Meeting With U.S., Gen. Museveni's Sponsor, Isn't Capitulation

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[Comment: Africa]

The Daily Monitor's  editorial: “The US will not fix our problems”, Friday August 3, 2012, was off the mark in suggesting that leaders of democracy seeking opposition political parties wanting audience with the visiting US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, was a sign of resignation to some notion that it is the US that will solve our problems. Far from it.

Ugandan opposition political parties, particularly the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC), are only too aware of US global hegemony and the realist doctrine that shape their engagement or disengagement with other middle powers and small states.

Accordingly, whenever, whatever and however the US or any other significant Western power chooses to do anything about something abroad, the strategic interest of their states and peoples, come first.  Therefore, we would be the last to be fooled to believe that the US or any Western power runs its international relations on selfless normative values greater than the morality of states. 
In seeking audience with Secretary Clinton, the opposition leaders and the UPC wanted to underscore and reiterate the following:  that concerns for national, regional and global security and the fight against global terrorism, must not shortchange respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms; that a democratic, peaceful, and cohesive Uganda that respect fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizens and at peace with its neighbors, is a better partner for peace, regional and global security and the fight against global terrorism than a militarist, unstable, undemocratic and brutal one under General Yoweri Museveni’s personalized authoritarian rule; and that Uganda’s noble partnership against global terrorism in Somalia, must not be a trade-off and carte blanche for Museveni to avoid necessary political liberalizations and the need to be democratically accountable at home.
In wanting to pass this message to US representatives in Kampala or Secretary Clinton, the opposition were not saying they were hopelessly helpless; nor did they misunderstand President Obama when he said in Accra that Africa’s future was in the hands of Africans and the US would come to the aid of those Africans who stand up for their rights and accountable governments.

Rather, the Ugandan democratic forces wanted to point out to US leaders that Ugandans are Africans who are standing up for human rights, democratic and accountable government and will count on the US to live up to their professed commitments to these values and to come to the aid of those Ugandans who are standing up for their rights and a democratic, peaceful future for themselves, their children and country.

Clearly, The Daily Monitor editorial was off the mark in equating these demands on one of the regime’s largest benefactor with docile resignation and entreaties to the US to come to our aid without our own local initiatives and efforts.

We are only too aware that our destiny lies in our own hands; and with or without American help, Gen. Museveni’s crown and scepter, will soon tumble.
Okello Lucima is Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) Spokesman

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