A Joint Report
Interaction between physical ethnicity and citizenship
Uniform State Constitutions do not make sense at all
Correction of Historical Imbalances
Trust between the nations is the foundation for enduring peace
The Practice in South Africa
The Essence of a Screening Process
By Dr. KigongoOn the issue of who should hold the highest political office, we should perhaps separate two questions. One is the question of how physical ethnicity and citizenship should interact, the other question is how this interaction should be managed in the specific example of Uganda. It is the accepted norm in many modern states that any person meeting the legal standard definition of "citizen" shall enjoy all the privileges of citizenship, regardless of ethnic origin. It is important to realise that this concept is not traditional in any society; it is a recent innovation. In all cases it's an innovation that was difficult to adopt and in most cases citizens belonging to ethnic minorities have rights on paper that are in fact often limited by custom or by government negligence.
The US example is illustrative, here the Declaration of Independence stated that "all men are created equal", but the constitution written a few years later allowed for the existence of slaves, stating that they shall each count as two-thirds of a person for the purposes of delineating congressional districts. Eighty years later the constitution was amended to explicitly state that "all persons born or naturalised in the US" are citizens (before that the term in practice meant a landed Protestant gentleman of European ancestry) but another hundred years passed before the rights of citizens were enforceable by Federal law, up to then states that wished to do so could restrict rights based on ancestry.The restriction of the rights of persons we see as "them" within our borders is based on greed and on fear. When a society enjoys decades of peace and prosperity a sense of community between all inhabitants will efface the greed and fear, and the dominant majority will lose fear of being massacred once out of power, only then does the modern norm of equal citizenship for all become possible.
One may agree or disagree with the sentiment that "foreigners should not enjoy any privileges in our country", but it happens to be the clear sentiment of a lot of Ugandans today, probably the majority. There are in fact Banyarwanda people within Uganda's borders whose ancestors were there when the border was drawn, but the callers on Kampala's talk shows (there are dozens of these shows) clearly regard all Rwandese as foreigners, and undesirable ones at that.When I was a lad in the 1960s the villages of Buganda were mostly ethnically mixed, but due to the peace and prosperity there was little discrimination. One would hear verbal taunts against "foreigners", but nobody was denied the right to settle and work, and persons who deserved respect by their profession or standing in the community did get such respect. In 1965 at Kako our teachers, who were also friends and neighbours of my parents, included a Kenyan Mr. Okoth, one Indian Mrs. Singh, a Rwandese Mr. Kagubaire and a couple from Kigezi, the Rugangos. The sense of community between the Baganda and these people was created by an atmosphere of justice in the nation as a whole, interaction with them as equals on economic matters and a sense that skilled immigrants were an asset and in no way a threat. The happy environment evaporated in 1966 with the overthrow and exiling of the King of Buganda by the central government, and the adoption of laws, which explicitly recognised the Baganda as enemies of the government. The politics of Uganda acquired an "us against them" character based on ethnicity.
In the forty years since then the fears first felt by the Baganda have been experienced elsewhere as governments have changed, and a sentiment of ethnic distrust has etched itself into the national psyche. The sentiment goes thus: "When foreigners have political power they will discriminate against you and your children, opportunities for education and employment will disappear for you, you will see them import relatives from abroad to take jobs that are denied your children, you and those like you may be imprisoned or killed with impunity, your institutions will be debased, public services in your homeland will be ignored while they live off the fat of the land, they will seize or sabotage your businesses and promote those of their relatives, they will buy your land when you are impoverished and leave you homeless, when they commit crimes, they will be above the law, etc."These sentiments are based on bitter experience, we may consider them backward, but they are real and they are prevalent, people are no longer even ashamed to speak them out in public.
Fear is therefore a major motivating factor in constitutional law. The law governing succession to the English throne, for example, was made when there was no fear of a foreigner becoming King, though there was great fear of a Catholic becoming one. In the 1680s the English regarded the Catholics as some Ugandans regard the Rwandese now, so the sons of the Catholic King James were denied succession and a Dutch Prince, William of Orange, was imported to be King. The law is still on the books. If Prince Charles became a Catholic today he would lose the right to the throne.On two occasions since 1688 the British royal family has run low on heirs and "foreigners" were imported: George I and Victoria were the grandchildren of British Kings but were born and raised in Germany and spoke little English. Victoria married another German, Prince Albert of Saxony and the family name (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) became an embarrassment during World War I, their grandson changed it to Windsor.
These imported monarchs did not give rise to fear of dispossession and repression among the English, thus peaceful transfers of power were possible (before the Victorian era the British King did have political power), and that's the key to Uganda's constitutional questions today. There must be an arrangement whereby Ugandans have confidence that whoever is in power their persons, their rights and their property is safe. That's obviously lacking today, therefore there is widespread feeling that such safety is only possible when "we" control the government and the army. That's the rub. A future Uganda may be free of ethnic fears, but a policy for a civil Uganda today must acknowledge the existence of such fears and have policies that prevent these fears from escalating into violent conflict. In practice that means that immigrant communities will have to accept limitations of their political privileges and all Ugandans will have to accept some limitations of the right of residence outside their traditional areas as part of the price of peace. These and many other hard bargains would have to be made before we can move away from military governments. Unfortunately our political institutions are so weak that the path to any political reform is cloudy indeed.
A future Uganda may be free of ethnic fears, but a policy for a civil Uganda today must acknowledge the existence of such fears and have policies that prevent these fears from escalating into violent conflict. In practice that means that immigrant communities will have to accept limitations of their political privileges and all Ugandans will have to accept some limitations of the right of residence outside their traditional areas as part of the price of peace. These and many other hard bargains would have to be made before we can move away from military governments. Unfortunately our political institutions are so weak that the path to any political reform is cloudy indeed.
By W. B. KyijomanyiWhat constitution are we talking about here on who shall or shall not be qualified to run for the highest political office in Uganda? Are we talking about the Federal/National constitution, that is, the Constitution of the future Federal Republic of Uganda, or are we also talking about the state constitutions of the 13 proposed states? Are people anticipating that the state constitution of Karamoja shall be uniform in its requirements to say the state constitution of Acholi or Bunyoro? If that were to be the case, why would federalism make sense at all? Why is federalism being put forward in the first place? Are we talking about the one policy fits all - in this case, the claim that merit alone should be the guiding criteria in running for the highest political office in a future federal Uganda? Is the debate that whoever is qualified to run for the Presidency of Uganda shall be qualified to run for the highest political office at the state level say, office of the Governor of West Nile, Busoga or Buganda?
I happen to believe that we shall have clauses in certain state constitutions spelling out different criteria. I will not be surprised if those qualified to run for the Presidency of Uganda shall not be qualified to run for the highest political office in some states. Would such a clause be a bad idea? Wouldn't such a clause be defensible on the trauma of colonial legacy in Uganda? Bear in mind that what is good for Uganda may not necessarily be good for the proposed 13 individual states. And by the way such clauses shall be constitutional because they exist in some Western democracies. Federalism should thus not be derailed on such a matter as this.I believe merit is the buzzword behind the argument that any qualified Ugandan irrespective of place of birth should be free to contest any political post within the land. But I personally find such arguments problematic.
For now, assume that the constitutional delegation from the State of Karamoja, went into federal negotiations with the following draft:The delegations, however, agrees with section 102 regarding eligibility for the Presidency of Uganda that:
A person is not qualified for election as President unless that person is -
(a) a citizen of Uganda by birth*;
(b) not less than thirty-five years and not more than seventy-five years of age; and
(c) A person qualified to be a Member of Parliament.
*) A non-Karamojong born in Karamoja shall not be deemed to be a Karamojong by birth, and would thus be ineligible for the Governorship. Likewise, while other Ugandans may be "Karamojongonized", they shall not be eligible to run for the office of the Governor through the PLUS clauses.
But the delegation would dig in with respect to eligibility regarding Governorship of the State of Karamoja as follows:
A person shall not be qualified for election to the highest political office in the state of Karamoja unless that person is:
(a) A Karamojong by birth;
(b) Not less than 30 years of age;
(c) A person qualified to be a Member of Parliament;
(d) Well conversant in the Karamojong language and culture;
(e) Is deemed to have continuously lived in Karamoja for at least 10 years.
What is wrong with the people of the State of Karamoja raising the bar through the inclusion of other PLUSES regarding eligibility, in this case, ethnicity, language and residence requirements? These pluses will only bar non-native Karamojongs from running for the Governorship, but they shall still be eligible to run for other political offices within the State of Karamoja. Additionally, their constitution may take in another notch by including a limit on how many senior positions, non-native born Karamojongs may hold.
The essence here is that the people of Karamoja shall concede that while any Ugandan by birth can run for the Presidency, given their unique lifestyles, political neglect and the colonial legacy, only a Karamojong by birth shall be eligible to run for the top political post in the State of Karamoja. Consequently, such a state constitution would mean that not everyone who is qualified to run for the Presidency of Uganda shall be qualified to run for the highest political office in Karamoja
But if the other 12 states see it otherwise, and want to open up their highest political offices to any Ugandan citizen irrespective, that shall be their choice. Let them go ahead and choose from the largest possible pool, but that should not in any way be imposed on the state of Karamoja.
What are the merits of such a constitution? It would actually enhance ethnic harmony within Uganda. For example, Ugandans can buy all the land they want in Karamoja, but the people of Karamoja shall be secure in the knowledge that a Karamojong shall forever hold the top political post in the state. That assurance is definitely healthy for ethnic harmony since the fear of political domination/marginalization at least in Karamoja shall all but be nil. That is the beauty of clear rules over discretion; for they eliminate uncertainty and as a result enhance stability. And if there is anything Ugandans should be doing is studying all discretionary clauses in the Constitution with a view to turning them into hard rules. The language should change from MAY/MAY NOT to SHALL/SHALL NOT, and the example above does that.
And for those still wondering whether anything like that above exists anywhere, the answer is yes. In the Northwest Territories of Canada, ONLY Native Indians by birth are constitutionally eligible to run for the top political office in those territories. Accordingly, anyone but native are eligible. The plus criterion there is ethnicity, under what is referred to as Ethnic Pluralism. So take heart, and be prepared for the dealing and tough negotiations ahead.
Moreover, in the spirit of federalism (bottom up)-the arrow runs from State to Federal in that anyone qualified to run for the highest political office in Karamoja [and the other 12 states] shall be qualified to run for the presidency of Uganda, but the converse shall not necessarily be true.
I invite you to think about these issues because to me they are attractive in the sense that they minimize claims of hegemonic aspirations and domination by any single ethnic group in Uganda. But also bear in mind that we are saying that ethnicity per se, is not a bad word and does have functional value.
My PLUS clause would guarantee ethnic harmony in Uganda because the fear of domination by the "settler" community will not arise. A Muganda moving into Karamoja will know a priori that no matter, she/he cannot become Governor of that state. And the Karamojongs are not likely to become suspicious of such a Muganda. That is the kind of destructive uncertainty the PLUS clause would eliminate. But I also said that if West Nile feels that they want to elect Mr. Kigongo of Kooki, they do not have to have a Karamoja type clause.
Think about it very carefully because Uganda is headed towards an ethnic volcano if developments in Kibaale are an indication. What is the best way to calm tempers in Uganda? I think through a PLUS clause for those states that so choose and like I said, there is nothing unconstitutional about that. Why? States shall demand and be granted veto powers through a notwithstanding clause.
I urge members to approach this matter from a practical and historical sense. Let us not treat it as if it is a seminar in political theory.
Some facts to note:
(a) The hypothetical Karamoja Constitution restricting the highest political office to an ethnic Karamoja is actually there in the real world. It exists in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Listers would be better informed and educated if they checked it out first. I do not just always throw things out there for the sake of it.
(b) Listers should also take time to educate themselves on what is called Ethnic Pluralism. May be then, they will begin to appreciate the merits of a Karamoja type Constitution in a multi-ethnic country like Uganda.
States and this does not only apply to Karamoja, but all the potential 13 states, will negotiate and be granted some veto powers in certain areas through a notwithstanding clause. That way Karamoja can invoke the notwithstanding clause in matters it feels strongly about. Those of you who live in federal systems ought to know about the controversies surrounding the invocation of the notwithstanding clauses. But those controversies have not prevented States from standing up to defend local interests by opting out of national standards on various grounds.
Question: If as some listers believe such a plus clause is unconstitutional, why hasn't the Northwest Territories Constitution been challenged in the Canadian courts under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms?Answer: because the same Charter of Rights and Freedoms allows provinces and territories to invoke a notwithstanding clause on matters they do not agree with the rest of the country. Provinces and territories have veto power, and from time to time invoke it to the chagrin of liberal thinkers. So Ugandans should not find the Karamoja type Constitution offensive or restrictive in any way.
Moreover, the PLUS clauses excludes non-Karamojongs from only holding the top political post, but allows them to contest for other positions. What is unfair about that?If the local people in Karamoja with the question approached me: What is in this federal thing for us, the neglected people of Karamoja? I would tell them that it is possible under federalism, to have their region's destiny into the hands of their own daughters and sons. How, they may wonder when all we have seen are people who don't give a damn about our lifestyle? I would counter that through a clause that guarantees that the top political post in their land will be occupied by one of their own. Someone who knows your history, shares your aspirations and ideals, and above all is well conversant with your culture and language. Does that remotely sound to the people of Karamoja like indirect rule! That is one reason I would urge the people of Karamoja to embrace federalism.
Mr. Kibuka wrote: "Yes, there are fears of domination/marginalization. You have to convince us that ceteris paribus, if a Karamojong by birth becomes Governor of Karamoja, those fears and marginalization shall go away! My personal belief is that the notion of reserving the highest offices for the indigenous citizens will have to be accompanied by other 'restrictions'. Just imagine (hypothetically) the state of Karamoja with a Karamojong Governor. But, the legislature has a (hypothetical) majority of people other than Karamojongs. Kibaale is a case in point; the Indians before Amin's expansion; Germans believed that the Jews controlled their economy, which led to the holocaust; the whites in South Africa & Zimbabwe are a good example. Wouldn't the notion then be self-defeating?"This hypothetical position is actually possible as Mr. Kibuka rightly points out. But I did also add that the pluses might include a quota on how many positions non-native Karamojongs may hold. This too is possible. Their constitution may limit non-Karamojongs to say 20% of senior government positions. Would Karamoja designate a non-Karamojong to be in charge of their ministry of Culture? Inter-state relations? Or something they feel very passionately about?
This is exactly what I meant by stabilizing and promoting ethnic harmony. There would be no more fear of external domination. No false expectations either. But above all, there would be no more scapegoats with such clauses in place.Ironically, the Kibaale crisis would never have happened under a federal arrangement, even without the PLUS clauses into effect. Talking about Kibaale, it is amusing to hear how the lost counties crisis was solved in favour of Bunyoro. Really? If the problem was solved then, why then the Kibaale crisis now? If there is another state likely to adapt a Karamoja type constitution, it is Bunyoro.
Let us therefore have a coherent critique of this hypothetical, but very likely state constitution from the State of Karamoja. Why would such a constitution bother other Ugandans outside Karamoja? On what grounds if any, can the PLUS criteria be challenged?
By C. NabukeeraOpening up political positions of a constituent federal unit is definitely the ideal! Where citizenry participation in the social/economic/political arena has been in place for a long time and aggressively encouraged. Where such processes are a part and parcel of these cultures. Where this participation is not the domain of a few elite and the rich. Where to be German or French is to engage actively in the decision-making processes of your country. Where civil society has been nurtured and grown to promote broad-based participatory democracy. While I understand this particular thinking very well, I just want to caution these assumptions in respect to Uganda's social/political climate. Looking back to life in Uganda where Asians lived, (by design) separate/insulated/segregated lives from indigenous populations, it is rather hard to think that they have all of sudden developed interest in the affairs of the indigenous peoples. Are they now saying something different? What are they saying?
I would say though that for the successfully integrated Asians, I would expect them to stand for a constituency in which they live - not necessarily a constituency of Asians by themselves. For I do not doubt that some Asians have emotional attachment to Uganda. But I would not stretch that to include establishing Asians as a Block working in harmony with other blocks to promote national interest - Uganda's interests. At least this is not supported historically.Uganda is at cross roads - I don’t want to sound alarmist but the ship is sinking. Bearing that in mind some trade-offs must be considered. Naive as I may be, I would support the "Plus" which get to be defined as "qualifications" other than exclusionary mechanisms. Here I am reminded of bilingualism and federal employment in Canada. To occupy certain positions one has to be fluent in both English and French, of course other things being equal. It is not seen in terms of discrimination or exclusion but as "qualifications". In that sense, a Prime Minister in Karamoja has to have qualifications, if possible, defined by the Karamojong.
In our attempts to correct historical imbalances (i.e. Baganda and the rest of the country) it would be appropriate to prevent a Muganda from contesting Karamoja's top position. I can see historians explaining the problems the framers of Uganda's federalism faced - that it was a critical time in history, whole societies were being or at risk of being decimated, there was fear of disintegration, there was excessive anger and fears domination by Buganda, there was a greater need for immediate attention to serving people and the country lacked institutional mechanisms to do so. The unitary form of government was corrupt. There was the AIDS virus that was killing off people and leaving orphans and the elderly to fend for themselves, agricultural production was slow, these problems were attributed to the fact that the country had been ruled by foreigners (Amin's Sudanese, and Rwakitura's Banyarwanda) who had no respect for the law, and had no spiritual connection to the land and the people they found in the country. These are the forces at play. What we design must respond to these forces whether we view them as real or imagined.What I find interesting is that suggestions intended to keep Baganda from other people's business, is interpreted as creating indirect rule. The other probably right way of opening the political positions of a constituent federal state for all citizens of Uganda, harbours fears of domination by Buganda. There is no winning, is there?
When we standardize criterion for top leadership - do we leave room for regional variations? Considering historical imbalances in access to Western education, differing levels of experiences in governance, the merging of Western style of governance and indigenous types. In Karamoja for example, the majority are pastoralists - administration turns them into settlers. In the interest of self-determination the "pluses" do help to take into account these sociological dynamics and differences.
By M. Kibuka
There are very many reasons why federalism is being proposed: It is to reform domestic institutions such that the ability of our leaders and their governments to use power in capricious and self aggrandizing ways will be reduced; so that it will be impossible for future leaders to tinker with the country's constitution and other institutions to serve personal goals; make it impossible in the future for Uganda to ever again be ruled by despots, enlightened or otherwise; make people's voices heard, and their rights to participate in shaping their affairs respected; to develop a culture where the rule of law will prevail - a rule of law that gives dignity to the weak and justice to the powerless; to ensure equality for all before the law; among other things.
The federalism we are striving for here is about the states promoting their cultures, languages, etc. It is about states taking their destination in their hands. For that matter, a state should be allowed to declare its language as the official language. We are striving for residence criteria to be included in the voting eligibility characteristics, for example, that a voter should have permanent or continuous residence for a period of time before voting; and similar such things. However, I have very strong reservations on discriminatory criteria for the highest political office based on jus sanquinis, i.e. on the principle of decent. Thus, I have no quarrel with qualifications like based on:
1. The Official language of the state in question.
2. Fluency by the aspirant in the official language of the state.
3. Continuous living in the state for a period of time, for example 5 years.
Another vulnerability that I see is a consequence of the internal factionalism, divisions, and politics that afflict all ethnic communities. None are free from internal competition for leadership based on class, lineage, economic interests, or ideology and from disagreements about how to define the vital economic interests of their community. These may lead to charges of betrayal from dissatisfied factions, and be as catastrophic as any other conflict. Even here there are numerous examples to illustrate the point: There is a bitter dissatisfaction amongst Baganda who "believe" Buganda is weak in achieving her goals due to the Catholicism of her Katikkiro. Other classic examples are the division among the Acholi, the Bakiga and other communities at large. While some are eating on the high table, others are fighting a bitter war against the government. The fact of the matter is that even homogenous peoples can have divisions that may not be healthy for the community in question. And that's when for me it doesn't make a difference at all, whether public offices are purely indigenous or open for all citizens alike. This can build trust among the nations and ensure enduring peace and development for the state.Most importantly though, I believe that there are rights that just exist on paper! The psychological effect is not to be underestimated. Hence, while I support the notwithstanding and veto clauses in many things, I wouldn't invoke them on the Premiership position. I have been guided, wrongly or so, by the arrangements South Africa and Ethiopia adopted. I admit that these are young federations, which must be tested. But, I must concede that I was impressed in the way these countries, but especially South Africa solved this problem with the experience of White domination under apartheid. One would have expected and supported them if they had invoked the notwithstanding clauses in their constitution on this issue. Although I have not seen the provincial constitutions of South Africa or Ethiopia yet, I believe that they have not deviated so much from the set standard. I may also warm up to the proposition if the definition of a "citizen by birth" included, per standard definition any person born in a state is a state citizen by birth and thus deemed to run for the highest political office. If a person is born in a state, it is only natural that the said person gets the opportunity to fully participate in the political life of that state.
Furthermore, there are also the fact of universally accepted and held human norms, values and principles.
Going by the examples of federal countries in Africa with similar problems like our own, this is what I have found in their constitutions:
I. South Africa
106. (1) Every citizen who is qualified to vote for the National Assembly is eligible to be a member of a provincial legislature...
128. (1) At its first sitting after its election, and whenever necessary to fill a vacancy, a provincial legislature must elect a woman or a man from among its members to be the Premier of the province.
142. A provincial legislature may pass a constitution for the province or, where applicable amend its constitution, if at least two thirds of its members vote in favour of the bill.
143. (1) A provincial constitution, or constitutional amendment, must not be inconsistent with this Constitution, but may provide for
a. provincial legislative or executive structures and procedures that differ from those provided for in this Chapter; or
b. the institution, role, authority and status of a traditional monarch, where applicable.
131. A person shall be qualified for election to the office of the President if - (a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
177. A person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if (a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
38. 1. Every Ethiopian national, without any discrimination based on colour, race, nation, nationality, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion or other status, has the following rights:
(a) To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly and through freely chosen representatives;
(b) On the attainment of 18 years of age, to vote in accordance with law;
(c) To vote and to be elected at periodic elections to any office at any level of government; elections shall be by universal and equal suffrage and by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors.
The Ethiopian example is noteworthy as the federalism there is entirely based on ethnicity! I tend to think that similar arrangements could also work well for Uganda, domination and marginalisation notwithstanding. Nonetheless, I'm convinced that in the Ugandan case, the constituent units must reveal the way they want to be governed.
The fact of the matter is that there are so many types of federations on earth, and each is unique in its way. The fact shall remain that Uganda needs a federal structure, and that there are numerous ways to mould the best or most suitable structure to suit her purposes. Another fact also is that Uganda has had a bad past that needs to be very carefully considered when looking at the best way forward, in addition to the practicality of whatever is proposed.
Thus, I believe that with some education of our people, with sensitisation of what is in the best interests of our country, the ballot can sort out the chaff from the wheat.
1. Constitution of Germany: http://www.gov.za/constitution/1996/96cons6.htm
6. Constitution of Nigeria: 7. Constitution of Ethiopia:
By Dr. J. Muwanga-Zake
With regard to South Africa: Their regions have very large minorities. For example, there are so many Zulus, Xhosas, Sothos, etc. These tribes have different levels of traditional or cultural leaders. For example, the Zulu King (Zwelithini) is more powerful in terms of how the Zulus take him, as compared to for example, the Xhosa King. Therefore, the KwaZulu Natal Province (i.e. the province where Zulus originate) deals with the Zulu King in a different way that the Eastern Cape Province (the province where Xhosas originate) deals with the Xhosa King. The central government does not take them at different levels in the constitution, but politically, an occasion attended by each of these
has different levels of impact.
It is unthinkable that a Zulu or Sotho can be a Premier of the Eastern Cape province - the Xhosa land if you like. Neither is it thinkable that a Xhosa can be a Premier of KwaZulu Natal. As such, it is not likely that the question of the tribe of a Premier is mentioned in the South African constitution. Down on the ground, the unwritten reality or constitution is that each province is lead by a premier belonging to the indigenous tribe in the province. In fact even provincial civil servants are distributed mainly according to their tribes - this is not written anywhere too. In some cases they even care to find out which part of the province a fellow tribes person comes from - they are sensitive to the distribution of appointments within the province. One thing surely different between Ugandans and South Africans is that S African Blacks would openly oppose certain appointments in the civil service that are not Black or not from their own tribe. So a non-Xhosa would not even attempt to stand for leadership in the Eastern Cape!
By J. Senyonjo
My contribution is in two parts, one concerning the national Presidency, the second concerning state governorships.
The Presidency of the nation:
The U.S. allows 'naturally born' citizens as opposed to naturalized citizens to contest for the Presidency of the nation. Naturalized citizens can serve in virtually any other high office presumably not including the Vice-Presidency, or Speaker of the House as these are in a direct line of succession in case of the death of the President.
In the context of Uganda this would mean that an Indian or Munyarwanda born within the country who has the required citizenship papers would qualify for the Presidency. The U.S. constitution also requires a continuous residency requirement of at least 14 years before one runs for the Presidency. Thus if any citizen has lived outside the country less than 14 years before running for the Presidency, he or she is presumably disqualified.
Given the real fear of foreigners in Uganda running the country -- the Sudanese during Idi Amin's regime and presumably Banyarwanda during the early days of Mr. Museveni's regime -- the requirement for Presidential candidates being "naturally born", I believe, is a reasonable one. It does not discriminate against Banyarwanda, Asians or any other ethnic group born within Uganda as these would be eligible to stand for the Presidency.
Please see these two links for the U.S. position on this subject:
The state level
Both points of view presented in this forum on the subject of representation of minorities in the governorships at the state level are contextually valid. And as such I believe we cannot resolve that debate in this forum. I believe the best we can do is to present both views to Ugandans faithfully as the champions have presented them.
I understand Mr. Kyijomanyi's concern given the tenuousness of relations between ethnic groups in Uganda, and indeed Africa as a whole. The truth is that ethnic groups in Uganda are territorial mini-nations, and can be incited by unscrupulous politicians to violence or discrimination when they feel threatened by outsiders. The question is then what is the best way of ensuring that the people of each state -- which in Uganda's case shall be primarily ethnic territories -- feel secure that they would control their destinies. At the national level in African elections there has been too much ugliness by one opponent or other claiming that the other is not indigenous. That ugliness could conceivably be worse in the states as envisioned here given the level of distrust among Uganda's ethnic groups.
My approach to this dilemma was to ensure that any candidate for the highest office in the state goes through a screening process similar to a senate approval process that high-level appointments by the President undergo in the United States. The candidates would be grilled about their cultural understanding and loyalty to the state and its institutions, examined as to their personal associations and initiatives in advancing the interests of all the people in the state, their residency, their vision and plans for the state, their cabinet appointments wish list etc. This process would be so rigorous as to eliminate all but the most dedicated and loyal state residents. And since the senate (as opposed to the house) as I envision it would include a large number of cultural leaders (i.e. clan representatives in addition to minority representatives, the result would in the formative years of federalism in Uganda almost certainly ensure that the candidates approved to contest for the governorship would meet the preference of the state's prevailing cultural group. Candidates for other sensitive posts would undergo the same process. This approach would not have any explicitly discriminatory clauses.
An alternative method is Mr. Kyijomanyi's approach, which opens all state offices to all resident citizens with the exception of the Governorship and perhaps a limited number of sensitive offices. This approach is not unreasonable given the precarious history of inter- ethnic relations in Uganda, and given our federalism's focus on cultural diversity and self-determination for the various regions of Uganda. I have a sense that this approach may initially be the most feasible and peaceful one in Uganda as the different communities within the state would be aware of the limitations thus eliminating ugly scheming and fights among the various communities in a given state as has been the case in Bunyoro recently. This particular arrangement could be agreed upon by the federal constitutional conference and could explicitly be subjected to review by the different states in say 40 years.
I believe we should present both scenarios to Ugandans pointing out the pros and cons of each to Ugandans and have them choose what best suits them. But in any case we should emphasize democratic processes at both the state and federal levels.
Uganda is diverse, and Federalism will only make sense if the system is made as flexible as possible to accommodate the interests and aspiration of her diverse people. There cannot be a one-fits-all solution, especially as far as certain procedures in the states are concerned. Although not everything goes, the states must be allowed to formulate their policies as far as possible.This is thus the proposal for the highest political offices in the country:
A person is not qualified for election as President unless that person is - (a) A citizen of Uganda by birth;
(b) Not less than thirty-five years; and
(c) A person qualified to be a Member of Parliament.
(a) A citizen of Uganda by birth;
A federal state’s constitution, or constitutional amendment, must be in synch with the national Constitution, but may provide for:
(a) A state’s legislative or executive structures and procedures that differ from those provided; or
(b) The institution, role, authority and status of a traditional monarch, where applicable.
In that sense, a Prime Minister or Governor of a state may have qualifications defined by the state. This could, in one state, look as follows:
A person shall not be qualified for election to the highest political office in the state unless that person is:
(a) A state citizen by birth;
(b) Not less than 35 years of age;
(c) A person qualified to be a Member of Parliament;
(d) Well conversant in the state’s official language and culture;
(e) Is deemed to have continuously lived in the state for at least 5 years.