Message To President Obama From Uganda's Youth: Call For Democracy And Rule Of Law In Africa

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President Obama -- Ugandan says dictators should't get U.S. taxpayers' money


I join millions of East Africans in cordially welcoming President Barack Obama in our beautiful region, East Africa, and the continent in general.

His visit is a profound global statement in deepening friendships and international relations between the people of Kenya, East Africa --which also includes Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

It's a stamp of approval that a lot of strides have been registered over the years with the assistance from the generous international power and trading partner, the US. This is a golden historic visit and a home-coming of the son of the soil, fromKenya, President Obama.

The importance of this state visit by President Obama reinforces the spirit of cooperation and interdependence as sister countries in the region and international relationships with our global partners in development and sustainable growth.

Kenya, the host country is highly honored to have secured such a global high-profile state visit at this moment when the region is struggling to ensure peace reigns; not only inside Kenya but also in all the partners in the East African community.

President Obama's visit further paves limitless avenues for us all -- the young generation, which includes myself, and our elder -- to engage the people of United States of America towards finding lasting solutions to challenges facing us namely: poor state of health facilities in most of the African countries; struggling education system; the high levels of poverty and inequalities; challenges like corruption, electoral violence, and terrorism caused by radicalism and fanaticism by mainly Al-Shabaab militia in the region.

Other challenges are: civil wars and conflicts in Burundi, South Sudan and Somalia. Here in my own country there is a campaign of state-sponsored brutality against unarmed civilians.

The Obama Administration generously extends billions of dollars to the region and to individual governments here. However, the money meant to reach the common citizen to ensure a better life for all is squandered on selfish schemes. As a result, many of our citizens die of diseases and poverty.

Yet, this assistance continues to be granted to the government of President Yoweri Museveni, who came to power in 1986.

The U.S. must demand accountability and transparency, underpinned by respect for human rights and true democracy.

The Ugandan government disregards the rule of law; it has degenerated into a military dictatorship making the country a police state. Electoral democracy has been compromised by militarism, brutality, and pre-election violence. We have a purely repressive regime.

Corruption is the order of the day by public officials with impunity.  There is immunity for those caught stealing state funds meant for the poor.

The security agencies and the courts of law are packed with ruling party supporters. The President himself regards we, the citizens, as merely his subjects.

We implore the people of the United States of America, through Congress and the White House, to immediately halt any assistance --financial, technological and in all other forms--  until the regime puts in place electoral, civil and political reforms to ensure fairness and credibility of the elections slated for early next year.

U.S. taxpayers' hard-earned money should only be used properly to benefit the citizens and not the ruling party's elite.

The Sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit to be held in Nairobi, where President Obama makes opening remarks, should also embrace the message of deepening democracy, transparency, accountability and the rule of law. These are pre-requisites of stability and economic development.

Tanzania, in East Africa, is setting a great example: in October Mr. Jakaya Kikwete will hand over power to a new president.

In Uganda political campaigns have started and there are already troubling signs: intimidation by the state; arrests;  detentions without trial; electoral violence; senseless killing of Muslim clerics; lack of respect for political players and opponents of Gen. Museveni the sitting president. He once declared he is the only one with a vision for transforming Uganda. The evidence on the other hand shows:  high levels of corruption; poverty; and unemployment.

Since U.S. taxpayers' money supports the Ugandan regime, as we welcome President Obama in the region, he should speak strongly for fairness and justice for all.

This message would be valid not only for Uganda but for several African countries as well.

Malcom Matsiko Dan is chairman of the New Form of Thinking (NFT) in Uganda. He is a presidential hopeful in the 2016 elections.


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