Author Archives: otoascrapnotes

About otoascrapnotes

International Lawyer, Journalist and political analyst, a firm believer in Power of the People.

Militarized oil fields in Uganda: The future of Human Rights

Over the last 5 years, the level of militarization in the oil regions of Uganda has increased. This increase is however worrying for human rights.

It was recently confirmed in a UN report that Heritage oil, a British company that was active in the Albertine region in 2007 triggered the killing of six civilians. The killings that happened on Lake Albert were orchestrated by the Uganda Military under the notion of a rescue mission.

This incident that has never been investigated or looked into by the Ugandan government of the army goes to show you the extent of disregard when it comes to how the military operates in the oil areas. Of course the oil companies in Uganda today say that they are critically following all procedures to make sure that they do not violate the human rights of the locals in the oil producing areas.

For a country like Uganda that is still grappling with the idea of the army being professional as asserted by the political leadership, this is bound to create fear in many locals. Therefore there is a lot to be done by the government to make sure human rights issues are given high regard as the 3 joint oil operators (Tullow, CNOOC and Total) move on to the next phase of their oil production quest.

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Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Politics, Uganda


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Dr. Apollo Milton Obote’s Common Man’s Charter

President of the

Uganda Peoples Congress

to the Annual Delegates’ Conference

of the



In June, 1968 the Annual Delegates’ Conference of the Uganda People’s Congress passed a number of far-reaching Resolutions. The National Council, the Central Executive Committee and the officials of the Party, were directed by the Conference to implement those resolutions.

As President of the Party I have made a detailed study of the implications behind the Resolutions passed in the June, 1968 Conference and the methods of carrying them out. As a result, officials of the Party and I have produced a document – Proposals for National Service (Document No. 2 on “The Move to the Left”) to implement some aspects of the Conference Resolutions.

It is my sincere belief that in June, 1968 the Party Conference clearly indicated that the Party and Uganda as a whole must take initial steps, as early as possible, to move ideologically and practically to the Left. The practical steps for and the degree of commitment by Party members to such a move were not defined at the Conference. It has been my responsibility as the President of the Party to codify all that the Party stands for and the principles which have been basic characteristics of the Party since its foundation. In this exercise officials of the Party, members of the Party and other persons have been of the greatest assistance in enabling me to interpret the Party Resolutions.

I hereby present to the Central Executive Committee, to the National Council and to the Annual Delegates’ Conference, these same principles and the strategy for the implementation of the June, 1968 Resolutions. Similarly, I commend this document to the people of Uganda and to all our well-wishers.



Uganda People’s Congress



1. We the members of the Annual Delegates’ Conference of the Uganda People’s Congress, assembled on this Twenty-Fourth Day of October, 1969, in an Emergency Meeting in Kampala; being the body charged under the Constitution of the Uganda People’s Congress with the responsibility “to lay down the broad basic policy of the Party” and being conscious of our responsibility and of the fact that the Government of the Republic of Uganda, District Administrations and Urban Authorities are currently run by our Party and on policies and programmes adopted by our Party and recognising our responsibility to the people of Uganda as a whole and to the association of Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya in the East African Community and to Uganda’s Membership of the Organisation of African Unity, do hereby adopt this Charter for the realisation of the real meaning of Independence, namely, that the resources of the country, material and human, be exploited for the benefit of all the people of Uganda in accordance with the principles of Socialism.

2. We hereby commit ourselves to create in Uganda conditions of full security, justice, equality, liberty and welfare for all sons and daughters of the Republic of Uganda and for the realisation of those goals we have adopted the Move to the Left Strategy herein laid as initial steps.

3. We subscribe fully to Uganda always being a Republic and have adopted this Charter so that the implementation of this Strategy prevents effectively any one person or group of persons from being masters of all or a section of the people of Uganda, and ensure that all citizens of Uganda become truly masters of their own destiny.

4. We reject, both in theory and in practice, that Uganda as a whole or any part of it should be the domain of any person, of feudalism, of Capitalism, of vested interests of one kind or another, of foreign influence or of foreigners. We further reject exploitation of material and human resources for the benefit of a few.

5. We reject, both in theory and in practice, isolationism in regard to one part of Uganda towards another, or in regard to Uganda as a whole to the East African Community in particular, and Africa in general.

6. Recognising that the roots of the U.P.C. have always been in the people right from its formation, and realising that the Party has always commanded us that whatever is done in Uganda must be done for the benefit of all, we hereby re-affirm our acceptance of the aims and objectives of the U.P.C., which we set out below in full:

(i) To build the Republic of Uganda as one country with one people, one Parliament and one Government.

(ii) To defend the Independence and Sovereignty of Uganda and maintain peace and tranquillity, and to preserve the republican Constitution of Uganda.

(iii) To organise the Party to enable the people to participate in framing the destiny of our country;

(iv) To fight relentlessly against Poverty, Ignorance, Disease, Colonialism, Neo-Colonialism, Imperialism and Apartheid;

(v) To plan Uganda’s Economic Development in such a way that the Government, through Parastatal Bodies, the Co-operative Movements, Private Companies, Individuals in Industry, Commerce and Agriculture, will effectively contribute to increased production to raise the standard of living in the Country;

(vi) To protect without discrimination based on race, colour, sect or religion every person lawfully living in Uganda and enable him to enjoy the fundamental rights and freedom of the individual, that is to say:

Life, Liberty, Security of the person and Protection of the Law; Freedom of Conscience, of expression and association; Protection of Privacy of his home, property and from deprivation of property without compensation.

(vii) To ensure that no citizen of Uganda will enjoy any special privilege, status or title by virtue of birth, descent or heredity;

(viii) To ensure that in the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms no person shall be allowed to prejudice the rights and freedoms of others and the interests of the State;

(ix) To support organisations, whether international or otherwise, whose aims, objects and aspirations are consistent with those of the Party;

(x) To do such other things that are necessary for the achievement of the aims, objects and aspirations of the Party.”

7. Republicanism in Uganda, just like the political Independence of Uganda, is now a reality, but the demand and struggle for Uhuru has no end. This is part of life and part of the inalienable right of man. It is also the cornerstone of progress and of the liberty of the individual, the basis of his prosperity and the hallmark of his full and effective participation in the affairs of his country. October 9, 1962, therefore, was the beginning of a much greater struggle of many dimensions along the road of full Uhuru. During the last seven years the U.P.C., by action and exhortation, has shown to the people of Uganda that it is wrong and deceitful to treat and regard the 9th October, 1962, as the end of the road; or the day on which the people of Uganda as a whole reached a stage in their development when all that remained was to divide the spoils on the principle of the survival of the fittest; or that the well-to-do, the educated and the feudal lords must and should be allowed to keep what they have, and get more if they can, without let or hindrance.

The Party has always made it clear to the people that the only acceptable and practical meaning of October 9th, 1962, is that the people of Uganda must move away from the ways and mental attitudes of the colonial past, move away from the hold of tribal and other forms of factionalism and the power of vested interests, and accept that the problems of poverty, development and nation-building can and must be tackled on the basis of one Country and one People. The Strategy laid down in this Charter aims at strengthening the fundamental objective of the Party. We do not believe that any citizen of Uganda, once freed of the mental attitudes of the colonial past, freed of the hold of tribal and other forms of factionalism, and freed of the power of vested interests, will find himself or herself at a disadvantage. On the contrary, it is our firm belief that such a citizen will gain that part of his/her freedom which has so far been in the hands of others, and which enabled those others to exploit for their own benefit not only the wealth of the country, but also the energy of our people, thereby arresting the mental development of our people.

8. Less than ten years ago the most prominent and explosive political issues which faced the people of Uganda had in reality, and in practical terms, nothing to do with the people as such. The issues were “The form of government suitable for an independent Uganda” and “Who was to be the Head of State on the achievement of Independence?” These issues were made to appear as of national importance, not because when solutions were found they would advance the lot of the common man, but because the feudalists, on account of their hold on the people, saw Independence as a threat to their then privileged positions and sought to make these positions synonymous with the interests of the common man. It cannot be denied that the then privileged positions of he feudalists were a barrier to the full and effective participation of the common man in the Government of Independent Uganda. The feudalists wanted to continue to rule as they used to before the coming of the British and they did not want the common man to have a say in the shaping of the destiny of an independent Uganda. That situation, however, is no longer with us Uganda is now a Republic. We hold it as the inalienable right of the people that they must be masters of their own destiny and not servants of this or that man; that they must, as citizens of an Independent Republic, express their views as freely as possible within the laws of their country, made, not in separate Parliaments, but in one Parliament in which the people as a whole have an equal say through their representatives.

9. The Republican status, therefore, has taken Uganda further towards the goal of full Uhuru. It must not be accepted, however, that our new status by itself is sufficient, or that it has removed exploitation and has brought full Uhuru. We realise that it is, by itself, an advance towards the goal of full Uhuru, but because we are also convinced that more has yet to be done, this Charter has been adopted, and its strategy is in our view a logical development from the fact that we have been moving away from the hold of feudal power since 1966. For so long as that feudal power was a factor in the politics and economy of Uganda it could not be disregarded. Thus the reason for this Charter. It must also be noted that in a society in which feudalism is an important and major political and economic factor, that society cannot escape being Rightist in its internal and external policies. With the removal of the feudal factor from our political and economic life, we need to do two things. First we must not allow the previous position of the feudalists to be filled by neo-feudalists. Secondly, we must move away from circumstances which may give birth to neo-feudalism or generate feudalistic mentality.

The move to the Left is the creation of a new political culture and a new way of life, whereby the people of Uganda as a whole – their welfare and their voice in the National Government and in other local authorities – are paramount. It is, therefore, both anti-feudalism and anti-capitalism.

10. In 1968, the U.P.C. Delegates’ Conference passed the following resolution on the important matter of nation-building:

(a) “NOTE with deep satisfaction the liquidation of anti-national and feudal forces, and the introduction of the Republican Constitution;

(b) THANK the leaders of the Party and the Government on initiating the revolution for economic, social and political justice;

(c) RECOGNISE that the most important task confronting the Party and the Government today is that of nation-building;

(d) RESOLVE that its entire human and material resources be committed in that task of nation-building;

(e) DIRECT that the National Council of the Party do examine ways and means for active involvement of all institutions, State and private, in joint endeavour with the Party to achieve and serve a nation united and one.”

11. We have no doubt whatsoever about the high priority which must be given to nation-building, and we are fully aware that there may be many people in this country who are either uninformed or misguided, who have not yet come to appreciate the importance of nation-building. We, therefore, consider it our responsibility to inform the uninformed, and to guide the misguided. It is also our responsibility to enlighten the people about the necessity of all the institutions in this country and the people as a whole being actively involved in the joint endeavour to serve the Nation.

12. When the U.P.C. proposes a policy or programme on behalf and for the benefit of the people of Uganda, the meaning of the phrase “people of Uganda” is always clear and definite. It is, One People under One Government in One Country. Accordingly, over the seven years of Independence the Party has indicated more than sufficiently that to belong to a clan, a tribe, a linguistic group, a region or a religion, is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage to any citizen of Uganda. The fact of being a citizen of Uganda, however, is a decided advantage which gives him fundamental rights and freedoms, and affords him full opportunity to exercise his social duties and obligations to his clan, tribe, region or religion, save as forbidden by laws passed by Parliament. These laws, as it is clearly stated in Principle 6 of the U.P.C. Aims and Objects, and in the Republican Constitution, are desirable so as to enable all citizens to enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms without infringing upon the rights and freedoms of any other citizens to do the same.

13. In seven years of Independence we have experienced that the mass of our people are law-abiding citizens, who believe in the security of their families, stable conditions around their homes and throughout Uganda; who appreciate the need for expanding economic and social services, and who are desirous to work hard to improve their conditions of living and participate fully in political control of governmental institutions. This experience is in contrast to another, namely, the desire of foreign powers and institutions to choose leaders for us, to influence the policies of the Government of Uganda to the benefit of foreign interests, and to use the sons and daughters of Uganda to advance these interests. In our experience we have not found a single instance where foreign interests have sought to use the masses of the people to serve the interests of foreigners. We have, however, had abundant instances where the well-to-do, the educated and the feudal elements have been bought to serve the interests of foreigners. This kind of corruption of the intentions and frustrations of the wishes of the people may be tolerated in countries where nationhood has been firmly established, illiteracy is almost unknown and other factional issues do not play any important part in elections or in the formulation of Government policies. Uganda has not yet reached that stage of development; but even when we eventually reach that stage we will not tolerate, on principle, the corruption of the intentions and the frustration of the wishes of the people.

14. One of the most important considerations facing the people of Uganda, in the view of the U.P.C., is the future of the youth. We have only to look at the figures of all the young men and women in the Universities, in the Secondary Schools, in other institutes of learning and in the Primary Schools, to speak nothing of those who are at home, to realise that these are citizens of Uganda who are being prepared to shoulder responsibilities of consolidating further the political independence we now have, and to open more and more avenues which will lead the people of Uganda to real economic and social independence.

15. If, here in Uganda, we adopt the policy of developing our country and preparing our youth within the confines of tribal Governments, tribal Parliaments and traditions, and as tools of sectionalism and factionalism of any kind, we would neither be making a contribution to the African Revolution, nor would we be giving these young people what is within our power to give them – that is, the broadening of their horizon to look at the whole of Uganda and not just a part of it as the centre and platform of their operations. It is our duty and responsibility to accept these young people irrespective of the corner of Uganda which may be their birthplace. The whole of Uganda is their inheritance and we must not deny either all of them or a majority of them or even a minority of them, their heritage. They are growing in a different world – a world very different from the world in which those who faced the British when they first imposed colonial rule in Uganda lived. Young people are growing in a world which is becoming smaller and smaller, and for us to make that world even smaller by inducing them, directly or indirectly, to become exponents of tribal Herrenvolk principles, religious bigotry and fanaticism and feudalistic selfishness, and capitalistic rapacities would be to do a disservice that Africa will never forget, and a disservice that will certainly reduce the mental capacities of our young men and women. Uganda cannot afford to be so heartless to her youth.

16. It is not only the youth whom we must think about. Those who are grown up are equally important. Even the old and the infirm are important. The tribal confines and security are no longer strong enough to give them the requirements of modern times, or to protect their lives and property or to give that important recognition of human dignity and citizenship of a sovereign state.

17. We reiterate the fact that the struggle for Independence was not a struggle confined to people professing one religion. The colonial power heard voices from all corners of Uganda. The struggle, however, was not that different parts of Uganda should return to the days of tribal quarrels, disunity and wars but to move to the new era wherein all people of Uganda are one and the country is one, and to regain our dignity as human beings.

18. We recognise that ours is a society in transition. We want to bring out our considered assessment of the present situation as the starting point for our adoption of the move to the Left Strategy set out in this Charter. Uganda is a country which is already independent politically. It is that status that makes it the responsibility of the people of Uganda to shape their destiny. Before the 9th October, 1962, the people of Uganda did not have that responsibility or power. The sixty-nine years of colonial rule, during which an alien way of life was not only planted but also took root, resulted in the phenomenon of developing our human and material resources to bear the imprint of this factor in our society. What was planted in Uganda during the era of British protectorate appeared in the eyes and minds of our people as the final word in perfection regarding the development of our material resources and human relationship. Consequently, both before and after Independence, our people have been living in a society in which an alien way of life has been embedded. The result has been that most of our people do not look in to the country for ideas to make life better in Uganda, but always look elsewhere to import ideas which may be perfectly suitable in some other society but certainly unfitting in a society like ours. The more we pursue that course, the more we artificially organise out society, our material resources and human relationship, and the more we perpetuate a foreign way of life in our country.

19. We cannot afford to build two nations within the territorial boundaries of Uganda: one rich, educated, African in appearance but mentally foreign, and the other, which constitutes the majority of the population, poor and illiterate. We do not consider that all aspects of the African traditional life are acceptable as socialistic now. We do not, for instance, accept that belonging to a tribe should make a citizen a tool to be exploited by and used for the benefit of tribal leaders. Similarly, we do not accept that feudalism, though not inherently something peculiar to Africa or to Uganda, is a way of life which must not be disturbed because it has been in practice for centuries. With this background, we are convinced that Uganda has to choose between two alternatives. We either perpetuate what we inherited, in which case we will build on a most irrational system of production and distribution of wealth based on alien methods, or we adopt a programme of action based on realities of our country. The choice adopted in this Charter is the latter. We must move away from the ways of the past to the avenues of reality, and reject travelling along a road where the signpost reads: “Right of admittance is belief in the survival of the fittest.” To us, every citizen of Uganda must survive and we are convinced that Uganda has to move to the Left as a unit. Conditions must be created to enable the fruits of Independence to reach each and every citizen without some citizens enjoying privileged positions or living on the sweat of their fellow citizens.

20. The emergence and growth of a privileged group in our society, together with the open possibilities of the group assuming the powers of the feudal elements, are not matters of theory and cannot be disregarded with a waive of the hand. Nor should the same be looked at from a doctrinaire approach. It is for this reason that in this Charter we do not intend to play with words, even if those words have meanings, such as “Capitalism” or “Communism”. We are convinced that from the standpoint of our history, not only our educational system inherited from pre-Independence days, but also the attitudes to modern commerce and industry and the position of a person in authority, in or outside Government are creating a gap between the well-to-do on the one hand and the mass of people on the other. As the years go by, this gap will become wider and wider. The move to the Left Strategy of this Charter aims at bridging the gap and arresting this development.

21. We identify two circumstances in which the emergence of a privileged class can find comfort and growth. First, there is our education system which aims at producing citizens whose attitude to the uneducated and to their way of life leads them to think of themselves as the masters and the uneducated as their servants. Secondly, the opportunities for self-employment in modern commerce and industry and to gain employment in Government and in other sectors of the economy are mainly open to the educated few; but instead of these educated few doing everything possible within their powers for the less educated, a tendency is developing where whoever is in business or in Government looks to his immediate family and not to the country as a whole in opening these opportunities. The existence of these circumstances could lead to actual situations of corruption, nepotism and abuse of responsibility. It is unrealistic for anyone to believe that the answer to such situations lies in the strict application of the laws. Much as the laws might assist in preventing such crimes being committed against the nation, it is our view that the answer lies in tackling the roots of the problems, namely to generate a new attitude to life and to wealth, and new attitudes in exercising responsibilities. Our country is fortunate in that these problems have not taken deep roots and the crimes which they generate and the crimes which they generate are universally condemned by the society. If we do not take initial effective measures to change the course of events at this stage of our history, it may be too late to avoid violence in future years. It is because we are convinced that this is the right moment to re-orientate our course that we have adopted the measures set out in the move to the Left Strategy of this Charter.

22. The ordinary citizen of Uganda associates economic development of this country with a rise in his own private real income. This income may accrue to him from self-employment, i.e., farming, fishing, cattle-keeping, or paid employment. What is of crucial importance to the ordinary citizen is that Government should provide him with certain social services free and that his income should rise faster than the cost of living, so that he can afford more goods and services for his own use. But there are also three other major dimensions of economic development which must concern our Government. These are the distribution of the national income, the structure of the economy and the creation of institutions conducive to further development and consistent with the Socialist Strategy outlined in this Charter.

23. Let us begin with the examination of the distribution of income in our country. It is obvious that for development to take place there should be a rise in the average income per head (per capita income). This can only occur if the rate of growth of national income exceeds the rate of population growth. For this reason our Government must always place great emphasis on the fast rate of growth of the economy and the national income. Indeed, increased production and wealth is one of the three major goals of the current Plan (“Work for Progress”) 1966-71. We are fully convinced that this emphasis is not misplaced, since raising the standard of living of the Common Man in Uganda must be the major aim of our Government. It is possible, however, for the overall rate of growth to rise without affecting large masses of the population. This is a danger that we must guard against. We must not either because of inertia, corruption or academic love for the principle of the theory of free enterprise, fail to take bold corrective measures against this danger.

24. There is also the danger that economic development could be unevenly distributed as between regions of the country. The fact is that there is no automatic mechanism within our economic system to ensure an equitable distribution of the national income among persons, groups of persons or regions. We need only to stretch our eyes not to the distant future but to the years immediately ahead of us, taking into account the fact of our present expanding economy, to recognise that if no new strategy is adopted now, inequalities in the distribution of income will change dramatically the status of millions of our people, and might result in our having two nations – one fabulously rich and living on the sweat of the other, and the other living in abject poverty – both living in one country. In such a situation political power will be in the hands of the rich and the maximum the Government will do for the poor will be paternalism, where the lot of the masses will be not only to serve the well-to-do, but to be thankful on their knees when opportunity arises to eat the crumbs from the high table.

25. The nature of our economy today is such that the resources are not allocated by a central authority. The reality of the situation is that allocation of resources in Uganda today is directly proportionate to the distribution of income. The practical fact which emerges from this can be illustrated in this way. If 5 per cent. of the population receive, say, 50 per cent. of the national income among them, this small minority possesses the power to command at least half of the productive resources of the country. With so much wealth at their disposal their consumption habits will affect the whole economy. As it happens, these habits will be characterised by the consumption of luxurious goods not produced in the country but imported from outside, or produced in the country at extremely high cost. If the goods have to be imported then the bulk of the population must produce for export in order to pay for the import of such luxurious goods. Our argument for a change to make it impossible for such a situation to develop as a feature of Uganda, is that the consumption habits of the very rich not only impinge directly on the disposal of one of the very important resources of the country, namely foreign exchange, but also constitute a negation of the real meaning of our Independence. The crucial point here is that inequitable distribution of income leads directly to non-development of resources which could cater for the consumption needs of the poor, since the masses cannot afford to pay for the goods which would be produced, and instead the economy becomes dependent on exports of primary commodities in order to pay for imports of luxurious goods for the rich. The end result is a constant problem of unfavourable balance of payments and external debts, and a neglect of the welfare of the Common Man.

26. We must examine the argument in another way. A redistribution of income which puts more purchasing power in the hands of the Common Man, who constitutes the greatest proportion of the population, would give an impetus to the development of local industries. This is because the needs of the masses are unlikely to be of the luxurious type. As the mass of the people of Uganda begin to acquire higher and higher incomes, they would in all probability acquire more and more goods produced in their country; but to open the door only to the rich to buy at high prices any quantity of imported goods and locally produced goods at high costs, which put them beyond the means of the Common Man, is to disregard the existence of the mass of the population or to acknowledge their servitude to the rich.

27. The heart of the Move to the Left can be simply stated. It is both political and economic. It is the basic belief of the Uganda Peoples’ Congress that political power must be vested in the majority of the people and not the minority. It is also the fundamental belief of the Uganda Peoples’ Congress that economic power should be vested in the majority and not in the minority, as is the case at present. It is therefore, our firm resolution that political and economic power must be vested in the majority.

28. The structure of Uganda’s economy is characterised by: an excessive dependence on agriculture as a source of income, employment and foreign exchange; a heavy dependence on exports based on two major export crops; heavy dependence on imports, particularly of manufactured products; and the limited participation of Ugandans in the modern industrial and commercial sectors of the economy. It has therefore been the policy of the Party to diversify the economy to make it less dependent of foreign trade, to promote the participation of citizens in all sectors of the economy, and the Move to the Left is intended to intensify these efforts through collective ownership, viz. Co-operatives and state enterprises.

29. Economic development demands, among other things, capital (money). We recognise that a country cannot depend upon capital from outside because this, apart from being unpredictable, is subject to variation by various factors and has always got strings attached to it. We are convinced from experience that this country is capable of generating sufficient capital out of the savings of all the citizens. We therefore propose that a suitable means where savings of the citizens can be effectively tapped and correctly channelled into further economic development should be introduced.

30. To this effect we propose that the system be based on the present basis of calculation upon which wage-earners pay contribution of a fraction of their earnings into the Social Security Fund. The basis of the calculation of that part of the income of the wage-earners that goes into contributions to the National Social Security Scheme should apply proportionately to the income earned by all other persons, either by way of salary or other method of determinable income. With the exception of the wage-earner who is already required by law to make contributions to the National Social Security Scheme, all other persons will either pa direct or have it deducted and paid into an approved scheme.

31. The present banking institutions cater mainly for the needs of commerce and industry. It is not possible for the peasants, who constitute the majority of our population, to advance their lot through financial assistance in the form of loans from these commercial banks. Even if they were to do so, they would spend a substantial part of it, if not their entire income, in paying back these loans. It is, therefore, imperative that a new banking system, to be known as the Co-operative Bank, be established to cater solely for the peasants who are members of the Co-operative Unions. The policy of such a Bank should include a provision to the effect that the Co-operative Union of the person applying for a loan from the Bank gives a guarantee and takes over administration of the repayment of the loan, and that the loan in the majority of cases should be given in relation to what the applicant is already doing.

32. We reiterate the fact that there can be no investment unless somebody first makes a corresponding saving. This applies equally to local and overseas investment.

(a) With regard to local investment we have now proposed a scheme for compulsory saving in a number of schemes, and the establishment of Co-operative Banks.

(b) With regard to foreign investment we fully realise that foreign investors want guarantees, and we consider that the Foreign Investment (Protection) Act covers this adequately and generously. Much as we appreciate the need to attract foreign investment, we are fully convinced that the economic future of this country depends on local capital formation and local savings and investment.

33. In future we would wish to see foreign investments coming into Uganda under the Foreign Investment (Protection) Act, engaging in priority projects and not projects decided solely on the basis of profitability. Similarly, local investments should be controlled in such a way that they are made in priority projects determined by the needs of the economic development of the country.

34. In our Move to the Left Strategy, we affirm that the guiding economic principle will be that the means of production and distribution must be in the hands of the people as a whole. The fulfilment of this principle may involve nationalisation of enterprises privately owned.

35. The issue of nationalisation has already been determined and therefore it is a settled matter. It was in the 1962 Constitution, as it is in the republican Constitution of 1967. Therefore no citizen or person in private enterprise should entertain the idea that the Government of Uganda cannot, whenever it is desirable in the interests of the people, nationalise any or all privately owned enterprises, mailo and freehold land and all productive assets or property, at any time, for the benefit of the people. The Party therefore directs the Government to work along these lines.

36. In this Charter we lay emphasis first on the people being given massive education in operating and establishing institutions controlled, not by individuals, but by the people collectively. This massive education should aim at re-orientating the attitudes of the people towards co-operation in the management of economic institutions, and away from individual and private enrichment. We therefore direct the Government to give education to the people to acquire new attitudes in the management of our economy where collective exploitation of our resources to the benefit of all will take the place of individual and private enterprise aimed at enriching a few.

37. We must move in accordance with the principles of democracy. That is the way that brings human progress. Ideas must be generated and sifted, and citizens – educated or not – must be able to think for themselves, learn to work together, and to participate in the processes of governing themselves.

38. The Move to the Left involves government by discussion. This Charter and the principles enunciated herein should be widely disseminated through mass media of communication, and discussed by study groups and individuals all over the country.

39. Principles are a good thing but they are no substitute for hard work. The success of the Charter demands full commitment of leaders to its realisation, acceptance by the mass of the population, and hard work by all.

40. The adoption of the Charter provides an opportunity to the Common Man for the realisation of the full fruits of his labour and of social justice.

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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Uncategorized



Former President Apollo Milton Obote on language and identity

I was flipping through some speeches online this morning and I saw this speech by Obote. I was so humbled at the fact that even then, he saw the need for commonality especially in the East African region. I was also amazed at the high regard he had for African culture.

Read it here

Have a great day


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Posted by on May 17, 2012 in Africa, Politics, Uganda


#STOP KONY response from my friend Harry Verhoeven

Over the last few days Uganda and Joseph Kony have been trending. The reason for this, a video by Invisible Children that is intended to help capture Kony and put him away for good. There has been massive reaction to this video and I must say, I am one of those critics. I shared my thoughts with a great friend of mine Dr. Harry Verhoeven and I asked him to give me his views. He decided to write this in response.


Dear friends,

I hope this finds all of you very well. Since this morning, I’ve been bombarded with all kinds of questions and assumptions regarding Northern Uganda and Joseph Kony, the self-declared Prophet-leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army which hails from ‘Acholi land’ (the colloquial term for the North of Uganda) but has been active in Southern Sudan, Congo & Central African Republic as well since its creation in the late 1980s. I’m frankly very surprised to see all this buzz around Kony, for never in all the years that I have been following conflict in that region has such a thing happened. To the contrary, I’ve often bugged people and possibly annoyed them with my stories and memories of Northern Uganda and the war there; the reaction was more often one of boredom and disinterest.
How interesting thus to see this change in the space of 24 hours. People who don’t even know on a map where Uganda is, urging all of us to “do the right thing”, pictures of Hitler and the Rwandan Interahamwe militia being mixed with the rare images we have of the LRA as well as with footage that is more than 10 years old of the humanitarian situation around major population centres like Kitgum, Gulu, Masindi and Arua. What on earth is going on?

As someone who spent quite a bit of time in Northern Uganda and saw the violence and its longlasting effects myself on a daily basis, I always have very mixed feelings when an advocacy group tries to cast a deeply moral and often one-sided judgement on the war between 1986 and 2006 there…The language of the video is the language of emotion, the language of a self-righteous humanitarianism and the language of the internet age. It’s a language that tries to draw out a carefully cultivated sense of guilt regarding a part of the world that few people know and where a seemingly apolitical war has been raging, with no clear interests, no tricky games and no deeper meaning but above all a lot of savagery (and intuitively, we can all imagine ghastly things going on in the dark heart of “Africa”, can’t we?). The imagery is powerful: the Prophet vs children, the killers and their “sex slaves”. How could anyone ever condone such things?

Yet, as always, with conflict, things are little bit more complicated than what slickly produced American video teams -and their Hollywood instincts of good and evil- can churn out. There is little history, context, sociology or critical inquiry in the Invisible Children campaign, today or yesterday; we are not encouraged to learn or to explore more or even to reflect on how we got to this point. Instead we are encouraged to act. And we are told action is simple, really. It’s all about one man and one movement. It’s only about mouse clicks and students “uniting” because “they care”. This is solving war like playing a videogame. It’s an illusion.

There is no question that Joseph Kony is a monster; that the LRA have killed and kidnapped tens of thousands of people; that systematic looting, raping and maiming has occurred (and in Congo, CAR and South Sudan) is still occurring; and that the world has not cared very much for Northern Uganda.
But there is also no question that simplifying the very complex and extended processes that underpin the violence in the North and neighbouring regions to the actions of one man is disastrously wrong and likely to be counterproductive. Invisible Children speaks not of the effects of colonial rule; of long standing and grinding poverty; of a region riven with internal contradictions; of regional geopolitics; of militias and standing armed forces with similar human rights records (but perhaps less beastly practices: though, which is worse? Killing a man by boiling him alive or killing a woman by running her over deliberately with a truck? A life is still a life for me); of the Ugandan armed forces and their lucrative trade in resources in the north and neighbouring countries; of the complex relationship between Kony, his men and local tribal leaders; of Ugandan oil and Anglo-Saxon interests; of land grabbing by the Kampala government; or of the IDP camps in which more people have probably died than in the actual conflict; etc.
Even if we accept that an NGO campaign cannot engage with all the fine nuances of war, we must acknowledge that leaving these factors out means we are giving a very different meaning to the violence, deliberately prioritizing one line of explanation over another and undoing it of all its complexity until, well, very little remains.

And thus no awareness is spread really. Because the language is liberal-humanitarian and the images are so moving, the video’s message is particularly hard to resist and one might even be willing to overlook glaring factual efforts (no LRA attacks in Uganda since 2006, for example) and painful simplicity (Northern Uganda is actually experiencing serious economic growth these days). After all the takeaway is: it’s ugly and it’s in Africa (a tautology); it’s that monster; Kony; and it’s remediable by killing him through a clean strike by a bunch of heroes (a classic Hollywood story in another words; a two hour ride and just finished in time for dinner!). And, of course, those who question this story-line are really siding with the killers.

Yet what Invisible Children is thus really doing is setting an agenda and framing the conflict in particular narratives, at the expense of others, and campaigning for war, not for peace. It’s incredulous, but the founders claim to get their inspiration from the anti-apartheid movement which explicitly disavowed force. The issue is here that once the tone has been set and people have done their “facebook thing” (today activism often seems reduced to posting a link and then patting one’s self on the back: “I care”), it becomes much harder than is commonly acknowledged to rephrase the dominant narrative and inject the nuance and complexity that will ultimately be required to obtain any durable peace in Uganda, or elsewhere.

And so the question is that what presents itself as a message about you caring is really deeply political, though the Invisible Children crowd denies it. Lobbying is never innocent stuff, even for the “right cause”- the question is not just about superficiality, but about military intervention and about agenda shaping, but also about encouraging American students (and others overseas) not to question what their own governments are doing in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bahrain and Palestine. Instead attention is diverted to remote locations where there is no such “complicated politics” and where we can all unite behind banners of good and evil. We don’t need to understand these places or their crises or even their people. We know evil when we see it and it is apolitical. Therefore we must act.

I’ve seen first hand in Darfur how the same kind of arguments by the same kind of people played out and were actively abused, deepening the conflict as opposed to spreading awareness or resolving any violent confrontations. The links between Invisible Children and the Save Darfur Coalition, an organisation with strong Zionist links and tactics that are rather questionable, only serve to highlight the problematic character of this kind of pseudo-activism. For those interested in what happened in Darfur and the campaigning around an immensely complex series of wars: (and my own piece in response to Mamdani:,32018 )

Discourse setting ultimately decides which policy options are acceptable and which aren’t. Some people are stigmatised as victims and others as perpetrators: hardly ever is there a way back from these deeply political labels. Now the lobbyists in Washington DC or the moralists at Invisible Children won’t give a damn about the implications, because they don’t have to live in Northern Uganda, South Sudan or Darfur. But other people do. And they are unlikely to benefit from simplistic videos and facebook hypes.

With thoughts and prayers for Northern Uganda,



Conversations on Conflict

This morning, I was graced with the presence of a long time friend and comrade, Lyandro Komakech of the Refugee Law Project. We dived straight into an interesting conversation regarding his work over the last months.

Lyandro has been traveling around the country doing research and conflict mapping. He told me of some very interesting findings that might not come as a shock to many of us who have been following the developments in the oil sector and the military politics of Uganda.

Lyandro mentioned the North and the West as the hot spots for potential conflict in the coming years. In regard to the North, there are issues that are arising, especially around land and oil. This land grabbing has been a dominant feature since the LRA conflict was considered over. Oil speculators have run into the area to aquire as much land as they can. The locals are feeling cheated and are ready to fight back since Governemnt is seen to be aiding the land grabbing. Apparently some think they can do a bigger job as compared to the Lord’s Resistance Army who had ‘no real agenda’.

In the West, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) are regrouping and at the same time recruiting new members. According to Refugee Law Project findings, there are atleast 5000 rebel camps out there.The rebels who are supported by the government in Khartoum meet in mosques around the region but hard to detect!

This information kind of enlightens my discussions on the Tarehe Sita celebrations. I was wondering as to why the UPDF decided to hold the celebrations in Kasese this time. The fact that there is information on the ADF build up makes a lot of sense now.

If this these preliminary findings are true, I think we need to start mapping out ways of mitigating any conflicts that might arise. People seem to be restless. How long can the government hold on?


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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Uncategorized



Plans in the Pipeline for Ugandan Oil

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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


The Otoa Conversations

Conversation with Former External Security Organisation (ESO ) Boss David Pulkol. Discussion on the future of the UPC party and the wars with Party President Olara Otunnu


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Posted by on February 8, 2012 in Uncategorized