Uganda Peoples Congress




  1. Last April I attended a seminar, organised by Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), whose theme was "Uganda we want". I was of the opinion that the topic was misplaced because at best it was conjectural and at worst daydreaming. Indeed the collared participants talked of people devoid of drug addicts, no pornography and all sorts of saintly attributes of the society.

  2. Dr. Margaret Kigozi, Executive Director, Uganda Investment Authority, gave an optimistic view of foreign investment driven development, hopefully leading to prosperous happy people. A Makerere don talked of debilitating poverty in the rural population and misery in urban slams. Politicians complained of harassment by myriad security agencies, abrogation of basic human rights and freedoms and trampling down of democracy. Someone from Movement Secretariat tried to justify huge defence expenditure citing mainly DRC political mess and Kony war. He was at pains to deny corruption in government and embezzlement of public funds by well-connected people; nepotism, graft and cronyism.

    Eventually, we agreed that we need to go back to the drawing board and recapture what Uganda was when we inherited it at time of independence. What it was in 1971 when Amin took over, what it was when Amin was removed and what it was when Museveni took over and what it is now so as to define what Uganda we want because all regimes have had both positive and negative impacts and they present the raw materials with what to build Uganda we want.

  3. When the colonial powers annexed Uganda it brought together different nationalities (tribes) in deferent levels of political economic and social development. These ranged between well-organised kingdoms with governments, some chieftainships with pseudo governments between, and some leaderless tribes at the other extreme. These nationalities were administered as units on behalf of English Crown by delegated powers exercised by chiefs. Where there were no chiefs, these were recruited say from Buganda to Ankole, Kigezi or installed by Kakungulu in East and Northern Uganda. No attempt was made to develop a uniform type of governance nor were British interested in planting seeds of democracy though this was flourishing in Great Britain. So instead of talking of Uganda we want, we start with Uganda we had in 1962. This was a country whose components were in various stages of economic, political and social development that was to be a nation. The task was placed on the shoulders of a nascent government to build one nation.

  4. The first UPC government had Buganda Kingdom with full federal (federo) relationship with central government whereas the Kingdoms of Ankole, Toro and Bunyoro and the Territory of Busoga had semi federal status. The rest of nationalities, as districts were centrally administered. The UPC government did fairly well in managing this mixed grill (katogo) till the lost counties, returned after the referendum, soured the delicate relationship (mukago) between UPC and Kabaka Yekka (KY). The Mengo parliament (Lukiiko) resolved to expel the central government from Buganda soil by the infamous Kaggwa motion. King (Kabaka) Sir Fredrick Mutesa II implemented the resolution. Well-orchestrated attacks and overrunning of police stations were done in a lightening manner. Kayunga, Lugazi, Bombo, Lukaya etc. were taken over by well-armed KAR (King African Rifles) ex servicemen assisted by chiefs. Customs posts were erected at Kafu, Lyantonde and Njeru at the Jinja Dam. Obote and his government were besieged in Kampala and Entebbe. So Army was called in from Jinja and the rest is stale history. But it added a new twist to the Uganda we have. There was a change of direction so that there would be one form of governance and that was followed by abolition of federal statuses and kingdoms and application of uniform political, social and economic policies. Whether this was justified or not will be a subject of another presentation.

  5. The recourse to violence to affect political change date from that event. Soldiers came in to re-establish central government authority that had been threatened by Mengo cessation bid. It must be accepted however that brisk economic, social and political development followed. A lot of infrastructures were put in place. Roads, hospitals, and schools name it were built subsequent to that time. Uganda was one nation though a smoldering disquiet reigned in Buganda and hate campaign remained though centered outside Uganda. Amenities in Uganda were provided with no discrimination. There was no corruption, nepotism or cronyism. Nobody could embezzle public funds and get away with it.

  6. We must accept the criticism that development of democracy suffered as the erstwhile opposition members crossed and joined government benches. This can be blamed on the affected members of opposition as opportunistic but it could be blamed on the UPC that they enticed them with goodies such as ministerial positions etc. This was however, balanced by some members in UPC which formed internal opposition. Some openly broke ranks with the party and joined opposition. People like Adoko Nekyon and Cuthbert Obwangor resigned ministerial positions. This period can be clarified as learning process because we had no precedence to fall back to. Even Ghana, Congo and Tanganyika were in the same learning process.

  7. There was a rude awakening when Amin struck in 1971 and took over government. He started with wanton murdering of people. He started with Northern Uganda mainly Acholi and Langi but later every part of Uganda was covered with the mayhem. This demoralized people. A lot fled in exile and others were exiled within. Brutal military force was the order of the day. Infrastructure was neglected and all social services depreciated miserably. The war of liberation added its own problem. Apart from direct destruction of property and the dilapidated infrastructure, another culture was introduced. That was looting. It did not appear wrong for one to acquire what he had not worked for. This is different from Amin's allocation of Asians property to his cronies as these were expected to pay for them at least at beginning. This attitude of getting things without working for them lives with us up to today.

  8. The UPC second government, short lived as it was, started Recovery Program that reposed on the UPC creed and call in 1980 elections manifesto:

    "As UPC goes to the polls, it is important to restate the Party's political and economic philosophy. UPC is an indigenous political Party. It is a truly nationalistic Party, neither inspired by, nor biased towards any external political movement, ideology, power blocs, or sect. The UPC philosophy is molded by the Party's struggle and the history of our country. UPC believes that political and economic power must be vested in the majority of our people. The Party was founded to serve the masses and its policies have always been motivated by consideration of the wishes of all the people of Uganda. All this is in consonance with the principles of democracy and an enlightened, free and open society."

    This creed and call is as pertinent and relevant today as it was in 1980. This is because for the last 17 years Museveni has destroyed the very fabric this nation is built on. He started by denigrating the citizens by citing them as primitive and backward. He believes he knows what is good for the poor people and should govern them without anybody raising a finger even church leaders must not stray in realms of politics which he has designated as his monopoly (Lubimbi).

  9. We want as UPC to revive the spirit of the citizens of Uganda as all- important, all wise, and most knowledgeable and with proper guidance capable of building the pearl of African once again as the envy of everybody in Africa. Our policies will therefore be centered on respected and revered citizens of Uganda. This is apt and right because all monuments in Uganda were built out of their effort and sweat. Jinja Dam was built out of cotton grown in East and Northern Uganda mainly plus coffee from elsewhere. East African power and lighting supplemented our efforts. This is the relationship UPC wants to see in the Uganda we want. All other structures and corporation that were built by our peasants have been sold on give away prices or just disappeared and proceeds are nowhere to be seen. We must depart from the dogma that investors and donors will build Uganda to prosperity and bliss. People of Uganda as citizens must build and own their institutions of development in partnership with investors and donors must supplement our efforts. The dependence syndrome Museveni has instituted must be demolished. This is not to say that we do not need investors or donors. NO. We need them to be partners in development and to supplement our efforts.

  10. Last Thursday Minister of Finance read the budget for the financial year 2003/2004, which was a sad treatise. The revenue from the people of Uganda will fund about52% of the budget. Half of this will be consumed by the Ministry of Defence. Our peasants will squeeze their pockets to finance wars in and outside Uganda's boarders.
    The claim by Minister Sendaula that the driving principle would be:
    (a) Promoting strategic exports.
    (b) Increase incomes for the poor.
    (c) Support secondary education,
    is not born out by allotment of the finances. The bulk of the money is for defence, president's office and state house and we are still catering for Movement Secretariat etc. Last year's experience still lingers around and even peanuts that are allotted to a, b, c, can be transferred to defence as needed. Remember Kyankwanzi resolutions that empowered President to spend on defence unlimited.

  11. The peasant of Uganda comes off worst as increase tax on energy (fuel) cuts across the board with increase in cost of living hitting hardest the poor. The UPC would prefer reduced taxes on fuel and airtime as a way of improving on the communication industry. It is hard to fathom that a country can achieve development with a poor communicating industry. The increased taxes on the communicating industry will in actual fact deter development and this move by the regime of Lt. General Yoweri Museveni shows their insensitivity to the welfare of Ugandans.

  12. Under the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) arrangements, the aspect of democracy is emphasized. Yet Lt. General Yoweri Museveni has not yet come out with a blue print, a roadmap or a white paper about returning our motherland, Uganda to a democratic path. There was no concrete position put across by the regime during the budget presentation in as far as returning Uganda to democracy. There is no provision to finance this important item in the budget. This illustrates that Museveni's utterances are just a sly dupery. The UPC is unequivocal about the urgent need to entrench democracy in our country. We want a road map to democracy from the regime immediately.

For God and My Country

Dr. James W. Rwanyarare


Presidential Policy Commission

18th June, 2003