THE FDC WEEKY BRIEFING JUNE 22nd 2020
The Forum for Democratic Change would like to unequivocally reject the June 16th Justice Simon Byabakama’s pronouncement of digital campaigns for the forthcoming general elections.
This pronouncement whose effect is to ban freedom of assembly enshrined in Article 29(d) of the Constitution, offends the main pillars and foundation upon which constitutional democracy was built on in Uganda.
Objective II of our Constitution titled Democratic Principles states that,
“The State shall be based on democratic principles which empower and encourage the active participation of all citizens at all levels in their own governance.”
The only election provided for in the Constitution is one in which citizens actively participate. Covid or no Covid, the standards remain the same. For an election to be an election under the Constitution, it must be free and fair in which citizens actively participate. These elections are not elections of Electoral Commission or candidates only. They are Uganda’s elections.
At every turn Justice Simon Byamukama has handled elections as a private matter. His commission terminated registration of voters a year before election denying more than one million citizens an opportunity to determine who their next leaders should be. This decision was taken before Covid 19 outbreak. The voters’ register remains a contested issue.
Byamukama has now banned campaigns handing over the initiative to his boss, the incumbent ruling NRM sole candidate, seventy five year old Yoweri Museveni.
We all know that the person who fears competition and fears assemblies is Yoweri Museveni. That is why he had through Police given himself the powers to grant permission to people intending to hold rallies which Constitutional Court nullified. In fact Museveni had blocked concerts and rallies even before Covid.
The FDC National Executive Committee and Parliamentary Caucus will this Friday June 26th discuss this matter further with a view of petitioning both court and citizens. We will announce our next course of action in our next briefing.
ELECTION UNDER LOCKDOWN
Moreover 40 border districts are still under strict lockdown measures. Private vehicles are not yet allowed to move and there is no public transport at all. The reminder of the districts is under semi lockdown measures. Arcades are still closed, boda bodas not carrying passengers and taxis carrying half capacity. Saloons and bars are still closed. The population is under immense distress. This is not a conducive environment in which a roadmap should be issued. No wonder the Electoral Commission didn’t carry out enough consultation.
The country and Parliament in particular must discuss holding of elections in these circumstances. Museveni’s stolen term in office will expire in May. A transitional arrangement can still be considered that will require extension of the term of Parliament under a new agreed leader.
NO, NEDDA CAMPAIGN
The FDC welcomes not only a new civic campaign by the Peoples Government and the People Power Movement but also the spirit of working together. The FDC President Hon. Eng. Patrick Oboi Amuriat and other senior leaders witnessed the launch of this campaign last Monday in Wakiso. We would like to encourage our members and supporters to participate in it.
This and other campaigns must provide a platform for the subjugated to speak out. The Peoples’ Government and People Power spirit of working together should be an encouragement to all democratic seeking forces. If we can sit with NRM in IPOD, why not ourselves.
COVID 19 RESPONSE
The number of Ugandans infected with Covid 19 continues to rise. We are now approaching 800. And it is now nearly three months since the first case was reported.
The response of Museveni as you all know has been a mess. He undertook to provide food to 1.5 million vulnerable people in Kampala and Wakiso in the first 14 days of the lockdown which he failed to do. Only Kampala was covered up to about 80%. People in Wakiso and in many other urban areas are starving.
I think knowing how corrupt the Museveni regime is, we simply have to learn to live with the new normal and continue with our lives. We must begin a phased re-opening of schools. The government should meet the cost of maintaining candidates’ classes in school by paying their fees. We can put all our children in boarding and order all teachers to stay at schools till end of the academic year. Teachers from private schools have gone without pay since March. Government should extend relief to these teachers until schools re-open.
Hon. Ssemujju Nganda