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Executive Summary of the NEC Report on the Political Future of Uganda

By Vision Reporter

Added 22nd February 2003 03:00 AM

President Yoweri Museveni has recommended that the Movement that Uganda should open up to multiparty politics. Prior to this, , National Executive Committee's (NEC), ‘ad hoc’ committee, met over the future of political parties in Uganda. We bring you the Executive Summary of their report.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

0.01 Formative evaluation through constant self-examination nation is an essential aspect of any kind of development and sustained success comes as a result of conscious efforts and desire to improve. This conviction has been one of the major characteristics of the Movement leadership since it assumed the reigns of power in 1986. The Movement leadership is receptive to new ideas and sensitive to changing circumstances, as it
aware that the society it leads is dynamic.

0.02 The Ad hoe Committee was established by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the National Conference (NC) of the Movement oil the 18th December 2001 at Kyankwanzi National Leadership Institute (NAI), Ps work was to examine the performance of the Movement system, in light of the current political trends/developments, including tire calls to open up to political party pluralism, with a view to guide the political future of this country. 'The Ad hoc Committee was not sell up as an alternative or a replacement of the ongoing Constitutional Review Commission (CRC). It is an internal assessment committee whose recommendations may be submitted to the Commission.

0.03 In executing its duty, the Ad hoc Committee was guided by the provisions of the Constitution and by the Government's commitment to the promotion of the culture of constitutionalism. A major cornerstone in the Movement system of governance. The Ad hoe Committee carefully examined the origin, performance so far, achievements, strengths and weaknesses of the Movement Political system of governance. It also examined the existing legal framework and what stands to he lost if there was to be a change to another political system.


0.04 For avoidance of doubt, the Ad hoe Committee defined the following two concepts in the context of Uganda politics

  • The Movement Political System
  • Individual merit.

    0.05 The Movement Political System was defined as:

    "A system of grass-root based democratic governance in Uganda, born out of the realities of the history of Uganda characterised by political turmoil, anarchy, sectarianism, exploitation and wide-spread killings which resulted in protracted struggles culminating in an armed struggle by patriotic Ugandans to capture state power with commitment to establish peace, security, stability, national unity and development; whereby all citizens regardless of political ideology, creed or ethnicity can access any elective position of leadership through free, far and regular elections on the basis of individual merit."

    The Movement Political System is grass-root based, broad-based, inclusive, non-partisan and always seeking consensus for the common good of Ugandans.

    0.06 Individual merit was defined as:
    "A principle whereby individuals offer themselves for elective offices and the electorate determines who has better qualities").
    0.07 Members discussed in great detail the achievements, strengths, weaknesses, and challenges of the Movement System and what stands to be lost if the Movement were to get out of governance.

    Strengths
    0.08
    The major strengths of the Movement were highlighted, among others as;
  • Mass basedness, which gives a firm base of governance from the grassroots
  • Individual merit
  • All inclusive Good, visionary, charismatic leadership.

    Major achievements
    0.09
    The Movement has made tremendous achievements since it came to power. These include:
  • Establishment of participatory democracy
  • Establishment of the rule of law
  • Establishment of a stable government
  • Building a fast growing economy
  • Establishment of an autonomous and vibrant Parliament
  • Establishment of unity among Ugandans
  • Establishment of peace and security in most parts of the country enhancement of people's sovereignty
  • Empowerment of hitherto marginalised groups
  • Establishment of decentralisation policy
  • Initiation of the Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture (PMA)
  • Establishment of UPE and promotion of higher education
  • Promotion of freedom of the media
  • Restoration of and respect for cultural institutions
    Weaknesses

    The Ad hoc Committee identified some weaknesses in the Movement system and categorised them as under;

    Institutional
    0.10
    It was observed that there was limited clarity on the institutional framework of the National Resistance Movement at its assumption of power. Government assumed more powers than the Movement Organs.

    0.11 There is a weak link between the Movement Secretariat, the office of RDC and the grassroots. The people at the grassroots lament that they are neglected. Mobilisation and sensitisation are at their lowest ebb.

    0.12 Institutionally, government has not been able to make adequate budgetary provisions to cater for some vital Movement structures like the Movement Committees, Youth and Women councils. Moreover the law and the council for people with disabilities has not yet been instituted.

    0.13 The Movement has not pro-actively taken advantage of the media to sensitise, mobilise, inform, educate and disseminate the Movement values to the population. It seems to be using the media timidly and defensively!

    Ideological
    0.14
    It was noted that many people including some Movement supporters have not adequately understood the Movement revolution and the fundamental values on which it is built or they have failed to live up to those values. There are also some ideological concepts like "broadbasedness", "individual merit", which have been problematic in their implementation

    0.15 The civil service was given inadequate orientation in the Movement philosophy. As a result, there is limited clarity and promotion of the Movement missing among this vital section of people.

    Leadership style and practice
    0.16
    The Ad hoc Committee noted that some Presidential appointees having been suspected of wrongdoing seek Presidential protection instead of they, protecting the Presidency. Furthermore, Movement supporters complain over the criteria used in giving rewards and incentives. The general impression is that leadership tends to reward people who are vocally critical of the Movement and who even fight it at the expense of reliable and loyal cadres.

    Challenges
    0.17
    Some of the main challenges are:
    (i) Bringing total security, peace and stability to northern region
    (ii) Eliminating corruption and abuse of office by public servants
    (iii) Planning to decrease unemployment
    (iv) Planning ahead for the massive number of pupils who will soon complete primary education under UPE.
    (v) Build and retain cadreship
    (vi) Rebuild and retain masses' support of the Movement

    Calls to open up space to political party pluralism
    0.18
    The Ad Committee carefully examined the calls for opening up to political party pluralism and reviewed the nature of the calls in terms of quantity and quality. It also examined the bases of these calls and how the Movement should respond to them
    Sources of calls for opening up to political pluralism

    0.19 it was noted that the calls come mainly from five sources:-
  • Party activists
  • Some sections of civil society e.g. Human rights based NGOs
  • Some sections of professionals and academia
  • Some Western Foreign Missions - our partners in development
  • Some Movement leaders.

    Causes/Reasons for these calls
    0.20
    It was found that party activists have an obvious interest in agitating for a return of their own system to power. They have, in fact, been agitating right from 1986.

    0.21 Some NGOs whose origins and/or sources of funding are from outside seem to be advancing the interests of their donors

    0.22 Up till now, institutions of higher education have not included the Movement Political System on their list of Political systems to be taught. So, young political scientists do not regard it as one of alternative political systems.

    0.23 Much as some of the Western Foreign Missions, our partners in development have studied, understood and appreciated the Movement Political System of governance; they have a duty to convince us to emulate their own political systems.

    0.24 There are some Movement leaders who wish to open space to political party pluralism because they believe that this would be a stronger strategy for the fortification of the Movement System of governance and its cherished values.

    It was further noted that the media is essentially used to amplify and multiply these calls

    Types of calls for political party pluralism
    0.25
    The calls for opening up to political party pluralism are of several types:-
  • Constitutional widening of scope for party activities
  • Removal of all restrictions against political party activities
  • Replacement of the Movement System of governance by the Multi-party System
  • The Movement turning into a political party

    The bases for the calls
    0.26
    The Committee noted that the callers base their calls, among others, on mistaken or misconceived belief that:
  • The Movement System has all the characteristics of a political party and that it is a one-party rule, which is outlawed by the Constitution.
  • Freedom of political association provided by the Constitution is violated
  • The movement concept of inclusiveness has disappeared
  • The Movement System was meant to be temporary and that sixteen years is too long
  • The present ills in society e.g. poverty, unemployment, corruption, insecurity in the north are attributed solely to the government.
  • Our partners in development (donors) are also calling for opening up.

    Issues noted
    0.27
    The Committee carefully considered the foregoing and noted the following:-

  • The Movement Political System is not a political party. It is inclusive of all the various political ideologies and groupings.
  • The claim that the freedom to associate is absolute and unrestrictable is mistaken both in law and in practice. Article 42 of the Constitution provides grounds for restricting some of the freedoms, The same restrictions are also contained in Articles 21 and 22 of ICCPR.
  • The Movement cherishes the concept of inclusiveness as one of its strongest cornerstones to the extent that event hose people who have chosen to disown the Movement can still actively participate in governance and development under the system.
  • The Constitution provides avenues of changing or retaining any political system as the majority of people may wish. The decision to change or retain the political system in power can only be made in the 4th year of the term of office of the ruling System. In our case it will be taken in 2004, and only if requested for.
  • The process of a review of the Constitution is already in place.

    0.28 All these considerations have been fully discussed under Chapter Four of this report

    MAJOR RECOMMENDATIONS

    0.29
    Given all the above considerations, the Committee makes the following recommendations:-

    1. The Movement should strengthen , amplify and clarify the ideological basis of its mission, vision and philosophy.
  • Define its key concepts hence the Movement System and Individual merit.
  • These definitions should form part of the civil and political education syllabi.
  • Enforce a clear code of conduct for Movement leaders.
  • Teach the young generation the history of our country and draw lessons from the past mistakes and successes.
  • Vigorous political education programmes should resume immediately to cover all Movement and Government Political leaders at the national and all other levels and below, senior and middle level civil servants, Chairpersons and Directors of Government parastatals and Statutory Commissions , Universities and Tertiary Institutions, Senior Six leavers, Media, Public Service, the Army, Police and Prisons.
  • Sensitise the country about all the achievements registered under the Movement system.

    2. The Movement should re-assert itself by rebuilding the NRM as an organisation and by vigorously strengthening its internal institutions/ organs and methods of work.

  • Revive the role of the NRM as an inspiration and organisational base.
  • Strengthen the Movement Secretariat and the Office of the RDCs.
  • The Movement Secretariat working with all organs of the Movement should identify, rejuvenate, empower all Movement cadres and immediately embark on a general mobilisation exercise.
  • Provide space to the Movement Historicals /Veteran Movement leaders for active participation in the Movement.
  • Strengthen the role and responsibilities of the Chairman and Vice Chairman.

    3. The Movement should plan strategically and constitutionally to preserve the aims and values of the Movement revolution by remaining the most dominant force in Uganda's politics.

    4. since one of the cardinal duties of the Movement is to protect the Constitution and promote the culture of constitutionalism, it is imperative that all calls for opening up to political pluralism and any responses should be within the constitutional context as provided for in Chapters Five and Eighteen of the Constitution.

    5. The country should be encouraged to observe the culture of constitutionalism and the Movement should resist any political pressure that would result into manipulation of the population into holding a referendum on change or retaining of the existing political system before the fourth year of the current Government i.e the year 2004 as stipulated in the constitution.

    6. The Movement should revise all Constitutional provisions and other related laws for purposes of developing the common good for Uganda and sustenance of the Movement Political System.

    7. Any major amendments to the Constitution should await the report of the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC)

    8. The Movement should take keen interest in the ongoing constitutional reforms by expediting and guiding its organs. In this regard, the Movement should seek to remove any Constitutional provisions which impede or undermine the system.

    9. therefore, the Political Parties and Organisations Bill (POB) should protect the system in governance against activities of alternative systems that may interfere with its smooth operation.

    10. An effective forum for the Movement historicals and other senior members of the Movement should be re-established immediately.

    11. The Movement leadership should be in constant dialogue with leaders of other political system(s)

    12. The Movement should put more energy in strengthening its economic base and that of all Ugandans at household level.
  • Finding discretionary funds for Movement work.
  • Give effective support for increasing income generation at household level especially for women, youths and persons with disabilities.
  • Line Ministries responsible for facilitating investment projects should be urged by government and NEC to expedite the investment processes in order to create more jobs.
  • Government should come up with an employment policy.

    13. A Movement Think Tank should be established to promote creative thinking, examine emerging issues, evaluate Movement performance and organise different for a for interface.

    14. The Movement should make a further and comprehensive study and analysis of the origin, nature, composition, ideological basis, financial and technical support as well as the quality of the forces fronting change of the existing political system.

    CONCLUSION
    Finally the Ad hoc Committee was satisfied that the Movement System, even at its weakest, has done far better than any other systems of governance in Uganda since Independence. The greatest task now is to consolidate the achievements so far made and adequately prepare to meet the future needs of the country.

    Executive Summary of the NEC Report on the Political Future of Uganda

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