Only a national unity government will save Ugandans from blood letting after M7 is gone

Prof Amii Omara-Otunnu pictured in London with Dr Henry Gombya, Managing Editor of The London Evening Post on the day the formation of the  FUF was announced at the London School of Economics (File Photo)
Prof Amii Omara-Otunnu (right) pictured in London with Dr Henry Gombya, Managing Editor of The London Evening Post on the day the formation of the FUF was announced at the London School of Economics (File Photo)

The formation of a national unity government once President Yoweri Museveni has left power is the only way to stop a bloodletting that is likely to be carried out on people believed to be benefitting from the current regime. In an article he has written for The London Evening Post, Amii Omara-Otunnu, professor of African history at the University of Connecticut in the United States of America, also argues that this is the only way  the country will wake up from the nightmare the NRM has thrown it into.  Educated at Makerere University, Kampala, Oxford University here in England and Harvard in the United States, Prof Omara-Otunnu who also heads the Freedom and Unity Front (FUF) further argues that Ugandan elites must understand that the struggle to free Uganda from the hands of the NRM is not about them as individuals but it is about ‘the great majority of Ugandans who continue to wallow in poverty and despair, with joyous stoicism’.

We hereby bring the First Part of Prof Omara-Otunnu’s article.

In line with its ethical approach and vision for the country, and taking into account the state of fragmentation and marginalization in Uganda, Freedom and Unity Front (FUF) on July 28, 2015 made public its long-held policy position for the formation of National Unity Government (NUG). The organization is delighted that the proposal is gaining traction in the international community and among some political elites, as the most reasonable way forward. In the policy proposal, FUF made it clear that a presidential council of four should head the NUG, coupled with balanced distribution of ministerial and other high profile positions, on regional basis. Implemented in good faith and properly, it should moderately address the concern raised by General Henry Tumukunde, former head of Internal Security Organization, that it is time to move the concentration of power from western Uganda. If the proposal is to work for the common and greater good of the country, however, it will not be sufficient for political elites to show guile in cloak and dagger manoeuvrings. The elites must demonstrate that besides courage, they possess humility, which counsels them to recognize that the struggle to redeem Uganda is not about them individually, but it is about the great majority of Ugandans who continue to wallow in poverty and despair, with joyous stoicism.

The proposal by FUF for the formation of a NUG takes into account the current situation where the socio-political conditions are quite toxic and volatile in the country. A merit of a NUG is that it should afford various socio-political groups space and opportunity for confidence building and in the process forestall imminent catastrophe. A point that needs to be made abundantly clear without any ambiguity is that if Uganda is to develop as a progressive country, it cannot afford to relish in continual vicious cycles of recrimination and bloodletting. As a people, we Ugandans, and for that matter Africans, must realize that it is not by making others suffer that we shall achieve happiness, security and progress. But rather, our individual and group happiness, security and progress depend upon social harmony and peace brought about by substituting justice for repression and equality of treatment for discrimination and domination. The time has come for us to endeavour not to be undone by the fetish of power politics and the shallowness of moral grounding. The habit of settling scores should not become part of our political DNA. Lest we forget, it should be remembered that Uganda’s recent history of political conflict and conflict resolution is not something to be proud of.

The cold fact of the matter is that given the state of fragmentation and repression in the country, unless enlightened, courageous and proactive strategy is in place soon, a whiff of any change might get a cross-section of Ugandans to embark on a killing spree of individuals, social groups and even goats and chickens that are associated with, and who are perceived to have been beneficiaries of, the current regime. This nightmare scenario is not extrapolated from frivolous prognosis; rather, it is based on Uganda’s recent history. A few examples will illustrate the point. In the aftermath of the 1966 crisis in the power struggle between the King of Buganda, Kabaka Edward Mutesa, and Prime Minister of Uganda Milton Obote, Baganda as a group were victimized needlessly, simply because they came from Buganda. After the military coup led by Idi Amin in 1971, Acholi and Langi we killed in the thousands simply because of their linguistic and regional affinity with the ousted Milton Obote. After the overthrow of Idi Amin in 1979, people from West Nile were subjected to gruesome collective punishment simply because they came from the same region as Idi Amin.

One thought on “Only a national unity government will save Ugandans from blood letting after M7 is gone

  • November 1, 2015 at 10:23 am
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    This is not the first time this or that Ugandan with political ambition such as Prof. Amii Otunnu is claiming that a government of national unity is the only solution when Museveni leaves power. Let us be realistic here when we are talking about possible solutions to the political chaos and instability that Uganda has been and continues to be in since the 1960s. If unity meant anything to Uganda’s post-colonial leaders, the Moshi conference that led to the toppling of Amin had it all. But that spirit was killed before Amin even was given asylum in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where he eventually died.

    The so-called unity being preached will not help Uganda create an economic system that is effective in solving its economic problems and fulfill the aspiration of its people. The same leaders preaching unity will be the first ones to steal all the money meant for economic and social development. It does not take a government of national unity to evolve modern social and political institutions that are relevant to a country’s culture and has the capability to solve the problems of social integration and political conflicts. It takes only one leader with a clear “VISION” to do and achieve that.

    Post colonial Ugandan leaders have been unable to bring out the best of their citizens to develop and acquire capabilities necessary to respond to the global changes and challenges. Instead, they continue to pick and destroy the best of minds of the country and those who escape arrest and death flee the country and offer their talents to developed countries which do not need them for cheap.

    Many scholars, academics, thinkers and humanitarian bodies have offered and provided reasoned analysis on what is taking place in Uganda and what Ugandans need to and must do in order to face the challenges of development and political stability. From Obote to Museveni non has listened. Instead they came and continue to come with blind “VISIONS” and end up creating more problems, putting the country into a permanent bracket of poverty, underdevelopment, corruption and a very difficult country to do business with, and an uncomfortable and dangerous country to live in. Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, a government of national unity is no solution to Uganda’s problem, but another means of misleading Ugandans.

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