Kamya erred on ethnic cleansing remark

By Vision Reporter

Added 10th February 2008 03:00 AM

IN the article by the Rubaga North MP, Beti Kamya that was published in Daily Monitor, January 28, she cynically asked whether President Yoweri Museveni has a heart. Kamya warns Ugandans about a looming ethnic cleansing. What a terrible thing to contemplate by an MP.

By Semakula Kiwanuka

IN the article by the Rubaga North MP, Beti Kamya that was published in Daily Monitor, January 28, she cynically asked whether President Yoweri Museveni has a heart. Kamya warns Ugandans about a looming ethnic cleansing. What a terrible thing to contemplate by an MP.

She has been blunt and frank. Those who will be ethnically cleansed are those she identified as Museveni’s favoured community.

Today, the media are awash with warnings of ethnic cleansing. Those making such remarks want the public to believe their remarks are in the name of patriotism.

To believe that patriotism is best expressed by the slaughter of innocent men, women and children, including babies in the name of democracy must be the result of political deformity.
Those who start such fires should not forget that they, as well as their loved ones, could be consumed by the same fires we are witnessing across our border. The original hunters might become the hunted. When they become the hunted, they certainly protest. If you want to destroy a country for a long time, you commit genocide.

For this reason, Kenya will face a very difficult future because of the hatred which has arisen out of ethnic cleansing, which was deliberately executed in the name of addressing political injustice. Kenya’s road to national unity will be hard regardless of who is President.

Equally warned are the Baganda. I appeal to them to condemn that kind of politics because unlike other tribes, the Baganda will have no where to run and hide.

Kamya asked whether President Museveni has a heart? My response is yes. Uganda was notoriously known as a country of blood and chaos. That is history. It was a country of military dictatorships and roadblocks from Kenya to the Congo borders. That is history.

On whether our mothers say “we can sleep”, why do our grandmothers and fathers say “kati twebaka” (we can sleep now). The answer is because the evil men who denied them their sleep are no more. The economy was in a shambles. People lined up for everything including boxes of matches hence the expression scarce commodities. Today that is history.

To create tribal balance in the army, the NRM created opportunities to ensure that all recruitments should be carried out in every district. The Baganda have for the last 20 years boycotted the army while other tribes are flocking there. Hence they should not complain.

Uganda has been and is politically stable. Peace and stability are appreciated by many, not just our mothers and fathers who say “we can sleep”. The appreciation of Uganda’s stability is further reflected by the attraction of external investors and investment. In Museveni’s Uganda, democracy is part of the governance culture because people freely elect their leaders.

On the economic front, Museveni’s Uganda is a source of pride. Macro economic stability and high economic growth rates have been sustained for more than 15 years. Inflation, which was once over 200%, has been contained in single digits for at least 15 years.

Do Ugandans have confidence in the way their country is run and managed? The answer is yes as evidenced by repeated re-elections of President Museveni and the NRM. Doomsayers will rush to remind me of the so-called rigging. The truth is that the opposition’s claim of a strong following is a figment of the imagination buttressed by their supporters, many of whom are foreign non-governmental organisations and civil societies.

Confidence in Museveni’s Uganda is demonstrated among others, in the booming construction industry where more than 50% of the industry is by and for Ugandans. President Museveni’s heart is evidenced by the manner he has led this country to high levels of economic and political stability.

Today, Uganda has over 8 million children under the universal primary education programme and the free secondary education programme has also kicked off.

Through massive immunisation, many childhood killer diseases, including polio, have been drastically reduced. Because of President Museveni’s honest commitment, the HIV/AIDS prevalence was reduced from the high levels of the 1980s and 1990s to 6%. Other countries admire Uganda’s political leadership and its achievements except those who dont want to. Is that not a shame to the pessimists?

Kamya believes in central planning and command economies long after the champions of such ideologies, including the former USSR, abandoned them long ago. That is why I find it difficult to understand why she is hankering after government ownership of hotels, state enterprises, marketing boards, banks and cooperative unions.

Ideological differences are normal and at an appropriate time, I shall respond to our socialist and Marxist rearguard action fighters and their populist politics of government ownership of hotels. I shall also respond to their ambitions to resurrect discredited structures.

The question is: Is Museveni’s Uganda better off as a result of economic liberalisation and privatisation? The answer is yes. There are more private hotels, private banks, many private schools and universities and private hospitals. Uganda is richer and better off because Ugandans have confidence in the future of their country and own what they have. The spirit of enterprise has been facilitated by a stable and strong government.

I admit that a lot remains to be done. Despite the weaknesses in the political and economic systems, as is the case in many other countries, Uganda will continue to march to economic transformation for the benefit of all. We should not allow planners of ethnic cleansing to prosper. And remember that the fires you start can engulf and consume you too!

Kamya erred on ethnic cleansing remark

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