Search

 

Cablegate: Ugandan Parliament: "Patriotism Clubs" Spark Opposition

VZCZCXRO7615
RR RUEHGI RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHKM #1069 2600458
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170458Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1777
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0820

UNCLAS KAMPALA 001069

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM ECON EFIN PREL UG
SUBJECT: UGANDAN PARLIAMENT: "PATRIOTISM CLUBS" SPARK OPPOSITION
BUDGET BOYCOTT

1. (SBU) Summary: Uganda's Parliament passed the 2009/10 budget on
September 9 after opposition MPs walked out over a provision
allocating $5.25 million for the promotion of "Patriotism Clubs" in
schools. Noting that these funds were earmarked for the Ministry of
Security rather than the Ministry of Education, opposition members
claim the patriotism clubs will be used for partisan political
purposes ahead of the 2011 presidential election. End Summary.

-----------------------------------
Parliament Funds "Patriotism Clubs"
-----------------------------------

2. (SBU) President Museveni raised the idea of government funded
"patriotism clubs" in 2008 as a way to instill a sense of
nationalism among students and youth. Parliament initially balked
at the idea of spending $2 million to create the clubs, plus another
$3.25 million to recruit 80 Assistant District Resident
Commissioners (RDCs) to teach patriotism in 5,000 secondary schools.
In May 2009 Museveni prevailed on the ruling party's parliamentary
caucus to insert the provisions into the 2009-2010 budget.

3. (SBU) Opposition and some ruling National Resistance Movement
(NRM) parliamentarians believe the clubs are a ruse to introduce
propaganda into schools to advance the NRM's political agenda for
the 2011 presidential elections. Although the government has said
the funds will be placed under the Office of the President, an NRM
MP said the funds are actually earmarked for the Ministry of
Security run by NRM Secretary General Amama Mbabazi.

4. (U) Opposition MPs walked out of Parliament on September 10 after
the NRM-majority legislature refused to re-allocate the funds to the
Ministry of Education. MP Kassiano Wadri told local media that he
and other opposition members walked out "to show our displeasure
with the manner in which the government is scaling out its
activities without due regard of the minority in the House." Wadri
added that the $3.25 million for the recruitment of 80 special
Assistant RDCs to manage the patriotism clubs was "a calculation of
the government to campaign for President Museveni come 2011." Other
MPs complained that Uganda should not waste millions on patriotism
when Ugandan citizens are going without medications.

----------------------------------
Comment: Under the Electoral Radar
----------------------------------

5. (SBU) Uganda's "patriotism clubs" do indeed arouse suspicion. As
one NRM MP noted, there has been no attempt to articulate a syllabus
or set of standards for these clubs, and the move to earmark the
funding to a Ministry other than the Ministry of Education suggests
that such planning is likely not forthcoming. The clubs' activities
seem designed to target the 18-21 year old age bracket, which
includes a bulge of new voters with the potential to swing the 2011
polls in one direction or another. It is entirely possible the
clubs will be nothing more than patronage-dispensing booster clubs
for NRM candidates in 2011.

LANIER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 




UN Agriculture: Helps Protect Against Threat Of Locust In Yemen

Following heavy widespread rains in Yemen, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) remains on high alert... More>>

UNFCCC: Simon Stiell Appointed New Executive Secretary
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Simon Stiell as the new Executive Secretary of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat based in Bonn, Germany...
More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Europe Dries Up
Scenes and pictures have been circulating of broken earth, lacking moisture, cracked and yearning. But these are not from traditional drought-stricken parts of the planet, where the animal carcass assumes near totemic power... More>>

Afghanistan: One Year On From Regime Change And Children Face An Unimaginable A Crisis
On the one-year anniversary of regime change in Afghanistan, a new World Vision report highlights the grave risk the country’s children face from starvation, forced child marriage, and child labour... More>>


Somalia: ‘We Cannot Wait For Famine To Be Declared; We Must Act Now’
Rising acute food insecurity in Somalia has caused more than 900,000 people to flee their homes in search of humanitarian assistance since January last year, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned... More>>

UN: American West Faces Water And Power Shortages Due To Climate Crisis
Two of the largest reservoirs in the United States are at dangerously low levels due to the climate crisis and overconsumption of water, which could affect water and electricity supply for millions in six western states and Mexico, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warned on Tuesday... More>>