The outgoing US Ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac has warned that ultimately, governments that stay for long in power without a transitional plan often end up badly.
Malac, a known straight-talking diplomat, yesterday held her final press briefing at the American Centre as US Ambassador to Uganda after four years of service. According to Malac, failure by the current government to think about a peaceful transition and also plan for it has created frustration, raised concern and fear among citizens.
Malac was answering questions from journalists about the succession question in Uganda after President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s rule. She said that the longer you stifle people, the more you create more frustration and fear which often does not always end well.
She also warned against refusing expression on alternative view whether anti-corruption, politics and other rights saying these should be respected, and the government has an obligation to correct the bad things happening.
According to Malac, a transition will finally come to Uganda, and this could be through the generation change which is awaiting Uganda looking at the young population. She says majority of Ugandans are youth and will surely lead the change and they should not be blocked from speaking about succession.
“If you look across history, governments and regimes that stay in power for a long time and do not plan what comes next, it often ends badly. It is a separate issue when the transition has to come, when it should come. That is a conversation that Ugandans themselves have to have, but you know a transition will happen at some point because it must. None of us is immortal but the failure to think about and plan can be difficult but it creates that frustration, it creates that concern.” said Malac.
Malac also urged government and security forces to allow Ugandans exercise constitutional rights and freedoms of assembly and expression. She also called for a free and fair election, saying all eyes around the world will watching what is happening in Uganda. Malac says unlike other countries, Uganda has the capacity to hold elections, and this should not be marred with irregularities.
She was also concerned against the misinterpretation of Public Order Management Act and its selective application when it is used to block opposition meetings and rallies but not used as the ruling party carries out its political activities.
Malac said the US as a nation will continue to help Uganda remain stable by supporting it from all areas of health, agriculture, security, education among others. Malac who retires with 39 years of experience in the Foreign Service will be replaced by Natalie E Brown, the current chief of Missions in Eritrea who is also a career diplomat like Malac.
Natalie is yet to be finally approved. Ambassador Malac departs the country on Sunday this week. Among her achievements, Malac has listed achievements in health like; dramatic improvement in the fight against Malaria, rapid response and detection of over 100 priority disease events over the past four years.
In education, she mentioned strong progress in improving basic literacy skills, improvement of farmers livelihoods, fight against gender-based violence, attracted US investments to Uganda and promoted Uganda’s business in the US among others.urn