Uganda Peoples Congress





21 April 2004

UPC's Proposed Roadmap For Transition To Multiparty Politics In Uganda From February 18, 2003 - 2006

1.0 Through what they called Legal Notice No. 1, of 1986 the NRA/M introduced in the body politics of Uganda the bad culture of a one party state. Whereas other African countries were opening up the political space, the regime of the then "Colonel" Yoweri Museveni was closing that space. In the subsequent years, the regime carried out individual merit elections using the lining method of voting where, if a wife voted for a different candidate from that of the husband, their marriage would be at stake. Indeed many homes broke up as a result. The Legal Notice in question and subsequent administrative and legal instruments froze all political party activities and confined parties, including the Uganda People's Congress (UPC), to their headquarters. For eighteen years now, the political space has been closed and the only alternative way of doing politics available to Ugandans has been through open confrontation and armed rebellion, the consequences of which have been dire.
2.0 On the 18th February 2003 the media reported that Yoweri Museveni and his Network of Movement officials had agreed to open the political space. They forgot that such a big pronouncement comes with a lot of responsibilities and political commitment (goodwill). The UPC responded to the Movement pronouncement by requesting for a Roadmap (RM) from them. To date no RM has been written by the Government.
3.0 The Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) is now happy to propose the RM for the Country for consideration by the opposition, including the G7 and the Government as follows:
4.0 Key Areas for Reform: Four areas for immediate attention and reform are identified as follows:
4.1 Political Reforms
4.2 Constitutional Reforms
4.3 Legal Reforms
4.4 Administrative Reforms.
4.1.0 Political Reforms:
Under Political Reforms the following must be caused to occur: 4.1.1. Acknowledgement by the movement regime and all the people of Uganda that a Political decision was made to move from the Movement one party state to multiparty politics, way back on the 18th February 2003. The actors to make this acknowledgement are the Government and the People of Uganda. The indicators of this process of acknowledgement would include enjoyment of freedoms to associate and assemble and the respect for the rule of law by the Government.
4.1.2Cultivating goodwill and the culture of tolerance:
The actors here include the Government, Political Parties, Religious Organisations, Human Rights Organisations and Civil Society. This process should have started immediately after the February 18, 2003 pronouncement by the Movement.
4.1.3 Indicators:
The indicators to show that both goodwill and tolerance are being observed would include, among other things, elimination of intimidation and harassment of political opponents of Government, release of all political prisoners, absence of human rights violation, participation of both Government and Opposition leaders at national and public functions and avoidance of use of derogatory language by all.
4.1.4 Civic Education
The matter of Civic Education is very important in the transition period. Several actors in this area are proposed as follows;
" The Electoral Commission,
" The Government
" Religious Organisations
" Political Parties
" Human Rights Organisations
" The Media
" International Community.

Given the many years of one-sided political arguments, the huge number of actors is justified. The expected donors to civic education are proposed as the Government and the International Community. We must note however that the process of civic education is already time-barred. It should have started immediately after the February 18, 2003 pronouncement and it should continue indefinitely. If civic education were to be done, the principal indicator on the ground would be the emergence of an informed and free citizenry.
4.1.5 Dialogue with Government:
The Uganda Peoples Congress and other members of the opposition have, over the last two years, demanded for a national conference so that together with the Government, we can determine the political future of this country. The UPC would like to reiterate the importance of dialogue amongst all political stakeholders in the politics of the country. This dialogue had started at the beginning of this year but, unfortunately, it collapsed due to the intransigence and procrastination of Government. In this RM, we propose again that this dialogue must restart so that a lease of new life is given to the process. The proposed timeframe for this dialogue is from April up to December 2004 if any meaningful outcome is to be realized. The parties must be given enough time and freedom to openly consult with their supporters during and after the dialogue.
4.1.6 Peace talks with Government:
The aspect of peace talks between the government and all rebel groups is of absolute necessity. For Ugandans to realize the fruits of democracy, every part/region of Uganda must have peace and tranquility. A democracy cannot thrive in conditions of political turmoil and war. The UPC, therefore, proposes, in this roadmap, that peace talks must start in earnest and the actors in this process are proposed as follows:
(i) The government;
(ii) All rebel groups;
(iii) The International Community;
(iv) Civil Society; and
(v) Political Parties.
4.1.7 Sources of funding:
The sources of funding for the peace talks are proposed as follows;
(i) The Government; and
(ii) Donors/International Community.
4.1.8 Timeframe:
The proposed timeframe for the talks is between now and well before June 2005. The indicators that peace talks are preceding well would include;
(i) Actual and genuine peace talks;
(ii) Ceasefire agreement;
(iii) Peace in all parts of Uganda;
(iv) Release of all political prisoners;
(v) Integration of rebels into normal life;
(vi) Disbandment of IDPCs;
(vii) Removal of soldiers from the police force and the resettlement of people in their homes.
4.2 Constitutional Reforms: Under the constitutional reforms, the UPC Proposes in this RM that:
4.2.1 The amendment of the 1995 Uganda Constitution to remove all impediments to a proper functioning multiparty democracy. Specifically we propose like we have done before, amending articles 69 - 74 and the deletion of article 269.
4.2.2 Actors:
The actors in this area are proposed as follows:
(i) The Government (Executive);
(ii) Parliament;
(iii) The judiciary;
(iv) The Uganda Law Society;
(v) Political Parties; and
(vi) Civil Society.
4.2.3 Sources of funding:
The sources of funding are proposed as follows:
(i) The Government;
(ii) The International Community;
4.2.4 Timeframe:
The timeframe is proposed as follows: From May 2004 - December 2004.
4.2.5 Indicators:
Indicators to show whether this process is on track would include;
(i) Absence of Constitutional impediments/obstacles to a free and open society;
(ii) Cessation of abuse of the 1995 Constitution; and
(iii) Cessation of all legal or court challenges to the Constitution by the opposition.
5.0 Legal Reforms:
Under the legal framework of reforms the following draconian Acts or pieces of Legislation should be removed or amended to create free space for political party activity:
(i) The Police Act;
(ii) The Movement Act;
(iii) The Terrorism Act;
(iv) The Political Parties and Organisations Act;
(v) The Electoral Laws;
(vi) The Electoral Commission Act;
(vii) The Local Government Act; and
(viii) The NRA Statute.

All the above draconian pieces of legislation contain elements of "Satanic Verses" which constitute obstacles to true democratic practices/transition. These can be used by the incumbent to harass, intimidate, subdue or even ban a party on flimsy accusations or charges. The Terrorism Act specifically, gives the line Minister a lot of powers that can be abused.
5.1.1 Actors:
The UPC proposes the following actors in creating a conducive new and Legal environment: (i) The Government/Executive;
(ii) The Parliament;
(iii) The Judiciary;
(iv) Political Parties
(v) The Uganda Law Society; and
(vi) The Civil Society.
5.1.2 The Timeframe: The timeframe for this exercise should be May 2004 - December 2004.
5.1.3 Indicators:
The indicators showing that this process is on track are:
(i) Cessation of political harassment and intimidation of Government opponents;
(ii) Absence of illegal arrests and detentions;
(iii) The police should stop dispersing opposition meetings and rallies;
(iv) Freedoms of assembly, association and demonstration being enjoyed by all Ugandans;
6.0 Administrative reforms:
The area of Administrative reforms is very important. There are administrative Obstacles to free political party activity.
6.1.1 The UPC proposes the following administrative reforms:
(i) De-linking the Movement from the army;
(ii) De-linking the Movement from Government;
(iii) All security organs and agencies should be made accountable to citizens;
(iv) All illegal security groups and paramilitaries including, among others Kalangala Action Plan (KAP), Popular Intelligence Network (PIN) should be disbanded immediately and safe houses closed;
(v) De-linking the army from the police.
6.1.2 Actors:
The proposed actors here include:
(i) The Government of Uganda;
(iii) The Army;
(iv) State House; and
(v) The Civil Service.
6.1.3 Timeframe:
For this process to be meaningful the timeframe should have been from February 18, 2003 to early 2005.
6.1.4 Indicators:
The indicators here include:
(i) Absence of illegal arrests and detentions;
(ii) Absence of "Safe houses";
(iii) Tolerating differences in opinion;
(iv) End the Movement party using tax payers' money to finance its activities.
(v) All the so called "historical" members of the movement who are already in politics should immediately retire from the army; and
(vi) There should be a more balanced way of restructuring other legal security organs' command structures to eliminate ethnic domination of those forces. This can be done through enacting an enabling to regulate those security organs.

This RM is proposed by the UPC.

For God and My Country.

Dr. James Rwanyarare


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