Tanzania presses Uganda to put its house in order
Tanzania's President Julius Nyerere is putting pressure on Uganda's Binaisa government to put its house in order, end factionalism and tribalism, and stamp out corruption.
According to reliable reports from Dar es salaam and Kampala, Mr. Nyerere is sticking to his recent threat to pull his 22,000 troops out of Uganda. They have been there since they fought their way to Kampala with Ugandan freedom fighters to destroy Idi Amin's regime.
It now looks as though Mr. Nyerere is going to order the remnants of his Army to pull out in stages -- at least 10,000 in the next month or so.
Mr. Nyerere thus will break the agreement he made with President Godfrey Binaisa to keep Tanzanian troops in Uganda for a two-year period during which they would train a Ugandan army to maintain law and order in the country.
Last week President Nyerere ordered President Binaisa to fly to Dar es Salaam for consultations. But Mr. Binaisa arrived in Tanzania without leading members of the National Consultative Council, Uganda's legislative assembly, much to Mr. Nyerere's annoyance. The hurriedly sent for the Council's chairman, Edward Rugemayo, and the secretary, Omwony Ojwok.
The council insists that it should be consulted regularly by the government. It seeks to review the appointment of new ministers and the sacking of old ones -- and feels that it should have a central role, especially in moments of crisis.
During their meeting in Dar es Salaam, Mr. Nyerere is reported to have challenged President Binaisa with complaints about the growing factionalism in his government and the growing reports of corruption and self-seeking among ministers.
"I did not shed Tanzanian blood to liberate Uganda from Amin to see the country spend its resources on the enrichment of Ugandan politicians and the splitting off of leaders into factions and tribal groups," Mr. Nyerere is reported to have told the Ugandan leader.
Only a few weeks ago President Binaisa was under attack at home in Kampala. The National Consultative Council tried without success to pass a vote of no confidence against Mr. Binaisa for allowing Western interests back into Uganda.
Uganda will face a critical situation if large numbers of Tanzanian troops pull out. Criticized through they are in Uganda for undisciplined and lawless behavior, they still provide a buffer against the "private armies" getting out of hand.
While the government is busy training 5,000 troops for the new Uganda Army, reports grow of several private armies being recruited by the supporters of former President Milton Obote, by radical socialists, and by others -- even including supporters of Idi Amin.
The government is finding it difficult to obtain arms for the Uganda Army abroad. But it seems the private armies have no problem getting arms from the stores of war materiel captured from Idi Amin's fleeing forces.
A report on the armed forces now in the hands of the council is said to show that recent missions to buy arms, which went to Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and the Soviet Union, came back with arms. But much of the new equipment seems to have disappeared into the countryside.
The confusion over the arms is a further sign that President Binaisa is out of tough with what is going on in Uganda. It is agreed that he is working hard to hold his country together. But he appears to lack the solid power base some of his ministers have.
The prime concern is that factionalism could get out of hand unless the "free and fair democratic elections" promised for June 1981 are brought forward to give the Ugandans a properly elected government as soon as possible. Pressures are building for holding the elections this year.