Sunday, February 22, 2015


The Free Uganda chairman, Gen David Sejusa, will get his retirement. It is his right, not a favour.
(By Dr Vincent Magombe, Secretary Free Uganda Leadership Committee and Press Secretary FU) 11 February 2015

Of late, the local Ugandan media has been speculating about and gambling on the small matter of when and how General David Sejusa, the Chairman of Free Uganda, will be awarded his ‘retirement’ from the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), and whether Mr Museveni will use this ‘retirement’ tool for selfish political motives, or he will do the honourable thing and "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar”.

Free Uganda Chairman, Gen David Sejusa

General Sejusa and Free Uganda have been quiet about this matter for obvious reasons – there is nothing to worry about. General David Sejusa will soon get his retirement. He will get it honourably and with dignity, for, he served his country honourably and diligently, when service called for him to do so. Naturally, as a citizen of Uganda, he does not have to beg to be retired, but only to formally apply and “he shall be retired.” General Sejusa has now done his bit of paperwork, and he is waiting for others to do theirs as simply and expeditiously as the law requires, and as respectfully as he has respected them.

For Free Uganda, the retirement of General Sejusa from the army is not a problem we are focusing on right now. We know that the general will soon be given what is due to him – by right, not by favour. The matter is being superbly handled on behalf of the General by a team of the most prolific and tested lawyers. Where Free Uganda will come in, is if those entrusted to keep and promote the law are seen to flout and violate the same law. As for now, FU will not say what its next step will be, but, without doubt, the liberation platform will act if need be.

In the meantime, undeterred by the little matter of Gen Sejusa’s ‘retirement’, Free Uganda continues with its patriotic duty of working for democratic and political transformation of the country. The relocation of the liberation platform to Uganda has been exciting, as it is been educational. Free Uganda entered Uganda only to find that the forces of change within the country, especially the traditional opposition parties, were making their best efforts, but some of their strategies and tactics were truly lacking in what it takes to cause the desired change.

As most Ugandans will note, most of the country’s anti-regime groups, including the traditional parties, have the good will and motivation to oust the current rulers of the country, but what they have failed to do is to marshal all their energies and actions through a winning formula. How on earth did they think that you can win major political battles, against an entrenched autocratic regime, through fatal in-fights and divisions, not just between the different groups, but even within each of the groups? 

How do you win a war against a common enemy when you see each other as enemies? And crucially, how do you win your battles when you do not welcome new forces who have a winning formula to join you?

Free Uganda has laboured extensively on the question of how sustainable change can be achieved in Uganda. In the past, winning groups saw all those associated in any way or form with the beaten rulers as enemies. 

So Idi Amin goes, and all his tribesmen and women plus all those who worked in the Idi Amin government must be destroyed. Obote goes, and all his ‘people’ are the enemy. The Okellos are forced to leave, and all Acholis are enemies to be destroyed. What defective approaches! How much more wrong could Ugandans have been about how you bring about sustainable change after a traumatic period of inter-ethnic, self-destructive conflicts, like those that have characterised Uganda since independence! 

The consequences of such defective approaches are glaring for all to see, and yet, it seems, Ugandans are slow learners of history. Something that has continued to manifest in more and more self-destructive conflicts and mutual obliteration, as recent history shows.
Today, many Ugandans, especially those who belong to the elite political classes continue to manifest these dangerous attitudes towards all those who have served in the NRM government. 

And so, they falsely convince themselves that sustainable victory can be achieved by destroying the UPDF as a national army and alienating each and every citizen who has ever been any one of sorts in the Museveni regime. Forgetting that wars and conflicts of our recent past have all been caused by the vanquished fighting back at the victors. Truth be told, if UPDF as a national army is left to Mr Museveni, any hopes of sustainable change will remain empty.

As Mr Nobert Mao, the President of the Democratic Party (DP), rightly and eloquently put it recently, “…it is very important whose side the army is when a monumental change is taking place. Let me tell you; when the army decides to stick with the dictator, change is practically impossible.” As Gen Sejusa, the Free Uganda Chairman, has stated, this does not mean that the UPDF will remain unchanged in the new democratic dispensation. 

For starters, the role of the army, the police and all the country’s security services will have to inevitable change. Instead of the service men and women seeing their role as guardians of the Presidency and the president, they will have to go back to the original mission of being the defenders of Country and People. That role has been severely undermined in the 3 decades of undemocratic governance and constitutional violations on the part of those who have ruled the country.  

Ugandans warming up to Free Uganda Message.
Since General Sejusa returned to Uganda, fronting the relocation of the Free Uganda liberation platform to the Motherland, the country has been gripped by what can only be described as the Sejusa Fever.

Week after week, the local Ugandan media and online publications have competed against each other as to who could publish the most sensational exclusive about Free Uganda and its Chairman. Political pundits and elites from across the political spectrum joined the fray, making pronouncements after pronouncements – some of which were a little extravagant.
Evidently, some of the stories have been spot on, telling what it is as it should be told, others, nevertheless, got it so wrong that even a baby of three could have easily seen through the lies.
And why didn’t Free Uganda respond to the quandary of pronouncements and mis-pronouncements? Majorly because there was no need really. Of what use would it be for FU to engage in diversionary counter-productive rhetoric, that would deflect it from the actual work of organising and mobilising for change, in a country where the only way political freedom can come about is not from how much anti-regime forces can talk or debate between themselves and against the regime, but from how systemic, calculating and focused they are in their strategizing and operational dynamics. 

But also, why would Free Uganda engage in overly wasteful arguments and counter-arguments, when there was always the trusted measure of truths and untruths – time itself.
Free Uganda always knew that with time, the truth would unravel for all to see. And indeed it has unravelled in all its starkness, making it impossible for lies to be peddled as truths anymore. 

With the Free Uganda Chairman working tirelessly at the frontline of the People’s struggle - on the set agenda, whose mission was pre-determined before he left London, the central lie, that sought to make Ugandans believe that Gen Sejusa had returned home to re-join the NRM government, was quickly obliterated. Other minor untruths have also melted away, like blocks of ice under the heat of the sun.

It is amazing how many Ugandans, mainly simple citizens on the streets, in towns and villages across the country, on university and college campuses, in military and police barracks – everywhere - are warming up to the Free Uganda message of “how to fight a corrupt and oppressive regime in a new way, using new methods, strategies and tactics.”

Free Uganda is convinced that the change that Ugandans desire, and have struggled for decades without achieving, can only come about when all those who are engaged in that struggle begin to realise that the freedom battles of today cannot be fought using yesterday’s tactics and strategies. Were we to win using the ways of yesterday, the change that will come cannot and will not be sustainable.
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Martha Leah Nangalama
BELIEVE! I wept because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet." Ancient Persian saying  I am a Social Justice and Human Rights Activist. Find me on Face Book.  All my opinions are mine and do not reflect on any employer or organisation.  
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