Saturday April 5 2014

Can the UPC-KY alliance rise from the ashes?

By Harold Acemah

Uganda as a political idea expressed in geographical terms was born in 1894 and this year marks the 120th anniversary of that idea. One need not be a genius to realise that this worthy idea, which was conceived by the British in the 19th Century, is now seriously threatened by corruption and gross mismanagement of Uganda’s national affairs by the NRM regime.

Since extraordinary challenges demand extraordinary solutions, a revival of the UPC-KY alliance to save Uganda from degenerating into a failed State, is not altogether a far-fetched idea. The name Uganda was coined by the British from Buganda.

Politics has been defined as the art of the possible and one of its primary goals is to win power peacefully and democratically for the purpose providing public goods and services to the wananchi. In the pursuit of this objective, there are no permanent enemies.

A strategic alliance between two previously bitter political rivals such as Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto for the specific goal of winning an election happened in Kenya on March 4, 2013; such a coalition of strange bedfellows are the stuff politics is made of and has always thrived from time immemorial.

Against this background, a revival of the 1960s strategic alliance between the Uganda Peoples’ Congress and Kabaka Yekka, a social movement, for the purpose of ridding Uganda of a corrupt and mafia-like regime (to borrow a leaf from former Vice President Gilbert Bukenya) should not be unthinkable. It is possible, desirable and overdue. I believe it is our patriotic duty to forge such an alliance which has the potential to rescue Uganda from impending disaster.

A revival of the UPC-KY alliance, like the Jubilee Alliance which won Kenya’s 2013 elections, would save Uganda from the shameless coalition of imposters, thieves, tribalists, conmen, liars and men of violence who have for almost three decades taken the good people of Uganda for a rough ride. It is feasible, viable and a winning ticket for 2016, especially if the alliance is led by a patriotic and charismatic Ugandan with a national outlook.

Since winning elections is to all intents and purposes a question of numbers, a massive support for a revived UPC-KY alliance from Buganda, the greater north and parts of eastern Uganda would result in a landslide victory and unleash change of tsunami proportions in Uganda. It may sound like wishful thinking, but that wish can and should be realised for the sake of Uganda.

UPC, which is a nationalist party, has learnt the bitter lessons of Uganda’s post-colonial history to the extent that it cannot afford to repeat the mistakes made in the 1960s which culminated in the 1966 crisis whose dire consequences cost Ugandans dearly. One hopes our fellow citizens in the kingdom of Buganda have done likewise because we have a lot more in common than our differences.

Ugandans cannot change or rewrite their history, good, bad and ugly, but we must learn and draw the necessary lessons from our history so that we can march forward with confidence, united and free for liberty. It is possible and it can be done. In addition, we must learn to forgive each other and coexist peacefully.

One of the things which we Africans find difficult to do is let bygones be bygones. Too many Africans find it difficult to implement that part of the Lord’s Prayer which says: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.

We tend to have long memories and hold petty little grudges for ages, not realising that hatred and all negative thinking drains our energy and is unhealthy for the body, mind and soul. We all make mistakes, but we should not be held hostage by the past because of the hardness of our hearts and a wholly unforgiving mindset.

If Ugandans can find the heart and strength to make a clean break with the past, I believe we can build a bright future for the Pearl of Africa, which God has blessed with abundant human and natural resources. You don’t have to be a genius to see that the NRM regime has no useful agenda and programme for the wananchi of Uganda who have been hoodwinked and exploited mercilessly by the regime since 1986!

Time has come for Ugandans to peacefully and democratically free themselves from bondage and the best way forward is for the north and south to bury the hatchet and open a new chapter based on common interest and mutual respect. One issue on which we are now agreed is the need for a federal system of governance for Uganda.

The quest for a “Nile Republic” is a manifestation of the greater north’s yearning for a loose association within Uganda. The north has been humiliated like Buganda whose king cannot even move freely within his own kingdom and the north has further been marginalised for so long that most northerners feel time has come for them to struggle on their own to rebuild the shattered lives of their impoverished people without unnecessary mental anguish, harassment, torture and exploitation.

Our common desires and wishes can be realised peacefully and constitutionally if we join hands and form an alliance to contest the 2016 elections. We shall address all pending issues and burning questions on the national agenda after the elections but let us, first and foremost, strive to win a decisive victory at the polls in order to be equipped with our peoples’ mandate to transform Uganda and Africa for the better.
Aluta continua!
Mr Acemah is a political scientist, consultant and a retired career diplomat