Opposition Leader Deplores Uganda Genocide And Presidential Corruption In London Speech
Otunnu said the country knows too that Museveniâ€™s relatives and cronies are right at the centre of corruption in Uganda: â€œToday, corruption
travels to every corner of the world and comes back to sleep in Museveniâ€™s Uganda."
In Speech, An Opposition Leader Denounces Genocide And Corruption In His Country
Former United Nations UnderSecretary General and current presidential contender as leader of Uganda People's Congress, Dr. Otunnu presented a "Radical Renewal Agenda" when he spoke to Ugandans in London last week. A summary of the presentation follows as obtained from www.ugandacorrespondent.com
Top of his 10 point agenda, Otunnu said, “…we need a social movement to drive change in Uganda”. Such a movement, he said, would be fundamentally different from Museveni’sNational Resistance Movement because it will be spear-headed by ordinary Ugandans.
The UPC president said that process has already started but added that the new social movement would require the active involvement of “…all patriotic and democracy hungry Ugandans” especially the youth, women, the business community, and all other Ugandans.
He said his “burning desire” is to put his global experiences at the disposal of such a social movement. With his hands raised in the air, Dr. Otunnu said “…with these bare hands, Ugandans are capable of prevailing over Museveni’s regime” without the need for a single gun or bullet. What was required, he said, was “the moral conviction” of Ugandans to deliver that change.
Retrieval of Uganda’s Soul:
The second point on Otunnu’s 10 point radical renewal agenda was what he called “…the struggle for the soul of our land”. To emphasise his point, he highlighted a few things with a series of questions: “How can there be human sacrifice in Uganda and we think it is business as usual. How can there be no investigations into the Kanungu massacre? Where is the sense of outrage among Ugandans”; Otunnu charged.
The UPC president was also clear in his mind about where the blame for all that should be placed. “That is the culture that Museveni has in- calculated in the minds of Ugandans”;Otunnu said. To kick-start the process of solving that problem, Otunnu said we need a“retrieval of the essence of us as a people”.
Third on the list is the question of political accountability. Otunnu said he has previously called for and will continue to call for
accountability for the crimes committed in various parts of Uganda. Among those he mentioned are Mvara, the Mukura massacre, the killing of innocent civilians in Luwero and during the Kayunga riots, the genocide in Northern Uganda, and many others. This, he said, was not for purposes of retribution and punishment. “I want to climb to the top of the hill of reconciliation. But without acknowledgement, we can never reach that hill”; Otunnu said.
Dr. Olara Otunnu also laid great emphasis on the forth point on his 10 point agenda. “Either we are Ugandans, or we are not. We must not lie to ourselves about this”; Otunnu cautioned. He said Museveni divided and ruled Ugandans for 25yrs. If Ugandans want to reclaim their country, Otunnu said, then “we need national cohesion”. He also went to some length to emphasise the point that there is no contradiction between national cohesion and diversity. “We can get cohesion and still celebrate our diversity”. We must find a sense of common belonging; Otunnu maintained.
The Uganda Question:
The fifth issue in Dr. Otunnu’s radical renewal agenda is what some political commentators have always called “The Buganda Question”. The UPC president however disagreed with such a narrow reference and instead suggested that this was a problem that should be approached as “The Uganda Question”.
In Otunnu’s view “…Uganda cannot succeed if Buganda is sulking, indifferent, or hostile. Buganda too cannot succeed without Uganda. Hostility will amount to a zero-sum; both sides will lose”; Otunnu said.
Otunnu further suggested that Buganda should be the engine for moving Uganda forward; not backwards. Buganda, he said, “…must compromise with Uganda so that we agree on how our country should look like”.
Redefining the role of the State:
Point number six is the role of the State. Dr. Olara Otunnu is convinced that over the last 25yrs that Museveni has been in power, the State has “migrated” from ordinary people. “I want a State whose primary reason for being is the service of ordinary Ugandans”.
Citing his own journey from rural Mucwini in Kitgum district, to Budo College, to Makerere University, to Oxford University, to Harvard University, and finally to the post of Under Secretary General at the United Nations, Otunnu said, “…I want every child to have equal educational opportunities. The school was the biggest democratic equaliser in my days and I want the same for every Ugandan child”.
Otunnu said unlike Museveni who moves around with brown envelopes of money to bribe people; he himself has no money but he “…promises quality education and jobs for the youth without anyone asking them who their father is. I will do the same for women”; Otunnu added.
Otunnu said he got problems with his back very soon after he went back to Uganda because of bad roads. So building good roads and supporting farmers, the people he called “the backbone of our country”, will be among his top priorities in government.
The War against Corruption:
Sitting in 7th position on Otunnu’s radical renewal agenda is the fight against corruption in Uganda. On this, the UPC president said the whole country knows who is stealing what and they know that URA is punishing ordinary business people and rewarding thieves.
He said the country knows too that Museveni’s relatives and cronies are right at the centre of corruption in Uganda. “Today, corruption travels to every corner of the world and comes back to sleep in Museveni’s Uganda. CHOGM is now a dirty word in Uganda”; Otunnu said.
Otunnu also revealed to the rapturous applause of his audience that there is a “Global Fund Road” and a “CHOGM Road” in Uganda today. These, he said, were the roads along which those who stole money from the Global Fund and CHOGM built their mansions. “We must wage war against corruption. The fight against corruption today is a horrible joke. Leaders must set the first example in the fight against corruption but Museveni has made people proud to be corrupt”; Otunnu charged.
Free and Fair Elections:
On the question of free and fair elections that featured 8th on Otunnu’s list, he said Ugandans must never settle for anything less. “…We must draw a line in the sand and say we are not moving from here. Ugandans must say no and mean no to the Museveni-Kiggundu Electoral Commission because it is part and parcel of Museveni’s rigging machine. The present voter registration exercise is nonsensical”; Otunnu said.
The UPC president further said that it is not up to Museveni to decide whether or not Ugandans can have free and fair elections. It is up to the people of Uganda, he said. He further said that as a matter of principle, the IPC is not in the business of election boycotts. “We want elections more than Museveni but they must be free and fair”; Otunnu said.
Building State Institutions:
Uganda today is an “institution-less State”; Otunnu said. He said Museveni allocates scholarships, land, etc in a kangaroo fashion from his Kitchen table. He said the CID of Uganda Police are victims and “…we must rescue them” because Museveni uses them to harass people who say things that he doesn’t like.
He also said the defunct Cooperative Movement that the UPC government established must be revived alongside all other institutions of good governance and economic development. Uganda’s intellectual capital, Otunnu said, “…must be part of the development process”.
Re-establishing the Rule of Law:
According Dr. Otunnu, there is a police state operating in Uganda and especially in the countryside. “Uganda is a police state per excellence. Museveni has turned the law into a tool of political oppression and persecution”; Otunnu said. A good leader, Otunnu maintains, must rule “…under and in accordance with the laws of the land”.
That, he said, is exactly what brought stability, civility, and order to countries like the US and UK and there is no reason why Uganda, with good leadership, can’t achieve all that.
"Speaking Truth To Empower."
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