Last week I reproduced an abridged version of my presentation at the 5th Apolo Milton Obote Memorial Lecture held on October 17 in Kampala. Below is a continuation:
Since national unity is one of the primary goals of Uganda, party unity is not only a critical and necessary component, but also UPC’s contribution to the long term mission and objective of forging a nation out of many ethnic groups within a geographical territory called Uganda.
Historically UPC is two years older than the sovereign State of Uganda which was born on October 9, 1962, but the idea of Uganda was born as long ago as 1894. Since ideas have no colour or tribe, we can safely embrace and nurture the idea of Uganda as a nation without feeling any sense of guilt or shame because it is a good, progressive and positive idea which has stood the test of time. It is an idea which UPC, more than any Ugandan political party and organisation, has championed and fought relentlessly for since colonial days.
Time to redefine UPC’s objectives and goals
UPC should redefine its objectives and goals for the 21st Century and below are some ideas for consideration and discussion.
1. Defend and protect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Uganda and build one united country with one people and one national government;
2. Defend and protect the natural resources of Uganda from plunder and illegal exploitation;
3. Protect and promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Ugandans;
4. Ensure that the rule of law prevails in Uganda and is respected by all Ugandans, especially political leaders and the security agents;
5. Promote welfare of the youth, women and disadvantaged citizens of Uganda who deserve affirmative action in the short term;
6. Promote regional cooperation in East Africa and African unity;
7. Support efforts of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security and promote peaceful settlement of disputes;
8. Promote South-South cooperation and international cooperation for peace and development;
9. Promote national dialogue as the only viable means to address challenges and solve problems which face Uganda;
10. Eradicate poverty, ignorance and disease in order to uplift the standard of living of all Ugandans.
Let me end with a personal testimony. I joined UPC 50 years ago in 1967 when I was a freshman at the University of East Africa, Makerere Campus. The chairman of UPC Makerere Branch at that time was a colleague in New Hall (Nkrumah), Mr Paul Kidimu from Mbale. I joined for many reasons, one of which was because my father, an Anglican priest, was a committed and life-long member of UPC.
I was pleased to see many young men and women from Makerere University and other institutions of higher learning at the memorial lecture. Many of the students posed pertinent questions or raised relevant issues for discussion and reflection. The future of UPC and Uganda depends on the youth whose cause and interests Obote championed and promoted wholeheartedly during the 1960s and 1980s.
Uganda is at a dangerous crossroads. Our country is bogged down with petty, irrelevant and worthless issues, such as, the ongoing backward, futile and useless debate on a proposal to amend article 102(b) of the Constitution. How low will the shameless ruling clique sink into the abyss of moral decadence?
I believe UPC is the last hope for a peaceful and prosperous future which Ugandans desire and deserve. In order to achieve its objectives, UPC must perforce unite, rise and regain its past glory because UPC has a moral obligation to fulfil its historic mission for Uganda and Africa.
Ambassador Acemah is a political scientist and retired career diplomat.