17 February 2013

Uganda: Then and Now - Let NRM Rule, Says Reagan Okumu

Photo: New Vision
Parliament (file photo).

Fourteen years ago when people like Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere were agitating for change of government, MPs like Reagan Okumu, of Aswa county, believed that the ground was still unstable for political change.

While talking to The Monitor on March 5, 1999, Okumu urged the Movement to extend its rule for some years before an automatic return to multi-parties, when people are ready.

"It would be good for us to reconcile by extending the Movement administration on condition that there will be an automatic return to multiparty activities," Okumu said.

He added that democracy was a give-and-take process which could generate chaos unless Ugandans compromised. Okumu, who was quite critical of the government's handling of the LRA war, said it was not necessary to hold the [2000] referendum on political systems.

It is intriguing that the Okumu of today would not wish for the NRM to rule even for one more second. A leading member of the Forum for Democratic Change, in 2005 he was arrested and charged with the murder of Alfred Bongomin, the NRM chairman for Pabbo sub-county.

He denied the charges, saying the government was witch-hunting him because he was an outspoken critic of the NRM.

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