Tag: political forum

Political Forum: Addressing Uganda’s Political Climate

The Ugandan North American Association’s Executive Committee condemns in the strongest terms possible:

  • The excessive use of force by security forces in arresting alleged protesters, honorable members of parliament and journalists.
  • The torture of suspects.
  • The continued incarceration of suspects with little or no access to proper health care and their support system of attorneys/family/friends.
  • The on-going incarceration and trial of Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu – a civilian – in a military barracks and Court Martial, respectively.

The political forum at the upcoming UNAA convention in Seattle this year may well turn out to be the most intense and contentious political forum in UNAA history. While the situation in Uganda continues to change by the minute, it is nevertheless expected that several senior leaders from the Uganda Government will attend the convention.  These include the Speaker of the Uganda Parliament, a mixed delegation of NRM and opposition members of parliament, at least one cabinet minister, and Uganda’s Ambassador to the United States.

In light of the accumulated history of persecution of prominent opposition leaders and the on-going crisis in Uganda, what do these members of Uganda’s leadership have to say to members of the Uganda Diaspora?  And when seated in the same room, literally face-to-face with these individuals, what do members of the Uganda Diaspora present at the forum want to ask of these leaders?

  • Is there are workable solution to the impasse or should we expect more of the same?  
  • Does the Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament have a responsibility to protect the lives and ensure the health and wellbeing of members of parliament?
  • What is the Speaker doing to address the situations of Hon. Zakke and Hon. Ssentamu.
  • Is the promise of democracy dead for Uganda?  
  • What role should the Uganda Diaspora play in helping to address these issues?

Join us this coming Labor Day weekend as we ask the visiting politicians from Uganda to address these and other very contentious issues during the Political Forum at the 30th Annual  UNAA Convention in Seattle.

Political Forum: What is holding back Uganda?

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a measure of a country’s national income and output for a given period – normally annual. Essentially, GDP is equal to the total expenditures for all final goods and services produced within the country.

With an estimate total population of 51 million people, the GDP of Kenya in 2017 was worth 75 billion US dollars – roughly $1,470 per capita.

In comparison, with an estimated total population of 42 million people, the GDP of Uganda in 2017 was worth about 26 billion US dollars – roughly $619 per capita.

A study of internet reports found several major reasons for this discrepancy.

  1. Kenya has a better and more reliable investment climate.
  2. Kenya has a better and more reliable transportation and communications infrastructure than Uganda.
  3. Despite incidents of recent elections violence, Kenya is seen to have a more stable and reliable political infrastructure than Uganda.
  4. Kenya has a larger, more educated and trained work force than Uganda.
  5. Kenya has lower levels of corruption than Uganda. Indeed, several sources quoted rampant corruption as the primary reason many investors preferred to invest in Kenya over Uganda.

On the other hand, internet sources also found Uganda to have a more conducive natural environment for agricultural production and hydroelectric power production.  Indeed, multiple sources claimed that Uganda had the potential to be the “bread basket” of Eastern Africa with annual exports in the multi-billions of dollars.

So what is missing here?  Why does it appear that Uganda is not living up to its full potential?

Join us this coming Labor Day weekend as we ask visiting politicians from Uganda to address this, and other, very contentious issues during the Political Forum at the 30th Annual  UNAA Convention in Seattle.

Political Forum at UNAA Seattle 2018

One of the most popular forums at every UNAA convention has been the Political Forum where attendees get the opportunity to face off against visiting Uganda politicians and ask them the very difficult questions of the day.  One perennial topic has been the literal elimination of presidential term and age limits.

In fully fledged democracies, the main importance of term limits stems from its positive impact on power alternation which, in turn, contributes to democratic growth.  Term limits offer a periodic guarantee of personnel change, and thus enhance the possibility of change of party in government. This is significant, as power alternation is an important feature of a democratic system of government.

Prolonged time in office allows for greater centralization and personalization of power and deeper entrenchment of informal patronage networks. Prolonged tenure also creates an accountability deficit that allows for an increase in corruption.

History has shown that power alternation is important for the growth of democracy whereas in life-presidencies, power transitions are frequently orchestrated by the gun.  By increasing the likelihood of change, term limits also increase the chance that power contestation will take place in a non-violent manner. In spite of constitutional term limits, many leaders have not resisted the call of power retention and sought to extend their tenure beyond the terms mandated in their country’s constitutions.

Please join us as we ask the visiting politicians from Uganda to address this, and other, very contentious issues during the Political Forum at the upcoming UNAA Convention in Seattle.

Please note that this year’s forum will be presented in a debate format featuring 5 members of the public and opposition Members of Parliament on one side, and 5 members of the public and Uganda Government representatives on the other.

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