The NRA/NRM went to the bush in 1980 to restore democracy and rule of law. This was on account of a disputed 1980 election. The capture of power by the NRM meant ushering in a new political dispensation in which democracy would prevail and this explains why Museveni said it was not a mere change of guards but a fundamental change.
36 years down the road, rebel activities have remained as means to express political dissent. There is no month that passes without hearing of insecurity incidents happening and they are linked to rebel groups. The recent attacks on police in Busiika in Luwero district were being one of them.
This was followed by a raid by the UPDF on the farm of Rtd Maj Kakooza Mutale in Luwero this week on reports that he was training a rebel group which turned out to be untrue as the said trainees were said to be trained in modern agriculture.
Earlier in June this year, Policemen and soldiers of Uganda People’s Defense Forces raided a cave at Kireku village in Luwero district and forcefully disbanded a group 70 people who were allegedly undergoing radicalism in Islam, which was believed to be linked to rebel activities. Recently, Hajj Naduli’s family members were arrested and reportedly interrogated on the missing gun that was grabbed at a police station in Luwero recently, an incident that had been linked to rebel activities.
From these and many other incidents, it is evident that the government of Uganda has been either suspicious of rebel activities or else indeed there are ongoing rebel activities in the country.
Unless it is a scheme by government officials to siphon money, we can not take such allegations lightly because such reports cause fear among the population and undermine development as some investors can’t bring in their money. Most importantly, our budget for defense and security will keep soaring in order to prepare for these so-called rebels.
However, the big question should be, is the government interested in knowing why these rebel groups are being formed? Are our leaders interested in getting to the root cause of the problem or do they enjoy dealing with the symptom after all it pays better?
If NRM thinks it has delivered democracy, why are people so frustrated that they have to engage in rebel activities to sort their grievances? Why are we not having rebel activities in Kenya or Tanzania?
Do the leaders think about the levels of frustration in the country? Do they think about the cumulative effect of unemployment, land grabbing, high cost of doing business, poverty, human rights abuses to mention but a few and how this could explode any time?
The NRM needs to know that they have betrayed Ugandans. They have made Ugandans hopeless that they can have peaceful means of resolving political differences. As John F Kennedy put it, that if you make a peaceful change impossible, you make a violent change inevitable.
If the NRM can’t address the fundamental questions that are causing rebel activities, then the democracy they ushered in was just a hoax.