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With just about 14 months away to the 2011 general elections, some donors are contemplating a possible power-sharing deal between President Museveni and the opposition, if the NRM fails to secure a convincing win. This thinking has been inspired by growing fear in some European capitals that Uganda could plunge into chaos, like Kenya did in 2007, if the next presidential elections are not free and fair.

Diplomatic sources have told us this fear was galvanised by some opposition politicians who have told donor governments that they will mobilise their supporters to reject the outcome of the election in case of rigging. Not taking the threats lightly, donors have in several secret meetings implored the NRM to open a window of dialogue with the opposition to ease tension.

The October 21-24 dialogue in Ghana attended by 18 politicians representing the NRM on one hand and opposition parties on the other was intended to concretise this project which the donors have quietly been working on over the last six months or so.

The inter-party talks in Ghana were facilitated by a public policy NGO called the Institute of Economic Affairs that was founded in 1998 by Dr. Charles Mensah. It is funded mainly by Netherlands’ Institute for Multiparty Democracy.

The organisers want Ugandan politicians to learn from Ghana’s experience of moving from a coup-prone, unstable country to the present democratic culture that has seen the country change leaders and parties peacefully on several occasions.

Ghana has had two peaceful changes of government from the ruling party to the opposition in the last 10 years. In 2000, President Jerry Rawlings’ ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) handed over power to John Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) after its candidate, John Atta Mills, lost the election.

Kufuor went ahead to serve two four-year terms, which ended last year as he handed over power to Atta Mills who defeated the ruling NPP’s candidate. This has placed the West African country on a firm democratic path that has eluded most African countries.

In Ghana, the Ugandans were told that the Ghanaians too have come along way after agreeing on key electoral reforms in 1994, following the disputed 1992 elections won by Rawlings.

The Ugandans were also told of the good working relations between the secretary generals of the ruling and opposition parties in Ghana, under an umbrella organisation that they use to iron out contentious issues before they are presented to Parliament.

Multiparty Institute

Highly placed donor sources have told us that the idea of dialogue between the NRM and opposition parties was mooted by FDC, UPC, DP, CP and JEMA under the Inter-Party Co-operation (IPC) and sold to European diplomats in Kampala. The IPC is sponsored mainly by the Christian Democratic International Centre (KIC), a Swedish governance NGO.

Our sources say that IPC leaders told the diplomats in a recent meeting at the European Union offices in Crested Towers, Kampala, that they will mobilise their supporters to reject the outcome of the election if Museveni unleashes violence and intimidation to “win” the election.

Taking the threat seriously, some diplomats called in the Netherlands’ Institute for Multiparty Democracy for help. While Sweden is helping to build strong opposition parties, Netherlands is pushing for dialogue to prepare the losers to gracefully concede defeat and where there is no clear winner, broker a power sharing deal.

An April 2009 Afro Barometer survey by Wilsken Agencies Ltd predicted that President Museveni, whose electoral popularity has shrunk from 75% in 1996 to 59% in 2006, would not secure the 51% of the vote needed to avoid a re-run. Such a re-run would inevitably come with tension and a possibility of violence.

For that reason, the European Union has backed the idea of establishing a multiparty institute in Uganda similar to the one in Tanzania, to ensure a peaceful political atmosphere.

The political situation in Uganda was indeed a subject of debate by the European Union Council of Foreign Ministers on October 27 during which the government was asked to ensure that the 2011 elections are free, fair and transparent. The on-going media crackdown, in which the government has closed three radio stations and charged several journalists with sedition and inciting violence, has not helped allay fears of a sustained campaign to suppress free expression ahead of the polls.

NRM joins

Sources tell us that after obtaining the EU backing, the IPC attempted to contact President Museveni and the NRM Secretary General, Amama Mbabazi, but failed. The Netherlands’ Institute for Multiparty Democracy then sent officials to persuade Mbabazi to buy into the idea.

Mbabazi later informed President Museveni about the proposal that saw Local Government Minister, Adolf Mwesige, dispatched to attend preparatory meetings. He was joined by David Mafabi, a presidential aide and Twebaze Hippo of the External Security Organisation.

The IPC suggested that NRM should be represented by party officials and not government ministers. This is how Daudi Migereko, the NRM Chief Whip, was asked to replace Mwesige. While the idea of the ruling party working with the opposition was entrenched in the 2005 constitutional amendment that provided for an inter-party forum chaired by the Electoral Commission, it has never taken off.

The FDC boycotted the meetings that were called by President Museveni in July 2006 at State House Nakasero. Other former presidential candidates attended. After a couple of follow up meetings hosted by Amama Mbabazi and attended by UPC, DP, CP and Dr. Abed Bwanika, a presidential candidate in the 2006 elections, the forum collapsed.

In Ghana, NRM was represented by Migereko, Hippo and Kibuku County MP, Saleh Kamba, while Kampala Central MP Erias Lukwago, Mathias Nsubuga, MP Bukoto South, and Deo Njoki represented DP.

UPC was represented by Yona Kanyomozi (chairman), Patrick Mwondha (treasurer) and James Opoka (secretary general). JEEMA was represented by Muhammad Kateregga (vice chairman), Omar Kalinge Nnyago (secretary for public affairs) and Siraje Balinda. The FDC delegation was led by party deputy secretary general, Augustine Ruzindana.

Soft landing


Briefing the IPC delegates before they left for Ghana, Ken Lukyamuzi, the current rotational chairman of IPC, told them that the international community was fed up with the regime in Kampala and was trying to prepare for a “soft landing”, sources said.

During the briefing, DP delegates told Lukyamuzi that they had been invited for a workshop yet on the programme was an item to do with signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the formation of an organisation called Institute for Multiparty Democracy (IMD).

Shaun Mackay, an official from the Netherlands’ embassy in Kampala informed DP that those traveling to Accra needed to have a letter from their parties authorising them to sign the MOU.

Ghana’s immediate past President, John Kufuor, chaired several meetings during which he briefed Ugandans on how his country achieved peaceful change of governments. Kufuor said fighting HIV/AIDS was the only positive aspect his country had learnt from Uganda. He spoke about corruption as one of the evils that suffocate democracy.

Kufuor was joined by secretary generals of Ghana’s main political parties to teach Ugandans how to co-exist in a multi-party system. Thereafter, participants went into groups to discuss the structure, missions and vision of the MOU. The Dutch had been given an impression that the Ugandans had already agreed on the details of the MOU and were in Ghana only to endorse it.

The MOU sought to create the Uganda Political Parties Dialogue (UPPD) “to pursue and foster inter-party dialogue, tolerance and co-operation so as to ensure good governance born out of sustainable multiparty democracy and a united, free, just and prosperous Uganda.”

Its highest organ would be a Summit of Leaders composed of the presidents of chairpersons of the member parties or their designated members from the parties’ executive committee. The chair of the Summit would be rotational on a quarterly basis.

Concerns


The opposition insisted that if the Ghana model is to work in Uganda, presidential term limits must be reinstated and captured in the MOU. But NRM’s Saleh Kamba said reinstating term limits was impossible and that his party would drag President Museveni to court if he refused to stand for re-election in 2011. This radical position, sources said, shocked the Ghanaians.

Migereko told The Observer on Friday that MP Kamba was simply emphasising the strong sentiments on the ground which needed to be taken into account.
“The candidate (Museveni) is desired so much,” Migereko explained.

Meanwhile, DP’s Erias Lukwago reported that he didn’t have the mandate to commit his party by signing the MOU. The issue of funding the proposed Uganda Multiparty Institute also became contentious, with Migereko suggesting that the government bankrolls the project.

However, the opposition sought to make it donor-funded. Eventually, the draft MOU was distributed to the delegations for further consultations. The Ghanaians will be flown here to moderate further talks on the matter. DP’s National Executive Committee is slated to meet today to discuss the MOU, Lukwago said. He added that although DP is not opposed to dialogue, skepticism remained on the commitment of NRM.

“I am not convinced that they are ready to dialogue. NRM is still arrogant, telling us that they are here to stay no matter what we do or say. There are so many opposition members in prison, the media is being intimidated; that is not synonymous with the spirit of dialogue. But we cannot close the door, we can give it a try,” he said.

On his part, Migereko said that the ruling party was open to dialogue. He noted that President Museveni was the first to convene an inter-party meeting in 2006.  “Our party supports dialogue and co-operation, but in a principled way. The problem has been that parties like FDC are not welcoming the idea,” he said. Migereko, however, refuted reports that the issue of power sharing had been discussed. “It did not feature anywhere,” he said.

Migereko added: “The NRM is committed to democratic and constitutional arrangements. We are committed and call on the opposition to follow the path. Even when they are dealing with Mengo or CBS, they should deliver the message,” he said without explaining further.

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Comments

 
0 #1 N. Babirye 2009-11-01 18:06
Dictators should not share power, especially, after somebody has ruled a nation for 25 years.

This is a no no, NADA!


Ugandans deserve better.
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0 #2 Willy Kaaro-Karungi 2009-11-01 19:38
But NRM’s Saleh Kamba said reinstating term limits was impossible and that his party would drag President Museveni to court if he refused to stand for re-election in 2011.

This radical position, sources said, shocked the Ghanaians. After the shook what next for ssabalwannyi, ssabagabe Qouter-pin.????
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0 #3 Mayanja C 2009-11-02 01:13
To me this government is composed of "bread winners" not leaders.Before one mentions Ghana as a country with peaceful change of government, we shouldnot forget Tanzania our immediate neighbours who peacefully change their governments.

The problem with Uganda is that one superman with a vision for all Ugandans is building a "dynasty" which will last for those years he has planned.

To me this government will never share power because of its evils and the pride that "they fought". Democracy can never thrive in Uganda where corruption is rampant, media freedom not respected, torture of political opponents etc.

To me this business of free and fair elections in Uganda is just drama.These people should declare Mr.Museveni the life presidency and stop fooling Ugandans that their cleaning the National Voters Registry.

Ugandans let us also borrow the following notes from Lucky Dube's song called "is this freedom". The words go like this;

We have just witnessed the
Change of power from one fool
And liar to another
Our lives on the line again
She had lived through the wars
She didn' t wanna go through it all again
She has seen injustice
She has seen corruption
She has seen racism
And any other kind of suffering
You can think about
Then she said to me
Son, Is this the end of suffering?

So will power sharing in Uganda be the end of our suffering??????????
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0 #4 Twesigirebusha Laban 2009-11-02 05:07
The Ugandan Opposition and ALL the Ugandans should rightly object to that Political manipulation of the West.If it is Democratic elections with participatory of various political Parties, the will of the people should be respected.

I hate the new and trendy methodolgy of political machination by the incumbancy that when they lose the mandate of the electorate, due to massive fraud they demand power sharing or Govt of National Unity.

We have witnessed such scenario in Zimbabwe,and in our neighbor Kenya,and it is going to happen in Afghanistan, though Dr.Abdullah Abdullah is becoming wiser by refusing to participate in an election organised by the chief rigger Karzai.It is already rigged by all preparations at play.

If the NRMO rightly wins the elections, which it has never done in the last elections,then we should accept the mandate of the electorate, but it is not as it is clear it cannot, then we better plan for "B" plan.This is outrageous by all standards. New concepts of democracy.
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0 #5 Raymond Otika 2009-11-02 07:45
Ugandans are used to chaos. It is a thrill. Only those who have ripped us off are afraid of chaos, because they will lose their loot. Otherwise power sharing will only postpone it (chaos).

We have torn down this country before: in 1971, 1979 and 1986. It will not be a suprise if it happens in 2011. All these happens because we don't learn from our past; moreover due to obsession and power addiction.

The donors are the very ones who prop up dictators. If they are concerned about chaos, because Museveni will not get the winning votes in 2011; it is not yet too late. The best thing they can do is tell Museveni to back off now before 2011.

May be these donors should mind their own business and leave us alone to destroy ourselves.
Proposing power sharing is simply being idle and disorderly.

It is like presiding over the marriage of good and evil. Which will never happen. It is one way condoning illegitimacy and encouraging undemocratic principles.

Aren't we independent for the last 47 years?. Why should the donors always be coaching us around as if we can't make a choice or don't know our perennial political problems?
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0 #6 Imhotep 2009-11-02 08:21
We are fed up of our policies being made in your countries. We do not need these so-called donors plying us with tin-pot governments, injecting us with diseases, taking all our resources, ensuring our perpetual poverty, et al, and then, appearing to be the saviours of the day!

Fellow Africans know this, we stand to get nowhere and i mean literally nowhere if we continue to delude ourselves that these people have got our best interests at heart. We need to boot them out. That is the only way forward for us.

Before long nations such as North Korea, Venenzuela, Equador, Iran, etc are going to be big-time power players, while we continue to stretch out the begging hand, robbing ourselves of initiative, industriousness , proper governance, to mention but three.

My fellow Africans wake up for time waits for no one!! Why should we continue to be at the bottom while everybody else pokes fun at us, even though almost everything they have, they took from us!? We need to read our true history to free ourselves from mental slavery. This surely cannot go on till kingdom come. No!!!

Awangale Ayi Ssabasajja.
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0 #7 okema 2009-11-02 09:21
I doubt very much if the National Resistance Movement (NRM) would have been able to rule Uganda for more than two decades if it was not for sustained donor support in the first place despite serious shortcomings.

If the donors are serious about establishing a democratic and peaceful Uganda, they need to ensure that the opposition is given an equal platform to compete for political power the way it happens in donor countries and beginning to happen in other African countries such as Ghana.

It is unhealthy for one party or system to maintain power for more than two decades especially by illegally denying others political space. Peaceful transfers of power between parties is essential to ensure that fresh policies are continuously brought to move a country's development forward. A party that overstays in power tends to become more arrogant, corrupt and incompetent.
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0 #8 Henry K. 2009-11-02 10:07
My attention is drawn to Hon. Saleh Kamba's statement that "reinstating term limits was impossible ..."

Well.. Pres. Museveni and his government echo the hollow beliefs of the likes of Ian Smith who always convinced himself that never would there be black majority rule in Rhodesia only a government by "civilised Rhodesians"(whites), for ever..

The rest as they say is history. I take it Mr. Kamba and many in Uganda dont have what it takes to farthom the broad winds of change blowing on the internatioanl arena(let alone within the country) and so no need for sleepless nights over them.

Ugandans should however pay more attention to such statements from Hon. Amama Mbabazi that "The NRM is more important than government". Under pressure Mr. Mbabazi is preparing Ugandans (in the shortterm)for worse times ahead as they (NRM)ready themselves evermore to bypass formal institutions of government eg Police in place of Kiboko squard etc.

This wont hold for long, because again history is on Uganda's side. The trend where NRM progressively drifts to the minority is ireversible.. so Ugandans should inevitably prepare themselves for a new dispensation.

What concerns me is that when this time comes, (soon) we should build on the past and move forward rather than destroy the little we have achieved(coz I sense too much anger).
Thats where such dialogue forums become very important.
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0 #9 kabayekka 2009-11-02 11:12
It is unfortunate that such an opportunity to allow this government a soft landing for it to get out of power has passed away. Some of the individual NRM diehard have forgotten where they come from.

They have lost their way to go back to their homes. Ghost leaders indeed. Unfortunately one believes that the ghost of UPC is on hand to run this sort of affairs as always since 1961.
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0 #10 Joseph 2009-11-02 12:11
the issue is not about all westerners, there are those who are really in problem and if these govt changed by force one day, the innovcent will suffer yet for those who secured evrything ready like possport will disappear.

please 80% of these companies you see around even sweappers expertrates, these People have shares, thats why when nytil Strcked about salary increatment, the invester first called the president for what to answer to Lwokomoi and his team(The Hopeless to them).

Please I blame Basoga, they gave this guy votes than anything yet they really mingle posho to eat with Fenne.Sorry for what is going on. dont blame westerners but blame Basogas.
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0 #11 Mutebi 2009-11-02 13:03
NRM must give the power to the Democratic peoples of Uganda to decide about there are country and federalism. No more chances for dictators from 1966 up to now.
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0 #12 Henry K. 2009-11-02 13:30
My attention is drawn to Hon. Saleh Kamba's statement that "reinstating term limits was impossible ..."

Well.. Pres. Museveni and his government echo the hollow beliefs of the likes of Ian Smith who always convinced himself that never would there be black

majority rule in Rhodesia only a government by "civilised Rhodesians"(whites), for ever..The rest as they say is history. I take it Mr. Kamba and many in

Uganda dont have what it takes to farthom the broad winds of change blowing on the internatioanl arena(let alone within the country) and so no need for

sleepless nights over them.

Ugandans should however pay more attention to such statements from Hon. Amama Mbabazi that "The NRM is more important than government". Under pressure Mr.

Mbabazi is preparing Ugandans (in the shortterm)for worse times ahead as they (NRM)ready themselves evermore to bypass formal institutions of government eg

Police in place of Kiboko squard etc. This wont hold for long, because again history is on Uganda's side.

The trend where NRM progressively drifts to the minority is ireversible.. so Ugandans should inevitably prepare themselves for a new dispensation. What

concerns me is that when this time comes, (soon) we should build on the past and move forward rather than destroy the little we have achieved(coz I sense

too much anger).
Thats where such dialogue forums become very important.
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0 #13 Mutebi 2009-11-02 17:26
The president of NRM must give the power to the Democratics Ugandans to decide for there are country and federalism, no more chances for the dictators since 1966, because the Ugandans with there are country they need to go forward Democratically.
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0 #14 P.M 2009-11-03 01:55
It is obvious that Hon Kamba did not go to Ghana for dialog but to tell everyone that M7 will be President no matter what. This atittude will take our country no where
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0 #15 DANIEL CRAGY 2009-11-03 04:17
i think some people are day dreamers thats why they suggest such things iam a young boy of 23 years but one day i asked ny father who is president museveni?

he said"museveni is the man we fought with the quarrillar war and brought him to power later turned against all those that helped him like MajGen nugisha muntu,col besigye,samson mande,tadeo kanyakole, mwesigye, kayira, kyakabale to mention but afew.

he later told me president museveni would do anything on this us ruther than loose power.we have seen these e.g the black mambas who highjacked the court,the kiboko squard,the kakooza mutare group,the likes of ramazan magara,and bringing the "UPDF" which in actual sense is NRA BECAUSE THE STILL HOLD NRA NUMBERS OF THE ARMY THAT MEANS ITS MUSEVENIS ARMY AS HE STARTED IT IN EARLY 1980 SO.

but in all i see we are heading to the tsunami besigye once talked about because of the following TRIBALISM,CORRU PTION WHICH COMES FROM THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF WHO BRIBED THE MPS TO CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION HE MADE IN 1995"KILLING UR OWN SON"POVERTY,UNEMPLO YMENT,POOR HEALTH SERVISES,THE SO CALLED PEACE FIGHTERS WHO ROB OUR COUNTRY EVERY DAY U KNOW "GLOBAL MONEY" AND THE INTIMIDATION OF THE MEDIA,

PEOPLE AND THE SAFE HOUSES OF TORTURE"BESIGYES BROTHER DIED"AND THE DEATH OF PROMINENT PEOPLE WHICH ARE NOT FOLLOWED UP"MAYOMBO,FRANCIS AYUME KIFEFFE,.ALL THOSE. I CALL UPON UGANDAS LET COME 2011 WHY CANT WE VOTE THIS MAN OUT WHAT HAS HE DONE IN THESE FIVE YEARS RUTHER THAN TAKE OYR MONEY WITH FAILED GHOGM,GIVE AWAY MABIRA,STOP THE KABAKA OF BUGANDA FROM HIS TOUR AND TOTURE AND INTERVENE IN POLICE ISSUES LIKE NATTETE INSIDENT,SUPPOR T TEMAGALO SCANNDLE,AND LIE ABOUT STOPING CORRUPTION WHEN WE HAVE THE MPS WHO WERE BRIBED WITH 5MILLION STILL IN PALIAMENT AND THE ONE WHO BRIBED THEM AROUND AS AFREEDOM FIGHTER.

GOD BLESS UGANDA I SEE WE ARE HEADING NO WHERE THE KENYAN INCIDENT CAN BE AVOIDED CALL ON THE YOUTH TO REGESTER AS VOTERS AND ALL UGANDAS I CALL UPON U LET COME 2011 MUSEVENI SHOULD PACK HIS BELONGINGS AND GO TO RWAKITURA TEND TO HIS COWS.GOD BLESS UGANDA
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0 #16 Fred Nsimbe 2009-11-03 05:07
Let us get serious. No power sharing agreement has ever worked. We need a government in power and a strong opposition to keep things in check period !
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0 #17 XXXXXX 2009-11-03 11:30
What are you people talking about, its because of your weakness that you lament like sick pigs. The president is not perfect,and i am no NRM, but for you to think he is the cause of all our problems is to be naive.

The same problems facing Uganda are those facing other countries. Lets open our eyes to the big picture people, the president is not the problem. Until we appreciate that the problem is us, let us forget everything, and continue lamenting like we already are doing.
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0 #18 Stephen Kakooza 2009-11-03 17:41
African's second independence from Black African Dictators, will only come when Africans wake up and support Ghadathi, Mugabe and the Pirets in Somalia in search for an African solution to African problems.

Its very annoying that the same Donors who support NRM Government, which violated the constitution and removed the Presidential limit are now planning a power sharing deal with a dictator. Why should ICC practice double standards?

In Sudan it summons both Bashil and the Leader of Janjawid, But in Uganda it only summons Kony and leaves Museveni who was involved in the killing of moslems in mbarara in 1979, he was in the killing of luwero people in 1981-85, and 24 years of burutal killings in northern uganda.

and then jump to Kenya where violence only occurred ounce. Its high time the International community realises that Africans are aware of their continued support of regimes which serve their interests and time will come when we shall declare Africa a No Go Zone to White Imperialism.

Like Museveni told Obote, we are also telling him, he should not seek for a forth term and if he does he should know that he has declared war on Ugandans.
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