Opinion: People power and politics of liberation


Asuman Odaka.
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By Asuman Odaka

People Power (Amani g’Abantu) as a political slogan calling people to action first emerged as a political statement from the Bugiri Municipality Elections that brought Hon. Asuman Basalirwa to parliament. Credit is given to the few who originated the slogan that is threatening to take Mr. Museveni to his waterloo.

People Power and the Law

The mindset of the people who promulgated the 1995 Constitution had people/citizens in mind as the only source of political legitimacy.

Article 1(1) declares that all power belongs to the people….and Article 1(2).  “…….all authority in the state emanates from the people of Uganda and the people shall be governed through their WILL and CONSENT. 

Article 3 intended to empower the people to defend their power.

Article 52(1) says the Uganda Human Rights commission shall; (f): educate and encourage the people to defend the constitution at all times against all forms of abuse and violations.

Chapter four (Bill of rights) is all to guarantee the rights of the owners of the power – the people.

The establishment of the legislature (Chapter Six), the executive (Chapter Seven), and the judiciary (Chapter Eight) were some of the ways in which peoples’ power are intended to be manifesting through both delegative and representative forms.

The constitution further distributes forms in which citizens (people) exercise their power;

1. Directly; this is done through Right to Vote. Article 59(1) gives this right to every person above eighteen years. It’s non-transferable and can’t even be inherited. So When Hon. Kyagulanyi aka HEBobi Wine and Basalirwa are telling people to register as voters, they are not only in order but fundamentally doing the work of UHRC.

Unfortunately I have heard the police victimizing them instead of sponsoring them to more.

2. Through Elected Representative: the outcome of every election is the leaders whose declaration must reflect the WILL and CONSENT of the people. All electoral laws are intended to strengthen and legitimize this front of peoples’ power.

3. Through Civic organization: Article 38 (2). “Every Ugandan has a right to participate in peaceful activities to influence the policies of government through CIVIC ORGANISATION”. In the context of Uganda, civic organizations include NGOs, professional bodies, pressure groups among others. The laws establishing these and or regulating them are intended to strengthen the people’s power in this direction.

In other words if we were not unfortunate to be ruled by the gunmen, our laws (as they are in the law books ) are laws that  presuppose that no arm/department of government should do anything without reflective endorsement of the popular will and consent of the people of Uganda. So anybody doing what HE. Bobi Wine and HE. Basalirwa Asuman are doing is grounded in law, so one can content that People Power is Our Power.

People Power and liberation politics

I have written about liberation politics before as opposed to election politics.

Election politics involves suite wearers and  air conditioned boardroom conferences with nice speeches, presentation of party/candidates platforms, manifestoes, adhering to the set rules by all contestants, feeling of equality by all, ownership of the process because of its consultative nature.

It’s normally predominantly a business of the elites with timeframe and defined entities with specific qualification.  It reduces the politics to those who can understand complex connection between politics, governance and service delivery or the absence of it.

Liberation politics on the other hand is the closest to war or similar to activities prior to war. 

Here, universally, the conclusion reached is that this government must go because its action is going to be more injurious to the country, and once the conclusion is agreed upon like it’s in Uganda, it no longer remains a business of the elites but the ghetto dwellers.

The people will choose their leader, agree on a liberation slogan even actions sometimes, become intolerant to any view against or intended to divert them from the path they have chosen.

Politics as defined by the dictator’s institution and rules begin losing relevancy and the goal turns to how to dismantle the dictator’s governance infrastructures, cronies, and sympathizers.

The would be entertainers (singers, comedians sometimes even witches) make direct entry to politics because they are the ones who appear closest to the people. People seeking visa will stop going to the embassies responsible but rush to their pastors and witch doctors, churches will operate 24/7. The faint hearted will crowd passport offices to get passport to flee the conditions at home. These conditions can be economic or political.

Witch doctors and pastors will be more important than formal or elected leadership in societies

Daily news will be defined by scandals, rot and grand stealing of public resources, the regime will increasingly become vicious against any bold figure head who tries to speak for the people, visible security will be everywhere as a strategy to intimidate the public against speaking out on the regimes excesses. Unexplained deaths, tragedies and sophisticated murders styles.

Land grabbing is normally the manifest of the panic by the regime thieves to guarantee their continued ill-gotten wealth. The regime cronies despite heavy security around them will continue putting on bold faces that things are okay.

Peoples’ anger must be exploited; every mistake in the country is personalized to the regime leader and close family members in a conscious and targeted way.

When all these are in place, then you know the infrastructures for liberation are in place. My opinion is that we are right in the middle of liberation politics.

The recent anger towards Dr. Besigye’s statement about Twebereremu is evidence that the people are choosing a liberation leader, the rampant land grabbing, stealing and illegal eviction is that the thieves are looking for safe avenues to conceal their ill-gotten wealth and land provides best options.

Bank of Uganda scandals, Kutesa bribery embarrassment, Lusanja land eviction, the Bebe cool bottle debacle, Jose Chameleon / Ruth Nankabirwa saga at the concert, the fullness of the Pentecostal Churches, the rate at which people are flocking the witch doctors, the crowd at passport offices, the anger among the people, the security on our streets, the conduct of the regime security forces and the personalization of everything by the  regime leader are a few out of the many evidences that we are crossing this political waters.

The climb will certainly be steep, the road will be rocky and thorny but the distance has shortened. I have never seen a people so determined to end their suffering under a pretending regime.

For now let me wish you a liberating 2019.

The writer is former MP candidate, Tororo municipality 2016
WhatsApp: +256753195384


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