A former African head of state remarked that when an African leader is popular with and praised sky high by Europeans it means that by and large that leader is taking care of European interests more than those of his/her citizens.
Apart from areas of white settlement, Britain (unlike Portugal) chose to give independence to African countries without much struggle in order to keep them colonized and continue to serve British interests. It did so by influencing the choice of leaders or governing political parties. If a chosen leader digressed, he would be removed and replaced by a more compliant one.
In Uganda UPC/KY coalition and the rise to power of Obote were supported by Britain. When relations between Obote and Britain got strained Obote was removed and replaced by Amin, a gentle giant easy to do business with (Jon Abbink and Gerti Hesseling 2000 and New Africa February 2001).
As we have detailed elsewhere and posted on www.kashambuzi.com, Museveni was chosen by western powers including Britain in the early 1980s to topple Obote and UPC government (actually toppled by Okello in July 1985) because Obote was not trusted to do business with (Peter Phillips 2006 and Vijay Gupta 1983). Obote was chased out twice in 1971 and 1985 because by and large he put Uganda interests above Europeans! Amin was supported until Tanzania troops and Uganda exiles chased him out of the country in 1979.
In Uganda the idea of school lunch is very popular throughout the country. If Besigye who supports it musters the right skills and sells it, it could carry him shoulder high to state house in 2011!
There is indisputable evidence from developed and developing countries that school lunches work. They increase attendance especially of girls (which is in line with MDG 2 on universal primary education) and improve performance. Children from poor families are less likely to attend school than those from rich ones in part because of lack of school lunch.
In fact, in Uganda over 80 percent of children drop out of primary school largely for lack of school feeding programs. Studies from Kabale district have confirmed high dropout for lack of school meals. On the other hand studies from Ruhiira in southwest Uganda where school lunches are provided attendance and performance have improved significantly.
Museveni must therefore have other reasons for rejecting government support for school lunches for children from poor families that cannot afford to bring packed lunch from home.
By and large a decision taken when one is angry, frustrated, tired or in a hurry is likely to be wrong. In 1981, Baganda and Catholics (no offense) with backing of some western powers led by Britain decided to wage a guerrilla war because they were angry, frustrated, tired and in a hurry that Obote had returned to power. Without proper scrutiny of each other, two ideologically opposed groups: Popular Resistance Army (PRA) and Uganda Freedom Fighters (UFF) formed the National Resistance Movement (NRM) with Yusuf Lule (RIP) as chairman and Museveni as vice chairman and also chairman of the high command of its armed wing, the National Resistance Army (NRA). This became a clear case of enemy’s enemy is a friend. What was common between the two groups is that they were both enemies (opponents to use a milder word) of Obote and UPC. What both wanted was to remove Obote and sort out their differences later, if any.
While on vacation in Rujumbura in southwest Uganda my neighbor fell sick. I visited her and found that she had been in bed for three days without medication. Her health was deteriorating. I suggested that she should be taken to hospital. But her relatives were reluctant. I discreetly found out that they did not have money to cover transport and medical bills. She was rushed to Nyakibale hospital when I offered to cover most of the expenses. She had malaria and recovered fully after four days of hospitalization.
While at the hospital I met a woman in the corridor and she looked troubled. Apparently she knew me and so we quickly connected. During the brief conversation she stood stiff, cleared her throat and made a statement so clearly as though she had been practicing for quite some time. She said in the local language “Museveni ogu hona nomuntu? Obworo bwaturetaire nibuza kutumaraho. Sitani akashanga nkahi Museveni. Ahabwenki Sitani yamuresire Uganda?”. In English translation she said “Is Museveni a true human being? The poverty he has brought will destroy us. Where did Satan find Museveni and why did Satan bring Museveni to Uganda?” This sentiment in one form or another has been expressed by others. When a cross section of Ugandans tells you that Amin’s overall performance was better than Museveni’s, they are saying the same thing as the lady in the hospital said except in a less dramatic way.
In early 1980s a few countries including Britain decided that Museveni would be the ruler of Uganda (Peter Phillips 2006) because Obote considered to be a socialist was not trusted (Vijay Gupta 1983) to take care of foreign interests. Museveni who was a Marxist was judged to be flexible and could easily be converted into a supporter of capitalism – which he has turned out to be. Britain led a visible effort in preparing Museveni for that role and has sustained him in power since 1986.
Before considering how Ugandans might lose their land to Britain and other foreigners, let us outline the steps that have been taken to enable Britain re-colonize Uganda through Museveni. The process started in the early 1980s during the guerrilla war. How was it carried out? Tiny Rowland provided finance, William Pike communication and media connections and Linda Chalker under Thatcher government political cover. According to Andrew Spannaus “Museveni, ever since he began fighting to take power in Uganda in the early 1980s, was backed by Baronnes Lynda Chalker, former Minister for Overseas Development of the Empire “ (EIR September 1997). His intellectual credentials which were previously considered insignificant were boosted by foreigners – African and non-African. Gerry O’Kane reported that Museveni was described as the intellectual who picked up a gun and used magical powers in his guerrilla war against Obote government (New Africa March 1986).
It has been reported that migrant workers have triumphed over indigenous population in Ivory Coast’s presidential and parliamentary elections – essentially taking over the country. Museveni in collaboration with or under the direction of foreign advisers is methodically, silently and incrementally turning Uganda into another Ivory Coast. This is being done by increasing migrants through favorable policies and reducing indigenous population through birth control measures. I have already written an article (posted on home page of www.kashambuzi.com) arguing that immigrants will soon outnumber indigenous Ugandans. Let us see how Museveni is doing it beginning with policies that are encouraging foreigners to enter Uganda under conditions that are not clear to the public.
First, Museveni’s decision to adopt the shock therapy version of structural adjustment or economic recovery in 1987 was not an accident. It was designed to introduce unpopular decisions quickly before opposition groups organized to resist them. They also required dictatorial methods of governance which have been tacitly endorsed by Museveni’s foreign backers and conveniently described as bold leadership.
As we head into the holiday season and the 2011 elections, all Ugandans are being requested for the sake of our children and theirs, to think carefully about which candidates at presidential and parliamentary and lower levels you should vote for. You should not vote for a candidate because he/she is your relative or your friend or your neighbor. Instead, you should vote for a candidate you are convinced will serve the interests of Uganda best. Sitting members of parliament should be rejected or re-elected based on their record. It is better to consider someone who has a public record of service rather than gamble on fresh candidates and you regret later. Age and gender should not be the issue. In your communities you know who can deliver best. You should not be scared because a candidate is wearing a military uniform. In the final analysis they are as vulnerable as we all are.
As campaigning for February 2011 presidential elections enters the last phase, Ugandans need to consider the following illustrative events before deciding whether or not to re-elect Museveni for another five-year term.
1. There are increasing allegations that Museveni and/or his collaborators murdered key Ugandans to discredit Amin and have him overthrown.
2. There are increasing allegations that human, physical and institutional destruction in the Luwero Triangle was committed by Museveni and his guerrilla fighters to discredit Obote and have him overthrown.
3. There are reports that Museveni prolonged the northern and eastern war causing much destruction in human, physical and institutional terms. He was forced by the international community to end the war. Museveni should not earn credit for ending the war and be re-elected by northern and eastern voters.
4. A few months after he formed the government, Museveni introduced new Uganda currency and charged 30 percent conversion tax against the advice of IMF as such a tax hike would significantly reduce household incomes and cause untold suffering which it did in many families. It is not clear where that revenue went.