Africa’s problem is quality of citizen participation in national debates

Remember when President Museveni and many other leaders authored, in the name of the African Union, a communiqué to ‘world leaders’ that please do not intervene in Libya the way you want to intervene. The ‘world leaders’ just ignored them, went ahead and bombarded Libya.

  • Why are ‘world leaders’ not respecting Africa?
  • Why do ‘world leaders’ feel that it is okay for them to do as they do, while at the same time be entitled to lecture heads of state of Africa on democracy equated to presidential term limits?
  • What then is the real power of the African Union?

Fixating on red herrings, such as term limits, for example, is really not going to help us very much. If there was a despot who wanted to cling to power, you think they would stop because there are term limits? No, they would use the gun and they would come in and take power.

What we need to be concerned about is why we get fixated discussing non-issues, like term limits, and not discussing the real problems. The real problem we have in Uganda and probably in most of Africa is the quality of participation of Africans in debates that have direct consequence on their lives and livelihoods.

It is worth remembering that UK does not have term limits. In UK change of leadership is based on issues-based elections. The case is the same also for Germany. Why then do ‘world leaders’ focus governance funding from their countries to African countries, like Uganda, with limited civic space, on activities advocating terms limits. Ironically, moreover, they do so while at the same time enjoying diplomatic relations with leaders that are responsible for restricting civic spaces.


On the evening of 2nd February 2015, on Spectrum on Radio One FM90, I had the honour to debate two distinguished African leaders – Ambassador Kintu Nyago who was the Deputy Head of the Uganda Mission at the UN and Mr. Godber Tumushabe who was the Associate Director at the Great Lakes Institute for strategic studies; which debate was moderated by Mr. Edmond Kizito. How interesting that my views that I shared then, herein contained, remain even the more relevant today.

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