A Joint Opposition ahead of the next By-Elections…

The way to get back our power is to unite all of us and the population to be rallied together. Once that happens, I’m very excited that I can see it now beginning to happen. Even if we said that let all of us do this, this regime has no capacity to stop it” – Dr Kizza Besigye (01.08.2022).

Today there was a real launch of a joint opposition ahead of the next elections. This was a mix of various parties and formations. The main ones are the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and National Unity Platform (NUP). The other parties was the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Justice Forum (JEEMA) and the DP Block. While the People’s Front for Transition (PFT) and People Power Movement (PPM).

This is the first one that is like this since the Democratic Alliance (TDA).The TDA have been shaky and most of the members there has ended up in the arms of the regime.

The TDA isn’t the only joint opposition ahead of an election. In 2011 the opposition went ahead with a coalition called the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC). In 2020 the FDC and NUP created the United Forces of Change (UFC).

Today we are seeing a new front with a lot more parties and formations behind it. That could strengthen the cause. We have already seen the NUP and FDC supporting a joint candidate in the Soroti East By-Election in the Moses Attan there. The new Press Conference and Joint Statement shows not only sentiment, but a plan for the parties ahead.

This country is bigger than our political parties. The mission is bigger than building our political parties. In any case, one would argue that there are no political parties in Uganda because we do not operate like political parties” (Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, 01.08.2022).

The Joint Statement is stating the plan ahead:

Going forward, we shall jointly or severally use any upcoming elections to organise and rally the population to defend their democratic rights and end the election ‘madness’ that has bedeviled our country since independence” (Joint Statement, 01.08.2022).

It will be interesting to see it happening in the upcoming by-elections. The opposition is showing a united force and its needed. The messages from the leaders is as important. Because, the parties and formations are pledging to work together.

The ruling regime and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) have been met with similar coalitions before, but this time around there is no direct or former NRM who will leave the fold quickly. The ones that has left the NRM did it so long ago… that it seems impossible for a return.

This statement comes days after the NRM-DP Cooperation Agreement and the previous election agreement between NRM-UPC. Therefore, this time around the Joint Opposition has to prove it. As the NRM is purging and trying to convince the opposition of working with them.

The Joint Opposition have to show it and also ensure they field the best candidates. They have to show the malpractice and undermine the election rigging. In such a manner, that the NRM cannot live with it or even announce the results. The opposition has to show fierce methods and not only play to the rules of the state. Opposition cannot just participate, but prove everything wrong with the regime.

Time will tell if this will work. The ambition and sentiment behind is commendable. I am hope it does make a difference. Not only a Press Conference and a Statement. The people have to see it and the parties and formations have to show it. Peace.

Uganda: Joint Statement of Political Leaders, Parties and Formations against the Brazen Thuggery of Elections in Uganda as Exemplified in the By-Elections of Kayunga, Omoro and Soroti (01.08.2022)

Opinion: Revisiting the TDA [and where are they now?]

5. The goal of The Democratic Alliance shall be achieved through the pursuance of the following objectives:

a) Building the necessary mobilization capabilities and organizational infrastructure of the Alliance and its members in order to win power;

b) Developing and presenting a common policy and governance agenda for elections;

c) Ensuring the attainment of an electoral majority by fielding candidates for all electoral positions across the country;

d) Fielding of joint candidates for electoral offices as set out in this Protocol;

e) Constituting a Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) with the purpose of implementing appropriate political and economic reforms to build a strong and durable foundation for democracy, rule of law and economic justice” (Protocol of the Democratic Alliance, June 2015).

Because of the recent cooperation agreement between the Democratic Party (DP) and the National Resistance Movement (NRM). This has started questions about the legitimacy of the coalition that was one part of the opposition ahead of the General Elections in 2016. It is striking that this is happening now and it’s worth to look into what has happened ever since.

The TDA was a coalition made by a various set of parties. The two parties that directly went out of the coalition early was Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) and the Forum for Democratic of Change (FDC). However, the others stayed behind and they went ahead to stand behind the former Prime Minister and Secretary General of the NRM, Amama Mbabazi. He became the Joint Presidential Candidate of the TDA and the Pressure Group of “Go Forward”.

The TDA was much larger than Mbabazi alone. It was the Conservative Party (CP), Democratic Party (DP), Justice Forum (JEEMA), Pressure for National Unity (PNU), People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA). So, there were a handful of leaders in and around the TDA. There was also Olara Otunnu from the UPC and Dr. Kizza Besigye from the FDC. The UPC as a party left, but Otunnu stayed on, if I remember correctly.

The leaders who are vital part of TDA was Amama Mbabazi, Ken Lukyamuzi, Norbert Mao, Asuman Basalirwa, Beti Kamya, Gilbert Bukenya aka Mahogany and Dick Odur. There was also others associated and part of the proceedings like Mugisha Muntu and others. Therefore, it was a team of the opposition at the time who at certain points did their part here.

However, as time has shown us. Plenty of these people has sided with the NRM or returned to the NRM. The Presidential Flag-Bearer Mbabazi was a NRM Member and hadn’t revoked his membership as he was standing up against Museveni. So, that he returned and is in the good graces with the President is just natural. The stage of Go Forward was only a short sighted project and was over the moment the election was over.

Bukenya has also returned and is living the good life. His living large and having perks with titles and being part of the elite. The Former Vice President has no worries and was only for a minute or less an “opposition”. I doubt we will ever see anything of the PNU ever again.

Mao has just become the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. His working in cooperation with the government. Still part of the DP but he has a hectic period ahead of him. As insiders in the party wants him out and ousted. Since, this agreement wasn’t signed of from the party or the members. The DP Block has even dismissed him too.

Kamya has gone from being appointed Minister of Kampala. To lose her leadership of her party the UFA. Later becoming a NRM Member and changing Ministry. Now she’s the IGG but certainly not electable or viable candidate. She has become a typical crony of Museveni over the years.

Basalirwa has been close to the People Power Movement and the National Unity Platform. He has ensured popularity and gotten elected into Parliament as the only JEEMA MP. Therefore, his the first man here who is actual opposition from the TDA still.

Lukyamuzi has on the other hand lost his constituency and not become a third time re-elected to Rubaga South MP. He instead focused on finishing his degree, which he did in 2017. The Party President and former MP has been a vocal critic of the government. Even made a case against the Age Limit in the courts, which was dismissed. So, he is an actual man in the opposition. “The Man” is true to his missions and his goals.

Otunnu has been resigned from politics. He also lost the Party Presidency. The UPC has since then signed a secret agreement with the NRM. That’s why the UPC haven’t fielded a Presidential Candidate for two elections in a row. Otunnu has kept himself in the background and you can wonder if he will resurface or do anything for that matter.

Muntu also lost the Party Presidency. He lost to another candidate within the FDC. This made him create a New Formation, which is now known as the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT). That party was launched in time for the 2021 General Elections and he ran as President.

Besigye ran a the Presidential Flag-Bearer for the FDC and created the People’s Government after swearing himself in after the General Elections in 2016. Since then he has launched several of campaigns and the latest after the 2021 elections is the Red Card Front. A voice of the opposition still.

There are several of other leaders who are in the opposition that was a part of the TDA in 2015/2016. These could be Mathias Mpuuga (former DP now NUP), Betty Nambooze (former DP now NUP) and so fourth. There are more people that has been involved and could be mentioned, but that would make this piece to long.

However, a huge pattern are still there. Plenty of the TDA high ranking leadership went either back to NRM or has found a home in government. That is really happening on a larger scale. We shouldn’t be surprised that Mbabazi and Bukenya went back home. However, the others should really be questioned…

This was a short revising of the TDA. An alliance built quickly and seemingly destroyed. It wasn’t meant to be. We shouldn’t expect the Go Forward or the PNU to be returning either. The era of the TDA is gone and it’s for a reason. The TDA was built on sand and not on mountain. If it had been real and a sincere enterprise. So many of these leaders wouldn’t have sought shelter under the wings of the man who they were promised to create a Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU).

Obviously… things didn’t pan out, but it is a picture, which shows how the times are changing. Peace.

Justice Forum (JEEMA): Legal Statement on the Continous Beleagurment of the JEEMA HQTRS by the Uganda Police Force and its Sister Security Agencies (09.06.2022)

Opinion: Have the NRM amended article 29 of the 1995 Constitution? [Since Besigye is warned about demonstrating again!]

1995 Constitution states in Article 29 (1):

(1) Every person shall have the right to—

d) freedom to assemble and to demonstrate together with others peacefully and unarmed and to petition; and

(e) freedom of association which shall include the freedom to form and join associations or unions, including trade unions and political and other civic organisations” (Constitution, 1995).

You could think we are retuning back in time, but however… we are in 2022 and not in 2015 or 2016. Neither are we in the 2010 or 2011. The Public Order Management Act (POMA) is still enforced in combination with the Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) in consideration with the global coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and Uganda Police Force (UPF) is directly warning Besigye in end of January 2022… is like a deja vu.

As reported earlier today:

Addressing journalists on Monday, Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga said security has got intelligence information indicating that in order to pull off the planned protests, Dr.Besigye is planning to reawaken the Power 10, a structure formed towards the 2016 polls as FDC’s election mobilisation task force. “We have intelligence information that Dr. Besigye and other opposition activists intend to reactivate Power 10 to cause acts of disobedience and mayhem in the city. They have so far recruited five persons per village and cell but we know Dr. Besigye as a professional agitator for violence and warn him that the Public Order Management Act is still in place and they have to ask for permission from police before carrying out their activities,” Enanga said” (Kenneth Kazibwe – ‘Dont be tempted to organise protests- Police warn Besigye’ 31.01.2022, Nile Post).

We know that this time around that Dr. Kizza Besigye has his own pressure group and coalition, which is the People’s Front for Transition (PFT) and the Red Card Movement. It is clear that the state still fears for his reach and popularity. As they are warning him to not demonstrate or riot. Which is blocking the rights of any citizen and it’s stipulated in the 1995 Constitution in Article 29.

It is not new that the Anti-Besigye Act or the POMA act has been made to stifle and stop demonstrations, after the near successful Walk to Work demonstrations in 2011. The POMA is made in such a fashion, that anyone has to apply and fill certain criteria to be able to demonstrate or protest. Therefore, we know if Besigye or any allies applies to do so. It will be denied or not get allowed to do so, in regard to public safety. While the state can gather and show-up everywhere with the convoys, meetings and conferences for that matter.

The PFT and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) will not be able to show a public disdain. That is deliberate by the state and we know it. This have been done for years and is nothing new. However, the state and the NRM would be more sincere, if they just amended the Article 29 and took away the right to demonstrate. As it is near to impossible… and the ones who wishes to do so cannot really do it.

Besigye is only one who would get this warning. This could be equally be given to Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine and his National Unity Platform (NUP) or the People Power Movement. As they would get under the same scrutiny or pressure from the state to cease these sorts of activities. Since, the state wouldn’t allow that to happen. Just like they haven’t allowed concerts or plenty of gatherings by the NUP in the recent years.

Therefore, Besigye is just having … the same problems as before… the FDC and PFT should anticipate this and it’s nothing new. The UPF and the NRM is just continuing their oppression and lack of tolerance towards dissidents. Peace.

Justice Forum (JEEMA): JEEMA End of Year Press Briefing on Affairs of the Country (30.12.2021)

Opinion: The PFT of Besigye doesn’t seem well-planned…

It is not the first time that Dr. Kizza Besigye and his allies in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) have worked alone and without much outside support. However, the establishment of the People’s Front for Transition (PFT) isn’t build on a strong foundation. At least not in concern with other opposition allies.

This week it is clear that Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) and Democratic Party (DP) isn’t really involved as it was stated in the launch. Where some fractions of the parties was part of it. There was one piece of UPC members and the DP Block. Those have been dismissed by the parties itself.

As well, as the spats and dismissals from the National Unity Platform (NUP) which would be the most important ally at this stage and time. The NUP is the biggest opposition party and has a similar agenda, as the FDC. They are maybe different in the manner of which they operate. Still, the objective and the end-game is about the same. NUP and FDC both works for a peaceful transition from dictator Museveni.

That Besigye have the best intentions and will with the upstart of PFT. I have no doubt in my mind and with his experience of doing this. I know that he wants to succeed and wants to assemble a collective for change. He doesn’t want people to give up and stop the cause. A cause, which he has dedicated his whole career too.

The PFT has been painful from the start. There is usually growing pains of an organization, but this is just hectic from the early beginning. You can wonder how this was communicated and organized. Since everyone in and around is either distancing itself from it or they are minor fractions participating, except for the main party FDC.

This means that except for the FDC. Justice Forum (JEEMA), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and People’s Progressive Party (PPP). There isn’t much great support in the opposition for it. There is no joint effort here and there is nothing pushing it together. Because, the launch made it believe to be bigger.

The JEEMA, SDP and PPP isn’t parties of which has big significance. They are JEEMA and PPP have one MP each and that’s about it. The SDP was part of DP Block and seems like the Michael Mabikke’s briefcase party. Therefore, the strenght of the pressure group or coalition is on thin-ice.

It is not like it’s a big unite and brigade. Yes, they are collective, but not a sort of unifying you would need. The PFT is weak because of this. When the DP and UPC also reacts like they do. Then you know that the PFT wasn’t launched in order to have them sufficiently participating in it. Like there wasn’t meetings, consultations or even gatherings to make it happen. Therefore, it wasn’t only NUP who ditched out of it. Nearly nobody joined and the ones who did… well … they have to move mountains with their bare hands.

The PFT needs a boost and Besigye needs to consult with the others. That is if it has a mission and goal to be strong functioning unit of the opposition. Clearly, there has been an aftermath that the PFT didn’t want. This is just jaded and not how it supposed to look. Peace.

Opinion: FDC always wants to be United on its own terms…

Well, I never wanted to do this, but the way Patrick Oboi Amuriat and other FDC leaders have acted lately. It is time to challenge the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and their manners. This isn’t anything new… just like after the recent elections, the FDC and the leadership went on a rampage against National Unity Platform (NUP). Even after the NUP asked for meeting and coordination with the other opposition parties.

Now, this week the FDC has launched a new opposition coalition in the People’s Front for Transition (PFT). Nothing wrong in doing that, but they didn’t do in a way, which the NUP felt at home there. Neither has the FDC or NUP resolved the previous coalition of United Forces for Change (UFC) which was founded in 2020 ahead of the polls. So, it is really questionable to start a fresh one this quick.

The FDC wasn’t that diplomatic or helpful with all parties in the 2011 Inter-Party Cooperation. A coalition where the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) and Democratic Party (DP) didn’t participate in. As they felt the way it was launched and created was to benefit FDC and their flagbearers. That’s why dropped out of it.

In 2016, there was another coalition made ahead of the polls. The Democratic Alliance (TDA) of which the FDC dropped out. Since, they didn’t get the flagbearer and they we’re afraid to support other parties within the coalition. As, the FDC was seen as the biggest party and they felt betrayed that they wouldn’t have the Presidential Candidate. The TDA eventually went for Amama Mbabazi, as he was independent candidate for a pressure group at that time.

Now, in 2021 after the polls and with an unsuccessful stint with the UFC. Dr. Kizza Besigye is again launching a new coalition. It is filled with fractions of the DP and UPC party. Also with Conservative Party, JEEMA, People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), and others too. However, it does not have the biggest opposition party the NUP. That means it isn’t a totally united force. Neither, does it have the main fractions of the DP & UPC. Which renders the question of the power and ability to widen the objectives of coalition in question.

In this way, it seems like again the other parties have to accept the FDC terms and perspective join forces. Not that the FDC have to meet and greet the others. They just have to follow the suit and the ideals of what the FDC or Besigye is saying. Besigye means well and the ideals his committed too. We can all agree upon, but this haven’t been well coordinated or successful. When only these are showing up and showing intent.

Maybe, the likes of the NUP feels betrayed themselves and humiliated by the way the FDC answered the callings earlier in the year. When the FDC wanted to even revoke or relinquish the membership of the FDC MPs who joined the Shadow Government. Heck, the FDC leadership went high and mighty against the NUP. Therefore, the FDC haven’t been forthcoming or concerning the NUP. Until, the the launch of PFT this week.

It seems like the FDC needs to reconsider their movements sometimes. Especially, when people are supposed forget how they acted just a few months ago. When the NUP even tried to show an olive-branch and that got dismissed. Why should the NUP jump on the bandwagon without hesitation? Because, the FDC is so unique. That everyone is supposed to follow it blindly?

No, that isn’t fair to the NUP. Neither would the FDC accept that. That is why they would have felt betrayed, if they were automatically part of the TDA without a shadow of a doubt. This is how it looks like and it’s not cool.

The FDC should know better. I don’t know if it’s entitlement after years as the upper-dog in the opposition. They have fought and can be an inspiration for the next generation. The FDC isn’t dead, but isn’t as viable and strong as it was. Besigye has still power and ability to sway opinion. However, FDC better act more cordial and be more sincere. They cannot bushwhack others to submission. That is not how things works.

The NUP is free to join or not. Just like it didn’t IPOD either. They are finding their own path and that should be respected at this point. The NUP tried with the FDC in the UFC, which was useless. So, why should they trust in the PFT? Peace.

Opinion: Another year, another coaltion created by Besigye – Is this enough?

From the launch last year in 2020

Dr. Kizza Besigye have together with allies created “People’s Front for Transition” (PFT) recently with the slogan “Twetaase” which means “Let Us Save Ourselves”. The National Unity Platform (NUP) have declined to join the PFT. Therefore, the coalition or pressure group doesn’t have the biggest opposition party behind it.

Besigye isn’t alone, but it is lonely place in some regard. Since, there are long-term allies who joins him no matter what he does. He has held several of campaigns and ran with new slogans. That is something he has done with a steady pace. It is not long ago on the 15th June 2020 Besigye and Bobi Wine announced the United Forces of Change (UFC). They would start with their joint campaign “No Nedda”.

With that in mind and it’s October 2021. The UFC didn’t do anything. The FDC went their own way and the NUP did the same. In this new organization of PFT there are fraction from the UPC and DP. People’s Progressive Party (PPP), JEEMA and the Conservative Party is part of it. The FDC is the main party when both Patrick Oboi Amuriat and Erias Lukwago was participating in the launch.

This time Besigye is trying to hard. He should have tried to work on the agreement, which was already done with UFC. A coalition that hasn’t delivered or done anything. That is very clear, as the UFC was invisible and non-active during the campaigns. Therefore, Besigye should have alerted and made it relevant for Bobi Wine to use during his campaign trail. Alas, that wasn’t the case and it ended up being an photo-op.

Some might say… NUP is ditching out and not using their means to properly participate here. However, there is no binding or expectations of them to do so. This is a initiative and there is nothing in the cards that says they should join either. Because, the merits of the previous one amounted to nothing.

Who thinks the PFT will be more successful than the UFC? Or is this another IPC?

I know that Besigye means well and wants to succeed. He has had this ambition and drive for a peaceful transition most of his career. Besigye should also question himself… why is he starting yet another one?

Is he gaining anything out of this. Except having several of outfits as his start-ups. It is time to deliver results and add pressure to the regime. Yes, plenty of the opposition parties wants the regime gone. However, should Besigye negotiate more and find more allies before launching anything?

He is not the “sole” leader. Yes, Besigye is inspirational and has told the stories on how to dismantle the current leadership. Alas, people haven’t listened or gained enough attention to follow him. There is hope that one day they would. However, he needs Bobi Wine at this current time. The NUP is a growing power and they needs to be in sync.

Has Besigye outplayed himself here? Should he have moved more smart and tried to work with the NUP more closely before launching?

Or did Besigye give up on UFC? Since he maybe felt like everyone else… that this was a useless coalition. So, why expect the NUP to join another one? Peace.

Opinion: The “Scientific Elections” will unmask the brutal truth

As we are beginning the campaigns and the run-up to the elections of 2021. The reality will hit the public. We will see the truth about how the authorities and law enforcement act upon the dissidents and opposition. The regime will show it true colour and cannot act surprised. The way they do and what happens will clearly show a significant pattern. That cannot be judged on sudden reaction to an rally or a consultative meetings.

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) have before the campaigns already shown unfair the society is. As they have had the capacity to hold rallies and be in the general public. While the opposition have been blocked from radio stations and holding consultative meetings. This being the pre-equal to the General Election next year.

As well, as the same rules are allowing rallies, processions and so fourth for the aspirants of the NRM. While opposition cannot even be nominated or have a press conference without being directly arrested a hot minute after. That has happen to so many, that its total obstruction of their justice and rights to campaign.

These “Scientific elections” are supposed to be like this because of the danger of COVID-19 or Coronavirus. The pandemic that are upholding social distancing and PPE. The reality is that, we will see a double standard, which will be common. The opposition not allowed to rural radio houses and up-country. While NRM can campaign both within media houses and on the streets, The posters of opposition will be taken down. The NRM can even spread posters through Bukedde, Daily Monitor and so fourth.

The Uganda Communication Committee (UCC), Uganda Police Force (UPF) and Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) will all work directly for the NRM. These will order media houses to not have opposition leaders on-air. Neither, will the UPF and the UPDF allow the opposition to greet the public. While the UCC will not block the NRM from appearing on-air and neither will law-enforcement block the NRM for greeting the public. The UPDF and UPF will walk side-by-side with the NRM aspirants.

That is why we know the game is rigged. The NRM will have all favours and always have a helping hand. The authorities and all part of the state apparatus will work for them. They are serving the NRM and not the general public. It doesn’t matter if it is DP, UPC, FDC, NUP, JEEMA or anyone else. They are troublemakers and will be hit by the state.

These elections and campaigns will not be fair. The state and all of its actors will use their mandates to put hurdles in the way of the opposition. The NRM will have a soft landing, while the others has to go on a crash-course and hope for as little damage as possible. Because, no matter what the opposition does. It will be countered and there will be resistance. The NRM will not offer any goodwill and will only cause havoc.

The NRM will use the state as their partner in crime. Every possible way to act will be punished and there will be no remorse. The state will have no sympathy and show no heart. They will not condone and not beg for forgiveness. That is because, the NRM and the state believes you where stupid to challenge it and to stand up against it. You were supposed to be blind and submissive.

The NRM will have all the perks, all the opportunities, while they will undermine and mock the opposition for their troubles. The NRM wouldn’t be able to run, if they had the same hectic mess the opposition has. The NRM would malfunction and be on self-destruction, if they met the same obstacles, which it serves all opposition. They are used to have no way, while the NRM has the big high-way and a free way of opportunities. That is a luxury, which nobody else have. This is why the “Scientific Elections” only will amplify this and expose this rotten game. Which is rotten from the head to the grassroots. A system blessed from “high above” to the lowest civil servant. Peace.

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