I have known President Museveni since 1969 when I was a student at Makerere University and worked with him as minister in various portfolios of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
I was in exile in Tanzania with President Museveni from 1977 to 1979. I actively participated in the Moshi Confarence. I was a Member of Parliament for 20 years between 1979 to 2011 with interruptions. Therefore, I have a wealth of knowledge and experience about Uganda politics and President Museveni.
I signed the International Criminal Court (ICC) petition with much regret and a heavy heart. At the signing, I said that I love Museveni but I love Uganda more. Museveni came to power when the nation-state of Uganda was in a very serious crisis.
Former president Milton Obote and his UPC government had been overthrown by his military commanders who miserably failed to govern Uganda.
Many Ugandans and I welcomed Museveni on his promises to build a new Uganda based on the NRM 10-Point Programme, among which were democracy, respect for human rights and freedoms, peace, unity, development and clean leadership.
Museveni has now been in power for 33 years and his mixed record is there for everyone to see. I served Museveni as minister for a total of nearly 10 years, but I was also arrested, humiliated, tortured, imprisoned not for any criminal act, but due to political disagreements.
The long story of Museveni in power for 33 years now has been characterised by militarism, corruption, abuse of human rights and freedoms, rigging of elections, nepotism, tribalism, power greed, amendment of the 1995 Constitution, disrespect of and weakening of Parliament, undermining multiparty democracy, and violently repressing Opposition.
I am very worried about the future of Uganda which should be rooted in strong institutions that can guarantee stability, peace, unity, development and humanity. What we have under Museveni is a strong personal rule, which is not sustainable.
The ICC Petition is a desperate appeal to an external international body to assist Uganda solve its problem since there are now no available internal options.
Parliament is very weak and works like an extension of President Museveni and the Executive. The Judiciary has failed to deliver justice in all the presidential election and age limit cases.
The ordinary citizen and the voters are terrified and politically blind. The churches are divided, compromised and lack courage to speak for the voiceless. The elections are militarised, commercialised and rigged. In the circumstance, the only viable option is the ICC and the international community.
- Let me use this opportunity to advise President Museveni that all is not lost. It is still possible to reverse the dangerous trend the government is taking by doing the following minimum things:-
Respect, promote and defend human rights and freedoms of Ugandans.
- Stop all forms of militarism in the country.
- Build a non-partisan national army, intelligence and professional police.
- Allow the Opposition to operate freely under multiparty democracy and peaceful competition for power in Uganda.
- Ensure that the forthcoming 2021 General Election is truly credible, free, fair, transparent and non-violent as it will be a watershed test to your long leadership.
- Stop all forms of corruption and let the corrupt account.
Prepare the country for a transition from yourself to a successor.
Mr Atubo is a former minister/MP Otuke.