Is Political Participation in a Military Regime like Uganda Safe?

We recently concluded the International Youth Day Celebration under the theme, “Safe Spaces for Youth!” The Ugandan Government has prided in bring & maintaining peace. But is it really? I know many of us have not tried to participate in our political discourse and had a glimpse of power. Well, I have. And seen the people in those top positions are not willing to leave or tolerate any form of threat that jeopardizes that and that includes formations such as youth movements or people centered assertions. The current government is historically celebrated for using its military might to stabilize Uganda from dictator of the past and ushering in an economy that isn’t gun dictated. But at what cost has this come? Every time we seek change, we are reminded of how they went into the bush… talking of participation in democratic spaces, the government seems to think it’s all about creating political positions and not really giving people real power to make decisions. Sovereignty is the order of the day, to keep the peace, money and corruption (miss use of public funds for individual agendas) have fueled their ability to keep power. For a young person to become a leader, one has to align themselves to a patronage system placed to keep ambitious fellows in check. To maintain a grip on things, threats and unlawful (made-lawful) arrests are done. We as Ugandans today have peace from war but no true freedom to participate in political processes without being confronted with the dangers of contradicting those in power. The economy is our new war zone in exchange for a gun war-less poor and voiceless society setting. The Internatinal community seems to be confused on what Uganda’s state truly is. Politicians seem to really know the game they play, they have put…

Uganda’s Cooperate Tax Policy & the OTT Tax’s Impact on the Economic Inclusion of Youth

At the floor of Parliament, to the Right Honorable Speaker; Uganda has a high burden of youth unemployment at a record of 64%—the greatest of all times. A 2016 Youth Survey conducted by the Aga Khan University revealed that about 48% of youth aspire to own businesses. Youth’s desire to engage in entrepreneurship provides a clear path towards achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Uganda’s National Development Plan of ending poverty and improving the quality of life for Ugandans. The World Bank’s “voices of the poor” reported that over 60,000 poor people rose above poverty through personal businesses or gainful employment. In Uganda, small businesses are prone to early deaths not seeing their 5th birthday due to limited access to limited or no access to financial capital, poor working capital management, poor financial literacy, unstable markets unfavorable borrowing, lending and tax policies.   Far from it, the Ugandan economy is digitalized day by day, with limited capital to rest workspaces or hire human resource; young among many others have entrepreneurs have utilized online on social media platforms to run their business. Using Instagram, craft artists, fashionista and traders have marketed their products. Through Facebook, young entrepreneurs have built the business brands, run virtual offices and addresses hence legitimizing their existence on the digital market spaces and through Twitter, young people have pushed content to promote their products at the lowest bundle cost of 250 UGX since they have no capital. On average, on every sale made, with less capital of 265,000; a young person would sale a shirt he bought at 8500 at 10,000 and earn a profit of 1000-1500 ugx, in a month, maybe make sales of his about 30 shirts in stock using social media marketing a cost of 8,000 ugx a month on the social bundle.…

Citizen Concerns about Uganda’s Security Top Organs Even with the Recent Changes

The President made a huge decision after the shocking dropping of Rt. Hon Amama Mbabazi; he finally replaced Gen. Kale Kayihura (KK) now former Inspector General of Police with Mr. Okoth Ochola a career police officer. However, what still runs in the minds of fellow Ugandans including me, will this change things? There are five areas to gather our thoughts around, and I hope the forces would have chance to take some of these concerns into consideration; Insecurity in the country We recently lost our very own young Susan who was kidnapped and killed after, we all saw the failure of intelligence offices to work together in preventing what happened. Could this have been the spark the president needed having attracted a lot of media tension? Kampala and Uganda at large once peaceful now leaves us the wanainchi (citizens) in fear of either being gunned down, kidnapped or worse as witnessed in the unsolved murders in Entebbe and other parts of the country. Clearly, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) revealed many dark secrets of police’s dirty games and involvement with criminals I will not mention at diplomatic, local and international drug level. Will the change of these leaders bring security? Indiscipline and wars between the forces Of late, many have suffered due to the wars between the former police boss and minister of security. We saw revealing of classified information, security secret informants exposed, and indiscipline in senior police officers. Is the appointing of the new IGP come with the same powers the former one had? Because that is the only way, actual discipline will be restored. As for the UPDF, am still confident they can back off under orders and work as instructed, I am still not sure about police. Crime preventers Wow! It was a good creation…

What Most Ugandans Really Think About the #AgeLimit Debate

The process in which government is using to bulldozing its presidential Age Limit lifting decision and pushing the people to endorse it isn’t practical. It’s now a discussion of either you are on this side or the other, with no room for dialogue. What of those with no side? Can’t we negotiate on what can work for both of us? Or can we come to an amicable agreement that allows a smooth transition and not have history repeat its self? I have grown up to witness my family live from a poor to lower middle income class family, watched my father server under this regime as a police officer for over 30 years with nothing much to show. Personally, I haven’t had the chance to witness a transition. Luckily, through the history lessons in my high school, I learnt of regimes characterised by monarchy, slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism, coupes, and dictatorship. One thing that characterised it all was endless holding of power. Back to today’s discussions and consultations around the issue of presidential age limit removal. We seem to be forgetting that the main discussion should be about the PRESIDENTIAL TERM LIMITS restoration. We need a negotiated constitutional amendment, establish a constitutional review commissions and re-discuss its issues without bias. The 1st issue in relation to presidency would be restoration of term limits. Imagine if we elected a 35 yrs old president. Then he or she rules Uganda without term limits for the next 40 yrs (the age limit cap)? Except from not thinking out of the box, there is nothing much or new that president would offer. Then the age limit would not have served the purpose Ugandans have been made to believe it would. We are just mad at the way government is shoving its decision down our throats…

We Take Back Our Power from the Military or Corrupt Leaders by Raising Words

It’s been so long since I had a say on the power structures of my community (East Africa). Many have risen up to say power is military supremacy; others have worshiped money and wealth. I guess they are correct in their own right based on what they have settled to believe as portrayed by those holding power. Today, it’s families of influence and great wealth leading nations, individuals with a great command over the military asserting their great played role in the security of communities, sometimes based on true heroic acts of liberation in creating stability as an anchor to hold power. Others succeed power from power holders just because they would provide a cover and sense of continuity after they hand it over (power) so as to maintain interests of their similar circle-mates. But we are reminded, times have changed and are changing, just like power as right by birth in the monarchy system back then changed to just prestige, so has security. It is no longer a privilege but a human right, not a tool for power but rather enforcement of the people’s will as expressed in words like many other rights. We cannot afford to stay ignorant of the power structures nor measure our abilities to hold power based on these ancient beliefs of wealth or military might but rather understand the strength in our words. Our power is that glowing center in all of us as humans. It’s what makes us speak up about an injustice when that injustice does not personally affect us. It is what makes us aware that we are better off if our fellow human beings are better off. My favorite African witter once said, “Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person but the ability to…

Is Our Government System A Huge Joke Uganda? #SIMCardRegistration

The Ugandan government has famously been known for passing laws & great or remarkable policies which never get chance to see fortnight’s daylight or even less. Reasons, still not fully established, but one can’t help to question, “Is the democratic system of Uganda is a joke?” Following the recent SIM card registration policy passed by government, after many failed attempts, government finally followed through with it’s deadline leaving thousands of Ugandan’s phone numbers disconnected including Ofwono Opondo’s number the Government Spokesman & Head of the Uganda Media Center!!! Tracking back, shortly before the deadline. The Parliament of Uganda passed a law, directing UCC to postpone the Sim card registration deadline & give more Ugandans “who can’t read” a chance to register their SIM cards up to next year (Huge joke right?). However, despite of parliament’s ruling, the government through the ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze went ahead to enforce their deadline of Sim card registration and we all know what happened on the 19th May 2017. What he did was ground breaking for the “Kisanja Hakuna Mchezoo government…” Yet still against the law. The minister of ICT was found in contempt of Parliament, which means he broke the law to enforce the law. Upon being summoned by the speaker, the minister still enforced the law by leaving the disconnected all SIM cards off. Ps, the summoning was never effected due to the events that followed. Shortly at the start of the week, Monday the NRM Party meeting seats (NRM MPs alone) in Entebbe. Not surprisingly, the Chairperson of the ruling party who is also the president of Uganda Uganda accepts the plea of the members of Parliament to extend the registration process and deadline. However the presidents only decides to push it up to the month of August 2017 which is…

How To Empower Women… Will It Be Politically Or Economically?

It’s not a question of either economic empowerment for women or political empowerment for women, but rather it is both! An empowered woman is a woman that is economically independent and politically active. Women must not only take leadership but must also be interested in the leadership of their countries and therefore they need political empowerment. But you cannot participate actively in politics unless you are economically independent. Otherwise that’s why we see issues of patronage, we see disfranchisement of women because they are economically dependent on this patronage system. So we think the encouragement is to empower women both economically and politically if you want to achieve sustainable development and growth. Sustainable development is inclusive development but also development that is self-independent where women for example in this case are able to sponsor their opinions and to take leadership without necessarily depending on the patronage system on the case of Uganda. Hence the push is for economic empowerment for women together with political empowerment and not one or the other. Empower a woman, you have a powerful empowered nation, you can not have a sustainable independent powerful country without empowering it’s women. They are the engine of development, vanguard of democracy, so without women participation you cannot even have a sustainable democracy. Give the women space to participate, allow them, don’t give them favors! Give them space to equally participate in the governance processes equally as men. But also de-commercialize politics so that it is the championing of ideas, not the purchase of votes, so that the women have an equal opportunity as men for example seek to take leadership positions in various areas. Therefore its about leveling the ground for women and men regardless of their age and to do that you need to empower the women to…

Museveni Names his 2016-2021 Cabinet

In Exercise of Powers conferred on the President of Uganda by Articles 108(1), 108 (2), 113(1), 114(1) and Article 99(1) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, I have appointed the Vice President, the Prime Minister, created new Departments of Government (Ministries); and appointed Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State as indicated below: H.E. the Vice President ─ HON. KIWANUKA  EDWARD SSEKANDI 1. Rt. Hon. Prime Minister ─ DR. RUHAKANA  RUGUNDA 2. 1st Deputy Prime Minister& Deputy Leader of Gov’t  Business in Parliament─ GEN. MOSES ALI 3. 2nd Deputy Prime Minister andMinister of East African Affairs─ HON. KIRUNDAKIVEJINJA 4. Minister of Education and Sports ─ HON. MUSEVENI  JANET KATAAHA 5. Minister of Public Service ─ HON. MURULI MUKASA 6. Minister of Trade, Industry & Cooperatives ─ HON. KYAMBADDE AMELIA ANNE 7. Minister of Internal Affairs ─ GEN. JEJE ODONGO 8. Minister of Agriculture Animal Industry & Fisheries, ─ HON. SSEMPIJJA  VINCENT BAMULANGAKI 9. Minister of Finance and Economic Planning ─ HON. KASAIJA MATIA 10. Minister of Foreign ─ HON. KUTESSA Affairs KAHAMBA SAM 11. Minister of Health ─ DR. ACENG JANE 12. Minister of Works andTransport  ─ ENGINEER NTEGE AZUBA 13. Minister of Lands,Housing & Urban Development  ─ HON. AMONGI BETTY 14. Minister of Water & Environment ─ HON. CHEPTORIS SAM 15. Minister of Justice & Constitutional Affairs ─ MAJ. GEN.KAHINDA OTAFIIRE 16. Attorney General ─ MR. BYARUHANGA WILLIAM (ADVOCATE) 17. Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs─ HON. MWESIGE ADOLF 18. Minister of Local Government─ HON. BUTIME TOM 19. Minister for Karamoja Affairs ─ HON. BYABAGAMBI JOHN 20. Minister of Energy and Minerals ─ HON. MULONI IRENE 21. Minister of Information, ICT& Communications ─ HON. TUMWEBAZE FRANK 22. Minister for Science,Technology and Innovation ─ DR. TUMWESIGYE ELIODA 23. Minister in Charge of General Duties/Office ofthe Prime Minister─ HON. BUSINGYE MARY KAROORO OKURUT 24. Minister of Disaster Preparedness &  Refugees ─ HON. ONEK HILARY…

The Divisions Amongst Ugandans in the Post-Election Era. #YouthVoice

It is a very unlike-African behaviour, particularly for Ugandans, not to celebrate after the conclusion of something as encompassing and as important as a presidential election. It was almost eerie the way the whole nation went into a fog of silence after the elections, which led me to think that even though people voted, they were not happy.   According to the EC Statistics, 280 MPs who belong to NRM will be sworn in together with 83 MPs belonging to FDC to occupying seats in Parliament. 70% LC5 Chairpersons – NRM and 20% FDC taking office this year too will also hold various party cards respectively. The election this year alienated representation of the poor and above all muted their voices. Considering the allegations of stolen votes and rigging, the source of people’s unhappiness isn’t hard to determine.   It is also important to note that many who voted for President Museveni are slowly distancing themselves from his government due to the brutal treatment of opposition leaders. For many, this is a betrayal of the freedoms that The President is so proud to have given the citizens of Uganda all in the name of peace.   However most Ugandans are not shifting to the opposition, but rather occupy the area known as ‘Independent’. Even though they admit the inconsistencies in the NRM government, many do not see the value in the opposition either. This is evidenced from the fact that Dr Kizza Besigye’s call for a sit-down strike fell on deaf ears and as for NRM the silence says it all.   I speak for many Ugandans especially youth when I say that the lines that separate President Museveni and Dr. Kizza Besigye are non-existent. The political system in Uganda does not encourage debate and differences of opinion, but is suited…

8 Messages to President Elect @KagutaMuseveni #UgandaDecides

It is with great pleasure that I congratulate the 8.6 million Ugandans who managed to participate in this election and all the candidates who gave their time and effort during the campaign. Without either of you, the democratic process would not have been as vibrant or as vigorous. I would also like to congratulate his excellency, The President, Mr Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on winning the election. The people have given you a mandate, and on their behalf I would like to pass on a few messages to you: 1. Your Excellency, ‘Hongera’ (Bravo). It is not easy to be President for so long and still be loved by a majority of Ugandans. 2. Secondly, please restore social media and promise never to deny your people the right to internet, speech or communication. If we are going to have faith in you, show some good will too. 3. You have been voted by people who largely hate the government, but love peace. That is why your ministers were kicked out. Tangible qualitative, quantitative and sustainable development should be your number one agenda. No more Corruption! Get rid of all these self-oriented thugs in office. 4. Please don’t run again in 2021. You are mzee, the great mentor and father of this country. Isn’t it time you groomed new leaders outside your family to continue your good works? 5. Several Presidential candidates in the race had great ideas, for example, FDC’s plan for employment was on point. Just as enriching was the Go Forward plan for education. Pick and implement the best of your opponents ideas for the benefit of the country. 6. Restore National Service for Youth. In this way we can unify our country. There is no need to implement the policy of divide and conquer which is only an…

My Thoughts On The 2016 Presidential Elections #UgandaDecides

The seating Government is not willing to hand over power. Besigye has more to deal with than just the President. He stands in direct opposition to the security agencies, secret institutions and the system itself. The defiant nature of Besigye’s campaign however is making him lose international support. The west wants peace in the region and feels that Museveni leaving power affects that. Incidently, even though Amama Mbabazi is not as popular among people like Kizza Besigye, he does enjoy international goodwill.   Most of the people who would have helped Besigye are either in prison or dead. Examples include Gen Sejusa and Capt. Katabazi (who was an Mbabazi aide). This leaves Besigye exposed, drawing his support merely from the public who fear to be resistant. One thing still in play, however, is the Resolution Meeting between Kizza Besigye and Amama Mbabazi in London. In case of a rerun, both Candidates could pull their strengths together and offer a real challenge to the government. To understand politics in Uganda, you need to realize that its not just the President who calls the shots. Its a system. Some people believe that the President is a prisoner of his own employees, friends and family. On the ground, many Ugandans believe that President Museveni is the better option. Many remember and appreciate the fact that he brought peace and order. The public feels that his only weakness is his failure to control those around him, otherwise he is undoubtedly Uganda’s greatest President. Uganda right now is a grenade. Museveni is the pin. For many people, removing the pin means only one thing – an explosion!!! Hence they choose the old saying that goes, “Better the Devil You know than the Angel you don’t!” But still many of us agree, we need change, question…

My Voting Experience on the 18th Feb 2016 #UgandaDecides

As a youth advocate, practising what I preach is important. I believe that voting is the most effective way young people can influence decision making in Uganda. I set off on the eve of election day to Manafwa district where my polling station is located, hoping to vote and mobilise others to do the same. At least that was the plan. Getting a bus direct to the district turned out to be difficult and as a result I had to hire a private vehicle which resulted in a long expensive trip with lots of stop overs.   Furthermore, public threats from the army and the police discouraged alot of people from turning up to vote. The disconnection of social media platforms and mobile money was also a hinderance as alot of people couldn’t access their funds so that they could travel. And since social media is one of the best mobilization tools among the young, there was also a generally low turn up in that demographic as well. In some areas, ballot papers were delayed resulting in congestion at the polling stations. If the Electoral Commission had had better mechanisms for controlling numbers, many people, just from sheer exhaustion, wouldn’t have returned home without voting. I had to use a BodaBoda (commercial motorcycle) for three hours just to make sure I could cast my vote. The entire experience just highlights my lack of faith in the electoral system of Uganda. As I speak, in five subregions of Bugisu, few young women turned up to vote. The irony being that there were several elderly women waiting in line. Many young people were relunctant to show up due to the belief that the incumbent President will be declared the winner no matter what. For now, all any of us can do is…

Open letter to the Chairman National Resistance Movement as Youth. 

As NRM Youth leaders we have spent a considerable amount of time in the last 5 years selflessly building the party ideology among fellow youth and the Uganda Community at large, mobilizing for its expansion, strengthening and establishment to the day today trends. It’s unfortunate that at the climax of party’s opportunity to put to practice what we have worked so hard to build and campaign for youth participation in NRM processes, the youth where franchised by our own leaders who made the campaigns about money rather than ideology and brilliant ideas therefore made the campaigns about who had more finances. The youth participation in the NRM where supposed to be how the youth will promote the NRM ideology and leadership of the party plus mobilize to even they them selves engage in decision making above all leadership through the youth league. Today doesn’t matter how brilliant you are as a young person or how brilliant your ideas for job & wealth creation or development, women emancipation, governance, etc!! What matters is how much money you can mobilize and now NRM youth win because of how much money they have. Mr Chairperson it doesn’t mean that most of those of us who lost did not have ideas but rather we were out matched cause we didn’t have enough money like those who went through. We have been disempowered from participating meaningfully in the leadership of our party since most of it is all about which family you come from, wealth classification, or how well and dirty politics are you willing to play. Qualification in our party is reason for disqualification, above all there is no room for meaningful participation. Our Chairperson we ask you to lead and re-champion the campaign against the commercializations of leadership in politics and lead the…

My Dissatisfaction with NRM-Primaries

The National Resistance Movement recently organized a Delegates Conference which Included the Primary elections of the Youth League executive along side flag bearers for the #Youth Members of Parliament from East, West, Central, North and National (Female). The elections were by electoral hence voters who qualified to vote were Sub-county Chairpersons, District Executives members alongside 2 Out Going District Councilors, note that we were informed on the day of voting that part of the delegates/voters are not allowed to vote and these where the newly voted Youth Councilors. NRM was in charge of transporting, accommodating, feeding and as well as welfare of the delegates, hence for this to happen, accreditation of delegates was to be decentralized at district levels to save time & be orderly from the 28th (Which was Canceled a day to arrival) to 29th-30th (moved to 31st) October 2015. How Youth Leadership in the NRM-Primaries was Walled to Favor the Rich by the Party in the elections.As a contestant for Youth MP Eastern Region, I was shocked at the way the EC handled the elections. For starters; The election dates where pushed over 6 times, hence candidates had to spend more money to campaign and maintain their support since June even on the last day of elections. The nomination process did not exclude the youth, who were made to pay 2 million shillings just to show interest & subjected to a high fee of over 1/2 a million to certify academic credentials in UNEB. Accreditation of delegates on arrival was shady since short notice information was given for dates of arrival on the 28th as set before to the next day. Hence many of the delegates had were already in Kampala causing a rift. Accreditation did not begin until 1pm in the afternoon to 3am on the 29th…

My Aspiration for Youth Member Of Parliament Eastern Region (Inspiration)

For Youth? What I came do? Wow! What am going to give to them… That seems like a very ambiguous question to ask. I know everyone expects it…sometimes its not what the youth need that works for them but its what makes us alive… You and me! That’s what the world needs most… My biggest admiration for this country has always been to scratch my history and write anew story to for others, with new actions of Being my Brothers Keeper, Drawing close opportunities with no strings attached for your reach, helping in building young people’s dreams in their careers, business, talent, skill, passion and love above all. But we all have been shadowed by barriers…Politics has taught us to fear one another, I know who it has turn us against each other, how honesty is turned into a weapon to destroy each other just for self justification and gain, I know how we have been trained and reduced to handouts than reason, and am not saying its wrong but what makes it wrong is when we continuously choose only handouts over reason or rational thinking clouding our judgment into a stormy situation. We all have a free will just as simply as service can be. Innovation, passion, talent, love and teamwork if best put together you won’t need to ask what I will do for the youth. Question is what shall we do for our selves and not just individually but communally! There is a strength in togetherness, fellowship as we all know two heads are better than one. We are a Country, the people, the culture, the economy, the spiritual, the geography, the opportunities, the laws, the beliefs, hopes and aspirations.. Where you belong or where I do matters to all of us not just some of us.…

We are co-authors of Africa’s problems!

When I look at Africa, many questions come to mind. Many times I ask my self, “What would happen if Mwalimu where to Rise up and see what’s happening? Many times I would ask my self what would happen if Kwame Nkrumah, Lumumba, Mandela were to rise up and see what’s happening. Because what they would be confronted with is an Africa, where the Democratic Republic of Congo is Unsettled, there is a War going on there but is not on the front pages of our News Papers because we don’t even control over our newspapers and the media. As we speak to you, the Central African Republic is at War but we talk of it only mutedly, as I speak to you now, Kenya is at war based on religion and terrorism, young men and women are victims. In South Sudan the youngest nation in Africa, the Nuwera have risen against the Dinkas, as I speak to you now, Eritrea is unsettled, as I speak to you now…there is unease in Egypt as there is unease in Libya, in Niger its no better, in Senegal in the Kasamanzi is no better, Africa is at War with her self, this is what they would be confronted with. They would be confronted with an Africa which statisticians and romantic economics say is growing but which in truth is stagnated, that is the Africa they would be confronted with. They would be confronted with an Africa which as Prof. Mulama intimated in a presentation, “an Africa which is suffering from no self-awareness”, it does not know her self. They would be confronted with an Africa whose young men and women have no interest and no love for her continent. They would be confronted by an Africa where young men and women are…

Involve #Youth Voices In Political Party Manifestos

A Party Manifesto is one of the most important keys to the leadership of our nation. “Straighten a tree while it’s young so it may not be bent when it’s grown” Youth are the leaders of today and tomorrow regardless whether they have tittles or not. A Party manifesto is directly a Presidential Manifesto who in most of Africa is the supreme leader of government and makes vital major discussions. His manifesto at the time of elections directly shows what he is going to do for the people, however as we all know it a manifesto is meant to be simply the people’s pressing needs and how best they are to be solved. It becomes a greater deal when people vote their concerns to be addressed in the manifesto and later fulfill their interests thus making politics pro-people and ,ore participation. However, the challenge today is a few people seat in workshops, conferences or even worse in closed door meetings and form these political manifestos and manipulate others to adopt to it. This way it makes it very unrealistic and unsustainable since it is not owned by the community but rather imposed on the community. In the end of it all, development is compromised hence all its negatives kick in. Most governments take 5-10years in service and sadly others take more as we all know it, an average African man or woman life span is upto 60years of age, of which their active and productive years of age is 17-33years mostly the youth age which is my focus today. After that there is a meant to be a natural shift of life events as they take on the to roles at age 34 above to lead and manage. Meaning they have upto maximum 16 years to develop an understanding and…