objection to this draft law. ? Evidence Ten. The removal of the political Parties from Uganda's body politic does not fully satisfy Museveni's desire for a one-Party cum military rule. In Article 271 of the Constitution, he has provided that in the year 2000, the nature and degree of how the citizen should enjoy and exercise his/her inalienable human rights and freedoms be subjected to a referendum and be determined not by the individual but by the votes of strangers. ? The Article of the Constitution disguises the onslaught on the inalienable human rights and freedoms of the citizen as "choosing and adopting a system of governance" when the real objective is that after the referendum, Uganda be a fully-fledged dictatorship where no citizen shall be allowed to exercise his/her human rights and freedoms and participate in politics and elections except under one political Party, the Movement. ? When one-Party rule was in vogue in Africa, Constitutions banned the formations of other Parties. To Museveni now, it is the enjoyment and exercise of the human rights and freedoms of the individual which must be taken away by the referendum from the citizen. ? In the year 2000, the de facto one-Party cum military dictatorship shall have been in office for 14 years. The referendum is designed to remove the existing political Parties, to forbid the formation of any new Parties and to remove the inalienable human rights and freedoms of the citizen to participate in politics and elections upon conscience from Uganda's body politic. CONCLUSION 65. The system of governance in the past 14 years and at present is a dictatorship. It is a system which the donor Community do not support and do not finance nor facilitate nor praise in Africa except in Uganda. 66. The Uganda system was established by an insurgent army in 1986. The Preamble to the Proclamation which established the system reads as follows: - "WHEREAS on the 26th day of January, 1986, the National Resistance Army, for the reasons given in the Statement to the National Resistance Army and the National Resistance Movement on that day, took over the powers of the Government of the Republic of Uganda and vested those powers in the National Resistance Council: NOW PURSUANT to such powers I HEREBY PROCLAIM…" 67. The powers of the Government of Uganda which the National Resistance Army (NRA) "took over" on 26th January, 1986, have never to date been returned to the people for them to exercise through their Representatives elected in free and fair elections. 68. Instead, the NRA and its political Wing namely, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) have, imposed a model of elections which debars participation of political Parties in any elections and which disenfranchises the entire electorate to make elections, under the model not to be free and fair. An election may remove some Backbenchers but cannot result into a change of government. This is because with the exception of Independents, all the candidates in every Constituency are, by law, supporters of the political Wing of the army who compete against each other and change of government is outside the purview of the model. 69. The NRA has been renamed the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) and its political Wing, the NRM, has also been renamed the Movement. The change of names has not and does not affect the close filial relations between the two. 70. In 1989, a Statute was enacted which described the NRM as "the Government of Uganda". The 1995 Constitution provides that "the NRM Government shall (a) continue in office until a new government is elected in accordance with this Constitution." However, after the Presidential and Parliamentary elections held in 1996, the country was presented with a fait accompli of "the Movement government". The change of name from NRM to Movement was effected without any legislation and in anticipation of the outcome of the referendum due in June this year. 71. The "Movement Government" and the previous "NRM Government" have been and are also presented as "political system" of governance. Uganda is thus, therefore, in tune with the Totalitarian States where the Party, the Government and the System of governance are one and indistinguishable. 72. One Article of the Constitution provides that a System of governance be chosen and adopted either through free and fair elections or through a referendum and includes the Movement Political System. Another Article provides only for a referendum to be held "to determine the political system the people of Uganda wish to adopt." 73. However, ahead of any free and fair elections or any referendum, the Movement Political System is already in office and has enacted the Movement Act which makes the Movement the sole political Party in Uganda and of equal status to the State. This can only mean that the de facto military cum one-Party dictatorship established in 1986 - 14 years ago - is the essence of the system of governance in Uganda and that the provisions in the 1995 Constitution are mere procedures for the country to become a de jure military cum one-Party dictatorship. 74. Under the de facto military cum one-Party dictatorship, competitions in politics and elections have been removed, the political Parties have been shackled and muzzled and the human rights and freedoms of the citizen in respect to governance suppressed. The consequences have been disastrous and traumatic and characterised by: - ? Unceasing wars by the ruling army in and out of Uganda; ? Introduction of the culture of rebel armies; ? Abject poverty and reduced life expectancy; ? Dilapidated schools, colleges and hospitals; ? Corruption; ? Widespread and deep ethnic divisions; ? Dishonesty in the management of public affairs made worse by utterances and even the policies of the rulers which cannot be made election issues in free and fair competitive elections. 75. Although an elaborate system of governance which is non-discriminatory, accessible to all political Parties and to all citizens exists in the Constitution where the human rights and freedoms of the individual are also protected, Uganda is to hold a referendum in which the nature and degree by which the citizen enjoys and exercises his/her God given human rights and freedoms of the individual are to be determined by the votes of strangers and not by the individual because it is the system of governance which the Movement supports. This is blasphemy which befits a Communist dictatorship. APPEAL 76. In the name of humanity, of which the people of Uganda are an integral part, I appeal to the donor Community to place Uganda on the same terms and contradictions under which they provide aid to African Countries which are developing good governance based on the enjoyment and exercise by the citizen of his/her human rights and freedoms. The enjoyment and exercise of human rights and freedoms of the individual in Uganda are as essential as elsewhere in Africa
A. Milton Obote
Uganda Peoples Congress