Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Four opposition parties, the National Unity Platform, the Democratic Party, the Alliance for National Transformation and the Forum for Democratic Change, have said the ruling National Resistance Movement hijacked Uganda’s independence day celebrations by turning them into a partisan fete for the party to celebrate its overstay in power.
Speaking to Uganda Radio Network, Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, the spokesperson of FDC said although the party recognizes independence day as the day that every Ugandan should celebrate, the NRM has turned it into a day to show the military prowess of President Yoweri Museveni and for him to explain his overstay in power.
Ssemujju said if the FDC was the one in charge, independence day celebrations would be a national function that would bring together all the kingdoms which surrendered their sovereignty to build Uganda into a single entity.
The Kira municipality MP also added that such a day should also include other political players especially from parties like the Uganda People’s Congress and the Democratic Party who played a pivotal role in fighting for independence.
For their part, the Democratic Party, one of the parties that were at the forefront in the struggle for independence agreed with FDC that NRM indeed hijacked independence of Uganda.
Speaking to URN, Okoler Opio Lo Amanu, the spokesperson of DP said like all other functions organized by government using tax payers’ money, the NRM considers the independence day celebrations to be a party activity in the attempt to write off other people’s contribution.
Opio said: “They give it to President Museveni who actually is about to be appreciated for inviting the whites here. He will soon be called the initiator of the 1900 Buganda Agreement. Everything is about Mr. Museveni and his NRM, how can a country celebrate a national day without having the blessing of the chief negotiator of the 1962 independence constitution, it’s unfortunate.”
Joel Ssenyonyi who speaks for National Unity Platform said on top of NRM hijacking the celebrations, majority of Ugandans have nothing to celebrate to.
“The thinking was once we got one of our own, things would get better but they haven’t,” Ssenyonyi said. “Look at democracy, Museveni believes he is supposed to be the only bull in the kraal, who beats opponents and jails them. When you go to hospitals and find mothers giving birth on floors, you can’t talk about independence, it means nothing to them. Young people are running away to become slaves elsewhere simply because they have no opportunity here. Museveni’s are in Kololo celebrating because it’s an NRM day and for them they are fine and it is not a national day.”
On their part, the Alliance for National Transformation-ANT say the aspirations of Ugandans for equality, justice, and dignity have vanished for every passing year of the 59 years of independence.
In a statement, Alice Alaso Asianut, the National Coordinator of ANT said the continued silencing of dissenting voices, blatant theft of public resources, lack of respect for human rights, rule of law and limited investment in health care, education, agriculture, land grabbing and unemployment, point to the fact that there is need to join forces to pull the country from the current trajectory.
“ANT calls upon Ugandans of good will to join forces to ensure that we work towards liberating Ugandans from this kind of oppression,” Alaso said. “We reiterate our commitment to working with other actors within and outside Uganda to ensure that we have a peaceful transition and finally have a pro people clean and effective government.