By the end of this article Ugandans will have figured out who Museveni is

Many – if not most – Ugandans have not figured out who Museveni is and much less what he stands for although some have voted for him since 1996. However, going by the voters supporting him, his popularity is dwindling. The uncertainty about Museveni has led to stress and – combined with poor diet of cassava and maize – contributed to insanity which stands at over thirty percent and is rising at an alarming rate – a process that is destroying human capital formation.

The mystery about Museveni springs from many fronts. First, his birth place has remained unresolved. Some Ugandans and others believe he is Rwandese and that he came to Uganda on his mother’s back symbolizing that he was too young to walk on his own. Museveni has written that he was born in Kyamate of Ankole district, now Ntungamo district. Nina Mbabazi has disputed that arguing that Museveni was actually born in Rukungiri district but did not explain. And Nina has declined requests to elaborate which has corroded her reputation. Then, to make matters worse came Shifa Mwesigye with his own story that actually it is Museveni’s grandfather who was born in Rukungiri as if to deny that Museveni was. Like Nina, Shifa did not elaborate. He has been requested to do so. As we shall see later Ugandans are beginning to tilt towards Rwanda as being Museveni’s birth place.

Second, until very recently Museveni had reported that he is a Muhima from Ankole and born in 1944. Ugandans are increasingly wondering why he never broke the news that he is a Muhororo. Bahororo are Batutsi from Rwanda. But these Batutsi arrived in mid-17th century. If Museveni was born in 1944 and his mother entered Uganda carrying Museveni on her back then he cannot qualify as a Muhororo unless his parents are Bahororo who returned to Rwanda after Mpororo kingdom disintegrated in mid-18th century and then came back. That would still pose problems for Museveni. It seems Museveni figured that if he announced he is a Muhororo it may open a pandora’s box and possibly be forced to return to Rwanda. That is why an increasing number of Ugandans going by how he has mistreated them believe he is Rwandese. Keeping the debate going by Nina and Shifa – deliberate or not – gives Museveni some breathing space to push Uganda into a federation that renders the nationality issue that has haunted him irrelevant.

Third, Museveni’s going to study at Dar es Salaam in Tanzania has raised questions as well. At the time Museveni went to university there were three campuses of the East African University with each specializing in certain fields. Dar es Salaam campus specialized in law. Ugandans who went to Dar majored in law except Museveni. Museveni has explained that he chose to go to Dar (where he studied economics and political science which were better developed at Makerere than at Dar) because the revolutionary environment was better than at Makerere or Nairobi campuses. Others have argued that he went to Dar because he did not qualify for admission at Makerere. This links up with the fourth point.

Fourth, there have been questions about his intellectual capacity. Usually people distinguish themselves during the first degree work because that determines whether you are intellectually fit for (post) graduate studies. At that time, it was reasoned that anyone who attended university should be recognized somehow. And those who did not do well got a pass grade diploma which amounted to a certificate of attendance. It has been reported that Museveni got a pass at Dar es Salaam in economics and political science. This may explain why ambitious Museveni never pursued studies leading to a second degree.

Fifth, some people believe that Museveni has hidden his lack of high level intellectual capacity by relying on foreign advisers who would not claim his presidency by outshining him, or by surrounding himself with mediocre or vulnerable Ugandans (look at his cabinet for instance) and not even allowing them to make statements on policy matters. Those vocal voices at Makerere University he feared, Museveni brought them into government and silenced them. That is why you do not hear statements come out of his ministers or senior civil servants. Yet other commentators believe that Museveni uses derogatory language like bankrupt, empty tins and liars to frighten opponents and silence them before they expose his intellectual weakness. That is why there are no presidential debates in Uganda elections. If debates were in his favor to demonstrate his intellectual superiority Museveni would have imposed them on other candidates.

Sixth, Museveni being a Protestant started his political career in Protestant-based Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) led by Obote. Museveni even worked in the office of President Obote. When the going got tough and his political ambitions got frustrated, he switched to Catholic-based Democratic Party (DP) where he had no chance of rising to prominence because Catholics would not allow him. They could use him to undermine Obote – that was about it. When his political ambitions in DP got blocked as expected, Museveni formed Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM) a few weeks before the 1980 elections. It’s not surprising that his party performed poorly with one candidate elected to parliament. Museveni lost in his own constituency where he was supposed to be a hero after his role in overthrowing Amin. With or without rigging, UPM could not have performed better. So rigging the 1980 elections was a very weak reason for going to war and did not justify why he started military training in the 1960s.

Seventh, by the early 1980s, Museveni had realized that he had no political support among Ugandans which can be deduced from his poor performance at the Moshi conference, the 1979-80 transition period and the 1980 elections. That he was defeated in Bahima dominated constituency sent him a clear message that even in this group which he had claimed supported him, he was unpopular. He decided he would use military force in collaboration with foreigners (and disgruntled Ugandans mostly Baganda {no offence} whom he would dispose of when in power) to crush Ugandans and keep them under his feet. Therefore Museveni has no – and will not have – love for Ugandans – hence military atrocities in Luwero triangle, northern and eastern Uganda and application of destructive shock therapy structural adjustment for 24 years.

Therefore, to understand who Museveni is and what he stands for all Ugandans must understand the points outlined above which lead to one conclusion: Museveni has no love for Uganda and Ugandans because Ugandans rejected him through a democratic political process and continue to regard him a Rwandese even after he has been president for 25 years. So he picked up the gun – and exploited external and internal dissatisfaction with Obote and UPC – to come to power and settle scores. By now you understand who Museveni is. Let us examine how he got external support and used it used it to reward his supporters and punished his opponents?

Eighth, during the transition period Europeans and others were looking for someone who could defeat Obote who was not liked in the capitalist world. The 1980s witnessed a re-birth of 19th century capitalist fundamentalism (Washington Consensus, neoclassical economics or globalization) and Obote was not the man for that. Although Museveni posed as a Marxist, Europeans figured out that as an ambitious and vulnerable man from a tiny tribe and with no support in Uganda he could easily be fashioned into a tool of capitalism and regional geopolitics using any means necessary. Britain led the way. Linda Chalker then minister in Thatcher government provided political cover, Tiny Rowlands financial cover and William Pike media cover. Through some arrangements Museveni then linked up with Rwanda Tutsi refugees who could be Bahororo like him. Tutsi refugees in the guerrilla war were closer to Museveni than any Ugandan except perhaps his half-brother. The names of Fred Rwigyema (RIP) and Paul Kagame come to mind immediately. Even those who have served as army commanders since 1986 are mostly if not all Bahororo.

Ninth, when Museveni became president he was determined to crush Ugandans right away who had refused to support his political ambitions (he knew that Baganda, Bahima and Catholics who joined his guerrilla war did so because they wanted to get rid of Obote not because they loved Museveni as possible leader of Uganda). He was also determined to reward foreigners who supported him. That is why Fred Rwigyema was deputy army commander and deputy minister of defense and Paul Kagame in charge of intelligence and counter intelligence affairs. Ugandans were pushed during and after the guerrilla war into political, diplomatic and administrative functions far away from the center of power – the military. So when and how did he begin punishing Ugandans and rewarding foreigners.

Tenth, when he captured power, Museveni knew that Ugandans were experiencing tremendous hardship after fifteen years of extensive destruction and he figured that that was the time to bring Ugandans to their knees before him. To push them further into poverty and vulnerability he imposed on every Ugandan thirty percent tax for converting old into new currency. There was a lot of opposition including from IMF but he ignored all with a ‘smile’ because causing pain to Ugandans is what they deserved as punishment for refusing to support his political ambitions. He applied other tools such as devaluation to reduce the value of the Uganda shilling that made imports very expensive. Museveni has made Ugandans wear second hand clothes in large part to embarrass them. Bahororo do not wear such clothes!

Eleventh, Museveni adopted the shock-therapy version of structural adjustment to punish Ugandans. He retrenched staff from government and public enterprises that he did not like particularly Bairu and Protestants, he closed or downgraded more schools in areas occupied by people he did not like, he neglected hospitals and clinics in areas occupied by people he did not like, he destroyed cooperatives because they supported people he did not like. That is why Museveni has flatly rejected school feeding programs (but proposed to earmark sufficient money for funeral expenses) because he is punishing children of people he does not like, that is why he does not care about the quality of education from primary to university because he is punishing the people he does not like, that is why he does not care about the rising price of food because he is punishing people he does not like, that is why he does not lose his sleep over children wards turning into hospices because he does not care about the future of Uganda, that is why he does not care about unemployment because he is punishing the people of Uganda, that is why he exports food when Ugandans are starving because he is punishing the people of Uganda, and that is why he does not care about environmental degradation because he wants agriculturalists to disappear or herded into urban areas and Uganda turns into a rangeland suitable for his long horn cattle. That is why Museveni is keen to push Uganda into the East African economic integration and political federation so that it is flooded by immigrants that will outnumber indigenous population, and that is why birth control among indigenous population is being pushed to reduce their numbers. Since he came to power, Museveni has been consistent in his policies and strategies of destroying Uganda’s institutions, infrastructure and ultimately Ugandans themselves. That is why Museveni prepares development programs which he never implements.

Twelfth, no leader in Africa or any other country has privatized and turned over the entire economy (peasants are producing to feed foreign consumers) to foreign ownership and management. In essence Museveni has re-colonized Uganda. He is seen as black British representative in Uganda. British experts run the all powerful ministry of finance, planning and economic development and the central bank. Britain is the largest investor in Uganda. A senior World Bank official confirmed that despite favorable press on Uganda, Tanzania has done much better in designing policy for overall development and retaining a handle on national ownership (McDonald and Sahle 2002).

Thirteenth, before the EU representative departed on completion of his tour of duty to Uganda he remarked during an interview that Museveni was a ‘very capable, visionary politician’. Many Ugandans were upset by this remark because he did not define the context in which he made the remarks. From the European point of view Museveni has indeed been very capable: he opened Uganda’s economy to foreign business, brought British Asians back and apparently compensated them twice, he liberalized immigration and tax policies that favor Europeans, he is selling them organically produced foodstuff while Ugandans starve, he has allowed them to run Uganda’s economy, he has facilitated housing construction for European residence, offices and hotels. How many Ugandans live in and use those posh houses, hotels and offices – hardly any? Europeans pay in dollars which are transferred to European banks.

On Museveni’s vision, again the Europeans are happy because the economic integration and political federation will likely benefit their business far better and even undermine Uganda entrepreneurs.

Fourteenth, when Museveni’s capability and vision are considered within Uganda context, Museveni has been capable of destroying Uganda institutions and systems thereby pushing Ugandans into deeper poverty, unemployment, alcoholism, human sacrifice, functional illiteracy, domestic violence and diseases of poverty etc and creating potential hostile neighbors.

Museveni’s vision of East African economic integration and political federation will destroy Ugandans even more by taking away land and jobs among others. A patriotic leader would be inviting all Ugandans back to participate in nation-building. Instead Museveni has been urging Ugandans to stay abroad and others to join while their positions at home go to inexperienced and culturally ignorant foreigners.

Fifteenth, Museveni has treated Ugandans at a sub-human level (look at disfigured bodies by malnutrition and jiggers) because he is settling scores for continuing to regard him as a foreigner and rebuffing his political ambitions up to this moment (that is why he has resorted to rigging elections). Museveni knows that Ugandans do not like him and that is why he will use force (of Ugandans against Ugandans) in collaboration with foreign support to stay in power and keep Ugandans under his feet. Elections demanded by donors have served to legitimize an illegitimate regime in Uganda.

With these clarifications, Ugandans should now have a clearer sense of who Museveni is and what he stands for. Definitely there are still problems about his place of birth and Ugandans have a right to know. That he stands for European interests is very clear.

Ipso facto, what to do with Museveni on February 18, 2011 should no longer be a debatable issue. He should go home. All Ugandans including security forces should ensure Museveni does not steal a single vote or announce the results through the hand-picked national electoral commissioners. International and national observers will risk undermining their credibility if they look the other way and Museveni snicks in through the back door. Ugandans have become enlightened and will not let such injustices go unreported or unchallenged.

It is clear that if Museveni is re-elected he will push his destructive agenda so hard because he knows time is running out. Do not give him that chance. Forum and other Uganda and non-Uganda readers it is important to realize that change is coming to Uganda. So let Museveni go home to pave the way for a new beginning for all of us on the basis of dignity, liberty and equality.