Sunday, February 26, 2006

Ugandan Elections 2006: 'til the cows come home

Museveni wins. The people of Uganda will have to wait 'til the cows come home for real democracy and political freedom to take hold, yet again.

Personally I find the fact that Museveni has won a third term as President of Uganda an affront on the struggles for true democracy all across Africa and around the world. That the Ugandan Parliament changed the country’s consititution to allow Museveni to remain in power speaks volumes about the real intentions of this leader and his political party, the National Resistance Movement. What is the NRM Party resisting, Democracy? At least the opposition party led by Dr. Kizza Besigye uses the word democratic in their name (Forum for Democratic Change). Note: this statement is not a political endorsement for Dr. Besigye and the FDC, so just relax and read on.

I remember back in 2003 when I had my first opportunity to discuss Ugandan politics and African regional issues with one of my few friends from Uganda who I will call
Mr. Busoga to protect his real identity. Mr. Busoga is an intelligent, engaged member of the community in Jinja, Uganda’s second largest city, located at the source of the White Nile River on Lake Victoria* about 80 Km from the capital of the country, Kampala. He is a Christian minister who has experience working with local and international NGO’s in Uganda and Rwanda, and he is a longtime member of the National Resistance Movement (the NRM). During our first meeting here in Germany we became involved in a lively discussion over politics and I can remember saying to him and his colleagues:

“Yoweri Museveni should not consider running again for President of Uganda but should instead prepare to step down and turn over the reigns of power to a younger candidate democratically elected by the people of Uganda. President Museveni should go back to farming and taking care of his cows.”

The look on my friend’s face was first shock, then bewilderment, and then anger. It was like he was saying to himself, “Who are you to be telling me about my president when YOUR president is invading Iraq and killing innocent women and children!!” Ugandans generally being a very polite people and loathe to seek a fight with total strangers (especially from Europe or America), Mr. Busoga offered no verbal rebuttal to my statement at the time. He did say to his colleagues afterwards when I had left that I was definitely an agent working for the
CIA. Ridiculous! The UK’s MI-6 would have been a better guess if their food wasn’t so bad and the assignments so lousy and they weren't so damn British.

Nonetheless Mr. Busoga and I had several communications about the politics of Uganda and the cross-border
crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the crisis in northern Uganda over a period of several months after his return to Uganda. I was able to learn more about how Mr. Busoga felt about a variety of national and global issues. A good friendship was started as a result of our meetings and communications and I am very pleased to have him as a friend today. Haven’t heard from him in awhile though. Could it have been something I said?

Anyway, back to Yoweri Museveni and the 2006 presidential and parliamentary elections in Uganda. When Yoweri Museveni came to power in 1986 after a series of bloody guerilla wars (using lots of child soldiers) resulting in the toppling of the infamous psychopath Idi Amin, followed by another dictator Milton Obote and the brief (6 month) rule of Tito Okello, Yoweri Museveni declared in his very own words to the whole world:

"The problem of Africa in general and Uganda in particular is not the people but leaders who want to overstay in power."

In a
recent interview on the CNN Inside Africa program President Yoweri Museveni was confronted with that very issue by CNN Africa correspondent Jeff Koinange. Museveni had the same look on his face that I saw on my friend’s face 3 years prior: shock, bewilderment, & anger. Except in this case it was Museveni putting on his trademark “act of defiance” face for international TV audiences and the few people in Uganda who can afford CNNI TV programming via cable or satellite reception. I couldn’t help but thinking to myself while viewing the program what kind of look would Museveni have on his face if key international donor countries decided to turn-off the money tap to his corrupt regime. Fat chance of that happening according to this February 26th Op-Ed article from Reuters: “Analysis: Uganda’s Museveni keeps his cows waiting” and I quote:

Museveni's win leaves Western donors in a dilemma. Unhappy that the constitution was changed to allow him to run for a third term, they were further infuriated by the brief detention of Besigye prior to the election on rape and treason charges, which then hampered his campaign. Some, including Britain, the main donor and former colonial power, cut aid. Now, however, they must continue dealing with Museveni, knowing further aid suspensions will only hurt Uganda's 27 million people, many of whom live in extreme poverty.

"The reaction of Western governments will generally be one of resignation," said British analyst
Tom Cargill. "Although no one will be particularly excited about it, most Western countries have accepted Museveni is here to stay, and they are not so unhappy given that stability is a major concern for many donors."

To make matters worse, Ugandan first lady
Janet Museveni has won an important seat in Parliament, making sure that power remains firmly “in the family” just in case something happens to hubby Yoweri. Mrs. Museveni’s candidacy was a bonafide case of “divine intervention” according to reports. Divine rule. Now where have we heard that concept before?

So, that’s it for this week’s report on
The Long Road to Democracy in Africa. Tune in again next week when we report on the fast-breaking news story“Picking up cowpies (aka BS) along the Road to Freedom”. In the meantime please take time to read the excellent blog posts, articles, and online multimedia presentations about Museveni’s Uganda assembled from some of the best in the online news and publishing business today. Ya’ll come back now, you here?

MSM online news articles and op-eds:

Google News search:
Uganda Museveni elections

Yahoo! News – CNN Video reports from Africa Correspondent Jeff Koinange
Uganda President fights for re-election (Feb. 22, 2006)
Afraid of the dark - plight of children in northern Uganda (Feb. 25, 2006)
Interview with opposition candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye (Feb. 22, 2006)

IRIN News:
Voting underway in presidential and parliamentary polls (Feb. 23, 2006)
Hunting for political support in neglected North (Feb. 15, 2006)
Profile on President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (Feb. 15, 2006)
Profile on main opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye (Feb. 15, 2006)

Reuters AlertNet:
Uganda’s Museveni keeps his cows waiting (Feb. 26, 2006)
Uganda votes in first multi-party poll in 25 years (Feb 23, 2006)
Uganda’s Museveni banks on support from ex-war zone (Feb 20, 2006)
Crisis Profile: What’s going on in Northern Uganda? (Jun 07, 2005)
Factbox: key facts on Uganda (Feb 22, 2006)

BBC News Online
Uganda’s Museveni wins elections – Feb. 25, 2006

The L.A. Times
Uganda’s Lurking Tyrant – Feb. 23, 2006
Stopping Uganda’s War on Children – Feb. 24, 2006

The East African Online Feb. 20-26, 2006 edition
Whoever wins, don’t you dare let Ugandans down… by Joachim Buwembo

The Monitor Online (Ugandan independent newspaper)
Your day to choose (Feb 23, 2006)
Inside Politics - Besigye vs Museveni Part I (can’t find it!?)
Inside Politics - Besigye vs Museveni Part II (Feb 22, 2006)
Multiparty or Military State by Andrew M. Mwenda (Feb 22, 2006)

PINR – The Power & Interest News Report
Museveni on the ropes, instability ahead - Jan. 04, 2006
Uganda’s upcoming presidential elections - Jul. 22, 2005

The Washington Post
Museveni warns on foregin meddlers - Feb 21, 2006
Ugandans put "Big Man" politics to vote - Feb 22, 2006

Wired News article on 2001 Presidential elections
Ploy intimidates Ugandan voters? – Feb. 28, 2001

Uganda’s Museveni wins flawed poll – Mar. 20, 2001

Top Bloggers coverage of the Ugandan elections and more:

Kenyan Pundit - Feb 22, 2006
Commentary on the Ugandan elections
( w/ full text from speech given by Professor Dr. Joe Oloka-Onyango. Dr Oloka-Onyango is a professor of law and the Director, Makerere University Human Rights and Peace Centre. His paper 'The socio-political context of the 2006 elections' was presented at the East African Law Society Symposium on Elections Law, Conduct and Dispute Resolution in Kampala on February 20, 2006.)

My Heart’s in Accra by Ethan Zuckerman
The Pitch is “not level” – Feb. 21, 2006
What to watch in the Ugandan election – Jan 09, 2006

The Head Heeb – Feb. 23, 2006
Decision in Uganda – Feb. 23, 2006
On the nature of occupation: the Congo Judgment considered – Dec. 19, 2005

Yebo Gogo – Feb. 23, 2006
Ugandan Elections

Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone for Yahoo! News
Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone - Uganda October 2005
Reflections from the Hot Zone - Uganda Justice, Grace and Defiance: What I learned from a 15-year old pregnant Ugandan girl.

Independent journalist Ruud Elmendorp’s blog
Africa Videoreporter
Ruud’s video reports gallery (Note: Jimmy of Uganda is my favorite)
Ruud’s Uganda country page

P. Scott Cummins (The Urbane R):
More warnings of civil war for Uganda Note: (corrected PINR report links below)
Museveni on the ropes, instability ahead
Uganda’s upcoming presidential elections
Blake Lambert asks the big question about Uganda
(Christian Science Monitors’s Notebook Africa)
What kind of democracy is this? - Jan. 04, 2006
Note: P. Scott Cummins has been hammering away at Museveni for ages. See his archives for lots more news and “Urbane R” analysis.

Other Online Resources:

“Who Killed Democracy in Africa?” - by Dr. Ali A. Mazrui, ICGS Director @ Binghamton State University of New York


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Coretta Scott King: Tributes from around the world

As a follow-up to my earlier posting on the death of Coretta Scott King I would like to open with some words from this great woman. Apparently a number of people out there raising Hell around the world today via violent protests just didn’t get her message so I will repeat it here:

“We must make our hearts instruments of Peace and Non-Violence because when the heart is right, the mind and the body will follow.”

The second thing that I would like to do is to correct my earlier statement about where Coretta Scott King died. It is now known that Mrs. King died in a small,
private alternative health and rehabilitation center located in Rosarito Beach, Mexico just south of San Diego, California. The hospital has since been closed pending an investigation by Mexican government health authorities. Apparently my January 31st news source (the mainstream press) got it wrong by associating the Hospital Santa Monica with Santa Monica, California. There may be a mildly brewing controversy over the Mexican hospital’s practices according to an article in the New York Times “Clinic where Coretta King died attracts the desperate” and this article at the United States - Mexico Border Health Commission website and this article about Dr. Kurt Donsbach at

As I was explaining (teaching) to some of my eager young West African friends from Togo and Gabon and Liberia this afternoon during a conversation about the late
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his beautiful wife Coretta Scott King, their struggles, actions, and words of wisdom were for ALL people who seek justice and freedom from oppression, not only for black Americans and for other minorities that live in the United States of America. ALL People! Black White Green Brown Blue and Yellow … and Red too! Everybody. My how we will miss you, Mrs. Coretta Scott King.

I’d like to leave you with these beautiful words from the young and talented Atlanta, Georgia poet Aria Nicole, who had the opportunity to meet Mrs. King in person and visit some of the landmarks associated with the MLK Legacy:
(Note: our thanks to Sue MacDonald at Blogpulse Newswire for the hot tip!)

“Soon one morning when this life is over I’ll fly away”

This song always reminds me of my grandmother. It was one of her fovorite songs and also one that she personnally requested to be sang at her funeral. Today this song has been heavy on my mind. I have been very heavy hearted all day today over the news that Mrs. Coretta Scott King passed away. My heart and spirit are always heavy when we, especially those of us in the black community lose such iconic figurers. But today, I feel it truly is the end of an era. The King legacy is now forever changed. Mrs. Coretta Scott King is the one and only person from the civil rights movement that I was ever fortunate enough to meet and share her space. Even if it was for just a little while. …” (Read more)

Views and eulogies from American bloggers:
Shay of
Booker Rising blog (multiple postings):
Something else should have been buried yesterday
Mrs. King’s Funeral – Kneegrows, Bush, and Black People
Quotes from King Funeral
Corretta Scott Kings dies at 78
The Death of a Queen

Cliopatria blog at
History News Network (George Mason University)
Speaking Truth to Power by Ralph E. Luker
Farewell to Two Feminists by Ralph E. Luker
Coretta Scott King was more than just Dr. King’s wife by Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Note: also see History News Network search for
Coretta Scott King

Atlanta author and poet Aria Nicole “
The End of an Era
Blogpulse Newswire “
Condolences for Coretta Scott King

Views and eulogies from African bloggers:
Letter from Lidia:
No One Will Fill Her Shoes
Mshairi: Two Women
Chippla’s Weblog: Coretta Scott King
Ethnic Loft: Relatives of Yesterday – Celebrating Black History Month

Articles from the African Press (via
Zambia (The Post):
Mama Coretta King
Namibia (New Era): Nujoma, Pohamba pay homage to late King

Articles and features from the American Press and Media:
PBS Online News Hour (video):
Farewell to Coretta Scott King
The Washington Post: A Full Partner in the Dream
Coretta Scott King’s Legacy Celebrated in Final Farewell

Additional online resources:
Google News search:
Coretta Scott King
Technorati blog search: Coretta Scott King
Intelliseek’s Blogpulse search: Coretta Scott King
Blogger (Google) blog search: Coretta Scott King

Stanford University:
The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute
Wikipedia: Coretta Scott King

Technorati Tags: