15.08.2010 Feature Article

Beti Kamya and President Museveni cannot be trusted on federalism in Uganda

Beti Kamya and President Museveni cannot be trusted on federalism in Uganda
15.08.2010 LISTEN

Politics is a 'don't trust me' ball game and Honourable Beti Kamya decided to play this game by hijacking something called federalism to further her career in politics, without giving a damn to a lot of people that treasure federalism alot. If she does succeed, we will be happy. If she fails, she will probably jump on to something else to further her career. Please nobody should deceive you that there are no people in FDC, DP,CP or SDP fighting for federalism in Uganda as federalism is part of all these party's manifestos. I don't know about UPC but I'm sure there are people doing it in other parties and have probably been doing it for ages. For instance, Owekitibwa Joyce Sebugwawo has been fighting for Buganda as far as I can remember and nobody can compare her to Beti Kamya in this battle. Sebugwawo probably would have won the Lubaga chairman elections in 2009 against Sematimba Peter if DP and FDC had sat on the same table and kept their differences wrapped in a magic cloth somewhere. Sebugwawo has been a rock for Buganda for ages. Beti Kamya is just a new comer and we all know why she is jumped on the federo band wagon and Buganda causes. If Kamya was that much interested in fighting particularly for federalism, why didn't she join CP which has been doing it since 1980s?

In Mexico, there was a man called Francisco Madero who preached federalism and every one knew that he believed in it. He continued to preach federalism even after becoming a president. He was one of the few Mexican presidents to preach federalism seriously though he was murdered in 1913 before he could achieve his goal of returning “political personality” to local government. He was not like some people who preached federalism and Ebyaffe in the bushes of Luwero to further their political career, and after becoming presidents; everything just went out of the window. That's why I personally don't trust people who hijack serious causes because they have fallen out with their political parties.

As far as I know, FDC is not against federalism and there are people in that party fighting for it.It was part of their manifesto in 2006 as it's going to be in 2011 elections. Who could possibly be against a broader distribution of power, decision-making capacity, and economic resources—at present so centralized in the NRM regime or Museveni's state house?

It's the NRMO leader, president Museveni, who is against federalism if one follows what he has been writing or saying about Buganda and federalism in the media.He said on WBS television last year that he will never grant federo to Buganda and he is instead pushing for a regional government branded 'regional tier'. In any case, can the division of power implicit in federalism be implemented by an NRMO government that has acquired and so long kept its power under shady circumstances involving fraudulent elections in 2001 and 2006?

So Ugandans, trust me when I say that federalism in Uganda is still a long way particularly if President Museveni and NRMO continue to lead us because you can't achieve it when a large number of politicians aren't into it. There are signs that Ugandan politicians are not even aware of the need to consider what the role of federalism will be in the present situation. Everyone is just on political survival of 'how do I safe guard my constituency'. That's why there are even designing draconian bills like the duo citizenship bill that stop guys like us from returning home and compete for specific offices, basically because we have got citizenships of another country. These guys in power now are first class cowards who will do anything to stay in power.

In Mexico, because the government in power was preaching and believing in federalism, it invested a lot in making the population and politicians to understand what federalism was all about. For instance, the Federal Chamber of Deputies in Mexico City actually sponsored a course on federalism for its members organized by the National Institute of Public Administration. The classes attracted more than 100 deputies and government officials and included comparative study of the federalist systems of Mexico, the United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela. The 2-month seminar ended with the conferring of diplomas in federalism.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba
Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba