Freedom Highway: From Cairo To Kampala

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[London Bridge Is Falling]

For 18 days the people of Egypt converged in Tahrir Square to demand the ouster of Hosni Mubarak. For 18 days they had the audacity to think that their dream was only a step away from reality. For 18 days they dreamed and today, a very historical day indeed, they enjoy the outcome of that dream.

These are a people who were willing to lay down their lives for freedom and democracy. They awaited to witness the unthinkable, a beginning of a new era where an online youth movement would bring about the downfall of the oppressor Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak.

The people of Egypt demonstrated and prayed as one. One people, one voice, one wish for the criminal looter of billions of dollars in public funds to leave the palace. They made the international community know that this Friday 11th December if Mubarak did not step down, there would be bloodshed. "I Know this," one protester said. "They know this," he continued, gesturing to the crowd. "The military know this and Mubarak knows this."

Finally, reason and the will of the people prevailed as Vice President Suleiman made a brief statement today that Mubarak had resigned. Chants of "down with Mubarak," were immediately replaced by an electric mood of jubilation: ‘’Egypt is free,’’ ‘’Egypt is free,’’ "Viva la revolution," "Viva twitter," "Viva Facebook."

Are other African dictators watching this breaking news with fear in their hearts? First the citizens of Ivory Coast took to the streets to rage against a rigged election; and then oppressed opposition leaders and its citizenry rose up with one voice in Tunisia and the dictator Ben Ali boarded a plane. And now Egypt. Africa is uprising. Revolution is sweeping through the motherland.

My thoughts inevitably turn to my native Uganda as it prepares for elections on 18th February where opposition parties already fear that once again status quo will be maintained. The leading opposition leader, Dr. Kizza Besigye went as far as saying that he would announce his own results from polling stations to ensure that it will tally with final results announced by the Electoral Commission, to which U.S.-backed President Yoweri Museveni said: ‘’Uganda is not Ivory Coast; it is not Kenya. Don’t expect what is happening or happened in these countries to happen here, Uganda is a country led by people who have fought wars. You can’t play that game here. He may have his computers but the only institution charged with announcing electoral results is the national Electoral Commission.’’

President Museveni has previously stated that he considered the idea of clinging to office for 15 or more years ill advised. Why then did he change the constitution to remove term limits, which only served to cause political unrest and mistrust?

Recently a memo widely believed to be from President Museveni to his brother Gen. Salim Saleh was leaked as follows:

The memo, titled, “Subject: RETHINK” describes an aerial flyover of northern Uganda by Tremor 1, which was a codename for Museveni, and his subsequent change of mind on policy towards the North. Previously, Tremor 1 thought that his victorious National Resistance Movement (NRM), which had seized power in Uganda in 1986, should forget about the “backwards northerners,” particularly “the Chimpanzees called Acholis,” due to the lack of developmental prospects in the Northern part of Uganda.

However, the flyover in an aircraft changed Tremor 1’s mind. There is a “Gold Mine” of fertile land in the North, he wrote in the memo. Therefore, it is best that the NRM take it over. Such control, says Tremor 1, will require finding ways to “drastically reduce the population” and to “eliminate some old politicians who are likely to give us troubles.”

True to his word in the published memo, Museveni set about to commit the perfect genocide in the Northern part of Uganda where more than 1.5 million people were herded into ‘’protective camps’’ allegedly for their own safety. Some were: beaten; both men and women raped and intentionally infected with HIVE/AIDS; many victims fell ill and died from treatable diseases and malnutrition; and, countless children were orphaned.

Where is the outrage from the Obama administration? Where is the outrage from Downing Street, London, and the International community?

The memo, RETHINK, has been sent by the person it was given to with the name of the person who leaked it, to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, and the International Criminal Court. These persons and organizations will be watching over the person who leaked the memo so that, in the event that the Ugandan government somehow finds out who she is, the government will know that it too is being watched.

The international Community must rage with Uganda. Let not our tears be in vain. The incumbent must be removed. His party and security forces must be restrained in order to allow Ugandans to vote freely without fear of violence and intimidation on the 18th of February.

International observers must watch as Ugandans cast their votes and Ugandans in turn must stand up as people in the Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Egypt have done and say "no more" to authoritarianism, "no more" to social injustice, "no more" to grotesque human rights abuses and "no more" to concentration camps for another  5 years, which is the mandate Museveni seeks. 

Change is long overdue for Uganda. A luta continua.

Allimadi writes for The Black Star News from London.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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