In the run up to the forthcoming 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Conference slated for September 22 to 29, 2019, in Kampala, Uganda, reflections are abound on the significance, influence and benefits of such large meetings in Uganda, especially when we look back at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held here in 2007, and the controversies that surrounded it afterwards.
By Ofwono Opondo
Last week, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in the United States, published a third rate, alarmist and false story which got reproduced locally alleging that Uganda government was working with Chinese technology communication giant, Huawei, to conduct political surveillance on opposition politicians. It’s third rate because, it didn’t quote anyone either in Uganda, China or at Huawei, but merely referred to ‘highly placed security sources,” and as such passed for propaganda and lazy journalism.
President Yoweri Museveni, and Paul Kagame of Rwanda, this week in Luanda, Angola, signed an agreement to cease hostilities against each other, re-open their common borders to allow free movement of people and trade, refrain from giving counter support to each other’s dissidents, respect mutual each sovereignty, ensure fair treatment of respective citizens in their territories, normalize frosty relations, and establish a joint committee to monitor and follow up the implementation.
Early this month President Yoweri Museveni completed his three month countrywide working tour to mobilize mainly local leaders on socio-economic transformation which entails uplifting rural households by bolstering their food security, production and productivity, wealth creation for income, and entry into commercial enterprises. This tour is among the many that President Museveni has been engaged in with Ugandans over the years against the backdrop of persistent societal resistance to change and adoption to new ways of production among majority of Ugandans.
Several events during the past few weeks, including the loud silence on attack by political hoodlums on Buganda road Chief Magistrate, Gladys Kamasanyu, has exposed Uganda’s human rights defenders, opposition, and ‘champions’ of democracy, as paying lip service to the rule of law. It is a pointer that Ugandans must collectively keep vigilance on watchdog charlatans because no one is safe with them.
Last week, the Uganda media, collectively fell for a fabricated story on the purported electoral reform bills, they claimed government had presented to parliament, and basing on falsehoods, generated a frenzied debate laced with toxic language and insults. It appears, the media was fed by a mendacious opposition now on ropes, hoping to derail debate, like they did, during Constitutional amendment in 2017.
The English saying that desperate times calls for desperate measures, seem to aptly apply to the combine group of opposition quislings, especially looking at this week’s twin events by Robert Kyagulanyi a.k.a. Bobi Wine, and Kizza Besigye, both from Wakiso suburbs. Kyagulanyi launched his presidential bid, and a team of “national coordinators,” for the ‘people power’ movement, a political patchwork.
As each general election draws closer, the Democratic Party (DP) leadership under the feeble, although ever buoyant and boastful, Norbert Mao, has presented itself as a political platform that accommodates progressive ideas upon which a new national political consensus can be built to replace the National Resistance Movement (NRM). Mao, has lately taken to advising NRM, and publicly claimed that the ‘Luwero Consensus’ which brought NRM to power in 1986, has ‘irretrievably’ collapsed.
A rough breeze is ruffling across the Atlantic between allies, United States, and United Kingdom, because UK’s former Ambassador, Sir Kim Darroch, described President Donald J Trump’s leadership in a leaked diplomatic cable, as incomprehensible, inane, divisive, insecure and likely to end in disgrace, yet this cable is supposedly the most secure.
The on-going controversies, surrounding the operations, commercial viability, net-worth, indebtedness, of the once state owned Uganda Telecommunications Limited (Utl), and the legal powers of its government appointed Administrator, stinks. The trails so far, appear to point towards the old adage of swimming with the sharks, or perhaps, even sadly, a war between jackals and hounds, in insider dealings to undercut each other. Ugandans must remain and maintain high alert and guard to stop being short-changed by public officials as has happened in the past.