In their quest to destroy everything, after successfully killing institutions, the state is now out with uncontrolled recklessness to kill individual efforts to stay the course of ethical professional practice. Government attempted to intimidate Dr. Onzivua.
The Leader of the Opposition’s
End of Year Address
Unity of all Ugandans shall be the basis for successful and a peaceful country
19th December 2013
Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Ugandans; on behalf of the entire opposition and on behalf of the voiceless, take my humble and best wishes for this Christmas. May the peace and love that the birth of Jesus Christ brings to us be the drive behind our hopes for a better society; that as we celebrate we may also pray for particularly our leaders to emulate Christ’s humility to also learn to be meek and humble in their actions. For the year 2013 has been bedeviled by such high magnitude of impunities that only the intervention of God would best cause a turn-around.
We are closing 2013 at the height of an unprecedented abuse of power and dictatorial tendencies being perpetuated by the NRM regime. I want to say that it is no longer just something but everything being fundamentally wrong. As such, our attempts at dealing with these challenges will require us coming together to confront them as a solid unit. What had hitherto been a pretentious autocracy is now an outright and open military dictatorship without the minutest sense of shame, neither regard to human dignity especially divergent political views.
The issues surrounding the debacle in the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) for example have everything to do with the cohesive appeal against the excesses of the state that the characters of the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Dr. Kiiza Besigye represent to the ordinary people. To the contrary, the abuse being meted on the two gentlemen only represents the depth by which the regime has put its feet to the ground determined to crash any challenge.
The implication here therefore is that government is desperately trying to isolate leaders of the opposition from the people and the only response to this must be our strong resolve to reassert our commitment to unite, stick together with our leaders and spring up to dismantle the regime. This way we may live to enjoy Christmas celebrations in the future without teargas or the fear of it.
Government attack against professionalism
In their quest to destroy everything, after successfully killing institutions, the state is now out with uncontrolled recklessness to kill individual efforts to stay the course of ethical professional practice. Government attempted to intimidate Dr. Onzivua, (the Forensic Pathologist at the National Referral Hospital in Mulago because of his quest to establish what killed the late Hon. Nebanda) by humiliating and embarrassing him with arrests. Well, although we still do not know what exactly killed Hon. Nebanda, at least Dr. Onzivua was recently absolved by court.
However, the scheme to kill assertive professional ethics is only getting worse. We had not seen a lawyer on duty being attacked and beaten into unconsciousness by security operatives including the police at the orders of leaders in government. Well, I can only report that Mr. Kiwanuka Abdalah, the lawyer who was beaten for trying to serve a court order to Hon. Frank Tumwebaze has improved quite significantly since that ordeal.
Disregard to the rule of law
The government attempts to undermine the courts and the wider Judiciary is not new. We also know that the Attorney General, Mr. Peter Nyombi is a celebrated misinterpreter of the law. But it is also clear how the state and Nyombi have accelerated their animosities against the law and judicial practice.
When you have a Prime Minister who is a senior lawyer, the Attorney General himself, the Executive Director of the KCCA also a senior lawyer, and a minster gang up to out-rightly undermine the law and the courts then there is a lot to worry about. Now we have senior government officials being the new Black Mamba gang. We are definitely living in difficult times.
May I take this opportunity to say to those who have been physically abused by battering, teargased, or even killed, like one Ssegirinya Muhamad who was soaked with poisonous chemicals in teargas that your pains will not be in vein.
Theft of public resources
President Yoweri Museveni went to the bush and among the many reasons one being to fight corruption and in 2006 he announced a policy of zero-tolerance to corruption. However, to date most governance indicators show that corruption is now institutionalised and it is used officially to fuel NRM regime patronage in order to keep power at the expense of social service delivery. It is for that very reason that the regime won’t tolerate Anti-corruption Activists.
Unfortunately, they seem not to realize that they are fighting a losing battle. Let me volunteer to them some wise sayings by Mahatma Gandhi “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed”.
Youth unemployment now stands at over 83%. This is not only a security risk, but also the cause of massive poverty the country wallows in. It is time we acted proactively to save the country from this time bomb. We must invest in employment creation ventures. Why are our children and grandchildren suffering unemployment amidst plenty?
Poor education and health care for our children
Health and education are key pillars that are too vital in improving productivity and economic growth. Education is widely agreed to affect economic advancements. It is also agreed that health affects education. The wealth of any nation can be measured by the health status of its citizens. Whenever families lack money, it is health and education that are the first victims. Since the two are intrinsically linked and are important contributors to economic growth, government will be reminded that they are betraying citizens by not investing in education and health adequately.
In the same vein, allow me salute and thank particularly all the field operators of the media industry; the foot soldiers of information dissemination. You have been fantastic; you are doing a great job even amidst the immense challenges that you face every day; you have kept showing up with bravery. I can only implore you to keep it up.
Unfortunately, the trajectory of the environment you operate in has significantly changed lately. The media field operators have continuously come face to face with the full force of the dictatorship that is fast consuming our country. A number of innocent journalists have been arrested for example Ms. Halima Athumani of Uganda Radio Network; others have been forced out of their jobs like the Radio One duo, but even worse, specific journalists are now being locked out of practice in specific media especially broadcast media. Since the banning of Mr. Kalundi Robbert Sserumaga, then working with Radio One and WBS Television, Chris Obore, formerly of Kfm and NTV is the latest victim of subjugation in professional journalism practice.
Regrettably, this is not going to stop or even reduce. Not soon at least. Not when the dictators are still running our country. You are going to be arrested, beaten, intimidated, kidnapped, and indeed bought into silence more than ever before. But I will say to you; stand your ground. The resolve with which you members of the media will stand shall be the basis for the rest of us who are willing to fight in this war to stay the course. In short, you are the anchors of the struggle.
Despite the above challenges, we continue to be inspired by the fact that Ugandans remain guided by the national motto “For God and My Country.” As people of faith, we can hold on to some things that are deeper, and that cut to the real true meaning of Christmas as the cardinal essence of Christmas is built on the message of Faith and Hope.
Yes, it has been difficult and challenging. But with our faith and our collective will as a people, we know we have the potential to turn things around and we shall turn them sooner than later. And so, we can all look forward beyond the Christmas season and beyond the pains that we hurt daily.
While we will have less material things than normal this season the greatest gift we can give each other is Love and the hope to keep us moving shall be grounded on Unity.
The following is what inspires us:
1. Activists who have continued to challenge the dictatorship with bravery, they have been denied movement, denied personal freedoms but have continued to fight on.
2. We are inspired by gallant sons and daughters of the soil who have stood out to speak against corruption for example the voices and actions expressed through the Black Monday movement.
3. We are inspired that there are still men and women in the media, who are ready to die for their professionalism.
4. We are inspired by the death of Nelson Mandela whose passing reminds us that no matter what we go through, we should always stay the cause for the common good.
We continue to draw inspiration from Maphele Ramphele, in her book, Laying Ghosts to Rest, “Successful people are those who make and admit mistakes rather than those who fail to confront failure,” she writes.
We need to acknowledge where we have fallen short as a nation and get enough determination to take corrective action as a people. It is against this background that we call upon government to change its work-methods. And as for us, we pledge not to relent on keeping government in check and putting the people first.
To us political players, it is unfortunate that we have not been as steadfast as the media and civil society for example. We have spent a lot of time fighting either individually or even against each other. With the close of 2013, I will humbly say it will be wise for us to bring this to an end.
My colleagues and fellow countrymen, either we are admitting that we are content with playing this political rat-race or we go into 2014 focused on one thing and one thing alone; WE MUST ALL COME TOGETHER, TO FIGHT TOGETHER WITH EVERY INTENTION OF WINNING TOGETHER.
The time is now that we make a U-turn to take a new direction. To all Ugandans, we must emerge from our comforts and confront the one massive challenge that we face; the governance question of our country.
Ladies and gentlemen, in the words of Prof. J. Oloka-Onyango “we need to stop being complacent about our country. We will wake up and find it gone.”
I wish every Ugandan – at home and abroad – the very best for the season. We all look forward to even greater things in the New Year. Remember always the Psalm that says: Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
Once again, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
For God and My Country
Nathan Nandala- Mafabi (MP)
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN PARLIAMENT