Friday, February 22, 2008

"Beti Kamya was wrong": M7 speaks

HONOURABLE Beti Kamya of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and Member of Parliament for Rubaga North, daughter of the late Lt. Col. Kamya, former Paymaster-General of Uganda Army during Amin’s time, wrote an article in the Daily Monitor newspaper of Monday, January 28, 2008.

In that article, she made the following false statements:

1. “Like the Kenyans, whom the British told to close their eyes to pray and were given the Bible while the latter took their land, Museveni, has duped Ugandans with “peace” and “sleep”, while Museveni took away factories, banks, buses, airplanes, railways, co-operative unions, food silos, fuel reservoirs, hotels, schools, Kampala city and land”.

Took them where, Beti? The daughter of Amin’s former officer seems to be referring to the liberalisation policy of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), where the inefficient, corrupt parastatals, which were only feeding the army officers of Amin, while the rest of Ugandans were living with acute shortages of essential goods, apart from being murdered.

It is true that NRM liberalised the economy and privatised those parastatals. They were not taken by Museveni, but by private operators more capable of running business. Many of those businesses are better run, more profitable and providing a better service to Ugandans.

Uganda Transport Company (UTC) was replaced by many private bus companies: (Jaguar to Kabale and Kigali; Horizon to Kabale; Kibungo to Kisoro; Gaso to Masaka; Travellers to Rukungiri; Kalita to Fort Portal and Nairobi; Nile Coaches to the north and east; Swift to Mbarara; Gaagaa to Gulu and Arua; Safari Link to Kasese; and many others), numerous kamunyes and thousands of boda bodas. Many Ugandan families are benefiting from these transport businesses, while the Ugandan travellers cannot stand at any point in many parts of Uganda for more than 30 minutes without getting any means of transport.

The small Government Nile Hotel, that had been turned into a murder chamber, is now the world-famous Serena Hotel, where the recent CHOGM was held. On account of such fine management techniques by the NRM, the economy of Uganda has expanded six times to sh19 trillion from sh3 trillion, this is about US$12b or US$52.9b if you use the PPP method.

2. “When we woke up, we were holding peace, while he held all our assets,” writes the Honourable FDC MP. Which assets is Museveni holding other than the property earned from his sweat and heritage (Rwakitura, Kisozi, etc)? She goes further to say that Ugandans should emulate Kenyans to kill each other; that is the “waking up” Kamya is talking about. “It is not going to be easy, because no thief, robber, looter, colonialist ever let go of their loot easily… and Museveni has been more cunning than most, saving the gun, for the final onslaught of Uganda,” writes the illustrious FDC MP. In other words, Kamya is advocating for war among Ugandans. She is violating the Constitution of Uganda. If Museveni and NRM are so terrible, why does she not call for Ugandans to vote them out of office in 2011? Why war? The MP is calling me a looter. Whose property have I looted? It is NRM that stopped the “looting” of Ugandans’ property.
Then she lambasts Article 269 of the 1995 Constitution, which provides for unity politics. That is how Uganda healed, which, apparently, does not please Kamya.

3. “Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura has stopped more than 20 people from meeting”. This is false. What the Police will not allow are political rallies in the centre of town because they interfere with people’s businesses. If you want a political rally, go to Kololo. There is free space there. You cannot hold a political rally in somebody’s garden. The shops are the “gardens” of the traders. When the Police made a mistake to allow the FDC hooligans to hold a demonstration through the streets of Kampala, three persons died and property was destroyed.

4. Beti refers to NRM as “a vicious dictatorship”. Really! This is a good dictatorship where Beti can continuously write seditious articles and engage in incitement over the radios and sleep in her bed as well as enjoy the privileges of an MP.

5. “Museveni is not Ugandan by birth”. Madam Beti is here saying that I am President of Uganda unconstitutionally because Article 102(a) says: “A person is not qualified for election as a President unless that person is a citizen of Uganda by birth.”

This is something I will sort out with Beti in the Courts of Law. However, for the information of Ugandans, I am of the Basiita sub-clan of the Bagahe clan (equivalent of Ente in Buganda), one of the most ancient in Uganda. That is why my clansmen must be involved in the coronation of the kings of Toro and Bunyoro. Kamya will have the opportunity to prove in court that I am not Ugandan by birth. This is not to say that those who are not Ugandan by birth are any less useful. It is just a question of fact.

6. “Museveni has destroyed civil service, health, Parliament, transport, etc …” Dishonesty can lead somebody to state absurdities. There was no Parliament before 1986. The Okello Junta had overthrown the entire Constitution. It was army rule. There was no Parliament between 1971 and 1979 when Beti was growing up. It is the NRM that restored the Parliament. How can you say we destroyed Parliament when we are the ones that restored it?

She goes ahead to say: “Can’t he see that this sectarian thing he is nurturing is not only dangerous but unsustainable? This situation will lead to a terrible genocide with one community eligible for State House scholarships for 20 years, lucrative jobs, land allocation, control of security organisations for 20 years.” Assuming all those misdeeds are happening, why should it lead to fighting or genocide? Kamya is an MP. She belongs to a party called FDC. Why don’t she and her party convince Ugandans to vote out the NRM so that, using the law as well as better policies, they govern Uganda better? Why talk of “war” or “genocide”?

7. Anybody who tries to initiate war in Uganda, especially now, will perish. I guarantee Beti and her like that anybody who tries to promote or execute genocide will also perish. The State pillars of Uganda: the Parliament, the Defence Forces, the Police, the Judiciary and the Security Services will not tolerate that. We defeated the genocidaires when we were much less organised than now. Ugandans should be assured that ranting of the Beti-type will not interrupt our progress. Moreover, it is not acceptable that anybody should threaten war even by words. The responsible state agencies should deal with the individuals and media houses that are in this habit.

Coming to the “lucrative jobs, State House scholarships, land allocation, etc monopolised by one community”, suffice it to point out that only the other day, Mzee Ibrahim Kabanda, Chairman, Uganda Revenue Authority Board of Directors, formerly Uganda Government Chief Statistician, told a committee of Parliament about the composition of the URA staff. The facts did not reveal that the community of Museveni, that would face genocide, if the “Beti Kamyas” were in power, were the biggest number employed in that department. In fact, the facts revealed that quite a large number of those young people working in those departments are from some of our other communities. All this, however, is ideologically and strategically bankrupt.

8. The labour force in Uganda is now 12 million people. Even if all the people employed in URA were mathematically calculated to coincide with the percentages of the tribes, how would it solve the problem of jobs in Uganda?
URA has 1,713 jobs. The total number of Public Service jobs is 240,000 (excluding the armed forces, political offices, statutory bodies, government agencies/programmes). The NRM has, more than anybody, distributed the limited jobs most fairly in the following ways:

(i) Decentralisation: A total of 79 districts form the local government system of Uganda. The recruitment is done at the district by the District Service Committees. The recruits for these jobs are mainly from the local areas. This is one of NRM’s job distribution mechanisms. It accounts for 581,229 jobs. The jobs that remain in the centre are competed for. Professional bodies do the selection — the Public Service Commission (regionally balanced mathematically) for the mainstream Public Service through competitive examinations, the Health Service Commission, the Education Service Commission; Teaching Service Commission and Board of Directors (centrally appointed by the Cabinet) for State bodies outside the mainstream Public Service.

In very few cases, some talent-hunting can be done directly for a few departments like security organisations, other than the army. As far as the army is concerned, the positions are distributed district by district through district quotas. When Beti’s father was one of those running the army, that was not the practice.

(ii) On the question of “State House scholarships”, let everybody be informed that the NRM has put in place the biggest scholarship scheme ever in the history of Uganda for all the children of Uganda in the form of Universal Primary Education (UPE) and Universal Secondary Education (USE). As far as UPE is concerned, we spend sh440b every year. On USE, we spend sh60b every year. The so called “State House scholarships” — a distortion started by Besigye in 2001 — refers to orphans of the war victims of Luweero, mainly, as well as other deprived people who assault me whenever I go up-country, especially Rwakitura and Kisozi. I do not invite these children. PGB tries to stop them, but they hide in bushes, only to emerge on the road in front of my car when I am doing my own business. Before we introduced UPE and USE, I used to take on some of them after listening to their petitions, sometimes up to 4:00am in the night (morning, European time).

In my office, I have a small donations fund, which the President uses to cope with demands from the public that accost him directly. This fund does not exceed sh1.5b a year. It is from this fund that I donate maize mills to women groups; heifers, rice-hurlers; etc, to different groups. It also caters for scholarships to the children who accost me or even apply in writing. In fact, I need more money to cope with this pressure. The alternative is to be like Mobutu and stay in France or Europe whenever I go for holiday so that I do not get this pressure from the needy children who manage to beat security and get to me. Are these children only Bahima as Kamya claims? This is all nonsense. Fortunately, so many children have now qualified from universities through this scheme. They are from all regions of Uganda. If Kamya does not believe it, God is the judge.

What is important is that this is not the main effort of the Government in the education sector. The main effort is in UPE and USE. It is a small, insignificant programme, in national terms, but useful in helping orphans of, mainly, dead comrades that manage to appeal directly to the President. As far as the children of former fighters are concerned, there are mainstream programmes in the form of the Kadogo school in Mbarara, army schools in Jinja, Masindi, Nakasongola, Kanyaryeru Resettlement Scheme, etc. Still you get those who have problems beyond what the mainstream programmes can offer and who feel desperate enough to appeal directly to the President. Once the President comes face to face with such cases, it is not appropriate that he protests, “having no money, etc.”

He/she should have the discretion to see who can be helped and who cannot be helped in this minor effort. In fact many times, these days, I am able to send away many of these children by telling them that there is now UPE and USE, which they should take advantage of. Even then, somebody will say: “My parents cannot afford to buy me a uniform or exercise books,” which are the residual obligations of parents after UPE and USE. The children also reveal that the school authorities are illegally charging them for lunch, etc. This is why we are going to criminalise the paying of these charges.

I must point out to the country that I am grateful to these children who have been putting pressure on me in this way. It is them who helped me to see the early need of UPE. In fact, I first experimented with UPE at Lake Mburo School, Kanyaryeru, as well as Bulera, at Kisozi. Using the President’s Donation Fund, I built primary schools providing free education to the children of the area in order to see how the scheme works. Once I was sure it could work, I proposed it for the whole country. That is the story of the State House Scholarships, so distorted by Besigye since 2001. The discretion of the President must be trusted in such a minor effort. It can do a lot of supplementary good. One example that comes to my mind is a young girl called Rose Najjemba.

Once I was watering my cattle at Kisozi and a young girl managed to go through the soldiers who try to restrain the wananchi trying to beat the security to present their petitions to the President. She told me that she had finished Makerere University, but she had no job and also told me some of her other personal problems. Gomba, when I first went there in 1990 — as well as when we used to go through the area to attack Kabamba during the struggle — was a backward area, especially in terms of education.

Although it is the duty of the Public Service Commission to recruit people in the public service, I was very pleased to discover this young lady that had managed to struggle up to university and I wanted to find a way of helping her in order to encourage others from such a backward area. I decided to create a job for her in my office of a community mobiliser so that she could help me wake up the people in Gomba in terms of development. She ended up being elected the chairperson of the National Council of Women and, recently, the MP for Gomba.

Another example is Lt. Charles Koryang from Kotido, who wrote to me after his A’Level and I supported him throughout university. He is now a UPDF officer. I can quote hundreds of such cases. Are these discretionary interventions, by a President who is in the countryside for most of the time, wrong? I do not think so. They do not interfere with the mainstream efforts of the Government; they, instead, supplement it; sometimes very significantly. I have no apologies for this.

Going back to the question of distributing jobs according to tribes, Mike Mukula raised this issue the other day in the NRM Parliamentary Caucus. We decided that the Prime Minister will analyse this issue and produce a report. Let us wait for that report. Since those who wear tribal lenses kept talking about this, I decided to take a quick glance in my office — the Office of the President.

What did I find? I found that four out of my five Permanent Secretaries were Baganda, appointed by myself on the basis of their service records, but also following promotional examinations. They are: John Mitala, Head of Civil Service/Secretary to Cabinet, Thecla Kinalwa, Secretary, Amelia Kyambadde, Principal Private Secretary and Hilda Musubira, Deputy Head of Civil Service. It is only Richard Muhinda who is from what the Beti Kamyas call my area. In my mind, “my area” is Uganda, East Africa and indeed, Africa because “my area” — meaning Ankole — by itself would be useless because I could not sell my milk because those Banyankore produce the same products; milk, bananas, etc. I could not get my exports of coffee or tea to the ports because those ports are in Tanzania and Kenya. The prosperity of the Banyankore, Baganda etc is because of Uganda, East Africa, Africa and the world. Was I wrong to appoint four out of five officers from the same area? Not at all. If they are competent, they will deliver the same service or even better to an area than even the indigenous people of that area.

When I went to the north recently, I found there was a lot of disgruntlement with the way NUSAF money was being handled, yet most of the officers were from that area. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan. It is not somebody from “your” small area that may help you, but one with a good attitude — ideologically and philosophically. It is, therefore, wrong for leaders to keep talking about this misinformation. It is wrong for radio and television stations to keep confusing the public on this issue.

The legitimate question is how the competition for these jobs is being organised. The answer: By competition through the Public Service Commission. The few discretionary appointments I have made, using my powers under Article 172 of the 1995 Constitution, are also legitimate and useful because of different considerations like in the case of Najjemba.

More fundamentally, however, the question is: How will the 12 million labour force of Uganda be employed? The Public Service jobs are not enough. The answer is private sector jobs. Since 1991, the NRM has created 393,352 private sector jobs by attracting 4,121 enterprises. We should encourage the enterprises that are here to expand and attract new ones. This is how we are going to solve the problem of jobs. The NRM has worked out a master plan for industrialisation. In addition to Namanve, Bweyogerere, Mbarara and Luzira, we are going to build 22 more industrial estates in Uganda. The rest is lies. All modern countries are organised in this way:

Woe unto those that tell lies.
Beti Kamya concludes: “Museveni’s misdeeds will be undone at a great cost to his favoured community”. I would like to inform the Beti Kamyas that the NRM has empowered the people of Uganda. The only way misdeeds, if there are any, can be undone, is through legal and constitutional means. If anything is done legally and constitutionally to correct misdeeds, how, then, will it be at the “great cost” to the “favoured community” even assuming there was such a community?

Combining this talk of Beti with her talk of genocide, I would like to inform her that the only acceptable way of doing business in Uganda after the NRM revolution is through legal and constitutional means. Any other way will lead to grievous consequences for those that are criminal enough to think or plan along that path. FDC tried to use illegal riots in 2006, following their defeat in the elections. Those riots were tamed by the pillars of the State. Those pillars are there for all the time. It is better if all political actors were to stick to purified means, methods and language; if they were to stick to constitutional and legal means. The constitutional and legal paths will be upheld whatever Beti’s plans are.

As everyone knows, some Ugandan leaders from northern Uganda (Idi Amin, Obote, Okello) committed a lot of mistakes involving massive killings.

However, when NRM defeated the dictatorship, our first task was to stop the aggrieved civilians from taking the law in their hands. Some gangs in Kampala were beginning to cry: “mubokye abadokolo (derogatory name for northern Ugandans), burn the northerners alive”.

Infact, I got reports that two of our brothers from the north had been “necklaced” (putting tyres around somebody’s neck and setting them on fire — very cruel and criminal) near the bus park. What was the NRM’s response? We put out very clear statements on the radio and orders were given that anybody attacking our citizens from northern Uganda or any citizen for reasons of victimisation will be “shot on sight”. That is what we call leadership, Nyabo Beti Kamya. As a consequence, northerners in Kampala did not have to run away back to their home area; nor were they victimised, except in covert ways in offices by people jostling for jobs.

However, there was nothing massive or open in the form of victimisation of our northern citizens. Even the children of former Amin soldiers, like Beti, were not victimised, that is why they are MPs now; did never faced genocide.

Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
President of the Republic of Uganda

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