Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Secession talk

*Dear Mr Nuwagaba,

Many Ugandans who have travelled and seen governance in other counties came
to see federalism as the medicine to solve all the problems that you mention
There is a whole dozier that has been written by these Ugandans.
It promises to deliver answers to all the secessionists grievances, and much
more !!

And the authors represent a range of our ethnic groups.

It is unfortunate that Mengo's self-seekers corrupts and latches itself on
this concept.
It is a concept we have to liberate from them.

Recently, the draft was passed on to Betty Kamya, by one Ugandan.
But I wonder whether she is the right person to sell it Ugandans.

Brother Nuwagaba, you have nothing to lose by reading it.

Me too started off opposed to it, in the mistaken belief that it was an
extension of the buffoonery from Mengo.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Mitayo Potosi.
=================== *

Secession talk is a pointer that something is wrong

Vincent Nuwagaba
Members of Parliament from the greater north comprising West Nile, Karamoja,
Lango, Teso and Acholi sub-regions have lately been making calls for
secession. This is not the first time the greater north is making calls for
secession and these calls haven’t been exclusive to them. MP Hussein Kyanjo
(Makindye West, Jeema) has in the past made spirited calls for secession of
Buganda, citing marginalisation.

Sadly, instead of  looking at the reasons advanced, some Ugandans have opted
to vilify and demonise those calling for secession. I think we are being
uncritical and naïve. Those making calls for secession are expressing their
discontent. Rather than scold them, we should exhort government to treat all
citizens equally. Surprisingly, the government is not comfortable about this
secession talk, yet it has failed to address the concerns raised. Should the
greater north remain in subjugation?   All of us would like to live in a
country where we are not discriminated against.

The government’s act of recalling Ambassador Onen from the East African
Community Secretariat was just a trigger but there were deep-rooted problems
that re-ignited the secession talk. Even if Ambassador Onen had not been
recalled, he wouldn’t be a solution to the greater north in as far as
marginalisation is concerned. Clearly, the NRM has ignored its blueprint,
the Ten Point Programme, whose point number three and seven were
consolidation of national unity and elimination of all forms of sectarianism
and elimination of corruption and misuse of power respectively. I point out
point number three and seven because whoever talks of marginalisation is a
victim of either sectarianism or corruption and misuse of power or both. I
am firmly convinced that sectarianism is one of the highest forms of
corruption that we are witnessing in this country, for sectarianism leads to
the misallocation of resources. Furthermore, sectarianism undermines
institutions as the office bearers pay more allegiance to their political
godfathers at the expense of institutions, systems, rules and structures.
Sectarianism is both inimical and antithetical to patriotism which President
Museveni is preaching.

 Those raising the secession voices are victims of sectarianism, corruption
and misuse of power. They are simply showing that something is amiss. And we
must applaud them for demanding a fair share of the national cake.
Otherwise, there is no reason for them to remain in a country where they are
perpetually marginalised. What I find disagreeable however is their
conviction that the western part of the country is benefitting. There are
individuals in Western Uganda who are favoured but there are also many from
the same region who are indubitably marginalised. Marginalisation is not
exclusive to the north. Just because my area Member of Parliament is a
minister does not mean I am benefitting even when I have no job, no drugs in
our health centres and if our roads are in a sorry state. We have five
counties and five ministers in Bushenyi District but only one Member of
Parliament, who incidentally is a backbencher, has registered visible
success through an organisation known as Integrated Community Based

Ironically, there are many people from western Uganda who are frustrated as
a result of unemployment, poverty, poor service delivery, among others. But
for them they are caught between a devil and a deep blue sea as they cannot
call for secession. If you are here in Kampala, the talk is that Westerners
are ‘in the thing’; when you go to the west, the talk is that the Banyankole
are ‘eating’; if you go to Ankole, the talk is that the Bahiima are ‘eating’
and possibly among the Bahiima, the talk is that it is the Basiita ‘eating’.
This is a pointer that each region and ethnic group feels some level of
discontent and marginalisation. The difference is only in the magnitude with
some regions feeling that they are more marginalised than others. Let
government embrace meritocracy and in the allocation of public valuables as
opposed to allocation of the national cake on patronage basis. Remember, all
Ugandans pay taxes and have a right to benefit from their taxes. Truth is
that virtually all Ugandans are faced with more or less similar problems and
should adopt similar means to solve them.

Mr Nuwagaba is a human rights defender
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