By Moses Ntare
President Museveni’s words in Sheema municipality, That urged people not to vote others candidates other than those of the ruling party (NRM) saying that the Opposition do not attend NRM caucas where national issues are made – was deeply troubling, embrassing and a dangerous blow against our Constitution.
It was the 20th of July when the president said those words, when he was campaigning for the NRM flagbearer Hon Elioda Tumwesigye. I know it’s a battle where a party must win the seat for that matter, but a sitting president, who has ruled for more than 3 decades to openly utter words against our Constitution was a disaster.
We very well know that we are in multi party dispensation as the Constitution allows that! But should issues concerning national importance exclude members of the Opposition? Why do the Opposition members of Parliament not attend “the NRM caucas where national issues are made” yet they are democratically elected to delegate Ugandans in Parliament?
I mean the they should attend that caucas or else that caucas should cease to exist for the government to respect the Ugandans who sent them (opposition) to parliament.
And in that regard, it shouldn’t be called the NRM caucas yet the Constitution allows multiparty politics, it should be called the national caucus for the Opposition to come in, or else leave such issues of national importance to parliament.
Museveni’s words not only proved to the world that the Opposition has no place in the country, but also that his authoritarian regime can broadcast to everyone how they are abusing the Constitution!
We tend to assume that the threat to democracies comes from coups or violent revolutions, but in modern times, democracy has completely withered at the hands of leaders who gained power initially through voting.
And this happened in Peru, Venezuela, Ukraine, Ecuador, Hungary and so many other countries.
Venezuela had one of the excellent democracies in the world for example, the populist Hugo Charez tapped frustrations of ordinary citizens to be elected president in 1995. A survey that was conducted in the same year in Venezuela said that an overwhelming number of people believed that democracy is always the better form of government – with only a few supporting authoritarianism yet against their will, Venezuelans slid into autocracy.
Am not a sadist nor do I intend to be one, but if the NRM caucas continues to discuss matters of national importance, excluding members of the Opposition our democracy would continue to rot, and would cost our future.
It’s Time for our political leadership to respect the Constitution for democracy to grow! Museveni’s words showd how our institutions have been influenced.
Universities, the media, electoral commission, Parliament and the judiciary – democracy is impossible without them.
What distinguishes Democratic from authoritarian regimes is not the greater honesty of Democratic politicians. The saving grace of democracies is the existing of neutral, politically independent institutions capable of safeguarding truth from the politics of prevarication.
Our society cannot function without strong Democratic institutions to protect and preserve the public good..
Any leader who shows a weak commitment to Democratic rules, denies legitimacy of opponents, tolerates violence, shows willingness to curb civil liberties or the media – that leader causes democracy to decay.
I dare say, for the sake of multi party dispensation, let there be party caucuses but national issues must be discussed with all dully elected members of Parliament, either from opposition or from the ruling party all present.
If not that, Uganda would be sliding into autocracy like Venezuela.