With the reports of rebel activities, isn’t NRM’s 36 years of change cosmetic?
By Muhimbise George
The NRA/NRM went to the bush in 1981 to pursue the path of restoration of democracy and rule of law. This was a result of a disputed 1980 election. The capture of power by the NRM meant ushering in a new political dispensation in which democracy would prevail and this explains why Museveni said it was not a mere change of guards but a fundamental change.
36 years down the road, rebel activities have remained as a means to express political dissent. There is no month that passes without hearing of insecurity incidents happening and they are linked to rebel groups. The recent attack on police in Busiika in Luweero district was one of them.
As a reprisal from government, a raid by the UPDF on the farm of Rtd Maj Kakooza Mutale in Luweero this week was carried out on suspicion that he was training a rebel group. These allegations turned out to be untrue as the said trainees were trainees in modern agriculture skills.
Earlier in June this year, Policemen and soldiers of Uganda People’s Defense Forces raided a cave at Kireku village in Luweero district and forcefully disbanded a group 70 people who were allegedly undergoing radicalism in Islam, this group was believed to be linked to rebel activities. Recently, Hajj Naduli’s family members were arrested and reportedly interrogated on the missing gun that was grabbed at Busiika police post in Luweero an incident that had been linked to rebel activities.
From these and many other incidents, it is evident that the government of Uganda has been either suspicious of rebel activities or indeed there are ongoing rebel activities in the country.
Unless it is a scheme by government officials to siphon money, we can not take such allegations lightly because such reports cause fear among the population and undermine development as some investors can’t bring in their money. Most importantly, our budget for defense and security will keep soaring in order to prepare for these so-called rebels.
However, the big question should be, is the government interested in knowing why these rebel groups are being formed? Are our leaders interested in getting bottom of the problem or do they enjoy dealing with the symptom after all it pays better?
If NRM thinks it has delivered democracy, why are people so frustrated that they have to engage in rebel activities to sort their grievances? Why are we not having rebel activities in Kenya or Tanzania?
Do the leaders think about the levels of frustration in the country? Do they think about the cumulative effect of unemployment, land grabbing, high cost of doing business, poverty, human rights abuses to mention but a few and how this could explode any time?
The NRM needs to know that they have betrayed Ugandans. They have made Ugandans hopeless that they can have peaceful means of resolving political differences. As John F Kennedy put it, that if you make a peaceful change impossible, you make a violent change inevitable.
If the NRM can’t address the fundamental questions that are causing rebel activities, then the democracy they ushered in was just a hoax.
Muhimbise George, 0787836515
The author is a member of the Alliance for National Transformation Publicity committee.