Tuesday, November 30, 2010

On Uganda's polls

Come to think of it, Ugandans are not used to opposition victory

By Asuman Bisiika

Ugandans used to violent election campaigns have been surprised by the relative calmness of the presidential poll campaigns.

On the radio and TV talk-show circuit, where I regularly do my pitch and listen in, there is unanimity of opinion that these presidential campaigns are boring; at least this far.

This calm has ‘blamed’ on the confidence of NRM. The general talk in the NRM campaign circles is that President Museveni will win by 65%.

Yet I am compelled to appreciate the NRM’s we-win-or-they-lose psyche. The brutal reality is that history favours Museveni. Ugandans are already conditioned to expect an opposition loss.

Come to think of it, Ugandans have never experienced an electoral loss by a sitting government (or the political side that has the sympathy of the military establishment). Neither is there any experience of a run-off election.

In the circumstances, of course no one is looking at the significance of Parliament in the broader scheme of things. With a wink from the military, President Museveni would ‘handle’ a Parliament in which his NRM party has minority strength while it would almost be impossible for Dr. Besigye to work with a Parliament that has an NRM majority.

So, the next President of Uganda will be the one whose electoral victory offers the best case scenarios in the aftermath of the polls; yes, the one capable of managing the possible post-election confusion. And as the French say, le chois est clare (the choice is clear).

But the opposition IPC is also digging in; confident they can deny President Museveni the mandatory anything-above-50% outright victory and force a run-off election.

Out of eight candidates, the main contenders are Dr. Kizza Besigye and incumbent President Museveni. This election means a lot to both Museveni and Besigye.

For Museveni, this term will afford him the time and opportunity to manage (ok, at least to think of) succession while for Dr. Kizza Besigye, it could be the last time his party will sponsor his candidature for the presidency. That is why the fear that these two candidates could turn this poll into a life-and-death project is real.

With the end of the northern rebellion, President Museveni’s campaign managers expect their electoral fortunes to increase in the north and eastern regions. But Besigye dismisses as futile Museveni’s current efforts to make inroads into opposition strongholds in the North and East claiming that “the contradictions between the people of northern Uganda and the NRM regime are irreconcilable”.

But such scenarios of over confidence and a sense mission have played out elsewhere to very bad consequences. In the June 1993 Presidential Elections in Burundi, military ruler Maj. Pierre Buyoya, portraying himself as a benevolent Tutsi ruler, was confident that his good-guy demeanour would win him the contest. It didn’t.

But Melchoir Ndadaye, the Hutu guy who won the elections, was killed in a coup in October 1993; less than six months later. Clearly the coup (and death of the duly elected president) was part of dynamics of the electoral process.

In the 2008 Presidential Elections in Zimbabwe, President Mugabe was so confident of a win that he could even afford the luxury to offer many concessions on the electoral legislation; and yes, he even withdrew his violence squads as a concession to Thabo Mbeki. He was returned as the second best.

But in the re-run that followed a hang presidential poll, Mugabe unleashed violence on the population that led to his only challenger to withdraw his candidature.

Well, while the opposition target denying Museveni an outright victory, the NRM’s minimum target is an outright victory. President Museveni’s campaign team do not even want to hear of, leave alone fathom, the scenario of a possible loss or failure to get an outright victory.

But still: what if…? Of course Museveni would petition court challenging result; but Ugandans know the suspense such a court petition would create?

When I cast my vote, it will be with the knowledge that the electoral process ends when the next elections are held. Alor est que le chois ancore clare (So, is the choice still clear)? Oui, plus clare (Yes, even more clearer). Chew on thatENDS

Saturday, October 16, 2010

What will Museveni’s manifesto look like? What is Museveni taking to campaigns?

By Asuman Bisiika

The nominations for presidential candidates slated for October 24 and 25 are now less than two weeks away. According to the Electoral Commission’s rules, campaigns begin immediately after the nominations.

Yet the two major political groups, the ruling National Resistance Movement and the Forum for Democratic Change, have not been talking about their manifestos.

In normal circumstances, a political party that has been in power for about twenty-five years would only need to review their cumulative achievements and set projections as their campaign manifesto. But the circumstances are not normal because the government communications and information dissemination systems have failed to sustainably promote government programmes.

There are two thematic options NRM’s manifesto can be approached: the promotion of the achievements of over twenty years or the projection and promise of better things to come. If it were up to me (if I were hired to write it), I would string it up in such a way that the achievements of the regime are captured as the foundation on which the projections and promises are made.

But I digress; the NRM will most likely not trust me with writing their manifesto. However, the question still remains: how will the NRM approach the campaigns for the 2011 Presidential Elections?

This essay is not intended to answer that question squarely, rather it is a rhetorical attempt to look at the NRM’s 2011 Presidential Elections campaigns from an assumed point of strong disposition, positioning and posturing.

President Museveni’s highest showing in this term (2006-2011) has been in the following areas: rural electrification, ending the armed rebellion in northern Uganda, increased access to clean water and a deliberate effort to improve on the road sector.

However, these areas of success should have been consistently promoted by the government’s communications and information dissemination systems. If these areas had been sustainably promoted, the challenge of the manifesto writers would have been limited to packaging these achievements into soluble messages for public absorption and appreciation during the campaigns.

So, how will the NRM take advantage of the improved social development indices like rural electrification, improved road network, improved access to clean water and the end of the rebellion in northern Uganda?

The rural electrification programme is supposed to extend the national electricity grid to cover 90% of the settled areas of the country. And my information is that they have already covered about 70%. One does not need to be highly educated to appreciate that rural electrification can accelerate the socio-economic transformation of the entire country.

With limitation of public servants, the government’s communications and information dissemination systems should to promote government’s high score in the social development indices without overly making it an NRM thing yet still to string it as a political mobilisation value.

In fact one of the (many?) things that President Museveni will be remembered for is rural electrification. This is the first time since independence that government is making a deliberate effort to bring the rural folk in the electricity loop; actually the national loop. Imagine for the first time the rural folk would also participate in debates over electricity tariffs.

Rural electrification will be etched in the collective minds of the people like Obote’s famous nineteen hospitals that remain the back born of the country’s health services delivery system.

In a deliberate action that was described by many as unprecedented, government allocated the road sector about one trillion for two consecutive years ending July 2010. This was the largest single allocation in the whole budget overtaking the education sector for the first time in many years.

The unprecedented increase in the budgetary allocation for the road sector bed a corresponding increase in public interest (and expectations) in the road sector. Question is: how will the NRM manifesto advantage of this public interest and expectations in the road sector? ENDS

Constitutional Court slaps state in the face; stops Besigye trial

Constitutional Court slaps state in the face; stops Besigye trial

Stopping Besigye’s trial was too liberal. Guy us vitually immunised from state prosecution

By Asuman Bisiika

On Tuesday October 12, the Constitutional Court stopped the trial of Dr. Kizza Besigye in the High Court and the Military Court Martial. Most commentators described this as an unprecedented landmark court ruling.

Mr. Richard Butera, the amiable director for public prosecutions, could only make a feeble response to the rather surprising ruling.

Now, during Vision Voice’s Talk of the National radio talk show on which I am a regular, show host Paul Busharizi asked my opinion on the ruling. I said it was tempting to see the ruling as one of those ironical things for which President Museveni picked credit.

Uganda has come a long way you know; so far away that the state’s acceptance and abiding by a court ruling is an achievement that should be attributed to president. We after all know that the state is capable and can do any thing to stifle the free operation of the Judiciary. Yes, President Museveni takes credit for the fact that he can let the Judiciary ‘run riot’ in town.

Yet beyond politicising things, there is another way to look at the Constitutional Court ruling that stopped the prosecution of Dr. Kizza Besigye. And here…

On September 22 1972 or thereabouts, President Idd Amin killed Chief Justice Ben Kiwanuka over what was believed to be disagreement on the direction and process of justice in the country. The death of Ben Kiwanuka, after whose name a Parish in Lubaga Division and a road in the business centre of Kampala City has been named, has always inspired the Judiciary in Uganda.

Ben Kiwanuka’s martyrdom set the bar very high for both the political leadership and the Judiciary. What can the political or military leadership do to the Judiciary that is more outrageous than the killing of the Chief Justice? Or what can the leadership of the Judiciary do that is more bold and courageous than Chief Justice Ben Kiwanuka’s actions that earned him martyrdom?

So, with this kind of background, the Judiciary can spring off almost anything on the government. Indeed let’s face it; although the reasoning behind the Constitutional Court decision to stop all proceedings against Dr. Kizza Besigye and his co-accused can be justified and rationalised, it is also true that the ruling went beyond the matter before the court. The ruling was too liberal and untraditional; it was judicial activism.

The media, bless them, of course got it wrong by insinuating that the cases had been dismissed. But this was kiika, not the usual dismissal for lack of evidence. Besigye has actually been immunised from criminal prosecution in some way or other.

But I must say that stopping of Besigye’s trial is a win for all the players mostly because the decision of the Constitutional Court resonated with public perception. President Museveni wins for demonstrating that ‘it is possible’; the Judiciary wins for exercising ‘moral courage and boldness’ and Dr. Besigye for proving that power belongs to the people and justice is dispensed in their name.

In Uganda, there are two institutions that still command respect and the moral high ground. They are the Church and the Judiciary. However, of the two institutions, (we can be academic and call them ‘estates of the state’), the Judiciary has retained the highest level of moral decency.

Even in the strenuous circumstances of 1970s and 80s, the Judiciary still remained true to its cardinal function of arbitration without bias. The only problem was always implementation or abiding by court rulings. Which is not the business of the Judiciary.

The Church and Judiciary earned this respect through the martyrdom of Anglican Archbishop Janan Luwum and Chief Justice Ben Kiwanuka. A good like President Museveni leader appreciates their (Church and the Judiciary) opinions; as history has shown that any attempt to tamper with the free operations of these institutions leads to some level of state failure. ENDS

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

‘Mr. Kigali’ gets 93% over-kill as Rwanda awaits King Kigeli

By Asuman Bisiika

On September 6, Paul Rutagambwa Kagame will be sworn-in for a second and last term of office as President of Rwanda. As was expected, he easily won the August 9 presidential poll; the talking point though has been the 93% victory.

At one of the radio talk shows on which I am a regular, the show host said it was not a landslide but a tsunami. Does the 93% over-kill represent Kagame’s level popularity in Rwanda? No, please no.

In the first place, the question of Kagame’s popularity should not arise because an electoral process, whether won by 100% or slightly less like it was in the August 9 poll, would not do justice to his larger-than-life national profile.

As I have said elsewhere, President Kagame’s participation in the political leadership of Rwanda (don’t mind winning elections) is out of legitimacy, not tangible electoral popularity. His people’s attempt to portray the 93% as a measure of popularity is actually misplaced.

Rwanda’s political dynamics
After the genocide, the victorious RPF made what they called the RPF Declaration of 1994. This declaration overwrote (was supreme over) the Constitution and the 1993 Arusha Peace Accords, the two documents on which Rwanda was to be ruled in a power sharing deal.

The essence of the RPF Declaration of 1994 was that all political players in Rwanda are sort of co-opted to the RPF (ok, at least to their viewpoint).

So, for one to participate (well, and winning) in elections in Rwanda, it is has to be on the terms of the RPF. And since Paul Kagame, the ultimate ‘Mr. Kigali’ is still in the electoral mix, he deserves all the votes. Don’t mind that the 93% figure has parallels with elections in Mobutu’ Zaire (now Dr Congo) and Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

Kagame’s 93% score should be viewed in this light: President Museveni holding elections in 1990 at a time all the political elite had been co-opted into the National Resistance Movement. Would any one be surprised if Museveni won with 95% in 1990?

As I have said elsewhere, the national civics in Rwanda must fit in the thinking of Gutahuka (return of Rwandan refugee), Gubohoza (the RPF liberation or the hegemony it created) and Itsemba Bwoko (Genocide). Needles to say, the custodian of these ideals is the RPF led by Kagame.

He led the 1959 Tutsi refugees back home in 1994, he organised the return of (the 1994) Hutu refugees in 1997 and he led the forces that stopped the genocide.

When I was in Prison, I learnt that the return of the Hutu refugees in 1997 meant a lot to them; in the same way the Tutsi’s return back home in 1994. Incidentally I learnt a lot about Rwanda when I was in prison than all the time I was wining and dining at the exclusive Jali Club with Hutu and Tutsi leaders.

To understand Gutahuka, one would have to appreciate its character. It was a mass wave of whole communities fleeing their homes; an event that has been indelibly written in the collective history of both Hutus and Tutsi. This character contrasts the new wave former state functionaries fleeing the country (some through the airport) after falling out with the establishment.

The most important aspect of Gutahuka also comes with feeling of defeat that led to Guhunga (exile or refuge) in the first place. And since the Gutahuka was on the terms of the leadership, there is always a sense of submission (both passive and active) to the forces that organised or led the Great Trek back home.

Regular visitors to Rwanda like Andrew Mwenda (editor of The Independent news magazine) who think Kagame’s popularity derives the state’s delivery of social services may need to know that Rwanda had a very strong social welfare regime during Habyarimana’s time.

So, whereas there may not have been electoral thefts, the environment under which the elections were held was not sanitised enough for a liberal and informed civic participation.

Super hero Kagame
Kagame is actually like Rome’s Julius Caesar and the so-called first triumvirate. But like Caesar, the challenge is how he uses his super hero status. Which brings us to the question: is Kagame stifling the opposition or the country lacks a credible opposition?

In a recent interview, Kagame said, and rightly so, that it is not his job to create the so-called credible opposition. It was a good quote yes, but he was merely politicking. A credible opposition can only exist where there is open debate on national issues. In Rwanda, one such issue is the call for the restructuring of state power and authority by returning the former king as a titular head of state.

It sounds crazy, but I lived in Rwanda long enough to know better. I had my own verbal brawls with President Kagame over Omwami Ndahindurwa Kigeli, Rwanda’s last king. In my personal assessment, if Kagame is ‘Mr. Kigali’, Omwami Kigeli is the only counter-hero to Kagame’s super hero status.

The other option for the political opposition is to wait Kagame out till 2017 when his last constitutional term of office expires. The assumption is that if he stays in power, he will have to come up with some ‘political bargain’ that will result into ceding of some political space.

If he leaves power, his absence would involuntarily create some political space as the new leader would lack Kagame’s national and international profile and appeal.

So, those threatening war like the exiled former Security Chief Patrick Karegeya, may end up playing into Kagame’s hands. Bwana Karegeya, revolutions are no longer sexy.

RPF weaknesses
The RPF government changed the name of the genocide from the Rwanda Genocide to the Genocide of the Tutsi. This represented a clear RPF failure to project itself as a mass party on the platform of Gutahuka, Gubohoza and Intsemba Bwoko.

Their failure to promote the 1997 return of Hutu refugees as part of the national homecoming narrative and the self-destructive promotion of the RPF as a partisan interest group complete with a business empire completes the picture.

Since political activism can only take place in (or under) the RPF, any exclusivity in the party narrows space for national debate. That’s why there are these fall outs within the government (forget the party). And because of this exclusivity, former RPF luminaries like Gen. Kayumba Kanyamwasa, Col. Patrick Karegeya, Ambassador Theogene Rudasingwa and many others find it hard to mainstream their grievances into a horizontal national debating platform. The only way out is to flee out.

It is now wrong to portray the power structure in Rwanda in the light of Hutu-Tutsi formations. It is about “those in power and those out”. Those in power may be Tutsi but they don’t represent the Tutsi as an ethnic entity. And as a government, they would even feel uncomfortable with the Tutsi label.

Thing is: whoever challenges (or fundamentally disagrees with) those in power, whether Hutu or Tutsi, would face the same fate: prison or exile. I think that explains the wave of Tutsi fleeing the country. ENDS
The author is a socio-political analyst with very keen interest on the Great Lakes region. He was the founding editor of The Rwanda Herald.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Twenty four years later…, the NRM struggle continues
Published in The New Vision of January 26, 2010

By Asuman Bisiika

I was once an active political cadre; a political instructor of sorts. One of my favourite topics was “the management of state power vis-à-vis the armed struggle”.

I used to explain to my students: Revolutionary outlook guides the management of state power. To avoid revolutionary regression, counter-revolutionary and neo-revolutionary tendencies, the sustainability of the struggle is critical; which is the basis of the line: the struggle continues.

Otherwise without ideological clarity to guide the armed struggle and the management of state power, the revolution would be reduced to merely assumption of state power; the quick-fix attitude commonplace with military coup plotters. Reference is the 1966 coup (January) and counter-coup (July) in Nigeria that was later to lead to the Biafran civil war.

Sustainability of the struggle is not about the rhetoric oratory of cadres sugared with wordy bombast and quick-tongued diction. Revolutionary sustainability is about tangible and intangible achievements that constitute a legacy.

Now, as the NRM leadership celebrates 24 years in power, what is its enduring legacy?

The most enduring achievement of the NRM struggle has been the demolition of the colonial state superstructure. The central plank of the colonial state was the chief; variously addressed as King, Paramount Chief or merely Chief.

The Chief levied taxes, collected taxes, arrested you for defaulting on payment and released you as he willed. The chief’s responsibility was to the colonial state not the people he ruled. And as long as he did not annoy his colonial masters, he could do with the population as he wished.

He could be a native traditional leader or appointed by the colonial state like the case of Semei Kakungulu, but brief remained the same: namely to rule on behalf (or wish) of the colonial state which was far removed from the people.

The immediate post-colonial administrations, either for lack of ideological clarity or confidence, inherited the entire colonial superstructure and thinking. With the benefit of retrospection however, we can now say that the colonial state was so much entrenched that its destruction needed more than just being independent from colonial masters.

By contrast, the new chief created by NRM (the Sub County Chief or the District’s Chief Administrative Officer) is supervised by the people. This re-organisation of the state superstructure is irreversible.

The phrases “it was a political decision” and “orders from above” are now in vogue as response to queries over bad buys by the government. Weary administrative functionaries (led by Permanent Secretaries) just look on or take advantage of the politicians’ greed and shenanigans. The Chogm scandals are a testimony to this scenario.

Yet this can be explained. The challenges the NRM leadership face today can be blamed to the span of the armed struggle. The armed struggle was so short that it didn’t give the ‘strugglers’ enough time for a comprehensive ideological discipline, cadre development and grounding to run a state professionally.

The NRM didn’t have the opportunity to run a state-like administration like the UNITA of Angola, RENAMO of Mozambique or SPLA of Sudan. This would have given the NRM Political Corps the experience to transit from survival mode (self-preservations and territorial holding) to sustenance and consolidation mode needed to run state apparatus.

Imagine a ten-year stalemate with NRM holding the Political West (from Kafu to Kagera and from Katonga to the Rwenzoris). They would run the ‘liberated areas’ as a state and use their experience to run the administrative functions of the government.

Perhaps corruption (manifested in messed up procurement processes, delivery of shoddy public works and services) would not be at such destructive levels as it is now. ENDS

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Music and politics? Not a bad bet, but who promotes who

By Asuman Bisiika

The rumour is that the National Resistance Movement will adopt Joe Chameleon’s Basima Ogenze as their signature promotional song. And of course, Dr. Hilderman’s Amelia is a praise song for Amelia Kyambadde, the powerful Principal Private Secretary to the president, who is expected to try her hand in active politics in 2011 Oh by the way, it was reported that FDC will hire Bobi Wine to out a song in their favour. One of the books that capture the dilemma of artists playing an active role in the socio-political affairs of a society is Ali Mazrui's The Trial of Christopher Okigbo. The late Nigerian writer Christopher Okigbo, who is itemised in Encyclopaedia Britannica as a poet, is said to have died in active combat fighting for the secession of Biafra from Federal Nigeria. Earlier, Okigbo had declined an award for African Art reasoning that “art is art and there cannot be African Art and European Art”; very good arguments. The ethereal setting of the book and the arguments are a testimony of Mazrui’s brain power and creativity. The main argument in Mazrui’s book is: if Okigbo could decline a continental or Negro award portraying it as racial and parochial, how could he bring himself to die in (or for) a parochial secessionist cause for the Biafra State? But there is nowhere the art of music played such a big role in political activism like in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In DR Congo, when all avenues of expressing discontent were shut by the state, music offered the only escape. But unlike in Uganda, the music industry in DR Congo was big and had been accepted as part of the Congolese socio-political culture. *********************** In 1986, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) held Presidential Elections in which President Marshal Mobutu Ssese Seko sought re-election. To spur President Mobutu’s campaign, Franco Luambo Makiadi released Candidat Mobutu calling the population to rally behind the candidature of Mobutu. Marshal Mobutu won the poll by 99.99 per cent; as was expected. Of course, the politically passive Tabu Ley Rochereau (Afrisa Internationale) was ‘requested’ to do something. He outed Mobutu, bato bako vote yo massivement (Mobutu, people will vote for you massively). The twenty-minute long Candidat Mobutu was a hit in Zaire and most African countries including Uganda where Congolese music was popular. In search of theme songs after the overthrow of President Mobutu in 1996, (and of course not knowing that the lyrics of the song were praises for Mobutu), radio stations in Uganda ironically played Candidat Mobutu. I will let you in on the lyrics. The Intro Chorus goes like: Zairoise mpe Zairois (Zaireans, ladies and gentlemen). Bima na balabala (take to the streets). Banzana nabasolo (think and be true). Tala lokola nkake (shine like lightning). Pona candidature ya Marshale (for the Marshal's candidature). Mobutu Ssese Seko. Tozala Sese, tozala frank (we are frank, Ssese). Hypcrise to boyi (we hate hypocrisy). Ingratitude to boyi (we hate ingratitude). Nani akoki kosumba ekolo (who will lead the nation). Soki Mobutu te nani mosusu (if not Mobutu, who else). Mobutu Ssese Seko. Some of Franco Luambo’s (the lead singer) lines went thus: Mobutu azongisa unite nationale (Mobutu returned national unity). Mobutu azongisa la paix na Zaire (Mobutu has returned peace to Zaire). Tambola nakati ya Zaire mobimba (Go all over Zaire). Loba monoko nyoso oyo olingi (Speak whatever you want). Moto akotunayo azali te (no one will ask you). Est que kala ezalaka bongo (was it like this before?) Listen to this: Tozuiye naano mabe te (We don't have any problem with him) Abebisa ata moke te (he has not made any mistake) Alembi naano te (he is not yet tired) Nzoto naye ezali naano makasi (His body is in good health) Pona nini toluka candidat mosusu (why should we look for another candidate)? Anecdote: Franco released Candidat Mobutu when he was in exile in Belgium where he had fled from Mobutu’s brutality. In appreciation of the song, President Mobutu 'forgave' him and allowed him to return from exile. Franco turned down the offer; the song was after all a clever satire; for how can an enemy sing your praises. My estimation of Uganda's musicians is that they can do better than just throwing tired lyrical lines at us. And I hope the praise songs for politicians are not the usual hollow entreaties on the campaign rallies of all the candidates. ENDS

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bazarrabusa: the forgotten hero
Timothy (left) and Jane Bazarrabusa (right) with Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdown

TIMOTHY Bazarrabusa, Uganda’s first High Commissioner to the UK, died mysteriously after attending a government meeting. Some say his death was politically motivated, while others say the diplomat, a Mukonzo, who was about to be named vice-president, was a victim of rivalry between his tribesmen and the Toro Kingdom.

In Bugolobi, a Kampala suburb, is Bazarrabusa Drive. The half-kilometre stretch lined with posh houses behind concrete fences connects Luthuli Avenue to Bugolobi Close. The rather affluent residents maintain a leafy neighbourhood that compensates for the broken down road. The affluence of the neighbourhood compares very well with that of Nakasero and Kololo. According to Kampala City Council’s citation, the road was named Bazarrabusa in recognition of Timothy B. Bazarrabusa’s contribution to the struggle for independence and national development. Bazarrabusa was probably the most influential national leader from what we now call Rwenzori Region immediately before and after Independence. However, like most influential national leaders of the 1950s and 1960s, he fell into obscurity. Unlike the others though, he died in 1966 under mysterious circumstances. Bazarrabusa was independent Uganda’s first High Commissioner to the UK, which made him the country’s most influential diplomat. It was, therefore, not surprising that he was recalled in April 1966 to attend a select committee meeting of the cabinet that was to discuss ‘important matters of government’ in Entebbe. During the meeting, Prime Minister Milton Obote is said to have tabled a proposal to abolish native kingdoms. Bazarrabusa advised against it, reasoning that such an action would cause civil strife and consequently cast Uganda in poor light among its friends in the world. The diplomat died on his way back to Kampala from Entebbe. However, with very high filial connections to senior officials of the kingdoms of Toro and Buganda, Bazarrabusa had been hard put to explain the political tensions in the build-up to the 1966 crisis. He is even said to have expressed his discomfort (in confidence to a British diplomat) over the political developments in Uganda. A crisis in the ruling Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) with a section accused of ill-gotten wealth from Congo had led to the arrest of five ministers. And relations between the central government and Buganda were on the rocks. The two had prior to Independence forged an alliance that secured Buganda’s privileged position in independent Uganda. In response to Bazarrabusa’s concerns, the diplomat informed him that Britain was watching with keen interest the political tensions in Uganda. “The British had been involved in the compromise provisions in Uganda’s 1962 Constitution. And they were disappointed that their handiwork was failing just after two years. Plus many British companies had investments in Uganda,” the British diplomat is said to have intimated. Mysterious death Bazarrabusa died on April 25, 1966 in what the local press of the time said was an accident. The Uganda Argus reported that his car had been involved in a head-on collision with a bus in central Kampala. And The Times (a UK publication), picking cue from the local media, ran a story headlined: “Uganda Envoy Dies in Road Crash”. However, there were unconfirmed reports that Bazarrabusa might have died as a result of a politically motivated murder. A former senior member of the UPC recently talked of Bazarrabusa’s death thus: “I really don’t know whether he had made alliances with any of the principal actors in the 1966 crisis. This would certainly put his life at risk. And if he expressed his disapproval of Obote’s actions, then his fate was sealed. It would only be a matter of time.” Indeed, being the son-in-law of the former Buganda Kingdom Treasurer (his first wife was related to the royal family of Toro Kingdom), everyone would expect and suspect him to be sympathetic to Mengo. So, even if he may not have had political alliances as would have been required of a diplomat like him, Bazarrabusa would most likely not have been trusted by the Obote side. Nearly a month after his death, the army stormed the Lubiri, Kabaka Mutesa’s Palace, on Obote’s orders. This followed accusations and counter-accusations between Mengo and the central government officials of a plot to overthrow the government. Tom Stacey, a British writer with extensive knowledge of the Rwenzori region, met Bazarrabusa in 1954, beginning a friendship that was terminated by Bazarrabusa’s death. In his book Tribe: The Hidden Story of The Mountains Of The Moon, Stacey claims that Bazarrabusa was “murdered one evening on the streets of Kampala by persons unknown and for reasons unknown”. Yet there are rumours that Bazarrabusa had been recalled to Kampala to be appointed Vice-President. That when some senior Toro politicians learnt about it, they killed him; for how could this Mukonzo ‘social climber’ lord it over the Batoro and indeed the whole country as VP? This thinking, however, feeds into the tribal rivalry between the Bakonzo and Batoro and would not pass the test of dispassionate analysis and judgement. President Obote was later to appoint John Babiha (a Mutoro) as Vice-President. However, another conspiracy theory states that Bazarrabusa was murdered for snubbing Obote during the political tensions of early 1966. With Obote’s political life at stake with challenges from the political opposition, the kingdoms and within the ranks of UPC, his own party, he was enraged by a confidant (Bazarrabusa) refusing to rally behind him. Slave father Bazarrabusa was born on March 28, 1912 to Paulo Byabasakuzi, a former slave to a Mutoro chief and Sofu Kihangwa. Both were Bakonzo. In a 1966 interview by historian M. Louise Pirouet, Paulo Byabasakuzi said he was captured as a youth from his home at around the time Capt. Frederick Lugard passed through the area in the late 19th century. At the turn of the century, European Christian missionaries used to frown at slave holding; and indeed many European missionaries are known to have bought people out of slavery from African chiefs. The name Byabasakuzi means ‘for the slave raiders’ in Rutoro. After escaping from slavery, Byabasakuzi found new hope and meaning of life in Christianity. He was later to become one of the pioneer Anglican Church catechists in western Uganda. According to his grandson David Horn, Bazarrabusa was an educated Mukonzo who was completely acculturated into Toro culture. Indeed, save for his Bukonzo blood, Bazarrabusa was all, but a Mutoro. Politics In the 1961 general elections to the Legico, Bazarrabusa lost the contest for Toro South composed of all sub-counties of Busongora County (the entire Kasese District) and Musale Sub-county in Bunyangabu County. According to the official election results, Bazarrabusa (UPC) got 1,831 votes, while Prince Akiiki Nyabongo (independent) got 1,273 votes. The winner was Ezironi Bwambale, the little-known DP candidate who got 3,087 votes. Bazarrabusa’s campaign manager, Richard Baguma (now the Rev. Baguma), was a Mutoro. Coupled with the fact that Bazarrabusa spoke poor Lhukonzo if at all, the predominantly Bakonzo voters of Toro South voted against him as a punishment for being more of a Mutoro than a Mukonzo. With Bazarrabusa’s experience and exposure, Obote immediately appointed him Uganda’s first High Commissioner to the UK. Bwambale later crossed the floor and joined UPC in exchange, as it were, for the position of Deputy Minister for Culture and Community Development. Family Bazarrabusa was married to Caroline Lwanga, a relative of the royal family of Toro Kingdom. Their marriage was blessed with two daughters. After Caroline’s death in 1945, he married Jane Kulubya in 1948 and they had two daughters and two sons. Jane was the daughter of S. W. Kulubya, the former treasurer of Buganda Kingdom. Dateline
· Makerere College (1934).
· Teacher, Nyakasura School (1934-42).
· Headmaster, Kabarole P. School (1943-46).
· Assistant Schools Supervisor (1947-50).
· Schools Supervisor, Anglican Church, Toro (1951-61).
· Member and Chairman (later Patron), Bakonzo Life History Research Society (1950-62).
· Cross-bench member, Legico (1954-55).
· Backbench member, Legco (1955-61).
· Commonwealth Parliamentary Course, Westminster (1958).
· Member, Constitutional Committee (The Wild Committee) (1959).
· Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) (1960).
· Minister of Education, Toro Kingdom, (January to October 1962).
· High Commissioner for Uganda, United Kingdom (1962-66).
· Board of Trustees Member, Uganda National Parks (1956).
· Board of Trustees Chairman, Uganda National Parks (1961).
· Mountain Club of Uganda Member (1954).
· Executive Committee Member, Mountain Club of Uganda (1958).
· Founding Member, Uganda Ski Club (1958).
· First recorded Ugandan amateur to climb Margherita Peak (Rwenzori) in 1960.
· President, Mountain Club of Uganda (1961-62).
· Patron, Mountain Club of Uganda (1963-64).
· First African member of the Alpine Club (1964). Publications
· Ihanga Rukanga (On Citizenship) 1947.
· Onyuunye Omale (On Saltworks) 1952.
· Mugenzoomu (The Lone Traveller) 1962 (Reprinted 1966. Reprinted 2005 by Fountain Publishers).
· Obu Ndikura Tindifa (I Will Never Die) 1962 (Reprinted 1966. Reprinted 2006 by Fountain Publishers).
· Hamunwa Gw’Ekituuro (At the Point of Death) 1963 (Reprinted 2006 by Fountain Publishers).
· Kalyaki Na Marunga (Kalyaki and Marunga), 1964 (Reprinted in 2006 Fountain Publishers).
· Mainaro Omusuma Kajingo (Mainaro the terrible thief)
· Tubaze Ha By’Obwo-meezi (a Rutoro translation of J. W. Chanell’s Let Us Talk about Health) 1962. Bazarrabusa was proud of being a Mukonzo Timothy B. Bazarrabusa attended Makerere College, as Makerere University was then called, in 1934, where he received a Diploma in Education. Starting as a teacher at Nyakasura School, he was to become the Inspector of Schools and later Minister for Education in Toro Kingdom. However, the most significant part of Bazarrabusa’s public life was his appointment to the colonial administration’s Legislative Council (Uganda’s seminal parliament) first as a cross-bench member in 1954 and later as a backbencher. David Ernest Apter, in Political Kingdom In Uganda, writes about the Legislative Council thus: “The nominated unofficial back benchers, who also sat on the government side, were given a Queen’s appointment to the Council because of the divergent views and interests they represented. They were not chosen simply arbitrarily; they received their appointments only after lengthy discussions with private groups and associations throughout the country. Among them were the former Katikkiro of Buganda, Michael Kawalya-Kaggwa (legendary Apollo Kaggwa’s son), Erinayo Okullo, Treasurer of Lango District Council and District Council Member for 18 years and Bazarrabusa from Toro, a teacher and District Council member. There were two women in the Legico; both outstanding. With religion at the centre of social transformation at the time, the former slave (now turned church leader) gained the respect of all. Needless to say, Bazarrabusa benefited from his father’s early exposure to Christianity and the attendant social benefits that came with being a church leader’s son. So, Bazarrabusa’s life represents schemata for the anthropological theory of upward social mobility and the role negotiated character plays in the formation of nationalist attitudes. His life is a study of the influence of Christianity on the social transformation of colonial Africa. For here was a Mukonzo (it was tough being a Mukonzo in Toro Kingdom) son of a former slave who climbed all the rungs on the ladder (local and national) to reach St. James’ Court as Uganda’s representative. And he owed it all to his father’s early exposure to Christianity. Because of Bazarrabusa’s success, the Batoro and Bakonzo always ‘fight’ for ownership of his legacy; more like the Mamba, Mutima and Bito (royal clan of Kooki) clans fought for ownership of the Kakungulu legacy in Buganda. However, Bazarrabusa never shied away from saying he was a Mukonzo despite the lowly position of the Bakonzo. He was the first chairman of the Bakonzo Life History Research Society which later became the vehicle for Bakonzo nationalist attitudes and Rwenzururu armed rebellion. A pioneer in several domains, Bazarrabusa wrote novels and poetry in Rutoro before the firebrand proponents of writing in native languages like Ngugi wa Thiongo acquired their writing skills.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Eng. Kiggundu’s job, the curse of female nakedness and why EC needs a female boss

By Asuman Bisiika

After hitting their heads on the wall with minimal results, opposition leaders now want to meet Eng. Badru Kiggundu, the Chairman of the Electoral Commission.

Although Kiggundu will welcome this engagement, he must be praying that his ‘special’ guests don’t have the IPC ladies in their entourage. These ladies are famous (infamous?) for their threat to strip naked in protest of Kiggundu’s re-appointment as the Electoral Commission’s (EC) boss.

During our recent meeting, Kiggundu passed for a man who is free in his skin: cracking a joke here and there with fatherly, nay, grandfatherly confidence. But he will have to dig deeper in his chest of charm to impress these hard men from the opposition.

The opposition has after all vowed to do anything to get Kiggundu out of his job: even if it takes the IPC ladies to ‘cast a curse on him’ by undressing in front of him.

Man under siege
The results and management of the 2006 Presidential Elections were challenged in court. The Supreme Court agreed with the petitioners that there were irregularities in the management of the poll. This is the basis for the opposition’s claims that the EC (as constituted now) is not competent to manage the 2011 polls.

Consequently, the opposition is posturing itself as victims of an electoral robbery and portraying their militant actions as vigilance against being robbed again. This puts the burden of managing a free and fair poll squarely on the shoulders of Eng. Badru Kiggundu.

The political opposition is promoting itself as the legitimate voice of Ugandans. And only free and fair elections would deny them (opposition) the initiative of unsettling the government as weak and illegitimate.

Initially, the opposition called for the amendment of the existing electoral laws. The laws were amended and most of the opposition’s ideas were included in the amendments. The actionable demand was: the opposition’s input in the Electoral Commission Act Amendment Bill and other related legislations. That was done.

Zero-sum demands
Expecting the government to play hard ball, the opposition was surprised by the government’s acceptance and adoption of almost all their input. Disarmed, the opposition now cast doubt on (challenged) the independence of the EC. The actionable demand was: the EC was not independent enough to manage the 2011 Elections.

The EC stole the initiative from the opposition by holding four successful Parliamentary By-elections in Mbale Municipality, Padyer County, Rukiga County and Mukono North. Then the opposition demanded that they should have participated in the process of constituting (appointment of) members of the EC. Actionable demand was: the political opposition should have been consulted as part of the process of appointing the members of the commission.

Other than participating in the parliamentary vetting of EC members as provided for in the constitution, there is no constitutional or legal compulsion to consult the opposition in the appointment of the EC. That’s why the opposition’s demands are now focused on the person, personality and office of Eng. Dr. Badru Kiggundu. The actionable demand is: the removal of Badru Kiggundu from the chairmanship of the Electoral Commission.

Female EC boss
Among my people, the worst a woman (must have given birth) can do to a man (must not be her hubby or sexual partner) is by holding her breasts and casting a curse on you. A woman’s nakedness as part of the ritual to cast a curse is only talked about, but not done. Only mad women, even then in the worst degree of madness, go naked. That’s why Kiggundu should take IPC ladies serious.

The curse of female nakedness can only work against a man and that of a man works against a woman. Since men are very unlikely to strip naked as a means of protest (against women) and female nakedness can’t work against a woman, an EC female boss would be immune to the IPC ladies’ threat of stripping naked. That’s why the next Chairman of the Electoral Commission should be a woman. ENDS

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rwanda: Forget 2010 poll, the real thing is in 2017

Asuman Bisiika

On August 9, Rwanda will go to polls and President Kagame is expected to win
By Asuman Bisiika ON August 9, Rwandans will head for second universal suffrage elections after the 1994 genocide. The general assumption is that President Paul Kagame will easily sail through. Whether Kagame wins because he is popular or not is beside the point. What is clear is that Kagame and his Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) derive their legitimacy as critical political players in Rwanda from a double mandate: the RPF’s character of a liberation movement and the stopping of the Rwanda genocide. Against this background, elections or any other political or civil actions, are mere administrative processes. Indeed, if any aspect of national civics like press freedom, human rights and other civic processes does not feed into Kubohoza (liberation) and Itsemba Bwoko (Genocide), it is unlikely to take root as a national narrative. That is why there are always allegations (accusations) of deficiencies in human rights and democracy in Rwanda. The Rwanda Patriotic Front On October 1, 1990, a band of armed Rwandan refugees made a third attempt to return to Rwanda. They were fighting under the banner of RPF. However, given the revolutionary momentousness of the early 1990s, the homecoming was couched in revolutionary verbiage. The RPF struggle adopted the character of a national liberation movement aimed at liberating the whole country from what they called the dictatorial clutches of the Habyarimana regime. This message resonated with the nascent political opposition inside Rwanda led by Mr. Faustin Twagiramungu’s Democratic Republican Movement. Although the character of a national liberation movement may have wittingly worked during the struggle, it placed a burden on the shoulders of the RPF to behave as such when in power: a mass movement. And like any liberation movement, the character of the RPF and its ideological outlook as an organisation was very much influenced by the person and personality of Kagame. He took over the RPF command at a very challenging time and led it to success: toppling the Habyarimana government and stopping the genocide. Whatever his shortcomings, no one can take away that feat from Kagame. However, we are yet to see his biggest achievement. Third term or not? President Kagame will constitutionally not be eligible to stand for office in 2017. From the time he takes the oath of office after this August poll to the last day of the term, the question will always be: will or will he not seek a third term in office? In a recent interview with Daily Monitor, Kagame gave a winding and very un-Kagameish answer when he was asked about the issue of presidential term limits and whether he would seek a third term in office. He did not say no, but made a lengthy explanation. But there will be no surprise if he sought a third term of office. He would, after all, not be the first president to do it. But because we cynics expect (or we would not be surprised if) Kagame to seek a third term, the most exciting scenario will be if he chooses to leave power. How would he relate with the new government? Without Kagame, can the RPF win an election? If the RPF won, what role would Kagame play in national politics? Who are the likely candidates to succeed him? From Kagame to who The four well-placed people likely to replace or influence the process of replacing President Kagame are Dr. Emmanuel Ndahiro, the director general of the National Security Services (NASS), Gen. James Kabarebe, minister for defence, James Musoni, minister for local government (also Kagame’s political assistant on RPF matters) and Lt. Col. Tom Byabagambi, commandant of the republican guard. Kagame and his son Ivan Cyomoro Kagame are also likely to be part of (factors in) the jostling. It is also a safe bet to say that Mrs. Janet Kagame is likely to join active politics if her husband leaves power. In the second tier is Protais Musoni (no relation to James Musoni), Don Kaberuka (president of the African Development Bank), Christopher Bazivamo (minister responsible for environment), Gen. Charles Kayonga, the joint army chief and Bernard Makuza, the prime minister. However, if Kagame left power in 2017, he would remain RPF’s party chairman. And before he leaves power, RPF would amend its constitution to strengthen the party chairman’s position. The party (or actually Kagame) would then exercise effective control (ok, supervision) of the government like the ANC of South Africa. Kagame, as RPF party chairman, would, therefore, still hold power legally structured and exercised as ‘party supervision over government’.
What’s Africa’s role, nay relevance, in global security?
The relevance and challenges of the African Union in global and national security

Paper presented by at Pan-African Club in Kampala on Friday July 16, 2010

All Protocol Observed

Ladies and Gentlemen

I would like to first of all express my heart felt gratitude for your invitation. It can be energising to present a paper to such a rich audience and I must confess I take a lot of pride in associating with you and sharing ideas with you.

This paper is divided into five broader parts. The first part deals with Africa as an idea and the factual existence of Africa as a land mass. The second deals with the existence of Africa as a political and economic entity in world politics and economics. The third deals with the post-independence Africa while the rest deal with the challenges of the African nationhood and the relevance of African in world politics, security and economics.

Africa the land mass
Africa, as we know it today, is part of the five land masses of the planet Earth. The other land masses are of South America (the reference of Latin America is a political nomenclature), North America, Asia and Australia.

The earliest recorded reference to the land mass we now know as Africa was by the Greeks, who called it Libya. However, archaeological evidence show that the earliest use of the word Africa, as the name of our continent (or part of it), is from Carthage. Carthage was founded in 814 BC by colonists from Phoenicia and is in present day Tunisia. It is no wonder that Tunisia’s national football team is the Eagles of Carthage?

Libya to the Greeks; Egypt to the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East or Africa to the Phoenicians of Carthage, knowledge of what we now know as Africa was limited to Mediterranean Africa: that is to say Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

In 146 BC, the Romans conquered Carthage. However, they retained the name Africa and made Carthaginian territory a Roman Province. Records show that the Roman Province of Carthage was heavily urbanised.

During the second century AD, African Senators comprised the largest group from the western provinces of the Roman Empire.

The Africa Province of the Roman Empire was very significant because of the export of vast quantities of corn. Such was the wealth from Africa that the Roman Emperor personally administered the province through a Consul; not a Governor as was normal practice.

A governor in such a wealthy province would develop ideas of challenging the imperial rule in Rome. In present day Uganda, it is like President Museveni appointing the RDC to take over the powers and functions of the District Chief Administrative Officer and the District Chairman.

But all that political history is limited to Mediterranean Africa or North Africa or Al Maghreb or whatever… But we all know that the land mass called Africa stretches to South Africa’s Cape Town or Cape of Good Hope.

Africa the political body mass
In contemporary history, Africa’s first participation in global politics and economy was through trade. However, this interface was lopsided in favour of the foreigners Africa was merely the source of raw materials. The rider on this is that these raw materials were people and ivory.

Africa was a merely a passive participant; a source of slaves and ivory. Africa’s participation later expended to the exploitation mineral and other natural resources.

However, unlike slaves and ivory, the exploitation minerals and other natural resources demanded some kind of administrative regime or mechanism. Mineral exploitation could only be done under the well-cut management of the political and economic affairs of the areas from which they exploited mineral resources. That’s how the whole of Africa came to be colonised.

After WWII, the evolue (as the French referred to the graduates of the Catechist Classes of the European religious Groups) and the veterans of the two wars started challenging colonialism. This is what Afro-centric historians call the beginning of the African Revolution.

The fight against colonialism constitutes Africa’s first active and deliberate participation in shaping global politics, security and economy. However, the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) remains and first self-conscious institutional (and continental) action by Africa as a player on the world platform.

Post Independence Africa in world politics
The OAU was founded in 1963 by a handful of heads of state and government from the few countries that had gained independence from European colonial powers.

The OAU was the first African strategic response to global political dynamics obtaining at the time. However, we must recognise the Pan-African Movement and its spirit of afro-centric consciousness.

If strong national governments have been sought as the necessary basis for socio-economic advancement of the African people, African unity offered the only means for overcoming the limitations of national entities. In their individual frailty, Africa states can do little to influence world powers to stop a senseless and dangerous arms race.

However, the most important thing is that many Africans still hold dear the ideals of African unity today as it was with our forefathers.

The name of the OAU may have changed to African Union and the administrative functions and structures may have changed to suit the obtaining security and political dynamics, but the strategic objectives behind the vision of a united Africa in peace and prosperity remain relevant today as it was in 1963.

How to actualise these ideals is what I see as the challenge facing the new leadership of the African continent.

The leaders of African revolution had their job cut out for them: the end of colonialism on the entire African continent. The fight against colonialism demanded a lot of national sacrifices. Frontline countries like Tanzania and Mozambique have stories to tell about the sacrifices they made.

And their achievements are there for all of us to see. By the turn of 1990, the only vestige of colonialism (as a socio-political phenomenon) was the rogue Apartheid regime in South Africa and what they called their administrative mandate in Namibia.

As we go into the second decade of the 21 century, there are no foreign powers occupying and politically managing any part of Africa. That was the achievement of our forefathers; the leaders of the first phase of the African revolution like Nyerere, Nkruma, Lumumba, Ben Bella, Toure, Abdi Nasser etc etc.

The challenge we have now is to sustain the spirit of Pan-African unity and afro-consciousness in the context global political dynamics currently obtaining.

Africa and contemporary world challenges
What are the current challenges facing Africa in the context of world politics, security and economy? To put it another way, what is the relevance of African in global politics, economy and security?

To understand Africa’s relevance to global security, one would have to first define those challenges. The biggest challenge on the continent is national security, corruption, climatic change, morbidity disease, poverty, world trade imbalances and functionally poor administration practices and structures.

It is these challenges that impact on Africa’s actions and relevance in world politics. It is these issues that affect Africa’s bargaining power in world fora on issues that are even supposed to be held dear to Africa.

The nearest to attempt to address these challenges can be traced in the change of name of the Organisation of African Unity to African Union. Because of the new global challenges, the biggest debate in Addis Ababa, the seat of the African Union, is the re-structuring of the AU Commission in order to respond the realities in continental and world politics, security and economy.

The thrust of the debate is over changing the AU Commission into the AU Authority with functional capacity and capabilities to respond to crises with limited politico-bureaucracy.

Another response has been the restructuring of the organisation. There is a clear attempt to make the AU relevant to the municipal entities that constitute Africa as a political block.

There is an African Parliament, an African Court, Security Council and several sector arms. All these are aimed at responding to current challenges.

Discussion Points
Somalia has not had a constituted government since 1992; in effect we have a classic description of as failed state in Somalia. What challenges does that state of affairs in Somalia present to African and world peace; and what role should Africa play in the stabilisation of the country?

The challenge is that some of the players in Somalia like Al Shahbab, are non-state players. This removes diplomatic recourse as one of the options for responding.

The world is now witnessing a proliferation of conflicts involving non-state armed players. Initially, these non-state players were merely protagonists in their countries’ civil wars. However, there is now a growing reality and trend of these non-state players internationalising their activities.

Uganda’s Lords Resistance Army operating is in The Sudan, DR Congo and Central African Republic; Somalia’s Al Shabab just planted bombs in Kampala.

The international nature of terrorism means that countries should not look at their interests in isolation of international politics. And that is where the African Union comes in.

As a continent we must appreciate the fact that International Peace is the result of national sacrifices some of which could be mistaken for selfish adventurist policies.

We have witnessed two attempts by Africa to resolve security and political problems since the adoption of the AU as a robust and dynamic entity to replace OAU. The first was the attempt to resolve the Darfur conflict and the second was the stabilisation of Somalia.

But none of these efforts have bore any reasonable fruits YET. The funding of these efforts is still foreign and there has been a policy position to hand over the missions in Darfur and Somalia to the United Nations.

Africa is indeed the biggest beneficiary of UN missions. Since, the establishment of the UN in 1945, Africa has been the recipient of 19 missions beginning with the Congo Crisis of 1960 to date. If you added the Tanzanian stabilisation (some people call it an invasion) of Uganda in 1979, those are twenty missions in forty years making an average of one intervention in two years.

In 1979, Tanzania executed a regime in Uganda. Although it was condemned, Tanzania went ahead with this effort which was well-received by Ugandans. In 1997, Uganda and Rwanda executed regime in Zaire, now DR Congo.

Tanzania made regime change in Uganda as response to the Uganda government’s earlier invasion of Tanzanian territory in 1978 while Uganda and Rwanda executed regime change in Zaire as a response to the frustrating use of Zairean territory as a rear base for rebels fighting Kampala and Kigali.

Since Africa hold sacred the principle of non-interference, these cases were taboo. Yet there were no continental mechanism to resolve these issues in Uganda and Zaire otherwise. Someone had to take a unilateral action and the results were well-come.

This state of affairs calls for a continental framework under which members can review national and continental security. The basis for this mechanism should be preventive rather than the famous forward-leaning attitude; conflict prevention as opposed to conflict resolution.

This can be done with the AU making a strong stand against elections thefts, military take-overs etc. And of course the mobilisation of the international community to adopt the African position on a particular case or issue. This should be followed with a resolute purposefulness.

The debate on stabilising Somalia ended in favour of troop deployment. It could have been Nigeria or Ghana or some other country with troops in Somalia; but why them, not Uganda? Or why only Uganda and Burundi? If this has been adopted as a continental matter, why then didn’t Africa have the commiserate number of troops for deployment?

How can Africa use the regional power blocks to integrate or resolve or prevent conflicts? These and other compacts in the intelligentsia are some of the debates now shaping the face of Africa in world politics and economy.

If one asked me the payload of this paper, I would tell him or her thus: Africa is not an ethnic or racial classification of the black people. However, there is a conventional acceptance for Africa to refer to the land mass on which we stand now and the black race.

And that Africa’s actions in world politics have been as a response to foreign powers’ actions. The first pro-active African response was as a result of the slavery of the black race and colonialism. And what does that mean? That it is time for Africa to take a pro-active action in world politics.

I would like once again to thank the organisers of this engagement for inviting me. I wish there were many of such engagements. And to my audience, thank you so much. Thank you.