Friday, March 4, 2011


While many right thinking Ugandans would wish Museveni's administration of Uganda to have ended about a decade or so ago, the country is still enslaved in his leadership partly because of the so - called 'Women Empowerment' which many women in Uganda see as NRM's thing. Many who were home bound today are financiers of children's fees and because of this power, many households are a failure as women see themselves no longer enslaved to men's power. This development together with the so - called NRM SACCO's are strength out of which Museveni still gets votes, though he is not the type that can take Uganda far given the developments and his Government's performance for the 2 and a half decades he has been at the top in Uganda.
William Kituuka Kiwanuka

Each year around the world, International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8. Hundreds of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.
Organisations, governments and women's groups around the world choose different themes each year that reflect global and local gender issues.

THEME: So while many people may think there is one global theme each year, this is not always correct. It is completely up to each country and group as to what appropriate theme they select.
2011 year marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. The day was commemorated for the first time on 19 March 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, following its establishment during the Socialist International meeting the prior year. More than one million women and men attended rallies on that first commemoration.
In 1975, during International Women's Year, the United Nations began celebrating 8 March as International Women's Day. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.


8 March 2011
One hundred years ago, when the world first commemorated International Women’s Day, gender equality and women’s empowerment were largely radical ideas. On this centenary, we celebrate the significant progress that has been achieved through determined advocacy, practical action and enlightened policy making. Yet, in too many countries and societies, women remain second-class citizens.
Although the gender gap in education is closing, there are wide differences within and across countries, and far too many girls are still denied schooling, leave prematurely or complete school with few skills and fewer opportunities. Women and girls also continue to endure unacceptable discrimination and violence, often at the hand of intimate partners or relatives. In the home and at school, in the workplace and in the community, being female too often means being vulnerable. And in many conflict zones, sexual violence is deliberately and systematically used to intimidate women and whole communities.
My UNiTE to End Violence Against Women campaign, along with its Network of Men Leaders, is working to end impunity and change mindsets. There is also growing international resolve to punish and prevent sexual aggression in conflict, and to do more to implement the Security Council’s landmark resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, which highlights the importance of involving women in all aspects of building and keeping peace.
Another area where we urgently need to see significant progress is on women’s and children’s health. The September 2010 Summit on the Millennium Development Goals recognized the central importance of this issue, and Member States and the philanthropic community have pledged strong support for my global strategy to save lives and improve the health of women and children over the next four years.
In the realm of decision-making, more women, in more countries, are taking their rightful seat in parliament. Yet fewer than 10 per cent of countries have female heads of state or government. Even where women are prominent in politics, they are often severely under-represented in other areas of decision-making, including at the highest levels of business and industry. A recent UN initiative – the Women’s Empowerment Principles, now embraced by more than 130 major corporations – aims to redress this imbalance.
This year’s observance of International Women’s Day focuses on equal access to education, training and science and technology. Cell phones and the Internet, for example, can enable women to improve the health and well-being of their families, take advantage of income-earning opportunities, and protect themselves from exploitation and vulnerability. Access to such tools, backed up by education and training, can help women to break the cycle of poverty, combat injustice and exercise their rights.
The launch this year of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women – UN Women – demonstrates our intent to deepen our pursuit of this agenda. Only through women’s full and equal participation in all areas of public and private life can we hope to achieve the sustainable, peaceful and just society promised in the United Nations Charter.

Ban Ki-moon

Below are some of the global United Nation themes used for International Women's Day to date:

- 2011: Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women
- 2010: Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all
- 2009: Women and men united to end violence against women and girls
- 2008: Investing in Women and Girls
- 2007: Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls
- 2006: Women in decision-making
- 2005: Gender Equality Beyond 2005: Building a More Secure Future
- 2004: Women and HIV/AIDS
- 2003: Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals
- 2002: Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities
- 2001: Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts
- 2000: Women Uniting for Peace
- 1999: World Free of Violence against Women
- 1998: Women and Human Rights
- 1997: Women at the Peace Table
- 1996: Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future
- 1975: First IWD celebrated by the United Nations

By Rosebell Kagumire

Rosebell-Kagumire, Ugandans went through their every five year ritual. But this time it didn’t come cheap. It was the most expensive presidential election in the country’s history which saw President Yoweri Museveni earn another five year term to further climb the ladder of the longest African serving presidents.
Museveni won by 68 percent and his main challenger Dr.Kizza Besigye got 26 percent of the votes. Of the 13 million Ugandan voters, only 7 million came out to vote for their leader. Museveni had predicted an 84 percent win claiming his party had carried out a house hold poll. That is a figure he never even garnered when his popularity was its highest in the 1990.
As several election observer reports have indicated, Museveni used “the power of incumbency” to win the February 18 presidential vote. To understand well how and why Museveni won this vote, you must look at words of Andrew Mwenda, a Ugandan journalist on the election. “NRM (Museveni’s party ) learnt that voter bribery is more efficient than violence,” said Mwenda.
And that’s what exactly happened. The votes were not just bought only a few hours to election but President Museveni , one can say, broke into the national treasury to ensure he wins this vote.
There was the 20 million shillings given to Members of Parliament to supervise some inefficient agricultural plan in their constituencies, which is completely out of the mandate of a law maker anywhere in the world. We saw 13 political activists working with the ‘NGO Forum’ arrested for starting a campaign against this Ush 20 million that the government gave to MPs.
But the ultimate robbery from the national coffers came in form of a UGX 600 billion supplementary budget passed by a Museveni supporter -filled parliament 14 days to the election date. Of the 600 billion, UGX 79 billion went to State House. These funds and others acquired from different budgets enabled Museveni to distribute money to very tiny villages in Uganda.
In my home village of Kibona, Bushenyi district , a vote was going for about 30,000 shillings (13 USD). A relative told me, “Rosebell, for people whose monthly income is not even a dollar, they cannot fail to reward someone who has given them 13 dollars.”
A friend who attended Museveni’s rally at Makerere University, one of the last rallies told me they were given 100,000 Shillings (45 USD) for wearing Museveni’s yellow T-shirts and climbing on the trucks promoting the rally. In some parts people were paid as low as 500 Ushs (less than a quarter a dollar) to vote for the president. No opposition figure could ever match this kind of massive voter bribery.
The vote came at time when many had seen the news of events in North Africa and President Museveni had recruited and trained enough security to deploy even the most remote areas. For many Ugandans, this was the first time they had seen this massive deployment of troops. Although there were few incidents of clashes, the mere presence of security men brought fear among voters.
In Bugisu, confrontations between the security forces and civilians left a citizen dead and several others injured, including a journalist who was shot. Julius Odeke, a freelance photographer for the “Red Pepper” daily and “Razor” publication was admitted in hospital where reports show soldiers followed him and threaten his life!
One woman from Amuria told me that they were told “if you vote Besigye we will bury you with him. We will let the Karimojong ran your villages amuck.” This is in one of the areas that have suffered different wars and people have just started resettling for the first time in over 20 years. This woman told me such threats of war made many voters to cast their vote for Museveni or stay at home. The fear of what Museveni’s government would be capable of in case they didn’t win was high among many Ugandans.
There’s an African saying that goes “whoever argues with the King, stays longer on his knees.” This would be a perfect description of why President Museveni snatched some votes, more than he has ever got from Northern Uganda. People of northern Uganda are not foolish to just agree with Museveni’s regime arguments that they have brought them peace and that development is on the way. I do a lot of work in northern Uganda and one can’t say they have forgotten two decades of human rights violations from Museveni’s army or the highly politicized post conflict development plans that haven’t delivered much to a common man. One should not confuse their voting to mean they started a new page with NRM just like Andrew Mwenda claimed that we could see a Northern –Western partnership on the political map.
Northern Ugandans realised that Museveni would stay here by any means and they are better off not arguing with him. If they are good to Museveni, they too can snatch what they can from the national cake. So in the end Museveni got some decent support from an area that had two of their sons –Nobert Mao and Olara Otunnu – in the rae.

Opposition divided
Mwenda said, “the election was like a referendum, people came out to either vote Museveni or against him.” And this is so true because having a fragmented opposition also helped Museveni win in many parts. People were not totally sure of opposition plans but many went ahead to say no NRM. We also saw opposition making inroads in western Uganda which is seen as Museveni’s stronghold.
There were reports of ballot stuffing and Besigye presented ballot papers he claimed had been ticked before the polls opened, a claim that the police now want him to explain further. This claim was not paid attention to by many Ugandans until yesterday when we saw chaos during the Kampala mayor elections where thousands of ballot boxes with pre-ticked ballots were discovered by opposition groups. All the papers were ticked in favor of Museveni’s party candidate Peter Sematimba. Chances are high that the same method was used in presidential elections but Ugandans are no longer shocked by Museveni’s party stealing any election after all these are people who rig their own primaries. In fact in social forums Ugandans refer to the National Resistance Movement as the National Rigging Movement.
Five of the seven opposition presidential candidates, among them Inter-party Cooperation’s Kizza Besigye, Olara Otunnu of Uganda People’s Congress and Democratic Party’s Norbert Mao, have rejected the outcome of the ballot and vowed not to recognise “ Museveni’s illegitimate regime”.
The Inter Party Cooperation has called for countrywide protests in Uganda as Americans who have already congratulated their man call for calm. The UK has been more cautious given the different reports on different techniques used to buy this election.
Ugandans might not come to the streets to put up North Africa-like protest but they are deeply worried especially given Museveni’s pre-election statements. Museveni said if the East African Federation will not have been achieved by 2016 and if Uganda is not a Second World country by then, he will seek a ‘fifth term.’
Many are watching events in Libya and wondering whether that’s the path Uganda will take. Worries of Ugandans have been exacerbated by reports that the state broadcaster UBC TV has been stopped from coverage of Libya protests and firing of news editors.
We will wait to see how many will come out for the opposition protests and whether Museveni will “bang them into jails” as he promised last week. Whatever happens Museveni has managed to buy himself time, many illiterate Ugandans decided to sell him the lease and I am sure he thinks he can renew that lease the same way after the five years.

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