By Vincent Magombe
At this critical juncture in the Ugandan national People’s journey of liberation, Free Uganda, the pro-democracy campaign group, pays tribute to all Ugandan liberation, resistance and pro-change forces, who are making enormous sacrifices, both individual and collective, to dislodge an intransigent, obdurate and outmoded fascistic regime that has ruled Uganda with an iron grip for over 30 years.
The People’s struggle to free our Motherland Uganda continues unabated. And concerted efforts are on-going, not just to intensify the struggle, but, even more importantly, to situate and consolidate it in the People’s own aspirations and activism.
The dictatorship under Yoweri Museveni, on the other hand, is very weakened and in disarray. The haphazard and panicky attempts by the dying regime to regroup and consolidate its melting grip on the country, through incredulous anti-people campaigns, such as the Age-limit and land-grab constitutional amendments, are being fiercely resisted by the People of Uganda.
The struggle for a free Uganda is being joined, on a daily-basis, by millions of Ugandan citizens, not just those who have traditionally opposed Mr. Museveni’s dictatorship, but, crucially, even those pro-change forces who have often considered themselves supporters of NRM party, but now realize that Uganda can exist and thrive without Mr. Museveni.
It is sobering to hear the voices of prominent cultural leaders, like the Katikiro of Buganda, criticizing Mr. Museveni’s drive to change the Ugandan constitution so that he can rule the country beyond the mandated 75 years of age.
It is equally heartening to hear top NRM leaders, like Professor Gilbert Bukenya, a former Museveni-confidant and Vice President, and Mr. John Nagenda, the Senior Presidential Advisor on the media and public relations, loudly echoing the call of defiance against a Museveni life-presidency.
What we are seeing is the convergence of all Ugandan national aspirations, with all coming together, as pro-change activists, so as to save our Motherland from ultimate destruction, and to work for a better homeland for all of us, irrespective of our political affiliation, tribal or cultural identity, religious belonging, gender difference, or even generational distinctiveness – whether you are old or young, etc.
Free Uganda calls on all Ugandan freedom fighters and all well-intentioned citizens, including those who subscribe to the NRM political persuasion, to do all in their power to prevent Mr. Museveni pushing the nation over the cliff edge.
Museveni has already done much to destroy Uganda.
He has transformed the ‘Heart Beat of Africa’, also referred to in the past as the ‘Pearl of Africa’, into the ‘Dying Land of Shame’ by making an entire nation into a personal, family-run fiefdom.
The country’s constitution has been raped and abused repeatedly, and the rights and freedoms of Ugandan citizens have been violated unimaginably.
The young people of Uganda, who make up over 75% of the population, have been humiliated and dehumanized, through near-total unemployment, lack of educational opportunities, and political persecution, with many of them facing frequent arrests, kidnap and torture in notorious Idi Amin-era like torture chambers like Nalufenya.
Entire generations of Ugandans, both young and old, have been actively and deliberately prevented from taking part in the nation’s developmental and leadership roles.
This as a result of the lack of democracy and the persistent violations of their intrinsic and natural rights and freedoms by the regime.
The Ugandan journey of liberation continues unabated. But, this struggle will have to be adequately focused and intensified, and fully grounded in the Peoples own aspirations, for Ugandans to taste the sweet freedoms they have only dreamt about for so many decades.
Free Uganda calls on all Ugandans of good will to re-dedicate themselves to the noble cause of liberating our Motherland.
There is no doubt that this struggle is complex, multi-faceted and full of challenges. But, as the saying goes, where there is a will, there is a way.
The Struggle Continues.
The writer is the Secretary for Free Uganda Leadership Committee and Press Secretary FU