Friday, January 7, 2011

Our role in the Great Lakes will be non-violent

In this analytical piece published by Daily Monitor on Monday, Margaret Wokuri shows how the NRM has failed to live by the ideal of loving your neighbour as yourself. She shows how the IPC government is going to change that by harmonizing regional, continental and international relations

Martin Luther King Jr. said that a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defence than on programmes of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. IPC role and engagement in the Great Lakes region will be informed by this wisdom because for the last two decades, Uganda has spent huge amounts of money fighting enemy after enemy and often antagonising sister countries in the region.

In 1998, Uganda unconstitutionally plunged into DR Congo purportedly to ‘intervene’ in the then raging conflict that ensued there. After this war, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Uganda had violated the sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of Congo, plundered its natural resources and was responsible for human rights abuses when it sent its troops there. It found that by engaging in military activities against the DRC on the latter’s territory, by occupying Ituri and by actively extending support to irregular forces in the DRC, Uganda violated the principle of non-use of force in international relations and the principle of non-intervention. Uganda is expected to pay $ 6-10 billion in reparations.

When elected into power IPC will have to apologise and negotiate with DR Congo so that this heavy fine that threatens to enslave our children and grand children can be forgiven. While in the Congo still, Uganda again locked horns with Rwanda – a conflict that has since left a sour taste in the relationship between the two countries. IPC recognises that while there is the seeming pretence that the relationship between Rwanda and Uganda is harmonious, there is suppressed frustration that needs to be dealt with through dialogue to restore the good relationship.

There have been incidences of bad blood with Kenya, as a result of the perception that Uganda had a hand in the killings of the 2007 Kenyan post-election period. The bad relations also surfaced when both countries claimed Migingo Island. Again, there is a false quietness about Migingo.

IPC government is committed to an everlasting solution by establishing and putting to public where this island belongs. IPC recognises that the people of Southern Sudan have for long suffered, and that Ugandans have made great sacrifices to ensure that they come out of the deplorable life they have been subjected to and enjoy a dignified life. Right now, some people would solely want to take credit for the sacrifices Ugandans have made by creating the impression that without them, there would be no support from Uganda. IPC government will continue harnessing the harmonious relationship by giving the necessary constitutional support to the people of Southern Sudan.

In addition, IPC government will engage in peace talks with the people of this region to put down the bad feelings resulting from the alleged UPDF looting of timber in Congo and southern Sudan. In 2007, the Ugandan army was accused of illegally logging valuable timber from Southern Sudan and taking it back to Uganda. The allegations were in a detailed report by the independent Swiss-based research group, Small Arms Survey. It said Ugandan soldiers had been clearing teak forests in Southern Sudan.

Uganda is currently engaged in a vital role in Somalia –a noble assignment by the African Union. IPC will seek the involvement of other African countries.

On the whole IPC relations will be guided by the policy of non-interference and respect of sovereignty of neighbouring states.

Ms Margaret Wokuri, director for communication and publicity at the IPC campaign bureau wrote this article in consultation with her organisation’s leadership

Besigye leaves Acholi happy to find landmines in Luwero

Observer's Edris Kiggundu reports about Dr. Kizza Besigye's reception in Acholi on his campaign and what it means for the opposition

No change, IPC candidate tells Acholi

Gulu, Luwero– The opposition alliance flag bearer ended his campaign tour of Acholi last week with an appeal to the people to vote for him, again, saying the country is united in its desire for change.

Dr Kizza Besigye also used the campaign to make one of the biggest political pronouncements that had little to do with the political dynamics of the sub-region. The FDC leader announced during a couple of rallies in Amuru and Nwoya districts that Erias Lukwago was the favoured opposition candidate for mayor of Kampala.

Besigye’s passionate plea for the Acholi vote came amid fears that the ruling NRM could dig into his stronghold – going by the last two elections – following restoration of peace here after 20 years of insurgency.

During the week the IPC leader spent in Acholi, he kept saying that the NRM adamantly championed the military option rather than a peaceful resolution of the conflict, thus inflicting severe damage on the populace.

He said Yoweri Museveni’s government accepted to talk peace with the LRA after coming under pressure from religious leaders and donors.

If the sub-region votes for the NRM, Besigye said, its fortunes shall not improve just like the other sub-regions that have consistently voted for Museveni but which continue to wallow in poverty.

“There is no reason why you should not vote for change like you have been doing. This time the whole country is behind us and we shall protect our vote,” Besigye said.

Besides trying to stem NRM’s growth here, Besigye also had to contend with the prospect that the opposition vote could be split by the two presidential candidates who hail from this sub-region— DP’s Norbert Mao and UPC’s Olara Otunnu.

As of last week, it appeared as if Mao and Otunnu had not yet made the needed political penetration to threaten Besigye’s hold onto Acholi. In districts like Nwoya, Lamwo, Amuru and Pader, DP and UPC do not have enough grassroots structures to counter the FDC.

Also, FDC has the highest number of candidates vying for political office at all levels in the districts of Acholi. The IPC flag bearer was careful not to criticise these two opposition candidates publicly, and instead devoted more time on pointing out the failures of the NRM.

Judging from the reception he got, Besigye remains the sub-region’s favourite candidate. Wherever he went, cheering crowds looked destined to keep behind their man.

However, it is doubtful he will repeat the 2006 feat when he scored 77% of the vote here. Simon Oyet, the Nwoya County MP, told The Observer last week that Besigye will win resoundingly in the sub-region because most people are still skeptical about Museveni, despite the peace.

“This talk of peace does not work here. Look at the people, they are still in misery. They have not benefitted from government’s resettlement programme,” Oyet said during a campaign stop in Nwoya.

Towards the end of the Acholi campaign, Besigye was joined by former Buganda Katikkiro, Joseph Mulwanyamuli Ssemwogerere, Kampala Central MP, Erias Lukwaga, Mukono North MP, Betty Nambooze and Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, who is contesting for the Kyadondo East Parliamentary seat.

The four are all key members of Ssuubi 2011, a pro-Buganda pressure group allied to the IPC. Ssemwogerere told the people of Nwoya and Amuru that Buganda first placed its faith in Museveni after he restored the kingdom in 1993, adding that later the NRM leader turned against the Kabaka.

“That is why we are supporting Besigye because he is trustworthy and does not go back on his word,” he said in Pabbo sub-county, Amuru district.

Besigye also used the presence of the four individuals in Acholi to make a big political pronouncement that had little to do with the local politics here.

The FDC leader, while addressing a couple of rallies in Amuru and Nwoya districts, introduced Lukwago as “the Mayor of Kampala”. It is the first time Besigye has openly sided with one of the opposition candidates in the race that pits Lukwago against Michael Mabikke, leader of the Social Democrats Party (SDP).

The issue of Kampala mayoral candidates has split the IPC, with some leaders backing Mabikke while the mainly Ssuubi-leaning officials support Lukwago.

The IPC electoral affairs committee chaired by Rubaramira Ruranga announced Mabikke as the official coalition candidate, but Ssuubi which signed a memorandum of understanding with IPC last year, rallied behind Lukwago.

In backing Lukwago, Besigye appears to have realised that he is the stronger candidate. But it remains to be seen how Mabikke, a fellow member of the IPC Summit by virtue of being SDP leader, will react to the move.

What is clear is that the announcement will further deepen the rift within IPC.

Back to Buganda

On Sunday, Besigye started his second leg of his Buganda campaign in Nakaseke district on an unfortunate note. Two vehicles belonging to one of his local party supporters, Moses Kabarema, were burnt.

At Ngoma sub-county headquarters where the IPC candidate had his second rally, the venue was surrounded by Police officers.

Later in the evening, Besigye was blocked under unclear circumstances from accessing the premises of Nakaseke FM where he was scheduled to have a talk-show.

The IPC campaign team had paid for a two-hour talk-show but after Besigye’s rally at Nakaseke sub-county headquarters, he found the radio premises padlocked. The radio proprietors, afraid that Besigye’s team could use force to access the premises, had deployed Police for protection.

On Monday, Besigye took the campaign to Luwero district. During the rallies, Besigye attacked Museveni for his continued criticism of past governments, saying he had not performed any better.

“He went to the bush because of rigging but today NRM is specialised in rigging,” Besigye said. He urged his supporters not to fear and to resist any form of intimidation from security agencies.

FDC meets mixed fortunes in the Shs500 fundraising drive

Three weeks after launching the Shs500 per-voter-per-week fund-raising drive, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) says it has received  overwhelming response from supporters. 

The FDC is further encouraging its supporters to embrace the party’s campaign strategy dubbed “the Power of Five” by recruiting more members and create chain support for regime change on February 18, 2011. 

Speaking to reporters at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi on Dec. 16, the Interparty Cooperation Director of Communication and Publicity, Margret Wokuri (pictured) said the amount of the first contributions from the Shs500-per voter fundraising drive would be announced soon. The fundraising through mobile money transfer system is a new innovation in Uganda’s politics.

However, the fundraising has encountered hurdles especially regarding contribution of Shs 500 through MTN mobile money service which does not accept amount less than Shs5000. Some supporters also would send money as airtime yet the telecom companies do not convert the airtime into cash. 

Sometimes the supporters would call the specified deposit telephone numbers making them busy and hard for other supporters to send their contributions on the same lines. 

However, Wokuri said most of the hurdles have been sorted out and the supporters can continue contributing to the cause for change. She said IPC and MTN agreed that supporters can now send Shs800 via mobile money where Shs300 will go to the telecommunication company and Shs500 to the IPC account. This is happening only on the MTN network. Wokuri said Airtel and Utl continue to accept Shs500 donations via their mobile money transfer systems.

To rectify the challenges, the IPC has advised its supporters to continue sending their donations on 0776433555, 0756755555, or 0718932055. For clarifications about the fundraising, supporters are advised to call 0704903658.  

“The essence of fundraising is not to raise money but to draw commitment. If someone put their money in this campaign, it shows they are determined to vote us and they cannot be bought off or intimidated to change their mind. The fundraising is aimed at encouraging Ugandans to work towards getting change of government through recruiting more supporters and new recruits bringing others on board,” Wokuri said.

IPC supporters can contribute any amount but Shs500 is the minimum. Contributions are received from anybody wherever they are. 

The IPC urged its candidates at all levels to emphasise the Power of Five campaign strategy based on the five critical national issues: jobs and  economic empowerment; quality education; a functional healthcare system; roads and infrastructure; and support to farmers and agriculture.

The strategy not only mobilises the masses to vote Dr Kizza Besigye but all the candidates from LCI to the president on the IPC/FDC ticket. 

The ‘Power of Five” is likely to be more popularised by the kickoff of the parliamentary campaigns on December 16. 

Wokuri urged IPC candidates to spread the message of the electronic fundraising and the five-recruits per voter to create a chain link to achieve regime change. 

 “IPC has candidates allover the country and has helped fail the NRM from winning posts an opposed at local government level,” she said. 

However the Electoral Commission figures show that 1,270 candidates are contesting for the 238 directly elected MP seats while 443 are standing for the 112 District Women MP seats under affirmative action. 

A total of 367 candidates are standing for the 112 LCV seats across the country. The FDC has 52 flag-bearers for the 112 LCV seats and is second to NRM in fielding the biggest number of candidates on these posts. The FDC has 189 candidates standing for directly elected MPs and 81 for District Women MP seats.

Poverty will be Museveni’s legacy, says Besigye

No doubt! according to this Daily Monitor article by Fred Muzaale

The Inter-party Cooperation presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye, has said poverty will be President Museveni’s legacy.

Dr Besigye, who was addressing campaign rallies in Nkonkonjeru, Kayanja, Ssenyi, Kasubi, Buikwe, Nyenga and Lugazi towns on Thursday, said: “The NRM government is responsible for these upheavals we are in because it has been in power long enough than all other past governments combined together.”

He added: “Twenty five years is long enough for one to effect changes so what President Museveni has not done in the 25 years he will not do it in only five years.”

The IPC leader also accused some Baganda leaders of betraying Buganda and the Kabaka by crafting and supporting laws that suppress the Kabaka and his kingdom.

“The Cabinet meeting that discussed and approved controversial traditional leaders Bill that intends to abolish kingdoms and to demean the Kabaka was preside over the Vice President. Even the Land Amendment bill was passed by some Baganda leaders,” Dr Besigye said.

He warned residents against electing leaders basing on tribal grounds.

Dr Besigye said his government will ensure free movement of the Kabaka in his kingdom and also revive food stores to stabilise food prices and stop middlemen from cheating of farmers.

Security threats force Besigye to skip rallies

This article by Daily Monitor's Emmanuel Mulondo shows how insecurity is interfering with the campaign progress of Dr. Kizza Besigye 

The Inter-Party Cooperation presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye, did not honour four rallies in Mukono District after it emerged that his security was in danger.

Not even his security detail provided by the Electoral Commission got to know about his whereabouts but Dr Besigye later rejoined the group at Namataba.

He missed rallies in Gooma, Katoogo, Kayanja and Naggojje.

“It is true but we don’t want to blow it out of proportion. We should leave it at that,” he said yesterday.

The former Buganda Katikkiro, Mr Joseph Mulwanyammuli, who is also a special campaigner for Dr Besigye, told this newspaper in Buikwe yesterday: “We realised his security was in danger and decided that he should take another route and that is what he did. Meanwhile, I went on addressing the people in those areas telling them that Dr Besigye had sent greetings to them.”

The development came after news of sabotage allegedly organised by the National Resistance Movement supporters reached their camp. This forced Dr Besigye to use another car instead of his personal campaign vehicle soon after the rally at Kalagi.

He held rallies in Nakasajja, Kyampisi and Naama.

Yesterday, he addressed gatherings in Buikwe, Busabaga, Nkokonjeru, Ssi, Kasubi and Nangunga before proceeding for the main rally at Lugazi town. Today he proceeds to Buvuma Islands.

FDC protests ballot paper format

The Forum for Democratic Change has protested and questioned the format the Electoral Commission has used to arrange candidates’ names on the presidential ballot papers.

The provisional ballot paper, seen by this newspaper, has People’s Development party candidate, Abed Bwanika’s name at the top, while incumbent President Museveni is at the bottom.

Dr Bwanika is followed by FDC’s Kizza Besigye. Uganda Federal Alliance’s Beti Kamya’s name comes third, Norbert Mao of the Democratic Party is fourth, followed by Bidandi Ssali of the Peoples’ Progressive Party on the lineup that also sees Olara Otunnu in sixth and independent Sam Lubega preceding candidate Museveni.

The petition
In their December 30 letter to the EC, the opposition seeks to know “how the names were arranged to appear on the ballot paper.” They, however, do not give their preferences.

Ballot papers for the February 17 and 18 polls are expected in the country in a fortnight. According to EC secretary Sam Rwakoojo, the format of putting names on the ballot paper depends on how candidates present their names to the commission during nomination.

“We cannot arrange the names for them because we don’t know which of those names is a first name or not,” Mr Rwakoojo said.

On January 3, the commission replied to the FDC in a letter signed by EC chairman, Dr Badru Kiggundu.

“The order is done in accordance with section 12(1)(b) of the Electoral Commission Act, 1997 as amended.” It adds: “And in line with the preferences made by the candidates on their nomination particulars.”

EC to the dock
Meanwhile. the EC confirmed receiving the court plaint by FDC suit over failure to issue voters’ cards and said they are in the process of filing their defence.

“If you insist on having voters’ cards, that could be a recipe for disfranchising voters who have lost their cards,” Mr Rwakoojo said. The case will be heard on January 12 before Justice Eldad Mwangushya.

EC to probe violence against opposition in Nakaseke

Well, according to this Daily Monitor article by the Electoral Commission is showing signs of biting 

The Electoral Commission (EC) has said investigations into the violence that occurred in Nakaseke District when the Inter-Party Cooperation presidential candidate was campaigning there, are underway.

During Dr Kizza Besigye’s campaign tour in Nakaseke recently, two vehicles belonging to an FDC candidate were burnt and his family beaten.

The thugs torched vehicles belonging to Mr Moses Kabarema, an opposition candidate seeking to unseat Finance Minister Syda Bbumba

The act was seen as an attempt to disorganise Dr Besigye’s campaign rally in the area.

In another incident, as he planned to appear on an already paid for talkshow at Nakaseke FM radio, Dr Besigye found the radio doors locked.

The EC said it will investigate the incidents.

“The commission has noted cases of non- compliance of campaign regulations like denying a presidential candidate access to a radio station in Nakaseke.

We shall follow up the matter with the relevant authorities,” Dr Kiggundu said during his weekly media briefing at his offices in Kampala yesterday.

“The commission also noted the violence also in Nakaseke where motor vehicles were set ablaze…even as we await police report; we condemn what happened and ask that all Ugandans be tolerant of one another.”

Meanwhile, Dr Kiggundu said printing of ballot papers had begun and they would be delivered in the country two weeks to the polling date. The general elections are slated for February 18.

The ballot papers are being printed in the United Kingdom and China.

Thugs clobber FDC supporters in Kayunga, Besigye calls for calm

According to this Daily Monitor article by  Fred Muzaale, some wrong elements are shamelessly employing ugly tactics as we draw close to voting day

At least 50 Forum for Democratic Change supporters in Kayunga District are nursing serious injuries after they were allegedly clobbered by unidentified gangs suspected to be from the ruling National Resistance Movement party.

The district FDC mobiliser, Mr Asadi Naliku, said yesterday the supporters were beaten on Tuesday while lining up on the roadsides to welcome the Inter-Party Cooperation presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye, who was scheduled to address them.

Mr Naliku said the thugs who beat the FDC supporters were traveling in two Kayunga district administration pick-up vehicles whose registration numbers they concealed.

The FDC mobiliser said the residents have since established that one of the vehicles belongs to the Kayunga District Chairman’s office.

When contacted, the chairman, Mr Thomas Mulondo, said he no longer uses the said vehicle since he embarked on his re-election campaigns, adding that he was not aware of the incident.

Mr Naliku, however, said the police have not taken any action over the incident, which happened in broad daylight.

Mr Samuel Lubuulwa of Kiziika village in Nazigo Sub-county, a victim, said he was standing on the roadside holding Besigye’s campaign poster when a speeding pick-up truck screeched to a halt.

“They asked why I was holding Besigye’s poster and when I told them that I was an FDC supporter, they beat me and sped off,” Mr Lubuulwa said.

A source at Kayunga Police Station who preferred not to be named, said police had not received any complaint about the matter.

“We are just hearing rumours but no one has come to file a case with us,” the source said. Addressing a rally in the town later, Dr Besigye asked the people to “play it cool”, saying “the NRM government had only four weeks in power”.

“Those people who are beating my supporters should know that it pays to behave well in society,” Dr Besigye said.

Poll ground not level - EU envoy

Yes, even the European Union has conceded that the ground is tilted in favour of the incumbent as we draw closer to the polls, reports Daily Monitor's Tabu Butagira

With just six weeks to next month’s ballot, a senior diplomat representing one of Uganda’s major donors has declared that the playing field is not level for all presidential candidates.

Ambassador Vincent De Visscher (in picture), the head of the European Union Delegation to Uganda, tells this newspaper in an exclusive interview that the opposition is facing “harassment and intimidation”.

“I note that particularly opposition parties still encounter difficulties in campaigning, in holding rallies, time to time harassment, maybe intimidation but also access to the media,” he said.

Opposition complaints
The Inter-Party Cooperation, an amalgam of four opposition parties, says private FM radio owners, allegedly arm-twisted by State operatives, have denied paid-for talk shows to their presidential flag bearer, Dr Kizza Besigye, more than a dozen times.

Mr Olara Otunnu, the Uganda Peoples Congress presidential candidate, has alleged that security operatives last month abducted his agent in Masaka and confiscated the ‘blue books’ the party uses to collect voters’ signatures that will back a petition to oust the Dr Badru Kiggundu-led Electoral Commission.

Ambassador De Visscher said: “I hope that in the coming weeks, one can make an effort to ensure the playing field will improve.”

These problems echoed by the diplomat, who leaves Uganda this week, were previously raised by the Max Van den Berg-led EU Election Observation Mission in 2006.

The Supreme Court confirmed these anomalies when then Forum for Democratic Change party candidate, Dr Besigye, dragged the Electoral Commission and President Museveni, the winner, to court alleging that year’s vote had been stolen.

Ambassador De Visscher says he is impressed some recommendations made by the 2006 EU election monitoring team such as reforming electoral laws had been implemented by the government.

The legislative changes, he said, was partly a result of the 2007 and 2008 stakeholder’s workshops on multi-party democracy which the EU organised to strike preliminary consensus among various stakeholders.

“I’m very pleased to say the campaign continues to be peaceful and non-violent which is very important,” he said, “I hope that the coming election will remain peaceful and non-violent, allowing the people to express freely their votes.”

Daily Monitor interviewed the outgoing envoy of the 27-member EU during on Christmas Eve, before supporters of the ruling NRM party allegedly torched two vehicles belonging to an opposition parliamentary flag bearer in Ngoma, Nakaseke District.

Up until now, the campaigns that have attracted eight presidential candidates, had largely been free of violence.

Ambassador De Visscher, who took up his posting to Uganda shortly after the 2006 vote and departs weeks to the next one, said he persuaded Parliament and political party leaders to embrace reforms crucial for improving the electoral process.

Electoral law
These included changing electoral laws and cleaning of the national voters’ register by the EC that has uploaded it online for public scrutiny, he said.

The envoy said whereas Parliament appropriated a certain package of state resources that Mr Museveni, can, as the incumbent President, use while canvassing for votes as NRM flag bearer, public resources overall should not be abused to buoy electoral fortunes of a particular party or candidate.

“I hope that other ministers that do not enjoy the privileges of the head of government will not use official vehicles and other government assets [for campaigns], which will [give them] undue advantage over their opponents,” he said.

In the interview to be published in full on Sunday, Ambassador De Visscher calls for resignation of ministers implicated in corruption scandals, a check on exploding population and says President Museveni is “a very capable, visionary politician”.

Do not miss full interview in Inside Politics in the Sunday Monitor

Polls face delay as FDC goes to court

The February 18 presidential election could be deferred to a later date following a suit filed by the Forum for Democratic Change in the High Court, seeking a declaration that the Electoral Commission be compelled to issue voters’ cards.

FDC through its lawyer, Mr Wandera Ogalo, on December 22 filed a suit against the national electoral body over its failure to issue voters’ cards to over four million newly-registered voters. This comes after the EC’s announcement late last year that it will not issue new voters’ cards for the 2011 general elections.

Rigging fears.

The party says EC’s decision to allow the four million people vote without cards will lead to abuse of the electoral process and is likely to culminate in an unfair poll.

If court tolerates the suit, the EC will be forced to print voters’ cards within the remaining one-and-half months to polling day, which may not be practicable given the financial, time and other logistical constraints.
Electoral Commission’s Secretary Sam Rwakoojo, however, contends that Section 35(3) of the amended Presidential Elections Act, 2010, provides for voting without voters’ cards.

The section states that where a person does not have a voters’ card but is able to prove to the presiding officer or polling assistant that their name and photograph are on the voters register, the presiding officer or polling assistant shall issue them with a ballot paper to vote.

Mr Rwakoojo yesterday told this newspaper that people have been allowed to vote without cards. “A number of people have lost their voters’ cards and some have left them in the banks as identification cards. What do you do to such people? ” he asked.

But Mr Ogalo, in the pleadings before court, argues that Section 35(3a), as amended, only applies to voters who registered before last year’s registration exercise and were issued with voters’ cards but either lost them or are have otherwise been damaged.
“The Electoral Commission has issued a blanket decision not to issue voters’ cards to the recently-registered people. This means that there is no basis for identification whatsoever since they have never been issued with the voters’ cards, and it only offers room for election malpractices,” Mr Ogalo said.

FDC now wants court to quash EC’s blanket decision which also provides that the Ministry of Internal Affairs will issue the voters’ cards after the February polls.

The party says EC has a statutory duty to design, print, and issue voters’ cards to voters whose names appear in the register, and accuses it of deliberately refusing to fulfill its obligation in respect to the four million voters who registered last year.

Ms Salaam Musumba, the party vice president in charge of eastern region, in her affidavit in support of the case, claims that the four million voters risk being disenfranchised by the electoral body. “I know that EC disenfranchised many voters by deleting their names from the voter’s register in 2006 having read the presidential petition judgement of the Supreme Court of 2006,” Ms Musumba stated.

The case has been fixed for hearing on January 12 before Justice Eldad Mwangushya.
Meanwhile, four presidential candidates yesterday protested the EC’s refusal to let Ugandans cast their vote without voters’ cards.

Dr Kizza Besigye (IPC), Olara Otunnu (UPC), Beti Kamya (UFA) and Abedi Bwanika (PDP) put forward their demands while meeting religious leaders in Kampala.

Besigye advises on how to defeat NRM

The Inter-Party Cooperation presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye, has told Luweero voters to watch and defend the ballot box after casting the vote as the only means of defeating the NRM.

Dr Besigye, who was addressing Zirobwe and Bamunanika Sub-county residents at his campaign rallies, said circumstances have forced the NRM to abandon other rigging methods but the open and most prominent method --rigging at the ballot box.

“You must watch keenly what takes place at the ballot box after casting the vote. We are sure that the NRM is going but the ballot box must be secure,’’ he said at a rally in Bamunanika.

The FDC leader said he would not be intimidated by threats of arrest because of announcing results to his people, saying the electoral laws are clear. “Why are these people panicking when it comes to declaring the result? We shall do it as it is within the law to ensure that our people get to know the real results of victory,’’ he said.

He added that the NRM party that has turned out to be a party of relatives has lost moral authority for governance because of the widespread corruption in most of the government institutions.

Dr Besigye, who made a stopover at Bamunanika Police Post and directed his supporters to paste his poster alongside those of the NRM candidates, said the police was supposed to be neutral and incase they allowed posters then all candidates from different political parties should be allowed to have theirs displayed.

Thugs burn cars to stop Besigye rally

In this article published on Monday, Daily Monitor's Dan Wandera & Alfed Wandera show the extent to which some people have descended in messing up the campaigns
A day after suspected NRM supporters burnt two cars belonging to an FDC parliamentary candidate in an attempt to stop Dr Kizza Besigye from campaigning in Nakaseke District, the opposition leader has said such acts are signs of a collapsing regime.

Dr Besigye, while campaigning in Ngoma, Nakaseke District yesterday, said it was dangerous to use political ideology to execute criminal acts including intimidation, harassment and destroying property because belonging to a particular political party is a constitutional right which should be enjoyed by every Ugandan.

Hot spot
Dr Besigye was responding to an incident in which two cars belonging to the Nakaseke North constituency FDC parliamentary candidate, Mr Moses Kabarema, were torched by unknown thugs on Friday night.

According to Mr Kabarema, who is contesting against NRM’s flag bearer and Finance Minister Syda Bbumba, the act was an attempt to scare Dr Besigye from campaigning in Ngoma Sub-county, an NRM stronghold. “On Friday, boda boda cyclists warned me that they would demonstrate if Dr Besigye came to campaign in Ngoma Sub-county because they think it is an NRM stronghold,” Mr Kabarema told Daily Monitor.

NRM vice chairman for Buganda region Abdul Nadduli condemned the act and warned people to stop hiding behind the party to commit crimes. “We should allow the investigations to continue and those found guilty should be punished. NRM doesn’t condone such acts because that is what killed UPC,” Hajj Nadduli said.
Speaking in Ngoma, Dr Besigye said: “You people should not be dragged into criminal acts and intimidation of fellow citizens. You will be made to answer for these acts at one time.”

Nakaseke RDC, Mr Geoffrey Kyomukama, said he had cautioned the rowdy youth, telling them it is Dr Besigye’s constitutional right to campaign in any part of the country.

Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba said the same thugs raided a bar run by the candidate’s wife and broke a television set and a DVD at 1am as she was about to close. Despite the dirty scenes, Dr Besigye traversed Nakaseke District canvassing for votes.

At a rally in Kinyogoga Sub-county, he discounted claims that his rivalry with President Museveni is personal.

“The high level of corruption and collapsing government institutions cannot be personal matters between Besigye and Museveni,” Dr Besigye said. He added: “We cannot fight over women and cause change in this country. My cause is to redeem this country of the widespread corruption, rebuild government institutions and boost the farmers to make Ugandans enjoy their country.”

Reforms are needed to ensure success in 2011 polls

In this commentary published in Daily Monitor on Monday, Mr. Alexander Ndiku argues that serious reforms are antecedent to peaceful elections

Following the articles entitled, ‘Museveni vows to arrest Besigye’ and ‘Polls: Besigye hits back at Museveni’ in Daily Monitor of December 22 and December 23 respectively, the declarations made by both parties do not advocate ‘rule of law nor promote democratic principles’ as enshrined in the 1995 Constitution. Dr Kizza Besigye declared intent to gather election results from polling stations and announce them. In response, Mr Yoweri Kaguta Museveni declared he would arrest Dr Besigye in the event of doing so.

The 1995 Constitution Chapter 5 (section 60), states the obligations mandated to the EC, among which, is to organise, conduct and supervise elections as well as ascertain, publish and declare results of the elections. It is also stated that, the EC in its performance of duties as mandated must be independent and fair.

Uganda’s election history begins in 1958 when the first EC comprising local elders and traditional leaders was set up. Under this EC, several elections were conducted, including the Limited African/Uganda Franchise and Representation to the Legislative Council (Legco) of 1958. On June 25, 1980, the chairman of the Military Commission Paulo Muwanga (RIP) established the an EC and between December 10 and 11 December 1980, a Commission headed by K.M. Kikira as chairperson was set-up. The EC organised and conducted the 1980 elections in which UPC emerged as the winner.

On February 6, 1981, Mr Yoweri Museveni (now NRM presidential candidate for 2011 elections) declared war on the UPC government, citing rigging of 1980 elections. For more than a decade later, no direct elections were held.

On December 21, 1988, the enactment of the Statute No.5 of the 1988 led to the establishment of the Constitutional Commission mandated with processing and developing of the new constitution. Under Statute No. 6 of 1993, the Commission for the Constituent Assembly was established headed by Mr Steven B. Akabway as the chairman. The Commission organised and conducted the CA elections in March 1994.

After the promulgation of the Constitution in October 1995, Statute 3 of 1996 enabled the establishment of an Interim Electoral Commission (IEC). The IEC was set-up headed by Mr Steven B. Akabway as the chairman. IEC organised and conducted the 1996 general elections.

In May 1997, Parliament enacted the Electoral Commission Act 1997 which established a permanent Electoral Commission but also provided for presidential powers to appoint, with the approval of Parliament, the EC chaired by Hajji Aziz K. Kasujja was set-up and organised and conducted 2001 general elections. On November 18, 2002, Eng. Badru M. Kiggundu was appointed another EC chairman and he manned the 2006 elections.

In both the 2001 and 2006 general elections, Dr Besigye claimed to have won the polls, but cited vote rigging to have denied him victory. In 2006, the Supreme Court found poll irregularities but concluded that such irregularities could not have changed the outcome.

The failure to abide by the rule of law is among the many causes of recurrent poor governance in this country. The manner in which our political leaders embrace the law to suit themselves remains a challenge to our democracy.

In a situation where the EC seems not to be able to perform its duties as mandated by the Constitution, it should be disbanded and a new one instituted.

Mr Ndiku is a Ugandan civil engineer living in Johannesburg, South Africa

IPC wants Kayihura to explain Nakaseke fracas, say opposition defections to NRM stage-managed

Daily Monitor's Sheila Naturinda, Alfred Tumushabe & Rajab Mukombo, report in this Daily Monitor article about the partisanship the Ugandan as the presidential campaigns pick more fire. 

The Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC) yesterday demanded for an explanation from the police boss on circumstances relating to the closure of a radio station in Nakaseke. The IPC said the anti-riot police barricaded the radio premises, locked the doors and denied entry to Dr Kizza Besigye, the coalition’s presidential candidate.

“The IGP should now explain how his police barricaded the radio station to prevent entry,” said Maj. Rubaramira Ruranga, the coalition’s national electoral commission chairperson. However, the police yesterday told this newspaper that the IPC should make a formal complaint and stop blaming the force for the decisions taken by the radio management.

Police deny involvement
“Police was called in by the management,” police spokesperson, Judith Nabakooba, said. “Police wasn’t involved at all. Management decided to close their radio.” Addressing the media at the Forum for Democratic Change headquarters in Kampala, Maj. Ruranga said Dr Besigye was stopped from featuring on a talk show on Nakaseke FM, whose studios were closed.

“With radio presenters locked inside, the anti-riot police seemed to think Dr Besigye would force his way into the the studios,” Maj Ruranga said. “Our supporters just poured into the barricade and Dr Besigye addressed them from the veranda of the studio.”

Dr Besigye was denied the airwaves shortly after some gangs had torched cars belonging to FDC’s Moses Kabarema. The thugs burnt the vehicles hoping to stop the Besigye rally in an NRM stronghold, also finance minister Syda Bbumba’s constituency. “We shall go the furthest distance and also ask the EC and all others concerned to explain why they are treating us like this,” Maj Ruranga said. In November, six radio stations in western Ugandan denied Dr Besigye airtime and later told the EC that they did not have enough space to accommodate him.

Defections and denials
Maj Ruranga also welcomed into the IPC Mr Stuart Bukenya, an NRM national mobiliser, who crossed to the opposition camp, claiming the NRM is not relevant to Uganda anymore. Mr Bukenya handed over his party card, his mobiliser’s identity card and he was given a blue IPC campaign t-shirt. In Mbarara, FDC leaders moved to deny defections to the NRM, claiming those presented as defectors have never been committed party members.

Mr Museveni on Sunday received 185 people who defected from FDC in Kiruhura. The FDC District Woman MP candidate, Ms Dorcus Mpinga, pulled out of the race in favour of NRM’s Beatrice Rusaniaya. “We don’t know most of those who were presented. The NRM mobilisers wanted to please their leader,” said Mr Robert Tumwesigye, FDC party secretary for the district. He said Mr William Tumusiime (former district treasurer), Mr John Tugume (former secretary for mobilisation) and Mr Dennis Mugisha (former district vice chairman) were chased from leadership and replaced in April.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I will force Museveni to hand over power, says Besigye

If the Ugandans decide, then Museveni will have no choice but to leave, Dr. Kizza Besigye reassures Ugandans while on his campaign trail, reports Daily Monitor's James Eriku, Stephen Komakech & Gerald Bareebe  

The Inter-Party Cooperation presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye, has said he will use all means at his disposal to ensure that President Museveni hands over power if he defeats him in the elections.
Dr Besigye was on Tuesday responding to a question by a resident of Pader Town Council, who wanted to know what he would do if Mr Museveni refuses to cede power after losing the elections.

“There is no way he can fail to hand over power,” Dr Besigye said in response to the question, “….although military option to topple Museveni’s government is not part of our plan, he can be removed just like any other regime by the will of the people.”

Dr Besigye said he has tactically been studying Mr Museveni’s political calculations and that he will be forced to invoke peoples’ power if Mr Museveni refuses to hand over power.

Dr Besigye assured Pader residents that he has established a mechanism to ensure that his votes are protected and monitored so that they are not rigged by the NRM, a party he accused of “shamefully” rigging its own internal polls. “This time Museveni and his cliques are going,” he said.

“We have our boys who will be taking no chances during the voting and tallying exercise.”

Fighting corruption
The IPC presidential candidate said his government will rid the country of corruption and mismanagement. He accused the NRM government of betraying the ideals of restoring good governance and democracy, which he said inspired the Bush War, which brought Mr Museveni to power.

Dr Besigye, who is also the FDC leader, fought on the NRM’s side in the Bush War in 1986 and also served in the government until 1999 when he broke ranks with the NRM administration.

He said the people have the power to overthrow the government so long as they feel it does not represents their will. Addressing a rallying in Agoro Trading Centre in Lamwo District on Wednesday, Dr Besigye promised to rehabilitate Agoro Irrigation Scheme and initiate new ones to improve agricultural production in Acholi sub-region.

He said the irrigation scheme will alleviate poverty and improve food security. “This government of Museveni only planted poverty in this region by sustaining the LRA war for a long time,” he said. Dr Besigye promised to increase funding to the agricultural sector.

Yes, Besigye can legally announce poll results

In this star letter published on Thursday, a Daily Monitor reader justifies Dr. Kizza Besigye's plan to  announce the election results

As the country prepares for the forthcoming presidential elections, it is important for us to consider the question as to whether it is possible for Dr Kizza Besigye [the Inter-Party Cooperation] presidential flag bearer to announce election results.

The answer is a big yes because the results are announced to the public at every polling station immediately after voting has ended. This is in accordance with the Constitution which states in Article 68 as follows:

l Immediately after the close of the poll, the presiding officer shall proceed to count the votes at the polling station, the ballot papers of that station and record the votes cast in favour of each candidate.

l The presiding officer, the candidates or their representatives if any, shall sign and retain a copy of a declaration stating:

- the polling station.
- the number of votes cast in favour of every candidate.
The presiding officer shall then announce the results of voting at that polling station before communicating them to the returning officer.

What Dr Besigye or any other presidential candidate needs to do is to have a representative at each polling station.

The representative will retain a copy of the form bearing the results which copy will have been signed by the presiding officer and countersigned by the candidates’ representative present.

On the basis of the copies collected at all polling stations, the results can be totalled or tallied. There is no big deal in tallying of results.

Incidentally, it is advisable for the NRM to also have a parallel vote tally. This will help them to have an independent source of information and to track the elections.

I have on many occasions advised political parties and others interested in doing a national tally of results that they must ensure that they have representatives at each polling station.

Secondly, when they have tallied their results, they should be calm and avoid excitement until the Electoral Commission announces the official results.

Another caution is that the parties should avoid relaying the results using sms messages. A tally of results in a situation like ours must be based on hard copies signed by the presiding officers or else it can result in unnecessary tensions which may lead to violence.

If anyone feels that the results have been falsified, the solution is to go to court and use the results compiled by the aggrieved side as evidence. This is the civilised way of solving election disputes.

David Byakutaga,