Uganda Peoples Congress
Uganda Peoples Congress
Plot 8-10 Kampala Road, Uganda House,
P. O. Box 9206, Kampala
MILITARISM IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR NATIONAL SERVICE
(Embargoed for release at 11.00 am, 25TH JULY, 2007)
- Last Wednesday, the 18th July, 2007 , the Uganda Peoples Congress decried the further slide of our country into militarism. We were critical of the further militarization of the NRM and of all institutions of state including the civil service and Parliament. We warned of catastrophic and bloody consequences of this militarization.
- The reaction by NRM leaders and ideologues has been to cite article
17(1) (a) and 17(2) of the Constitution of Uganda to justify the one Party indoctrination and militarization that goes on at Kyankwanzi as part of national service. These articles are being cited and abused out of context.
Article 17(1) (e) simply states that it is the duty of every citizen of Uganda to defend Uganda and to render national service when necessary while article 17(2) states that it is the duty of all able-bodied citizens to undergo military training for the defence of this Constitution and the protection of the territorial integrity of Uganda. Kyakwanzi is an NRM ideological militarization school. It does not prepare one for defence of the constitution which is daily raped by the NRM government nor does it prepare one to defend the territorial integrity of Uganda. It is not part of any known scheme of national service.
- In 1969 the UPC published its proposal for genuine national service the objectives of the national service were:-
- "The basic objective of the National Service will be to mobilise all able-bodied persons to develop a real sense of individual and collective responsibility to society, within the overall national goal of "One Country-One People"".
- For those citizens who have had little or no education/training (professional to technical), the Service will aim at providing expanded opportunities, developing their potentialities and enabling them to acquire skills.
- The Service will further aim at the promotion of an intercourse among all the people of Uganda and provision of facilities for the people of different backgrounds to participate in national and community projects, thereby affording to all participants in such projects opportunities to know more and more about Uganda and her people, and to develop new values and attitudes towards the Nation.
- Since the majority of citizens of Uganda live in rural areas where the standard of living is low and amenities are few, it will be the principal concern of the National Service to encourage and promote new patterns of rural life that are compatible with modern requirements and standards. It is for this reason that it is proposed that the National Service should not be based on training in arms of war, but in arms for the sustained development of the economy, the raising of the standard of living, and the inculcation of national unity, integrity and a spirit of dedicated service to the Nation.
- The specific goals for the UPC proposals for National Service included:-
- To produce economic returns for individual citizens and in turn create wealth for the country, using, in the main, the efforts of the people.
- To improve the standard of living in the rural area so as to make rural Uganda attractive for both young and adult to live in.
- To eradicate factional feeling and loyalties, and to consolidate National Unity through creative participation of the people in the task of nation-building.
- To promote African Revolution, Culture and Aspirations.
- To provide facilities and opportunities for those who participate in the National Service to acquire new skills and new attitudes which will enable them to make a greater contribution to their well-being and to society as a whole than would have been possible without the National Service.
- To ensure that the country's manpower and other resources are usefully, equitably and rationally utilized, and to reduce the incidence of under-employment and unemployment, particularly of school-leavers, and to bring the benefits of our Independence, particularly to the rural population and urban workers.
- To bring home to the whole country those problems which face the country, be they economic, social or political, can best be solved by the people themselves being involved in common endeavours and sharing the experiences of one another, and by bringing about material conditions within our society for the solution of any such problems; and further, by realising that it is the duty and obligation of every individual or group or persons to work towards the goal of self-reliance in solving problems which may face the country.
- To bring about the realization that as a people, our national and collective bounded duty to our Republic is to be vigilant all the time, to safeguard our sovereignty through dedicated services and to make this Republic a happier, safer, better and more prosperous country for all.
- To give training, particularly to the youth, so as to prepare themselves for the life they will lead when they grow up and shoulder the responsibilities of governing themselves and to provide for their well-being.
- Provision was made for a functional organisation structure for the national service. At the helm would be a Ministry of National Service responsible for policy, administration, training and maintenance of National Service institutions and registers. The ministry would also be responsible for the coordination of the involvement of other ministries in the programme and of all activities and projects. There would be Medical Boards to determine whether a person called up for national service is medically fit to do the service.
- It was the UPC's proposal to establish National training camps at Regional levels, those were Kyankwanzi for Buganda region, Kitumba in Bukoli county, now Bugiri District for Eastern region, the area between Aswa and Deng-Deng rivers in Anaka, Kilal County for Northern region, River Ruimi area, South of the areas then occupied by the prison farm, group farm and refugee areas in Bunyangabi county for Western region. Other centres would be established at parliamentary constituency and sub-country levels. There would also be state farms, and other technical or professional centres for training and protection. Lastly there would be an inspectorate for purposes of close administration, and discipline.
- The basic focus of the various camps and centres to be established under the scheme was to be training in increased production in all fields of agriculture and animal husbandry. The participants would also attend courses in national consciousness and the promotion and advancement of African culture. The centres would have ample space for farming playing grounds, accommodation, lecture facilities and technical workshops. The centres would aim at being self sufficient.
- Unlike the NRM'S Kyankwanzi type course, the national service programme proposed by UPC was to be professional, gender sensitive, national, pan-Africanist and productive and not parasitic or militarist. The lecturers and staff would be drawn from persons called up for National Service and having relevant knowledge in the various fields for the type of course conducted and who had first undergone a course in national consciousness and advancement of culture. Lectures and demonstration activities were proposed to be conducted in English and appropriate vernacular and some African languages including Swahili, Luganda and Lingala. The camps would have a women's and men's wings and offer special courses in domestic science and child care. Facilities for workshop would be provided at these facilities.
- The UPC proposals for national service were broadly accepted by the citizens of Uganda. It was a pro people and people centred proposals. The proposals were reduced into a bill for discussion by parliament in 1970. This is one of the legislative proposals that were wasted away by the rule of the gun after the 1971 military coup.
- The time is now ripe to open the debate on the issue of national service. UPC presents its earlier proposals and calls upon the people of Uganda to look at and adopt this more worthwhile programme instead of the partisan NRM's Kyankwanzi militarization and indoctrination programmes.
For God and my Country
Mama Miria Kalule Obote
President, Uganda Peoples Congress