Why I am politically homeless in Uganda

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Why I am politically homeless in Uganda

Blame my father, my upbringing or my lifelong experiences, but I seem to be irrevocably married to the idea that I have a duty to actively participate in my own governance. No, I do not have to serve in any government to be an active participant in a process that has a direct impact on my life. 


However, I believe in being part of an organized political party whose values and methods I endorse. But I do not believe in unconditional support for a party. Where a political party veers dangerously off course, with a leadership that is very resistant to correction, it becomes mandatory that one parts ways with that party. 


While this should almost always be a measure of last resort, it is the honourable course for one whose core principles and values are incompatible with those of the party to which one currently belongs. That is why I resigned from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) just over a month ago.   


My departure from FDC rendered me politically homeless, a fate that my DNA is ill-prepared to endure. Retirement from active participation in Ugandan politics does not appear to be on the cards at the moment. So, what does one do?


Whereas Uganda has multiple political parties, in reality there are two viable choices – FDC and the National Resistance Movement (NRM). Neither one is an option for me. I believe that I am not alone in this. There are many who, though nominally members or supporters of these two parties, are disillusioned by their direction and visions for our country. 


That is why I believe that Uganda needs an inclusive, transformative and genuinely democratic alliance to provide a third way towards a new national order. We need a coalition that brings Ugandans together on a shared path towards prosperity and realization of our individual and collective dreams. We need a party that forges a path towards total peace and an end to violent confrontation, and the silencing of state guns that have been pointed at Ugandans for more than fifty years.


To succeed, such a coalition must have shared core principles and values that act as the glue that binds a membership with diverse backgrounds. These include: gender equality; genuine democracy; practical and inviolable separation of powers; social justice for all; equality under the law; unrestricted free market capitalism; active government promotion and support for Ugandan entrepreneurs; environment protection and restoration; rigorous meritocracy; promotion and protection of political and other individual freedoms and civil rights; and genuinely professional and non-partisan state armed organizations.


I seek a political party that has plenty of space for varied political beliefs and backgrounds, and rejects penalizing differences of opinion and political preference. The party must promote peaceful transitions of leadership, and completely reject politics of unchecked anger and vengeance of any kind. It must guarantee safety and respect for previous national leaders.


I need a party which, once in power, encourages vigorous political opposition, without which the ruling party becomes fossilized, ineffective and intolerant. The party should happily steal the good ideas of its opponents and treat opposition as an indispensable source of healthy cross-pollination. 


The party must insist on free speech, free news media, open and respectful public discussion and debate of any and all issues, and promotion of decision-making by consensus. Where necessary, freely cast majority votes must prevail. 


The party must reject the politics of manipulation and insist on truth-telling as its foundation. To that end, the party’s platform and other promises must be based on sound research and available data, must be achievable and must be honestly costed before presentation for public discussion.


Prosperity and wealth for all must cease to be slogans and vote-seeking manipulation, and become a real and deliberate way of governing, investing and managing the economy to serve the interests of all citizens. We must create a government that cares about every one of its citizens, not just the privileged and the party faithful. 


The party must be of a truly national character, with members who consider the needs and interests of all Ugandans, not just those of their own ethnic groups. At the same time, the party members must respect and celebrate the diversity of our country, including the unique history and traditions of our country’s many communities. The party must have zero tolerance for ethnic, religious and all other forms of bigotry. 


To do this, such a party must invest heavily in leadership training and must build a critical mass of politically educated members that populate its governing and decision-making organs. 


The party must reject and guard against personalization and dominance by a single individual or small group of people. It must nurture and empower alternative leaders, and demystify the false idea of indispensability of a mortal being. One of its priorities must be to champion Constitutional amendments that restore and entrench presidential term and age limits, making them immune from future amendment.  


The party must have a clear and effective plan for fighting corruption and for achieving transparent management and equitable sharing of national resources. This requires rigorous adherence to a code of ethics that has zero tolerance for corruption, and makes public service an invitation to personal sacrifice, not an opportunity for primitive financial accumulation. 


The party must offer a leadership that is committed to building a critical mass at the national, district and parliamentary constituency levels that will establish a culture of transparent and corporate governance. 


One of Uganda’s great handicaps is its huge and inefficient central government. I seek a party that is committed to reducing the government to a lean and efficient one, based on a meritocracy that exercises the greatest fiscal integrity and responsibility, and ends the culture of waste and entitlement that undermine social and economic growth. 


I dislike being pigeon-holed along the traditional political spectrum of left, right and various points in-between. Some may consider mine to be right of centre politics. No ideological label is perfect. 


What I believe in is personal liberty, peace and freedom for all; genuinely democratic, institution-based government; equal opportunities within a liberal and free market economy; rewarding hard work; equitable economic development; environment protection; the rule of law; full gender equality; and, as a Christian, the teaching of Jesus Christ in Matthew 25: 31-46. Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” So I believe in a just society, where all humans enjoy dignity and equal rights of citizenship.


If we choose the path already travelled by people in places like Botswana, Mauritius, Singapore, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Netherlands and Japan, for example, we shall unleash the latent power of Ugandans and find lasting peace and prosperity. It is an attainable dream. But first, we need a new vehicle to get us there.







Level 1 (XP: 0)
5 years ago
My dear brother Muniini. You are not alone in this limbo; our humble parents and school teachers taught us to be responsible citizens who actively participate in what is going on around us.Having said that, these same people taught us not to turn ourselves into martyrs. My father's advice at this moment in time would be: " My child, If a place is changing you to your ' core values and principles', pack up and leave before you lose yourself." I feel for you for I know where you are coming from but remember it always takes great courage to walk off the road most travelled and carve your own. Last but not least, Mahatma Gandhi said that : " Be the change that you wish to see in the world.'' The ball is in your court so find a group of like-minded people and go back to the drawing board! It is the only way you can find the hidden gem in this chaos around us. After all Uganda is for all Ugandans and is big enough to contain us all. You can count me in. Nannono

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