MY STORY-STRUGGLE AGAINST MUSEVENI

The Beginning

In 2000, while working at the World Bank, I heard that Dr Kizza Besigye would contest for the national presidency in 2001, and I affirmed that he would be my candidate.

Earlier on in 1996, while still working at the Ministry of Finance, I had met Dr. Besigye as we investigated tax fraud in an organisation called Danze. This organization was run by high-profile people in government and business moguls. Goods imported by this company would be registered as ‘goods on transit’ yet they were being sold here in Uganda. The government officials would falsify stamps from exit points like Koboko and Mutukula, claiming the goods had left the country.

When we did the investigation, the Government of Uganda had been defrauded of 152 billion shillings. During this investigation, we even met President Museveni, since we had received information that some of the players were soldiers. It was only later that we learnt of the President’s involvement in the whole scam, and that Danze had been formed to mobilise money for his 1996 presidential election!

Why Dr Besigye

As indicated, during this investigation, I met Dr Besigye who was supposed to give us information about Danze. Instead, he not only offered us key information about Danze but availed us details of theft in Coffee Marketing Board (CMB).

That time, coffee would disappear from Kampala to Mombasa or in the sea. Interestingly, the trucks, the drivers and the ships would never disappear! It was Dr Besigye who told us that disappearance of coffee was a Museveni venture meant to cheat the taxpayer. After declarations of disappearance of coffee, the government would pick money from the Treasury to pay farmers. By then, their methods were not as advanced as today’s, where the Governor BOU is simply ordered to release money. When Dr Besigye disclosed this information, it dawned on me that there were still some honest people in this country. A senior official of CMB involved in that scam is currently chairing the board of a bank which was also bought from government at zero price.

You may also recollect that in 1999 Dr Besigye had penned an article, criticising the NRM for veering off the course they had set out to achieve in the Bush War—and for his honesty, he had been threatened with a Court Martial. So when in 2001 Dr Besigye declared that he was going to run against Mr Museveni, I couldn’t hesitate to support him.

Together with Mr Garuga Musinguzi and others, we mobilized resources to run that campaign. At the end of the race, we “lost”. Not because we had genuinely lost but because of the combination of factors. Dr Besigye’s candidature frightened Mr Museveni so much that he unleashed all manner of brutality against his opponent. In western Uganda, voter turn up was 120%. As the courts later ruled, that particular election was a pack of irregularities. My hope in that election was that Dr Besigye should have won so that I would serve as a civil servant in his regime.

But his loss and the glaring electoral irregularities propelled me into elective politics, if not for anything, at least to make a humble contribution in changing the way our country was being run. I decided to run for the Budadiri West parliamentary seat, in a race where my opponent mocked me for being “too light”. He chided me, saying nobody would waste a vote on a person who can’t stand on and break a dry banana leaf! However, at the end of the campaign, I emerged winner.

When I joined Parliament in 2001, I was the only new MP tasked to chair a committee. I was voted Chairperson of National Economy Committee. It was during this tenure that I discovered how government was using the common person to get loans which would never reach the intended beneficiaries. This is how, together with the team, we changed the rules, demanding that no loan would be procured unless the intended beneficiaries were aware. The committee I chaired rejected 11 loan requests we thought were simply going to burden the tax payer. Of course the State never liked this.

Another significant and yet low development in this time was the lifting of presidential term limits in 2005. Before our colleagues in the NRM did the dishonourable act of amending the Constitution to offer Museveni a life presidency shot, I was approached by State operatives with an offer of two billion shillings and a ministerial slot if I could back the “third term” project. I told them my conscience had no price and I later learnt, this angered the powers that be very much.

It was also in this period that I moved a motion in Parliament against selling Uganda Commercial Bank, arguing that this was a people’s bank. It was a hot debate, but while we lost, we are sure history will one day bail us out.

During this time, Reform Agenda merged with the Parliamentary Advocacy Forum (PAFO) to form Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). Our courtship with state violence had begun. For example while in Jinja, popularising PAFO, the government mobilised thugs to attack us. They hit my jaw so badly that I had to undergo serious medical treatment.

In December 2004, FDC was registered and we hit the campaign trail the following year. However, it was a difficult campaign. Our chief mobiliser, Dr Kizza Besigye, had been arrested on trumped-up charges and he was behind bars. During the nominations, some people were of the view that two sets of signatures be sought so that if Dr. Besigye was denied registration, we would front another candidate. I was one of the people who objected to this arrangement, because in it, I saw a ploy to condemn our leader to eternal jail. Our view was that if the worst came to the worst, we would rather not participate in that election than leave Dr Besigye languish in jail eternally. On realizing that we were unlikely to front another candidate, the Electoral Commission accepted to register Dr. Besigye while in jail. In in its typical confusion, the government through the Attorney General had indicated that Dr Besigye could not be nominated whereas his junior gave a contrary view—which thankfully was upheld.

More hurdles, however, awaited us. Our chief mobiliser was in jail, or even when he was freed, spent most of his time in court. Our campaign suffered a shortage of funds. We were on the verge of humiliation. To salvage the situation, I decided to mortgage my petrol station for 700 million shillings which we used to run the campaign as we sought other support elsewhere.

Unlike in 2001, the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2006 were conducted concurrently. Little did I know that as I sought to defend my Budadiri West seat, my actions and decisions in the National Economy committee had hurt President Museveni so much that among others, he had blacklisted me against returning to Parliament. Others on that list were Hon. Augustine Ruzindana, Maj. (Rtd) John Kazoora, Hon. Jack Sabiiti, Hon. Salaam Musumba among others. A lot of pressure was exerted on me and fearing that I was going to be killed, both my parents developed low blood pressure and died. My father died on Jan 19th 2006, and a month later on 14th Feb 2006, my mother also died. Nine days after my mother had died, the people of Budadiri massively voted me back to Parliament. I got over 40,000 votes as my closet challenger got 4,000 votes.

In the 8th Parliament, the party gave me an opportunity to serve as Chairperson of Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC). When I assumed leadership of PAC, there was a backlog of uncleared work dating to 2000 but by the end of my tenure, we had cleared that backlog and attended to our own work. As you know, it was at this time that the anti-corruption fight took a national character as we took many heavyweights to task over stolen money—including causing the imprisonment of a Vice President. We are proud that we made Ugandans aware of how wide corruption had eaten not just the centre of this government, including its top-most echelons, but also all other units. It is now our duty to ensure we get rid of all these wrong elements.

I am glad that the anti-corruption stance we took in the 8th Parliament is now being fanned by many of my colleagues. The struggle to root this vice from our midst is critical. We must all do what is within our means to ensure we have a country where public funds are respected and used for the purpose they should.

But if winning the election in 2006 was gigantic, five years later, I would come against every form of state-inspired violence, intimidation, militarism and bribery as I battled a Cabinet minister for my parliamentary seat. Sironko, my home district, turned into a barracks of sorts in February 2011 as army tankers and mambas were deployed on village paths—all in the name of denying me a parliamentary seat. A vote in my constituency was going for 50,000 shillings as the NRM broke the coffers to buy nearly each voter in my area. But being the wise people they are, my voters saw a golden opportunity in recovering some of their stolen taxes, but while firmly sticking to the issues. They would pick the money and later joke among themselves, at drinking joints, how Nandala had given them money. At malwa joints, they would ask each other, “How much has Nandala given you today?” The one with most “income” that day would then buy a round of drinks as they looked forward to reaping more the following day.

My record of development in Bugisu is unmistakable and this was not lost on the voters. It was no surprise then that when the final results were announced, I had more than triple the votes my opponent, a senior government minister, had.

But this civic competence of Budadiri West and Sironko was not by accident. We had done enough mobilisation and sensitization before voting. The voters knew that bribes thrown at them was simply their money and they were under no obligation to be swayed by it. People were manning polling stations as early as 5.00am. Even as the army fought and shot at me, they stayed in the queues, swearing to vote for me, even if I were dead!

We had also ensured that we nominate 10 or more agents at every single polling station. As one person stepped away, another was on standby. We cornered our opponent. There was no way they could do any mischief.

Realising that rigging would not work, the army scaled up the violence; our agents were arrested and people roughed up. Unwilling to stand the oppression, our supporters retaliated, cornering soldiers and beating them. In the melee, I was shot in the leg and a journalist who was covering the fracas shot in the stomach. Up to today, the government has never explained what soldiers were doing at polling centres.

This mobilisation and vigilance bore fruit. Our party won all the three parliamentary seats in Sironko District; we won the LCV seat, we have 21 LCIII chairpersons out of the 28 in the district and 41 councillors. Of the 127 polling stations in the constituency, we won at 124 of them. If there is any lesson we learnt from this race, it was the fact that we can NEVER get victory on a silver platter. Organisation and mobilisation are key, if our party is to take power.

Nandala Mafabi

Nathan Nandala Mafabi addresses a Rally in during the 2012 Party Presidential elections

Battles with Mr. Museveni for Bugisu Cooperative Union (BCU)

In 2008, when union members took a decision to have new board members, government postponed elections six times because of the fear that Nandala could win. Finally, they had no alternative but to organize the election. Four days to elections, all delegates were ferried to hotels in neighbouring districts of Tororo, Iganga, Jinja, and Soroti. The most targeted delegates were people from my zone. This meant that I had no voters to canvass votes from.

Since 1954, voting rules had been that each of the nine zones votes for one board member, who then joins other members from other zones to constitute an executive. This time round, however, the voting pattern was changed. Everyone present would vote both board members and its chairperson.

So come voting day and the drama started. The first showdown was on the election of zone board members. Out of the 104 members from my zone, I had accessed only 20. As I stood in the line to be voted, I knew my fate was sealed. Five of my group members had already lost and I was the sixth. Some people urged me to shift from my queue, saying it was jinxed, but I told them I would go down with my colleagues.

Events, however, took a strange turn. One old but vocal member who had been given 20 million shillings to vote against me, probably battling with his conscience, boldly declared, “I cannot sell Bugisu”, and crossed over to my side. He added that the cash inducement given to him was taxpayers’ money, before scores of other members switched to my line. My opponent in this race, like it was in the 2011 parliamentary election, was Minister Beatrice Wabudeya. She had never sold even a kilogramme of coffee, but here she was masquerading as a coffee farmer, seeking management position in a coffee farmers union! When votes were counted, I had sailed through as board member for my zone.

President Museveni, who had camped in Mbale, was informed that I had won the first round. He urged his members to ensure that I am not elected as BCU Board Chairperson. Instead when the vote was called, I was endorsed as chair with an even bigger margin. Mr Museveni did not wait for the declaration of the winner—we simply saw his helicopter take off!

When I assumed leadership of BCU, it was indebted to the tune of 1.7 billion shillings. Within two years, I had cleared this debt and turned the organization from loss-making to a profit making venture. In two years, we had made a profit of over 2.5 billion shillings. The price of coffee rose from 800 to 12,000 shillings a kilogramme. A person with 1,000kg was assured of 12 million shillings. People built houses, bought cars and yes, others married more wives.

No surprise then those farmers decided to rename Arabica coffee as “Nandala”. Perhaps the most important contribution to the community was that BCU revived the students’ scholarships. We paid fees for over 200 students in higher institutions of learning every year. A scared Museveni said these were many students (perhaps comparing with his mismanaged, tribalistic State House scholarship scheme) and reasoned that in five years, we would have an unrivalled force. Little did he know that we just sought to help improve our community. He accused me of using BCU money to finance FDC activities just because the previous board that was NRM-inclined had done exactly that. He has caused endless inquiries that have failed to find any mud to throw at me. The fate of our union hangs in balance as Museveni does everything within his means to kill it.

THE FDC WEEKLY MEDIA BRIEFING MAY 13th 2019

PEOPLES’ GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE POWER COOPERATION

Last week, the Peoples Government (PG) and People Power announced through their official spokespersons that they will be cooperating on a number of issues aimed at removing hurdles stopping citizens from exercising their political and other rights.

The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) welcomes and embraces this cooperation. Historically, the FDC has pursued cooperation with all democracy seeking forces.  In fact the FDC herself, is a union of different political formations i.e. PAFO, Reform Agenda and National Democratic Forum (NDF).

We were the champion of the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC) a joint opposition forces electoral platform in 2011 and most recently The Democratic Alliance (TDA).

Having participated in three stolen elections (2006, 2011 and 2016) and various civil campaigns, the FDC regards elections under the current repressive and brutal environment as a continuation of the struggle and not a conclusion.

We are happy, People Power having suffered the brunt of the dictatorship recently, now also see the need to rally citizens to reclaim their power and rights first, before engaging in elections.

That is the campaign under the DEFIANCE label that we are engaged in. This campaign aims at sensitizing citizens about their individual vulnerability and collective strength to overcome it. Citizens are mobilized and empowered to rise up against wanton abuse of their resources and their rights. They are also taught and led in various campaigns to reclaim their power.

We call upon all democracy seeking forces to support these civic campaigns. The FDC doesn’t have to initiate or lead these campaigns. We will be glad to participate in such campaigns initiated by others.

We would like to warn the UPDF, Police and other security agencies not to interfere with our legitimate civil campaigns. We will hold individual Police and UPDF officers responsible for all the abuses they have occasioned on our leaders and citizens.

We would also like to warn some selfish individuals who are inciting the state to clamp down on citizens who are freely exercising their rights. The self-styled group of traders from Kampala who want demonstrations and processions banned are especially warned. Don’t accept to be used. Don’t follow the dictatorship to its grave.

FDC-PEOPLE GOVERNMENT KALANGALA AND BUVUMA PROGRAMME

As announced earlier, the FDC and People’s Government will visit Kalangala and Buvuma this week. We will begin with Kalangala on Wednesday and Buvuma on Friday.

Last week Police and UPDF blocked our meeting in Buikwe and as has become the practice fired bullets and teargas at citizens in Lugazi. We intend to return to Lugazi and other areas of Buikwe later.

Police and military also cordoned off the FDC headquarters over the weekend and held our leaders captive during a meeting with Lubaga district. Nobody was allowed to leave until after seven. We condemn these abuses and we shall hold the commanders of these operations responsible.

IPOD MAY 15 SUMMIT IN LIRA

The FDC will not attend the Wednesday May 15th 2019 IPOD Summit in Lira because conditions that prevented us from attending the December 2018 Summit have not changed.

We are still under siege by various security agencies. Our legitimate rights to associate and assemble are still curtailed and the situation has even gotten worse. We cannot speak to lower FDC leaders on whose behalf we transact business. Who therefore shall we be representing at these summits?

We have agreed and processed both political and constitutional reforms as IPOD members before and the NRM said there was no time to process them. Five years later, these reforms are not being processed. Instead, the NRM and its chairman have forcefully and illegally changed the Constitution to remove yet another safeguard against life presidency.

There is no favorable atmosphere in the country for a meaningful dialogue. We call upon religious leaders and the Elders who are organizing similar engagements not to engage in futility.

Restoration of citizens’ rights and freedoms in a more urgent matter than socialization events in big hotels. The FDC will continue carrying out mobilization and sensitization of citizens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FDC Press statement on May 6, 2019

Beginning of Ramadhan

The forum for democratic change (FDC) congratulates the entire Muslim community upon reaching the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month of peace. We would like to ask our Muslim brothers and sisters to pray for peace in this country and the rest of the world during this month of Ramadhan. It is possible for human beings to co-exist and live in peace with each other. It is people of bad hearts with overwhelming appetite for power and  wealth that have caused wanton suffering. Muslims must not only pray for peace but must shun these people who worship wealth instead of the almighty.

Congratulations upon reaching this month of Ramadhan. We wish you a peaceful fasting  period. Ramadhan Kareem.

Disruption of FDC mobilization program.

As you are aware, the FDC launched a two months countrywide mobilization drive at the beginning of April. The mobilization includes meeting FDC leaders, the public at rallies and those who are unable to attend rallies through mainly radio talk shows.

The people we are meeting in town halls are FDC  leaders. All these meetings have been blocked by Resident district commissioners and (RDCs) who are appointed and supervised by Mr. Museveni, police and other security agencies. The RDCs and police have switched off transmitters of radio stations and physically removed FDC president Eng. Patrick Amuriat, people’s president Dr. Kizza Besigye and other FDC leaders from studios.

In Kasese you all saw military vehicles, mambas being brought on streets. The operation in Kasese was headed by special forces command (SFC) which is an illegal outfit under our constitution and the UPDF act. This specialized military unit is secretly recruited by Mr. Museveni and he uses it the way he wants. There was real threat to life in Kasese. You need to speak to Dr. Besigye and Eng Amuriat to know what they personally went through to appreciate my point. In kiboga citizens demanding to meet their leaders were heavily brutalized by police and other state functionaries. We are solely creeping towards  the Amin-Obote era.

These are very primitive methods of work that Mr. Museveni has employed to shield himself and his party from legitimate competition. Mr. Museveni agents working with police have teargassed innocent citizens buttered and destroyed their properties. As a party we condemn these actions and we want to warn Mr. Museveni once again not to stretch citizens beyond limits which has resulted in imprisonment and trial of former heads of state in Egypt and now in Sudan. When you batter citizens you make reconciliation very difficult.

As FDC we think Mr. Museveni should benefit from amnesty. He should be retired with dignity and facilitated to live the rest of his life comfortably. Let him not test the patience of citizens, he should learn from Bashir.

Despite these disruptions which we condemn, as a party we continue with our program, we will be in Buikwe tomorrow Tuesday and in Buyende to condole with citizens  who lost dear ones and property in the devastating storm. We will continue with the rest of the program as earlier issued.

Bobi wine.

We welcome back Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi from prison. His arrest and trial like many others before is an attempt by the regime to intimidate citizens. We salute his resilience. It is possible to overwhelm the dictatorship, let everybody raise up. We must reclaim our country and our rights as citizens.

Deteriorating media freedom

Every year Uganda spends more than 16 billion shillings on economic and commercial diplomacy. The aim is to attract direct foreign investment and   tourist into our country. In fact this year Shs.16bn has been requisitioned by ministry of foreign affairs. Each mission has asked for 355 million shillings.

Yet the same country is trying to market itself abroad, it is busy battling citizens and journalists. You are aware that every year we earn more than 1.3 trillion shillings from tourism which is the biggest foreign exchange earner for Uganda.

The whole of last week Uganda was in the international media for ordering 13 media stations to suspend their staff over live coverage of Bobi wine’s brutal arrest and the battling of citizens. The directive by the Uganda communications commission (UCC) which we now know was issued after Museveni quarreled over live coverage during a Monday cabinet meeting was illegal draconian. It must be rescinded immediately. These individuals issuing these directives should now be held responsible. Let them not taste the patience of citizens. We don’t want citizens to drag them to the NRM graveyard once Museveni has finally gone. They should know there is tomorrow.

As result of these excesses Uganda is now ranked country number 125 on the list of press freedom index by an international media freedom watchdog –reporters without borders. These 180 countries are categorised into five:- good situation, satisfactory, problematic, difficult and very serious situation.

Uganda is now in category 4 (difficult situation) together with countries like Zimbabwe, Rwanda and DRC. Agencies like UCC, police, SFC and other security agencies must know that they are contributing to this bad perception of our country. In fact they should be individually made to pick the bill for cleaning the country’s image.

 Hon. Semujju  Ibrahim Nganda

FDC Party spokesperson

 

YOUTH LEAGUE POSITION ON YOUTH LIVELIHOOD PROGRAM

Mulindwa Final

The intention of the Youth Livelihood program was to enrich One Ugandan who is actually in his late 60’s, and that is none other than Mr. Pius Bigirimana, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development.

Mr. Pius was the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and it was during his tenure that Mr. Geoffrey Kazinda run away with colossal billions of money that was stolen from the Office of the Prime Minister. A lot of Money was stolen through Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) Phase 1 and 2, Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) among other projects. It’s the reason Northern and Eastern Uganda never benefited from these projects and still continues to wallow in abject poverty.

What Mr. Museveni did was to transfer Mr. Pius Bigirimana from a scandalous and dilapidated office of the Prime Minister to Ministry of Gender with a view of continuing with his theft empire.

Mr. Pius’s first Machination of theft was through his crafted Youth Livelihood Program (YLP) introduced in 2013, under the Youth Ministry. In fact this was his first project to supervise under the Ministry of Gender.

On commencement in 2013, Government injected 75 Billion shillings and according to the 2018/2019 Budget, the YLP was allocated 256 Billion shillings.

According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), youth in Uganda constitute a population of 29 Million People. The Youth Ministry claims One hundred Sixty three thousand one hundred and thirty (163,130) Youth have benefited from the YLP for the last 4 years. Even if we based on their figures as presented to us, these 163,130 Youth represent a meager and minimal 0.5% of the 29,000,000 Youth in Uganda. In other words the program has not impacted on even 1% of the Youth in Uganda.

This program has been marred by miss-appropriation and theft as expected. The Auditor General’s (AG) Report indicates that 527 Million Shillings was given to ghost groups.

Even the so called beneficiaries of the YLP are either given a Quarter or Half of the Amount they apply for, a balance of which is swindled by Mr. Bigirimana and his group (Focal Persons) at the district and Sub County Levels. A case in point, Usuk Sub County in Katakwi district, it’s on record that a son of the LC III Chairperson ran away with 10 Million Shillings, in Butaleja district, 9 Youths ran away with 360 Million Shillings. In Gulu, a District cashier ran away with 256 Million shilling. In Namayingo, 2 Official embezzled 70 Million Shillings. These are examples in only 4 districts and yet the same is happening in all other districts where YLP is claimed to be according to the Auditor General’s Report. All the above being presided over by Mr. Pius Bigirimana under the watchful eye of Mr. Museveni

As we talk now, the information we have is that Mr. Museveni wants to transfer this failed program from the Ministry of youth to state house. Understandably State House is known to be a clearing House for thieves. In fact it’s a mother of corruption. The YLP will therefore be moving from a flying pan to direct fire.

As FDC, we know these and similar programs are not sustainable solutions to the unemployment malaise. What government is doing is to give Panadol to a Cancer Patient even when they know Panadol cannot cure him/her.

As a party, we think unemployment can only be addressed by investing in Young People through skilling them in;

  1. Vocational training. Colossal amount of money pumped into YLP could have been invested into establishment of Vocational Training Institutes across the country to impart skills into the Young People and the results would be large scale creation of Small Medium Business Enterprises (SME’s) that could not only provide employment opportunities to Young People but increase the tax base.
  2. Introduction of a Dual Curriculum at higher institutions of learning. This will enable institutions to produce job creators as opposed to job seekers. An institution can produce a social worker that is also equipped as a carpenter.

Finally, instead of Mr. Museveni Changing this program from Ministry of Youth to State House, we in FDC advise him to retire and enable fresh ideas and leaders to take over the management of the affairs of the state.

Mulindwa Walid Lubega

NATIONAL YOUTH LEAGUE CHAIRMAN

UGANDA’S SECOND LIBERATION STRUGGLE: DR. KIZZA BESIGYE

Kizza Besigye

It’s important that Ugandans, especially, the young people, clearly understand the political challenges that bedevil our country and how we ought to confront and overcome them.

This piece has been prompted by the discernible misunderstanding as to what the current political struggles are about and what their trajectory is.

How did Uganda, as a country come about?

The constituent territories of what’s now Uganda were taken over by the British following the partition of Africa through the 1885 Berlin treaty. They were taken over by force and administered by British Officer Capt Frederick John Lugard (1890-1892), operating on behalf of Imperial British East African Company (IBEAC), which had a charter of the British Government.

The territories were formally constituted into the British Protectorate of Uganda in 1894 and controlled by the British Government until Independence in 1962.

What was the consequence of a forceful takeover of (Ugandan) territories?

The most fundamental consequence of the takeover was that the entire people within the conquered territories lost POWER or sovereignty over their territories. The Queen of England became Sovereign over the (Ugandan) territories, forged into a new country, Uganda.

The POWER that was lost mainly included: control over wealth; decision making eg: leadership, policy (including taxation); implementation of policies and decisions; and the administration of justice.

Tools employed by the British to maintain power of Uganda for 70+ years:

Four main tools were used, namely:
1) Terror and coercion, inspiring fear in the general population.
2) Granting favours to collaborators, using the wealth (of the people) under their unfettered control.
3) Controlling information; by denying people alternative views and thru Propaganda- disseminating information that justifies, endorses, and praises the obtaining situation, while demonising and restricting/ stopping any opposing views or actions.
4) Divide and rule- dividing the oppressed (subjects) and turning them against each other.

First Liberation struggle:

The struggle of the Ugandan (African) people to regain Sovereignty from British (colonial) monarch constituted the first liberation. Although Uganda’s struggle was not as intense and brutal as in other areas, Ugandans mobilised, organised and carried out many defiance (NON-VIOLENT) campaigns to win the “Independence”.

At “Independence”, the instruments of terror and coercion that the British had used to create and rule over Uganda for 70+ years (and the attendant POWER), were handed over to Uganda’s new “rulers”. The new (“Independence”) rulers literally and metaphorically replaced the Queen of England as the Sovereign.

They have used the same 4 tools the British used to maintain control over the powerless inhabitants of Uganda’s territories. Whoever controls the guns controls the POWER (over Uganda’s wealth, decision-making, executive and Judiciary).

The first liberation shifted POWER from a foreign monarch to domestic “monarchs”. That’s why Mr Museveni (appropriately) refers to himself as the Ssabagabe- King of Kings!

The Second Liberation:

The processes of removing Sovereignty from the post-independence rulers to the people of Uganda constitutes the second liberation. Looked at differently, this is a struggle for the subordination of guns (military) to the will of the people.

This is the struggle that has been going on since independence. The political challenges that our country grapples with are founded in the fact that the people of Uganda have no POWER (over Uganda’s wealth, decision-making (including choosing leaders), executive or justice system) since 1890! They’ve been marginalised and terrorised for 128 year!

Since POWER was taken, and is controlled by guns, all changes of power from one regime to the next have only been mediated by guns. The latest gunman holding POWER is Gen Museveni, in office for 33 years now and still going!

Before the NRM/M7 Junta, there were seven successive post-Independence leaders of Uganda (1962-1986) spanning a period of 24 years. During that time, some positive developments were registered, BUT, there were also huge problems of injustice (political, social, cultural & economic) and Human Rights violations.

Although the many changes didn’t empower the marginalised Ugandans to regain power, they generally created temporally euphoria and hope that things may change for the better. They offered moments of fresh breath to different segments of our society.

The unbroken period of 33 years of NRM/M7 Junta, under which the exclusion, injustices and Human Rights violations have been escalating, has resulted in an all-round huge crisis that risks the country degenerating into a failed state. The calmness on the surface is sometimes wrongly presented as “peace” prevailing in the country- it’s the typical calmness before a storm!

This is why change is very urgent; a change that addresses the root cause of our governance problems- Rule of the GUN.

How will the Second Liberation be achieved?

Unfortunately, there’s still some confusion on how POWER will shift from the “Presidential Monarch” to the people. It’s important that we achieve widespread clarity on the approaches to getting the desired change.

There seems to be widespread concurrence that PEOPLE have NO POWER and that we must regain OUR POWER. What some people don’t seem to delve into is the content of the power we don’t have and seek.

As pointed out above, the POWER we’re looking for mainly includes: control over Uganda’s wealth, decision-making (choosing leaders, policies, laws & regulation), implementation of decisions, and adjudication.

If the above holds, then it follows that people have no POWER to DECIDE who leads them or how they’re led. In other words, people have NO VOTE! It means that power cannot change merely because people have “voted”.

The fairly fresh experience of the 2016 presidential elections and the 2017 (Age-Limit) Constitutional Amendments serves to demonstrate the point. It’s not surprising, therefore, that elections in Uganda have never caused transfer of power from one holder to another.

Why do Military Rulers organise elections:

Military rulers use elections to consolidate their power (especially through gaining international acceptability) and to weaken the “Opposition”. They generally pre-determine the outcome and create a process that leads to it.

Apart from the 4 main tools these rulers use generally to maintain hold on power, they also employ familiar tools during elections, viz:
1) Manipulating register of voters
2) Vote buying
3) Excluding or compromising rivals
4) Violence- to intimidate rivals and their supporters
5) Voter suppression- discouraging voters in opposition strongholds.
6) Hacking the election- change data, ballot-stuffing, media manipulation, and changing results.

All these are facilitated by the control of all State institutions- especially, security, financial and judicial. Sometimes, “Election Observers” and some members of the International Community play a role of legitimising the rigged elections for various motivations.

Organising elections, however rigged, bestows necessary legitimacy to the regime to seek and get international financial support; especially, long-term loans from multilateral agencies or sovereign bonds.

On the other hand, elections in the restricted environment, offer a great opportunity for the ruling Junta to divide opposition formations and to foment conflict amongst them. They are an effective tool of weakening the “Opposition”.

What should people seeking to regain their POWER do in between and during elections?

The first critical realisation must be that Junta elections, per se (in and of themselves), won’t liberate the power back to the people. Power must be wrestled from those who forcefully captured it, through a struggle.

That struggle must continue, whether there is an election or not. An election can offer a great opportunity to advance or even triumph in the liberation struggle. However, a liberation struggle can be won at anytime, when the conditions for achieving the change are in place.

Three main factors are necessary for people to struggle and regain their power:

1) Raising popular consciousness- people becoming aware of their powerlessness and the attendant consequences; gaining confidence to assert their rights; and overcoming the paralysing effect of fear. This process generates POLITICAL (freedom) ACTIVISTS.
2) Developing leadership networks and structures of political activists. This affords people the capacity to act in concert sustainably. It’s noteworthy that activist networks are better when they are not built on a partisan basis.
3) Planning and conducting NON-VIOLENT actions that disempower and subdue the coercive forces of the Junta and assert the will and mandate of the people.

A critical level of AWARENESS and ORGANISATION must be achieved before undertaking actions that can successfully wrestle power from the Junta. Working on these factors must, therefore, be a continuous exercise.

During elections, there is greater international media and diplomatic attention to the country, which helps cause some restraint on the repressive machinery of the Junta.

As a result, it’s a unique opportunity for liberation activists to work overtime to make progress on the first two factors above. If a critical level of awareness and organisation is achieved during the election time, the Junta can be defeated and FORCED to vacate power. Otherwise, the Junta can be removed at any other time.

It’s important, therefore, that all candidates for any election are knowledgeable about the struggle and activists. Kasese, and increasingly, Rukungiri District offer a good example of how to win elections through struggle.

Liberation and election objectives are different:

The purpose of a liberation struggle is for people to regain POWER and control of the State. An election, on the other hand, is meant for people to choose leaders (and the policies they present) and give them power to serve them. Competition for power, therefore, envisages a situation where people have the power and can chose whom to entrust it with.

That’s why it’s important to aim at building a united front for struggle and a Government of National Unity to manage a transition process to a democratic order.

Transition to a democratic order:

After many decades of struggle, Ugandans are now on the verge of subduing the forces of coercion and domination and regaining their power. When it eventually happens, there will have to be a period of reorganising that State to a new order.

This will especially involve a review of the constitutional and legal framework; reviewing State institutions and building democratic infrastructure; truth-telling, justice and reconciliation; and free & fair elections.

2019, THE YEAR OF ACTION:

Following the latest coup d’etat (overthrow of people’s will) by the NRM/M7 Junta in 2016, we set up the People’s Government (Government of disenfranchised), to, among others, assert the People’s will.

For the last two and a half years, we’ve been preparing activists and their leaderships to undertaken actions that empower our citizens and disempower the Junta until it surrenders power to the people.

That’s why at the end of 2018, we declared that 2019 will be a YEAR OF ACTION! We cannot be distracted by campaigns of those seeking offices through the next “elections”.
Watch the space.

Dr. Kizza-Besigye.

The Peoples’ President

THE FDC WEEKLY PRESS STATEMENT

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THE STATE OF UGANDA’S CENTRAL BANK

The Forum for Democratic Change FDC welcomes the report of the Parliamentary Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) into the closure of the seven Commercial banks.

Although produced by members of Parliament whose tenure had expired, the report is another testimony towards institutional lust, capture, mismanagement and incompetence which has come to characterize the Museveni regime.

The COSASE report points out looting of assets of closed Banks by Bank of Uganda officials. Yes, the banks may have been mismanaged as indeed some were, but this didn’t warrant looting of their assets and those of shareholders.

On page 22, the report observes the Bank of Uganda took over assets of closed Banks namely ICB, Greenland, Cooperative, GTB and NBC worthShs164 billion but sold them at 32 billion representing about 93% DISCOUNT.

Mind you this is the Bank responsible for issuance of currency, regulation of money supply, supervision and regulation of financial institutions, management of Uganda’s foreign reserve, management of Uganda’s external debt and advisor to the Government of financial and economic issues.

How can the Country continue to trust the individuals at Bank of Uganda to continue managing and running her economy with all these gross malpractice revealed in the Report?

We are surprised the report did not demand for immediate resignation of Bank of Uganda Governor Mr. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebire, his Deputy Louis Kasekende and the various executive directors responsible for this mess.

The President is supposed to fire the Governor under Article 161 of the constitution but he is as incompetent as the person he is supposed to fire. Mutebile, Museveni, and Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda all worked as Political Intelligence Officers of Milton Obote in late 60s.

Our demand as a Party is that Mutebile, Kasekende and the executive directors of Bank of Uganda should be relieved of their duties. This country is not short of highly qualified people.

We have always warned the country that the fellows at Bank of Uganda even print money to finance Museveni politics and Campaigns. It is the reason Museveni is almost distributing new notes everyday as if they are printed in his bedroom

Moreover this is the Governor who in 2011, accompanied Museveni into our foreign reserve where he withdrew over $700 million to buy fighter jets that has only been used to defend South Sudan President Salva Kiir.

The FDC is uncomfortable with the recommendations to compensate crane Bank proprietor Sudhir Ruparelia as a committee commends on page 32 of its report. The committee faults Bank of Uganda for handing over non-performing loans (Bad loans) worth Shs 570 billion yet Sudhir provisioned for the same.

PEOPLE’S GOVERNMENT

We didn’t intend to address you on this subject because we covered it adequately in our last week’s press briefing. However developments since our briefing have made it necessary for us to revisit the matter.

First, we were shocked by the comments our college the DP President Norbert Mao made about some of our ministers especially Hon. Betty Nambooze and Hon. Allan Ssewanyana.

Calling people who have sacrificed for this country watermelon was most unfortunate as was calling Norbert Mao pumpkin. In our view, the person who benefits from our quarrels is Yoweri Museveni.

Before constituting the People’s Government, the People’s President consulted all our colleagues including the DP President.

The FDC fully understands the desire by each political platform/party to strengthen itself but also believes strongly in working jointly to overcome the dictatorship that is holding us captive in our country.

That is why Hon. Nambooze and Hon Ssewanyana are not appointed to serve in the FDC. They like Lord Mayor and others are willing to and have always been, to serve a liberation platform which the People’s Government is.

We would like to invite all democratic seeking forces to join or support the people’s Government. We are also ready and willing to render support to any platform formed to supplement the citizens’ effort to free themselves.

IMPUNITY OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

The FDC is concerned with increasing impunity now publically being exhibited by senior government officials. These officials are to make matters worse, guarded by the UPDF soldiers.

Two incidents involving Maj. Gen. Matayo Kyaligonza, Uganda’s ambassador to Burundi and NRM Vice chairman for Western Uganda and Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana illustrate this growth.

‘His Excellency’ Matayo Kyaligonza together with his guards roughed up a traffic police woman on duty in Seeta area on Sunday. Maj. Gen. Kasirye Gwanga a senior presidential advisor has committed similar crimes.

And last week, Minister Rukutana, a senior legal advisor to government was involved in a verbal exchange with Justice Catherine Bamugemereire who heads a probe into land matters. Different Residents Commissioners have been reported caning students, teachers and other citizens up-country. An NRM district chairman of Lwengo was also recoded caning residents in his area.

It has become increasingly difficult for citizens to obey rules when those responsible for their enforcement are flouting them right and left. We now leave in a lawlessness society.

Bodyguards of the President can invade Parliament during broad day light and instead of receiving punishment, they are promoted. The same body guards can butcher citizens and MPs during a bye-election in Arua and the victims of their attack like Hon. Francis Zaake are arrested.

Zaake was born on January 1st 1991, five years into Museveni’s government. The Jajja is now fighting with grandchildren over milk. Museveni should be ashamed.

Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda

PARTY SPOKESPERSON

FEB 25TH 2019

PRESS STATEMENT

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DEPORTATION OF MTN STAFF AND WAR RHETORIC

The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is concerned with war drums being sounded by Mr. Museveni and the commander of his unconstitutional personal army-Special Forces Command (SFC).

On February 12th, the SFC Commander Don Nabasa promoted recently to the rank of Maj. Gen. against provisions of the UPDF Act is quoted to have made the following statement;

“External forces are looking and they don’t want us to develop. We have the oil here, beauty of the Country, stability, development, and above all a precious leader. They think may be if they get the precious leader out, there will be disorganization. Please don’t go on that path, it’s a wrong path. Don’t let them use you.

They won’t come physically, but if they come here, it will be the best because we are very ready for them. Unfortunately they will not come. They will send money and people like the ones of late being deported, to mobilize the youth because they have the man power here and the youth are very easy to convince. Please, talk to them and they see that the stability in their country is their future.”

The MTN employees being deported and being referred to here, are mainly citizens of two sister countries, neighboring Rwanda and South Africa. This statement by Don Nabbasa is even given more weight by a similar one made by Museveni while addressing the Tarehe Sita fun function in Kitgum. Museveni said;

Nobody can disturb our peace. Anyone who thinks of destabilizing Uganda, will destroy the UPDF is strong and well equipped to secure Uganda from many forces of destabilization.”

Mr. Museveni and his commanders must tell the country whether we are at the brink of war with Rwanda and South Africa. What is the cause of all this. Tension between Uganda and its neighbors has a lot of ramifications. Remember as result of similar tension, Mr. Museveni last year pulled out of the Africa free-trade area summit in Kigali. The Rwandan president Kagame had earlier skipped the East African Community Summit in Kampala.

At the time Rwanda was accusing Uganda of harassing it citizens and Museveni had just arrested senior police officers for facilitating illegal extradition of refugees to Kigali.

While Don Nabasa is ready for war, citizens of Uganda are not ready. Procurement of military hardware and training should not excite soldiers into war. We should pursue dialogue and peace with neighbors and everybody.

We must pursue dialogue with all our perceived enemies – the political opponents.

What has happened in all the agreements that we signed with Rwanda including one on sharing of intelligence information.

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PEOPLES GOVERNMENT/PEOPLES CABINET

The decisions to form a Peoples Government was reached by the FDC and other political platforms that sponsored and supported then candidature of DR, Kizza  Besigye during 2016 general election which we believe Dr. Kizza Besigye won.

Mr. Museveni tempered with the outcome of this election like he had done before and got the electoral commission to delay him a winner. We were afforded no opportunity to legally challenge this declaration as our candidate Dr. Besigye was kidnapped on Kampala streets and flown to Moroto by kale Kahikura. He was later flown back to Kampala, charged with treason and locked in Luzira prison.

The rest of senior FDC leaders were placed under house arrest to allow Museveni be sworn in.

When the house arrest was over and Museveni had sworn in himself, we sat here and agreed to disregard the fraudulent results. We agreed on formation of a People’s Government. This government has been in place since then.

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This is a liberation outfit designed to wrestle People’s sovereignty from a military leader. The People’s Government has structures from Cabinet to Local Government Councils. The main duty is to empower citizens, raise their civic awareness and mobilize them to engage in non- violence actions that will continue weakening the Museveni regime.

The people’s government is a government of national unity and draws leaders from various political formations. It is still growing and all democracy seeking forces are invited to embrace it.

As you are aware, many other countries such as Kenya and Venezuela have since learnt from us.

THE 2021 GENERAL ELECTIONS

As a party, we continue mobilizing and preparing for elections whenever they come. But our pre –occupation is to weaken the regime so we can get rid of it before the next elections.

We therefore would like to appeal to our colleagues to not only concentrate on preparing for the next election but also on all other activities that will weaken the dictatorship. We remain receptive to all new ideas.

The FDC despite security harassment continues with regional assemblies meetings and other activities.

One Uganda, One People

Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda

Party Spokeperson

18th February 2019

HOW MUSEVENI HAS SABOTAGED THE ENERGY SECTOR.

This write-up has been prompted by repeated misinformation and blame-game by Mr Museveni on Uganda’s chronic energy crisis. This has been, especially, in an attempt to explain the very long delay in completing the Bujagali dam project. It’s important, however, to look at the whole energy sector because this is the heart of a country’s economic growth.

The sector has had major problems, both at the policy and the implementation levels. There was no energy policy at all between 1986 and 2002! Government only depended on annual policy statements made by the minister to accompany budget estimates. The renewable energy policy that encompasses our most vital resources was only made in 2007. This is the policy that deals with river dams, solar, biomass (agriculture and forestry products), underground heat (geothermal), wind, and peat (accumulation of partially decayed vegetation). For 20 years, there was no policy!!

The energy policy of 2002 and the renewable energy policy 2007 are themselves significantly deficient in some parts and quite misdirected in others. However, I have no intention of delving into that now. The power sector was fundamentally “reformed” and largely privatized under the Electricity Act 1999, before there was any form of energy policy!

This, of course, has been the standard practice of the “cart pulling the horse”. This was the law that facilitated the government to hand over the power sector to foreign government bodies, under the guise of privatization. It is noteworthy that this colossal government failure occurred at a time when there was no political opposition in Parliament; when for most part, the president was the executive and speaker of Parliament.

The biggest failure and sabotage of the energy sector, however, was in the conception/ misconception and implementation of power projects. The subversion and corruption evidenced in this sector vividly displays Mr Museveni and his regime’s unpatriotic and perfidious intentions.

Uganda’s energy resource
Apart from hydro-electric power and biomass, Uganda has vast renewable energy resources in the form of solar, geothermal and wind. These also happen to be the most environmentally friendly sources of energy.
Unfortunately, up to now, no evaluation of these resources has been done! By 2011, Kenya was already harnessing 280MW of geothermal power- far more than the famed Bujagali dam. What is more, Kenya’s geothermal output is expected to grow to 800MW by 2018.

Power projects
Owen falls/ Nalubaale dam was the first power project. It was commissioned progressively from 1954 to 1968; when 10 units had been installed with a total capacity of 150MW. The project cost at the time was estimated at $63 million. This was at a time when Uganda’s population was only six million. Over the turbulent years, output of the dam collapsed from the initial 150MW to about 60MW!

The second power project constituted the rehabilitation of the Owen falls dam, up-rating its capacity from the original 150MW to 180MW, rehabilitation of the transmission and distribution lines; and capacity building for the defunct UEB. The project was approved in March 1985 and the project cost was $73.4 million. This is the project that was undertaken during the first years of the NRM regime.

There is very little information regarding the implementation of this project, save for the fact that it’s reported to have been completed ten years later in 1996. The third project was initiated under the NRM regime. It had three main objectives, namely: improving the safety of the existing Owen Falls Dam/ Nalubaale, expanding power generation by building another dam (1km from the Owen Falls Dam) with a capacity of 102MW, later changed to 200MW and capacity building for Uganda Electricity Board (UEB).

The planned project cost was $300 million and the project was launched in 1991. An appraisal that was undertaken before the project was started showed that there was a critical risk to the project from low water levels of Lake Victoria.
This was tragically ignored! Government minister Hilary Onek [while Energy minister] has also publicly stated that he advised government about the water level risk and the advice was ignored.

Gibbs Company, who designed the Owen Falls Dam (1948), and a British Aid agency, Kennedy and Donkin, all advised that the extension of the project was not economically justified because of the low water levels. It’s worth noting that a firm, Acres of Canada, which did the feasibility, detailed engineering and construction supervision of the project didn’t go through competitive bidding. It was another bedroom appointment!

In spite of all the concerns expressed about the low lake water levels, the original design of installing four turbines of 34MW each (total of 102MW) was changed to five turbines of 40MW each (total 200MW)! Eventually, only three out of the planned five (40MW) turbines were installed (financed by Norway). Due to the low water levels, only two of the three installed turbines were commissioned. The third is being used as a transformer for a private Jinja thermal plant.

Kizza Besigye

A company, SIETCO from China, which was potentially unqualified, and had presented easily verifiable false information, was awarded the tender to do the construction (civil) work. The firm didn’t have money or technical competence to do the work. This was eventually terminated. The re-bidding process resulted in a four-year delay of the project and an additional expenditure of $26 million.

The project was based on a plan to increase the price of electricity to levels that were clearly unrealistic for the market to bear. Electricity price was supposed to be doubled immediately (1991) to $4.8 cents/unit, to be trebled to $7.2 cents/Unit by January 1993. Thereafter it was supposed to increase 5% per year from 1994 till a price of $ 15 cents/Unit!!

Between 1991 and 1993, the price of electricity for a typical consumer increased from Shs 10 per unit to Shs 86 per unit, because of the changed rate and the fluctuating dollar price. The government of Uganda signed onto these conditions, well-knowing that its citizens were among the poorest human beings on earth and that power was vital for human and economic development.

As a result, by 1994, less than 25% of all the UEB bills were paid for. Between 1991 and 1997, unpaid electricity bills accumulated to Shs 71 billion ($6 m at the time). This spelt doom for UEB and provided the justification for winding it up. In spite of increasing electricity prices eight times and getting government capitalization of US$40 million, UEB could not meet its debt servicing!

Under the 1999 Electricity Act that “restructured” the power sector, UEB was divided into three companies for power generation. There was the Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) for generating power, the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) for transmission and the Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited (UEDCL) for distribution.

Eskom, a South African government company, leased the asserts of UEGCL for 20 years; with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that compels the only Uganda government- owned company UETCL to purchase all power supplied by Eskom, irrespective of the Lake Victoria water levels. Eskom, together with a UK company, formed the company known as Umeme.

Umeme has since entered into dubious agreements with government that have already caused a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars to Uganda since their takeover. The net effect of the third project was the following: That out of the 380MW capacity developed at Nalubaale/Owen (180MW) and Kiira dams (200MW), the actual power output of the two dams, now managed by a foreign company, is less than 100MW!! This means that the Kiira dam investment was a disastrous waste.
Lake Victoria water levels have fallen to disastrous levels.

The meteoric rise in the price of electricity to levels that is unaffordable by most people. An independent evaluation group of the World Bank (main funder) carried out in 2008 concluded that the outcome of the project (implemented over a 10- year period) was rated as UNSATISFACTORY, the second poorest rating. The winding up of UEB and handing over the strategic power sector to foreign control.

The low power output at Nalubaale and Kiira dams led to a high shortage of electricity that prompted the contracting of thermal power (diesel engine generators) companies. This caused further rise in the price of electricity. The rise was so high that government had to subsidize consumers from taxpayers’ money.

It is estimated that government subsidy has been about $100 million per year although about 5% of the population consumes electricity. This is a direct contribution to growth of poverty. Foreign companies that took over electricity generation and distribution (sales) employ experts from their countries; undermining the development of domestic expertise.

Mr Museveni blames opposition MPs for the country’s energy problems; saying they delayed the implementation of the Bujagali dam project. Before moving on to Bujagali, can Mr Museveni or anyone in government inform Ugandans who was responsible for the above disastrous developments and what action was taken on them?

Bujagali dam project
The Bujagali dam project was a total fiasco, the epitome of NRM regime’s corruption and incompetence. The country will bleed from its effects for very many years. The project was conceived around 1994 as a public (government)-private partnership (PPP). In February 1996, government awarded and signed a contract with AES Nile Power Ltd without competitive bidding, with the project cost of $450 million. As usual, Mr Museveni was central in negotiating the deal.

The contract included a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that committed Uganda government to buy all the power to be produced at an agreed price. These agreements were a tightly guarded secret between “government” and AES Nile Power Ltd. All efforts by civil society organisations and Parliament to gain access to these agreements were rejected by government.

AES Nile Power then embarked on mobilizing the necessary funding for the project. Meantime, in December 1996, AES Nile Power adjusted the contract sum upwards to US$530 million, to which the Uganda government agreed. Right from the award of the contract, many local and international environmental NGOs presented serious concerns to the government, worried about the negative impact of the project. The following were their main concerns:

The environmental cost was too high. This included the dangers of over draining Lake Victoria, absence of a cumulative impact assessment of the cascade of dams, especially since no environmental impact assessment was done for the second power project, destruction of the unique cascading Bujagali falls that was a national treasure for tourism among others, and destruction of habitats for fish and birds, with a serious impact on River Nile fisheries.

Nalubaale (Owen falls) dam posed a potent threat to the proposed Bujagali dam because its projected life span had expired and it was known to be heavily cracked. A company of UK divers were contracted to assess the dam’s safety but the report was kept secret. If Nalubaale collapsed, the boulders and water released would wipe out the nearby Bujagali dam down the river.

Neglect of other sources of energy- the bloated project had the effect of stifling development of viable renewable energy options. Lack of a cost-benefit analysis- generation of power at any cost cannot be Uganda’s pursuit. Some observed that Bujagali dam was a costly white elephant; that increased the nation’s debt load and produced little power that few Ugandans could afford.

The PPA between Uganda and AES Nile Power Ltd was a closely-guarded secret. Again, this made it difficult to ascertain the impact of the dam on Uganda’s economy. It is these NGOs’ concerns that attracted the attention and involvement of MPs, whom Mr Museveni has been aggressively and incessantly blaming for Uganda’s power crisis.

It ought to be clearly understood, however, that the involvement of the MPs didn’t at all occasion the delay of the Bujagali dam project. Three developments caused the delay of Bujagali dam, namely: In 2002, a corruption/ bribery scandal broke out, where AES Nile Power Ltd officials were alleged to have corruptly influenced government officials.

This led to an investigation by the US Justice Department (based on US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) and the World Bank Fraud and Corruption Unit. The World Bank financing was withheld from mid-2002 pending the outcome of the corruption investigations. Consequently, dam construction was suspended.

In June 2003, two construction firms on the project, Veidekke and Skanska pulled out, citing bribery and environmental controversies. As the problems in Uganda were ongoing, AES Corp, the main shareholder of AES Nile Power, developed problems leading to a drastic collapse of its share value.

In August 2003, AES Corp announced that it was discontinuing the construction and development of AES Nile Power project in Uganda. AES wrote off $75 million that it had already invested in Bujagali project. In June 2002, World Bank’s independent investigative unit found that the Bujagali project violated five operational policies of the bank!

In November 2002, after the suspension of the project, the High court made a historic ruling which declared the “PPA” a public document and forced the government to make it public. An independent review of the PPA between Uganda government and AES Nile Power Ltd was carried out (after the forced release) by Prayas Energy Group.

The review determined that the project cost was inflated more than double. The agreement would make the Ugandan people pay $20-40 million extra per year compared to similar projects in other parts of the world. The 2003 pull-out of the project by AES was therefore a blessing for Uganda- short-lived as it turned out to be. Bujagali dam was re-bidded in 2005.

A consortium led by Industrial Promotions Services (IPS), a holding company of the Aga Khan was awarded the contract, ahead of three other consortia. It was reported that IPS lagged behind the others at the technical evaluation. Mr Museveni and State House were again very involved in deciding the contract award.

The project partners, IPS, Sithe Global Power (USA) and the government set up a new company- Bujagali Energy Ltd (BEL) to operate and run the project. IPS and BEL signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and an Implementation Agreement with government (UEGCL) respectively. These agreements were signed before Parliament approved the government’s obligation as required by law. The project cost was put at $860 million!!

The government advanced BEL $90 million to kick-start the project. The project also inherited the $75million asserts forfeited by defunct AES Nile Power Ltd. Construction work resumed in 2007 and was planned to be completed in three years. The Bujagali Power Project was inaugurated in October 2012, 16 years after the initial contract was signed!!

At the inauguration, Mr Nazir Juma, the chairman of BEL, reported that the total project cost was $902 million! Investigation by a parliamentary adhoc committee on energy, chaired by Bududa South Jacob Oboth-Oboth showed that the actual cost of the dam project was $1.3 billion. The committee recommended a forensic audit of the project. Bujagali dam, even at the official $902 million, is the most expensive dam in the world today [given its limited power capacity]!

Construction of hydro power plants in Africa and other continents cost between $1.0- 1.7 per MW capacity. Bujagali, at the officially declared project cost stands at $3.6 per MW. If the parliamentary committee findings are correct, this will go up to $5.2 per MW!

Bujagali

Bujagali Dam

Worse still, whereas the installed capacity of Bujagali dam is 250MW, due to the low water levels that were known to obtain, the actual output of the dam since inauguration has not exceeded 130MW on average! The total power generated by the three dams today is just a little more than what the upgraded Nalubaale/ Owen falls dam produced, yet it’s ten times more expensive and the country is saddled with debts from the white elephant projects.

This is the latest scandal, whose extent is still unfolding. Karuma dam project is supposed to generate 600MW of power. It was conceived in the mid-1990s and has been on the drawing board since. Corruption allegations started even as the project was being drawn up. It may be recalled that a Norwegian company that had interest in getting the Karuma contract allegedly paid a Ugandan senior government official a $10,000 bribe.

Karuma dam
The bids for Karuma dam were eventually invited in August 2010. Eight major bidders were shortlisted. All the others except three companies (two Chinese and one Iranian) were eliminated at the pre-qualification stage. Immediately after this, allegations of bribery started. They were first published in The East African newspaper. It was alleged that the contracts evaluation committee received $1.2 million from the Chinese.

Since then, court injunctions, official investigations, court cancellation and repetition of the evaluation process have crippled the procurement process. In March 2013, the IGG recommended (and government has accepted) that the project should be re-tendered! Nearly three years on, no contractor has been selected.

In a Daily Monitor story of April 15, 2013, Mr. Museveni is reported to have informed his cabinet that some of his ministers were demanding for a $200 million bribe from a Chinese firm aspiring to win the Karuma power dam construction contract. It has also been reported that Mr Museveni has now personally taken over the procurement process to “fast-track” it. Yes, hold your breath!!

KarumaKaruma Dam in Northern Uganda

Conclusion
Theft/ corruption and dysfunctional government systems and institutions in the Energy sector are responsible for the power crisis in Uganda. Mr Museveni/ State House’s hand is pervasive in all the project scandals. The Ugandan people are, and will continue, paying heavily for the mega scandals in the Energy sector.

This is clearly one of the most disempowering and impoverishing failures/ betrayals of the Museveni regime. Less than 5% of the population has access to electricity due to the high cost and a very tiny distribution network. There’s no end in sight to the power crisis in Uganda unless a more accountable, transparent and patriotic government takes charge

What is presented here regarding the energy sector is certainly replicated in all sectors of government. This is why roads in Uganda are the most expensive to construct and take forever to complete yet they disintegrate in a very short time. This is why Uganda Railways collapsed, ICT development is poorest in the region; and water dam reservoirs for dry areas of Uganda remain a fantasy. This is why, in spite of being in government for nearly 30 years and uncountable money spent, all social services are in shambles, agriculture has collapsed, Ugandans have no national IDs; etc.

Recommendations
Accordingly, recommendations need to target the pervasive failures, theft and corruption, subversion, and dysfunction of government and those that have colluded and abated its crimes. The following measures are recommended: Parliament should urgently institute a formal and public inquiry into the grave and glaring cases of corruption, abuse of office and misconduct in the implementation of the power projects in Uganda.

The Auditor General should carry out a forensic audit of all the power projects. Parliament should initiate a probe into the role of the World Bank and associated institutions in supporting dubious projects that enslave Ugandans to paying huge debt burdens. Where these lenders have acted imprudently or illegally, a case should be made for non-payment of their loans.

MPs should revive the impeachment proceedings against the “president” under Article 107 (a) and (b). They should start by drawing up the many, very clear, and incontrovertible charges of abuse of office and misconduct (including acts of commission and omission) as provided for in the constitution. Unless the mafia-like network in government is completely purged, the misery of Ugandans can only intensify.

Let all Ugandans who are informed rally other citizens to say that “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” and to demand a better government.

Kizza Besigye.

On Monday 11th February 2019, the Party successfully held a One day Leadership Training Retreat of its Leaders ranging from Members of National Executive Committee (NEC), Party Members of Parliament and Standing Committee Members.

In the retreat that was officially opened by the Party President Hon. Eng. Patrick Oboi Amuriat, Members were re-tooled on Leadership skills by Various Facilitators that included; Former Leader of Opposition in Parliament Rt. Hon. Phillip Wafula Oguttu who lectured about Corporate Communication Skills, Mr. Kasacca Henry lectured about Office/ Departmental responsibilities as well as Conflict Management and Resolution, Mr. Emmy Otim handled Team Work and Team Building, Mzei Wycliffe DK Bakandonda took the leaders through Party Chain of Command and Systems, while Owek. Ambassador Wasswa Biriggwa delivered a presentation on Personal Etiquette/ Diplomatic Conduct of Leaders.

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The Leader of Minority Rt. Hon. Betty Aol Ocan gave a key note address where she highlighted the Alignment of Minority Leadership in Parliament with Opposition Parties represented in the National Assembly (Parliament).

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The Retreat which was organized and Coordinated by the Party Secretary General Rt. Hon. Nathan Nandala Mafabi ended at 9:15 PM and was officially closed by the Party President.

SPEECH BY THE PARTY PRESIDENT HON. ENG. PATRICK OBOI AMURIAT AT THE SPECIAL NATIONAL COUNCIL 2018 @FDC HEADQUARTERS.

 

 

 

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The Party Chairman, Amba. Wasswa Biriggwa
The Peoples President,
The Leader of Minority,
Hon. Members of Parliament,
The FDC National Leadership,
Eminent Persons,
Members of this distinguished National Council,
Fellow comrades of this great party,
Invited guests,
Ladies and gentlemen.

I welcome you all to Najjanankumbi; the home of FDC. I want to thank you for making time to participate in this Special National Council meeting which is the second top most organ of the party.

It is slightly more than one year since I took office on the 1st December last year and quite obviously a lot has happened since then. This being the very first National Council since my election, allow me to most heartily thank you for the confidence you put in me by electing me your third President. I thank you very much and promise to be President for all.

This Council meeting comes at a time when our party has weathered a number of political storms which include the departure of some of our former colleagues from the party. The emergence of political opportunist hired by the junta to attack us with the intention of annihilating our party and the dictator we have actively engaged in our 14 years of our existence is forcefully frustrating our political activities across the country by using partisan elements within the military and police.

To those who have decided to go leaving 14 years of political investment in the FDC we wish them luck wherever they choose to go. Our conscience is very clear considering that every opportunity was offered to them to highlight issues they felt were not right with the party. But for reasons best known to themselves, they decided to leave.
Despite this we will always welcome them if they so wished to return.

All I know is that although there are a few comrades who have fallen by the wayside; the struggle we are engaged in; founded on the blood and sweat of our brothers and sisters, some of whom have paid the ultimate price, will never end in failure but victory.

I wish to remind you that Mr. Museveni has from the past promised to have no parties in the opposition by the next election, but I can assure you that your party is in safe hands and that is what is giving the dictator sleepless nights.

I can only be eternally grateful to you all for your resilience and hard work that has kept this party deeply rooted in the population. I take this opportunity to say to our detractors that FDC is not for sale, not for exchange for anything, and that we the members of the party are not bothered by threats and will not be intimidated. Ours is a people centered struggle, it is power to the people and we are the Super Power of Uganda politics.

Comrades, Mr. Chairman, amidst criticism, we had to take the bold decision to deliberately make changes to the Leadership in Parliament and in NEC in order to complete a functional trinity between the Party, Parliament and the Peoples Government Leaderships. I can report to you today with confidence that this process is complete and we are already working as one team to oust the dictator.

In this conference, the Secretary General will present to you the reconstituted Standing Committees and NEC replacements for your approval. Your decisions are critical to the running of the party because at the moment we are operating below capacity.

I bring to your attention attempts by various groups at advancing dialogue as a way to address the political question of Uganda. As a party we support principled dialogue, but not dialogue for the sake of it. All of these attempts so far have yielded nothing because our tormentor doesn’t have interest in principled dialogue at all. By employing tricks he thinks we will fall into his trap, but he has miserably failed. The latest is by IPOD which has planned a Summit to take place on 12th December, 2018 in Kampala.

We have requested for more time to allow us have internal constructive engagements to consider any proposals before signing up to any agreement. We also feel disappointed that whereas there are key national issues including electoral reforms that were previously discussed these have never been concluded due to reluctance by Mr. Museveni’s NRM administration to pursue agreements. At the same time we believe that for any constructive dialogue to take place, this should happen in an environment where oppression against the FDC and other political parties by the dictatorship has stopped. We will never be involved in any dialogue intended to glorify a group that intends to keep us in bondage forever.

Comrades in the struggle, Mr. Chairman the year ahead is going to be tough and business packed and I encourage you to brace yourselves for the challenges that come with such tasks. The building of structures from the grassroots upwards must be concluded before the closure of next calendar year. This should pave way for a Delegates Conference in early 2020 where we expect internal elections for all positions.

Meanwhile I encourage you to help with early identification of candidates in preparation for the forthcoming 2021 elections if we get there as a country. We will hopefully participate in it. I also request that you spend some time planning and executing activities intended not only to recruit new members and retain those who are already part of us, but also actions that can guarantee regime change. I expect activism to form center stage of our political operations. In doing this we shall simply be fulfilling our obligation of preparing and handing over a better country to those who to come after us.

As I conclude I wish to thank the National Executive committee that has offered valuable guidance to me in the day to day running of our party. I also thank the Peoples Government for rekindling the spirit of activism in the party by fronting the non-violent struggle.

I wish to congratulate your Excellency Chairman and the National Secretariat for arranging yet another National Council. May this National Council bring renewed energy and hope to us all. May it bring fresh determination for our liberation and that of our country men and women. May our strong resolutions be the fuel that will propel our liberation struggle forward. And may the spirit of One Uganda, One People continue to guide our actions as a party.

Thank you.
God bless you all.
Merry X- Mass & Happy New Year
For God and my Country.
One Uganda, One People.

Patrick Oboi Amuriat,
PARTY PRESIDENT.
6th December 2018