Democratization of Uganda

A special Message

on the Problem and Causes of Political Apathy,

Lack of Unity and Corruption in our Community[1]


As I write this message the United Democratic Ugandans (UDU) has been in existence for almost ten months. No political miracles were anticipated or promised by the founders of UDU at the time it was formed in Los Angeles, California, on July 9 2011. None has happened so far. The year in which UDU was born has long expired and a new year in which we expect to accomplish some of our primary objectives as enshrined in our constitution has inevitably been ushered in by the irreversible natural stream of time to which all cosmic events and life are subject. The original psychological Euphoria is slowly wearing off and the reality and complexity of our political task is gradually sinking in. These circumstances dictate the urgency of my message. What we need most now is courage, determination and creativity to forge ahead and liberate ourselves from the irrational fear (timidity) of our enemy and the claws of (military) dictatorship that are ruthlessly suppressing liberty in our motherland.

But before we embark on or even accomplish this ambitious task we need a clear analysis and diagnosis of the nature and causes of our basic problems and political ailments. Ironically everyone thinks he/she knows what the problem is in Uganda and precisely how to solve the problem. And yet the problem persists and no end in sight is discernible. I am, therefore, convinced that renewed efforts and insight are needed and expected if we are to deal with our political problems in Uganda effectively. Even more important is deeper reflection and analysis of the nature of our problems in order to avoid past mistakes. We have committed many errors in the past half a century which we must strive to avoid. Due to social change the problems in any society mutate and, as a result, they get transformed thereby requiring a new diagnosis before they can be treated effectively. This, unfortunately, means that the task we face is far more complex than we originally imagined; a lot of work lies ahead in which we are all expected to participate and contribute our part.

I send fraternal greetings to all of you and the best wishes during the year 2012. My hope is that the year of 2012 will not only be prosperous for you individually but will also bring blessings and quantifiable progress towards the achievement of the ultimate collective objectives of UDU—democratization of the Ugandan political system. However, we must be vigilant and cautious. It is a mistake to think that we know and fully understand the nature of our problem

. The short period and experience we have gone through in 2011 has taught us a few lessons which we must remember and I, as Chairman of UDU, would like to communicate and urgently bring to your attention. The main source of my frustration at this time is the high level of political apathy in our community both at home and in the Diaspora. I will try to reveal some of the causes of this apathy in the hope that we shall be able to formulate a better prescription for a cure to the paralyzing political disease that is gravely afflicting the citizens of Uganda everywhere.

Some of you, as one may expect, may have a healthy dose of skepticism about a leader sending out a long written message to UDU members; you may wonder what that message can accomplish in practical politics. We can learn a lot from history. Many great leaders in the past[2] relied on the written word in order to sharpen their message, explain their cause, report on developments, transform and mobilize their movements or organizations. I regard such leaders as admirable role models for all of us. This message is intended to accomplish all four functions of a traditional leader’s message I referred to above.

Part I of this message diagnoses the nature and critical elements of our fundamental problem. Without an accurate diagnosis we cannot fully understand how to solve the problems caused by our turbulent political history. According to our diagnosis one of the serious problems we are facing in pursuing our cause of democratizing Uganda is political apathy which some may characterize differently as lack of “unity” among Ugandans. Lack of unity is partly explained by our political apathy which in turn is a consequence of our traumatic and turbulent political history which psychologically induced and conditioned the members of our society to behave as they do today. Without understanding the nature of this problem many of our efforts will be squandered and turn to naught.

Political apathy in our society is actually a complex sociological condition caused by dictatorship perpetrated on the people of Uganda by notorious dictators: A. Milton Obote, Idi Amin and Yoweri K. Museveni. That is why Part II of this message is devoted to explaining the impact and negative consequences of Obote/Museveni on Ugandan politics. The impact of the absence of political freedom in Uganda, or what we may characterize as the jurisprudence of political oppression—because law is always the instrument used to achieve it—is carefully examined. Suppression of political freedom is the cause of the absence of political philosophy in our politics. It is a serious problem whose symptoms are clearly manifested in how our political parties are loosely organized and, as a result, turn out to be politically ineffective in confronting the vicious enemy they purport to confront and challenge. This sociological condition is another negative aspect of our retarded political development, or, in fact, lack thereof. It makes it more difficult to wage war against dictatorship, just as the dictators intended it to be! Until we fully understand the nature and depth of our problem any efforts to deal with our political problem will be frustrated, fruitless and wasted.

Indeed, unity, for which everyone is clamoring, cannot be achieved until we fully understand and resolve the issue of the yarning gap caused by the lack of political philosophy in our politics. The absence of political philosophy in our politics breeds apathy which, in turn, discourages political unity, thereby completing the cycle of political inaction. Political philosophy gives politics a purpose that is more durable than individuals and political regimes. Any political party you look at today in Uganda (including NRM) is sufficient to explain the nature and gravity of our problem. All political parties in Uganda lack the political solidarity that unites the members by a specific political philosophy. This means that even after NRM regime is removed the task of democratizing Uganda will be enormous. Political parties and their leaderships have to mature fast in order to effectively sustain the democratic process. Psychological fear of the enemy (technically the ruthless state) paralyzes political action thereby perpetuating corruption and dictatorship, the two enemies of democracy we must courageously confront head on. We must understand that removing a dictatorial regime is not the same thing as, or equivalent to, democratization of the political system. From colonial time the state has been the enemy of the people. It has been used not to serve and protect the people but to suppress and brutally robe their political freedom from them. Democratization must reverse this condition. It will not be easy but it must be done if we want to achieve democratization.

Part III extensively deals with the core of our problem, which is the major obstacle to democratization in Uganda. This is corruption. Corruption is antithetical to democratization; it is so dangerous and pervasive in Uganda that even those who are fully aware that NRM is like a sinking ship are not ready to jump off the sinking ship because they are heavily loaded with their loot from the NRM regime! But they must be warned that it is a question of time. Victory against is inevitable. This problem will be amplified in the section on prognosis. The real cause of our problem is the fact that in the absence of political philosophy in our politics corruption becomes inevitable and a powerful political force or incentive for political action, or lack thereof, because corruption is the main motivating factor in our political activities. It is also, unfortunately, a source of disunity and apathy. Excessive greed and failure to punish corruption are our greatest enemies.

Finally, in Part IV we formulate our prognosis to help us deal with our complex problem. The prognosis lays out an exit strategy from dictatorship on how to democratize Uganda. Due to the nature of the NRM regime culture[3] there can be no genuine democratization in Uganda without a regime change. The prognosis not only lays down how to repair the political system thorough democratization but also how to recover stolen assets and state property which corruption has misappropriated. Our work, in short, is cut out for us.


Our future success in democratizing Uganda will largely depend on whether we understand and appreciate the nature, enormity and complexity of the problems we are facing which we will try to tackle during this year and later on. At this point our main enemy is not necessarily Museveni, although he is a major part of the problem, but political apathy and lack of unity among Ugandans. Political apathy which is prevalent in all classes, ethnicities and religious beliefs is so ingrained in Ugandans that we need an explanation of its origin and causes before we can find an effective cure or treatment for it. Ugandans have gone through so much suffering and political trauma that it defies logic to understand and explain why they are so resistant to enthusiastically embracing desirable, and to some extent inevitable, political change. Unfortunately, this problem is part of—and inherent in—human nature. It cannot be resolved without social change. The problem existed under colonialism, apartheid, racial segregation in US and communism. It was conquered through social change. Today Ugandans, like their brothers and sisters before, are not united and courageous enough with sufficient political stamina and determination to confront their political enemy in order to liberate themselves from the tyranny of corrupt dictators like Yoweri Kaguta Museveni because they have been conditioned from colonial time to pathologically fear the state and its instrumentalities (police, army, intelligence agencies and the executive).

In this message to members of UDU, and all Ugandans who desire and believe in democracy, I will try to identify the origin and causes of our political apathy and, hopefully, prescribe solutions to this intractable political disease which has allowed dictatorship to thrive in the middle of harsh, excruciating, social, political and economic conditions causing poverty, severe suffering and insecurity in all segments of society, especially the masses within the poor segment of the population. What kind of society, one wonders, can conceivably ignore or tolerate such outrageous conditions? We need a valid answer and scientific explanation to this question. We also need to formulate an effective political remedy to deal with it as part of full liberation and democratization of Uganda.

When Museveni captured power in 1986 he explained and blamed the problems facing Uganda in particular, and Africa in general, such as poverty, corruption, sectarianism and dictatorship—the absence of democracy—solely on the history of colonialism in Africa.[4] In fact Museveni developed a specific political curriculum at Kyankwanzi political school based on what he diagnosed as the causes of Africa’s problems. The Kyankwanzi curriculum was deliberately designed to indoctrinate Ugandans with Museveni’s political ideology and dogmas in the hope that Ugandans will eventually become subservient to NRM and, as result, the problems Uganda was facing, as Museveni conceived them, would, automatically, be wiped out in no time by his suppression of political freedom. The opposite has happened. Museveni forgot that the colonialists, apartheid racists, the segregationists in US and the communists had tried similar strategies and failed because social change is inevitable and injustice cannot be endured forever by any group of people anywhere.

Museveni did not only misdiagnose the problem he was dealing with but he also, unfortunately, and probably inevitably, prescribed the wrong solutions. Museveni’s first solution was to indoctrinate Ugandans with irrational military doctrines disguised as “liberation of the people” while, at the same time, suppressing political freedom as a political conditioning tool to render the population subservient. Museveni, after quarter of a century in power, has obviously miserably failed to achieve his goal, compounded the original problems and made the situation much worse. Poverty has astronomically increased in Uganda, political freedom has disappeared, inflation is galloping again, corruption has multiplied and infected the entire society and, recently, it has mutated into organized crime and made security impossible. These latter two factors are viciously terrorizing Ugandans with obutayimbwa (iron bars) and other lethal weapons, forcing Museveni himself to travel in heavily armored convoys to guarantee his security! Under those circumstances few rational Ugandans would wish Museveni a long and prosperous leadership in Uganda.

From Museveni’s artificial interpretation of history we now know not only that the emperor is naked but we also understand why he is naked: intellectually, ideologically and politically! Museveni’s politics is devoid of any rational consistent political philosophy. It is centered on selfish, greedy and ruthless pursuit of personal interest, which is the exact opposite of nationalism. This diagnosis explains the pervasive corrupt behavior within NRM as we shall thoroughly document in part III of this essay.

The major problem that seems to be at the center of our struggle for democracy in Uganda is the absence of political philosophy to rationally guide our political actions. As a consequence political corruption has infiltrated every nook and cranny of Ugandan society and politics causing political apathy and social paralysis. In addition to corruption political timidity is a viral political disease that needs effective treatment before Ugandans can gain confidence, liberate themselves and enjoy the blessings of liberty. In this message I will concentrate on the importance of political philosophy in the democratic process because the dangers of corruption and political timidity in our social fabric and the body politic cannot be uprooted without an insightful political philosophy whose premises are not only insightful and rational but universally valid in protecting individual liberty and human rights whose violation is the source of the peoples’ suffering and misery.

I shall try to demonstrate in this message, using examples from history, that democracy cannot exist in a philosophical vacuum and certainly democracy cannot be successfully sustained without a distinctive political philosophy playing a major role in guiding or even piloting and guiding the political processes. Uganda today is in a state of severe political repression partly because of fear ingrained in its citizens by generations of ruthless and brutal military dictators (Obote, Amin and Museveni), and partly due to the corrupting nature of dictatorship itself but mainly as a consequence of the absence of political philosophy and, therefore, an active political culture to activate, guide and replenish political action resulting from the repressive policies of dictators Ugandans have endured for almost three generations after independence.

We should also be aware that even after democracy Ugandans and other Africans yearn for is formally established it cannot endure without a rational compatible political philosophy to sustain it.[5] Most of us seem to believe that a call for “unity” by itself will be sufficient to lay the foundation for democratization of Uganda and sustain democracy in the long run. Unfortunately, this belief is based on a false hope, a misreading of history and above all, a misunderstanding of the nature and function of democracy in society. It is also a misplaced political conviction. There are countries whose citizens are united as a nation but at the same time oppressed by tyrannical regimes. Unity does not translate directly into democracy or political freedom.[6] When we achieved independence unity was the main theme of our politics for a generation. But we have neither achieved unity nor fully embraced democracy during half a century of independence singing the same unity tune. Ugandans today are far more united as a nation than they were at the time of independence but their unity has not guaranteed democracy in Uganda. We must, therefore, validly explain this apparent political dichotomy or contradiction. The suppression of political freedom under a delusion of the quest for unity was a contradiction that could not be rectified because it was incompatible with democratization. This is the main theme of my first message for the year 2012. Unity cannot be fully achieved without political freedom. When political freedom is suppressed unity becomes the primary victim in the process. Suppression of freedom impacts different segments of society disproportionately. Some groups are favored while others are repressed. This, inevitably, causes disunity or “sectarianism” in society.

Museveni usurped political power in 1986 singing the evils of sectarianism. He has turned out to be the most sectarian leader Uganda has ever seen. In the process Museveni has caused disunity in Uganda on a large scale by suppressing political freedom. Museveni, for example, amended the Penal Code and incorporated the sectarian law in the law of sedition, which has been declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court, but unfortunately, the sectarian law was left intact by the constitutional court. Hopefully the Supreme Court will act wisely and strike down the sectarian law because its premises, rationale and purpose are exactly the same as the law of sedition on which it was grafted in 1987.

One of the unintended consequences of suppressing political freedom, ironically, is the causation of sectarianism whereby wrongful, blanket accusations of “Banyankole” and/or Banyarwanda as the source of Uganda’s problems is a good illustration of how Museveni’s repressive policies and corruption have caused a big—albeit artificial—rift (sectarianism) between the rest of Ugandans and the “Banyankole” and/or Banyarwanda. This also happened under Obote and Amin when every political evil was heaped on either the “northerners” or the Nubians. The pendulum of political repression has swung full circle stirring up sectarianism in the process!

The false blanket accusation of “Banyankole” and/or Banyarwanda being the curse of Uganda today would not have happened if there was political freedom in Uganda through which the people can freely compete in business and air their opinions without fear of being falsely accused of and criminally charged with “sectarianism.” Moreover, the words “Banyankole” or Banyarwanda are wrongly assumed to refer to monolithic groups of people originating from Ankole or Rwanda, which, “sociologically,” is not true. Indeed, freedom of expression is the best medicine to disinfect, treat and cure sectarianism which Museveni promoted by prosecuting NRM critics for the crime of sedition. Museveni, as usual, contradicted himself in 2007 when he tried to deal with the sensitive issue of the Bafuriiki in Bunyoro. Compare and contrast Uganda with US where race and ethnicity are openly aired and discussed as public issues to be confronted head on without fear of being accused of racism or sectarianism. In fact racism or sectarianism is exposed by talking about it openly, instead of sweeping it under the carpet as “sectarianism” woven by Museveni around political issues.

In this message, first, after diagnosing the problem, I shall briefly recapture our traumatic and turbulent political history, which is, as expected, devoid of a rational political philosophy exemplified by UPC in the 1960s and, as a result, national unity compatible with democracy, in order to make and illustrate my point. Second, I shall also explain the obvious: political parties in Uganda are not founded on or primarily driven by political philosophy but rather coalesced around personalities. This political condition, mainly caused by repression of political freedom, not only fuels corruption but also perpetuates and aggravates our political problems of lack of unity.

This political obstacle has to be overcome if we want to achieve both unity and democracy in Uganda. In other words, if we examine our existing political inventory, little has changed since we acquired our independence in 1962. After half a century of independence the foundation for democracy has yet to be laid in Uganda. We must abandon the false belief that democracy will be established in Uganda by a specific individual we believe in. The existence of democracy has some prerequisite sociological conditions. Democratization in Uganda will require three essential components: fundamental social change in society, a new enlightened and principled leadership and effective, transparent institutions which constitute and nurse the political infrastructure for democracy.

Society must change in order to rid us of the pathological fear of the armed forces and the brutal state instrumentalities as a whole: the army, police and spy agencies. Achieving that objective by the people is, of course, a dictator’s nightmare. It can hardly happen when a dictator is in power. Museveni and the NRM are expected to fight tooth and nail to prevent this from taking place. But eventually we shall overcome the pathological fear of the brutal armed forces and ruthless spy agencies through social change because pathological fear of the state has no rational or impregnable foundation[7] to rely on in history or sociological reality. Leaders, too, must genuinely believe in specific political philosophies, or a set of fundamental political values, compatible with democracy in order to guide their actions or political behavior. It is not sufficient in this struggle to say that you are either for or against Museveni, this political party or that political group. You must believe in something more durable, philosophical and politically transcendent of personalities and specific transient human desires such as ambition, greed and corruption.

Lastly, viable institutions like political parties must be developed or strengthened in order to legitimate political action. Personalities are not sufficient to achieve this result even if we are fully aware that Max Weber’s concept of charisma could play a positive role in this developmental process but in the long run it is not sufficient. The political parties which fought for independence (UPC, CPP, TANU/CCM and KANU) were led by charismatic leaders. After the charismatic leaders retired or were replaced the fortunes of same political parties, except for CCM, rapidly declined. In light of what we have said above the debate must therefore change from who shall lead Uganda to why so and so must lead the country and save us from political oblivion. Remember that dictators focus on the suppression of political freedom and in the process their objective is to destroy democratic political infrastructure such as autonomous organizations and political parties as well as the multiplicity of political philosophies on which the parties depend and distinguish themselves from each other. After this brief diagnosis of our problem, first, let us briefly review the shocking political history of Uganda as background information to understand the nature and causes of political apathy among Ugandans before we answer the question posed above.



Uganda, as of 2012, had gone through four phases of so-called “liberations” neither of which has democratized politics nor brought in peace, liberty or justice. Three of these phases have been traumatic and turbulent. Political trauma and turbulence has had an impact on political behavior of Ugandans. It is necessary for us to understand why this has been so and the sociological effect it has caused on our psyche and political behavior. In addition psychiatry has now substantial information associating trauma with adverse psychological consequences on the human mind and behavior. For example, the stress and trauma experienced by combat soldiers in battle can change the personalities of some of the soldiers. Trauma experienced by children because of physical or sexual abuse and even the stress caused by divorcing parents can adversely affect their personality and behavior later in life. This is one area where we need more comparative and psycho-historical studies to see whether “trauma” in human developmental stages adversely affects societies in the same way it affects individuals in their developmental stages.

Some people are convinced that overthrowing NRM with the gun will by itself miraculously cure our political problems and bring democracy to Uganda. Our diagnosis above disputes this contention; our prognosis will redefine the problem and suggest an effective solution. We have not bothered to ask ourselves the question why past “liberations,” three of the four successfully employing guns, have not brought peace, liberty or justice to Uganda? It is our duty in UDU to try to answer that question since we are committed to genuine liberation of Uganda to which all our efforts are fully devoted. Hopefully this message will generate a healthy debate among Ugandans through which we shall try to find effective solutions to our political problems.


The first phase of “liberation” of Uganda was the achievement of political independence on October 9, 1962, from the British. Independence was peacefully achieved, having been negotiated by the “liberators” and “granted” willfully by the colonial power. There was no revolution to talk about. The independence constitution whose main components had evolved under colonial rule established a parliamentary system of government. However, many Ugandans who witnessed independence celebrations assumed that with independence, democracy in the form of peace, liberty and justice for all Ugandans would follow automatically from the attainment of independence. This did not happen. The major mistake was to equate political “independence” with political “freedom.” A similar fallacy seems to persist today. We must remember that freedom is a prerequisite condition for democracy. Democracy cannot exist without freedom. But independence can, in fact, exist without freedom. Britain has always been independent, except when the Romans temporarily occupied it, but has not always been democratic. More recently, the history of the Soviet Union, China and Uganda proves the same thesis. These countries have been independent in the past without being democratic. In retrospect, however, the explanation of this apparent dichotomy is simple if not, obviously, self-evident.

Political Trauma and Turbulence

The post-colonial leaders in Uganda did not, philosophically, believe in political freedom, (that is, the protection of the right of the people to freely associate, assemble and express themselves), from which we derive peace, liberty and justice for all people. The rapid political reforms that immediately followed independence are sufficient to prove our claim. In Uganda abrogation of the 1962 constitution by one man, Obote, in 1966; the enactment of the 1967 constitution by an illegitimate Parliament which had no peoples’ mandate and the Public Order and Security Act of 1967 which authorized the President to detain political dissidents were acts that were incompatible with democracy and political freedom. The traumatic events of the 1960s clearly reflect the darkening political mood at the time. The repressive measures included the events of 1964 (Nakulabye massacre),[8] 1966 (Lubiri atrocities)[9] and the ideological “move to the left.”[10] These events ant the policies behind them clearly leave no doubt that the leaders of Uganda in the 1960s did not, philosophically, believe in democracy as the foundation of peace, liberty and justice. Instead they firmly believed in suppression of political freedom as a means to achieve artificial “national unity,” read “conformity,” in a unitary, centralized state at any political price.[11]

Opposition leaders were detained without trial and an indefinite state of emergency which suppressed political freedom was imposed on Buganda region for five consecutive years until Obote was overthrown in 1971, egregiously robbing the Ugandan citizens of their peace, liberty and justice. The existence and enforcement of a state of emergency for five consecutive years in one region of the country had a definite psychic impact on the psychological welfare of the people in Buganda region. Fear of an illegitimate regime and the brutal state was one of them.


The second phase of “liberation” which commenced on January 24, 1971, with the overthrow of Obote I’s first dictatorship, gave Uganda a military regime which was beyond political redemption. To those who suffered under Obote’s tyrannical rule Amin’s coup d’état initially seemed to be “liberation” even though in fact it turned out to be a traumatizing political nightmare. In fact Amin’s coup d’état, by analogy, to many Ugandans resembled jumping from the frying pan into the fire, as some aptly described it at the time. Amin’s brutality was, by all reasonable estimates, off any political scale.[12] The brutal slaughter of innocent Ugandans by Amin had a traumatic impact on all the citizens of Uganda. The word politics was banned from speech. The title “President” was reserved for Amin alone! The citizens were forbidden from engaging in “politics.” The punishment for engaging in politics was death. Human rights organizations estimate the number of people killed under Amin to be between 100,000 and 500,000. Nevertheless, Amin’s brutal rule was viewed by some with a blind political eye, as “liberation”[13] simply because he overthrew a detested dictator and/or expelled the Asians who dominated commerce and industry which automatically fell into the hands of Africans after the Asians were swiftly expelled.


Nyerere’s intervention in 1979 which expelled Amin from the Ugandan political scene and sent him into political exile for life was viewed by some as the third “liberation” from a brutal military dictatorship but it neither restored peace, liberty nor justice. Professor Yusuf Lule who took over after Amin on April 11, 1979, was undemocratically voted out of office by the National Consultative Council (17 votes in favor of the motion and 14 votes against) in just 68 days under the pretext of establishing a misconceived “new political culture” of democracy, as Edward Rugumayo, Chairman of the National Consultative Council, justified Lule’s illegal overthrow.[14] Cultures, as we shall point out in the prognosis, are not created in a day. New cultures emerge from the process that transforms society through social change.

Binaisa, a figure-head of UNLF, who succeeded Lule in June 1979 and the “gang of four” who surrounded him lasted for only eleven months in the “sweet” seat of power at State House. Political intrigues were the order of the day, clearly revealing not only the absence of national unity but also lack of a political philosophy compatible with democracy. In the meantime guns fired at random by undisciplined soldiers used to echo in the capital Kampala throughout the night giving people blood-clotting chills. It was certainly a traumatic and turbulent period because many people were not sure they would be lucky enough to survive through the dark, insecure night.[15]

The rigged elections of 1980 nastily compounded the situation, leading directly to—but not necessarily causing—the so-called “liberation war” in which many innocent Ugandans perished in Luwero triangle.[16] The number of human skulls discovered in Luwero triangle after the war in 1986 is incontrovertible evidence of the deliberate atrocities and war crimes that were committed during the Luwero “liberation” war. Some of Lule’s original commanders like Guweddeko were executed during the war and no accountability has been rendered. The leaders of NRM deceived and exploited the Ugandan people by promising peace, liberty and democracy for all Ugandans if they won the war. The Luwero war was fought on empty political promises and deception, although no one knew this fact then. The war also claimed many innocent victims. Medals corruptly awarded to a select few “heroes” of the “liberation” war are an insult to the many fallen heroes.[17] Twenty six years after the fact Museveni and his cronies are still tenaciously hanging on to power undemocratically. The reason is obvious. They did not fight to “liberate” Ugandans; they fought in order capture political power for themselves. It is our moral duty in UDU to oust NRM from power by any means necessary.


After the destructive but pointless traumatic civil war between 1981 and 1986 the fourth phase of “liberation” ensued with NRM usurping power in 1986. Sectarianism was condemned and used as a scapegoat and justification to suppress political freedom by the NRM “liberators.”[18] The objective of “liberation” in 1986—restoring democracy—immediately came to naught. The repressive NRM policies achieved one objective effectively and immediately: they suppressed, and eventually, destroyed political freedom and, as a result, the foundation of the political infrastructure of democracy in Uganda on which democratization is supposed to be based. The so-called “broad based” government was not based on political philosophy. It was founded on the dictates of expediency of a shrewd but philosophically bankrupt, politically ambitious and militarily cunning “autocrat.”[19]

Technically, the atrocious history of the 1960s repeated itself under NRM. In the East people were tortured and died of suffocation in hot train carriages. In the north some victims were confined or tortured in large pits where they suffered from thirst and or died of hunger. Kony and Lakwena movements, supposedly driven by the “Holy Spirit” to “liberate” Uganda and be governed by the Ten Biblical Commandments, were born. Suppressing these two politically feeble, ideologically bankrupt and philosophically misguided “movements” by NRM regime was a brutal war which took two decades to accomplish and in which innocent victims, many of them children, either perished or were tortured, raped and/or enslaved. Institutional corruption within NRM is responsible for the agony by the people in northern Uganda lasting for twenty years. One and half million people were forced by “terrorism” to live in overcrowded unhealthy camps for over a decade. Life in these camps was traumatic; life outside the camps was turbulent. In fact the resemblance between the two dictators, Museveni and Obote, is astounding! It is worth reciting briefly at this point for the record. It explains the causation of political violence in Uganda.


Among the similarities between Obote and Museveni are these: Obote invented representation of the army in Parliament. Museveni perfected and institutionalized it by incorporating it in the constitution. Representation of the army in Parliament is a clear violation of the principle of separation of powers, on which democracy partly depends.[20] These two men must therefore share the blame for the philosophical justification for the army to be represented in Parliament. Representation of the military in Parliament is used by dictators as a means to control parliament by the executive. It was practiced in Tanzania and is still prevalent in China, Cuba and was in Libya under Gaddafi. All these regimes are or were not democratic. The presence of the army in Parliament is therefore an obvious symptom of the disease of dictatorship. Its continuance in Uganda is a proof that Museveni does not either believe in or understand how a democratic system should, philosophically, be organized. This is one good reason for UDU to condemn army representation in Parliament and work for the removal of NRM from power.

Both Obote and Museveni, being almost religiously “devout” dictators, addicted to political power, found ways to cling to power indefinitely. Obote refused to resign from the presidency of UPC even while he was in exile for a long time. Only death relinquished Obote from UPC presidency. As long as Obote lived he dreamed of coming back to power in Uganda a third time. Philosophically, therefore, Obote did not believe that any other individual is either qualified or capable of leadership of Uganda. Obote was therefore as obsessed for power as Museveni is blindly greedy for it. Museveni will hang on to power like Obote at any price. That is why Museveni amended the constitution using a clearly corrupt process to remove term limits in order to cling to power as long as he can.[21] Museveni and Obote, therefore, share some basic traits in their personalities. This is important in explaining their political behavior, much as the two men hated and despised each other!

Both Obote and Museveni are “experts” or “experienced” vote riggers as well as political manipulators. Obote detested and Museveni hates a free and fair election. Obote suspended the elections of 1967 claiming the existence of a state of emergency he declared in Buganda in 1966; Museveni suspended the elections of 1990, breaking a promise to return to civilian rule within four years he made in 1986. Museveni gave similar reasons and justification as Obote gave in 1967 of “a war” going on at the time in northern Uganda.

Museveni went to war in 1980, supposedly because Obote (using Paulo Muwanga) “rigged” the 1980 elections. However, Museveni has been systematically involved in rigging elections in 1996, 2001, 2007 and 2011.[22] Museveni has in each of those elections suppressed the opposition and intimidated the voters with a “show of force” by the armed forces during the elections. All this behavior on part of Museveni shows the absence of a consistent political philosophy compatible with democracy and political freedom. There is justification to remove him from power. The reasons Museveni gave for starting and waging his “liberation” war against Obote sound hollow and history has proved them invalid. Museveni did not go to war in 1981 in order to “liberate” Ugandans from dictatorship. NRM regime has been a brutal dictatorship that has suppressed political freedom and relied on military power to rule Uganda. Museveni went to war for personal, selfish interests. It is time for UDU members and all Ugandans to stop standing on the fence. All Ugandans must join the political crusade to liberate Uganda.

Museveni is and Obote was very deceptive in their political dealings. This issue goes to the similarities in the personalities of both leaders. Obote created an alliance with Kabaka Yekka (KY) in order to grab political power in 1962 being fully aware that he did not intend to honor the (mukago) agreement between UPC and KY which agreement he unilaterally nullified in 1964, barely two years later. Obote, nevertheless, exploited the agreement for political purposes because there was no political principle or philosophy involved in forming that political mukago. In fact Obote later boasted in Drum Magazine about his “cunning” action in which he allegedly politically “duped” and “entrapped” the Kabaka, Mutesa II, in a fraudulent political alliance.

Similarly, Museveni used the Baganda’s love for the Kabaka to wage war against Obote in Luwero triangle, where, otherwise, he would not have been able to establish a military base for his guerrilla war without the support of the local people. Museveni promised the restoration of the Kabakaship in Buganda as a quid pro quo for support in the war against Obote and, in fact, Museveni took Mutebi, then the Crown Prince, to the war front to prove his conviction in the military alliance between the Baganda and NRA in order to boost his support among the Baganda. Later on after the war Museveni denied having promised the Baganda the restoration of the Kabakaship conveniently arguing that the issue of restoration of the Kabakaship was up to the majority of the Baganda to decide and not his business. The same goes for Museveni’s promise for federalism during the Luwero war. Museveni later repudiated federalism and advocated regional tier instead. The politics of deception was at work just as Obote had done earlier.

When Museveni came to power in 1986 he created the so-called “broad based” government (which will be discussed in detail in part III) for the sole purpose of politically dominating the political process. Museveni’s real intention was not to establish a democratic, “broad based” government but simply to break the back of political parties—which in fact he managed to do, depriving the people of peace, liberty and justice in the process. That is why Museveni used the sectarianism argument to justify banning autonomous political activities by the political parties.

Frequently Museveni blamed Obote for being “militaristic” and yet Museveni himself turned out to be far more “militaristic” than Obote was. Obote firmly believed that political power in Africa resided in the barrel of the gun and control of the military, clear evidence that he did not philosophically believe in democracy. Hence, Obote created an army which was dominated by fellow northerners to ensure or safeguard his political tenure, even though he badly miscalculated in his political strategy of manipulating the army. Museveni’s militarism in fact goes further than Obote’s. While Museveni virulently condemned Obote’s army for being dominated by the northerners, Museveni secretly recruited about five thousand people in Ankole, his home base, from one ethnic group during the war against Amin, between February and April of 1979! He is therefore not different from Obote. Museveni’s condemnation of Obote’s policies as militaristic is, therefore, hypocritical and not based on a consistent philosophical premise.

Moreover, Museveni uses the army to intimidate voters in the elections in order to achieve personal political objectives. He sent the black Mambas to intimidate the High Court when they granted bail to political detainees thereby violating two basic principles of the rule of law—independence of the judiciary and separation of powers—using military force to accomplish his objectives. Museveni has used scarce resources of a poor country like Uganda to purchase military jets, supposedly at a price of $700 million, which have no use in Uganda while hospitals are understaffed and underfinanced, teachers unpaid or underpaid, the infrastructure, such as roads, is crumbling, etc., etc. Militarism for Museveni, like in the case of Obote, takes priorities over everything else! It is Museveni’s incurable obsession. Indeed, dictatorship is a form of addition to power which, like all addictions, cannot be rationally controlled or permanently cured. The only solution is to remove Museveni, a dictator gravely afflicted with addiction to political power,[23] from power.

Museveni established Kyankwanzi political school for purposes of indoctrinating Ugandans with his political doctrines where he orders members of his cabinet to wear military fatigues and salute him as the Commander-in-Chief of the army—another manifestation of obsession with power! Obote’s plan to train youths in military skills to do the same was aborted by Amin’s coup d’état in 1971.[24] The two men had a similar military vision in Ugandan politics.

Hopefully it is clear from this brief comparison of Obote and Museveni that both men are brutal, unreliable, deceptive dictators, addicted to political power. For both Obote and Museveni the military is an insurance policy to hang on to power, not to serve the needs of defending the nation from external threats but repressing political opposition. The brief comparison of the two men we have made leaves no doubt that Obote and Museveni were endowed with common traits in their personalities which made them unfit to serve as Heads of State in a free and democratic society. It is therefore surprising to read a biographer of A. Milton Obote spinning the greatness of Obote for his readers. In view of what we have said about Obote and Museveni it is necessary for us to respond to Kenneth Ingham’s evaluation of Obote’s political career.


Kenneth Ingham is a famous historian of Uganda and biographer of A. Milton Obote. We would have expected him to be well informed on his subject and objective in his evaluation and conclusions. However, he reached an astounding conclusion about Obote’s politics and career:

“In one important respect he [Obote] met with considerable success. Throughout virtually the whole of his two periods of office there was a constitutional opposition which was free to criticize the government as vigorously as it wished in parliament. The press, too, was scarcely ever muzzled. There are a few parallels to these achievements in other African countries. It is open to question whether a multi-party system of government is wholly appropriate to conditions in Africa, but at least it might ensure that voices other than the official voice had a right to be heard. That was something Obote always considered to be of prime importance, and it certainly throws doubt upon the accusations of tyranny leveled against him. He may have lacked the charisma of Kenyatta, or Nkrumah or Nyerere, yet there was about him an air of moderation and good sense which won him considerable respect, not only in Africa but also in USA. Although his formal education was curtailed, he read widely throughout his adult life and in so doing he absorbed some of the wisdom of great literary, political and philosophical figures. That wisdom he genuinely attempted to bring to bear upon the problems of governing his country.”[25]

The paragraph quoted above from Kenneth Ingham’s book raises five points to which we want to respond. First, Ingham attributes “considerable success” to Obote throughout “virtually his two periods of office.” This conclusion clearly lacks objectivity. Obote was overthrown from power twice in his political career. In 1971 it was Idi Amin who recited 18 reasons why the army had taken that action to overthrow him. Among the 18 reasons were two indisputable ones. These were detention of the members of opposition without trial for five years. The second one was causing “divisions” within the army which, apparently, partly motivated the coup d’état. These complaints were valid complaints against Obote. The second time Obote was overthrown by the military he was overthrown by his allies in the army, the Acholi, who, apparently, were not happy with the way Obote has handling the civil war in Luwero triangle. Obote spared his kinsmen, the Langi, and sent the Acholi to the front to bear the brunt of the civil war. In view of these facts it is therefore difficult to see how Ingham can attribute “considerable success” to Obote throughout “virtually his two periods of office.” At the time of his second overthrow in 1985 the economy of Uganda has collapsed, insecurity was at its worst ever and inflation was in triple digits. That situation cannot be accurately described as “considerable success.”

One of the reasons Ingham gives for reaching the conclusion he did was, according to him, “there was a constitutional opposition which was free to criticize the government as vigorously as it wished in Parliament.” It is difficult to take Ingham seriously when he reaches this conclusion. The record is very clear. There was no political freedom under both of Obote’s administrations. We have already documented the fact that under Obote I there was a state of emergency in Buganda region which lasted for five years. During that period members of the opposition and some individuals from Obote’s cabinet were indefinitely detained without trial under the 1967 Public Order and Security Act. There was virtually no “constitutional opposition which was free to criticize the government as vigorously as it wished in Parliament.” That statement is therefore not factually correct.

Second, under Obote II there was a civil war going on from 1981 to 1985. Members of the opposition were not free to criticize the government. Anybody suspected of sympathizing with the insurgents, whom Obote called “bandits,” was detained or “made to disappear.” Moreover, members of the opposition, such as Professor Kyesimira of DP were arrested, of all places, inside Parliament by Dr. Luwuliza Kirunda’s agents of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Kyesimira was detained at Luzira several times. The vendetta between Kirunda and Kyesimira was personal. During the 1980 elections Kyesimira defeated Kirunda in a Busoga constituency. This explains why even after the courts ordered for the release of Prof. Kyesimira the government defied the orders of the court. That was violation of the basic principle of rule of law. Obote was fully aware of Kyesimira’s fate but did not intervene or direct Kirunda to conform to the rule of law. Moreover, agents of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the so-called “computer boys,” affiliated to National Security Agency (NASA), roamed around the country with signed warrants of arrest in which they could fill in any name and execute a detention order under the authority of the Minister of Internal Affairs in violation of the procedures laid down by the law. But above all human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Africa Watch documented in detail the gross violations of human rights in their reports throughout Uganda during Obote II. Ingham does not even cite any of these reports in order to justify his erroneous conclusion.

It is surprising that Kenneth Ingham, a historian who should be concerned with and respect historical facts, asserts that in Uganda under Obote the press “was scarcely muzzled.” Under Obote I the law of sedition was amended twice in order to extend its coverage to the “President” and “local government.” In other words the law of sedition was expanded to cover a broader legal field than it was before under the colonial regime. Publications such as Transition were banned in 1968 and the critics and editors (Mayanja and Neogy, respectively) were detained, even after they had been acquitted of the case of sedition against them. Similarly, under Obote II the law of sedition was used as a political weapon. Many newspapers were banned and their editors were arrested and charged with sedition. Between 1981 and 1985 four journalists belonging to Munansi newspaper staff were detained. Others included James Namakajo, a former spy in Obote I General Service Unit (GSU), John Owino of Uganda News Agency, Mike Butera, of the Voice of America network, and editors of the Star and the Pilot newspapers. It is therefore not true for Kenneth Ingham to write that the press “was scarcely muzzled,” especially by a historian who had access to all the information cited here but he either ignored it or refused to recognize its importance on the subject he was writing about.

Ingham doubts “whether a multi-party system of government is wholly appropriate to conditions in Africa.”[26] To put it bluntly, Ingham does not think that Africans deserve political freedom like any other people in Europe and America. Why, I may ask him, did the people in South Africa, Kenya under Mau Mau or even in Uganda between 1981 and 1986 pickup guns in order to confront repressive regimes? What makes political freedom not “wholly appropriate to conditions in Africa?” Ingham does not seem to reach a similar conclusion regarding similar “conditions” of terrorism that existed in Northern Ireland for a long time. When people pick up guns to fight for their freedom the assumption is that they are ready to enjoy political freedom which is being suppressed by the regime in power. No other rational conclusion can be reached.

Finally, Ingham questions the accusations of “tyranny leveled against” Obote. The four arguments outlined above are sufficient to lead to the conclusion that Obote was a tyrant. He suppressed political freedom, muzzled the press, rigged elections, detained political opponents without trial and did not hesitate to use a gun to repress his political opponents. Who else was a tyrant? A. Milton Obote was tyrant.

Personality in Politics

Personalities matter in the democratic process and positions of leadership. The greatness of a leader is directly linked to personality of the leader which in turn leads to the accomplishments that make a leader great. This is why the democratic process is important in screening and choosing leadership. In a free and fair democratic process the electoral process is practically about winnowing out the bad personalities and selecting the good, reliable and trustworthy ones. One of the reasons why Uganda has had a traumatic and turbulent history is because of the personalities of Obote, Amin and Museveni. In the absence a democratic process personality reigned in politics without or with little restraint or control from the public. Brutality, vindictiveness and terror became the common weapons of politics to deal with political opponents. By protecting political freedom and the rule of law the democratic process eliminates brutality, vindictiveness and terror visited on the people by the state instrumentalities.

The process is far more complex than we have space to deal with here. Therefore we can only provide a bare outline. Once political freedom (freedom of the people to associate, assemble and express themselves) is guaranteed the electoral process in a democratic system does the rest. This is the basic lesson we learn from our experience with the US and other democratic electoral processes. Running for President of United States, for example, is a taxing, grueling political process in which personality is exposed through character study of the candidate by the voters. But the electoral process is not necessarily always full-proof of errors in producing the best results. The US electoral process, for example, elevated a personality like Richard M. Nixon to the Presidency who was very similar to Yoweri K. Museveni and A. Milton Obote—vindictive, vicious, unreliable and cunningly deceptive like a fox. The only difference between a mature democratic system of US and the non-democratized process in Uganda is that after the people discovered that Nixon had violated his oath of office he was forced to resign by the people using the constitutional process in Congress. After the Articles of Impeachment[27] for Nixon were drafted Nixon relented and resigned the American Presidency in order to save himself from humility. Nixon’s articles of impeachment are cited because the charges they lay out are identical to those one would bring against any of the three Ugandan dictators we have discussed above. They allege misuse of power, abuse of office, illegal actions against political opponents, bribery, extortion, deception, obstruction of justice, etc. etc. These are the common crimes dictators commit. They are the center of our interest in understanding the relationship between personality and political behavior.

It is unthinkable for Ugandans to force Museveni to resign using the available constitutional means given the composition of Parliament and the timidity of the majority of MPs even though Museveni has committed many impeachable offences under Article 107(1) of the constitution. Museveni has, for example, committed an “abuse of office or willful violation of the oath of allegiance and the Presidential oath” and other provisions of the laws of Uganda. Museveni’s corrupt and criminal activities in two decades in power are innumerable. Many of Museveni’s crimes are, fortunately, documented. If he was wise and rational and not addicted to power he would resign and ask for forgiveness. But, apparently, he is not wise enough and, after all, he is severely afflicted by an addiction to power. We have a moral responsibility to force him out of office because of the many impeachable offenses he has committed ranging from corruption to atrocities, perpetrating acts of terrorism against the civilian population and gross violations of human rights. From a realistic and practical point of view, however, the votes to successfully impeach Museveni do not exist in the current Parliament of Uganda. Corruption inherent in the NRM regime, as we shall demonstrate in part III, is sufficient to derail any impeachment proceedings against Museveni. Only “symbolic” impeachment is possible at this time.

Museveni has been extensively involved in corruption and violation of the laws of Uganda he swore to uphold under the constitution.[28] Museveni, for example, personally authorized the payment of Rukikaire’s medical bills amounting to over Shs41,000,000/-[29] in Nairobi from the Global Fund to which the Uganda government had no legal access; he ordered the compensation of Basajjabalaba for Shs146/- billion from the consolidated fund without a valid judicial order legitimating the claim or any legal proof that such amount of money was owed to Basajjabalaba or any of his companies under the law; he exceeded his authority in requisitioning funds from the Bank of Uganda in order to pay for the purchase of jet fighters without the approval of Parliament exclusively responsible for authorizing such appropriation; Museveni corruptly and/or stole money allocated to State House budget by supplementary appropriation by Parliament and used it illegally to finance Presidential and NRM campaigns during the 2011 elections; and, more recently, Museveni ordered the payment of money to Burundi supposedly reimbursing Burundi for the “interest” which had accrued from a “loan” Museveni allegedly took out while fighting the government of Uganda as an insurgent which action could not legally bind the state of Uganda under international law because Museveni had no authority to act on behalf of the state of Uganda at the time and, as a result, the state of Uganda could not and did not succeed to Museveni’s or NRA/M debts incurred during the Luwero insurgency war, etc. etc.

All the actions enumerated above and many others are impeachable violations of the laws of Uganda by Museveni for violating his allegiance and Presidential oaths. Ugandans cannot apathetically ignore all these illegal actions committed by Museveni. The constitution sanctions and protects the rule of law. We all have a duty to ensure that the rule of law is enforced and upheld. Even if Parliament is too impotent to guarantee the enforcement of the rule of law we, the people, must take the initiative to ensure that the rule of law is enforced. Parliamentary impotence does not absolve or excuse us from our civic, legal and moral responsibilities as citizens of Uganda. Fear must be overcome if we want peace, liberty and justice to prevail in our country.

With people-power gaining an ascendency in the universal democratization process all over the world Uganda alone cannot be the exception to the laws history. The possibility, though remote, of forcing Museveni to resign is not a pipe dream any more. The task we have to remove Museveni is enormous but can easily be accomplished as we shall explain in more detail below if we shake off our timidity and vanquish our political apathy which has caused lack of unity. First, let us assess the negative political impact of dictators in suppressing democracy in Uganda through intimidation of the people by the armed forces. Understanding the facts outlined below is important when we are mobilizing the people to fight dictatorship in Uganda.



Uganda today is not democratic mainly because of two men: Obote and Museveni. These two men, who are very similar philosophically, personality type, political behavior and military thinking, as we have shown above, are primarily responsible for destroying the political infrastructure in Uganda on which democracy is supposed to be built and thrive. Between them, as of 2012 Obote and Museveni ruled Uganda for 40 years out of the 49 years Uganda has been independent. They therefore disproportionately share the blame for the absence of democracy in Uganda in 2012. The reliance of Obote and Museveni on the military to rule Uganda by force and their fanatical love for political power, to which they were clearly addicted, has had multiple consequences which have prevented or frustrated democratization in Uganda.

The political actions of Obote and Museveni in the course of the history of post-independence Uganda destroyed the political infrastructure (such as political parties) on which democracy depends. First, by suspending and/or suppressing political parties the Ugandan democratic political process was severely crippled. The political policies of Obote and Museveni were designed to weaken and/or destroy political parties. As a result political parties had to be rebuilt from scratch as recently as 2005 when the movement system was constitutionally repealed. These facts together have completely destroyed the political myth which tends to characterize dictatorship in Uganda as either a “northern” or “southern” phenomenon. It is largely caused by personality type or defect, regardless of the region the personality comes from. Let us look at the historical facts more closely.

Impact of Military and Oppressive Political Policies

The military and political policies of Obote I, for example, created the conditions for Amin’s successful military coup d’état in 1971.[30] Amin’s brutality is, therefore, mainly Obote’s creation and responsibility. Amin’s military transgressions and crimes were deliberately overlooked and deliberately ignored by Obote when Amin murdered innocent people in Karamoja and later turned his guns on his apparent rivals in Acholi like Brigadier Okoya. Amin, in spite of his criminal activities, was instead rewarded with promotions by Obote after committing criminal atrocities and gross human rights violations. The fact that Obote tried to fight Amin from Tanzania in the early 1970s is neither an excuse nor exoneration of Obote’s repressive policies nor a justification for the promotions Amin did not deserve. This means that between 1966 and 2005, or nearly forty years of dictatorship, Ugandans did not enjoy political freedom, that is, the rights of the people to assemble, associate and express themselves freely because of military dictatorship of three individuals who suppressed political freedom. Obote and Museveni are, however, more directly responsible for that period of dictatorship in Uganda’s history. Museveni being the only survivor of the three dictators must assume responsibility to atone for the sins of his brutal predecessors.

The consequences of Obote’s and Museveni’s political repression are clear but they have not been fully studied, assessed, explained or understood. A more balanced history of Uganda using social theory methodology is yet to be written. The fact, however, is that the sociological impact of three of Uganda dictators has made our “liberation” struggle or the democratization of Uganda more difficult. Some people exclusively attach the blame to Idi Amin simply because he was an “uneducated brute.” This is neither true nor fair. Amin’s personality was not very different from that of Obote or Museveni. We should look at behavior and its consequences. The behavior of Hitler, Amin, Stalin and Mao can be looked at from a behavioral perspective regardless of their race, education, ideology or social standing. We will explain. The primary cause of our problem in Uganda is the intimidation of the people by the armed forces or more appropriately, the practice of state terrorism by the tyrannical leaders. Terrorism, inevitably, has psychological consequences on its victims. So does torture. The various massacres and atrocities committed by the armed forces in Buganda, Teso, Acholi and West Nile caused the peoples to pathologically fear and shun the armed forces. The police, too, belong to the same category, especially considering their recent brutality in suppressing peaceful demonstrations and protests by blowing babies’ brains out and shooting pregnant women in the stomach. That kind of state terrorism has no justification whatsoever but has serious psychological consequences.

Unfortunately, aggravating the injury caused the armed forces themselves have come to view themselves as “masters” of the civilian population, with no accountability to the people, which should be the other way around in a democratic political system. Democracy demands accountability from the armed forces and their leaders to the people. Behavior and attitudes of armed forces poses serious problems to democratization because it requires social change which cannot occur easily or instantly. Throughout our post-independence history the armed forces have owed their allegiance to the leader of the regime in power, not the state or the people they are supposed to protect. Armed forces and even elected leaders in a democratic system of government are supposed to be the “servants” of the people. The metaphor of “servant” here is not supposed to be illusory or meaningless in a democratic system. It has deep meaning in a democratic system beyond the metaphor. It would therefore be inconceivable for a “servant” to intimidate his/her master at the elections! The role of armed forces is to keep the peace and ensure the security of the people, not to torment them with guns and live ammunition. In a democratic system the armed forces are supposed to be not only politically “neutral” but also politically “invisible” in the electoral or other political processes. Under NRM regime the opposite is true.

Museveni’s so-called “demystification” of the gun at Kyankwanzi in fact had the opposite instrumental effect. Museveni’s demystification of the gun turned out to be political fraud. It was, theoretically, supposed to make the ordinary person “master” of the gun. It ended up creating a politically subservient civilian population trained in military techniques, using wooden guns, who took orders from the top political leadership. This was the original intention of the centralized, hierarchical NRM political system and structure from Resistance Council 1 (RC1) to the National Resistance Council (NRC) (parliament). The system resembled a military command structure, centralized with orders emanating from the top and executed without questions asked at the bottom. The NRM did not bring about military “liberation” of the civilians but rather military indoctrination of the civilians with NRM political dogmas as a political means of controlling them. Dictatorship is always about controlling, not serving, people. But in the end it never works because it violates the laws of history (social change) by defying political freedom (liberty) embodied in each human spirit.

That is what Kyankwanzi was and is still all about. Kajabago ka-Rusoke’s writings and teachings at Kyankwanzi leave no room for doubt about this fact. The curriculum of Kyankwanzi political school is incompatible with the notion of a democratic political system. A specific political party cannot and should not indoctrinate the people with its political doctrines as if it is destined to stay in power indefinitely and/or owns a monopoly on truth and a special ability in the revelation and interpretation of historical facts and the truth they represent.[31] That fact is very revealing about NRM regime and Museveni’s political “vision” of dictatorship. Our duty after NRM regime falls will be to dismantle and abolish Kyankwanzi ideological and/or military school, now designated “school of science.” Its existence is a clear violation of the basic principles of democracy. Indeed, there is no way Museveni can believe in both Kyankwanzi political school and democracy at the same time. The existence of Kyankwanzi political school is incompatible with the philosophical foundation of a democratic political system, namely, protection of political freedom and individual liberty.

This explains the sad fact that Ugandans today are too scared of demonstrating against the NRM regime repressive policies. Nevertheless, the policies of political repression temporarily worked as intended. We have an enormous task to change the attitudes of the people towards the brutal armed forces. That is one of the main tasks of democratization of Uganda. Fortunately, social change is inevitable and always on the side of those who fight for political freedom. No amount of political brutality can prevent social change in the long run. This, however, is a historical fact no dictator addicted to political power has ever understood. If this was not true the world would not be what it is today. It is a general law of history that society must change regardless of the obstacles that have to be overcome in order to achieve change and freedom. History is comparable to a massive bulldozer which inevitably clears all obstacles in its way. That explains why the colonial and brutal Soviet and apartheid regimes are now extinct. Dictatorship is on its way out. This is a universal political movement caused by inevitable social change.

Sooner than later the people of Uganda are going to realize that their freedom and political fate depend on their own actions against the oppressive regime, in the same way as it happened in US in 1776, France in 1789, the Soviet Union in 1989/90, South Africa in 1990s and more recently in the Middle East in the spring of 2011, and thereafter. What is clear from these historical facts is that social change cannot be prevented by culture, religion, or any form of political ideology or dogma. In fact no regime, no matter how efficiently armed, brutal and repressive it may be can suppress the entire population or even a large portion of it for ever so long as the population is determined to stand up for political freedom. I am sure Ugandans will soon reach that stage if they have not yet done so. Uganda is ripe for genuine “liberation” by its people. What we need is to educate Ugandans about their rights. Once that is done the support of Ugandans at the grassroots is inevitable. Fortunately, in this endeavor, the enemy is our best ally in waking up the apathetic people by his harsh and cowardly brutality.

Second, suppression of political freedom severely weakened, although it did not necessarily kill, the old political parties. The political parties in Uganda are now, admittedly, poorly organized because of political suppression and deprivation of freedom for a long time, close to 50 years! Political parties in Uganda are made up of incompatible—often incoherent—political factions because they lack political philosophies on which political action may be coherently based or rationalized. The leaders of the political parties do not have strong philosophical beliefs. In addition, as a result, political parties lack coherent philosophical visions. This explains the apparent weakness in confronting NRM by the political opposition as a united front.

It is not good enough for us to call on people to “unite.” The people must be given a philosophical reason why they must unite and sacrifice their lives for peace, liberty and justice. The American Declaration of Independence, for example, did that for US citizens. The philosophical reason must be far more durable and transcendent than the NRM regime or any other political party. Political parties do not exist simply to “win” elections. First and foremost political parties exist to “organize, change and improve” society. Therefore people should not be just asked to sacrifice their lives in order to get rid of NRM or Museveni; they must be convinced that peace, liberty, and justice are priceless social objectives which are justifiable ends in themselves in a free society and, therefore, they transcend individual political parties. That is the main justification and foundation for unity.

Ironically NRM itself has not been immune to the political pathology we have described above which it imposed on other political parties. Members of NRM are not attracted to the party because of a political philosophy. They are attracted to NRM by two transient factors: corruption (which dispenses the enormous material rewards accruing from membership to NRM) and the deceptive personality of Yoweri K. Museveni. Originally Museveni was seen and perceived as a “liberator.” The “twebaka ku tulos” initially welcomed Museveni as “liberator” with open hands. Now, having been deprived of their freedom to sleep peacefully, they realize they made a terrible mistake to invest all their political faith and capital in a personality rather than a durable political philosophy aimed at defending peace, liberty and justice instead of an individual personality who is greedy for and addicted to political power.

Today most ordinary Ugandans know who Museveni is even though they are still scared of his brutal army and police. The people who work with Museveni in his cabinet, like the majority of those who served Amin and Obote, are fully aware of his corruption and vindictiveness because they have tested it first-hand. When Museveni testified before a Parliamentary Committee and denied that he authorized Syda Bbumba and former Attorney General, Kiddu Makubuya, whom we understand used to extravagantly praise their boss Museveni whenever an occasion arose, as the greatest leader on earth, the true character of Museveni came out, to their great disappointment and, probably, amazement. Anybody who trusts a dictator sells his/her soul at a cheap price to the dictator and pays a big price later. It is a question of integrity and honesty. The cheap price at which a dictator lures his sycophants is worthless in the long run because it eventually comes back to haunt its recipient. The explanation is simple. No dictatorship has either durability, reliability or immortality in history.

When Museveni’s illegalities begin to be exposed he will have few genuine friends left, except his family and closest, fanatic confidants. That is the way dictatorship has always ended. In his last hours even Muammar Gaddafi was forsaken by his confidants and cronies. Most of them in fact changed sides during the war. What more do we need to understand the ultimate fate of the supporters of dictators? The same will certainly happen in Uganda. This is the time for any sensible person to abandon Museveni or be prepared to die with and/or for him, if such a fate is worth anything valuable in the historical records for posterity. The days when Museveni was or looked invulnerable in the 1980s are long gone. Let us march forward and confront him head on without fear.

Museveni is, in fact, like all dictators, a political weakling otherwise he would not depend on guns, corruption and secret agents (in ESO, ISO, Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and PPGU) for his security. As long as corruption continues to be profitable many of the short-sighted greedy people will be enticed to NRM membership. In the absence of a durable political philosophy to keep the people in Museveni’s inner circle motivated the demise of Museveni will mean the demise of NRM. Those who intend to build a viable, durable and healthy political party must inject a rational philosophy in its political veins. Let us look at political philosophy more closely from a practical, sociological and historical point of view.



There are two questions to ask and answer in this section: What do I mean by political philosophy? When and why did political parties lose their political philosophy? The first question is much easier to answer. We are trying to avoid the term ideology because it tends to be too dogmatic. In fact political philosophies eventually crystalize into dogmatic ideologies.[32] Nevertheless, it is important to distinguish between a dogmatic ideology and a political philosophy. Most post-colonial regimes in Africa started off by embracing socialist philosophy as a political weapon originally justified as a means of “decolonization” of the political system that had achieved “independence.” Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana and Julius Nyerere in Tanzania were at the forefront of this movement. Soon the philosophy crystallized into a rigid ideology that is repressive and incompatible with the basic tenets of democracy and political freedom. One-party political systems were introduced and, as a result, political freedom withered and disappeared, replaced by oppressive political tyranny rooted in an inflexible ideology under which political opposition was officially banned. This happened in Ghana, Tanzania, Guinea, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique and many other African countries. The transition from philosophy to ideology in Africa was mainly caused, propelled or encouraged by the cold war. Under the circumstances political polarization was inevitable in the 1960s and so was the movement from socialist philosophy to a rigid socialist ideology.

A political philosophy, however, is important in politics because it rationalizes political action and unifies the membership of a political party into a coherent political group or organization. Without a philosophy a political party is like a rudderless ship; it becomes a congregation of individuals without a common purpose, vision or destiny. A political philosophy tells you why a specific political action is necessary and even justifiable. In that sense a political philosophy is a uniting factor in politics. Unity which many are demanding within the Ugandans opposed to Museveni and NRM must therefore be built around a general political philosophy, and in the case of Uganda, that philosophy must promote peace, liberty and justice, regardless of political party or belief. These are the three elements Uganda has lacked during political turmoil and dictatorship. A political philosophy gives people a cause or motivation to pursue specific political actions. That is why the repressive policies of Obote and Museveni crippled democratization in Uganda and, as a result, have had a negative long term sociological consequence on democratization. It caused both political apathy and lack of unity among Ugandans thereby making it difficult to organize Ugandans or increasing their inability to take a conscious political action to struggle against dictatorship.

In Uganda under Obote, Amin and Museveni, because of the denial of political freedom, the people were forced to act as individuals rather that as groups or associations who shared a philosophy or common purpose because autonomous groups like political parties and trade unions were forbidden to exist, except when they were affiliated to the regime in power. This is the time when political parties lost their philosophical identities because such identities were dangerous both to the believer and the dictator in power. Trade unions played an important role similar to that of political parties in South Africa in the war against apartheid because they were independent of the apartheid regime.

Under Idi Amin’s regime the extreme point of political repression was reached. Merely engaging in “politics” was a “severely” punishable crime and specifically forbidden. Under Obote I and Museveni participation in politics was strictly controlled from above and had to take place only within a single political organization or the movement. In 1986 the NRM introduced the ubiquitous individual merit principle. Its consequence was to isolate political actors into individuals who could neither appeal to political philosophy for their actions nor to a political organization to give them political support or strength.

In spite of the gloomy past, blame for the political damage inflicted on Ugandans, their nation and political system at this time perpetuation of the impact should be placed where it truly belongs. At this moment in our “liberation” struggle from dictators there is no excuse why the leaders of political parties do not shake off the old political shackles and lead their political parties with a specific political philosophy. Today political parties in Uganda are philosophically indistinguishable, which means they are not true or healthy political parties. The leaders of the political parties should tell us why a particular political party is better for the purpose of democratization of Uganda: namely, in fostering peace, protecting liberty and advancing the cause of justice in Uganda today.

Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC)

Let us look at the major political parties in order to illustrate the foregoing points. UPC is the most interesting because it was in power at the time Uganda achieved independence and has produced political “off-springs,” such as UPM (now deceased) and grandchildren (NRM[33] and FDC) yet it is still politically crippled for lack of a specific political philosophy to provide it with a clear political vision. UPC, however, had a concrete political philosophy in the late 1960s whose components have since been either abandoned, repudiated or rendered irrelevant by history and political circumstances. Today UPC does not have a rational political philosophy that we can point to. Consequently even Obote’s improbable political resurrection seems unlikely to revive UPC to its original political glory in the 1960s when Obote’s personality triumphantly dominated Ugandan politics because today UPC has no political philosophy beyond the memories of its past leader and founder A. Milton Obote. In fact some UPC leaders are now embarrassed by the political philosophy they professed in the 1960s. UPC has completely abandoned the five components which originally constituted UPC political philosophy in the late 1960s and early 1970s because these components are either no longer rational or compatible with political freedom. In search of UPC’s political philosophy we shall look at three sources. These are the history or supposed origin of the party, its avowed objectives and, finally, the documents authored by the leader of the party and members of the party collectively at their annual conferences.

Yoga Adhola argues that “The UPC is a political party which began with the aim of seeking to redress the minority nationalities of Uganda from the historic dominance and humiliation of the Baganda.”[34] Even if we assumed the factual validity of this statement—which we do not—it sounds more like a political tactic than a statement of a philosophical vision of the party. It is true that we can tease out a philosophical element of a party from its main objectives. However, in this particular case the alleged objective was more of a political tactic than philosophical vision. This example partly explains why political parties in Uganda are short on political philosophy. Political parties in Uganda need to be rescued from this unhealthy political condition. The history of UPC should help us to understand the nature and seriousness of the problem we are trying to explain.

By philosophy of a political party we mean the fundamental reasons why a political party exists both in the short and long runs. This includes how it justifies its existence in the political system. Seeking or capturing political power is not part of the political philosophy because all political parties compete for political power. Being nationalistic is not a political philosophy because all well-established political parties tend to be nationalistic. Moreover, in Uganda the Article 71 of the constitution provides that “every political party shall have a national character.” The political party by possessing a “national character” does not automatically confer on the party a political philosophy.

The underlying reasons for which political power is sought and used are to improve society. These reasons should contain the philosophical vision of the party. In order for the political philosophy of the party to be rational in a democratic system they must be compatible with political freedom. That explains why political parties which were not rational such as National Party of South Africa and the Communist party of USSR became extinct. A party which exists simply to promote the interests of the minorities at a particular time, as Adhola suggests UPC did, falls short of fulfilling the fundamental objectives of protecting the interests of all the members of society. Ultimately, a political philosophy of a political party must address the interests of all the people, if the party is going to be successful. Now it is clear why we believe a political party, in order to be effective and successful, must be guided by a rational political philosophy that embraces the interests of all the people in society. The implications of this argument is that a political philosophy of a political party, if it is to treat people equally, must avoid categorizing them into good and bad groups of citizens. The only exception is discrimination on any basis whatsoever.

Another source we can look at in order to ascertain UPC’s political philosophy is a document known as The Common Man’s Charter—with appendices[35], hereafter, the Charter. The Charter has three appendices: “The Proposals for National Service, Document No. 2,” “Communication from the Chair of the National Assembly on 20th April, 1970” and “Labor Day Speech, 1st May, 1970.” To put this document and the appendices in context we must remember that they were written after the 1966 political crisis and the enactment of the 1967 constitution which is commonly referred to as the “Republican” constitution because it abolished the monarchies throughout Uganda. The Charter was basically an explanation and justification of the 1966 crisis and provided the rationale for the enactment of the 1967 constitution. As it will become apparent below the Charter nationalized UPC political philosophy and made it a political philosophy for Uganda as a nation.

We identify five components of the original UPC political philosophy which emerged at the end of the 1960s. These components are: socialism, a one-party political system, a unitary state, republicanism as the antithesis of feudalism and the “struggle” against imperialism. These components of UPC political philosophy were actually originally coherent and consistent with each other as we shall demonstrate below. By the mid1960s socialism had swept across Africa like wild fire. Even the capitalist systems, such as the one in Kenya, professed some degree of “socialism” as good in their policies. Socialism was conceived at the time as the best decolonization device of the postcolonial political system in Africa. It was therefore not an accident that Obote advocated socialism as the best means to tackle African problems such as poverty and development after independence. Moreover, Obote was not the first to do so. The adoption of socialism in Uganda was hardly an original idea but it was an idea Obote believed in from earlier on in his political career.

Section 1 of the Charter made it clear that “for the realization of the real meaning of Independence, namely, that the resources of the country, material and human, [should] be exploited for the benefit of all the people of Uganda in accordance with the principles of Socialism.” However, the aims and objectives of UPC which were also incorporated in the Charter included “To plan Uganda’s Economic Development in such a way that the Government, through Parastatal Bodies, the Co-operative Movements, Private Companies, Individuals in Industry, Commerce and Agriculture, will effectively contribute to increased production to raise the standard of living in the country.”

It is clear from the statements quoted above that Obote’s socialism was of the ambiguous type, that is, philosophically opaque. If you are in favor of socialism and you declare yourself explicitly to be “anti-capitalist,” why should you at the same time encourage “private companies, individuals in industry, commerce and agriculture” to participate actively in the economic production process? Even worse why would you on May 1, 1970, “announce that as from today all import and export business will be transacted by Parastatal Bodies only.”[36] Creation and reliance on parastatal bodies is one of those philosophical visions that created inefficient and corrupt state capitalism in Africa. It was eventually reversed by privatization of the parastatal bodies under the NRM regime on orders of the World Bank and the IMF. The socialist component of UPC political philosophy was therefore eventually nullified. The other components, as we shall see later, under different political circumstances, suffered a similar fate of either nullification or repudiation.

Although at the time Obote’s government was overthrown on January 25, 1971, Obote had not officially declared a de jure one-party regime his policies and rhetoric were sufficient to indicate that Uganda was headed for a one-party political system. As early as 1964 Obote had argued that the need for national unity required the existence of a one-party political system. In addition, Obote as a socialist, argued that the idea of multi-parties is typically western and rooted in capitalism which he had personally rejected. Section 8 of the Charter sent out a typically ambiguous hint: “The Party has always made it clear to the people that the only acceptable and practical meaning of October 9th, is that the people of Uganda must move away from the ways and mental attitudes of the colonial past, move away from the hold of tribal and other forms of factionalism and the power of vested interests, and accept that the problems of poverty, development and nation-building can and must be tackled on the basis of one Country and one People. The strategy laid down in this Charter aims at strengthening the fundamental objective of the Party.” Moreover, a one-party regime was philosophically compatible with African socialist ideology. Obote did not have to make a convincing argument to justify a one- party political system. UPC leaders in general, however, although not enthusiastically, nevertheless, embraced Obote’s socialist philosophy at the time.

If socialism and a one-party regime were presumed good for unity and development in postcolonial Africa a unitary political structure was seen as the most suitable political tool to implement socialism and unite the people of diverse ethnicities. “When the UPC proposes a policy or program on behalf and for the benefit of the people of Uganda, the meaning of the phrase ‘people of Uganda’ is always clear and definite. It is, One People under One Government in One Country.”[37] That sentence was an explicit rejection of federalism as enacted in the 1962 constitution and an endorsement of the unitary, highly centralized political system enacted in the 1967 constitution designed for political control from the center, often mistaken for nationalism. Unfortunately, at the time the Charter was written there was no objection or realization by the UPC leaders that their political philosophy was incompatible with protection of the human rights of the citizens, such as self-determination and the right to associate which were being violated by UPC political philosophy.

The fourth component of UPC’s political philosophy was republicanism. This component of UPC political philosophy divided the country into two hostile segments. Republicanism stood for the abolition of the monarchies and, as result, was bitterly opposed by those who preferred to preserve their cultural institutions, which, incidentally, were protected under international law.[38] Republicanism was uniquely designed to deal with local Ugandan political problems. The philosophical premise of republicanism featured widely in the Charter. It constituted the core of UPC political philosophy.

Republicanism in Uganda, just like the political Independence of Uganda, is now a reality, but the demand and struggle for Uhuru has no end. This is part of life and part of the inalienable right of man. It is also the cornerstone of progress and of the liberty of the individual, the basis of his prosperity and the hallmark of his full and effective participation in the affairs of his country. October 9th, 1962, therefore was the beginning of a much greater struggle of many dimensions along the road to the goal of full Uhuru. …

The Republican status, therefore, has taken Uganda further towards the goal of full Uhuru. It must not be accepted, however, that our new status by itself is sufficient, or that it has removed exploitation and has brought full Uhuru. We realize that it is, an advance towards the goal of full Uhuru, but because we are also convinced that more has to be done, this Charter has been adopted, and its Strategy is in our view, a logical development from the fact that we have been moving away from the hold of feudal power since 1966. For so long as that feudal power was a factor in the politics and the economy of Uganda, it could not be disregarded. Thus the reason for this Charter. … With the removal of the feudal factor from our political and economic life, we need to do two things. First, we must not allow the previous position of the feudalists to be filled by the neo-feudalists. Secondly, we must move away from circumstances which may give birth to neo-feudalism or generate feudalistic mentality.

The Move to the Left is the creation of a new political culture and a new way of life, whereby the people of Uganda as a whole—their welfare and their voice in the National Government and in other local authorities are paramount. It is, therefore, both anti-feudalism and anti-capitalism.[39]

Some commentators on these issues, such as Yoga Adhola,[40] regard republicanism as articulated in the Charter as a part of the process of democratization. We reject this view. You can have democratic systems under monarchical political systems such as in Japan and United Kingdom. What is important for a democracy to exist is the protection of political freedom which the UPC political philosophy attempted to wipe way.

The last important component of the UPC political philosophy of the 1960s was the so-called “struggle” against imperialism. By struggle against imperialism most African leaders in the 1960s meant safeguarding nationalism against the interests of the capitalist western powers and institutions such as the World Bank and IMF. The strategy of the struggle entailed lack of cooperation with the west. For all practical purposes, however, the struggle against imperialism perished with the cold war. After condemning feudalism and abolishing the monarchies under the republican constitution it made sense politically for Obote to assail “imperialism” as the enemy from without. Moreover a one-party regime was partly rationalized on the ground that imperialists could use or manipulate political parties by infiltrating the political system in order to steal national secrets and undermine nationalism. The condemnation of capitalism was also based on similar premises. Imperialism and capitalism were in fact presumed to be inseparable. The logic of a socialist, one-party political system, made sense under the circumstances. Everything seemed to fall in place. The only question to ask is whether UPC political philosophy was rational and, therefore, could endure the test of time.

History, however, has reversed all five components that constituted UPC political philosophy. In the mid-1960s UPC clearly embraced a socialist ideology.[41] But when Obote came back to power in 1980 he disavowed socialist ideology as he expediently implemented the structural adjustment and liberalization policies dictated by the IMF. This would seem to indicate, unequivocally, that the rhetoric against capitalism and imperialism had been totally abandoned. During Obote II the one-party philosophy was explicitly repudiated. What is not clear is whether Obote had any second thoughts or regrets for abolishing the monarchies. In any case the issue is now moot. Monarchies were restored by law and recognized under the 1995 constitution. The people made a democratic political decision on the issue. The five components of UPC political philosophy we have discussed have been overtaken by political events. It does not appear that they can be revived. However, UPC as a political party still exists. The question is: what is UPC’s political philosophy now? UPC’s example and history illustrate the dangers of personalizing political institutions. Democratization is fundamentally incompatible with the personalization of political institutions.

The more fundamental question that has not been answered is whether Obote genuinely changed his socialist political philosophy to capitalism or was compelled to act pragmatically as he did by the dictates of political expediency in order to hold on to political power? As far as I am aware Obote left no memoirs from which we can confidently answer that question. UPC did not only lose the core of its political philosophy but it has split up into other independent political parties. How, for example, can we distinguish between FDC, NRM and UPC, especially given the fact that the leaders of the three parties were at one time in the past members of same original political mother party, UPC? In other words, why should anybody join any of these three political parties in preference to the other two parties? Is pointing at the leader of the party sufficient to persuade a person to join a particular political party? We should judge political parties by the political philosophy they profess, not by the transient personality of the leader of the political party. Now we know why a political party needs a ration political philosophy.

After Olara Otunnu took over as leader of UPC many of the UPC so-called “big guns” walked over from UPC and joined NRM. The question is why? Were they bribed, as the rumor mill chats? But how can one be bribed in order to change a political philosophy? Either they sacrificed it on the Alter of expediency or greed had seized their instincts for desperate political survival. Did they change their political philosophy, assuming they had any, or they simply saw no philosophical difference between UPC and NRM because both parties are committed to the same political goals and therefore they could change allegiance as they wished without experiencing any philosophical discomfort or embarrassment? In any case, UPC right now has no explicit political philosophy that I am aware of to distinguish it from NRM much as the leaders of the two parties, Olara Otunnu and Yoweri K. Museveni, as personalities, may be at logger heads. Those who did not walk out of UPC seem to resolve their political differences with the threat of clenched fists rather that polite philosophical argument and political persuasion!


The history of UPC is a good illustration of the role of rational political philosophy, or lack thereof, in organizing a political party. UPC is a product of the independence movement. The independence movement produced several political parties each aspiring to succeed the colonial regime. Under colonialism, of course, there was no political freedom, but the nostalgia of those old enough reminds them that under colonialism there was no political freedom but there was personal security (peace) and no rampant corruption to impoverish the community or the state was tolerated. So as soon as political freedom was grudgingly tolerated by the colonial regime during the decade of the transition to independence between 1950 and 1960 many political parties suddenly emerged from the ground like political mushrooms of different types.

The Uganda National Congress (UNC) and the Uganda Peoples Union (UPU) were some of the political parties which emerged in the 1950s. UPC is the result of the merger of two of these pre-independence political parties: Uganda National Congress (UNC) led by Musazi and Uganda Peoples Union (UPU) led by Obote.[42] While UNC conservatively emphasized “nationalism” UPU, apparently because of Obote’s admiration of Kwame Nkrumah, embraced the “people”[43] a code word for “socialism”[44] under colonialism. The formation of UPC, apparently due to Obote’s influence, moved UPC closer to the left of center than the right of center after the amalgamation of UNC and UPU. It can therefore be argued that at the time of independence one of the two main parties (UPC) was of a “socialist inclination” and the other (DP) was of a “capitalist inclination.” Suppression of political freedom after independence prevented the political parties from evolving their political philosophies into a mature ideology. Only the party in government, UPC, had the freedom to explicitly articulate a political philosophy.[45]

The New Political Parties

After a long spell of dictatorship under military rule either the old political parties were revived or new political parties started to emerge after Idi Amin was overthrown in 1979. UPM fell in the latter category. It was formed in 1980 by Museveni and his colleagues for purposes of contesting the elections of that year.[46] All the leaders of UPM, except Sam and Gatrude Njuba, were former members of UPC. One may assume that, for practical reasons, UPM was a reincarnation or a breakaway branch of UPC. For some mysterious reasons, however, UPM suddenly sank into political oblivion after the election of the Constituent Assembly in 1993. Political parties were allowed to send two delegates to the CA but UPM and UPC declined to exercise that option. Thereafter the UPM became moribund. Instead NRM emerged as the logical political successor to UPM, or rather NRM politically replaced the political vacuum left by the quiet demise of UPM. The leadership of NRM like that of UPM consisted of the same former UPC members. In the late 1990s internal squabbles within NRM erupted and resulted in the formation of the Reform Agenda faction of NRM which ultimately crystallized into FDC led by Col. Kizza Besigye. Kizza Besigye was a founding member of NRM and probably was also originally a member of UPC earlier on, judging by his political company and association.

What emerges from this brief history is the uncontested view that FDC, NRM, UPM and UPC belong to a specific political genealogy and, therefore, share a political kinship which leads one to conclude that they embraced a common political philosophy because the same individuals were members of the same political parties at one time or another in the past. When these same individuals formed a new political party they did not renounce the original political philosophy of the mother party which they inherited from the mother party they belonged to earlier. Since UPM does not exist anymore the main question should be whether UPC, NRM and FDC share a political philosophy inherited from mother UPC and if they do what philosophy is it? Those who talk about “unity” should be interested in the answer to the question posed above.

The current leaders of UPC have neither explicitly revived the old socialist philosophy of UPC nor renounced it. The best we can do in order to decipher UPC’s political philosophy is to examine its “vision” and “mission” as currently articulated by UPC leaders. UPC’s vision is “To build an independent, united, democratic, just, peaceful and prosperous nation, where all its citizens have equal opportunities and equitable access to national resources.” The mission of UPC is stated as “A social democratic party that seeks to safeguard national independence and promote national unity, equality, equity and human rights.” If this is what remains of the original UPC political philosophy, then we can conclude that it has both shrunk and narrowed down.

As a result, the basic components of UPC political philosophy today do not seem to remain those articulated between 1967 and 1970. The new components have their purpose to safeguard the “independence” of Uganda, promote “national unity” and guarantee “equitable access to national resources.” We can therefore assume that the earlier five components have been abandoned and replaced by some vague, general objectives of the party. What seems to be conspicuously missing is a explicit commitment to protect individual liberty. It is not sufficient to say that the party will protect “human rights.” All political parties, including NRM say that. Again we should emphasize the difference between safeguarding “independence” of the nation and protecting “political freedom” of the individual because the two are not the same. Independence does not necessarily guarantee political freedom. Equal or “equitable access to national resources,” we assume, is the essence of socialist political philosophy but it is not made explicit.

We can therefore assume that the original five components UPC political philosophy discussed above remain intact except where they have been explicitly disavowed. The burden should remain on the leaders of UPC to demonstrate otherwise. The only question is: To what extent has the same philosophy been inherited by UPC descendants? Is UPC political philosophy still traceable in NRM and FDC? Ever since Museveni created the so-called “broad based” government NRM has thrived on philosophical ambiguity. The result is that NRM is a party that has stupidly taken pride in defying ideological identity, that is, failing to articulate a specific political philosophy. This aspect of NRM is probably the main source of its political weakness. As long as the electoral process is not driven by issues a political party can survive, thrive or even do well without articulating a political philosophy. That situation will be short lived as long as the electoral process is not driven by issues. As soon as these social changes take place a political party without an ideology or political philosophy is the one that poses the least threat to its rivals as soon as political freedom is guaranteed as we shall argue below.

The Democratic Party

The other major political party which clearly stands apart from all the others we have discussed is the Democratic Party (DP) which is also the oldest political party in Uganda. It was formed in 1954 as the independence movement gathered momentum in the country. From its formation DP articulated a clear political philosophy. According to the preamble of the DP constitution the members of DP are individually to be “guided by the principle of truth and justice.” The preamble explicitly “proclaims” that “the people have the inalienable right to freely choose their government by the democratic process” and to “champion respect and promote the fundamental human rights and freedoms embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights” as well as “observe and uphold the rule of law.” No party constitution in Uganda has ever been more explicit on the importance of protecting human rights and political freedom.

Among the aims and objectives of DP under article 3 of the constitution are: to “ensure” the “general welfare and liberty for the people of Uganda;” “promote and preserve unity” of Uganda; “at all times to champion and preserve democracy in Uganda;” “fight for, protect and preserve the fundamental human rights;” “preserve the traditions, customs and institutions of Uganda;” and “support all peoples struggling for self-determination and freedom from oppression.” It is clear that from its inception DP had a clear political philosophy. However, it is one thing for a political party to have a political philosophy and another to put it in practice. As the English saying goes, practice makes perfect. I have not heard the leadership of DP articulate the philosophy of the party clearly written in its constitution. The identity of DP would stand out from the other parties if the leaders of DP bothered to use it as a solid ground or justification to govern Uganda on a democratic basis as spelt out in the DP constitution.

Due to political repression we have described above DP, like all the other parties in Uganda, suffered from the political repression by Obote, Amin and Museveni. Judging by the internal squabbles within DP during the electoral season of 2011 personality, rather than political philosophy, has dominated and animated political acrimony within DP. DP, however, seems more internally coherent philosophically than the other parties even though DP lost a substantial number of its leaders to UPC, FDC and NRM.[47] Here the question is: how do the former members of DP who defected to FDC philosophically fit into FDC which, apparently, inherited its political philosophy from UPC via NRM? NRM and FDC have not clearly distinguished themselves from UPC. The burden lies on them until they do so.

Answering the question paused above gives us a glimpse into the so-called politics of the “belly” which has dominated Africa for a few decades. Philosophy seems secondary to our politics in Uganda. Personality and political status take priority in the strategic thinking of Ugandan politicians. Those who changed political allegiance between political parties did not do so due to philosophical reasons. They were looking for political and/or material rewards and not advancing a political cause for solving society’s problems as a whole. In fact political manipulation of the political parties is restricted to the top leaders. Everyone knows that the masses follow the “leaders” close to them no matter which political philosophy they espouse or the political party the leaders belong to. This is because their decisions are not driven by issues. The weakness of the current system resides in the fact that it is readily manipulated and, therefore, easily corruptible, especially during the electoral season. It is much easier to corrupt voters not interested in issues but passionate about personalities.

Within the political parties themselves the absence of political philosophy is clearly visible. Take, for example the litigation of the various factions within DP. One faction accused the other of violating the party constitution by holding a delegates conference at a particular time and in a specific place and therefore acting without authority to do so. The litigation that followed which was aimed at delegitimizing the results of the party electoral process seemed to be no more than a clash of personalities. There were no philosophical disputes involved. In fact political party leaders who fail to secure the nomination for the presidential candidacy often settle to run as “independent” candidates outside the party structure, or in the case of Ssebagala, they join another political party—NRM, exposing their philosophical bankruptcy for everyone to see. Such behavior is clear indication that political behavior is not within and between parties motivated by political philosophy.

What this means is that the leaders of the political parties have not yet internalized the democratic norms which govern the political process and the rule of law within the political party processes. No one wants to accept defeat, even in a certified free and fair election. We can only blame this political theatre on the political suppression of the parties during the last four decades. There has not been enough “learning period” in using a democratic electoral process. In forty years there have been about three or four elections within each political party. Very little learning experience has taken place. There will be no political maturity until the leaders of the political parties begin to understand that they are in politics in order to participate fairly and, in the process, advance a collective political cause and not primarily to advance personal interests and ambition or satiate voracious greed.

The situation in Uganda can be sharply contrasted with that in South Africa. In South Africa, in spite of the fact that ANC was banned within South Africa after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 ANC continued to operate underground and in exile and advanced its cause of political freedom. Members of ANC operated within the political structure of the ANC party. In Uganda the political parties were politically frozen and prohibited to engage in any political activity. Political development in Uganda was literally halted. It is clearly reflected in the political behavior of the leaders of the political parties.

National Resistance Movement (NRM-O)

Lastly, we look at NRM-O.[48] The history of the political evolution of NRM-O is in some respects similar to and in others different from that of UPC. We examined earlier some important aspects of the ideology or political philosophy of UPC and how it was rationally related to the process of democratization of Uganda. We shall do a similar study of NRM for purposes of comparison. The similarities relate to the fact that all leaders of NRM were originally members of UPC. This gives us an interesting historical paradox. When the leaders of NRM formed the organization they tried their best to contrast it with UPC and in fact denigrated UPC as a sectarian party. This charge is, however, not valid. It was motivated by politics. The truth is that there was a lot of personal animosity between Obote and Museveni. The difference between UPC and NRM is not philosophical. It is the hatred between the two men who led the two political parties.

The interesting question, however, is: did the leaders of NRM believe in all the five or some of the components of the philosophy of UPC we discussed earlier at the time they were members of UPC? This question is important because it goes to the core of the issue we are trying to resolve, namely, the utility of political philosophy in the process of democratizing a political system. Believing in a specific political philosophy produces a conviction in the believer. For those who are honest beliefs do not disappear suddenly or at the whim of a new idea, politics or popular ideological slogan they encounter.

I can here offer personal testimony to some of the issues and questions we are dealing with. After the Charter was launched by Obote in 1969 I was at Makerere University and I can testify to the fact that Yoweri Museveni, Ruhakana Rugunda and Eriya Kategaya not only supported the abolition of the monarchies, believed in the republican principle they also enthusiastically embraced the introduction of the fundamental principle of socialism as a “progressive” ideology suitable for solving the problems Uganda was facing at the time. In the many debates that took place in the main hall at Makerere College, as it was then, between the proponents of the Charter (Museveni, Rugunda and Kategaya) and opponents of the “move to the left” as a whole like Suleiman Kiggundu and Matte Mukasa, the proponents seemed to be genuinely committed to UPC political philosophy. In fact some of them were members of Akena Adoko’s GSU. Museveni, although he was at the time a student at Dar-es-Salaam, very actively participated in the annual debates of the three sister colleges: Dar-es-Salaam, Nairobi and Makerere. That was my first encounter with Museveni. He behaved as a committed and radical socialist, even though he has alleged in his biography that he was a member of DP until 1971, a claim that seems to be clouded in doubt! I do not remember any DP member at that time, many of whom were under detention in Luzira, publicly advocating support for the move to the left as advocated by Obote.

As we have already pointed out above we can treat NRM-O as a legitimate descendant of UPC because all the leaders of NMR-O were former members of UPC who were committed to UPC political philosophy in the late 1960s. The important question is whether we can trace any elements of UPC political philosophy in NRM-O? If not, then why? Answering these questions can help us solve the puzzle why Museveni has tried to keep a long distance between him and UPC—behavior that does not make philosophical sense but is rooted in personal politics. It is clear that Museveni could not become the leader of UPC as long as Obote was alive. Museveni’s sectarian theory was invented partly to tarnish the image of UPC and Obote. The NRM-O political philosophy may therefore be traced from two sources other than UPC. These are Museveni’s theory of sectarianism and his political expediency, of which the theory of sectarianism was the best exemplification and explanation providing the reason or rationale to repudiate UPC political philosophy. Museveni has always been a cunning political calculator. In fact morality and ethics are not Museveni’s greatest virtues. What was the political motivation for the sectarian theory?

First, in 1986 Museveni argued that it was premature to allow political parties in Uganda to exist and, therefore, dangerous in the political process of a country like Uganda, because political parties were built on sectarianism rather than on class structure.[49] UPC and DP were cited as examples by Museveni. More explicitly Museveni was arguing that the existence of political parties was detrimental to Uganda although he had been an enthusiastic member of UPC. Museveni’s explanation, though convincing to the theoretically illiterate and historically uninformed, was as artificial as it was erroneous. It was pure politics. The argument was that political parties must be suppressed until the sociological conditions for their existence are ripe. This argument was a contorted political premise which had no scientific basis both in theory and in history of the contemporary world. It was cleverly designed to serve Museveni’s selfish political ambitions. Surprisingly, people in the west took it seriously. They never questioned its validity in view of its conflict with the protection of inalienable human rights under international law. Africans were apparently equated to political imbeciles waiting to be liberated by class formation. It is ironic that of all people Museveni, an anti-imperialist, was the advocate of such a theory!

According to Museveni’s sectarian theory, “ripeness” for the existence of political parties, was supposed to be determined by the existence of a “middle class” which alone, according to Museveni’s erroneous theory, is regarded as the sole source of political philosophy for a political party. Political philosophy can exist without the middle class. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are some of the most famous political philosophers history has ever produced. Their philosophies which are still taught at university level were formulated over 2000 years ago in societies which had no “middle class.” The existence or causation of a middle class is a very recent social transformation which, even Museveni himself, in his invalid theory, attributes to the recent history of the industrial revolution.

The assumption and full implication of Museveni’s theory of sectarianism, directly linked to class structure, or its absence thereof, was both contradictory and, of course, erroneous. Human instincts and the political beliefs of people are not determined by their social class. In US and UK, for example, there are poor people who belong to the working class but believe in the ideology of the Conservative or Republican parties. Conversely, there are rich millionaires in the Democratic Party of US and the Labor Party of UK who uphold the virtues of liberalism. If Museveni’s theory of sectarianism was valid this would never have happened. Political philosophy would run along class line, but it does not. That fact alone is sufficient to discredit Museveni’s sectarian theory.

The link between sectarianism and class structure is, therefore, invalid. Moreover, there is sectarianism in societies with middle classes such as the British (Northern Ireland), Israel and India. Even more important, how would one explain racism which cuts across class structures? Museveni’s argument was, however, cunningly designed to lay the theoretical foundation for the suppression of political freedom under NRM. Clearly that meant that Museveni did not believe in political freedom from a philosophical point of view. To that extent Museveni was free not to articulate a rational political philosophy, either socialist or capitalist, as a basis for his policies. Museveni’s main objective was to suppress the old political parties because his memory of the 1980 elections in which he himself lost and his party (UPM) won only one parliamentary seat was still fresh in his mind. He had to find a way to suppress and control the other political parties which could ruin his political career.

But we are fully aware that at Dar-es-Salaam Museveni was a radical socialist whose undergraduate thesis examined Fanon’s theory of violence in the context of colonial liberation or the quest for independence. The thesis did not in any way link class structure to political behavior. In Mozambique, like in Uganda, where Museveni applied Fanon’s theory, there was no middle class structure. Mozambique was in 1960s, and still is in 2000s, a peasant society with a social structure far less developed than that of Uganda. However, in Mozambique there were political parties such as FRELIMO which effectively participated in the liberation struggle against colonialism. They were not plagued by sectarianism. The contradiction, inherent in Museveni’s argument, was that African political parties were good when they were fighting colonialism or apartheid (ANC in South Africa) but dangerous and “sectarian” after colonialism, apartheid and military dictatorships are defeated, as Museveni had done in Uganda in 1986. Nothing made any sense in Museveni’s sectarian theory. It was meant to dupe people not to throw light on a dark political problem labeled sectarianism.

The theory was invalid because it was based on erroneous sociological premises. Protection of human rights and political freedom (the rights to associate, assemble or express oneself) in particular, as stipulated under international law, such as in Universal Declaration of Human rights, does not depend and is not premised on the existence of specific social class structures. It depends on the recognition of individual human worth and dignity, on which protection of “inherent”[50] or “inalienable” human rights depends. Existence of class structures does not determine the protection of inalienable human rights. Moreover, when Museveni amended the constitution of Uganda in 2005 in order to allow multi-parties the class structure of Uganda was exactly the same as it was in 1986, twenty years earlier, when Museveni argued that political parties would be sectarian and therefore premature because of the absence of a middle class. Lacking a (rational) philosophical foundation Museveni’s politics was opaque, dangerous and necessarily oppressive.

Museveni’s theory of sectarianism made him, philosophically and inevitably, the archenemy of both political freedom and political philosophy in Uganda. He chose to sabotage both. He was the enemy of political freedom because he pretended to be philosophically blind to the sociological reality of human rights and their protection. These contradictions produced NRM-O and, of course, NRM earlier. NRM-O was falsely declared the foundation of broad based government when in fact it was the ultimate instrument of political oppression. Museveni, could not then, and up to now cannot, articulate a political philosophy on which NRM-O stands. We challenge him to do so if he is not an opportunist, a charge he loves to throw at his political opponents. NRM-O has no political philosophy. Under the NRM constitution the NRM-O is a “multi-ideological” political party. It is a new species of political party.

That partly explains why anybody can supposedly be a member of NRM-O regardless of his political philosophy. Under Article 6 of the NRM constitution the NRM is described as “a national, broad based, inclusive, democratic, non-sectarian multi-ideological, multi-interest and progressive mass organization.” This condition, however, is not necessarily a source of political virtue as Museveni may have wanted us to believe. The lack of philosophical identity or clarity makes NRM-O the biggest political prostitute in Uganda and on the African continent. As it turned out NRM-O is built on and is a source of political corruption which is the engine that propels NRM-O. Anybody can cross over from DP, UPC and FDC and pretend to comfortably “fit” into NRM-O as long as he corruptly benefits from doing so. How can a political party with specific social interests to protect in society be philosophically “multi-ideological.” A political party that labels itself “multi-ideological” must be a political fraud. It projects the false image that a political party consisting of committed communists and capitalists can formulate a rational political philosophy to guide its membership to achieve noble goals such as protection of human rights.

This explains why the NRM constitution is ambiguously drafted in order to avoid commitment to any specific political philosophy or goal. For example Article 1 of NRM constitution provides that “NRM is fully committed to promoting and upholding democracy and good governance first as a core value, but also as a sine qua non for national transformation.” The concept of “democracy” is not defined; nor is “good governance.” We must remember that not long ago there were many dictatorial regimes which pronounced their countries as “The Democratic Republic of ….” Such deceptive labels did not convert a political reality of dictatorship into a democracy! Similarly, there are many democratic countries which do not label themselves as “democratic republics.” Truth resides in facts, not in wishes or labels.

Under Article 4 of the NRM constitution the NRM “vision is a peaceful, united, democratic, harmonious, industrialized, transformed and prosperous Uganda within a strong and united Africa.” The mission of NRM under Article 5 “is to transform Uganda from a poor peasant society into a modern, industrial, united and prosperous society.” In pursuing its aims and objectives under Article 6(2) NRM is supposed to be guided by principles such as “pursuit of peace,” “democracy and good governance,” “national unity and non-sectarianism,” “affirmative action,” “equal opportunities,” “socio-economic transformation and modernization,” “patriotism,” and “Pan-Africanism.” Further principles under Article 6(3) include “transparency, accountability, integrity.”

The question is whether enumerating these principles, mission and vision makes any difference in the real politics of NRM. Without a clear political philosophy the rest seems useless. For example Article 7 talks about “eradicating corruption” in Uganda. Section III dealing with corruption scandals under NRM during the last twenty years leaves no doubt that under the NRM regime there is no transparency, accountability, or integrity. Talking about eradicating corruption under NRM is a big joke as section III will demonstrate beyond doubt. While Article 7 of the NRM constitution talks about “consolidating” democracy and constitutional governance, peace and security police and armed soldiers have been shooting children and pregnant women at demonstrations, 19 dead bodies have been found secretly buried in Kakiri and corruption has within the last decade mutated into organized crime which involves police and other security agencies. What explains all these contradictions?

NRM is the least philosophically coherent political party in Uganda. That is why it is the most corrupt. The aims and objectives of NRM are not clearly defined by or rooted on philosophical premises. NRM-O has no identifiable political philosophy. The provisions of the NRM constitution quoted above are as vague as they can be for a good reason. They are intended to mislead the public. Uniting and developing Uganda are not a political philosophy: they are political goals. Any political party can aspire to those objectives or goals. NRM is, therefore, an empty political shell bound to crumble under its own political virtuousness.

We reach a paradoxical conclusion about NRM-O. The political party that was supposed to be rooted in “science” and “political theory” of sectarianism is, apparently, the least politically tenable in Uganda because it has no rational or consistent, single ideology to hold the party together. It was founded on invalid theoretical premises and lacks a rational political philosophy. These facts have had consequences. NRM-O is the most corrupt political party in Uganda. As a result of a combination of these factors NRM-O is probably, in the long run, the least durable of all political parties in Uganda. The rapid decline of UPC is attributable to the repudiation of its political philosophy. It has no future unless it radically transforms itself internally into a normal political party with a specific and rational political philosophy. Like UPC in the 1960s NRM has invested all its credibility in its top leader Yoweri K. Museveni. The similarities between the founding leaders of UPC and NRM seem to be driving both parties to a similar political destiny.


In concluding the argument of the importance of political philosophy in politics, and especially the organization and leadership of political parties, let us give a specific historical illustration in order to test the validity of the first hypothesis. Article 4 of the constitution of UPC[51] which spells out the “aims and objects” of the party provides that, among other things, the purpose of UPC is:

“To protect without discrimination based on race, color, sex or religion[52] every person lawfully living in in Uganda and enable him to enjoy the fundamental rights and freedom of the individual, that is to say:

(i) Life, Liberty, Security of the person and Protection of the law;

(ii) Freedom of Conscience, of expression and association;

(iii) Protection of Privacy of his home, property and from deprivation of property without compensation.”

The provisions of the UPC constitution quoted above are identical to Article 8 of the 1967 republican constitution of Uganda enacted by UPC parliament. This implies that the 1967 constitution and UPC constitution were framed from the same philosophical premises, namely, the need to protect liberty, security and political freedom. The two constitutions were, from their appearance, intended to protect the “fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual.” As we demonstrated in this section the provisions of the two constitutions were reinforced by the Charter. In practical politics, as history has clearly demonstrated, the two constitutions did not accomplish that objective. The explanation is that the behavior of the political leaders, guided by the five components of UPC political philosophy, did not conform to the legal norms articulated in the 1967 constitution of Uganda and 1970 constitution of UPC.

Anybody familiar with the history of Uganda outlined above knows that the provisions of the two constitutions cited were politically empty and meaningless due to the five components of UPC political philosophy which contradicted them. We have cited the traumatic Nakulabye massacre of 1964 and the 1966 Lubiri atrocities. We have also clearly demonstrated that Obote did not believe in the protection of liberty, security and political freedom. In the same way as Museveni does not. Obote attacked the Lubiri and, through Amin, slaughtered hundreds of innocent people. Obote never recanted or apologized for the massacres committed by his armed forces under his watch. He was the Commander-in-Chief of the army at the time the atrocities were committed. He therefore as a national leader bore the full responsibility of what happened.

During the state of emergency that applied exclusively to Buganda region between 1966 and 1971 members of the opposition were indefinitely detained under the Public Order and Security Act, 1967—a sister legislation to the 1967 republican constitution—without charge or trial. Some of the detainees like Abu Mayanja had, in fact, joined UPC and were therefore not members of the opposition, who were accused of being allies of “imperialists,”[53] and therefore, supposedly, deserved to be detained and politically silenced and prevent them from causing disunity and subversion. Abu Mayanja and Rajat Neogy, editor of Transition Magazine, were charged with sedition[54] for criticizing government policies, thereby bringing the President (read Obote) and the constitution of Uganda into “ridicule.” Therefore, the notion that the constitutions of Uganda and UPC protected “Freedom of conscience, of expression and association” was a joke because the assertion had no philosophical foundation to back it up. The important lesson we learn from this history is that we should not judge the political parties by the content of their constitutions alone but also by the behavior and political philosophy the leaders articulate or believe in.

Under Obote II thousands of people were slaughtered in Luwero triangle. Ugandans did not enjoy any “fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual,” as the constitution provided. The thousands of human skulls that litter Luwero triangle are a grim record of the atrocities and violations of human rights committed under Obote II. Obote detained without trial all his political opponents like Grace Ibingira, Mathias Ngobi, Balaki Kirya, Benedicto Kiwanuka, Paul Ssemogerere, Abu Mayanja and many others until he was overthrown by Idi Amin in 1971. Under both Obote I and Obote II there was no “liberty,” “security” or “freedom of association,” provisions of the constitution stipulating to the same notwithstanding.


I have heard supporters of Obote declare that Obote was a “great” African leader, implying that Obote is the greatest leader in the history of Uganda. Historians, Kenneth Ingham and political scientists, A.G.G. Gingyera-Pinycwa,[55] have also bestowed greatness to Obote. The main reason the supporters give is because Obote was the Prime Minister at the time of independence. Historians and political scientists emphasize Obote’s difficult circumstances at the time he led Uganda and the political “skills” he displayed in his leadership. In my opinion these arguments are inadequate. This is a silly way of measuring the “greatness” of a leader in any place and at any time. Uganda would have become independent in 1962 regardless of whether or not Obote was Prime Minister. There is no compelling reason to associate Obote with the independence of Uganda. The colonial schedule for granting independence in Uganda was, as for the rest of Africa, a foregone conclusion by the middle of the 1950s. All British colonial Governors in light of the Colonial Secretary’s Memorandum of 1948 were instructed to prepare all the colonial dependencies for self-rule. The colonial decision to grant independence to Uganda had nothing to do with Obote as an individual leader. As for the arguments advanced by Kenneth Ingham and Gingyera-Pinycwa we have adequately responded to them above.

In his capacity as Prime Minister Obote did not play a role similar to that of Jomo Kenyatta in Kenya, as leader of Mau Mau, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana who was reputed to be a “prison graduate” under colonial rule or Nelson Mandela in South Africa, as a brave crusader against, at the time, the intractable apartheid political machine. Above all, I cannot confer “greatness” to a leader who grossly violated the human rights of his fellow citizens as Obote did throughout his political career. May be Obote could have earned the title of “great leader” of Uganda in 1963 before he committed the massacres and atrocities or detained his political opponents in the late 1960s and 1980s. That, however, is a debatable proposition, too, because our comparison of Obote and Museveni personalities above now comes in handy to sabotage such a possibility. Greatness of a leader cannot be divorced from the personality of the leader. Greatness has a minimum moral content. Some leaders are designated “great” because of their courage, like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. Others are admired as great leaders because of their wisdom or intellect, like Mahatma Gandhi. All these human qualities are absent from Obote’s personality.

Moreover, the personality of Obote was shaped much earlier before he became Prime Minister of Uganda. Personalities tend to last for life, except when there is conversion or radical change in personality and, hence, behavior. Those who confer greatness on Obote as a leader should, by the same criteria, do the same to Museveni, simply because Museveni militarily defeated Tito Okello in 1986! Character and personality are important in judging and evaluating the greatness of a leader. Hitler and Stalin will never be designated great leaders in world history where protection of human rights is a significant imperative.

By the same token I would not call Kwame Nkrumah a great African leader because he did not, philosophically, believe in political freedom. This does not mean that as an African leader Nkrumah was not a popular leader at one time or another. It is one thing to be admired as a “popular” leader and quite another to be designated a great leader. Nkrumah’s popularity had two sources. The first is the fact that he was the first leader in sub-Saharan Africa to lead his country Ghana to independence in 1957. Such an achievement can make a leader very popular but it does not necessarily translate into greatness in the long run. There is no doubt, however, that in the 1950s and early 1960s Nkrumah was a popular African leader.

The second source of Nkrumah’s popularity was his vision of a united Africa through the formation of OAU now AU in 1963. In fact there is a big monument in Addis Ababa honoring Nkrumah at the AU headquarters which was built when Nkrumah was still popular in Africa but none in Ghana, the country he led. The monument Nkrumah built for himself in Ghana was toppled when he was overthrown. Ghanaians have never reinstated it. The existence of a monument anywhere does not necessarily translate into greatness. Stalin and Hitler had at one time monuments celebrating their “achievements.” It is, therefore, important to note the differences between the “popularity” of a leader and the greatness of a leader. Popularity tends to be transient being attached to policies or specific circumstances of a leader whereas greatness has an element of permanence or durability. A leader cannot be great today but despised tomorrow. However, a leader can be popular today and unpopular tomorrow. Most African leaders have fallen into the latter category. For example, Museveni was a popular leader during his first three years of his leadership of Uganda. After he suspended the scheduled elections in 1989 his popularity started to decline as his true political colors started to show and later his brutality in suppressing the opposition kicked in, mainly due to his determination to cling to power at any price. The rest is history.

Applying the tests we have formulated Nyerere was an average leader. He was repressive but did not massacre his fellow citizens or blindly cling to power as Obote and Museveni did.[56] We therefore conclude that gross violation of human rights by a leader is incompatible with the concept of leader greatness. Period. That is why brutal leaders like Stalin, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro and Muammar Gaddafi have very little or no claim to greatness in world history. Museveni is in a worse situation. He adds corruption to his legacy of political repression, further depriving himself of greatness as a leader. Any amount of corruption is not only immoral but also illegal and a violation of the rule of law. Corruption is incompatible with the greatness of a leader.


Finally, we can formulate the first hypothesis from the evidence documented in part II. Violation of human rights in Uganda is partly the result of the absence a rational political philosophy in politics. Political philosophy gives meaningful content to political actions and guides political behavior. Both the leaders within NRM and the opposition contribute to the problem by their failure to guide their political behavior with a rational political philosophy. The content of the party constitutions in not important because it can be and is often ignored in pursuit of specific political goals. Political parties are obsessed with winning political power, not the creation of a free and satisfied society. The latter goal can only be achieved in a democratic environment where norms are observed and political philosophy rationally guides political conduct. Uganda is a long way from that level of democratization. Corruption aggravates the political situation prevailing in Uganda. Indeed, leaders who cling to power and resort to repression of political freedom to prolong their longevity in power partly in search of greatness in history are unaware that their behavior and repressive political policies are not only irrational but also guarantee their eventual political obscurity and denial to greatness as leaders. Greatness is attained mainly by the moral virtue inherent in specific political actions generated by a specific type of personality that produces acts and behavior compatible with virtuous leadership.


“Corruption in Uganda is like rain. It comes from the heavens to drop to the ground. Indicators abound as to the source. … Corruption in high place has assumed such proportions that it now amounts to brazen daylight-aggravated robbery. It has godfathers with the establishment. No good governance can succeed in such a situation. It is the worst source of abuse of human rights and power.”[57]

Muliika’s statement quoted above is not an exaggeration. There is sufficient evidence to back it up. That is what we intent to do in part III. There are four aspects from which we want to look at corruption under NRM. First we shall probe the general or universal explanation of the causes of corruption. Then we shall trace the specific causes of corruption within the NRM regime. This approach is necessary because no prescription can be effective without knowledge of the nature and cause of the disease one is trying to treat. While the gravity of corruption in Uganda is not in doubt, its causation and therefore prescriptions for a cure are often misunderstood and therefore need clarification and explanation if we are to make any headway on this notoriously complex but ugly subject that is in fact inseparable from human nature. Third, we shall analyze and look at specific corruption scandals under the NRM regime. This will help us to test the validity of the explanations of the causes of corruption. Fourth, we shall assess the consequences of corruption on politics, society and the economy.

Lastly, after explaining its causes, nature and effects we shall suggest the only effective solution to the problem of corruption. Our suggestion to the solution of corruption anywhere in the world is deduced from the effective operation and management of existing political systems that have put corruption under control, without necessarily abolishing it—which, we believe, is a sociological impossibility because the causes are many and inherent in human nature. Clearly the picture of corruption that comes from our study of the NRM regime is complex and sometimes confusing and discouraging. However, like any complex subject, the more knowledge about corruption we accumulate the closer we get to explain its nature, causes, impact on society in general and, ultimately, enhance our ability to prevent and/or control it.


The subject of corruption is both notorious and depressing but it is as old as humanity itself. Corruption seems inseparable from any society where human activities take place. There is a mistaken view which associates corruption with underdevelopment, poverty and absence of democracy. The fact is that corruption occurs in all political systems including democratic ones with developed and rich economies. That is why a Prime Minister like Silvio Berlusconi of Italy was indicted and prosecuted for corruption even while still in office. A former Mayor of Paris and Cabinet Minister in France was charged with corruption. A former US Vice President, John N. Mitchell, who served as Nixon’s Attorney General before he became Vice President, was convicted and sent to jail for bribery in Virginia where he had been Governor. A US Senator from Alaska was convicted for corruption in 2009 and a US representative in the House from Mississippi was indicted for corruption in the same year. A former Speaker of the House of Representatives in Massachusetts was convicted on corruption charges and sent to federal prison in 2011. A former Governor of Illinois was convicted on corruption charges in 2011 and sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for trying to “sell” Obama’s Senate seat. A former Police Chief in New York City has been recently convicted of corruption and faces four years in prison. Many Ministers in Great Britain and Prime Ministers in Japan have resigned in disgrace because of scandals arising from corruption. Corruption is therefore not exclusively an African ailment that afflicts undeveloped, poor and dictatorial regimes. Corruption is universal.

The main difference between democratic regimes and others is that in Kenya, Zimbabwe and Uganda the actions taken in democratic regimes to fight and punish corruption are unheard of.[58] The difference between democratic systems and undemocratic ones is that a democratic system controls corruption through the enforcement of the principles of accountability and rule of law by the democratic process exerting moral pressure on the leaders. Human nature is the same in all political systems. What distinguishes sharply between political systems is not the charisma or integrity of the leaders in power but whether the democratic process prevails through public pressure by forcing the leaders to be honest and/or accountable for their conduct. Morality is an important element in the democratic process.

The absence of democracy in Uganda is sociologically the main explanation for the failure to deal with corruption effectively. Democracy imposes political penalties on a political party or leaders guilty or suspected of corruption. Under a repressive regime it is impossible to impose such democratic political penalties because the leaders control the political process almost at will, totally ignoring public opinion with impunity. After the Watergate scandal in US, for example, the electorate punished the Republicans for their political sins committed by Richard M. Nixon and his clique in the Republican Party. Regime change is a frequent feature of the democratic process. The rule of law prevails over corruption because of the democratic process. The unsuccessful impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1998 is a good example of the rule of law preventing the corruption of the political process on partisan grounds by the Congress controlled by the Republicans which impeached Clinton for abuse of office and perjury—charges that were concocted for political reasons rather than genuine pursuit of the enforcement of the rule of law.

In Africa corruption is also a symptom of the disease to be treated: political repression. There is corruption in all political systems as we have illustrated above. In democratic systems when corruption is revealed the head of the department has to resign whether he was involved in the misdeed in question or not. The democratic principle used to fight and control corruption is called accountability. It is enforced by specific political and ethical values. These values are imbedded in a political philosophy. Therefore, for accountability to be enforced by the democratic process the electorate must be politically “educated” or enlightened about its interests. This means that individual members and groups in the electorate must know what their rights are and exercise or use the right to vote as a means of protecting their interests. The electorate must also be active in the political process requiring candidates to be accountable by explaining their behavior and policies. None of these things can happen without democracy or the protection and guarantee of political freedom. These introductory remarks about corruption will be reinforced in our prognosis at the end of this essay. In the meantime we shall examine the general causes of corruption in society.

Corruption as Moral Decay

One of the general causes of corruption in Uganda is moral decay in the whole society. Recent studies of the nature and enforcement of social norms by Marc D. Hauser show that morality should be treated as the equivalent of a biological organ which evolved over millennia to protect and enforce a stable social order.[59] Our first task in trying to understand the general causes of corruption is to give a brief description of the nature and function of social norms in a sociologically healthy society. Social norms are unique and indispensable components of society. Not only are they essential to hold society together as a social unit but they are also unique to each society because the original social norms of any society were not borrowed from external sources but evolved internally in each social system. The internal uniqueness of social norms coexists with some universal characteristics of social norms. It can help us to explain the intractability of corruption in certain social contexts and its persistence under repressive political systems where the collective conscience of society is severely damaged by moral decay.

An epidemic of corruption cries out for explanation. It is clear that something is seriously wrong in society. The question is: what is wrong or causing the corruption epidemic? Some people have sought to find the answer to this question in the wrong place. They proceed from the wrong sociological premises and end up with the wrong answer to an important question. We have instead decided to look at the nature, origin and function of social norms in order to answer the question posed above. The answer seems to lie in evolutionary theory.

Evolutionary theory contends that over millions of years man evolved social instincts through the process of natural selection. Just as physical organs evolved over a long time to adapt to specific conditions morality evolved as a social mechanism in the organization of society. Specific instincts were required for morality to evolve. These instincts were specifically evolved to aid the survival of man in human society. Among the social instincts are the specialized moral instincts or principles which, when activated during the process of making moral judgments, help to distinguish between right and wrong. This means that morality is innate and is stored in a series of abstract principles. These principles evolved through the process of natural selection as part of survival of human groups.

Using the linguistic theory analogy Marc D. Hauser argues that “Moral judgments are mediated by an unconscious process, a hidden moral ‘organ’ that evaluates the causes and consequences of our own and others’ actions. This account shifts the burden of evidence from philosophy of morality to a science of morality.”[60] This means that “we evolved a moral instinct, a capacity that naturally grows within each child, designed to generate rapid moral judgments about what is morally wrong. … Part of this machinery was designed by the blind hand of Darwinian selection millions of years before our species evolved; other parts were added or upgraded over the evolutionary history of our species, and are unique both to humans and to our moral psychology.”[61] Moral decisions spring from “a universal moral grammar” through which “we judge whether actions are permissible, obligatory or forbidden, without conscious reasoning and without explicit access to underlying principles.”[62]

The evolution of moral instincts which created abstract moral principles that govern moral judgments manifests itself at the behavioral level through the existence of social norms. Social norms “are rules and standards that limit behavior in the absence of formal laws.” They have two basic components. They “dictate which actions are permissible.” The effectiveness of social norms lies in their unconscious operation and their power to create conformity.” When they are violated “our brains respond with a cascade of emotions, designed both to register the violation and to redress the imbalances.”[63]

All norms have an emotional component which plays a vital role in their enforcement. Because of this quality of social norms human beings have evolved a wide range of emotions which ensure the efficacy of the social norms such as morality. These emotions, listed by Marc D. Hauser, include: anger, rage, shame, embarrassment, guilt, compassion, contempt, disgust, gratitude, joy, jealousy, spite, fear, envy, angst, empathy, sadness, sympathy, hatred, lust, sorrow, pain, altruism, excitement, pride, joy, and humility. These emotions are triggered by the existence of specific social situations. Specific emotions are important components of the social norms. Marc D. Hauser observes that “In the absence of our emotional conductor there is little hope that moral behavior will spring up.”[64] Moreover, “norms acquire their robustness when they are tied to strong emotions. Upholding such norms makes people feel good, while violations make them feel bad, ridden with guilt, shame, and embarrassment.”[65]

Knowledge of the evolution of morality leads to the surprising conclusion that biology plays a role in social organization because the emotion of guilt, for example, “is an emotion that jumps on for the damage control.”[66] The emotion of guilt which is triggered by cheating when the consequences are realized “may also play a stabilizing role, reversing an instability caused by deception.” Moreover, those who admittedly feel guilty are more likely to cooperate in future rounds.”[67] Feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment may cause a person’s sense of honesty to “decay,” thus motivating people to rectify their bad deed. Feelings of guilt, empathy, embarrassment, loyalty, envy, anger, rage and even disgust may pave the way out of selfishness.

These observations imply that we should pay close attention to social emotions when we study problems such as corruption which go to the root of the moral core of society and the behavior of the people in society in general. How do the people who commit corruption feel about their crime when it is discovered or exposed? How do the members of society react to the revelation of corrupt transactions? Do all people have similar emotional reactions to the revelation of corruption or do they, for various reasons, differ? What political factors influence or inhibit these reactions? Does ethnicity or individual identity play a role in these emotional reactions? We ask these questions because Marc D. Hauser’s analysis seems to be based on the assumption that society is not only homogeneous but also its politics is driven by the same universal “emotional” factors imbedded in moral instincts. These are questions that need a thorough investigation before we can reach reliable conclusions.

Emotions are so important in social organization that even an emotion that is regarded as notorious, if not evil, can, surprisingly, play a positive role in society. This is the conclusion when we look at the emotion of envy. Marc D. Hauser believes that “Envy is useful, serving the conscience of self and other, and alerting us to iniquities that, if fueled, can lead to escalated violence. Since envious people are a source of threat, addressing their concerns may be one way to avoid escalation and redress the imbalances.” Hauser adds that “A first step in understanding the adaptive logic of envy … comes from seeing how it differs from jealousy. Whereas envy is strictly triggered by an inequality of disparity in the possession of valued resources, jealousy is triggered when one individual poses a threat, imagined of real, to an established relationship; we typically think of the relationship as romantic, but it need not be. Envy has therefore evolved in response to perceived inequities, capable of fueling competition in order to establish balance.”[68]

The second property of social norms is that they “emerge spontaneously, in different societies.”[69] Social norms have “the power to convert a description a description of what happens into a normative view of what ought to happen”[70] The high pattern of reliable compliance with social norms does not seem to derive from overt coercion or the threat of coercion. Norm compliance is based on something above instrumental motivation.[71] Norm violations “illicit powerful feelings of outrage from third parties who aren’t directly harmed by the violation.”[72] If norm compliance does not require instrumental motivation and should illicit powerful feelings of outrage it follows that when people cease to express outrage when social norms are violated we have to assume that some form of moral decay has occurred in order to explain the pathological causation of immoral behavior. This condition can explain why Ugandans have tolerated corruption since the 1980s. What brought about this pathological condition? The hints of an answer to this question were laid out in the sections which described the impact of dictatorship perpetrated by Obote, Amin and Museveni. Now we know why it is so difficult to rid Uganda of the cancer of corruption.

Moreover social norms reflect shared values or notions of appropriate behavior. They authorize punishment of inappropriate behavior.[73] Social norms are more alike across cultures than they are different. If these qualities of social norms are true then what sociological conditions permit corruption to go on unchecked as the history of Uganda tends to show? The answer to this question may lie in moral decay mentioned above. The concept of moral decay means that the efficacy of social norms can be drastically reduced by certain sociological factors not explained or understood by Marc D. Hauser and the others who studied the nature and function of social norms. Otherwise we cannot explain the problem of corruption in Uganda by simply looking at the definition, description and postulation of the nature and function of social norms. Let us look more closely at the political history of Uganda.


In Uganda, and many African countries, during the period when anarchy took over, that is, when government institutions either collapsed, broke down, became too weak to function normally or were seriously damaged by political rivalry between political groups automatic enforcement of social norms was the first casualty whose breakdown exposed society to vulnerability of those who ruthlessly wielded guns and power and imposed their will on others without a scintilla of legitimacy. They acted as terrorists. Morality and terrorism are incompatible. During this period of turmoil, anarchy and turbulence, in which a British philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, comparatively characterized life during the civil war in Britain as “nasty, short and brutish,” social norms that protect social order and ethical conduct lost efficacy.[74] Looting and corruption became the norm rather than the exception. Phrases and words like “bicupuli,” and “selling air,” respectively, were invented to describe pervasive corrupt practices going on everywhere. These words gained acceptability and currency in society as if “selling air,” or cashing a “kicupuli,” which amounted to outright theft or aggravated corruption, went on as if it was an honorable and legitimate profession. Language and the invention of new words is a good indicator of what is going on in society at a particular period in history. The period of turbulence was a period in Uganda in which each man/woman was, literally, for himself/herself. It was aggravated by the collapse of the economy, fuelled by galloping inflation and intensified by excruciating poverty.

As social norms lost efficacy the normal emotions of anger, rage, and disgust that accompany the violation of social norms almost disappeared leading to a situation whereby the violators of the social norms received praise and accolades instead of moral condemnation for their corrupt and unethical conduct. These negative social changes were so pervasive that no element or social class was unaffected, immune or insulated from the vices of corruption and unethical conduct. The ordinary people and those in upper classes were equally affected and even involved or participated in corrupt activities either as a necessity and means of marginal survival in a harsh economy or cruel exploitation of the vulnerable by the unscrupulous.

All professions ranging from priesthood to prostitution and the judiciary, professors, engineers, medical doctors, accountants, aviation pilots, civil servants, police and teachers were all affected and involved. It was a national tragedy whose dreadful consequences we are now experiencing and from which we are reaping deadly rewards. Moral decay in Ugandan society was extensive and thorough. It affected the entire society. Recovery from social dislocation and moral decay is not going to be easy or quick given its depth and impact on the minds and behavior of the citizens of Uganda, especially the youths. It is going to require strict ethical leadership from the top to activate social change. But no such change will take place without genuine democratization of the political system. Hence the vicious cycle to be broken.

Therefore, while we can condemn the government for failure to deal with corruption effectively, we must also blame society as a whole for perpetuating the conditions that permit corruption to continue. Take the example of our top leaders in government. They are fully aware of the political repression going on. They turn a blind eye as long as they are not personally affected directly. They delude themselves into believing that corruption in the form of suppressing political freedom and rigging of elections with impunity that goes on especially during the electoral process are not serious problems to Ugandan society. There are judges in the judiciary who hold similar views and are oblivious to corruption.[75] They simply pretend not to see these glaring vices in our society because that is the only way for them, having been corrupted, to protect their selfish interests of “eating,” getting rich or more secure and powerful in their jobs. Okuliira mu kavuyo, is not a joke! It is a serious indictment on our moral conduct. Corruption pervades the entire Ugandan society with our connivance. But we end up paying a big price in the process. We are not just fully aware of the full impact of this conundrum.

The consequences of the breakdown of the moral fiber of society are serious, gruesome and often deadly in the entire society. Uganda, for example, during the decades between the 1980s and the 2000s displayed the obvious symptoms of a society suffering from moral decay. Ugandans experienced rampant defilement and impregnation of children by old men sarcastically described as “sugar daddies”—sometimes involving incest and transmission of HIV/AIDS—a clear violation of fundamental social norms which hardly triggered outrage; there was daily ritual murders of people—especially children—to use their body parts in witchcraft, behavior which breached fundamental social norms protecting the security of children; there was callous use of acid or boiling water to mutilate people’s faces or even kill them as a means of settling personal scores, behavior that reflected social anarchy and moral bankruptcy; many buildings under construction using wrong or sub-standard materials collapsed due to lack of appropriate expertise, qualified officials, valid building permits and legitimate governmental supervision, practices which violated professional codes and standards or ethics; there were countless numbers of ruthless and senseless murders, robberies and rapes that went on in villages, towns and the urban areas, clear evidence of total disregard of respect of fellow human beings in the community; there was systematic draining of the national treasury by ghost soldiers, ghost teachers, ghost students or ghost employees, acts which amounted to excessive selfish human greed that new no bounds; there was fraudulent claims of multiple allowances, per diem, and benefits by public officials including MPs which showed a total disregard for the rule of law; Parliament voted to appropriate shs103million for each MP to purchase a car for each individual MP[76] while hospitals had no medicine, school teachers were not paid adequately and had no teaching materials for their students, reflecting a total breakdown of leadership ethics notwithstanding the existence of a leadership code on the statute books; there was blatant fraud and bribery committed in the land offices by people making false claims to titles of land they did not own and there were corrupt employees within the land offices who facilitated fraudulent transfers of land titles and illegal conveyance of property which amounted to a conscious disregard of the rule of law, ethics and morality. These acts, and many others, are all symptoms as well as direct consequences of a society derailed off its moral tracks; they all reflect a fertile ground for corruption in Uganda: they represent a serious case moral decay in society.

These contemporary social evils are neither accidents nor mere coincidences of the era we live in. They are the direct result of moral decay caused by social and political conditions generated by dictatorship, absence of accountability that can only be enforced by the democratic process. They were aggravated and perpetuated by more corruption; they are signs of a very sick society that requires an emergency treatment through a genuinely democratic process. NRM is not morally, or even politically, equipped to rectify these problems. The situation would not be getting worse. And yet it takes only a respectable personality to reverse the trend. The author remembers when he arrived in Kampala with Professor Yusuf K. Lule from Moshi in April 1979 and how suddenly people changed their wicked behavior overnight. Inflated prices were deflated as if a miracle from heaven was injected into the economy! Random murders temporarily stopped as if a million police men had been hired and posted on every street corner. But as soon as Lule was overthrown the ugly social routine suddenly returned with a vengeance. The moral from all this is that leadership with integrity matters a lot. That is how and why Nelson Mandela saved South Africa not only from apartheid but also from ethnic violence and political chaos and corruption.

We can condemn the failure of NRM for the trampling over the sovereignty of the people and the supremacy of the constitution. But condemnation, even though necessary, is not sufficient because it simply treats the symptoms—neglecting the moral causes of corruption! NRM cannot cure the actual disease of corruption in Uganda. NRM has neither the philosophy, ethical standing nor the leadership and integrity to do the necessary job. Nothing fundamentally will change until the efficacy of the social norms and ethical conduct of the leaders is restored through a genuine democratic process. Democracy has a lot to do with morality in society, as we are increasingly beginning to learn and appreciate. Democracy is rooted in the social norms of society.

We must also acknowledge the fact that the problems of corruption described above are not unique to Uganda. Other countries ripped apart by corruption and moral decay include Somalia, Congo, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe, among the most affected. Others less affected include Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Zambia. A good example of moral recovery through democratization is South Africa, which we should emulate. Therefore what we are talking about here is not pure theory without a concrete history and contemporary sociological examples. Mandela’s leadership, especially his refusal to hang on to power, set a good example and a precedent for those who followed him. The vicious racial and ethnic conflicts which almost consumed and paralyzed South Africa in the 1980s and early 1990s are being effectively treated and rehabilitated by a credibly democratic process. Genuine reconciliation and political recovery are taking place in South Africa. South Africa has a long way to go but it is on the right track. There is, of course no guarantee that South Africa cannot relapse into chaos. But to the extent it continues to democratize the political system it will stay on course.

Another example of moral recovery through democratization is Ghana. At one point Ghana resembled Uganda in the 1970s and 1980s in every respect. Both countries had military coups d’état which aggravated their moral decay. The Ghanaians, like Ugandans, invented words to describe pervasive corruption. Rawlings’s tough policies of firing squads did not solve the problem of corruption. It was not until Ghana peacefully changed leadership and Rawlings retired, that is, Ghana started genuine democratization, that corruption in Ghana started to decline. As long as the democratization process continues and a moral basis for democracy is laid down the political system will effectively resolve its problems. Democracy is an essential component in the process of moral recovery and rehabilitation of society from moral decay.

Political Explanations of Corruption

In addition to moral decay as a cause of corruption there are also political explanations for the causation of corruption which originate from Marxist social theory. The question we have to answer is to what extent are these explanations valid? NRM policy makers and social theorists, without necessarily explicitly embracing Marxist theory, have focused on political factors as the major causes of corruption. For example, the history of colonialism, regurgitated by NRM to its captive “students” in classes at Kyankwanzi “political school”—now renamed “school of science,” for over two and half decades—is virulently blamed for all the problems Africa is facing including corruption, sometimes dubiously mislabeled as sectarianism.

NRM explanation of corruption is a total distortion of the causation of Uganda’s problems of which NRM itself is both a part and, in some cases, a cause. A good illustration of how NRM’s explanation for corruption comes from Kajabago ka-Rusoke, the philosophical mouth-piece of NRM who defines corruption in the vaguest ideological terms conceivable. According to ka-Rusoke corruption “is an economic behavior where people are spiritually failing to live up to the desired standards of behavior and conduct for serving others. … Corruption should be understood as a universally negative social phenomenon whereby people are privately unable to know objectively what they are supposed to do, for what purpose and how.”

The message in this statement seems to be that those who commit corruption are not fully aware or conscious of what they are doing, why they are doing it and how they are doing it. I wish the author of such views had spent a few hours in a trial court where corrupt charges are prosecuted, evidence of the intentional conduct of the accused is presented, their state of mind at the time the offence was committed is documented and how the accused deliberately try to hide their tracks or actions and the evidence implicating them in the crime. We have mentioned various types of “ghosts” above draining the Ugandan treasury. Are these the types of people who do not “know objectively what they are supposed to do, for what purpose and how?” If ka-Rusoke’s views on corruption are the official evidence of a theory to demonstrate how serious NRM is fighting the war on corruption then we are all in trouble because ideological demagoguery has clearly replaced common sense and “science” in explaining the serious problem of corruption which is viciously gnawing at the soul of the country.

Nevertheless, there is a lot to learn from this vague, ambiguous, pathetic but, apparently, useless and, certainly, intellectually meaningless definition of corruption. From that definition, supposedly, comes a fantastic solution for corruption. According to ka-Rusoke, corruption will disappear from Uganda, if not the whole planet earth, as soon as “the need for cadres to r[a]ise to the level of social consciousness so as to form revolutionary pro-people parties” is achieved. If the existence of pro-people parties is an effective solution to corruption why is the problem of corruption in Uganda getting worse since Uganda has had a “pro-people party” known as NRM for over two decades?[77] Moreover, the leader of NRM himself admits that the problem of corruption is getting worse and, in an erroneous and misguided prescription for a cure, Museveni declared that people charged with corruption crimes should not be permitted to avail themselves with their constitutional rights to bail! Denial of bail is mistakenly believed by Museveni to be an effective cure or preventive measure of corruption. The argument totally disregards the actual causes of corruption we have outlined above. This is just another twist in the warped views of NRM leaders about corruption and the rule of law they abuse. They have no valid diagnosis or explanation for the causation of corruption. That means that they cannot prescribe an effective cure or prognosis for corruption. NRM views on the rule of law and corruption in particular are wrapped in invalid, contradictory philosophical premises that animate NRM and its bizarre politics.

Having diagnosed the problem of corruption as a “universal negative phenomenon” where people “are privately unable to know objectively what they are supposed to do” ka-Rusoke concludes that corruption may also be attributed to “civil servants [who] are not spiritually clean. They are just like hyenas, wolves, jackals or vampires. This is the same problem the world is having with an economic arrangement like imperialism.”[78] Ka-Rusoke’s thesis, as we pointed out above, collapses on the premises of his “scientific” explanation of corruption. He blames the “economic arrangement like imperialism” for the behavior of corrupt Ugandan civil servants! This is a disguised, and of course invalid, political explanation of the causes of corruption. Moreover, ka-Rusoke’s theory is not consistent. On one hand he blames imperialism but on the other he points his accusing finger on the “the need for cadres to r[a]ise to the level of social consciousness so as to form revolutionary pro-people parties.” These two political explanations do not seem to be related at all.

What ka-Rusoke and his NRM fellow travelers do not realize, but we have clearly articulated above, is that there is potential for corruption in all systems where human nature is present. Human nature is located at the core of the problem. That is why morality and ethics are more important in dealing with corruption. After all, for devout believers, even angels who act as intermediaries between human beings and the divine, have been tempted to commit sin and rebellion in heaven! The only question to answer is how one can successfully or effectively fight corruption. Attributing corruption to “an economic arrangement like imperialism” is to read history and the causation of corruption upside down! Everyone can agree that there is no such thing as “imperialism” in China today if what the Chinese leadership tells us is true. However, China faces one of the most serious problems of corruption in the world. The problem of corruption in China is so serious that the Communist Party leadership approved not long ago the execution of corrupt leaders by firing squads. No country is, practically, more serious—or even ruthless—about corruption than China today. In spite of harsh policies to fight corruption China is failing to root out corruption. In fact it cannot under its contemporary political system. China executes more people in a year than the whole world combined. In spite of the harsh measures taken there is still a lot of corruption and other crimes in China today. Corruption in China is certainly not attributable to “imperialism” as its cause, as ka-Rusoke’s theory may tend to imply. The absence of democracy in China is a better explanation.

Corruption was also rampant under the Soviet Union. It is still so intractable that the Russian leaders do not know how to deal with it effectively. In fact in Russia corruption has taken on the cruel face of the Mafioso. Corrupt gangsters execute their enemies in broad daylight, including innocent journalists, but the rule of law has no teeth to deal with them because there is no genuine democracy in Russia. To make the situation worse the Russian Government is so corrupt that it deliberately uses the law and organs of government in order to persecute its perceived “enemies” in the political opposition and business class. Such corruption is certainly not the result of imperialism! Valid explanations for the causes of corruption must be universal. Political repression in Russia for generations caused moral decay which can only be rectified by democracy and the rule of law. In US it is the enforcement of the rule of law that has led to the substantial decline of the power of Mafia mobs which once terrorized large cities like New York and Chicago. Russia and Uganda have a lot to learn from US.

It is unfortunate that the kind of analysis and explanation of the causes of corruption by NRM philosophers comes from people like ka-Rusoke who are supposed to be the deep “thinkers” at the core of NRM intellectual center. Ka-Rusoke is a lecturer in “philosophy” at Kyankwanzi “school of science.” NRM ideology has suddenly been converted into a “science,” supposedly, to fight corruption. The transformation from “political school” to “school of science” at Kyankwanzi seems to be a mere re-labeling or repackaging of NRM ideology. Ideologies have never been effective instruments of science. On the contrary ideologies by their nature often distort science and lead to misinterpretation of political reality and history. What else explains the collapse and the imminent extinction of communism?[79]

After all, ka-Rusoke is not that original in his theory. J.V. Stalin and Mao Zedong tried similar tricks using the same theoretical explanations but they eventually failed because the theory was later proved invalid by history. Their stooges, or copy-cats, in Africa in the1960s and 1970s while implementing socialism unsuccessfully applied the same theory. They blamed all of Africa’s problems on colonialism, capitalism and imperialism; the three systems they erroneously believed were historically causally linked to every human problem on planet earth. NRM theorists, or “philosophers” if you like, are now blindly perpetuating the same theoretical myth that corruption is caused by imperialism, knowing very well that they will look stupid if they blamed capitalism which they have recently embraced. But the Leninist theory did not sharply distinguish between capitalism and imperialism. So ka-Rusoke is still stuck with the Leninist theory of corruption.

Lenin wrote a book with a title: Imperialism—the Highest Stage of Capitalism.[80] Consequently, NRM theorists carefully avoid linking corruption to capitalism as the original theory postulated. It is, nevertheless, the same invalid theory with a new NRM dogmatic application by ka-Rusoke. During the triumph of communism all crimes, including corruption were believed to be caused by capitalism—translated: private ownership of property corrupted society and caused all crimes in society. Then, one may ask, how do we explain pervasive corruption under communist regimes under the Soviet Union, China and even Cuba where Castro unloaded full boatloads of the undesirable criminals they could not reform on to US shores in the 1970s and 1980s?

Museveni used to be a faithful worshiper of communism in the 1960s and 1970s, the same period he claims he was a DP youth winger! Today Museveni still seems to be hiding some ideological skeletons in his (secret) political closet. His conversion to capitalism appears to have been based on expediency, at least originally. How else can we explain ka-Rusoke’s mumble-jumble? Ka-Rusoke must be articulating what Museveni approves. Otherwise he would have been silenced by Museveni long ago. Museveni, as a dictator, does not tolerate what he does not like or believe in. This raises a deeper problem of character and trustworthiness of NRM leaders. With all the double-dealings we have witnessed within NRM(O) which has no political philosophy openly embraced can one trust these people? Corruption, however, is consistent with Museveni’s personality. He is untrustworthy, deceptive and cunning. That is one reason why history cannot bestow greatness on Museveni. These are qualities that are compatible with corruption. It is not surprising that NRM is a corrupt regime headed by a corrupt leader, as we shall explain below.

Fortunately, from a sociological perspective we understand better the real causes of crime, and corruption in particular. However, NRM leaders are still comfortably slumbering in their warm ideological blankets of the past! Publicly they claim to have converted to capitalism. But the content of the rhetoric they spill out, or in this particular case rhetoric they use to explain the causation of corruption, was formulated long ago by Lenin and unsuccessfully applied by Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong. One wonders what kind of “conversion” to capitalism these people went through! It certainly has no resemblance to the Biblical conversion from Saul to Paul. If one converts from Islam to Christianity but continues to use the Koran text to preach the four Christian gospels something must be seriously wrong.


We believe that Uganda’s problems, like those of many other countries in Africa, are directly linked to the absence of democracy and therefore they cannot be resolved without democratization. Different ideological explanations, as history has taught us, are either distortions of history or ignorant fabrications of social reality often perpetrated to cover up violations of human rights. We now know that sociologically democracy is an essential regulator of a healthy collective conscience of society through political freedom. The human moral organ was equipped through evolution with the appropriate emotions to maintain and replenish social order. We say through evolution because these essential emotions for social order are not unique to human beings. They are also found in rudimentary forms in other animals.[81]

These emotions include: anger, rage, shame, embarrassment, guilt, compassion, disgust, gratitude, empathy, sadness, sympathy, hatred, sorrow, fear, pride, spite, jealousy and humility, to mention the most essential and common in maintaining social order.[82] When these emotions are rendered impotent by anarchy or corruption social order suffers or is disrupted. For example, when fear, guilt, shame and embarrassment are inhibited individuals behave differently and society reacts abnormally leading to social disorder. Corruption and even terrorism may become common crimes or appear to be “normal” behavior in society when they are not restrained by collective anger, rage and disgust. Ugandan society reached this state of affairs under NRM.

Ugandans praised “selling air,” they admired thieves and murders, they were not embarrassed when caught stealing, they were not ashamed to solicit bribes but instead expressed gratitude, they did not feel guilty when the electoral process was abused or manipulated and they did not feel rage and anger when elections were rigged. The emotions ceased to play their positive role in social organization. Repairing this damage will take time. The main missing social component is democracy. Contemporary American politics, carefully observed as a human laboratory for democracy, teaches us this much. No new theory, especially one rooted in dead ideologies, concocted by Kajabago ka-Rusoke or anybody else, is necessary to explain deviant social behavior in Uganda causing corruption.

Under normal circumstances those who commit corruption, robbery, murder, rape, incest, defilement and other heinous crimes should experience a sense of guilt, shame and embarrassment—with the exception of psychopaths who have an abnormal or defective conscience—while those offended or victimized by the same crimes should feel rage, anger, disgust and even hatred if the violations continue over a long period of time as is the case in Uganda where dictatorship has prevailed since 1966. These emotions are an important component of social norms. Those who talk about “unity” should be aware of these social factors. A truth commission is one way of dealing with and repairing emotions in the process of rectifying past misdeeds. A Truth Commission is therefore an important component in normalizing and rehabilitating Ugandan society after NRM is removed.

The genocide that engulfed Rwanda in 1994 can be validly explained as the result of deep hatred that accumulated over centuries between the minority Tutsis rulers and the majority Hutus who were sociologically reduced to a subservient cast in Kinyarwanda society.[83] We regard systematic discrimination (that is, racial and ethnic discrimination) as a form of institutionalized corruption discussed in the next section. In a society where social emotions are impaired forms of corruption such as nepotism become acceptable behavior. The history of Rwanda may be contrasted with the Kiganda culture which effectively assimilated diverse ethnicities into one single Kiganda ethnicity. The process of assimilation in Buganda effectively prevented inter-ethnic conflicts and discrimination within the social structure.[84] Assimilation of ethnicities did not take place in Rwanda, apparently, because of institutionalized corruption in the form of ethnic discrimination under which inter-marriage was either prohibited or looked down upon. As a result, the Tutsis, Hutus, and Batwa were, and to some extent still are, distinctive but unequal ethnicities in Kinyarwanda society.

It is the appropriate emotions that activate and renew society’s “moral conscience.” When social, political, or ideological conditions impair, distort, numb or even extinguish these normal emotions social order is inevitably plunged into chaos. Many of our leaders who sing NRM tunes, deliberately or otherwise, are not ashamed of their unprincipled behavior because the democratic process is not effective. It does not unleash its wrath upon them through the electoral process to punish them as it should under normal democratic conditions guaranteed by political freedom.

When we condemn corruption under NRM we should also hold those individuals in the regime personally accountable for the conditions their behavior perpetuates or even currently encourages, and the suffering the people have to endure as a result. That would be enforcing the principle of accountability. But this does not mean, as ka-Rusoke argues, that NRM is totally off the hook as far as corruption is concerned. Imagine a strange situation—or not so strange after all—reported recently! It was reported that Joseph Nizeye who was employed as a Political Assistant in the office of ethics and integrity state minister, Nsaba Buturo, was collecting two salaries as a political assistant to the minister as well as a sub-county chairperson: he was illegally collecting two salaries inside the office dedicated to wipe out corruption![85] Nizeye, as an individual, was not ashamed at all for his behavior and there are many like him in Uganda. However, ka-Rusoke is telling us that NRM should not be blamed. He argues, rather lamely, that only the individuals, who after all believe in the NRM ideology, should be blamed for the pervasive corruption under NRM. That would be like having your cake and eating it too!

According to Kajabago ka-Rusoke it is the “economic arrangement” of imperialism that is causing the behavior of a civil servant like Nizeye! Nevertheless, ka-Rusoke’s argument is that NRM should not be blamed for corruption is contradictory. According to ka-Rusoke individuals should be solely held accountable for corruption but NRM exonerated unconditionally. That does not make sense if imperialism or a specific economic arrangement is in fact the real cause of corruption in Uganda or elsewhere! NRM explanation of the causation of corruption is neither logical, valid, nor sensible. It is far removed from the sociological explanation of the facts related to corruption. It is also inconsistent with our history, of which NRM is a part. While we blame individuals for corruption in Uganda we must also condemn NRM which stands in the way of democratization of the political system. NRM contributes to perpetuation—or even aggravation—of corruption because NRM suppresses political freedom which is one effective means of exposing and controlling corruption.


In this section we briefly describe a specific form of corruption which has infected the NRM political system. The primary purpose is to understand its nature, causation and impact on the political system. We do this partly in response to Kajabago’s thesis arguing that corruption should not be blamed on NRM as an organization. The form of corruption we are referring to is known as institutional corruption. It infects entire institutions. This form of corruption is not any less dangerous than other forms of corruption. In fact it is far more dangerous because it is collectively perpetrated and affects the operation of the whole institution it infects. What distinguishes this form of corruption from the others is the collective motives behind its perpetration.

As a political organization NRM operated under three basic principles which, from its inception, encouraged and in some cases institutionalized the causation of corruption. This form of corruption, however, is not limited to NRM as we shall demonstrate in this section. We call this form of corruption institutional corruption because it exists in other organizations with what we call a “regime culture.” It is a type of corruption that is least understood because it hides in and infects institutional structure from which it is difficult to uproot.

Every institution, or large perpetual, corporate organization, in the long run develops a specific “regime culture” unique to its structures, mission, principles and the objectives it sets out to achieve. The operation and activities of the organization tend to revolve around its regime culture. All institutions are governed by specific principles which guide them in order to achieve their objectives. Once an institution is fully established it inevitably evolves a regime culture within which the legitimacy of the actions of the participants are evaluated, measured, condemned, approved or even rewarded. This institutional behavior we shall refer to as the “regime culture” of the organization because it generally applies to established political regimes or self-governing organizations in the process of conducting their affairs or business as autonomous corporate entities.

We have chosen three examples many people are familiar with to illustrate and explain the nature, causation and consequences of specific regime cultures which cause or encourage causation of institutional corruption. These examples are: the political organization known as NRM, the universal Christian Church and the very powerful US government of a superpower. These three institutions or organizations are, obviously, very different in their character, composition and objectives but they all illustrate a unique form of institutional corruption rooted in their regime cultures. We begin with NRM organization.

Institutionalization of Corruption under NRM Regime

When NRM leaders emerged from the bush in 1986 they were poor but committed and educated warriors guided by three main principles which later crystallized into a unique regime culture of NRM. One of the principles related or was used to determine political legitimacy within the organization as perceived internally by NRM core leaders. The people who fought in the bush viewed themselves as a special breed of political agents in the history of Uganda. They viewed themselves as “liberators” who believed that they sacrificed everything in order to liberate Uganda from dictatorship. For their sacrifice, they believed that they were “entitled” to political rewards by occupying certain positions within the NRM regime justified by and rationalized on the ground of their participation in or contribution to the “bush war.”[86]

Some of these people referred to themselves as “historicals,” meaning that they were the original core of the NRM organization. The historicals, by implication, were presumed to have certain “rights” derived from their political status as “liberators;” they laid claim to specific positions within the regime by virtue of their participation in the bush war. In fact, as a result, many of them have accumulated enormous wealth in one generation to become millionaires. It is impossible to account for such rapid accumulation of wealth without institutional corruption playing a crucial role. First, let us look at the idea of political entitlement that corrupted and constituted the original element of the NRM regime culture.

In a democratic system political positions or offices are open to all citizens in a fairly competitive process regardless of their political affiliation, sex or background.[87] Within NRM, however, an unwritten rule or principle evolved whereby important offices and positions of leadership were claimed or distributed on the basis of participation in the bush war. NRM leaders are known to have justified or rationalized their “right” to hold certain positions within the regime because they “fought” in the bush war. Museveni, the leader of NRM, openly bragged in 1996 and 1997 that he would not hand over power to the opposition, which was at the time headed by Paul Ssemmogerere, even when the latter won the election simply because Ssemmogerere was not an authentic NRM member who sacrificed or was willing to shed blood in order to “liberate” Uganda from dictatorship. This claim to political entitlement or the rule of legitimacy within NRM leadership is also reflected in the idea that succession to the top leadership position within NRM is supposed to be decided according to seniority as reflected by an imaginary “queue” headed by the top leader of NRM himself.

The logical conclusion of this argument is that important political positions in the NRM regime were reserved for those who participated in the bush war. The idea of “entitlement” to a political position of leadership is obviously the result of corruption of the principles of democracy in order to fit them into the NRM regime culture. The NRM original rule defining legitimacy within NRM is therefore corrupt because in a democratic system no one should be “entitled” to hold a position or office simply because he performed a specific political or military task for the regime in the past. In fact the very idea of some people being “entitled” to positions of leadership contradicts the original objectives of going to the bush to fight dictatorship which by its nature was founded on the premise that a certain leader has a greater claim to leadership of an organization and the country than all the others.[88] Ironically this reasoning is what turned African dictators into lifetime leaders who, in turn, groomed their sons to succeed them on the erroneous premise that leadership positions could legitimately be turned into political dynasties!

In fact NRM leadership committed another grave political sin which encouraged corruption. Consciously or not, NRM leaders failed to distinguish between the state of Uganda and NRM as a political organization constituting the regime in power with specific partisan political objectives and governing principles that are different and separate from the organization of the state of Uganda to which every citizen belongs and derives specific rights and privileges guaranteed by the constitution that automatically flow from citizenship and international law. Unlike the state of Uganda, NRM is a voluntary organization to which members belong voluntarily by individual choice. Indeed, the idea of unwillingness to hand over power to the opposition expressed by Museveni, referred to earlier, but if viewed from the perspective of the amendment of the constitution in 2005 in order to eliminate term limits, is good evidence manifesting a corrupt “regime culture” within NRM, disguised as democratized nationalism.

Most people who participated in the amendment of the constitution to remove term limits, unfortunately, did not understand the political strategy aimed at corruptly institutionalizing the NRM regime culture, that is, make NRM regime culture a part of the state by incorporating it in the constitution of Uganda. The issue was framed in terms of “democracy,” cunningly citing the parliamentary systems, such as Great Britain, which have no constitutional term limits. The fact is that sovereignty of the people imposes term limits in all democratic systems even if not explicitly spelt out in the constitution. That is why Margaret Thatcher (Conservative Party) and Tony Blair (Labor Party), popular as they were as Prime Ministers, had to step down as party leaders in the middle of their third terms of office. None of them led beyond twelve years. The democratic system achieved the same results which are incorporated in a constitutional provision of term limits in a presidential system of government. Term limits was specifically designed to reduce the power of incumbency in a democratizing political system. Such a noble political goal is worth enshrining in the constitution of democratizing political systems in which the democratic norms have not yet been fully established.

Another aspect of institutional corruption within NRM is rooted in two explicit principles on which NRM was originally founded and organized. These innocent-sounding principles are the broad based government and individual merit principles. Museveni argued for the need of broad based government after the war in 1986 instead of direct political competition based on political parties because, according to him, political parties, by their nature in Africa, due to the absence of a middle class, promote sectarianism. The truth is that a shrewd Museveni had a very clear memory of the elections of 1980 in which he stood as UPM candidate but was resoundingly defeated by a DP candidate, Sam Kutesa. For Museveni, therefore, avoidance of political parties was a corrupt political strategy to enable him to consolidate power and not application of a universal, politically necessary philosophical principle. Nevertheless, a lot of Ugandans, unfortunately, believed President Museveni when he articulated and justified the virtues of the principle of broad based government. Museveni’s popularity surged as he originally explained his ideas soon after he took over power in 1986. Ugandans, however, in retrospect, neither originally understood Museveni’s crafty intentions nor appreciated the corrupting consequences the principle of broad based government would have on the NRM regime as a whole.

First, broad based government, as conceived and practiced by Museveni, in order to operate, required the suppression of political freedom apparently in the interest of shielding or protecting NRM against competition from the other political parties and organizations. In 1986 as soon as NRM seized political power the activities of political parties were frozen. This meant that no political activity was allowed except through the movement system. The 1995 constitution institutionalized broad based government by comprehensively and strictly regulating the activities of political organizations. Article 269 prohibited the “opening and operating branch offices” of political parties; the “holding of delegates’ conferences;” “holding public rallies;” “sponsoring or offering a platform to or in any way campaigning for or against a candidate for any public elections;” and, finally, “carrying on any activities that may interfere with the movement political system for the time being in force.”

In other words, political freedom was totally wiped by the existence of broad based government. Political freedom and broad based government could not co-exist. The political consequence of institutionalizing broad based government was, therefore, to create a one-party state controlled by one man from top to bottom. Broad based government was susceptible to corruption as the history of NRM and other one-party regimes amply demonstrates. One-party systems are notorious for breeding corruption because of concentrating power in a few hands and the absence of an open adversarial political process of checks and balances which exposes corruption, and in fact constitutes the main virtue and foundation of a democratic system.

The situation, in the case of broad based government under NRM, unlike other one-party regimes, was made worse by the principle of individual merit. Although the principle of individual merit sounded good and politically innocent to a politically naïve Ugandan public, unfamiliar with the intricacies of democracy, and the principle was, supposedly, designed to implement and/or supplement or put into operation or supplement the broad based government principle, it inevitably led instead to the corruption of the political process under NRM regime.[89] Even Justice George Kanyeihamba who had initially been a very staunch supporter of NRM bitterly and publicly complained about corruption within NRM in his book.[90] Moreover, within NRM, as we explained above, political competition was not based on new ideas or a specific ideology as in some one-party regimes organized around a political philosophy, because within the context of broad based government that would entail belonging to multiple political organizations, Museveni personally and his close colleagues in NRM were against, but rather the principle was supposed to (almost miraculously) produce the “best” qualified leaders from many qualified individuals with diverse (often conflicting) political philosophies or ideologies. The principle of individual merit was, hypothetically, expected to operate as an efficient assembly line in a political factory smoothly and automatically churning out the best leaders for NRM, supposedly, in the service of the Ugandan state which was merged with the NRM regime and political structure. This objective was not and could not be achieved because political freedom was suppressed. Democracy could not co-exist with the political repression imposed by the principles of broad based government enumerated in Article 70 of the 1995 constitution.

The problem was how one could prove or determine that individual A is a better leader than individual B, both believing in different ideologies or political philosophies they were prohibited to articulate to the public, in their political campaigns? There was no procedure to correct or cure this repressive political deficiency. Political freedom was effectively suppressed: political parties had been rendered irrelevant, inactive and dormant by Article 70 of the 1995 constitution. The creative alternative was to examine the academic qualifications, personal experience in politics and/or administrative or management abilities of the candidate. But the politicians were competing for political and not technical civil service positions. The principle of individual merit was in practice designed to inject efficiency in a political system that operated like the civil service. In Practice, however, instead, under NRM the principle of individual merit was a dangerous political façade that dispensed corruption at the expense of political freedom. In the absence of political freedom there was no procedure or mechanism to measure or evaluate individual merit.

In fact it is not surprising that the individual merit principle politically reproduced itself like a virus in the constitution by motivating the need for or requiring setting minimum academic qualifications for political leaders in the constitution for all people aspiring for political office under the constitution. For example, Article 80 of the 1995 constitution provides that “A person is qualified to be a Member of Parliament if that person … has completed a minimum formal education of Advanced Level standard or its equivalent.” Academic qualifications were implicitly assumed to be a measure of or substitute for “individual merit.” Moreover, the same academic qualification is required for the Presidential candidacy. Article 102 provides that a “person is not qualified for election as President unless that person is … qualified to be a Member of Parliament.”

These constitutional provisions sent many Ugandans scrambling for educational institutions in order to acquire the required minimum academic qualifications that would supplement their “individual merit” to qualify and hold political office. Others, instead, resorted to corruption by forging academic qualifications they did not have, only to be disqualified or jailed after their opponents blew the whistle, something the latter had an incentive to do! This is therefore a clear case to illustrate how the regime culture of NRM was corrupting the political system through the principle of individual merit. The principle caused corruption. Examples are available to illustrate the problem.

The case of Amos Sempala Kigozi is typical.[91] In 2005 Kigozi and Ignatius Koomu contested for the LC5 position in Nakaseke. Kigozi who did not have the necessary academic qualifications presented forged documents showing that he was qualified. Koomu suspected, with good reason, that Kigozi’s documents were forged. After an investigation Kigozi was charged with and found guilty of “uttering,” or, in lay man’s language, presenting altered documents to the Electoral Commission. Kigozi was sentenced to six months in jail. Kigozi’s case is a very good example of the corruption that was generated by or had its origin from the NRM principle of individual merit.

Setting minimum academic standards for political office is not only discriminatory but also politically unwise. It eliminates many individuals who are capable of leadership roles that require no academic or technical qualifications like civil service positions. Political leadership only requires the ability to provide political leadership in a particular context. In recruiting guerrilla fighters the NRA did not set any minimum academic standards. It is therefore hypocritical that minimum academic standards were made necessary for a political leader in NRM. History vindicates our conclusion. George Washington, the two Napoleons, Winston Churchill, Mutesa I of Buganda and Kabarega of Bunyoro did not acquire their skills in leadership from academic qualifications. Their abilities derived from their human qualities and practical experience.

Within the context of broad based government the principle of individual merit, which had no precise definition, inevitably led to corruption of the political process in a broader sense. Candidates resorted, naturally, to the easiest way to achieve their political objectives. Bribery thrived and became a means of demonstrating individual “merit” to justify attaining a leadership position within NRM. Charges and counter-charges of bribery between candidates were very common in the electoral process during the regime of broad based government. The regime culture of NRM was both the cause and consequence of the corruption in the political process.

We must remember that during the broad based government regime membership of NRM organization was declared by law to be universal, that is, every Ugandan was a member of NRM by the stipulation of the Movement Act of 1997. In this respect the Movement Act corruptly violated the rights of individuals to choose “voluntarily” what organizations they wished to belong to as provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights passed by the UN in 1948. There is no doubt, therefore, that the regime culture of NRM was the major cause of the corruption in the political process as NRM leaders tried to implement the principles of the NRM organization.

The regime culture of NRM, unfortunately, did not cease to exist when Uganda adopted a multi-party system in 2005. Continuity from the past was the general rule. NRM previously an organization to which every Ugandan belonged was declared to be a political party to which membership was voluntary and, needless to say, institutionalized corruption continued within NRM(O) as a part of the NRM regime culture. Indeed most of the corruption going on in Uganda today is the direct result of the NRM regime culture adopted earlier after the bush war. Contrary to Ka-Rusoke’s claims we can justifiably blame NRM(O) for much of the corruption committed in Uganda today. Let us cite examples which are a direct legacy of broad based government. Museveni has one of the largest cabinets in the world of over 70 ministers while presiding over one of the poorest countries in the world. The World Bank and IMF warned him on several occasions about reducing the size of his cabinet but Museveni turned a deaf ear. The question is why? The answer is corruption. The corrupt regime culture of NRM explains Museveni’s behavior.

In addition to a bloated cabinet Museveni has an army of Presidential advisors who number over 60 individuals. First, the selection of members of the cabinet and Presidential advisors seems to be dictated by NRM(O)’s regime culture and the original principle of broad based government even though the era of broad based government is, for practical purposes, long gone. The regime culture of NRM still thrives because it is institutionalized. When it comes to advisors Museveni has a separate Presidential advisor on almost every aspect of government. Only corruption can explain this blatantly weird situation. By rewarding as many individuals with cabinet or advisory positions—the latter are equivalent to cabinet positions—from every sector of society Museveni ensures, or at least hopes to ensure, as long as corruption continues to pay, support from these diverse sections of society.

The result is political corruption at its best (or worst depending on your opinion?) with a multiplier effect built-in because different group interests keep on sprouting in the hope that they, too, will be rewarded by a presidential appointment![92] Hence the inability, or more appropriately, the unwillingness by Museveni to trim the cabinet and the Presidential advisory army swarming with politically hungry (read corrupt) individuals who want to “eat” and in fact do “eat” a lot taxpayers’ money. There is no better way to link NRM(O), and Museveni as its leader directly to corruption contrary to ka-Rusoke’s claim.

The bloated cabinet and an army of Presidential advisors consume a large percentage of the budget because each position goes with extensive perquisites including housing allowances, an official car and a driver. In addition to the cabinet and Presidential advisors Museveni appoints a Resident Officer for each district. The number of districts in 1986 when Museveni came to power has tripled to over 115 thereby allowing Museveni to appoint more than 80 additional NRM political stooges as DROs. The office of a Resident District Officer is another expression of NRM regime culture. Originally a DRO was a civil service position subject to the impartial civil service rules both in appointment and deployment. When the constitution was amended in 2005 the shrewd constitutional technicians (draftsmen) ensured that the position of DOR was changed to a political appointment. DROs serve partisan political interests at the pleasure of the President. There is clamor fuelled by corruption from every corner of Uganda to create more districts and more districts are in the process of being created or approved by a bloated cabinet. Nothing but corruption explains the creation of more districts in Uganda, a tiny country with meager resources. The average size of a district in Uganda today is that of a tiny rural county! Each new district has to set up a capital and employ new administrative staff. Institutionalized corruption is the political force that fuels the creation of new districts.

Although members of the cabinet have to be approved by the legislature the process is a mere formality without democratic checks and balances because the parliamentary committee which approved presidential appointments before the 2011 elections was headed by the Speaker of Parliament, Edward Ssekandi, who happened to be a prominent senior member of NRM(O) who endorsed almost automatically every Museveni appointee, including Museveni’s own wife who is a member of the cabinet. Ssekandi was rewarded for his services for the NRM regime with a promotion to the Vice Presidency after the 2011 elections.

The bloated size of the cabinet, the numerous but unnecessary Presidential advisors and the District Resident Officers, who do not need approval by the legislature, are good examples of the problem of NRM institutional corruption. In fact they contradict the very essence of NRM original principle of individual merit if it has ever had any justification. Excessive multiplication of unnecessary political offices cannot be a reflection of a diligent pursuit of individual merit. It is government broadly based on corruption. The regime culture of NRM provides us with a good explanation of the nature, causes and consequences of corruption on a political system that is not democratic. The failure of the economy can be partly explained by the impact of corruption. Corrupt expenditure is unproductive and contributes to inflation while diverting resources from essential services. Until we understand the causes, nature, consequences and gravity of institutional corruption in Uganda we shall not be equipped to deal with it effectively. We shall summarize these findings in the section on prognosis below. Before we do that let us look at other specific examples of institutional corruption.

Universal Examples of Institutional Corruption

Let us look at other examples of institutional corruption in order to reinforce its nature, causes and consequences on society bearing in mind what we have described as institutional corruption within NRM. The Christian Church is as good an example of institutional corruption without the political bias NRM may generate or trigger in the minds of impartial observers. Our sole purpose n this section is to understand institutional corruption caused by a regime culture. First we look at the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church is a universal institution whose leadership, one would expect, in theory, for any church, to be beyond corruption and reproach since one of the missions of the church is to rid society of evil in any form. However, in practice, this is not necessarily the case. Consider the scandal of priests who sexually abused children for decades in Boston, California, Ireland and other places. Although the leadership of the Catholic Church recognized the problem earlier on they failed to solve it by promptly and seriously disciplining or even defrocking the offenders. Instead the church leadership “covered up” the offences and kept the offenders in their professional positions, apparently, motivated by the human desire to protect the image of the institution of the Catholic Church as a whole.

The regime culture of the Catholic Church we are examining in this context operates under at least two important principles which seem to have aggravated the institutional corruption of the Catholic Church in this particular case. One of these principles is the rule of the “confession” under which sins are wiped out when an individual confesses a sin to a priest who, in turn, is under legal (canon law) and ethical (priesthood) obligation not to reveal the content of the confession to anyone else. The second principle is the vow of celibacy. Priests and nuns in the Catholic Church must take the vow of celibacy. Due to this vow Catholic priests and nuns are supposed to abstain from all the pleasures arising from human sexual activities.

These two principles are expected to contribute to the preservation of the integrity and promote the sacred mission of the institution of the Catholic Church. When ordained priests sexually abused children the fear within the institution was that if the church leadership publicly admitted the existence of the problem which violated a fundamental principle of the church the institution’s image would be tarnished especially as one of the cardinal principles on which the church is founded is celibacy. When the sexual abuse of children problem was discovered and exposed the church leadership was literally caught in a “corrupt trap.”

It was not until those who were sexually abused as children by the priests came out in the open and exposed the “sins” of the church that the leadership of the church acknowledged not only the existence of the problem but also its gravity and serious consequences. It took Pope Benedict XVI’s acknowledgement of the “sins” committed by the church over a long period of time and a humble request for public forgiveness as well as a public declaration of repentance before the institution started to repair its image and restore its integrity. What is important for us who are trying to study, understand and explain the nature and causes of corruption is recognition of the nature and impact of the phenomenon of “regime culture.” Regime cultures are typically found in all self-governing organizations or institutions.

Institutional corruption is the most difficult type of corruption to deal with because of its pervasiveness and collective character. Institutional corruption is not committed by a single individual. In many cases there may be no specific individual who may be solely blamed for it, although, because of its collective character in the case of the Catholic Church, the buck necessarily stops with the Pope. The leadership in the case of the Catholic Church scandal which covered up the crimes may be held accountable for it but they did not cause it or even necessarily commit it themselves. In the case of the Boston diocese Cardinal Law who was in charge of the diocese when the scandal erupted and reached its peak, had to resign his position as Archbishop of the Boston diocese. There is no evidence that Cardinal Law either caused or participated in the cover up which happened long before he assumed leadership of the church in Boston.

It was the nature of regime culture, however, that enabled the corruption to go on and remain covered up for a long time. In the case of institutional corruption it is not the individuals who are the major causal link in the corruption but rather the institutional structure as a whole and the principles under which the institution operates that encourage or fail to deter, expose or punish the culprits within a specific institution from acting corruptly.

In the case of the Catholic Church the principle of celibacy is clearly incompatible with sexual abuse of children by priests. In fact the act of sexual abuse of a child is not only a sin under the scriptures and an ethical violation when committed by a professional priest but also a criminal act which subjects the violator to punishment in a secular court of law. However, we need to clarify the two issues of celibacy and the crime of sexual abuse. There is no necessary causal relationship between celibacy and sexual abuse of children as some people may tend to believe. Priests who sexually abuse children do not do so because of celibacy. There are many sexual abusers who commit similar crimes but have never taken a vow of celibacy. The criminal act itself is the result of a personality defect which creates the propensity to commit that particular crime.

This explanation, therefore, makes it clear that celibacy was not the cause of either the crime or the corruption to cover it up. Rather, the desire to protect the integrity of the institution led to the cover up of the crimes committed by the rogue priests. Moreover, it is likely that some of the offending priests may have made confessions but their confessions had to be kept secret in accordance with Catholic Church (canon) law. The Catholic Church scandal illustrates very well the nature, complexity and impact of institutional corruption on the community. The sexually abused children may bear permanent scars they will carry to their graves. Sometimes the crime of sexual abuse transforms and cripples the personality leading abnormal behavior in society or the family. Indeed sexual abuse is one of those crimes which self-replicates in its victims causing greater damage to society as a whole

The nature of the institutional corruption in the Catholic Church is further illustrated by a story which was broadcast by NBC morning news on June 1, 2010. A nun who was also a professional nurse faced a moral, ethical and medical (professional) dilemma in treating her patient. The patient was about ten weeks pregnant. She would certainly die if no abortion was performed to save her life. That means that without abortion the fetus would certainly die too. If an abortion was performed, however, the fetus would die but the mother would live. After a morally bruising decision the nun/nurse performed the abortion. When her bishop heard about the story he was horrified by her act of terminating the innocent life of the fetus. He immediately excommunicated her from the church as punishment for the sin of performing an abortion since, according to Catholic Church dogma, life begins at conception.

The act of the bishop in excommunicating the nun was swift and precise but not without controversy. The issue is whether the Catholic Church acted corruptly as an institution in imposing the punishment of excommunication on a female nun for what she had done. Did the Catholic Church dispense equal justice in light of the other crimes committed within the institution? Is the swift punishment of excommunicating a female nun who committed an abortion under conditions of an ethical dilemma just, compared to the covering up of many crimes of sexual abuse committed by male priests? Has the act of the bishop implications of institutional corruption in the Catholic Church?

Probably these are questions which can only be answered in the long run by social change rather than existing theology and Catholic dogma. The real question is whether by interpreting the concept of “life” there is absolutely no room to save one of the two lives if both lives cannot be saved. From the point of view of feminists, for example, the church’s decision is “corrupt” and unjust because the two lives are not equal and therefore the nun was not given equal (or fair) treatment or justice. A fetus, one can convincingly argue, cannot take precedence over a mother, capable of conceiving another baby, as the feminists vehemently contend. However, from the point of view of Catholic dogma the decision of the bishop is just and founded in canonical jurisprudence. For the later, therefore, the case of sexual abuse of children by priests is clearly distinguishable from the case of abortion; the two cases cannot be compared. They are like apples and oranges.


Institutional corruption within a church is not limited to the Catholic Church. Pastors in Protestant churches have committed outrageous sins that are criminal due to corruption in their churches. We noted above in relation to the Catholic Church that the buck stops with the Pope. This is because the principle that governs the administration of the Catholic Church is centralization. The Pope is in charge of the entire Catholic Church from top to bottom. He appoints all the bishops and cardinals in the Catholic Church all over the world. On the contrary decentralization is the administrative principle that governs the Protestant churches. Decentralization within the Protestant Churches originates from the Reformation.

The principle of decentralization in the Protestant churches operates at several levels. There is denominational decentralization in which each denomination (for example, the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, etc.,) is self-governing. It administers all the affairs of the denomination independently of other denominations. There is also decentralization at the individual church level. Any Protestant, say among the Baptists, can start a church over which he has authority as a leader of that church administered as a corporate entity. Such churches, especially in US, are organized as non-profit corporations subject to the regulations of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This situation has given rise to the creation of the so-called Protestant mega churches all over the world, but especially in US, leading to institutional corruption within the Protestant churches.

A few examples will suffice. Jimmy Swaggart built up a huge flock of followers within his church over which he had full control. But Swaggart was tempted by the devil and, as a result had an adulterous relationship with a prostitute, an act contravening the teaching of the gospel Swaggart himself preached every Sunday. Jim Baker, another Protestant mega church leader who was also tempted by the devil, went to prison for crimes involving not only adultery but also questionable fundraising practices, irregular accounting methods, swindling and misappropriation of Church funds, of which he was supposed to be a faithful fiduciary but instead spent extravagantly on personal expenses and aggrandizement in violation of the IRS rules governing tax exempt organizations. The principle of decentralization and the almost unlimited ability to create and administer mega churches contributed to the institutional corruption within the Protestant churches.

In fact the new phenomenon of the so-called Protestant mega churches seems to exist for the sole purpose of enriching church leaders rather than saving the souls of the poor who make the contributions to the mega churches from their meager savings. Mega churches, due to corruption, have become a source of fabulous wealth for their leaders instead of nourishing the souls of the poor sinners and salvation of their lives for eternity. Corruption within the Protestant churches is mainly the result of the principle of decentralization which operates at different levels as we have explained above.[93] Because there is no overall supervision of a sovereign leader of the Protestant churches all over the world it is much easier for institutional corruption to occur within the different Protestant churches as a result of a regime culture that bestows all authority on the leader or clique within a particular the church.


The third example of institutional corruption is the powerful government of US. By “government of US” we mean the three branches of the government of US: the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. The three branches operate as autonomous units of a single political institution. The third example of the institutional corruption presents us with interesting paradoxes and contradictions which must be explained and deep reflection. One paradox is the fact that earlier we said that democracy by its nature, prevents corruption, or at least leads to its detection, punishment and control. The question is: how come a US democratic system of government can be corrupted as a political institution? First, remember we are talking about “institutions” and not individuals. The answer to the question posed above is that we did not say that corruption can be completely eliminated from any system or institution. The role of democracy is to prevent, control, expose and facilitate the punishment of corrupt officials, not necessarily to completely prevent it, guarantee its absence or wipe it out completely.

The contradiction of a democratic US government suffering from institutional corruption is best illustrated by what has been popularly referred to as the “Jewish Lobby.”[94] The “Jewish Lobby,” which is far broader than the “Israel Lobby,” has to some extent crippled US foreign policies. The Jewish lobby is so powerful that no candidate for member in Congress—or even the Presidency of US—can ignore it if he wants to achieve or survive in power. The disproportionate influence of the Jewish lobby on the US government has caused stalemates in the resolution of the Palestinian question. Peace in the Middle East depends on protecting the “interests” of Israel which have been elevated by the Jewish Lobby far above the Palestinian interests. The Israeli interests are intricately interwoven with the US interests promoted by the Jewish lobby.

Briefly, this is how the Jewish lobby in US functions. If a political candidate, for example, is anti-Semitic his political fate is quickly sealed from the beginning, unlike, for example, a racist who mocks African Americans. The Jewish lobby will not only work hard to defeat that candidate but also support the candidate whose views are compatible with the interests of the Jewish community and Israel as articulated by either the Israel government or the Jewish organizations operating in US. Any political candidate for Congress or the Presidency has an implied obligation to articulate his/her views about Israel. It is obvious that such a powerful lobby distorts, or simply put “corrupts,” the democratic political process by making it biased or promote an overwhelmingly one-sided political view regardless of the consequences and the interests of peace and justice. This partly explains the stalemate of the peace process in the Middle East.

Ironically, or paradoxically, the principle of the regime culture which sustains institutional corruption in the US government is known as political freedom. It is due to the protection of political freedom that lobbying activities are upheld as an essential part of the democratic process in US. The politically sacred First Amendment is always invoked in order to justify the rights to lobby and contribute money to the politicians and political causes. The only question which has been difficult to answer is: at what point does lobbying and contributing money to politicians and political parties cease to be legitimate tools of the democratic process, and political freedom in particular, and begin to corrupt the political process? The line dividing corruption from legitimate political contribution to a political organization or an individual candidate is practically, that is, jurisprudentially, impossible to demarcate. Consequently, institutional corruption in this case is very difficult to cure or control.

The question posed above in the previous paragraph which has often provoked and killed campaign finance endeavors in US from time to time in futile attempts to limit the impact of lobbying industry on the political process, resisted by the powerful lobbies, has actually become the graveyard of campaign finance reforms in US history. The Supreme Court recently made the situation worse. A decision by the Supreme Court held that there should be no limit on corporate contributions to the campaign process under the First Amendment.[95] The decision of the Supreme Court has technically legalized institutionalized political corruption as far as using money and other resources to lobby and influence the political process is concerned.

Many democratic countries control campaign spending in order to limit its corrupting effects on the political process. In US it is ironical that the very principle on which the virtues of democracy depend—political freedom—is the effective means by which the government of US is corrupted by the Jewish lobby and other lobbying groups or interests. The Supreme Court opinion cited above, covering 183 pages, is probably, in the long run, going to provoke a legislative response to it because it was dictated by a specific (Republican) activist, ideological element within the content of the regime culture of the US government.

Furthermore, in order to reach that decision the Supreme Court had to overrule a long standing precedent under which the corporate contributions to politicians and political parties or causes were limited. The precedent overruled is Austin v Michigan Chamber of Commerce.[96] Therefore, considering all circumstances, we should expect a turbulent future for campaign reform in US. The more corrupt the political process becomes the more unstable it is likely to be. Moreover, the highly ideological decision in which five Justices voted for and four voted against the overruling of a precedent is likely to change as soon as a new composition of the Supreme Court realigns the basic elements in the regime culture of the US government.


Museveni and NRM came to power singing what was supposed to be a melodious political tune—the ten-point program—portrayed as a final solution to Uganda’s political, economic and social woes. The ten-point program specifically promised to make corruption, misuse and abuse of power in Uganda history,[97] “immediate” restoration of democracy to Uganda was unequivocally promised,[98] effectively eliminating poverty in the country was supposed to be a priority,[99] overhauling and improving social services and rehabilitating war ravaged areas were supposed to be a primary objective of NRM.[100]

These major objectives of the ten-point program have not been realized in twenty five years and the situation is getting worse every day mainly because of rampant corruption fuelled by the absence of democracy and the NRM leaders who have turned out to be economic parasites.[101] We shall demonstrate in our prognosis at the end of this essay that there is a direct relationship between democracy, corruption and economic performance. Uganda is a good example of failure to deal with corruption and how such a failure impacts the economy. The economy cannot perform efficiently because the public sector is parasitic on the economy because if institutionalized corruption. The result is the numerous corruption scandals Uganda has had all of which have been the consequence of institutionalized corruption within the NRM. Until that institutionalized corruption is either wiped out or controlled by the democratic process the economy cannot perform efficiently.

The private sector is equally affected by the institutionalized corruption. First, the privatization process which was not transparent produced inefficient private enterprises which cannot perform competitively and innovatively in the private sector. Public enterprises were not sold to the best bidder but to those with connections with the NRM regime. It was a process of extending institutionalized corruption from the NRM regime to the private sector. That explains why the whole economy is performing miserably. There is not quick remedy to this problem. The ultimate solution lies in democratization of the system by removing the NRM regime from power. Some people naively argue that enforcing the laws will solve the problem. The problem is not the lack of laws to effectively fight corruption. Institutionalized corruption under the NRM will always produce new corruption scandals.

There is no contradiction in the fact that Uganda has more laws dealing with corruption than any country we are familiar with[102] but corruption has steadily increased during the period NRM has been in power because the corruption laws have not been enforced. The obvious explanation for this is the absence of democracy. Uganda, in addition to laws, has many institutions which were designed to fight corruption but the institutions, like the laws on which they are based, are either impotent or have been rendered ineffective because of the absence of democracy and institutionalization of corruption.[103] Instead of fighting corruption we have seen corruption in Uganda explode and even getting converted into a “family” business within NRM because of extensive and uncontrolled abuse of power which has institutionalized corruption in Uganda. Examples are many. Government procurement process is one of the most exploited in enriching government officials. This is because government procurement is essential in all department or ministries of the public sector.

Government Procurement Process

One of the earliest corruption scandals which was exposed through a judicial Commission of Inquiry is notoriously known as the “junk helicopters” scandal. The credibility of the findings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry cannot be impeached. It was headed by Justice Sebutinde who now serves on International Criminal Court (ICC). The junk helicopters scandal consisted of two main components involving violation of the procurement procedures clearly laid down in the law.

Public procurement requires the invitation of tenders to bid for the services or goods desired by the government. Under normal circumstances, or in theory, public bidding is supposed to be competitive and therefore should result into lower prices and quality products or services for the government. Under a corrupt regime, however, the opposite happens. You end up with expensive “junk” products or services. What the Sebutinde Commission of Inquiry found was that there was no compliance with the required public procurement procedures. The company chosen to supply the helicopters was not professional and it bribed the President’s brother, Salim Saleh, with a payment of $800,000 in order to short-circuit the necessary procedures and secure the contract.

The second component was the inspection of the quality of the helicopters. The people who purported to inspect the helicopters were not qualified to do the job. The result was that the helicopters purchased were not airworthy. The contracts under which they were purchased were defective because they were not transparently negotiated. As a result the state paid for the helicopters which could not fly but the sale could not be terminated or revoked under the law because the terms of the contract could not permit rejection of the junk helicopters. The state lost millions of dollars as a result. Moreover, Salim Saleh confessed to his brother, the President of Uganda that he had been given and he actually accepted a bribe during the procurement of the helicopters. The President of Uganda, we are informed, “forgave” his brother for what seemed to him to be a small administrative infraction!


Privatization of public enterprises in the early 1990s is another area where corruption was rife. Privatization which was carried out under a special legislation was supposed to be governed by the rules and procedures under which public procurement and disposal is done. Public enterprises covered a wide spectrum of the economy. They ranged from banking, manufacturing, hotels to public utilities producing and distributing electricity. Privatization was therefore a bonanza to both those in the public service where corruption was institutionalized. Employees of the state controlled the privatization process. They were a corruption conduit to those in the private economy who “looted” the privatized public enterprises at ridiculously low prices.

Under NRM privatization came at a time when the capital market was nonexistent but in the process of being set up and, as a result, insider trading played a big role in the privatization process. The rules against insider trading did not exist, there was no stock exchange to impartially determine the value of the state assets and there were no experienced capitalists in the private sector to efficiently manage the divested public enterprises.

Privatization was justified and rationalized on three main arguments. It would eliminate or reduce corruption in the public sector; it would turn the public enterprises into efficient, productive, profitable private companies which would be good for the economy as a whole and, lastly, it would, inevitably, result in cheaper services and products to the benefit of the consumers. The privatization of Uganda Electricity Board (UEB) defied all these predictions. UEB was broken into three companies: one company generating or producing electricity, the second company transmitting electricity to consumers and the third company selling the final product to the consumer. Privatization of UEB produced duplicity, inefficiency and poor services. Ever since UEB was privatized electricity shading has been the rule, the price of electricity has risen—obviously because of its scarcity—faster than the rate of inflation and the supply of electricity is always uncertain, more than a decade after privatization. The explanation seems to be that the process of privatization was so corrupt that the companies that bought the dismantled UEB were unqualified for the job.


The sale of Uganda Commercial Bank is another illustration of how institutionalized corruption manipulated the procurement process in the privatization of public enterprises. The public procurement and asset disposal rules, procedures and regulations were violated, if not deliberately defied or simply ignored with impunity. The UCB was one of the biggest government asset or public enterprise which was sold to a fictitious entity owned by the brother of the President, Salim Saleh. One of the bidders, Suleiman Kiggundu, was blackmailed and ended up losing his legitimate banking business and the huge real estate in which it was located and other affiliated businesses such as insurance and hotel resorts. The manner in which UCB was privatized is a crude story of unethical insider trading.

Chogm Procurement Scandal

Chogm corruption scandal is another example of blatant violation of the rule of law by the executive branch under NRM. Senior members of the cabinet were alleged to have been deeply involved in the CHOGM scandals. These included former Vice President Gilbert Bukenya, Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa, Minister of Works John Nasasira—who was also the chief whip in Parliament—and Mwesigwa Rukutana,[104] Minister of state in the Labor Ministry. In this scandal we shall look at the background information and the specific charges brought against former Vice President Dr. Gilbert Bukenya which clearly illustrate the nature and extent of the problem of intituinalized corruption and violation of rule of law within the NRM regime.

Background information indicates that the tender for provision of transport and related services was advertised by the Ministry of Works and Transport (MoW&T) in the media on May 31, 2006. On July 11, 2006, before the closing date of the bid the cabinet sub-committee on CHOGM headed by Vice President Gilbert Bukenya halted the bidding process. The Accounting Officer of the MoW&T got a verbal instruction from the Minister, John Nasasira to halt the procuring process citing a directive of the cabinet sub-committee, presided over by Vice President Gilbert Bukenya. Technical officers in the Ministry pleaded with the Minister to continue with opening of the bids but the Minister refused. The Minister John Nasasira halted the procurement process indefinitely three days before the closing date. On July 14, 2006, the Permanent Secretary of MoW&T communicated to the bidders extending the bidding period indefinitely.

The reasons cited for the decision included the “hurried nature” of the process, failure to “consult” him before tendering, “revisions” in the numbers, types, makes and specifications, the need to consider “private sector participation” and the need to consider “retention of vehicles” after CHOGM use. The Auditor General (AG) in his report reached the conclusion that there was no justification to halt the procurement process because there were no valid reasons to do so and, as a result, “the procurement process was wrongfully cancelled in disregard of PPDA regulations.”[105] The AG further concluded that the cabinet sub-committee was “motivated by interest” and the Vice President “overstretched the Cabinet mandate to deal with policy.”

In his investigation the AG found out that on October 28, 2006, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa, came up with his own proposal. He informed the AG that he had written to some companies but only one, Motorcare, had come up with a proposal. The AG questioned the Minister’s role in soliciting for bids from prospective bidders which is an accounting function for the Accounting Officer. On December 4, 2006, at a cabinet sub-committee meeting Vice President Bukenya informed the meeting that the decision taken earlier on November 20, 2006, was “final.” More specifically, the cabinet sub-committee had decided that “since only one company had come up with the proposal to lease/sell vehicles to be used during CHOGM, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Works and Transport, [who was also] Chairman of the Transportation sub-committee were to work out modalities with that company.”[106] On December 4. 2006, Bukenya directed that only one company, Motorcare (U) Ltd., which had submitted a bid for the tender be the only one considered for leasing of executive vehicles.

Delay in procurement must have been intended to create conditions to justify flouting of the procurement regulation and get excuse for restrictive or direct bidding, the AG report concluded.[107] On December 18, 2006, the Permanent Secretary MoW&T wrote to PPDA requesting for approval of the direct procurement method. But the decision to use direct procurement was made by the cabinet sub-committee in a letter of December 18, 2006. On January 5, 2007, the PPDA rejected the request for direct procurement but instead allowed for the procurement to be carried out under restricted tendering with at least 3 providers being invited to bid.

On March 7, 2007, the contracts committee approved the tender document under restricted International Bidding method and short listed the following companies: namely, Motorcare (U) Ltd., Mashariki Motors Ltd., (Kenya) and South Africa Dayang Motor Corporation. Tender bids were opened on March 30, 2007, at 11.00 a.m. in the MoW&T Boardroom. Bid opening form PP 35 showed only one bidder, Motorcare (U) Ltd., returned the bid which was opened and read. The other two bidders, Mashariki and Dayang, did not attend or send representatives at the opening of the bids.

On April 25, 2007, the Executive Director of PPDA wrote to the MoW&T advising them that “In the present situation, unless the facts are shown to be otherwise, failure by a bidder to submit a valid trading license would amount to a material deviation which cannot be corrected by the evaluation committee and thus such a bidder should not be subjected to further evaluation.”[108] The committee disregarded the advice of the Director of PPDA. Instead they sought the opinion of the Solicitor General. In the meantime Motorcare submitted a new trading license in April and was accepted by the Evaluation Committee. Motorcare’s trading license had expired on December 31, 2006. On June 1, 2007, new bidding documents were made and issued to one firm, Motorcare, contrary to regulations. A waiver from PPDA to use direct sourcing was never obtained.

There were other irregularities. Spear Motors, Motorcare and Toyota (U) Ltd., submitted bids under restricted bidding on March 30, 2007. Officers of PPDA, Agaba and Sabiti, attended the meeting which took that decision. This was a conflict of interest.[109] Furthermore, the solicitation bid document specified that the bidder presents a Performance Security of 10% equivalent of Euros 409,936. This was not submitted. Clause 41.2 of the contract provided that “failure to submit the Performance Security shall constitute ground for the annulment of the contract award and forfeiture of Bid Security.” This rule, too, was not enforced.

Some members on the committee seem to have had a conflict of interest in the contracts they were involved in awarding. The AG asked the CID to establish ownership of EuroCar/InterCar. The company was formed on April 29, 2005. A company owned by Kutesa SECI Co. Ltd owned 20% of EuroCar. On August 19, 2005, SECI Co. transferred its shares to Robert Kabonero who owned 30% of EuroCar. Articles of Association amended on February 22, 2006, showed the distribution of shares was in EuroCar as follows: Albert Gatare 20% (Congolese), Eugene Nyangahene 10% (Rwandese), Robert Kabonero 60% (Ugandan). 10% of the remaining shares were not accounted for. The AG reported that Kutesa told their investigators that he had lost interest in the company before CHOGM came along. But it is important to note that Kutesa did not “sell” his shares but simply “transferred” them to Robert Kabonero who, at the time of CHOGM, owned the majority of the shares in EuroCar, a company whose name had changed to InterCar but continued to use the old name. Kutesa must therefore be presumed to have had a continuing “interest” in the activities of InterCar,[110] unless otherwise the contrary was shown.

The public purchase tender evaluation process has three stages of evaluation. The first stage is preliminary evaluation. The second stage is detailed commercial and technical evaluation. The third stage is financial evaluation. Under financial evaluation two bids of Motorcare and Spear Motors were financially evaluated under two options of outright purchase of 204 vehicles or purchase of 30 vehicles and rental of 174 vehicles. Spear Motors emerged the best bidder under the option of outright purchase at a total cost of Euros 8,290,400 (Ug. Shs.9.3bn). Motorcare was the best evaluated bidder under the option of purchase of 30 and rental of 174 vehicles at a cost of Euros 6,936,280 (Ug. Shs.16.15bn).

On May 2, 2007, the contracts committee awarded the contract to Spear Motors Ltd. Spear Motors was notified of the award on May 8, 2007, by the Permanent Secretary of the MoW&T, Charles Muganzi. On the same day Motorcare was notified that the tender had been awarded to Spear Motors by the Permanent Secretary. On May 17, 2007, the cabinet sub-committee noted that the available funds and time could not permit the recommendation for outright purchase. On May 28, 2007, Vice President called an emergency CHOGM cabinet sub-committee meeting. The Vice President expressed concerned over the divergence the procurement process had taken contrary to decisions made earlier by the sub-committee to employ the option of leasing and not outright purchase. Purchase of 204 was Euros 8.28 million but leasing was Euros 4.17 million.

Thereafter Bukenya issued several directives: that the transport sub-committee goes for the cheapest lease option and drop outright purchase; that the Ministry of Transport declares the position of outright purchase to be declared a miss-procurement on grounds of inadequacy of funds and being contrary to the policy position that preferred leasing; that the MoW&T cancels the procurement and convenes a new emergency direct procurement to be conducted within a week; that the MoW&T should solicit a bid from Motorcare as the sole source since it had the cheapest option.

The meeting agreed to cancel the procurement by invoking section 95 of the PPDA Act under which an emergency procurement can be declared and a request for a new quotation from Motorcare requested by direct procurement. On June 5, 2007 the contracts committee awarded the tender to Motorcare at a negotiated price of Euros 4,009,360 (Ug. Shs 7.8bn).

The AG concluded that if government had bought 204 cars from Spear Motors the government would have spent Euros 8,116,400 instead of Euros 6,936,280 if the government had hired 204 cars from Mortocare for only 4 days! The total loss due to bad procurement procedure for leasing was Euros 2,251,800 (Ug. Shs 5,629,500,000). AG concluded that the offer to Mortocare resulted into a unit loss of Euros 6,000 per car or Euros 180,000 for 30 cars under the purchase option. The AG concluded in his report that “Spear Motors Ltd. had won the bid. However, the committee was informed that Spear Motors could not take the bid because Ministry of Finance had written to Accounting Officer that it could not purchase the required vehicles. The committee was also told that in case of lease, the offer of Spear Motors to Government was for Government to buy the vehicles and that it could help government to sell them off.”[111]

Section 46 of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act (PPDA), 2003, provides that “all procurements shall be conducted in a manner to maximize competition and achieve value for the money.” The cabinet sub-committee under the chairmanship of the Vice President Prof. Gilbert Bukenya was accused of contravening the Public Procurement laws, more specifically, the provision of PPDA quoted above. Bukenya, in the course of the CHOGM cabinet sub-committee deliberations, issued a directive to the effect that the decision to procure from Motorcare (U) Ltd., was final and no other bidder should be allowed to submit a proposal. His directive, obviously, was alleged to have stifled competition and transparency in the public procurement process contrary to the explicit intention of section 46 of PPDA. In other words, Bukenya’s directives exceeded his authority as chairman of the cabinet sub-committee, and deliberately acted to the detriment of the state of Uganda.

It was further argued that the duty to execute and manage the procurement process was the preserve of the PDU of the Ministry of works and Transport and not the cabinet sub-committee on CHOGM. Another irregularity was that at the time Motorcare (U) Ltd. was shortlisted they did not have a dealership agreement with BMW, the company which was supposed to supply the vehicles to the government of Uganda. Moreover, Motorcare did not have a valid trading license at the time; it had expired on December 31 2006, several months before the bidding process began. The irregularity was not rectified until April 2007. Motorcare (U) Ltd. should, therefore, have been eliminated at the preliminary evaluation stage.

The Cabinet sub-committee, however, sought the advice of the Solicitor General to clarify the issue instead of requesting the opinion of the PPDA Authority whose functions under the law are “to advise central Government, Local Government and statutory bodies on all public procurement and disposal policies, principles and practices.”[112] The Solicitor General in a letter dated April 19, 2007, advised the committee that the trading license was not a “material” issue in the public procurement process. That advice clearly conflicted with the basic principle of the rule of law governing the legality of the public procurement process.

The Executive Director of the PPDA, Edgar Agaba, objected both to the actions of the evaluation committee and the Solicitor General’s opinion but the Evaluation Committee ignored the advice of PPDA Executive Director. Since there was one bidder,[113] because of Bukenya’s directive, there was no financial comparison to rank the bids. The evaluation Committee sought a waiver from PPDA in order to negotiate with the single bidder for price reduction. After the negotiations, on April 26, 2007, the contract committee awarded the tender for procurement to Motorcare (U) Ltd. On June 1, 2007, the Government of Uganda represented by the Ministry of Works and Transport, signed a contract agreement with Motorcare (U) Ltd.

An inspection team consisting of Eng. George William Okurut, Chief Mechanical Engineer, MoW&T, Albert Akovoku, Chief Transportation Officer, State House, and John Ndungutse, Assistant Superintendent of Police, UPF, flew to Germany to inspect the vehicles. According to the inspection report written by Eng. Okurut, dated October, 2007, indicated that the team did not inspect the vehicles and motorcycles under production “reportedly, because production had been completed and the units were enroute to Uganda via Vastry Airport in France.” The inspection team was not given any documentary evidence to back up the verbal claims. The government officials reported that they were taken around the company show rooms “and shown vehicles and motorcycles which BMW officials claimed were similar to the ones the government of Uganda bought.” Clearly Motorcare (U) Ltd. breached the terms of Article 26 of the Contract Agreement. They arranged the trip well aware that the vehicles and motorcycles had been dispatched to Uganda. The abortive trip to Germany cost the government of Uganda Shs.14,607,000/-.

The AG asked the Inspector General of Police to investigate some of these issues. His report was blunt: “On the procurement of vehicles, we have established that the procurement of vehicles from the point of bidding to the point of supply was characterized with irregularities and anomalies we have further established that these were not anomalies or mere procurement errors but deliberated and criminal acts to flout the law.” The Police report specified the individuals implicated.” These were Kim Vandback, General Manager, Motorcare, and Moses Banturaki, Sales Manager and Executor of Power of Attorney on behalf of Mortocare, Robert Kabonero, Managing Director of InterCar (U) Ltd. and Kenneth Kirenga, General Manager and Executor of Powers of Attorney on behalf of InterCar (U) Ltd.[114]

The AG found that the procurement was fraudulent and marred with irregularities. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa, and the Minister of Works, John Nasaira, “bent procurement procedures to favor BMW.” The AG held them “liable for their actions.”[115]Government did not get value for the money but instead made a loss. When a decision was taken to cancel international bidding for restrictive bidding national interest was lost. By Bukenya ordering for direct procurement from BMW and warning anybody against further procrastination on the matter, he infringed PPDA regulation 265(1), which prohibits mention of brand names and trademarks, and therefore defeated competition which would otherwise ensure value for money.[116]

The AG concluded that “actions of the chairperson CHOGM sub-committee were route with some hidden agenda. He decided to appoint a select committee and instruct it to cancel the procurement process, declaring an emergency procurement and requesting for a new quotation from only one company i.e. BMW. This he did in spite of the guidelines he had issued instructing all chair persons of subcommittees of CHOGM to ensure that procurement procedures are followed. The Committee recommends that H.E. Prof. Gilbert Bukenya be personally held liable for the loss of over Shs.6bn and flouting PPDA law and abuse of office.”[117]


On May 23, 2011, Vice President Gilbert Bukenya’s political star started waning. President Museveni asked Bukenya to resign from the Vice Presidency. Vice President Bukenya was dropped from the cabinet during a cabinet reshuffle. Gilbert Bukenya was arrested and charged on October 3, 2011, by the IGG, on one count of abuse of office contrary to section 11 of the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009, and one count of fraudulent practice contrary to section 95(1)(d) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, 2003. These charges clearly reflect the AG’s conclusions and recommendations.

Under count I the particulars of the offence alleged that between December 2006 and November 2007 Dr. Bukenya, in abuse of his office, directed the award of a contract for the supply of executive vehicles to Motorcare (U) Ltd., “in total disregard of the laws, regulations and practices governing public procurements.” In count II Bukenya was charged with fraudulent practice, contrary to section 95(1)(d) of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, 2003. The particulars of the charge alleged that Bukenya connived and/or colluded with Motorcare (U) Ltd. to commit fraudulent acts, to wit, conniving and/or colluding to award a contract of supply of 80 units of BMW R1200RT police outsider motorcycles intended for use during CHOGM, 2007, to Motorcare (U) Ltd.

Before the trial took place the charges against Bukenya were withdrawn by the IGG on November 3, 2011. The explanation given by the IGG to withdraw the charges was that Spear Motors, one of the unsuccessful bidders in the procurement process, was suing the government. Bukenya, the accused in the case brought by the IGG, however, put a different spin on the withdrawal of the charges. According to Bukenya and his supporters the case was withdrawn because the IGG did not have “enough evidence” for a conviction of Bukenya on the charges against him. Another argument, which sounds more credible but has a lot of loopholes, nevertheless, is that the offence of abuse of office based on the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009, was enacted after the offence was committed in 2006 and 2007 and, therefore, violates the constitutional provision that prohibits ex post facto or retrospective criminal laws.

Let us look at the issue of ex post facto laws first. Article 28(7) of the 1995 constitution of Uganda provides that “No person shall be charged with or convicted of a criminal offence which is founded on an act or omission that did not at the time it took place constitute a criminal offence.” The intent of the constitutional provision is very clear. It prohibits the prosecution of a “criminal offence” that was not illegal at the time it took place. Clearly corruption in the form of abuse of office or fraud was a crime in 2006 and 2007 when Bukenya engaged in the public procurement process for CHOGM. Indeed many people have been charged and convicted under those same old laws for similar offences which preceded the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009. In fact the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009, which is alleged to be ex post facto, simply consolidated the old laws, in the Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1970 and other laws on corruption, into one comprehensive Act as required by the UN Convention Against Corruption which Uganda ratified in 2005. Retroactivity cannot, therefore, be a valid defense for Bukenya against the charges brought by the IGG.

More specifically, the charge of abuse of public office against Bukenya was part of the law on corruption at the time Bukenya committed the crime. The charge of abuse of public office was not an innocent act when Bukenya committed it. Therefore the Anti-Corruption Act 2009, in this specific case under which Bukenya was charged with abuse of office, does not violate Article 28 of the constitution. The crimes Bukenya is charged with did exist when he committed the acts. Second, the second charge was based on section 95 of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act which was enacted in 2003. The second charge against Bukenya does not in any way violate Article 28 of the constitution. The retroactivity argument should therefore be dismissed.

Nevertheless, we must point out that the ex post facto doctrine may be invoked if the punishment under the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009, law is greater than that which would have been imposed under the law when the crime was committed. This issue has not been raised and can only be raised after the accused is convicted at the time of sentencing. In any case the argument is a long shot that cannot justify dropping the charges against Bukenya on grounds of ex post facto doctrine.


The second issue has to do with the general explanation for withdrawing the charges against Bukenya. The IGG gave the reason of the government being sued by Spear Motors as the justification to withdraw the charges against Bukenya. First, the IGG did not stipulate specific grounds on which the civil suit against the government by Spear Motors was based. The mere fact that the government of Uganda is being sued by a company which participated in the tender offering is not sufficient to withdraw charges against Bukenya if the charges are well founded in law as we have explained above. Moreover the Auditor General’s Report on the same subject pointed out many irregularities and missing funds in a report to Parliament. The gaps and inconsistencies must be explained.

Corruption in Government Departments and Agencies

Another notorious scandal, whose investigation was also headed by Justice Sebutinde, probed corruption in the police force. Uganda police force has the notoriety of being ranked as the most corrupt government agency. The Commission of Inquiry found that police, especially traffic police, take bribes from drivers, files of cases under investigation mysteriously disappear within the department and a long list of “ghost” employees was on pay roll draining the treasury. The Commission of Inquiry recommended further investigations of those suspected to have violated the law or committed crimes by the DPP, some police officers were supposed to be disciplined or dismissed. As far as we are aware none of the recommendations made by the Commission of Inquiry was implemented.

The most recent report of the Auditor General on the police has found that 2,449 ghost employees were still on police payroll in July 2009 resulting in payments of Shs328.2 million every month to ghost police officers. The Auditor General recommended a regular inspection of the police payroll. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament promised further investigations and punishment of the culprits. In February 2011 when the police leadership realized that the PAC was going to ask questions or investigate the issue police leadership voluntarily deleted 2000 names of ghost police officers who were mainly located in the Mobile Police Patrol Unit and the Anti-Stock Theft Unit.[118]

Mismanagement of the Global Fund

The Global Fund (GF) scandal illustrates institutionalized corruption within NRM and the government NRM created. The Global Fund scandal was investigated by a Commission of Inquiry chaired by Justice James Ogoola. The Commission found that Ministers and other recipients of GF money billed the GF for “ghost trips’ that never occurred and inflated hotel charges. There were large amounts of forged receipts presented for payment to the GF.

The Ministry of Health illegally authorized the payment of Rukikaire’s medical bills in Nairobi at the request of President Museveni who sent a note to Jim Muhwezi, the Minister of Health, to use the GF money to pay the medical bills which amounted to $25,000. The Ministry of Health illegally spent $19,832 to send the Minister of Health on a trip to lobby for a Ugandan running for the post of Director General of WHO. Both of these expenses should not have been charged on the GF. The Ministry of Health was also corrupt in hiring the employees of the GF unit. The Commission found that nepotism was rampant in hiring employees to work for the GF unity. The most qualified candidates were not hired in preference to those supported by the top officials of the Ministry of Health.

Individual Ugandans also exploited the GF for their own benefit. Ted Seezi Cheyee formed a dummy corporation known as Uganda Center for Accountability which received $70,000 supposedly to “monitor and evaluate” sub-recipients of GF money. The Commission found that Uganda Center for Accountability had no “accounting capacity.” Cheyee simply withdrew the money from the Uganda Center for Accountability and spent it on his personal business. Cheyee was charged with fraud, embezzlement and forgery for which he was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison.

Another company the National Forum for People Living With HIV/AIDS received $160,000 from the GF for which it was supposed to channel to 21 other groups but the company directors kept half of the money for themselves. They also billed the GF for expenses that were “suspicious.”

In order to put in context the problem of corruption in Uganda we shall briefly narrate its most graphic illustration as revealed by the findings of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry published in a report in February 2007. The extent to which institutional corruption has penetrated the Ugandan body politic and thereafter spread its tentacles in society is well documented and best illustrated by the findings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry appointed by President Museveni on September 6, 2005. The findings of the Commission reveal a complex network of corrupt officials who are capable of siphoning a large percentage Uganda’s GDP and/or foreign aid which is crucial to the lives of the poor and those vulnerable to or infected by disease. What is more interesting, but also alarming, is the fact that institutional corruption infects the social fabric from the top to the bottom, which in turn parasitically feeds off the institutional network of corruption. What we presented in the previous section was to a great extent theoretical. What we present in this section is from a practical experience of the operation institutional corruption within NRM. Those who would deny the existence of institutional corruption from a theoretical point of view should be ready to acknowledge its existence as it is graphically narrated in the following pages. The facts presented in this section are reliable because they were discovered in testimony given on oath under penalties of perjury. They are confirmed by an impartial judicial inquiry.

The following narrative of the mismanagement of the Global Fund tells the story of institutional corruption briefly but, nevertheless, as vividly as corruption can be described in any detail. In any corruption story, like all criminal enterprises, many pieces may be missing and therefore may have to be reconstructed. That is why Commissions of Inquiry are necessary weapons in combating corruption. Corruption scandals are not new in Uganda and the endemic nature of corruption in Uganda is revealed by the number of Commissions of Inquiry which have been set up by the government, ostensibly, to expose and combat corruption but, so far, without any substantial effect. Past commissions of inquiry include Besweri Mulondo Commission, 1996; Sebutinde Commission of Inquiry into Corruption in the Police Force; Sebutinde Commission of Inquiry into the Purchase of Junk Choppers; Sebutinde Commission of Inquiry into Corruption in the Uganda Revenue Authority; the Potter Commission of Inquiry into Corrupt Practices in Uganda’s Involvement in Congo Gold Scandals; the IGG Report on Mismanagement of GAVI Funds—triggered by recommendations and findings from the Global Fund Commission; and, finally, more recently, a Commission of Inquiry into the Mismanagement of Kampala City Council. Add to these commissions of inquiry the annual reports of the Auditor General which document serious violations of procedures in government procurement involving billions of Shillings lost and sub-standard construction work which are, nevertheless, ignored every year as if they never existed.[119] The only explanation for this is that the democratic process is suppressed, and, therefore, is not producing the expected results; it has no impact by putting a dent on institutional corruption.

The long list of commissions of inquiry and annual Auditor General’s reports, with the exception of Global Fund Commission of Inquiry, as we shall see, did nothing more than “smell” the foul stench of corruption in Uganda. These numerous inquiries produced no casualties—corruption inquiries, unfortunately, rarely do where corruption is institutionalized as is the case in Uganda, hence, the cliché that reports of commissions of inquiry do nothing more than gather dust![120] The explanation is not that in Uganda there was no corruption that was unearthed by the earlier numerous commissions of inquiry. In fact a lot of corruption was discovered. The explanation for lack of action is simply that corruption in Uganda is so deeply institutionalized that only a change of regime can produce desirable consequences. The previous commissions of inquiries did expose corruption but there was no enforcement of the recommendations of the commissions of inquiry due to entrenched institutional corruption. We must remember that NRM itself, as we have demonstrated elsewhere, is a political reincarnation founded on corrupt political principles that suppressed freedom which we do not need to explore in this document.

What distinguishes the Global Fund Judicial Commission of Inquiry from those we have enumerated above is the fact that unlike the others it was initiated by forces from outside Uganda which could not be silenced by internal threats or politically compromised by shady political deals. The results of the Commission of Inquiry in the mismanagement of the Global Fund are therefore unique and different from the previous inquiries. They had some teeth behind them. The major findings and recommendations of the Global Fund Judicial Inquiry had to be enforced under the law because the mighty sword of the foreign donors was precariously hanging over NRM’s head. Something had to be done, albeit reluctantly. Three Ministers of Health (Capt. Mike Mukula, Dr. Alex Kamugisha and Hon. Jim Muhwezi) were indicted for the crimes we describe below. So far only four individuals (Teddy Ssezi Cheeye, attached to the Economic Bureau in the President’s Office of ISO, and Freddie Kavuma Ssalongo, who was working for UTV but also attached to the President’s Office) and two women, Annaliza Mondon and Elizabeth Ngororano have so far been convicted in the High Court and sent to prison in over three years after the Commission delivered its report. The casualties of the Global Fund inquiry, therefore, are very few—compared to the damage done and the evidence of criminal conduct exposed—as the following narrative will clearly reveal. The total loot from the Global Fund within about one year was estimated at Shs1.6/=billion by the Commission of Inquiry.

The Global Fund Judicial Commission of Inquiry, chaired by Justice James Ogoola, was appointed following the suspension of all five Global Fund grants to Uganda by the Global Fund Secretariat based in Geneva. The decision to suspend the grants was based on the findings and recommendations in an audit report by PriceWaterhouseCooppers (PWC), the Global Fund’s local agent, published in August 2005. The terms of reference for the Commission hint at what had seriously gone wrong with the management of the Global Fund under the Ministry of Health headed by Jim Muhwezi at the time. The mandate of the Commission of Inquiry was to investigate specific allegations made by the Global Fund on the mismanagement of Global Fund aid to Uganda by the Project Management Unit (PMU), located in the Ministry of Health. First, and, specifically, the Commission was to find out the basis for procurement and expenditure decisions within PMU which were not consistent with Global Fund criteria or government procedures under PPDA. Second, the Commission was also to look into the PMU’s selection of the sub-recipients and their competence to carry out their assigned tasks and PMU’s failure to follow up the sub-recipients who did not account for their funds as well as the involvement of PMU in loss of grant funds. Third, the Commission had to establish the basis for recruiting all PMU officials and their competence to do their jobs. In addition the Commission was to look into allegations that Stanbic Bank and DFCU bank applied exchange rates that were significantly below the market rates to somebody’s benefit. The mandate of the Commission of Inquiry was therefore very broad and the evidence of corruption exposed was extensive.

For our purposes we shall concentrate on three aspects of the management of PMU which clearly illustrate the nature and voracity of the monster we call institutional corruption which we are primarily interested in on the war against corruption. The major problem in the management of PMU was political influence injected into the Global Fund management by the Minister of Health, Jim Muhwezi. Under the law and the Global Fund manual PMU management was supposed to be insulated from “political influence.” However, Jim Muhwezi did not only illegally control the appointment of the officials of PMU he also used PMU as an NRM piggy bank to pay medical bills for an NRM official in Nairobi, to pay bills for his personal cell phone and used PMU as a source of funds to make trips which were either ineligible for Global Fund money or to fund “ghost” trips purportedly for the supervision of Global Fund activities which in fact never took place, but the money for the trips was requisitioned and pocketed by the three ministers. Let us, first, look at the recruitment of PMU employees.


The Judicial Commission made it clear that the “Minister had no business at all interjecting himself or his political influence, into the recruitment and appointment process of the PMU‟s Project Coordinator, or any other PMU staff for that matter.” The Commission added that “The Minister had no authority whatsoever in the matter, as the final decision to appoint was, under PIM, [Project Implementation Manual] specifically reserved for PS/MOH”[121] Nevertheless, the Minister apparently determined that the PMU must be controlled by NRM ignored all the rules and warnings and interjected himself in the recruitment process of PMU officials resulting, inevitably, into the recruitment of an incompetent management team at the Global Fund. A few chilling examples are revealing.

One of Jim Muhwezi’s appointee was Paula Turyahikayo. Turyahikayo was appointed in spite of the fact that she was less qualified than the other candidates for the same job prompting the Judicial Commission to comment that “The appointment of Ms. Paula Turyahikayo, in preference to the best-rated candidate remains questionable. Her political, ethnic and other relationship(s) with people having undue influence in the PMU, particularly so of Hon. Muhwezi, should be investigated.” The explanation, according to the Commission was simple: “Good performance with such undeserving job promotion would be too much of an expectation.”[122] Organizations function best when their employees are both qualified to do the job and competent to perform their duties. Corruption, unfortunately, in order to thrive, tends to undermine these two qualities of qualification and competence of an employee. Corruption exploits weakness and avoids transparency thereby, eventually, crippling or even destroying the organization itself. This explains both the poor economic performance of corrupt regimes and the corruption of undemocratic regimes.

The Judicial Commission found more problems in the recruitment process within PMU. “PMU’s own recruitment proved to be highly haphazard and in certain instances, downright unprofessional—especially as regards lack of transparenc[y].” Hence the recruitment of Ms Muheki “was not advertised at all, there were no job description, it was consummated only through alleged telephone interviews.”[123] Add nepotism to lack of transparency minus competence of the candidate and you have Mugisha’s appointment which sums up NRM institutional corruption in the Ministry of Health under Jim Muhwezi. For example, “The recruitment of Mr. Julius Mugisha lacked transparency. The job advertisement and interviews were questionable. His lack of accounting knowledge and experience was clearly exhibited by his poor accounting postings, just as PWC had observed in their report….Mugisha’s family relationship—as son of a Minister in the MOH—was the determining factor in influencing his appointment to the PMU to a post that was as lofty as his experience and competence were pedestrian.” The Judicial Commission further commented that “political and other undue influence should be expunged from the recruitment process of all project staff.”[124] Moreover, “Political and all other undue influences in the entire selection process should be eschewed.”[125]

However, the corruption of the management of the Global Fund culminated in the appointment of the PMU Coordinator, Dr. Muhebwa in 2003 in a process that was heavily weighed down by political influence. Jim Muhwezi directly interfered in the appointment of Dr. Muhebwa as Coordinator of PMU. On May 15, 2003 Muhwezi wrote to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, (PS/MOH) Mohammed Kezaala, specifically instructing him what to do in clear violation of the law and the Global Fund manual. The Commission found that Muhwezi wrote to the PS/MOH “Strictly injuncting him not to constitute the PMU” “until clearance with me after I return from the 56th World Health Assembly in Geneva,” and adding, for good measure, that the PS and DGHS [Director of General Health Services] was to “diligently follow those instructions.” In a subsequent office memorandum written on November 24, 2003, after the IGG intervention in the Muhebwa/Mutumba appointment dispute Muhwezi “directed” the PS/MOH “to go ahead and appoint the management unit of the … GFATM [Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria] as per decision months ago.” In a May 2003 meeting between Muhwezi, the PS/MOH and Prof. Omaswa the fatal (read corrupt) decision to appoint Dr. Muhebwa in preference to Dr. Mutumba was sealed.[126]

In their conclusion the Judicial Commission found that “Dr. Muhebwa’s appointment to the office of PMU Project Coordinator in preference to the best-rated candidate for that post, lacked transparency. It raised queries of possible political or even family connections with powerful and influential personalities—especially Minister Muhwezi who was in charge of the MOH.” [Ministry of Health] More specifically the Judicial Commission found that Dr. Muhebwa “invariably bowed to political pressure from Minister Muhwezi to disburse funds to questionable recipients and to incessant diversions of funds by the PS, Mr. Kezaala.” Moreover, Dr. Muhebwa “sidelined and effectively excluded the key PMU officers who should have participated in these selections and allocations—namely, the Civil Sector Coordinator (Ms. Magambo), and the M&E [Monitoring & Evaluation] specialist (Ms Muheki). In fact Dr. Muhebwa “was involved in the payment of large amounts of GF money to individuals either in cash or by check for banking on their personal accounts.”[127] It is therefore not surprising that the Commission reached a conclusion that left no doubt about Dr. Muhebwa’s competence. “All in all Dr. Muhebwa’s management competence and experience were woefully deficient. This led to egregious financial loss to the GF, suspension of the Project, disbandment of PMU, and appointment of this Judicial Commission of Inquiry.[128]

Jim Muhwezi’s political tentacles were elastic, tenuous and long within the NRM corrupt regime. They stretched far beyond PMU headquarters in Kampala into rural organizations created to receive Global Fund money. For example, the Rukingiri Gender and Development Association (RUGADA), located in Muhwezi’s constituency, was allocated Shs.188,030,261/= as a local agency. As it happened Muhwezi was RUGADA’s patron! If true it means that conflict of interest would be inevitable. Besides that there was no capacity and competence in RUGADA to perform its obligations. The Judicial Commission, for example, found that RUGADA “lacked the capacity to conduct GF activities, it mixed up expenditures some of which were suspicious. The (main) witness lacked full knowledge of Rugada’s handling of GF funds and was evasive on the issue of Hon. Muhwezi being Rugada’s Patron.”[129]

Under the Judicial Commission of Inquiry’s documentation was Exhibit No. 470. It read: “H.E. the President’s letter of request.” On it was Jim Muhwezi’s “hand written instructions” to Dr. Muhebwa. After examining the evidence the Commission concluded that NEFFE‟s selection for allocation of GF moneys appears to have been heavily swayed by the political influence of Minister Muhwezi who directed PMU’s Dr. Muhebwa to disburse to UNFFE.” UNFFE is an organization known as Uganda National Farmers Federation. It was allocated Shs.606,231,644/= from the Global Fund money. The Commission recommended “IGG to investigate selection and allocation of GF funds to UNFFE or whether the interference of Minister Muhwezi, and Dr. Muhebwa‟s directions, in selection/allocation process caused financial loss to the PMU.” The staff of UNFFE who received salaries were also paid allowances in the amount of Shs.21,000,000/=.[130]


Minister Alex Kamugisha, like Jim Muhwezi, had political influence in the allocation of GF money and selection of sub-recipients. An organization called Top One Week Investments, Ltd. (TOWI) was allocated Shs.31,600,000/=. TOWI did not even apply directly for GF funding but instead made a general request to Hon. Kamugisha for funds. PMU instructed TOWI to develop a proposal and work plan for the amount allocated. Mr. Baryabawe was director of both TOWI and Kigezi Universal Artists. Therefore TOWI’s payment of Shs.24,105,000/= to Kigezi Universal Artists was a conflict of interests. The Judicial Commission recommended investigation of the process for selection of TOWI as sub-recipient and refund of money paid to Kigezi Universal Artists.

Probably the most damning conclusion the Commission made on political influence was the blame it heaped on Muhwezi’s head. In unequivocal terms the Commission pointed the accusing finger directly where legal responsibility lay. “Hon. Muhwezi should take responsibility for wrongly choosing Dr. Muhebwa in preference to Dr. Mutumba who had been rated the best candidate by the recruitment consultants (who had faulted Dr. Muhebwa for lack of management skills and competence).”[131] The Commission in its conclusion, even though it had good intentions, was a little too naïve not to understand the nature and consequences of institutional corruption. Muhwezi was not concerned about “competence” within NRM. His main objective was to line his pockets and to serve the best interests of NRM, not Uganda. Indeed the response of the government to the Commission’s comment says it all. In their White Paper the government did not mince words. “Dr. Muhebwa was properly appointed as Project Manager—PMU.” In other words Dr. Muhebwa served the best interests of NRM. The rest was deemed irrelevant. It takes a miracle to convince this writer that a regime with that kind of attitude can crack down on corruption. People in Uganda have been wondering why corruption was getting worse. The explanation is simple. The NRM regime is now a captive or war prisoner of its own corruption. Institutional corruption affects the entire system, not just a few individuals whom you arrest and solve the problem. Probably the next story will enlighten and reinforce this conclusion.


In February 2005 Jim Muhwezi and Dr. Alex Kamugisha requisitioned Shs.40,092,000/= from the PMU purportedly for two Ministers, Jim Muhwezi and Alex Kamugisha, to go on “supervision” visits of Global Fund activities in Uganda. The operation had all the characteristics of an emergency. The funds were processed and approved in one day. “In this particular case, the Judicial Commission was convinced that indeed Minister Muhwezi instructed the PS to requisition for this money under the guise of supervision and inspection of PMU activities in the districts. In reality, the money was right from the word go intended for payment of the Nairobi medical bills [of Mathew Rukikaire]. This is borne out by the extraordinary speed, with which the requisition for the money was processed and the expeditious and smooth arrangements with which the money was dispatched to Nairobi, via the Uganda Commission in Nairobi. It is quite evident that all the requisite stages and processes in this convoluted drama had been efficiently and surgically pre-arranged by all the concerned actors—including the PMU’s Project Coordinator Dr. Muhebwa, who had the final responsibility to approve the disbursement.”[132] Obviously the Ministers never went on any “supervision activity” in the districts. The whole process was fraudulent and therefore illegal. What is important for us is it was a typical product of institutional corruption because it was aimed at serving a “collective” corrupt political goal.

This case bears all the characteristics of institutional corruption. A lot of individuals were involved in the process in order to accomplish a single collective (political) goal. The Ministers, Jim Muhwezi and Dr. Kamugisha, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Mohammed Kezaala, the Coordinator of PMU, Dr. Muhebwa, were all actively involved. Even the President himself was directly involved. It was a corrupt decision apparently conceived at the top and executed at the bottom in a typical institutional corruption deal. Prior to diverting the money from the Global Fund Muhwezi is quoted saying that he “informed the PS that Government had decided to meet Rukikaire’s hospital bills in Nairobi.” Muhwezi’s instructions to the PS, according to the Commission, were “in compliance with the letter from H.E. the President to the Minister requiring the Minister to assist Mr. Rukikaire. It was therefore absurd—indeed a naked lie—for Hon. Muhwezi to have claimed as he did in his sworn testimony of 21st March, 2006, that he did not know what his Personal Assistant, Mr. Kagumire, did with the money.”[133]

A crucial element in institutional corruption is clearly established in Rukikaire’s case. The whole venture was executed in accordance with an established chain of command. We do not have to speculate whether the enterprise would not have gotten off the ground without the approval of the President since the Commission found the so-called “smoking gun” in the instructions from “H.E.” Moreover, the money was sent through a Ugandan foreign embassy. No one would dare involve foreign envoys in a secret and illegal venture of that nature the President was not aware of. It simply violates the principle of protocol or chain of command. But herein lies a serious problem, which, in ordinary parlance is comparable to a land mine, liable to explode any time when triggered or mishandled. It was a criminal offence, and a corrupt act for that matter, to “divert” money from the Global Fund to ineligible recipients such as Rukikaire. When the President endorsed or “authorized” the diversion of funds in clear instructions to the Minister he violated his oath to uphold the constitution and enforce the laws of Uganda. He deliberately violated the rule of law which is an impeachable offence under the constitution.[134]

The problem of (political) influence which we discussed in the previous sub-section, a typical characteristic of institutional corruption, reemerges in Rukikaire’s story with unmitigated urgency. It was documented by the Judicial Commission once again: “The PMU was entirely docile and compliant to the instructions of the Minister and the requisition of the PS/MOH completely oblivious to the normal, empirical factors needed to justify a requisition for this kind of disbursement. To that extent, the PMU Project Coordinator bears equal responsibility for the resulting diversion of PMU’s funds, as do the Minister and the PS/MOH.”[135]

As we pointed out above this case is an excellent illustration of institutional corruption. First, we look at the characters involved and how they are interwoven in the drama. Historical data is important in order to explain and understand the Rukikaire drama fully. There is no doubt that the Minister, Jim Muhwezi, is one of the original “pillars” in the NRM system. He fought in the bush war and was certainly rewarded with the lucrative position of Minister of Health and other high positions in NRM for his past contribution to the fortunes of NRM. The person whose medical bills were being paid in Nairobi was an NRM insider who acted as the external diplomat for NRM during the bush war. He was also involved in fundraising for the NRM fighters in the bush.[136] After the war he served as a Minister in the cabinet under Museveni. Therefore everything had to be done to “pay back” to a “hero” of NRM by finding the necessary funds to pay for his medical bills in Nairobi. Given the amount of money involved the sharp NRM minds resorted to corruption as the easiest, quickest and most efficient solution. The game, obviously, had to be played within a specific NRM institutional framework. Otherwise it would not have succeeded. The law was explicitly against the corrupt project.

On the other hand the man who was at the center of the practical implementation of the project, Dr. Muhebwa, PMU‟s Project Coordinator, was appointed to that position in a very dubious procedure—namely, corruptly. Someone within the scheme should be credited with sharp corrupt foresight! Dr. Muhebwa, in spite of all his failings and managerial incompetence, had all the incentive, and apparently the ability—but not a good conscience—to refuse to deliver the goods.

The more qualified candidate for the position, Dr. Mutumba, most likely not being an NRM insider, was not appointed to that position but instead Dr. Muhebwa, who was less qualified, and certainly an incompetent manager, as the Commission found, was appointed. Dr. Mutumba would have been an “obstructionist” and, as a result, was not “qualified” for the strategic post in PMU. So far it seems the pieces are falling into place. Who told you corruption “does not pay,” at least in the short run? And why do you think democracy is the best solution to corruption? This analysis fits well into the institutional structure we are dealing with and trying to comprehend. It explains why democracy punishes corruption. It also explains why corruption militates against and frustrates democracy and development. The two cannot comfortably coexist harmoniously. The more incompetent stuff you recruit in the administration the less efficient the system works but, at the same time, the more you benefit from corruption. So where is the incentive to love democracy. No wonder corrupt dictators do everything possible to annihilate the opposition, thinking, erroneously, that they are working in the interest of the whole society by enriching a small clique within their political circle.

There is no doubt that the PS/MOH at the time, Mohammed Kezaala, was working for NRM, if not originally at least a convert, because he was strategically placed within the Ministry of Health to execute corrupt decisions efficiently in order to achieve the illegal objectives of diverting Global Fund money. This story rudely reminds the author of a stupid debate in the 1960s and 1970s. It was about whether civil servants should be “politicized” in order to make them perform their duties effectively and better, not to mention “efficiently”!! Julius Nyerere, Milton Obote and Picho Ali were staunch advocates of the policy. Democracy, however, prohibits “politicized” civil servants for a good and obvious reason. Now we understand why from a real life experience. In Rukikaire’s story, obviously, a “reliable” (read politicized or corrupted) civil servant (PS) is needed in that position as an “accounting Officer” to prevent any leakages of information concerning corruption.[137] What is important to point out is the fact that the Minister of Health, Jim Muhwezi, who made the critical decisions to divert the money from the Global Fund was not even part of the legitimate PMU management staff. His involvement simply emphasizes the institutional and, therefore, corrupt, nature of the enterprise the actors were involved in.

Institutional corruption in Rukikaire’s story contains all the necessary elements that weave together institutional corruption. There is unquestioned compliance with “authority” within a chain of command right from the top to the bottom. Irregular procedures collectively followed are involved, diversion of funds characterized as departmental “borrowing” by the Permanent Secretary involving several actors was in breach of the rules and procedures, the Minister who had no authority to make the decisions for PMU but in fact made them and they were (illegally) implemented without questions asked, a politicized Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health who short-circuited the normal procedures and had his actions approved by superiors and, finally, the recipient of the funds who did not qualify to benefit from the Global Fund but in fact enjoyed them, thanks to his comrades in NRM. These are the classic indicators of institutional corruption in which several actors are involved acting in cooperation to attain an illegal objective dictated by the regime culture.

No single individual could have accomplished the goal of paying Mathew Rukikaire’s medical bills in Nairobi using Global Fund money legally. A corrupt network within an institutional framework had to exist first. The cycle of institutional corruption is complete in this particular case. But the whole story is, in fact, not yet over.


In this subsection first, we look at the problems of politically motivated trips by the Ministers under the guise of paying “supervision visits” to Global Fund projects facilitation of which involved Global Fund money and, second, we examine “ghost trips” made by the Ministers as a means of requisitioning money from the Global Fund millions of shillings were pocketed by the Ministers without actually making the trips. Both activities were fraudulent but had different consequences or implications. Regarding the first the Commission found that “all the Ministers in the MOH, their Personal Assistants, the PS/MOH, plus a few sector officials in the Ministry—made it a point to carry out numerous politically motivated trips under the guise of “supervision visits.’”[138]

One thing was clear from the Commission’s investigation. “Ministerial supervision trips were too many, too costly and of no value at all in terms of the Project’s requirements and objectives (namely to provide technical backup and ensure compliance with project guidelines). The Ministers readily conceded that they did not have the technical capacity or the competence to undertake M&E [Monitoring and Evaluation] supervision. In the graphic words of Minister Mukula, the Ministers’ supervision visits were purely for ‘dispensing political medicine.’”[139] This kind of flamboyant and colorful language, uttered with disgraceful impunity before a fact finding Commission, may have been funny had it not been that the Ministers as responsible officials of NRM were supposed to be governed by an ethical code of leadership originally promulgated by NRM supposedly to combat corruption and the unethical conduct the Ministers were engaged in.

One of the most overtly political trip was made by Jim Muhwezi and paid for by PMU from Global Fund money. Mr. Kagumire, Personal Assistant to Jim Muhwezi, requested the MOH’s Under Secretary/Finance and Administration (US/F&A) to provide money to facilitate the Minister to travel to Rukingiri to campaign for a “yes” vote in the national referendum of 2005. The “yes” vote was for amending the constitution in order to remove term limits on the Presidency. It so happens that a corrupt political objective was funded corruptly! The US/F&A asked PMU to pay. PMU processed, approved and paid Shs.2,015,000/=. The Judicial Commission found that the “overtly political activity for which this money was requisitioned was certainly GF ineligible.” No activity report was filed and no refund of the money was made.[140] There was no pretense of departmental “borrowing.” GF money was illegally diverted and used for partisan political purposes and no accountability whatsoever was submitted by the Minister.

On March 2 and 3, 2005, Mr. Kagumire requested the US/F&A to provide money to facilitate the Minister’s visit to Rukingiri and Kanungu, accompanied by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, to four Health facilities and GF activities. The PMU obliged. It processed, approved and charged the money to the CCM [Country Coordinating Mechanism] budget line in the amount of Shs.4,668,000/=. The Commission found that the Minister submitted no activity report and no accountability to PMU. Obviously, neither the Minister nor the Deputy Speaker was a member of CCM, therefore the diversion of funds was illegal.

Alluding to Minister Mukula’s comment the Commission lamented: “To add insult to injury, a number of the Ministers’ alleged trips seem not to have taken place at all. They were ghost trips. The money was taken, but the Ministers omitted to go on those visits. The Commission received evidence showing the Ministers’ attendance of Parliament coinciding with some of the dates they claimed to be on these site supervision visits.”[141] The Commission cited as, an example, Minister Muhwezi’s accountabilities. Muhwezi attended Parliament on the 15th of February, 2005. But according to the Minister’s accountability he should have left on February 14, 2005, for Mbale to inspect Global Fund activities in the Districts of Mbale, Soroti and Kumi. “Even more interestingly, the DDHS [District Director of Health Services] of Kumi (Dr. Felix Ocom) did not include the Minister among those who visited Kumi District in that Month in relation to GF activities.” The same story was true for the “ghost trips” to Mbarara, Mubende and Kamwenge Districts!

Minister Mukula testified that he visited Sigulu Islands, in Bugiri District to carry out supervision of GF activities. However, the Commission had evidence showing that the purpose of the trip was to follow up an H.E. the President’s directive to establish a Health Center III on the Island. There was no mention of the GF in the pre-visit report to the Minister from the DDHS, Bugiri District. This visit falls in the category Minister Mukula described as administering “political medicine.” Worse still the Commission had evidence from the districts that showed that the trips paid for never took place. The PMU released Shs.8,514,000/= for Minister Mukula and the DDHS to inspect Malaria activities in the districts of Kaberamaido, Katwaki, Soroti, Kumi and Sironko. The accountabilities submitted in relation to that trip were of March 24th—31st March, 2005. However, according to the DDHS Kumi, Minister Mukula’s only visit to the district in relation to malaria activities was made much earlier in June 2004.

The problem with the Ministers’ trips was not simply that they were “ghost” trips. The Commission found that “some receipts looked fake; there were receipts which had similar handwriting, yet they were issued from diverse places in the country; there were receipts issued where there was no supervision visit. For example, Hon. Mukula’s accountability included receipts issued in Kotido, Moroto and Nakapiripirit, where he himself testified he did not go due to insecurity; there were receipts with inflated fuel payments; the personal assistant to Hon. Mukula claimed he went to Moroto and Nakapiripirit where his boss feared to go. The Commission found considerable difficulty to believe this; Hon. Kamugisha claimed he went to Arua and Adjumani, but upon further investigation it has been established that he did not go there.”[142] That sums up the sad story of political influence, ghost trips and fraudulent accountability for Global Fund money.

Inevitably and sadly “In all this, the Commission finds that the two Honorable Ministers unashamedly and without blinking an eye, told a dishonorable lie on oath. Those Ministers must refund to the Project all the money involved in those trips. In addition all three MOH Ministers and their personal Assistants must be investigated further with a view to prosecution for, among others, perjury, causing financial loss, uttering false documents.” The Commission also recommended that the three Personal Assistants (Simon Kagumire, Daniel Kalule Mugarura and Sam Barasa) should be investigated for any criminal conduct and prosecuted. As for Daniel Kalule Mugarura the Commission recommended immediate prosecution for forgery, uttering false documents and causing financial loss.[143] But the story of institutional corruption that is squeezing Uganda like an African python continues to unfold. In the following narrative we look at the warped view of the government’s concept of “liability” for corruption by the Ministers and their Personal Assistants. Logic and a sense of justice have totally shunned NRM‟s administrative process because of institutional corruption!


In one case Mr. Kagumire requested US/F&A to provide Shs.1,886,000/= to facilitate the Minister to visit Kashari county to open Maternity centers and to “tour GF activities.” The US/F&A asked PMU to pay the money. The Minister did not submit an activity report or any accountability. The Commission recommended that the Minister and the MOH should be jointly and severally liable to refund the money. The government response to the liability ruling by the Commission was astounding. The government argued that “it is the responsibility of the Minister’s Personal Assistant to do the accountabilities and write the activity reports on behalf of the Ministers. Government however agrees that this money should jointly be refunded by the Minister’s Personal Assistant and the MOH.” The logic of the government in this context reflects the institutional nature of the corruption. There was a desperate attempt to insulate the Minister from liability regardless of his obviously (illegal) corrupt actions. The Minister who requested for the money, illegally used it and failed to account for it was exempted from liability to refund the money by the government! There is no logic in corruption.

Similarly, Daniel Kalule Mugarura requested for money from the PS/MOH for the Minister to tour Western Uganda. The PS asked PMU to pay. The PMU processed, approved and paid Shs.6,582,000/=. The Judicial Commission recommended the Auditor General to verify the accountability and held Minister Muhwezi, Daniel Kalule Mugarura and the MOH jointly and severally responsible. The government accepted the Commission’s recommendation with the expected proviso: the recovery of GF money would be met by the MOH without further questions. Both the Minister who requested and illegally used the money, and the Personal Assistant involved in the falsification of the accountabilities were off the hook, completely absolved of any liability by the government! Now we know why the so-called “war on corruption” declared by Museveni was a farce.

Mr. Kagumire requested the US/F&A money for the Minister’s travel to the Mid-Western Districts of Hoima, Masindi, Kibale and Kabarole. The PMU processed, approved and paid Shs.5,597,000/=. As usual the Minister submitted no activity report and no accountability. The Judicial Commission recommended that the money be refunded by the Minister and the MOH. Again the government’s response was that it was the responsibility of the Minister’s Personal Assistant and the MOH who should be responsible and held liable for the violation of the law by the Minister. The Minister who enjoyed the money had no legal liability to refund the money.

On April 16, 2004, the Minister’s Personal Assistant, Kagumire, received and signed for on behalf the Minister, a communication allowance of Shs.800,000/= for the Minister’s personal telephone. The money came from PMU and Mr. Opondo, PMU financial Controller, testified before the Judicial Commission that he sent the money to the Minister. Appearing before the Commission the Minister testified that he was unaware of the money. Mr. Kagumire, however, testified that he sent the money to the Minister’s office through the Minister’s escort, Bernard Bainomugisha. The Judicial Commission must have found Kagumire’s testimony credible because it recommended that the money should be refunded by Minister Muhwezi and Kagumire, jointly and severally. The implication of the Commission’s finding clearly is that, in case of doubt, one of the two suspects, or both through conspiracy, are responsible for an act committed in the course of their employment in which they were equally responsible for what happened. In its response to the Commission’s recommendation, however, the government in the White Paper completely exonerated the Minister of any wrong doing using a strange argument: “It is the responsibility of the Personal Assistant to the Minister to receive and account for the money.” This unfair conclusion, apparently, according to NRM, remains valid even if the Minister enjoyed the money without the company of the Persona Assistant.

Kagumire requested facilitation for the Minister to tour GF activities in the Eastern Districts of Mbale, Soroti, and Kumi. The PMU processed, approved and paid Shs.799,000/=. The Minister submitted no activity report and no accountability. The Commission recommended that Minister Muhwezi and Kagumire should refund the money, jointly and severally. The government’s response, as we have seen, was hardly surprising. It simply conformed to the rules of institutional corruption invoking an apparent technicality: “Government takes note of this recommendation and observes that it is the duty of the Minister’s Personal Assistant to write the report and do accountability, he should be held liable for the refund of this money.” This is a truly strange view of legal liability in view of the Judicial Commission’s evaluation of Muhwezi’s testimony. The Commission specifically pointed out that in his testimony “on all the above financial payments and others, Hon. Muhwezi gave a litany of conflicting and contradictory evidence on oath.”[144] But still the government in its White Paper was unwilling to hold him liable.


The government upheld the same principle of liability in Mike Mukula’s case who was the Minister of State for General Duties. Wegosa asked for money from the PS/MOH to facilitate Mukula to launch GF activities. The requisition form did not mention the places to be visited. PMU processed, approved and charged Shs.10,137,000/= to the CMM budget line. The Minister submitted no activity report and no accountability. After evaluating the testimony the Judicial Commission recommended that the money must be refunded by Mukula and the MOH. The government responded to the Judicial Commission’s recommendation in the White Paper that Wegosa “who asked for the money should be held accountable for its refund.”[145]

Sam Barasa, the Minister’s Personal Assistant, requested for money from the US/F&A to facilitate the Minister to inspect TB centers in Eastern Ugandan Districts. The PMU processed, approved and paid Shs.5,312,000/=. The minister did not submit an activity report or any accountability. The Judicial Commission recommended that Mukula and the MOH jointly and severally refund the money to GF because the trip should have been paid for by the MOH. The government’s response in the White Paper was to “note” the recommendation and observe that “it is the responsibility of the Minister’s Personal Assistant to do the accountabilities and write the activity reports on behalf of the Ministers. Government however agrees that this money should jointly and severally be refunded by the Minister’s Personal Assistant and MOH.”

This is a dreadful decision by the government in its White Paper. There is no pretense about the callousness and of blind power play under institutional corruption. One can find no better illustration for institutional corruption’s manipulation of the administrative process. A Personal Assistant to the Minister who acts on the instructions of the Minister is held liable for the Minister’s corrupt actions. The Minister, in a democratic system, who should have resigned in disgrace is, instead, completely absolved and the Personal Assistant who, presumably, acted innocently under the authority of the Minister, has to bear the whole responsibility of the Minister’s criminal behavior. It was clear from the testimony before the Commission that the Minister not only initiated the requisition of the money but approved the decision to requisition the money.

Again in the normal course of performing his daily duties Sam Barasa asked for money from US/F&A to facilitate the Minister and the Director General of General Services (Prof. Omaswa) purportedly to explain government’s view of DDT to the people in Eastern Ugandan Districts. The PMU processed, approved and paid Shs58,514,000/=. The activity report submitted for the trip did not indicate any activity related to either DDT or the GF, or anything to do with health matters. The report demonstrated that the activity was a conference “of sorts for the Teso Community to discuss their broad political agenda.” The Commission recommended that the money must be refunded by Minister Mukula and Prof. Omaswa, jointly and severally, because the use to which the money was put had nothing to do with the GF or the MOH.

In its response to the Judicial Commission’s recommendation the government in its White Paper was content with “the Ministry of Health to refund the money.” This means that the Minister and Prof. Omaswa got off free, with no liability whatsoever!! They enjoyed and spent the money not on GF or Ministry activities but they were not held liable by the government. There was zero liability for their illegal actions. If there was ever a good example of institutional corruption it was in this case. The Judicial Commission’s finding and recommendation are brushed aside and replaced with a governmental decision that practically legalizes corruption for selected governmental officials!!

Lastly, Ms. Miriam Kyabaggu asked for money from US/F&A to facilitate Minister Mukula to travel to Kyamuswa in Ssese Islands, with a team of technical people in malaria, AIDS, Tsetse control and Engineering. After Kyamuswa the plan was for the Minister to go to Rakai and Sembabule. The PMU processed, approved and paid Shs.3,450,000/=. The Commission ruled that the activity was GF ineligible. The minister submitted no activity report and no accountability for the trip. The Commission recommended that Hon. Mukula and the MOH should refund the money jointly and severally. The government took note of the recommendations in its White Paper but observed that it was “the responsibility of the person who requisitioned the money to do the accountabilities and write the activity report on behalf of the Ministers.” Consequently, the Minister was absolved of any liability and, according to the government, the “money should jointly and severally be refunded by the Minister’s Personal Assistant and the MOH.”

It is difficult to figure out what the message of the government is in these cases in which the Judicial Commission of Inquiry was not only clear as to where legal liability lay but the normal rules of civil service would clearly pinpoint liability on the Minister since the Personal Assistant has no independent legal authority to requisition money for a Minister on his own without authorization of the Minister. In fact when we repeatedly quote the fact that the normal procedure to requisition government funds through processing the request, approving the request and then making the payment conformed to the procedures it is clear that in each case before the requisition request was approved those who processed the request were convinced, or should have been convinced, that the Minister had approved it and was done for and on behalf of the minister. So the question becomes how can the Minister not be held liable for his corrupt actions? The only answer available to us is the nature of institutional corruption which distorts the rules and procedures, giving them unintended meaning. The only solution to such a problem is to change the regime that is so corrupt that it blatantly ignores the rule of law with impunity.


The Global Fund scandal provides us with plenty of material outside the institutional framework to study and understand corruption in Uganda. We now turn to cases which were investigated and prosecuted as a result of the Commission’s recommendations. To some extent these cases were also products of institutional corruption. But they owe their existence more to corruption in society in general than to the NRM institution as such. The people who exploited the Global Fund from outside government did so mainly because there was corruption all around them resulting from moral decay in society and, in addition, there were no serious consequences to those involved or who enormously profited from corruption. The popular word used of “eating” at the time aptly summaries the nature of corruption that took on a large scale.

Let us look at the case of Valued Health Limited (VHL) which was one of the earliest NGO registered in 2003. The two directors of VHL, Annaliza Mondon and Elizabeth Ngororano, were, respectively, daughter and mother. The NGO’s mission was to sensitize young people about HIV/AIDS in and around the capital city of Kampala. VHL was allocated Shs.45.5/=million in 2005 for that purpose. Only three months after allocation of the money to VHL, in August, 2005, Shs.44,102,000/= was withdrawn from the bank account of VHL. On March 20, 2009, the two directors of VHL, Mondon and Ngororano, were charged with embezzling money from the Global Fund since they could not account for the money allocated to VHL.[146]

On July 13, 2009, Annaliza Mondon and Elizabeth Ngororano were convicted for embezzling Shs38/=million from the Global Fund. They were sentenced to 5 years in prison and ordered to refund Shs30/=million to the Global Fund. Justice John Bosco Katutsi, the trial judge, commented on the social situation: “A culture has developed where the plunder of public funds is idolized. Fraudsters are looked at with admiration and awe. They are seen as achievers and those who try to lead an honest life as failures.”[147] The judge’s comment emphasizes the social nature of Ugandan corruption in this particular case. In the case of VHL a mother and daughter teamed up to defraud the Global Fund.

The next case we look at with similar implications after, Uganda v. Mondon and Ngororano, is that of Uganda v. Freddie Schoof Kavuma Ssalongo. The accused was a UTV program producer at the time he was charged. Kavuma incorporated a company known as LIJAC Promotional Services. The company was supposed to air sensitization programs on UTV. LIJAC Promotional Services was allocated Shs.41,920,000/= to accomplish its mission of producing and airing sensitization TV programs. Kavuma Ssalongo was one of the people the Judicial Commission of Inquiry directly investigated. The Commission found Kavuma “evasive” in his testimony. He failed to produce evidence of the activities claimed to have been done. The money meant for activities for three months was withdrawn within three days after it was wired to the account of LIJAC Promotional Services. The Commission found that not a single television program was aired. Kavuma’s accountabilities “appeared to be fraudulent.” Kavuma failed to produce proof for the procurement and development of tapes he was supposed to have produced.[148]

The Judicial Commission recommended that Kavuma and LIJAC should jointly and severally refund the money to the Global Fund. The IGG investigations resulted in the charges against Kavuma on October 16, 2008. On March 13, 2009, Kavuma was convicted of the charges. Justice Paul Mugamba sentenced Kavuma to five years. The judge also ordered Kavuma to refund Shs.41,920,000/= to the Global Fund. Corruption does not seem to be as profitable in Uganda as it used to be before the Global Fund investigations.


The case that tragically and truly illustrates the nature and extent of corruption in Ugandan society is Uganda v. Teddy Ssezi Cheeye, Criminal Case No. 1254 of 2008.[149] We shall briefly trace this case from the creation of the dummy corporation known as Uganda Center for Accountability (UCA), through its selection and award of a large sum of money to perform civic activities it was not qualified to perform, to a Commission of Inquiry that exposed the corrupt process of daily life in which UCA assumed a phantom existence, to the trial and conviction of its director—the devil behind the phantom company slowly but gradually causing economic ruin in the economy—to conviction of embezzlement and forgery charges. That intellectual journey, more than any other, is a trip through a Ugandan thorny thicket of corruption in which the unwary victims are bruised, or even scarred for life or die, but, more importantly, it informs us about the nature, pervasiveness and economic consequences of corruption on a struggling infant economy like that of Uganda. The abstract theories and statistical scenarios recited by economists of an economy sinking into the ground suddenly come to life; they animate corruption into a vicious social animal. Corruption is not a theory of under-development caused by imperialists as we have often been told by the socialists like Kajabago ka-Rusoke; it is an indigenous socio-political disease that needs democratic medicine for its effective treatment. Democracy fights corruption by enforcing the rules of accountability without which no political system can function properly.

The facts of Uganda v Teddy Ssezi Cheeye are not only fascinating but also very instructive in measuring the gravity of corruption and defining the personalities engaged in the dark business of thriving on corruption in Uganda. Cheeye was charged on December 16, 2008, with a total of 26 counts under the Uganda Penal Code Act. Nine counts were for false entries into accounts (or intent to defraud) contrary to section 323(b)(iii) of the Penal Code Act; six counts were for forgery contrary to sections 342, 347, and 19(2) of the Penal Code Act; eight counts were for knowingly and fraudulently uttering documents to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the mismanagement of the Global Fund and, lastly, probably most important, embezzlement contrary to section 268(b) of the Penal Code Act. Unlike law students the technical differences between fraud, forgery, embezzlement and “uttering documents” should not concern us here. They all amount to corruption which is our main subject of study.

First, let us point out the facts that make Cheeye’s case fascinating, tragic and, sadly, legendary in the war on corruption. The name of the company Cheeye created to steal public resources is paradoxical but was consciously, or more precisely, cunningly, chosen with corrupt intentions in mind. It was called the “Uganda Center for Accountability” (UCA)! That was a creative name meant to hoodwink the public! If you judged a book by its cover UCA was the company one needed to promote the civic activities of Global Fund Projects! But the truth turns out to be that UCA was a dummy company whose corporate veil was pierced at Teddy S. Cheeye’s trial on corruption charges. The directors of UCA, Cheeye and his wife, had no intention or desire of being “accountable” to the authorities as corporate trustees, as the Judicial Commission of Inquiry, prosecution, the court trial and conviction of Cheeye clearly demonstrated.

The second paradox is that in the 1990s Teddy S. Cheeye was the editor and publisher of the famous—probably most would say notorious—weekly publication known as Uganda Confidential which claimed, far beyond its abilities, to able to “split the atom” of corruption in the capital city of Kampala every week. The primary mission of Uganda Confidential was, purportedly, to “expose” corruption in Museveni’s government—what an irony! Indeed many nervous Ministers in Museveni’s cabinet trembled when they appeared in the weekly headlines of Uganda Confidential. Salacious articles were published in Uganda Confidential. It is ironical that Uganda Confidential had to close down due to the many suits alleging defamation in which Cheeye as editor of Uganda Confidential was personally ordered by civil courts to pay large amounts of damages to those whose reputations were tarnished by libel in Uganda Confidential. Eventually, after creating many furious enemies, who dragged Cheeye to civil court, the publication of Uganda Confidential became financially unviable and inevitably bankrupt. Teddy S. Cheeye had to find another means of livelihood as we shall see below.

At a deeper level, in retrospect, many of the allegations of corruption published in Uganda Confidential were clearly unethical, way out of bounds of journalistic ethics, and, therefore, the demise of Uganda Confidential was more the direct result of the economic law that dictates survival of the fittest than a voluntary mid-life change of career by its publisher. By the time Uganda Confidential ceased publication its editor had created many personal enemies, especially among the elite. Lastly, it is ironical that at the time of his arrest on charges of corruption Teddy S. Cheeye was working for the government he had viciously criticized and castigated for corruption. The fact that the government of Uganda found him employable in one of their sensitive security agencies is in itself a fascinating chapter in the Ugandan tale of corruption. Cheeye’s earlier actions seem to be devoid of consistent principle as a guide for personal action. His new job description was “Director of Economic Monitoring” in the Internal Security Organization (ISO) located in the President’s office. The job allowed Cheeye to be officially armed and he is reputed to have pulled his loaded gun on many who happened to rub his hot temper in the wrong direction.

With this background let us refresh our memory of the circumstances surrounding UCA and its director Cheeye. At both the hearings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry and at Cheeye’s trial riveting facts were discovered and documented. One strange fact is that UCA was registered as a corporation one day after it was selected and allocated Shs.120,000,000/= by the PMU. In this fact lies a big signal for institutional corrupt. It means that the process of allocation and selection of sub-recipients of Global Fund money, such as UCA, was seriously flawed, or worse, corrupted from inside PMU. No prior or routine investigation or verification of facts and capabilities claimed by UCA seems to have been done. Under normal circumstances, from what we know now, UCA would not have been selected, and if selected, it would not have been allocated so much money.

It is important to remember the manner in which Dr. Muhebwa was appointed Coordinator of PMU over a more qualified candidate, Dr. Mutumba. Add to that mess the political influence exerted by Jim Muhwezi over the PMU administration, documented earlier. To make a bad situation worse the Judicial Commission of Inquiry discovered evidence to the effect that Dr. Muhebwa, PMU Coordinator, “sidelined and excluded” PMU’s specialist (Ms. Muheki), the Financial Controller (Mr. Opondo), Public Sector and Private Sector Coordinators (Mr. Gamba-Osiga and Ms. Musoke) from the selection process and allocation of Global Fund money to the UCA. More specifically the Judicial Commission pointed out that the process of

selection and allocation of funds to UCA “was shrouded in utter mystery. For the uniqueness and responsibility entailed in the audit and evaluation, the selection should have been transparent, involving even public advertisement bidding.”[150] The selection and allocation process in which Dr. Muhebwa was involved was practically unrestrained and administratively unfettered by the normal procedures of transparency which are designed to weed out the unqualified applicants. In short, corruption did not begin with or end in UCA. Corruption was part of the administrative process that selected and allocated Global Fund money to UCA.

Because of the flawed (corrupt) selection and allocation processes at PMU the Judicial Commission found that UCA “had absolutely no capacity to undertake the audit job for which the large amount of Shs120m/= was granted to it.”[151] All these facts hint at the gravity and depth of corruption in Ugandan society in general during the 1990s and 2000s. UCA was to some extent a typical by-product of Ugandan society of the 2000s critically suffering from moral decay.

The main job for UCA, for example, was to “audit and evaluate” the activity implementation of other PMU recipients in the Districts of Kabale, Rakai, Mbarara and Ntungamo. The trial court explained that “Activities to be undertaken included Community based interventions, strengthening capacity and failures, and communities to undertake appropriate interventions in the prevention and integration of the impact of AIDS and other support to ongoing National and District programs.”[152] In order to achieve these objectives UCA needed qualified and competent employees, especially accountants. But the Commission found that Sam Kiberu who worked for UCA was not a professional accountant but an “Accountant/Researcher” who worked part-time for UCA showing up for two days a week. Inevitably the Judicial Commission concluded that “It is eminently plain that the CENTER [that is, UCA], which was supposed to audit PMU’s other sub-recipients, was itself hopelessly deficient of any capacity to even do its own accounts.”[153]

In any case, whether the accountabilities were prepared by qualified professionals or not, in practice, it did not make much difference how UCA conducted its business. The receipts Cheeye submitted to the Commission to back up the company’s activities in February/March 2005 were dated between May and July 2005. Cheeye testified that “because of the zealousness of our work, we did the work first, then accounted for it later.” That, however, was a pure lie from Cheeye’s mouth, and the Commission knew it. The Judicial Commission concluded that the “Center’s so-called accountabilities [were] completely worthless. They were riddled with contradictions, inconsistencies, ingenious explanations, plain ignorance (on the part of Mr. Kiberu and Mr. Cheeye), and outright lies.” Mr. Kiberu’s accountabilities, for example, did not tally with bank statements “because I had no access to the bank statements at all.” Cheeye testified that he never used checks in all the activities of the company. He had a safe in which he kept cash. Apparently, among the few UCA checks Cheeye used was the one he tendered to purchase $33,000 or the equivalent of Shs.56,000,000 on the eve of his trip to Shanghai in China, apparently, to do all the shopping he ever dreamed of in his life. And it was that check, fortunately, that proved one of Cheeye’s criminal acts at his High Court trail.

Clearly UCA was not a company intended to do what its corporate objectives stipulated. It was a dummy corporation used as a conduit to steal public resources in the form of foreign aid. The money allocated to UCA (Shs120,000,000) was wired into UCA account in March 2005. Within the first three weeks after the money was deposited by PMU on UCA account all the money had been withdrawn from the same account. In piercing UCA’s corporate veil Justice Katutsi commented that “Accused set up a Company, which to his knowledge was a mere sham, or simulacrum, only intended to feather his own nest with ill-gotten money. He used a method not quite different from mere expedients by which rogues of his ilk seem to think they can get away from the real substance of the transaction. In siphoning funds meant to alleviate and ease the sufferings of the wretched of the earth, the victims of the scourge of HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria into his own stomach, he is no better than a mass murder[er], which in truth he is! Think of hundreds of thousands of the victims of HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria who include innocent children from whom he robbed the little opportunity to receive a bit of comfort, nay a new lease and you will know what beast he is. The time of reckoning is now. Impunity must be looked in the face and told ‘no more of this.’ The demeanor of the accused exudes defiance rather than remorse. This is the time to tell him ‘the long arm of the law is mightier’ let a message go out that this type of conduct must cease. The message akin to the Biblical message ‘the ax is now ready to cut down the trees. Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.’”[154]

At the end of the trial the judge ruled that it was “crystal clear that prosecution have proved to the hilt that no[t] activity for which UCA had been granted Shs.120,000,000/= was carried out.” In fact “[i]n a bid to hood wink PMU (Project Management Unit) UCA engaged in preparing false documents to account for money received. The falsity of these has been proved to the letter.” The best illustration was “an attempt to show that motor vehicle [with a registration] UAA 688T had consumed petrol” thirty eight times between April and July, 2005, for a total amount of Shs.4,990,250/=. However, what was strange was not the amount of petrol consumed by motor vehicle with a registration UAA 688T. What was strange, indeed, was the fact that motor vehicle registration UAA 688T belonged to a construction company and it was a Wheel Loader Caterpillar which used diesel for fuel. The false accounting involving motor vehicle registration UAA 688T presented to PMU was prepared by witness 2, Jeffrey Nkurunziza, on the instruction of Cheeye, the accused.

The judge held the accused guilty of embezzlement because “it is not only unreasonable, but also ridiculous to suggest that the accused does not know where the money went. It went into his own stomach and to use the language of section 268(b) of the Penal Code Act, he embezzled it.” The judge also found Cheeye guilty of forgery under section 347 of the Penal Code Act but, on a technicality, not guilty of uttering false documents to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the mismanagement of the Global Fund under section 351 of the Penal Code Act.

The conviction of Teddy Ssezi Cheeye was a big break-through in the war against corruption in the judicial system in Uganda.[155] The three former Ministers (Jim Muhwezi, Mike Mukula and Alex Kamugisha—currently under indictment whose trials were delayed by the appeal of the three accused ministers to constitutional court disputing the role of the IGG in their trial) must be running scared and, probably, read sad premonitions in Cheeye’s fate. Impunity seems to have its own consequences at least in some cases. In the words of Justice Katutsi, commenting on Cheeye’s conviction: “The accused has been convicted of offences that can be termed as ‘white collar’ crimes. Of late these crimes are on an alarming increase. Unfortunately, the inherent nature of this type of crime makes it even unlikely that our present crime fighting techniques will combat it effectively. This type of crime is often accomplished behind closed doors, over the telephones and in circumstances in which no records are kept. Only when an insider blows the whistle or comes forward do we glimpse the circumstances of the criminal mind at work. In this case if Nkurunziza had not been left in the cold, I bet prosecution could not have obtained an iota of evidence. The number of cases that are reaching our courts seem to suggest, unfortunately, that this type of crime ‘pays.’ What is more alarming is that this type of crime is being committed with impunity! How do we explain the mentality of a man, who, in order to account for the money received, states that he transported people on a caterpillar loader! Is this stupidity or impunity? Again how do we explain the mentality of a man against whom there is evidence that he received money, and that in a bid to account for the money received used forged documents and who beats his chest and says: ‘there is no case against me. Do what you can, I will say nothing!’ if this is not impunity, then what else can it be?”[156]

After conviction Cheeye was sentenced to 10 years on the count for embezzlement and three years on each count of forgery, all sentences were to run concurrently. In sentencing Cheeye the judge observed: “The accused committed these crimes while he carried the coveted title of ‘Director of Economic Monitoring’ in the Internal Security Organization (ISO). It is now clear that his conduct and actions need monitoring but monitoring of a different type in a different place if not institution. There is hope he will come out a reformed citizen. The method used to commit the offences with which he has been convicted show that this monitoring needs a bit of time in order to work.”[157] The trial judge also ordered that Cheeye should pay as compensation Shs.100,000,000 for the financial loss he caused.

Cheeye appealed both the conviction and the sentences to the Court of Appeal. On October 19, 2010, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and confirmed the conviction and sentences imposed by the trail judge. Quoting the judgment of the trial judge[158] the Court of Appeal judges expressed the view that “the sentences of 10 years and three years were on the lower side. We are content, however, to leave the matter as the learned trial judge, in his wisdom, found suitable. We also uphold the order for compensation.”[159] The ruling of the Court of Appeal temporarily closes a new chapter in fighting corruption in Uganda until the Supreme Court makes the final decision. We have a long way to go because the courts alone cannot declare victory on the war against corruption because moral decay in society is still extensive and pervasive. The democratic process has a much more important role to play in the war against corruption. However, under NRM there is no hope that the democratic process will be allowed to play its role effectively.


The cancer of corruption is slowly gnawing at the soul and destroying the body of Uganda as a country, society and political system. In Uganda corruption is not only imbedded within the political structure but also has thoroughly infected the social fabric and crippled the economy by reducing its productive capacity. This means that corruption in Uganda is now deeply institutionalized. It affects all aspects of life in Uganda from the poor citizen hawking his wares on the streets of the Capital in Kampala to the occupant of the glamorous State House at Entebbe. Therefore corruption in Uganda cannot be eradicated without removing NRM regime from government. That is how changes in regimes in other countries have reduced the impact of corruption and speeded up change and democratization: the regime culture that creates and feeds the system has to be replaced because it cannot easily be reformed. This condition not only makes revolutions necessary but also, under certain circumstances, inevitable.

Imagine, for a moment, anybody arguing that apartheid could be managed and/or controlled while the National Party was still in charge and administering the apartheid regime in South Africa. The National Party was founded on the apartheid philosophy or ideology. It could not voluntarily commit suicide. Similarly there is no short-cut to the solution of the problem democratization in Uganda. In a previous section we described in detail how the NRM regime was institutionalized by the application of the three principles of broad based government, individual merit and the movement system which rendered political parties inactive. The institutionalization of the NRM regime has corrupted the political process beyond repair.

Uganda today is a society divided between a few filthy-rich, corrupt thieves and the masses painfully wallowing in poverty, ignorance and disease. The so-called “middle class” is a tiny fraction of the population consisting of the educated elite which have neither wisdom, nor courage or vision to lead or liberate the masses from their suffering to the Promised Land. We described earlier the impact of the movement system on the political parties. Not only has the NRM regime corrupted the political process it has institutionalized corruption within the economy and contributed to the moral decay of Ugandan society as a whole. The tiny elite—as manifested in the political wrangles between and within the political party structures—is constantly bickering about meaningless leadership roles and not providing solutions to the peoples’ problems! They do not even fight over the political philosophies of the political parties which are conspicuous by their absence. They have been incapacitated philosophically and morally crippled. The impact of institutionalized corruption under NRM has affected the political capacity of the leaders, their moral judgment and, as a result, the performance of the political system and the economy as a whole.

The condition Uganda finds itself in is unfortunate, unsustainable and contributes to the outrageous violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms guaranteed under the UDHR, the two Covenants to which Uganda is a party and the constitution of Uganda. NRM leaders are “pouring laughter into their fists,” to translate an untranslatable Kiganda saying into English![160] To the pleasure of NRM leaders the opposition is so confused and divided that they are punching themselves below the belt instead of kicking NRM hard in the butt! Ssebaggala would rather comfortably co-habit with Museveni than tell the truth and check into an asylum where he should be treated for what Anglo-American jurisprudence about two centuries ago designated the “disease of the mind.” I am disgusted! Museveni’s liberation war, supposedly fought to vanquish dictatorship and eradicate corruption, as the ten points program falsely predicted, instead institutionalized corruption on a grand scale and created the ultimate political machine for the suppression of liberty!

In this section we shall try to recapture and demonstrate specific examples how corruption is responsible for the increasing poverty in Uganda and the lack of development the country is experiencing. Development cannot take place because the available resources are diverted into unproductive private ventures. Corruption is also responsible for preventing the democratization of the political system. This particular problem is more serious than many people realize because the problem of corruption cannot be resolved without democratization. It is the democratic process which controls and punishes corrupt activities through the enforcement of the principle of rule or law on which accountability depends.

Consequences on the Economy

Corruption in Uganda is getting worse every day not better—or is it the reverse! The impact of corruption on the economy is enormous because it diverts scarce resources which would be used for development into private hands. Some estimates indicate that between 10% and 15 % of Uganda’s budget is siphoned away in corrupt dealings. This means that corruption in Uganda is the equivalent of $100 million lost to corruption every year.[161] That amount is more than enough to rehabilitate all the homeless children and their parents, provide shelters in the whole country and feed and educate all the hungry for at least one year. Another estimate by Peter Magelah of the Human rights Initiative, which seems closer to the truth, is even more sanguine. According to him, more that 25% (or the equivalent of shs510b) of the budget is lost to corruption. This means almost three times 8.5% of the budget allocated to the health sector but equivalent to 26% of the budget spent on education is consumed by corruption.[162]

These estimates, unfortunately, do not include the cost of the big scandals like Temangalo which, on the face of them are not officially/technically regarded as corruption. Temangalo involved the Secretary General of NRM at the time, Amama Mbabazi, which resulted into the Jamwa-Kagonyera debacle at the NSSF. The estimates quoted above exclude the cost of over 60 Presidential advisers funded by public resources, the bloated cabinet of over 70 ministers, the open bribing of more than 300 MPs at $5000 a piece (or over $1,500,000) in order to amend the constitution and remove term limits euphemistically referred to as “facilitating”[163] legislators in the course of their normal course of duties, or funding of NRM electoral primaries with tax payers money. Museveni’s declaration of “war” on corruption is therefore a pathetic joke that causes no laughter but produces a lot of tears of sadness!

In 2010 the World Bank came up with a new category of corruption referred to as “quiet corruption.” This new category of corruption is also not included in the traditional conservative estimates of corruption but it constitutes a big chunk of lost GDP when the budget resources are used to compensate those engaged in “quiet corruption.” The World Bank report uses “the term “quiet corruption” to indicate various types of malpractice of frontline providers (teachers, doctors, inspectors, and other government representatives) that do not involve monetary exchange. These behaviors include both potentially observable deviations, such as absenteeism, but also hard-to-observe deviations from expected conduct, such as a lower level of effort than expected or the deliberate bending of rules for personal advantage. For example, recent findings indicate that primary school teachers in a number of African countries “are not in school 15 to 25 percent of the time (absenteeism), but, in addition, a considerable fraction of those in school are not found teaching (low effort).”[164]

According to this new category of corruption, for example, in two surveys in Uganda it was found that teacher absenteeism rates were 27% in 2002 and 20% in 2007. Similarly, in another sector of health care providers there was 37% of an absenteeism rate in 2002 and 33% rate in 2003.[165] This is a serious problem of corruption. If we compute the monetary value of quiet corruption in all sectors of the economy including higher education in the public universities the percentage of the GDP lost to corruption is far greater than the traditional estimates, probably approaching $2000 million or more in Uganda annually! This can partly explain why Africa is not developing or developing at a much slower pace than the Asian counties. Instead, like Kajabago ka-Rusoke of NRM at Kyankwanzi, we blame “imperialism” as the cause of all our economic maladies, including corruption, which is actually causing our underdevelopment!

The phenomenon of “quiet corruption” leads us to an actual case of its consequences on society and the economy. Among the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is the goal to achieve UPE in Uganda by 2015. In a report entitled “Back to School” an assessment of the performance of Third World countries towards the MDGs of 2015, Uganda scored D, that is, Uganda’s performance was rated 37% out of 100%–F, one step below D, a grade that means failure. Uganda overall ranked 46th out of 60 countries. That rating is by no means a badge of honor for NRM because Uganda was the worst performer in East Africa. Uganda’s poor performance is not an accident. In fact Uganda’s performance in Universal Primary Education explains the “quiet corruption” that has slowly been leading to the decline in UPE program. The World Bank report on quiet “corruption” is clear evidence that absenteeism of over 20% of teachers has a direct impact on the performance of the children in the UPE program. In fact the dropout rate of children in the UPE program is alarming and increasing. If teachers do not show up in class at a rate of 20% there is no incentive for a large percentage of the children to take school and education seriously. Students are motivated by enthusiastic teachers, whom they look at as role models, not tardy ones who never show up in class.[166]

Impact on Real Estate Market

Amama Mbabazi’s story narrated above indirectly introduced us to the linkage between institutional corruption and corruption in society in an elementary way. The two forms of corruption are intimately linked but clearly distinctive from each other. Let us use a personal story as narrated by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, George W. Kanyeihamba, to illustrate our point. Kanyeihamba’s story is located at the intersection between institutional corruption and corruption in society generally. It links both forms of corruption in an intimate, incestuous embrace. The institution that is engaged in corruption is the Ministry of Lands and, specifically, the Office of Registrar of Titles to land. The society component in Kanyeihamba’s story consists of members of the Uganda Law Society who are supposed to be professional officers of the courts in the administration of justice. Members of Uganda Law Society are engaged in promoting personal interests and not collectively promoting the interests of the Law Society. Therefore their actions are not institutional in nature; they are not performed for the collective benefit of the Law Society. By virtue of their profession members of the Law Society are supposed to steer clear of corrupt dealings since corruption is incompatible with the administration of justice. When they fail in their professional duties they are accountable as individuals rather than as members of the Law Society. The same is not true for the employees of government or, in this particular case, the Ministry of Lands. The Minister and other top officials of the Ministry of Lands are appointed by the President. They are therefore directly linked to NRM.

Kanyeihamba narrated a sad story: “I have come across or heard about a dozen or more [of] forged titles only since the beginning of this year,” he writes in the Newvision.[167] And then adds: “It would appear that the manufacturers of the forged land titles mainly sitting in the Ministry of Lands are receiving bulging briefs from land thieves as bona fide purchasers for value without notice. They are assisted in this fraudulent trade by both unsuspecting and knowledgeable lawyers. In one or two forgeries, it will be hard for the lawyers involved not to have known or suspected that the land titles they were instructed to handle were mere forgeries. The fact that knowing about these forgeries, they continued representing guilty clients, is evidence that they themselves, the lawyers were accomplices.” Kanyeihamba goes on to write, as a good citizen, that he contacted both the Ministry of Lands and the Uganda Law Society in order to alert them about the problem but neither responded to the urgency of the situation he communicated to them. He went as far as naming one Law Firm that was involved in this corrupt enterprise but no one took him seriously.[168]

There are three important components in this story we want to focus on. The first is, obviously, the institution known as the Ministry of Lands. The Ministry is part of NRM and, therefore, a member of NRM heads the Ministry of Lands. These facts have to be taken into account when explaining the corruption that is going on and the response, or lack thereof, to the complaints. Here we encounter institutional corruption head on. Stories about corruption in the Ministry of Lands are not new. In fact one wonders why the IGG has not taken action on his own initiative to investigate the corruption in the Ministry of Lands without waiting for Kanyeihamba to expose the problem which many people know and have known the existence of for a long time. In fact the IGG has in the past investigated land title fraud in the Ministry of Lands.

Similarly, the CID, which operates under the supervision of NRM, should not wait for someone to publish the information about corruption in the Ministry of Lands in the media before they take action as a law enforcement agency. They are supposed to take action to pursue criminal activities on their own initiative without people complaining to them as long as they are aware, as they were in this case, that criminal activity is taking place. This story, in short, tells us a lot about both the complexity and intractability of the problem of institutional corruption under NRM and the problem of law enforcement it deliberately frustrates. Absence of knowledge of the criminal activities is not the issue in institutional corruption. No action is taken because taking action is viewed as a betrayal of institutional solidarity one is a part of within NRM. There is always a collective sentiment that reinforces and perpetuates institutional corruption. Politics without democratic accountability, more than any other factor, is to blame for breeding and strengthening institutional corruption.

The second component of the problem is the members of Uganda Law Society who are engaged in or participating in a corrupt enterprise. The lawyers are not only engaged in corruption they are violating both professional ethics, as Kanyeihamba hints, but also contravening criminal laws because they are knowingly aiding clients to engage in a criminal enterprise by helping them to transfer land titles illegally. This brings us to the third component of the story which is the law of property.

The rules which govern the transfer of property, especially land, are very ancient, very rigid and, ultimately, as the test of time has shown, very fair. These property rules were formulated in a period when corruption was rampant and often deadly to its participants and victims alike. Almost 99% of the people who are “buying” land of forged titles are buying “air,” to use a familiar term used in corruption in Uganda. And, unfortunately, buying “air” is exactly what it is or sounds like. When you buy “air” you own nothing because you do not acquire the title to land of a forged title. A forged title is not a title at all, to put in another way. This was the rationale for the foundation on which the rules that govern transfer of property were originally founded.

The basic principle of the law of property is that no one can transfer title to property he does not own or have legal authority to pass to another person or buyer. That principle is not only clear but also fair. It is intended to prevent or discourage corruption and fraud. It contains a warning, too: buyers beware. This means that a lot of people buying land with forged titles are actually buying nothing since the sellers do not own the titles they are purporting to sell. The sad but predictable situation is that there are many people “investing” in land, by putting up new buildings, renovating old ones, expanding acreage, etc. to which they have no good titles because the sellers had no good titles they could legally transfer to the buyers or investors. This legal situation has serious consequences for the immediate and long-term health of the economy. When many people hold valueless properties one expects the “bubble” to burst sooner than later. Innocent people are going to pay a big price for the sins of the corrupt.

In the passage quoted from Kanyeihamba he used the phrase “bona fide purchasers for value without notice.” This is a technical legal term. It means that section 77 of the Registration of Titles Act creates one exception to what we have said about transfer of a good title to land. Any certificate in the registration book procured or made by fraud is void against all those who are parties to the fraud; only a bona fide purchaser for value who was not aware of the fraud can acquire a good title in which fraud was involved in the transfer of the title to land. Imagine the chaos, agony and literally financial loss and personal wars that will erupt when the nature of this problem comes to light and bursts open in the property market place, especially where investment in stock markets tied to bad mortgages is involved.

There are two fronts to this war: the economic or financial front and the human front. When news of the existence of the fraudulent titles explodes the stock market will inevitably collapse. The value of land will plummet or be deflated because it will take time to figure out who has a good title and who does not. Whoever has invested in that market will bite the bullet, as the saying goes! The corruption situation in Uganda is analogous to what happened to the economy in US in 2008. Eventually the so-called “bubble” created by corruption will burst and the losses will spread like wild fire through the entire economy. It is therefore in our collective interest as society to deal with this corruption under the law before it is too late or gets out of control.

The human front to the corruption being perpetrated in Uganda will probably be more deadly, bloody, and personal just as the medieval wars which gave rise to the existing rules of property law were. The “innocent” buyer who wakes up one day to discover that he does not own the land he paid a fortune for will attack not only the seller who gave him a bad title, assuming he can find him/her, but he will also look for the lawyer who helped him dig the grave and all the mess he finds himself, in the first place. A lawyer involved in the sale or purchase of land has a legal obligation to do what is called a “title search.” This means that the lawyer must assure his/her client that the title he/she is acquiring is good or secure under the law. In fact some lawyers, in order to protect themselves against legal malpractice, purchase insurance just in case the title their client is acquiring is bad or defective, for some reason. But all this assumes that the lawyer is acting in good faith, and is not involved in fraud which does not seem to be the case in Kanyeihamba’s story.

It is, therefore, unlikely that the bad titles that are floating around in Kampala and environs are insured. But even if they were insured chances are that the insurance is a waste of money because of the principle of moral hazard which prohibits people to insure what they do not own! If anyone can insure anything they do not own for any value with the expectation that they will be fully compensated for the loss of the insurance face value the very idea of insurance would be a very dangerous idea because of moral hazard. Hence the human tragedy of corruption in land titles in Uganda today. They are moral hazards which no rational insurance company can get involved in!

Kanyeihamba’s story, incidentally, teaches us a lot about the consequences of corruption on property rights and insurance law put in one package. What is going on in Uganda is a silent deadly bomb that will eventually explode and destroy lives, businesses and institutions unless something is done in time to prevent the deadly consequences. Because this corruption has been institutionalized the best solution to it is the democratic process to replace NRM regime entirely.

Mutation from Corruption to Organized Crime

A closer look at Ugandan society as a whole indicates that there are many more serious consequences of corruption on the society as a whole. During the last twenty years due to the failure to punish or control corruption under the law corruption has mutated into various forms of organized crime. This deadly consequence of corruption has not been carefully studied, let alone understood. We are therefore trading on new ground when we describe the mutation of corruption into organized crime. We invite other scholars to look at this phenomenon more carefully. The signs of this mutation are everywhere and very easy to trace.

At first sight the connection between corruption and organized crime may seem remote or even an illusion. However, on closer examination the mutation between corruption and organized crime is not only logical but sociologically expected or predictable. One is the logical extension of the other. Hence, our use of the biological concept of “mutation” to describe the phenomenon of organized crime being a transformation of corruption into a new form of criminality through professionalization of corruption. When corruption is converted into a career, that is, a permanent source of livelihood, or a profession for some people, it becomes organized crime. Corruption in the form of organized crime is a deadly social disease. It is more than a symptom of moral decay. The transition from corruption to organized crime is, however, a very smooth one. A few illustrations will suffice to make our point. First, let us look at the circumstances that make the mutation from corruption to organized crime possible.


The behavior of the teachers we described above is a good example to support our contention and the conclusion we reached that moral decay in Uganda is widespread and, as a result, has affected the behavior of the people in the entire society. If teachers who are supposed to be the exemplars of good conduct can be corrupted then anyone can be corrupted. One observer has noted that the “challenging economic realities” people encounter has transformed “the character of the individual—and to a great extent of the nation—for the last 25 years.” He adds that “The hallmark of a contemporary Ugandan is survival with the target being the attainment of the daily bread and other human pleasures that keep the skin together and provide the satisfaction that see one through to another day. … The weight of this is that in the psyche of most of us, there is nothing like a long-term perspective. It is about the short run; today and now. With this mindset, honesty, diligence and efficiency is rendered irrelevant. The shortcut and the want to cut out corners come in handy—even in the way we drive on the road. Because we think as if there is no tomorrow, most of our work is done haphazardly and is tainted with mediocrity. … Secondly, in a situation where survival is the cornerstone as it is in Uganda today, deception and form is more important than substance.” As a result “Uganda leads most corruption indices and has terrible records of human rights abuses, domestic violence, crimes against children, including human sacrifice, defilement and rape. We may consider also that the increase in cases of HIV infection is more significant among married couples—meaning that they secretly maintain relationships besides those that they portray in the public eye as happily married.”[169] The impact of corruption in Uganda affects the welfare of the individual and the whole society leading to a decline in education, performance of the economy and the rate of economic development. Rule of law seems to be irrelevant under these circumstances.

Because corruption under NRM is institutionalized very few cases are effectively litigated or punished. The IGG is ineffective as Mwondha’s futile debacle to reappoint her for a second term demonstrated. Several MPs ganged up and opposed her reappointment because she had taken a tough line by enforcing the Leadership Code enacted by Parliament to prevent or punish corruption committed by the MPs. Ken Lukyamuzi lost his seat during Mwondha’s tenure as IGG head. The laws and institutions set up to fight corruption were compromised by the political tentacles emanating from institutionalized corruption within NRM regime as a political organization. Among the corruption scandals we have discussed above (Junk Helicopters, the police, privatization of Uganda Commercial Bank, CHOGM procurement and the mismanagement of the Global Fund, etc.,) only four low status individuals have been charged and convicted for embezzlement of Global Fund money. This minimal enforcement measure, however, was due to unrelenting pressure from outside because the Global Fund was a form of foreign aid over which Uganda had little control. Without the donors of the Global Fund money in Geneva the probabilities are high that no one would have been charged, let alone convicted, for embezzlement in the Global Fund scandal. The knowledge by the public that there are no serious consequences for corruption is an inducement to mutate corruption into organized crime.

One explanation which has been given for inadequate litigation of corruption has been the shortage of judicial manpower. This is, however, more of an excuse than an explanation for the prevalence of corruption in Uganda. The inadequate judicial manpower has not shown sufficient determination to fight corruption effectively. This is mainly due to the fact that moral decay has affected or even compromised Ugandan society when it comes to the enforcement of corruption laws. There has been judicial reform but it is not yet clear whether the new anti-corruption court at the High Court will make much difference since it has only two full time judges with, as of June 2010, a backlog of over 350 cases. Trying one case may require over two hundred working hours, and the rule of law demands it, no matter how expensive and slow the process becomes because procedural rules which are at the core of the enforcement of the rule of law and the administration of justice should not be compromised. As the saying goes, it is better for justice to acquit nine guilty defendants than to convict one innocent person. The Judiciary, police, IGG, DPP and the Ministry of Ethics who are supposed to enforce corruption laws together share only 7% of the national budget. Our national priorities are part of the problem. Moreover, the number of police personnel, magistrates and MPs who have been charged with, involved in or resigned because of corruption crimes is sufficient to make anyone cringe with skepticism about effective enforcement of corruption laws under the NRM regime.

One individual civil servant Jamwa was accused of abuse of office and causing substantial financial loss to NSSF in the amount of shs2.7b of the workers’ pension funds. He was also involved in the shady Temangalo land deal where the inflated value of land owned by a minister who was also Secretary General of NRM, Amama Mbabazi, was sold to NSSF—in clear violation of the procurement laws—for an inflated value of about shs11bn for about 400 acres of land located many miles outside of the capital city of Kampala. This was a typical case of institutional corruption within the NRM regime. The state lost billions of shillings in one transaction, money that would have been used for development. Even though Jamwa was later convicted of the crime of causing financial loss there was no way of recovering all the money corruption consumed in one gulp in the Temangalo transaction.

On October 15, 2007, the Daily Monitor reported a “bizarre racket in which officials with access to huge deposits of public money hold the cash in special accounts and reap from it [in] interest.” The scheme is a big and complex “syndicate” involving the biggest Ministries in the country such as Finance, Defense, Health and the Bank of Uganda. Officials in these institutions deposit say shs1.446b on “fixed deposit” accounts in a commercial bank at fixed rate of 4% for 30 days. At the end of the 30 days they withdraw the money—hopefully they redeposit it back in the treasury—and keep the interest amounting to hundreds of millions of shillings. These types of transactions are more than corruption; they amount to organized crime.

It is not even clear how an individual can make such a huge deposit in a commercial bank without following proper banking procedures and regulations that require disclosures of the sources of big monetary assets such as those. Under what authority do bank officials approve the movement and transfers of public funds from one bank to another? This should clearly implicate the banking industry officials in facilitating such corrupt schemes as having been compromised in order to authorize the making of those huge deposits. These transactions represent the transition from mere corruption to organized crime. It is also a good example of the extent to which NRM’s institutional corruption has reached because the officials involved are trusted members of NRM, such as Ministers and Permanent Secretaries—who alone have access to such huge amounts of government money—but were not investigated by the IGG, prosecuted by the DPP or disciplined by their bosses even though their corrupt schemes were uncovered or exposed by the media, as it was in this particular case. When this happens the line from mere corruption to organized crime is crossed. NRM regime culture is the only explanation for the tolerance of this compound, complex, deep, political problem of institutional corruption thriving unchecked in Uganda. However, organized crime may be realized and can be illustrated through other corrupt channels. We turn to organized crime proper.


The most dramatic case that illustrates the presence of organized crime in Uganda was reported in Bukedde ku Ssande.[170] According to Bukedde ku Ssande organized groups with names such as Kikankane, Yellow Force and Black Force have headquarters in different parts of Kampala. Bukedde ku Ssande met and interviewed a young man who worked for these groups. The young man who is from Masaka-Bukomansimbi was recruited into the organized crime syndicate from school by his friend Matovu in 2000. The recruiter was related to an individual whose identity is revealed as Cpt. Ssemwogerere who owned a gun they used in their organized crime business. Matovu introduced the recruit to his bosses in Gomba where they ambushed automobiles belonging to local traders. They stole from the traders, bodaboda and even raped women as a sideline. After being recruited his bosses liked him very much because they noted that the new recruit was a very enthusiastic and determined operator judged by the missions assigned to him. However, after almost a decade in the organized crime gang he escaped from these gangs and was in hiding at the time he was interviewed by Bukedde ku Ssande. He told Bukedde ku Ssande that the bosses behind these groups include commanders in the police force. The commanders are responsible for the murders and robbery committed by the gangs. The executioners of the missions are treated as mere employees of the gang.

After recruitment the first test the recruit was given was to ambush a track transporting bread for the company known as Kidawalime. The track was coming from Gomba at a place called Nsambu. The group attacked the bread track. They shot and killed one woman. The driver was also short in the arm but managed to escape with severe wounds. On another occasion they ambushed a track carrying cows from Gomba. In this mission they used an AK47 belonging to their captain.

One of their bosses was a very “influential” figure in government. Whenever they were arrested and sent to police custody or prison he managed to get them released. Police officers in the area feared their “influential” boss. They used to wear masks on their missions for disguise. In Gomba among their activities were stealing cows, goats, bodaboda, money from gas stations, shops and airtime sellers. They short several people in these operations. Among the victims killed was Katende of Mpenja who was shot getting out of the bathroom but because the children managed to recognize them they were attacked at Matovu’s home and Ssemwogerere’s mother at Gomba. The home was totally destroyed. The battle was so intense that Kanoni police could not suppress the attackers. Law enforcement sent for reinforcement from Mpigi. After Rogers killed a policeman they swiftly escaped to Kampala.

The bosses of the gangs rented a house for them at Lungujja-Natete where they received more training in robbery and killing people. They met other members with whom they coordinated their activities. The motorcycle group’s job was to survey and identify potential projects. Their jobs included being hired by the rich landlords who wanted to evict tenants. In their strategies they would kill a few people and the following day the remaining tenants would voluntarily evacuate the area for fear of being killed. Among the other jobs gangs did were being hired by married people to eliminate their spouses or those with bibanja disputes who wanted to avenge themselves. A certain individual called Kabagambe was a friend of their boss in Lubaga. He had a house in Kibumbiro-Busega where they got their instructions for new operations.

From 2000 to 2011 the gang estimated that they killed about 300 people. In 2011 alone they had 30 assignments to kill people. They robbed in the Natete area and other suburbs of Kampala. For example, they attacked Musaayi’s shop in Natete and robbed an estimated Shs40,000,000/= in one day and the narrator interviewed by Bukedde ku Ssande was the commander of the operation. The robbers were, however, unhappy because their bosses gave them very little money as their share compared to the size of the booty they brought home to their bosses. One day they robbed a Chinese businessman on Ben Kiwanuka St. who imported handbags. They also stole computers, DVDs and telephones at Fidodido where they found a young Asian man on duty on whose head they pointed a muzzle of the gun. On that occasion they robbed telephones, DVDs and money. On the same day they ambushed a vehicle from a farm on Mityana Road. After robbing it they retired with their booty to Kampala.

On another day the narrator and another individual identified as Mansoor robbed a trader, identified as Francis Jr. who sold airtime. Before the robbery members of the gang followed him from Makindye to Najjanankumbi where they sprayed him with bullets. Before they go for a robbery operation the members of the gang are “tuned up.” They are given money to buy drugs such as marijuana and other intoxicating substances. In each area of operation there are bosses who do the planning and give instructions on how to execute a specific robbery. If a member of the gang fails on three consecutive times in his missions the bosses secretly plan to eliminate him by killing him so that he may not conspire to reveal their illegal activities. The gang normally uses motorcycles to escape quickly from the scene of the crime and use expensive cars when they have long distance missions. They deposit money on special accounts if the mission is a long distance way in order to avoid moving around with a lot of money. They also have lawyers who help them get released whenever they get arrested.

When a new member is recruited in these gangs he has to take an oath of silence and swear not to disclose anything to his relatives or friends without the permission of his bosses. A member of the gang cannot refuse any assignment and must disclose his location every two hours and report what he is doing. The groups have contacts in police stations who work with them to accomplish their missions. They also have an army officer they work with in Old Kampala area of Kampala city. This officer has helped the gangs a lot in accomplishing their missions. They also have journalists such as Box Spander and Gear Box who spy for them and help them disseminate news about their movements. The gangs operate as a military unit. The people they work with are trained security officers and some have been in the organization for a long time. The gang is very much interested in people who sell airtime because they move around with a lot of money and their bosses have planted spies in their organizations who follow their movements with knowledge of how much money they make a day.

The main reason why the narrator was disclosing the secrets of the gangs is because he was haunted all the time by the innocent deaths he has caused. He claims to have met Kaihura to whom he was introduced by a young man identified as Jr. He also claims he informed Kaihura everything he knew. At the time he disclosed the secrets and activities of the gangs he lived in fear because, he suspected, his former colleagues were looking for him, most likely to kill him. They were aware that he had disclosed all the information published in Bukedde ku Ssande to the authorities and the rest of the world. He says that if he gets a chance to meet the President his first request would be to ask him for forgiveness for killing innocent people. He says he would also tell him all the secrets of the business of the gangs.

Bukedde ku Ssande reports that one of the victims who was shot in Nakulabye but survived the ordeal reported his incident to the police with his relatives to Kale Kaihura who handed over the case to Simon Kawesi, Police Commander of Kampala, but apparently no action has been taken. In October 2011 the gangs shot Christopher Biryamumaiso on his way home at Kazo-Bwayise. He died in the hospital. The motives for these killings are not made clear.


We reproduce a translated version of the report by Bukedde ku Ssande, narrated in the second person, in order to illustrate how uncontrolled corruption has successfully mutated into sophisticated organized crime. The trend of this mutation is on the increase. Unless drastic action is taken to contain the situation through democratization of Uganda and restoration of the rule of law the criminal gangs are going to rule the capital of Uganda and terrorize innocent people in the whole country. Remember that organized crime profits from someone else’s effort or economic production. The simple truth is that, as the details of this report indicate in graphic detail there is no difference between terrorism and organized crime. And yet the only terrorists NRM regime talks about are those openly demanding the exercise of their human rights to assemble, associate and express themselves freely. In that respect NRM is an ally of the organized crime conducted by terrorists. As long as Museveni can stay in power he would rather tolerate the terror of organized crime than grant the people their political freedom if there is a chance that he may lose his illegal tenure in Statehouse.

Let us look more closely at the terrorism of organized crime directly caused by corruption under NRM. As we have illustrated above by the corruption scandals that have plagued NRM uncontrolled corruption is a symptom of the absence of democracy and the rule of law. That means that organized crime cannot be controlled or eliminated before corruption is controlled or eliminated. In this context the equation of organized crime with terrorism is not idle or loose talk. From the content of the newspaper report above it is clear that terrorism and organized crime have a close kinship. Organized crime recruits its members in secret; so does terrorism. In a democratic society that should trigger the bells of freedom ringing loud. Second, all recruits of organized crime must take an oath of allegiance to abide by the secret orders of their bosses whose identity must remain unknown. Third, the activities of the criminal gang, like that of terrorists, are illegal; they have no legitimacy in a democratic system of government. Fourth, organized crime gangs do not have a rational code of conduct. The force they use is disproportionate, their victims are chosen at random and they are almost always innocent. Fifth, organized crime can only succeed under at least two conditions. First the rule of law is not effectively enforced, which allows criminal gangs to operate with impunity. Second, because of the latter, some of the law enforcement officials either actively collaborate with the organized crime syndicates or turn a blind eye to their activities. In the case of Uganda the rule of law is not effectively enforced and law enforcement officials seem to be actively involved in organized crime. We must take action to restore the rule of law through democratization.


The second hypothesis implicit in the arguments of the story in part III relates to the control and punishment of corruption. We cited many examples at the beginning of part III to illustrate the fact that corruption exists in democratic political systems. We, however, know that due to the strict enforcement of the principles of political accountability and the rule of law democratic political systems are capable of controlling and punishing corruption. What we learn from the numerous corruption scandals under NRM and the failure of the NRM regime to enforce the law and hold the corrupt officials accountable, especially those in the top hierarchies of the NRM system, or even fight organized crime, is the basis for the validity of the second hypothesis: democracy is the only effective weapon against corruption. There is now sufficient evidence to substantiate this hypothesis. In Africa regimes that are democratizing their political systems are more capable of controlling corruption. Controlling corruption also enables the economy to grow faster whereas a corrupt undemocratic system stifles economic development and organized crime makes the situation much worse.

At the regional level Africa is the most corrupt and least democratic and developed region in the world. Within Africa the least democratic countries are also the most corrupt. For example, the countries which score less than 2.0 Corrupt Perception Index (CPI) consistently are the most corrupt. These countries, ranking them from the bottom, include: Somalia, Guinea, Sudan, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Angola and Congo. These countries are the poorest and also always at the bottom of the country ranking of corruption in the world.

When one looks at the African region the most democratic countries are always in the top ranks of the least corrupt countries. Among the least corrupt countries in the African region the top ten countries beginning with the least corrupt are: Botswana, Mauritius, Cape Verde, Seychelles, South Africa, Namibia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Swaziland. The country which is always on top of the least corrupt in Africa, Botswana, has been democratic since it gained independence in 1967. It has never experienced a coup d’état or a failure to hand over power peacefully from one leader to another. Not only has it peacefully changed leaders but it has also achieved phenomenal economic development compared to the rest of Africa. Given these facts there is no reason to attribute Africa’s underdevelopment to colonialism or imperialism half a century after independence as Walter Rodney’s school of thought embraced by Kajabago ka-Rusoke teaches.[171] Museveni himself wrote an undergraduate thesis at Dar-es-Salaam University supervised by Walter Rodney whose intellectual influence on Museveni is obvious but Museveni has tried to run away from it since 1986, betraying a degree of ideological deception on part of Museveni.

South Africa and Ghana also rank the least corrupt countries in the African region today. At the international level Botswana ranks among the top 40 least corrupt, with about 6.0 CPI. South Africa which has just been liberated from apartheid, is among the top 60 worldwide with above 5.0 CPI and Ghana among the top 70 worldwide with above 4.0 CPI. These figures are neither statistical accidents nor ideological coincidences. They contain a very important message about the causal relationship between democracy and the control of corruption through public officials’ accountability. Uganda’s CPI score in 2008 was a mere 2.6 CPI together with Mozambique, Eritrea and Ethiopia. The three countries had a common country ranking of 126 worldwide. Uganda’s score fell to 2.5 CPI in 2009 ranking together with Mozambique, Nigeria and Mauritania at a rank of 130 worldwide out of 180 rankings. Uganda’s CPI continues to slide down.

Therefore, for all the rhetoric NRM leaders are dishing out Uganda’s corruption index is a good indicator of the absence of democracy in the country and the increasing poverty, despite an artificially high growth rate of about 7% of GDP in the 1990s. This means that corruption siphons off any growth rate that occurs and dumps it to the bank accounts of the corrupt millionaires of whom Uganda now has a substantial number. Therefore, it does not even matter who you blame, individuals or NRM as a political institution, the fact is that the low corruption CPI for Uganda is good evidence of the absence of democracy in Uganda and explains increasing poverty and failure of poverty reduction programs in spite of relatively healthy economic growth rates Museveni proudly cites every year in the budget speeches. The Budget Speech of 2012-13 shows that the economic growth rate of Uganda is now below 3.5%. The situation is likely to get worse as the global economy goes through another recession.

Democratization has a structural aspect which we must mention. In the case of Uganda the structural aspect of democratization is found in the debate to establish a federal system of government. Federalism has the constitutional effect of insulating the administration of the federal state from the national government which may be corrupt. For example, the corrupt multiplication of districts, the bloated cabinets in the central government and excessive Presidential Advisors are unlikely to survive in a accountable federal system of government whose budget is debated and approved by the whole federal system instead of a unitary system in which the executive of the central government dominates the budgetary process. One of the components of UPC political philosophy Museveni effectively adopted is that of a unitary system. In this respect Museveni cannot distinguish himself from Obote.

The federal government would have no power to abuse its authority by creating new districts in the federal states, providing military training for the Banyala or any other ethnic group within a state of the federation or appoint an army of RDOs who squander national resources. By looking at the list of the things the federal government will have no power to do we can clearly see the checks and balances of a federal system. We are not simply talking about the theory of federalism here but the actual practical, desirable limitations on the power of the federal government and the accountability of public officials at all levels of government. The excessive concentration of power in a unitary system contributes to Uganda’s failure to reduce poverty, maintain the crumbling infrastructure in the rural areas or even effectively prosecute corrupt officials of the top ranks of the central government structures. The low level officials who are prosecuted for corruption are the tip of the iceberg created by the NRM institutional corruption. Such institutional corruption can only be tackled effectively when there is change in the regime culture itself. This can only occur when a new political party with a new set of leaders takes over the government. This is how changes have occurred in Ghana, South Africa and Botswana. Democratization of Uganda must begin with regime change and constitutional reform similar to what happened in those African countries that are now prospering due to effective regime change. These countries have term limits which are the most effective mechanism to change a regime culture peacefully.


If our hypothesis is valid Uganda needs democratization in order to fight corruption effectively, especially in its form of organized crime. However, the prognosis for democratization of Uganda at this time through NRM is very bad for three main reasons. These are the iron hand of history which continues to negatively influence the political behavior of the people and thereby control politics in Uganda from the graves of past dictators, the political, social and economic consequences of corruption perpetrated and institutionalized by the NRM regime on Ugandan society and, lastly, the uncertain or ambiguous predictions of social theory on the future of democracy in Uganda.

The traumatic history of Uganda which we outlined in detail in part II of this essay has made the odds for normal democratization of Uganda, that is, smooth and progressive reform of the political system, either very low or nearly impossible. One source of the problem is the fact that the post-colonial history of Uganda has been dominated by brutal dictators who have decimated all elements of political freedom essential in activating and sustaining the democratic process. This has led to pathological fear of the state and, as a result, causing the people to hide behind apathy instead of courageously confronting the political enemy head on in order to liberate ourselves.

The incumbent ruler in 2012, for example, is the least likely Ugandan Head of State to democratize Uganda voluntarily or through the normal political processes because democratization for Museveni is a suicidal political act whose results are to his disadvantage and detrimental to his corrupt personal interests. Museveni, a man addicted to political power, has entrenched his regime in power more than any other Ugandan leader has ever done in the past. This necessarily leads to a bad prognosis for democratization of Uganda as long as Museveni or NRM is in power. The closest analogy to the huddles of democratization of Uganda is Tanzania where Nyerere left Chama Cha Mapinduzi entrenched in power with no effective political opposition. The opposition had been wiped out by Nyerere’s one party system between 1965 and 1991. The only difference with Uganda is that Nyerere relinquished power voluntarily in 1985 but the opposition has had an uphill battle to build new political parties since 1991. Political infrastructure is always difficult to create. The situation is worse under dictatorship.

Contrast that with the process of democratization in Kenya where the opposition took over power in 2002 and managed to enact a new progressive constitution. Unlike Uganda both Kenya and Tanzania have term limits in their constitutions which are the most effective weapons in democratization through peaceful regime change. The situation in Uganda is very different. Anybody dreaming about Museveni’s voluntary retirement must quickly dispel such naive thoughts.

The Iron Hand of History

First, Museveni corruptly removed term limits from the constitution in 2005 to ensure his indefinite longevity in power. Second, the excessive use of the military to accomplish political objectives is an ominous sign signaling Museveni’s determination to hang on to power indefinitely at any price. In this respect, as we demonstrated in part II, Museveni is not different from Obote or Amin—both in political strategies and personality. Like Amin and Obote, Museveni wants to rule Uganda for life. While history has thus compounded the odds for democratization of Uganda other sociological factors have intervened to make the situation worse. Apathy and political timidity, even though not invincible, have yet to be overcome, hopefully, probably unexpectedly, in the same way as they were overcome in Poland and the Middle East through “instant” social change.

Apathy and timidity, just as in Uganda, prolonged the life of Arab dictatorship but did not ensure it everlasting durability because social change is inevitable and, occasionally, very unpredictable. Fortunately, implications of this fact have so far escaped the attention of every greedy dictator addicted to power like Muammar Gaddafi and Yoweri Museveni. Leaders addicted to power can rarely anticipate their fate in history or wisely prepare for it; they cannot indefinitely postpone it since they have finite lives like everybody else. Social change, however, powerful its effects may be, in its normal course of transforming society, cannot take place in one day. This is the cruel reality inherent in any political struggle. Social change is normally slow and incremental even though at times, as in the Middle East, it can suddenly explode and destroy political myths thereby rapturing political inertia in the entire society or region.[172]

That means that the road ahead for democratization in Uganda is full of obstacles: political, psychological, economic, military, demographic, systemic, etc. Unlike the urbanized people in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria the Ugandans are predominantly a poor, rural population with rudimentary means of communication. One needs some creativity in mobilizing them in non-traditional ways. The urban elite are very unreliable, greedy and, therefore, easily corrupted. Although these facts and conclusions lead, inevitably, to a bad prognosis for democratization of Uganda we have to remember that social change goes on all the time and occasionally may be unexpectedly precipitated by unforeseen factors. In this age of instant technology oppressed people have already realized that it is possible to defeat well-armed brutal dictators with collective courage in the streets of the capital.

Dictators should take note of this new political reality and learn the lessons of history. Under very repressive colonial regimes independence movements against the colonial regimes had very low odds of success before World War II. Participation in the war by Africans changed everything. For example during the first decade of the twentieth century the colonial rulers confidently believed that their mission in Africa would last at least another two centuries. They grossly misjudged the process of social change, of which they were not fully aware. World War II, acting as a political catalyst, shattered the supremacy of the colonial myth, suddenly causing social change that precipitated the independence movements in the decade of 1945 and 1955.

Similarly, the liberation movements that confronted brutal ideologies in Russia, Eastern Europe, Portugal and South Africa gathered momentum due to a snowball effect when it suddenly dawned on oppressed people everywhere that the political tiger they feared most, as Mao Zedong would put it, was actually a “paper” tiger! The people realized that they could successfully demand and get their political freedom from entrenched brutal dictators. By comparison, in the context of Uganda, Museveni whose intellect is far dimmer than that of the great leaders like Mahatma K. Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, who led historical political crusades through social change, cannot be the only unique political leader in history who will defy the laws of history and social change. Museveni must accordingly be warned.

Impact of Pervasive Corruption

The second factor that makes the democratization of Uganda difficult is corruption. Corruption whose different aspects we extensively described in part III is the most serious obstacle to democratization in Uganda. Fortunately, however, corruption is a double-edged sword: it cuts both ways! Those who have profited from corruption are unwilling to see NRM relinquish power. The same is true for those who have abused their offices within NRM regime, including the Head of State, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. The beneficiaries of corruption are all worried about Damocles’ sword hanging above their heads. As a result the most resistance against democratization of Uganda is from the corrupt who grimly look at the impending demise of the NRM regime and sadly contemplate the consequences of Uganda without the NRM piggy bank.

What the corrupt people in Uganda have to realize is that “investing” in corruption is always a short-term, short-sighted, precarious gambling decision which will inevitably come back to haunt and bite them. From Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines to Mobutu Sese Seko wa Zabanga in Zaire (now Congo) corruption is a short-term investment that can take your life or send you to prison for a long time. Today international law has paved the way for corrupt leaders to forfeit their loot as we shall demonstrate below. In a rational world, therefore, corruption can never be a profitable business in the long run. The sooner the corrupt abandon the NRM sinking boat the better for them in the long run. Moreover, there is neither integrity nor longevity in a corrupt institution; it eventually self-destructs. If the powerful communist regime in USSR was forced to go extinct in spite of its powerful secret police, the KGB, and so was the brutal racist apartheid regime, which was technologically the strongest regime on the African continent, NRM, a political midget, by comparison, will inevitably go, no matter what anyone thinks to the contrary and notwithstanding ISO, ESO, PPGU, Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, etc., etc.

As we pointed out in part III, political oppression and discrimination (such as tribalism and racism) are forms of corruption because they deliberately pervert justice and violate the rule of law in the same way other types of corruption do. This means that the laws of history and social change we referred to above are bound, eventually, to destroy corrupt regimes like NRM no matter how well-armed and militarily efficient they may be at a particular time. In fact UDU is planning ahead to deal with those who are corrupt in Uganda today. The corrupt accumulating wealth unlawfully should be warned that whatever they have acquired illegally will be recovered from them no matter how long they delay or make democratization of Uganda difficult to achieve.

Punishment of War Crimes and Human Rights Violations

As narrated in part II the history of Uganda has been frequently punctuated with violence and gross violations of human rights. Massacres, atrocities, war crimes, crimes against humanity and routine violation of human rights, such as torture by state agencies, have been a common and documented feature of Ugandan history since 1964.[173] There are two schools of thought[174] in the debates on democratization and the punishment of human rights violators. One school of thought argues that justice demands that violators of human rights should be prosecuted and punished for their crimes, especially as the law was, in almost all cases, violated with impunity under a regime which did not care about protection of human rights. The argument is often linked to the process of consolidation of democracy during the transition period. The concept of consolidation is closely related to the development of democratic political institutions and a democratic political culture. Therefore, the argument goes, how you treat the officials of the authoritarian regime who violated human rights is crucial to the democratization process.

This school of thought also argues that violators of human rights should be prosecuted and punished because both truth and justice require it. Moreover, prosecution of any human rights violators is a moral obligation owed to the victims and their families. Second, the concept of democracy itself has a moral content which means that no one should be above the law. This is a basic canon in the principle of rule law. In addition, prosecution deters future violators of human rights. In the case of Uganda this is a very important argument. When NRM came to power in 1986 violators of human rights under Obote and Amin were not punished. In fact the violators were integrated into the new regime, apparently under the false belief that they would reform and behave differently under the new regime. The doctrine of broad based government advocated by Museveni also conspired to prevent the prosecution of human rights violators under the previous authoritarian regimes. Unfortunately, the capricious violations of human rights under the NRM regime are partly attributable to these same individuals. Some of them were appointed Presidential Advisors by Museveni!

Another argument goes to establishing a viable democratic system. Prosecution of violators of human rights is essential to the consolidation of a democratic political system which should be governed by transparent police actions and not the secret police which operated in political shadows under the authoritarian regime. Prosecuting human rights violators is necessary in order to assert or project to the community the supremacy of democratic values and norms. This helps the public to believe in and have confidence in the new system. Democratic norms are strengthened in the society as a whole. Lastly, it is necessary to bring into the open the crimes committed in the past. This contributes to identifying the people responsible for past violations of human rights.

The second school of thought opposed to prosecution and punishing violations of human rights contends that for the sake of national reconciliation the new regime should forgive and forget the perpetrators of human rights violations because punishment opens old wounds which should be allowed to heal quickly during the transition period. One argument contends that democracy should be premised on reconciliation and forgetting what happened in the past. Moreover, it is important to avoid retribution between groups for past human rights violations. This school of thought makes the assumption that both government officials in the old regime and the opposition groups engaged in human rights violations. This would justify a general amnesty for all violators of human rights making it easy to forgive and forget the past violations of human rights. In fact, it is argued, crimes by the authoritarian officials were justified because they were committed in order to suppress “terrorism” of the opposition groups which were then labeled “insurgent” or “guerrilla” groups. In South Africa the ANC (Umkhonto we Swize) and in Uganda the NRM (NRA) were accused of violating human rights during their liberation wars, respectively. The question to answer is whether the participation in violation of human rights by both sides is a good reason not to punish the violators of human rights.

The argument rejecting prosecution further points out that many people and groups shared in the guilt for the crimes committed by the authoritarian regime. Under those circumstances a general amnesty is essential in order to establish a good foundation for democracy.

There are positive and negative points in both of these schools of thought. In fact when the NRM came to power in 1986 after fighting a vicious civil war in Luwero triangle the second school of thought prevailed in the reasoning of NRM. A “broad based” government was formed supposedly to promote reconciliation. However, as we have clearly illustrated in part III the principles on which broad based government was based resulted in corruption which later became an obstacle standing in the way of democratization of Uganda. Given the specific history of Uganda we recommend that the first option of prosecuting and punishing the violators of human rights should be adopted. This will be part of the necessary process of social change essential in democratization. We should remember that democratization entails the internalization of new democratic norms by society. Prosecuting and punishing the violators of human rights norms will be part of this process of social change.

An important component of regime change in Uganda should be the punishment of war crimes and blatant violation of human rights such as the assault and indecent treatment or torture of Ingrid Turinawe[175] and many others by the police. Punishment of war crimes and violation of human rights should be viewed as part of the moral rehabilitation of society necessary for long term democratization. It will reinforce the principle that impunity is not acceptable anymore. This will clearly demarcate the periods between the old regime and the new regime and the shading of the old regime culture.

Violations of human rights under NRM have been so gross, pernicious, systematic and persistent that they require to be investigated thoroughly, impartially and fairly. The existence of the dreaded “safe houses” is offensive to the conscience and the protection of human rights. They bring to mind Amin’s State Research Bureau and Obote’s General Service Unit and NASA. None of the officials in these state agencies which are responsible for rampant violation of human rights of thousands of Ugandans were punished. Safe houses are an example of a pattern of the behavior of NRM officials that the perpetrators of torture must be investigated by an impartial body and charged with all the crimes they have committed under the shield of political darkness, sectarianism, corruption and, sometimes, blind political ambition.

An NRM official recently tried to explain that nothing “harmful” goes on in the “safe houses!” We know that peoples’ nails are pulled out and genitals mutilated in “safe houses” where NRM intelligence agents operate with impunity. If the police can brutalize Turinawe in public and before the cameras one can imagine what goes on in the “safe houses.” Serumaga’s case[176] in 2009 confirms our reasonable suspicions. The shooting of innocent people at legitimate demonstrations in public space protected by the constitution and under international law is planned in safe houses. Such actions would tend to nullify such stupid and obviously false claims by NRM secret operatives. Whoever authorized these illegal actions must be charged with the crimes they committed. But before that can be done a fair and thorough investigation of the culpable chain of command must be clearly established by a Truth Commission.

Evidence of violation of human rights under NRM is astoundingly abundant. The Uganda Human Rights Commission has awarded victims of torture large amounts of damages over a period of over ten years.[177] Unfortunately, most of the awards in billions of shillings in damages for violation of human rights have not been recognized and enforced by the NRM regime, supposedly due to “lack” of funding, after the money is corruptly diverted and disappears in excessive supplementary budgetary allocations of billions of shillings for Statehouse every year! Therefore the violations of human rights under the NRM regime are not simply an administrative anomaly but political actions deliberately perpetrated by corrupt NRM political leaders. The situation is analogous to what happened under apartheid where the so-called “third force” committed similar acts with impunity. Hence the need to appoint a Truth Commission in order to investigate and expose the gross violations of human rights in Uganda since the NRM fought the civil war in Luwero triangle, or even before that.

Role of Truth Commission

Truth Commissions have many valuable functions. The first useful function of a Truth Commission is to establish facts that are not tainted with politics. Facts cannot be established without impartial investigations. Facts are essential in the administration of justice. For example, the war in the north took so long and involved so much expenditure of scarce national resources without a visible result that people wonder how and why the war which was so disastrous to society but fought by desperate, unfunded criminals lasted so long? Indeed, why were there so many “ghost soldiers” involved in that war, as preliminary investigations have shown? Corruption and gross human rights violations were committed side by side!

Second, when human rights are violated the acts of violation are deliberate and necessarily malicious because they are politically motivated and directed against political opponents. They may also be the direct consequences of corruption within the law enforcement agencies. Therefore somebody is responsible for the violation of the human rights law, both national and international. The violator must be punished for his/her misdeeds as part of the process of democratization. The mission of UDU includes protection of human rights, enforcement of the rule of law and fair or impartial administration of justice. Establishment of the Truth Commission falls within the ambit of the mission of UDU.

Third, from the experience of South Africa it is clear that Truth Commissions contribute tremendously to national reconciliation as a part of democratization process. When justice is seen to be done society’s political, ideological, ethnic and racial anger is appeased and directed into the appropriate social channels which allows reconciliation and forgiveness to take place. It is a hollow campaign in which some are engaged who believe that “traditional norms” of justice, such as those in Acholi will, for example, resolve the delicate issue of justice imbedded in the violation of rule of law and corruption by the state of Uganda and Kony insurgency in the north for twenty years. Kony’s brutality of chopping off peoples’ lips, noses and ears went too far and caused lifetime scars which can never be completely healed.

The arguments of the first school of thought outlined above are intended to deal with a situation like the one created in Northern Uganda. The kidnapping of children and raping young girls are war crimes and crimes against humanity at the same time. These actions deserve severe punishment in a civilized world. Kony has already been indicted by the International Criminal Court. Moreover, the actions of a Truth Commission have to be seen as national actions that involve the collective participation of all Ugandans in reviewing and scrutinizing the dark spots in the history of the country rather than as acts affecting a specific ethnic group within which traditional justice must exclusively be administered. Kony’s crimes are national issues and therefore require a national solution. Moreover, the constitution clearly provides that customary law that is inconsistent with the constitution, or any treaty ratified by Uganda for that matter, is void to the extent of the inconsistency.

Fourth, Truth Commissions positively contribute to nation-building since they promote national reconciliation. South Africa is far more united today both racially and ethnically than it would have been without a Truth Commission which exposed the dark secrets of apartheid. Black-on-black violence of the 1990s has practically disappeared and racism dating back centuries is on a rapid decline. Social change will do the rest in the long run. Truth Commissions are therefore essential to the resolution of political disputes that would otherwise fester and haunt the nation for generations to come as the case of Turkey clearly demonstrates. All those who preach “national unity,” in light of history and contemporary experience, should support the idea of establishing a Truth Commission in Uganda as part of the process of democratization. The prognosis here is not very good because it is anticipated that setting up of a Truth Commission will be opposed by many in the NRM regime whose political sins and violation of human rights may be exposed by the Truth Commission.

Recovery of Stolen Assets

Another important component of regime change that closely touches our prognosis is the recovery of stolen assets. The estimates of stolen assets in Uganda during the last quarter of a century under NRM regime exceed the current GDP of the country! Therefore no democratization of Uganda can ignore recovery of stolen assets of Uganda. The stolen assets are the result of the corruption and the violation of rule of law perpetrated by the NRM regime and its allies. The same principle on which punishment of war crimes, crimes against humanity and violation of human rights also justifies the recovery of stolen assets. This will not be easy but the prognosis is good. New technics of tracing money laundering are now available.

Recovery of stolen assets is inseparable from fighting corruption and the restoration of the rule of law. This process goes to the very essence of democratization. Under the old regime of international law Switzerland used to be a haven or destination of stolen state assets which were almost impossible to recover due to the veil of secrecy under the old banking laws. This is not true anymore. After bin Laden attacked US on September 11, 2001, and a new regime of banking laws and regulations was globally enacted and tightened to prevent money laundering while suppressing terrorism. In addition a UN Convention Against Corruption which was signed in 2003 and came in effect in 2005 has revolutionized and intensified the war against corruption and stolen state assets. Uganda is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Corruption. The main purposes of the UN Convention Against Corruption are:

“(a) To promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently and effectively;

(b) To promote, facilitate and support international cooperation and technical assistance in the prevention of and fight against corruption, including in asset recovery;

(c) To promote integrity, accountability and proper management of public affairs and public property.”[178]

One of the objectives of the convention is to prevent corrupt practices and illicit fund transfers. For the first time the convention criminalizes corrupt practices at the international level. The convention also facilitates the support of international cooperation and technical assistance in dealing with corruption. This means that all states that are parties to the Convention must cooperate and assist any state that seeks to recover stolen assts. But even more important the convention sets out procedures to return illegally transferred funds to their countries of origin and proper management of public affairs and public property. Whereas these measures may look radical and revolutionary they are, in fact, the logical consequences of globalization especially in trying to track illegal trafficking, terrorism and money laundering on which tariffing and terrorism depend. Democratization of Uganda is compatible with these objectives.

The specific crimes covered by the convention include bribery by public officials,[179] embezzlement, misappropriation and other diversion of property by public officials,[180] money laundering,[181] obstruction of justice,[182] and participation in corruption as an accomplice, assistant or instigator in an offence of corruption or an attempt to commit such an offence,[183] illicit enrichment,[184] and concealment of corruption.[185] These crimes are equally covered in both public and private sectors. This means that money stolen from government and converted into private business assets is covered and recoverable.

One of the objectives of the UN Convention Against Corruption is to promote international cooperation in preventing, investigating and combating corruption as well as prosecuting criminals who perpetrate corruption.[186] These objectives fit very well in the concept of regime change. The convention, for example, provides for extradition, mutual legal assistance and joint investigations between the parties to the convention. It also provides for technical assistance and information exchange between states parties to the convention.

The UN Convention Against Corruption established a new fundamental principle of the right to asset recovery of stolen property due to corruption.[187] The convention provides for money recovery illicitly paid to public officials or managers or employees of private organizations sent abroad through corrupt activities to be returned to their countries of origin. There are measures for recovery of illicitly transferred property[188] and measures for the return and disposal of assets.[189] Article 57 distinguishes between embezzlement of public funds by a public official who tries to conceal it in another country. Such property belongs to the state. The second category covers proceeds of corruption given voluntarily to a corrupt official and transferred to a foreign country. The state may recover such assets if the state establishes that it suffered damage as a result of the transfer of such assets. These measures to recover stolen assets may make the prognosis of democratization in Uganda more difficult but they are essential to the future political stability and financial health of Uganda. Moreover, the fact that stolen assets can be recovered will serve as deterrence against corruption in the future. The incentive to steal state assets and hide them in a foreign country will practically disappear if the risk of being caught is high. Changes in the banking laws contribute to the drying up secret Swiss accounts.

Prognosis Based on a General Theory of Democratization

The third factor that is relevant to our prognosis of the democratization of Uganda is social theory. Ultimately the organization of society, like any purposive human activity, such as planning economic development, fighting crime, increasing agricultural production, treating or preventing an epidemic, presupposes a valid theory on which it is premised whether the actors are aware of this fact and conscious of their actions or not. By theory here we mean a valid explanation of social, economic or political reality together with the forces (causes) responsible for its activation and transformation of that reality. Social theory is a messy and complicated field of study. Explaining political processes is hard enough but combining it with social change in the form of democratization makes if especially difficult. Democratization is a type of social transformation which many countries in Africa are going through. Are there any rules (general laws) that should be followed in the process of democratization? Is democratization a form of social change that is inevitable, that is, governed by general laws of social change? If so what are these laws? Answering these questions will help us formulate a better prognosis for democratizing Uganda. It is therefore important to bear these questions in mind as we grapple with the formulation of our general prognosis of democratizing Uganda.

First, and foremost, we have to assume that democratization, being a purposive human process is caused, that is, it is a consequence of social causation. This means that people, under specific circumstances, express and feel a desire for change and, if they are denied a right to achieve that change, they demand it, by force if necessary. Democratization is about the state acknowledging and enforcing the rights of the people to freely associate, assemble and express themselves. What makes democratization a complex process is the fact that people have “rights” protected by law which has evolved over a long time. These rights should be respected by the regimes in power but these rights are more often violated than respected by undemocratic regimes, inevitably causing movements for democratization against oppressive regimes. A social theory of democratization must objectively explain the general process of social organization, in this case the process of democratization, without dictating the political postulates that are rooted in ideology but made to appear as if they are scientific prescriptions (factual statements or propositions) that must be followed regardless of their being invalid or incompatible with a valid social theory.

Democratization is also about both explaining a specific political process and articulating the values on which democratization is dictated by historical and political factors/forces. Based on our definition of a theory of democratization Museveni’s theory of sectarianism was no more than a conjectural speculation designed to legitimate NRM policies of political oppression; it was based on an invalid social theory with no empirical data to support the asserted premises or propositions. Museveni’s sectarian theory was in fact incompatible with democratization; it was politics disguised as science. Sectarian theory was invalid because it was based on a premise that falsely postulated that there was a necessary causal relationship between sectarianism—discrimination based on ethnicity and religion—and the level of economic development or formation of a specific class structure in society. Such a causal relationship does not empirically exist. Otherwise sectarianism would not exist in Northern Ireland (UK), Israel and India, countries that are democratic and have advanced middle class social structures.[190]

From that false premise, however, Museveni concluded and prescribed a political policy in 1986, which was later enacted in the 1995 constitution prohibiting political parties to freely and actively engage in politics. Museveni’s argument was that it was alright to deny people political freedom in order to avoid or prevent sectarianism. The argument ignored the fact that the freedoms of association, assembly and expression are human rights protected by both national and international law. Museveni’s theory was, therefore, not only invalid but his prescription for a solution to Uganda’s problem was a blatant violation of fundamental human rights law.

Museveni’s political behavior has in fact contradicted and violated the premises of his own theory, especially when we consider two facts. First, when the constitution was amended in 2005 to allow multi-parties the class structure in Uganda was still the same as it had been in 1986 when sectarian theory was invoked. Second, corruption under NRM regime which is fuelled by sectarianism which Museveni condemned and purported to prevent by banning active multi-parties in the political system is still rampant. Ironically if Museveni had initially protected political freedom his regime would have been in a much better position to fight and punish corruption which is now the major obstacle to democratization in Uganda as we have explained above.

We can therefore totally ignore Museveni’s sectarian social theory. In fact sectarian theory was an obstacle to, instead of a facilitator of, democratization in Uganda. From a theoretical point of view and looking at the contemporary facts of democratization a better prognosis and therefore a bright picture of democratization is emerging. The fact that Uganda is rated as one of the lowest in fighting corruption means that, theoretically, in the African region, Uganda is one of the countries which are least likely to be democratized through normal parliamentary reforms because the NRM regime suppresses political freedom which is the main factor in combating corruption and enacting democratizing reforms. Democratization theory, however, predicts inevitability of democratization through regime change in Uganda, no matter how difficult the process of regime change may turn out to be. Democratization is inevitable because it is essential to good governance and inherent in the human rights movement protected by law and generated by social change. If a regime is opposed to essential reforms the alternative for the people is to remove it.

We must remember that democratization does not take place in a political vacuum. On one hand democratization requires the establishment of democratic institutions, such as an autonomous parliament, independent judiciary and depoliticized army and a neutral civil service. In the case of Uganda de-politicization of the army is going to be problematic. There are three factors which complicate this issue and their discussion shows beyond reasonable doubt that Museveni does not believe in democracy. These factors are political, philosophical and constitutional (or legal). From a political perspective Museveni who condemned Obote for recruiting an army that was dominated by the northerners, that is, Obote politicized the army through ethnicity, has created a similar army in which the commanding officers are predominantly from the same ethnic group. Museveni has, therefore, no moral ground to criticize Obote’s ethnic military policies.

Museveni lives in a philosophical vacuum. He has not articulated any specific ideology as a philosophical guide to his politics. He behaves as a corrupt capitalist but we know that he has never disavowed the close links that connected him to his socialist/communist political heroes: Julius K. Nyerere, Muammar Gaddafi and Fidel Castro. Museveni’s ideological ambiguity explains why he cannot democratize Uganda. He does not believe in democracy. Museveni’s policies, behavior and past political connections are sufficient to convince us that he is one of the biggest problem to democratization of Uganda. Museveni has indoctrinated the army according to his political interests. Kyankwanzi political school serves that purpose and that purpose only.

Lastly, it would be necessary to drastically amend or replace the constitution before the army is depoliticized. Article 78 of the constitution allows the army to be represented in parliament. Currently ten army officers represent the army in parliament as an interest group. Under Article 208(2) the Uganda army is supposed to be “non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional, disciplined, productive and subordinate to the civilian authority as established under [the] constitution.” The provisions of this Article of the constitution have been blatantly violated since the constitution came in force in 1995. The army under Museveni has always been used to harass the opposition during the elections. They have intimidated opposition candidates on many occasions during the electoral process. Therefore the Uganda army is not non-partisan; it is not professional, otherwise they would not actively get involved in politics; it is not disciplined because it has short innocent people including babies and a pregnant woman at political rallies as sanctioned by its commanders; and, it is not subordinate to civilian authority. The Commander-in-Chief, Yoweri K. Museveni, is a general in the army. He commands, promotes, disciplines and directly supervises all the active army officers.

According to NRM political dogma taught at Kyankwanzi political school “democracy” is based on the premise that the army as an institution is an essential component of the political process. This means that the representation of the army in parliament was an important issue. Historically, under NRM, the army supposedly played the unique role of “liberation” and therefore, the argument went, the army was entitled to play an active role in politics as the ultimate “guardian” of democracy. The erroneous assumption on which this NRM military/political dogma was based is explained by one of the architects of the 1995 constitution of Uganda, Justice Benjamin J. Odoki, who chaired the Constitutional Commission and is also the Chief Justice of Uganda, a position he holds after being appointed by Yoweri K. Museveni. The NRM military/political dogma is called “domestication of the military”:

The army has played an active role in the politics of Uganda since independence: the gun rather than the vote has dominated political change. The army was thus associated with dictatorship, political and constitutional instability as well as with gross violation of human rights especially through state terrorism. There was therefore, a need to change the character and role of the army to make it support democratic institutions, defend the country and be transformed into a pro-people army. It was for these reasons that it was proposed that the military needed to be domesticated.

During the constitution-making exercise, it was argued that the military needed to be integrated into civilian life in order to be part of the development process. The army should be productive and should assist whenever there are national disasters. It was also agreed that during the transition to democracy, the military should be represented in Parliament and be part of democratic process because of its historical role in liberating the country. It was therefore found imperative to address the issue of the military in the Constitution for the first time, in chapter 12. The name of the army was changed from National Resistance Army to Uganda People’s Defense Forces to reflect its new role and character.[191]

On the other hand democratization’s primary objective is to protect human rights especially those which protect equality and political freedom. Rights would mean nothing on their own without the concept of values such as liberty, truth and justice which people want to protect and enhance their self-determination with individual and collective security. Values are not static. They vary with social change. It would seem that as the economy creates new values through the process of economic development new values emerge. Hence there is a link between economic development and democratization.

In the theory of democratization the economic determinant for democratization is not clearly spelt out. The question is: to what extent is a mere increase in GNP a causal factor in the process of democratization? For example, how would one explain the absence of democracy in Arab countries which have high GNP such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq (before the invasion), United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait? According to Huntington the economic growth/development creates “economic conditions favorable to democratization” or “levels of economic development supportive of development” cause forms of politics to emerge when economic prosperity interacts with traditional values to bring about democratization.[192] To what extent does Huntington’s vague explanation help us formulate a credible prognosis for the democratization of Uganda especially now that the economy is rapidly deteriorating? Will the impoverished class heed the message for democratization?

On the other hand the Arab countries with high GNP should be contrasted with South Africa where, in spite of the poverty the African population suffered from, they were able to confront the apartheid regime from the beginning of apartheid in 1948. The depressing economic circumstances of the Africans in South Africa did not prevent them from fighting for equality and democracy under the apartheid regime. The same may be said about the independence movements. They evolved and emerged under similar circumstances as the South African resistance to apartheid. In fact these African movements further discredit Museveni’s sectarian theory. The key to solve this puzzle seems to reside in the idea of human values we have referred to above.

Values are also linked to political philosophy. It is political philosophy that clarifies and dispenses values in the political system. We noted in part II that Ugandans are not guided by political philosophy in their political actions. This is a serious obstacle to democratization. Our weakness in confronting Museveni and the NRM is partly caused by our political prostitution because our allegiance to political parties is not based on political philosophy or a belief in certain human values.

When we look at the state in which the political parties operate without a political philosophy our prognosis looks bad. This is because democratization has to go through a transitional phase known as consolidation. This period is going to be difficult because political parties are not built on political philosophies; they are not held together by specific philosophical core values. The absence of political philosophy is a problem because it means that the political parties lack internal solidarity which in turn makes them weak at the electoral polls. This problem is clearly manifested in the fact that many party candidates who lose in the primary elections often opt to run as “independents” who oppose the official candidates of their own political parties.


The quality of the prognosis in any human endeavor depends on the validity of the premises of the theory on which it is based. In formulating this prognosis of democratization of Uganda based on the existing knowledge of the process of democratization we proceed on the assumption that at the present time social science has not yet formulated a concise, valid theory of the democratization process. There is a lot to be learned about democratization and how best it can be achieved. The best formulation of the democratization process comes from Samuel P. Huntington.[193] As it will become clear below from our critique of Huntington’s formulation, even though it is very useful and it is the best formulation so far, it does not amount to a full-fledged valid theory of democratization that can predict specific outcomes of democratization process. We shall try to raise a few issues with Huntington’s formulation that illustrate its shortcomings. These issues include predictability of democratization, the concept of the “wave,” the absence of the idea of social change which transforms society and its values and the total absence of the idea of a fundamental concept of human rights which, in fact, throughout history, has activated and propelled the whole process of democratization from the Magna Carta of 1215 to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.

One of the most useful functions of a valid theory is to predict future events, not necessarily precisely or accurately, but, in the social sciences, at least approximately accurate. From this perspective Huntington’s formulation of the process of democratization is elementary at best. For example, it gives us no clue as to when or under what conditions a specific “authoritarian” regime, such as the NRM regime, would collapse and/or give way to a process of democratization through a revolutionary transformation or normal, progressive reforms leading to a democratic political system. In fact Huntington himself admits that “It would be folly to attempt to predict in which countries democracy will consolidate and in which countries it will not, and no attempt will be made here to make that prediction.”[194] This honest admission as to the limits of the theory of democratization clearly means that Huntington’s formulation of democratization does not amount to a concise, valid scientific theory. It is a tentative formulation of the democratization process giving general guidelines to democratization.

Consequently, Huntington’s formulation did not and could not be used to predict the Arab Spring under which change in the regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya came from below. This is not surprising because Huntington’s formulation of democratization is supposed to be predominantly engineered from the top where either a coup d’état leads to “liberalization” or the regime in power and the opposition carry out the reforms that are mutually beneficial to the contesting reformers but, nevertheless, eventually lead to democratization of the system as a whole.[195] The causes of the changes in the Arab Spring were rooted in the human desire by the ordinary people for political freedom and justice. It was not engineered by reformers in parliament who, like NRM regime, were the obstacles to democratization. The reactions of the ordinary people to the regimes in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, were, however, the direct result of social change within political system. The people had come to realize that the regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were oppressive. So the people put their destiny in their own hands.

In the absence of a clear formula to predict a future potential regime subject of democratization we cannot apply Huntington’s formulation to the NRM regime in Uganda. Huntington’s formulation cannot help us to formulate a predictable prognosis for democratization in Uganda. This leads us to the second defect in Huntington’s formulation. The second issue is conceptual. It has to do with the nature of the concept and the definition of democratization as a “wave.” Huntington writes:

In 1750 no democratic institutions at the national level existed in the Western world. In 1900 such institutions existed in many countries. By the late twentieth century many more countries possessed democratic institutions. These institutions emerged in waves of democratization. …

A wave of democratization is a group of transitions from nondemocratic to democratic regimes that occur within a specified period of time and that significantly outnumber transitions in the opposite direction during that period of time. A wave also usually involves liberalization or partial democratization in political systems that do not become fully democratic. Three waves of democratizations have occurred in the modern world.[196]

Huntington links the first wave of democratization to Protestantism. “Historically Protestantism and democracy were linked with each other. The first democratic impulse in Western world came with the Puritan revolution in the seventeenth century. The overwhelming majority of the countries that became democratic in the first wave of democratization in the nineteenth century were Protestant. The second wave countries after World War II were religiously diverse. …The third wave of the 1970s and 1980s was overwhelmingly a Catholic wave. … By 1990 many of the original causes of the third wave had been significantly weakened or exhausted”[197] Nevertheless, Huntington concludes that “The third wave of democratization was propelled forward by the extraordinary global growth of the 1950s and 1960s. The era of growth came to an end with the oil price increase of 1973 and 1974.”[198] As to the duration of democratization waves “History has proved both the optimists and pessimists wrong on democracy, and future events will probably continue to do so. Formidable obstacles to the expansion of democracy exist in many societies. The third wave, the ‘global democratic revolution’ of the late twentieth century, will not last forever. It may be followed by a new surge of authoritarianism constituting a third reverse wave. That, however, would not preclude a fourth wave of democratization developing some time in the twenty-first century. Judging by the past record, the two key factors affecting the future stability and expansion of democracy are economic development and political leadership.”[199]

On one hand the first and second waves had no precise beginning, no specific causes or universal triggers and no clear terminal points. However, “The Third wave of democratization in modern world began, implausibly and unwittingly, at twenty-five minutes after midnight, Thursday, April 25, 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal, when a radio station played the song ‘Grandola Vila Morena.’”[200] The third wave, according to Huntington, had a precise beginning with a location and time recorded. This is unusual from a theoretical point of view. Precise postulation undermines the virtues and consistency of the theoretical explanation Huntington is trying to put forward due to the nature of social change the multiple factors of social causation that operate simultaneously with varying influence.

In events that have a theoretical explanation consistency is essential and part of predictability element of the theory. But in social sciences such precision is nearly impossible to achieve. If two events are caused by the same forces they should have a degree of resemblance, otherwise they cannot be accurately described and predicted. Unfortunately, Huntington’s description of democratization through “waves” falls short of providing us with a theory by which we can predict a single event of democratization, when or where such event will occur and the reason why it should occur there. More specifically, Huntington’s theory cannot help us predict whether the NRM regime will collapse due to the forces of democratization. The value of a theory is tested by its ability to predict future events. The general critique of Huntington’s formulation, therefore, goes not only to a vague concept of a “wave” through which democratization is achieved on a universal scale but also to the absence of a major human factor in the process of democratization. This is the idea of social change. Social change can narrow down democratization to a specific political system. In order to understand the democratization process we must put in a narrower historical context of social change instead of a universal “wave.”

Whereas the concept of a wave tends to give the impression of a random process, just as waves in the high seas appear to be, democratization is a conscious, human political process in which people participate deliberately in order to achieve specific political results. Huntington seems to be aware of this fact.[201] In fact, almost in all cases democratization is the result of social change. People who are excluded from or whose rights are suppressed in the political process, for one reason or another, at one point realize the injustice against them and decide to take action to rectify the situation. This social change is often rooted in a denial of human rights. Democratization is therefore inseparable from the movements that emerged for the protection of human rights. Social change creates new values thereby introducing new forms of behavior and expectations. It is this behavior and new standards of evaluating it that transforms the political system towards democratization. Huntington’s formulation seems to ignore this fundamental fact. In explaining democratization it is not sufficient to describe the people who carry out the reforms in parliament. The “causers” include the minority in the society who protest, riot and sometimes shelter the guerrilla fighters. History may help in illustrating this point.

The human rights movement which resulted into democratization of England, for example, may be traced as far back as the Magna Carta[202] of 1215 in which the King of England was forced by the people to sign the “Great Charter” recognizing specific rights for the people. These rights included, for the first time, a right to a trail by the jury of one’s peers. This was a novel but far-reaching democratization reform which came from the people asserting a specific “human right.” From that time ideas of individual liberty (of English men) and rule of law under which the courts curbed the power of the monarchy and the Parliament chipped away he King’s prerogatives, gradually blossomed and democratized England. Certainly, from this perspective, we cannot talk about a “wave.” The glorious revolution of 1588, which took place 182 years before 1750, the year Huntington identifies to locate the beginning of democratization waves, contained important components of democratization of England.[203]

It would therefore be a mistake for Huntington to place democratization at a specific date in the eighteenth century. When liberty is protected social change is gradual but occurs at a fast rate because of the protection of freedom of association, assembly and expression. This is the reason why reforms are introduced and revolutions are avoided. Political systems that deny political freedom are eventually changed through revolutionary actions or movements. One can therefore validly conclude and predict that political systems that deny human rights are inevitably subject to political ticking bombs. Ultimately, democratization is about the enforcement of human rights that protect political freedom.

The prognosis in the specific case of Uganda based on the theory articulated above is fair because the opposition against NRM is growing not decreasing, despite the brutal and repressive measures taken by the regime against the opposition. Increasingly, the people are less fearful of the state instrumentalities. The international community is condemning the repressive actions of the NRM regime. Pressure against the NRM regime is building and inevitable. Democratization is predictable.


In conclusion we must reconcile the two conflicting conclusions we have reached about the prognosis under the theoretical section and the prognosis we reached regarding the chances of democratization under NRM regime. Under the NRM regime we concluded that the prognosis was very bad. Under the theory of democratization the prognosis is good. The conflict between the two conclusions is easy to explain. Under theory the chances for democratization are good because we are saying what the theory predicts. Democratization is inevitable under certain political conditions. When human rights are violated the people inevitably rebel against the regime in order to protect their human rights.

However, given the political conditions under which the NRM regime is surviving and the obstacles the regime has erected in the way, the prognosis is bad because the NRM regime is not yet in a position to commit political suicide in order to democratize the system. The stakes are too high given the level of corruption within the regime. There is no conflict between the two conflicting conclusions. From a theoretical point of view democratization is inevitable and imminent given the political conditions existing in Uganda now. What makes the prognosis for democratization bad under NRM regime is the fact that one has to either force the NRM to voluntarily democratize the system just as the South African regime was forced to take the necessary steps in order to unwillingly abolish apartheid over a period of thirty years, that is, between 1960 Sharpeville massacre and 1990 when Mandela was released. Meaningful reforms in South Africa came after 1990. But the process that caused democratization in South Africa lasted four decades. Democratization theory, however, would have predicted in 1960 that the fate of apartheid was sealed. The only question was when the apartheid regime would fall. When the Soweto riots took place in the 1970s it was clear that South African society was rapidly changing and the process of reform to recognize the rights of Africans was inevitable and irreversible.

The same can be said today about NRM regime. It can drag on the process but in the end it cannot win the war against democratization of Uganda. Theory has sealed the fate of NRM regime. Politics, however, may keep the process going for a while.

[1] The Baganda have a proverb: “Ow’ebbango bwotomuwemukira tewebikka,” which I generally translate as: “Honesty is a virtue.” In UDU we have an obligation to tell the truth, regardless of the consequences. The main purpose of this message is to inform people about the problems that will be encountered during the democratization of Uganda.

[2] Nelson Mandela, The Struggle is My Life, Pathfinder Press, New York, 1986; Martin Luther King, Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential writings of Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by James Melvin Washington, HarperSanFrancisco, 1986; and M.K. Gandhi, Non-Violent Resistance, (Satyagraha), Schocken Books, New York, 1961.

[3] The concept of “regime culture” which will be defined later in relation to our discussion of institutionalized corruption refers to the internal practices and behavior of any corporate entity. The corporate entity may be a company, an organization, a church, a government, a law firm or political system that functions as a single corporate unit in accordance with its internal principles or rules. As a result a regime culture develops within the corporate entity corrupting it internally and making it very difficult, or even impossible, to change or reform from within. This is why the last section on prognosis is important. Removing NRM is the easier part. Democratizing Uganda in order to secure liberty will be a tough battle.

[4] One statement frequently quoted which Museveni made is the condemnation of African leaders who overstay in power. Museveni has recently revised his original statement arguing that he meant only those who overstay in power without being “elected” by the people. Obviously Museveni is spinning his original statement to suit his present political circumstances. Honesty, obviously, has never been Museveni’s virtue!

[5] In the diagnosis of our problem we need to understand what “democracy” means. Democracy in Africa is often confused with independence. However, unlike “independence” which is achieved on a specific day and remains the same thereafter, as long as there is no foreign domination or alien ruler imposed, democracy is an active continuous process that never comes to an end as long as the political process is activated and continues to thrive and freely renews its own vitality. For example, in countries like US and UK which have been democratic for centuries, demonstrations or protests such as the “occupy Boston” or “occupy Wall Street” are still necessary and are protected under the law in order for the people to protest government policies. The fact that a specific regime was fairly and democratically elected by the people and, therefore, legitimate, does not mean that it is perfect and incapable of producing or succumbing to bad policies or corruption. That is why a democratic system protects political freedom as a means of self-preservation, self-correction and self-cleansing through the peoples’ actions and participation by freely assembling, associating and expressing themselves, very often contentiously. In fact demonstrations, riots, protests, civil disobedience or even rebellions are protected in a democratic system under political freedom because they are forms of “political communication” between the people and their government. They constitute a “conversation” between the people and the government of the day. Democracy encourages vigorous debate of ideas and policies. It is political folly to suppress or restrict assembly, association and free expression as the repressive NRM regime does.

Prohibiting or severely limiting political freedom, as NRM policy has done for over two decades, is not only a violation of human rights law but eventually weakens the capability of the political system; it corrupts it and reduces its ability to solve social, political and economic problems such as those prevalent in Uganda today. Suppression of political freedom can also cause civil war if a point of rebellion is reached when no peaceful political alternative is available. Uganda seems to be at that point right now. By invoking section 56(2)(c) of the Penal Code Act, enacted by the colonial regime which was not democratic but which also enacted the sedition section in the same Penal Code Act—at a time when Articles 2 and 29 of the 1995 constitution declaring the supremacy of the constitution and protection of the rights to assemble and associate did not exist—to achieve similar results. The sedition provision was declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in Andrew Mujuni Mwenda & The East African Media Institute (U) Ltd. v Attorney General, Consolidated Constitutional Petitions, Numbers 12 of 2005 and No 3 of 2006.Tthe NRM regime, through its repressive policies, is displaying its ignorance and true political colors as a regime that does not, philosophically, believe in political freedom. See also Andrew Bagala, “Govt now bans A4C group,” published online in Daily Monitor, April 4, 2012: By relying on repressive colonial laws to suppress political freedom NRM has clearly demonstrated that it has no “rational political philosophy” compatible with democracy. A rational philosophy, like a scientific theory, can only be “rational” and effective if its premises are valid.

[6] See,for example, our discussion of the political philosophy of UPC in the 1960s in section II.

[7] I have been carefully monitoring and listening to (781-314-6944) and (818-534-8272). The good news is that supporters of Museveni and NRM have drastically declined in their enthusiasm to support NRM and Museveni publically on most talk shows on Supporters of Museveni and NRM invited to give the NRM point of view often do not show up any more. They seem to be demoralized and apprehensive. On the other hand there is a listener (Joy) who has at least twice called in on when I was listening and courageously declared herself a “friend” of Museveni. She explicitly advised Museveni to relinquish power for the good of saving the country and not to be stubborn and suicidal like his friend Muammar Gaddafi. Another caller, Kemigisha, who called in on on March 24, 2012, had a similar message for Museveni. These trends seem to indicate that there has been a degree of social change among Ugandans. Moreover, even within Uganda the “walk-to-work” campaigns persist, protests by traders, teachers, Makerere University lecturers and doctors have boldly been held in spite of police brutalities and rough arrests of the participants. Therefore a slow transformation in society is irreversibly taking place among Ugandans gradually eroding apathy and the pathological fear of the repressive NRM regime/state. We must remember that social change occurs through retail and not wholesale packages. Museveni, whose solution to his problem is enacting the harsher laws to punish demonstrators and even threatening to shoot-to-kill “economic saboteurs” or charge them with treason, methods Amin desperately resorted to without success, must be seriously worried about these trends as the proposed Public Order Bill implies. The truth is that the laws of history dictate that social change is inevitable. In history no state ruthlessness has ever prevented social change. Apartheid and communist regimes would still be with us. Therefore, eventually, we shall overcome! I wish to encourage all of you to persevere and not to despair. The darkest hour always occurs at dawn.

[8] Nakulabye massacre was perpetrated by the Uganda Special Force which was Obote’s favorite political weapon of repression. The Special Force was sent to “quell a riot,” which, in fact, was just a demonstration, but instead the Special Force unleashed some of the most lethal military carnage causing vicious atrocities on the civilian population. Some victims who run away from the town center and hid under their beds were, nevertheless, chased by the members of the Special Force and short while hiding under their beds. In one of the cases which arose from the mayhem a judge described the actions of the Special Force at Nakulabye as “wanton,” a word which, according to the American College Dictionary, means “done, shown, used, etc. maliciously or unjustifiably” or “deliberate and uncalled for,” p. 1372.

[9] In Lubiri atrocities, committed by Idi Amin on the orders of A. Milton Obote, some victims like Masembe, personal assistant to Mutesa II, were buried alive in mass graves at Luzira! The motives of the perpetrators of the atrocities were clearly pathological, far beyond reasonable force necessary to suppress a rebellion! Clearly these were traumatic events with lasting, grievous political memory.

[10] Dr. A. Milton Obote, The Common Man’s Charter, With Appendices.

[11] Obote’s slogan “One People under One Government in One Country” had a deeper repressive political message, meaning and implications than most people realized at the time. It was coined, apparently, to denounce federalism under the 1962 constitution. See sections 8 and 14 of The Common Man’s Charter. Also note that the first aim of UPC listed in Article 4 of the UPC constitution is “To build the Republic of Uganda as one Country with one people, one Parliament and one Government.” Obote’s misconceived concept of “unity”—devoid of freedom—is clearly implicit in these two quotations. Obote also seems to have mistaken “republicanism” with democracy. The abolition of the kingdoms in Uganda, for example, was assumed to be a necessary component of “democratization,” yet a monarchy like UK thrives in a democratic political system. There is no necessary inconsistency between democracy and monarchism as Obote’s warped political reasoning seems to imply. See especially sections 7, 9 and 10 of The Common Man’s Charter. Moreover, the USSR was a republic but it was not democratic.

[12] For example, historian of Uganda, Jan Jelmert Jorgensen, provides a “selected list” of 109 prominent Ugandans who disappeared between 1971 and 1977. The majority of them actually disappeared between 1971 and 1973. The reason is that between 1971 and 1973 Amin tried to eliminate most of his closest “enemies” who served in Obote’s regime. Some were maliciously implicated in “plots” which did not actually exist by their political enemies most of whom were living in exile in Tanzania. The innocent victims included William Kalema, Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka, Frank Kalimuzo and Archbishop Luwum. The next highest number of people who disappeared under Amin was in 1977. This is, understandably, attributable to the growing opposition to Amin by the religious leaders which led to the death of Archbishop Luwum in the same year.

[13] Some of Amin’s victims like Dr. Ssembeguya were picked up in daylight from their places of work, put in the trunk (commonly known as a boot in Uganda) of the car and were never seen alive again. People had knowledge of what was going on but at first seemed indifferent and later helpless due to fear of the regime. Vice-Chancellor of Makerere University, Frank Kalimuzo and former Minister in Obote’s cabinet, William Kalema, simply “disappeared” without a trace. No questions were asked, answers were presumed. The Chief Justice, Benedicto Kiwanuka, the highest judicial officer in the country, was taken from his High Court Chambers in the afternoon by Amin’s thugs without an explanation or public accusation. The Archbishop of Uganda, Janani Luwumu, former Police Inspector, Erinayo Oryema and Oboth Ofumbi, were brutally murdered in cold blood, allegedly by Amin himself, but their deaths were explained by Amin’s government as having been caused in an automobile “accident.” In spite of these psychologically numbing atrocities which spared no class, ethnicity, political belief or profession, there was no general uprising of the people against Idi Amin’s regime. Political trauma was slowly destroying the ability of the people to defend their political freedom. The Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) led by Museveni was a small organization based in Tanzania. Retrospectively, FRONAS’s objectives were not separate from Museveni’s. The reign of terror in Uganda thrived on apathy and timidity of the people. Political apathy among Ugandans is therefore not a new phenomenon. It was also encouraged by “tribalism.” As long as people from one ethnic group suffered the atrocities the others did not care until they were also affected. The question is how do we overcome this apathy? Is a mere call to “unity” sufficient given our history? Do we fully understand what the causes of political apathy in Uganda are?

[14] The author was a member of the National Consultative Council (NCC) and actively participated in the debate at State House. One of the motions moved but summarily dismissed by the Chairman was to consider the matter as an “important matter” under the rules that required a vote of at least two-thirds of the members present and voting. After Lule was overthrown, the author, on principle, immediately resigned from the NCC and returned to US.

[15] This is the origin of the phrase “twebaka ku tulo,” which means “at last we can sleep through the night” which the people coined in 1986 after NRM took over power.

[16] UDU has proposed setting up a Truth Commission in its National Recovery Plan. The Truth Commission should investigate in order to ascertain who is responsible for the Luwero atrocities.

[17] See, for example, a bitter complaint by Michael Kakwezi about his brother Sam Kakwezi (R051) who perished in the war in 1983, in an article published in Daily Monitor, online on April 2, 2012 ,“Pity that there is selective awarding of heroes medals,”

[18] Museveni’s argument that sectarianism was the primary cause of Uganda’s traumatic and turbulent history was, obviously, a deliberate and cunning political diversion, false on historical facts and invalid as a theoretical explanation of the political behavior of Ugandans. Moreover, the reason Museveni gave to go to war in 1981 was clearly not “sectarianism.” The justification Museveni gave for going to war was the “rigging” of the 1980 election, which, he argued, made Obote II regime illegitimate and therefore worth ousting from power by force. I have sufficiently dealt with this issue elsewhere in my “Review of the Sowing of the Mustard Seed.” We need not address it here in detail.

[19] This derogatory term attributed to Museveni is not our creation or coinage even though it describes Museveni accurately. It was used to describe Museveni recently by his own close Presidential Advisor, John Nagenda. See interview published on line on September 3, 2011, by Sunday Monitor, “Museveni does not listen to anyone—Nagenda.” More importantly, this open defiance of Museveni by people who were once close and reliable advisors indicates that Museveni’s grip on power is actually slipping, as, inevitably, it should.

[20] The military is part of the executive branch of government and receives its directives directly from the Commander-in-Chief. Therefore the military should not be in the legislature of a democratic state where the principles of separation of powers and direct representation of the people apply. The principle of representation of interest groups in parliament does not justify the representation of the army in parliament. After all the police or the prison officers, who are also interest groups, are not represented in parliament even though they are part of the armed forces of the state.

[21] In this respect Idi Amin was the most honest of the three dictators. Amin openly declared himself a President for life by Decree even though the Decree virtually lost its efficacy on April 11 1979 long before Amin died in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on August 16 2003.

[22] There is evidence in cases litigated in the Supreme Court to verify this claim. See, for example, Election Petition No 1 of 2001, Col. (Rtd) Dr. Besigye Kizza v Museveni Yoweri Kaguta & the Electoral Commission and especially, Presidential Election Petition No 1 of 2006, Besigye v Electoral Commission and Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

[23] It is not clear whether Museveni’s addiction to political power extends to alcohol, like that of Obote. Museveni, however, wisely gave up alcohol. Medical science seems to show that one form of addiction can be evidence of vulnerability to another. Addiction is an incurable condition which can only be controlled by abstinence. Museveni, obviously, is incapable of abstaining from political power.

[24] See footnote 10. In “Proposals for National Service, Document No. 2 on The Move to the Left” Obote designated four training camps/centers, one in each region of Uganda. Kyankwanzi was supposed to be the training center for Buganda region, pp. 14/5. A Ministry of National Service was supposed to be in charge of training Ugandans to become committed nationalists. Obote borrowed the idea from Nyerere. Museveni’s idea and use Kyankwanzi is therefore not original but adopted from both Obote and Nyerere.

[25] Kenneth Ingham, Obote: A political biography, Routeledge, London, 1994, p. 10.

[26] This statement sounds as if it was lifted from Museveni’s theory of sectarianism!



“In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice, in that:

On June 17, 1972, and prior thereto, agents of the Committee for the Re-election of the President committed unlawful entry of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, District of Columbia, for the purpose of securing political intelligence. Subsequent thereto, Richard M. Nixon, using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through his close subordinates and agents, in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation of such illegal entry; to cover up, conceal and protect those responsible; and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities.

The means used to implement this course of conduct or plan included one or more of the following:

1. making false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States;

2. withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States;

3. approving, condoning, acquiescing in, and counseling witnesses with respect to the giving of false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States and false or misleading testimony in duly instituted judicial and congressional proceedings;

4. interfering or endeavoring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force, and Congressional Committees;

5. approving, condoning, and acquiescing in, the surreptitious payment of substantial sums of money for the purpose of obtaining the silence or influencing the testimony of witnesses, potential witnesses or individuals who participated in such unlawful entry and other illegal activities;

6. endeavoring to misuse the Central Intelligence Agency, an agency of the United States;

7. disseminating information received from officers of the Department of Justice of the United States to subjects of investigations conducted by lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States, for the purpose of aiding and assisting such subjects in their attempts to avoid criminal liability;

8. making or causing to be made false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States into believing that a thorough and complete investigation had been conducted with respect to allegations of misconduct on the part of personnel of the executive branch of the United States and personnel of the Committee for the Re-election of the President, and that there was no involvement of such personnel in such misconduct: or

9. endeavoring to cause prospective defendants, and individuals duly tried and convicted, to expect favored treatment and consideration in return for their silence or false testimony, or rewarding individuals for their silence or false testimony.

In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.”
Adopted 27-11 by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House

[28] Article 99(3) of the constitution provides that “It shall be the duty of the President to abide by, uphold and safeguard this Constitution and the laws of Uganda and to promote the welfare of the citizens and protect the territorial integrity of Uganda.”

[29] The equivalent of about $25,000 in 2005.

[30] The promotion of Idi Amin from the rank of Major rapidly up through the ranks to Major General bypassing all senior officers who were more qualified in a few years between 1964 and 1968 was not based on merit but on selfish political expediency on part of Obote. Museveni, like Obote, has politicized and personalized the army and converted it into a political weapon from an autonomous national institution whose sole purpose is to defend the sovereignty of Uganda against external enemies and not a political instrument used to intimidate citizens, kill political opponents and persecute the political opposition who are citizens of Uganda. It sounds paradoxical that in 1986 the NRA was praised for being the “most disciplined” force in Uganda’s history. What was not realized then is the fact that there is a difference between a “disciplined” force, whose behavior is autonomous of the political leadership, and a force under the “control” of one person or a clique of politicians. By being in “control” of the army Museveni could make it behave as he desired and, hence, use it to do whatever he wanted, legal or illegal. There is therefore no apparent contradiction here between “political control” and “discipline” of the armed forces under Museveni.

[31] Kyankwanzi political school vividly reminds us about communist methods of political indoctrination, euphemistically called “education,” which, incidentally, Museveni originally believed in in the 1960s when he studied at Dar es Salaam. This conclusion explains why Museveni’s political heroes are Julius K. Nyerere, Fidel Castro and Muammar Gaddafi. It is inconceivable that a person who admires those three leaders can honestly deny and disown any belief in communism at one time in his life.

[32] This is true in all political systems whether they are democratic or not. That is the nature of ideology. In US, for example, “cutting taxes” and “small government” are now dogmatic articles of political faith for conservative Republicans since the Reagan Presidency, regardless of the consequences of cutting taxes and their impact on the reality of social justice, equality and the welfare of all citizens or the problem to be solved in the economy. The presumption in this political dogma is that every economic problem can be effectively solved by simply cutting taxes and making the government smaller. In the process of debating the issues economic theory is replaced by a dogmatic ideology which is viewed by its believers as the only cure or solution for every economic, social and political problem. In communist and socialist systems suppression of political freedom was seen as a “necessary” means of eliminating “class conflict” and exploitation by capital, or the private ownership of the means of production. This led to the dogmatic “dictatorship of the proletariat” which wiped out all elements of political freedom. The end justified the means at any price. The result was political oppression. Under Hitler and apartheid regimes in Germany and South Africa, respectively, racial purity or separation and cultural identity were seen as the only solution to every political problem society faced. Racism justified both apartheid and racial desegregation.

[33] Museveni has tried to rewrite history several times. Recently Museveni referred to Mbabazi as one of the “original” members of NRM in the 1970s. We are, however, aware that NMR-O was not legally formed until after 2005 when the movement system was abolished and political parties were allowed to exist. The organization that existed in the 1970s was FRONASA. It was a military insurgency group and not a political party. UPM, a political party Museveni is associated with, was formed in 1980. In 1995 UPM had virtually ceased to exist. It is therefore not clear how Mbabazi could have been a “founding member” of a political party in the 1970s which did not, in fact, exist.

[34] See his essay “Marxism and the Uganda Peoples’ Congress,”

[35] Dr. A. Milton Obote, The Common Man’s Charter, With Appendices, Government Printer, Entebbe, 1969.

[36] Appendix III of the Charter.

[37] Section 14 of the Charter.

[38] See Article 1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which provides that “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of the right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

[39] Sections 7, 10 and 11 of the Charter.

[40] See his essay “Marxism and the Uganda Peoples’ Congress,”

[41] Dr. A. Milton Obote, The Common Man’s Charter, With Appendices.

[42] It would be delusional for anyone to say that the pre-independence political parties had a concrete political philosophy. They equally suffered from the political kwashiorkor caused by the oppression of the colonial regime as those after independence. Moreover, the leaders of the independence movement were more interested in “independence” from the colonial regime than in the political “freedom” of their citizens. Indeed, from the west coast of Africa in Ghana to East Africa the common slogan of the independence movement campaigners was “self-government now” which is clearly different from “political freedom now.”

[43] Nkrumah’s political party was known as the Convention People’s Party (CPP) and its ideology was clearly socialist.

[44] Socialism could not be explicitly advocated before independence because under the colonial regime it was a political crime to believe in or advocate “communism,” a political term that broadly covered socialism as well. In South Africa, for example, the Suppression of Communism Act, later renamed the Internal Security Act, in the 1970s, was enacted in 1950 to deal with Mandela’s growing movement and his fiery political rhetoric. Under the Act people could be “banned” or forbidden to make any speech in public or their movements “restricted” to specific legally defined areas. What was going on in South Africa was not very different from what was going on in colonial Africa in the 1950s. The provisions of the Act banning people or restricting them to specific areas were repealed after Mandela was released in 1990. In any case they would have been rendered void by the new constitution enacted in 1996 if they had not been repealed.

[45] See text to footnote 10.

[46] Museveni explicitly says that formation of UPM was a political necessity because he did not want to be associated with the old parties such as DP and UPC which he accused of a political disease he called “sectarianism.” Museveni’s argument is not convincing given what we know today. I challenge Museveni’s argument in my review of Sowing the Mustard Seed.

[47] Historically DP has lost more leaders to the other parties than any other. This could be proof of the original strength of DP. Note that we put emphasis on “leaders” who defected rather than “members” of DP who joined the other political parties. In 1964 Basil Bataringaya led five DP MPs to cross the aisle, in a carefully orchestrated move, over from DP opposition to UPC government benches. Obviously those MPs did not cross from DP to UPC for philosophical reasons. Political corruption is a better explanation for the cross-over from DP to UPC in 1964. Moreover, Basil Bataringaya was immediately rewarded with a coveted cabinet post of Minister of Internal Affairs. More recently DP leaders have changed allegiance from DP to NRM and FDC after 2005. Among the most recent defectors from DP the most prominent are Dr. Gilbert Bukenya, former Vice President, Dr. Specioza Kazibwe, former Vice President, Prof. Ssemakula Kiwanuka, Ambassador to Middle East, and Edward Ssekandi, the current Vice President.

[48] NMR-O represents the transformation of NRM from being an organization in which all political parties technically belonged and formed the so-called “broad based” government before 2005 to a registered political party like all the others after the constitution was amended to allow multi-parties to operate independently. NRM mutated into NRM-O. This is an interesting transformation we shall comment on later.

[49] A comprehensive discussion of this issue is in my review of Sowing the Mustard Seed.

[50] Article 20(1) of the 1995 constitution which Museveni endorsed provides that “Fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual are inherent and not granted by the state.” Museveni’s hypocrisy and deception are apparent.

[51] We are referring to the UPC constitution that was amended and adopted by the National Delegates Conference on August 28, 1970.

[52] It is important to note that “ethnicity” is not one of the categories of prohibited discrimination under the 1970 version of UPC constitution. Obviously there was a lot of discrimination in the recruitment and promotion of the armed forces under Obote I. Therefore the omission does not seem to be accidental.

[53] Beginning in 1960 Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and in 1965 Julius K. Nyerere of Tanzania had similar policies. Obote was basically a copy-cat of his two African “brothers.”

[54] In Mwenda’s case the Supreme Court of Uganda has ruled that the crime of sedition is unconstitutional. If the crime of sedition is unconstitutional today it must have been in 1968 since the constitutional provisions on which the ruling was based to nullify the Penal Code provisions criminalizing sedition are identical to those that existed in 1967. The people who were convicted of sedition were wrongfully convicted.

[55] Apolo Milton Obote and His Times, NOK Publishers, New Yok, London and Lagos, 1978. Kenneth Ingham, Obote: A political biography, Routledge, New York and London, 1994.

[56] If Nyerere had massacred fellow Tanzanians the evidence would by now be out. That puts Nyerere out of the camp of his fellow dictators like Obote, Nkrumah and Museveni.

[57] Daniel Muliika, “Draft Concept Paper on Convocation of a National Convention for Consensual Governance in Uganda,” hereafter, “Draft Concept Paper.” .” pp. 19/20.

[58] The resignation of Kabakumba Masiko in 2011 under pressure of a Parliamentary motion for censure is the first resignation of a member of cabinet in Uganda since independence in 1962. This was followed by the resignations of Sayda Bbumba and Khiddu Makubuya in 2012 as the Basajjabalaba controversy was widely discussed in Parliament and the media. These resignations are therefore rare exceptions to the rule rather than the general rule as to what is expected to happen when a scandal is exposed.

[59] Marc D. Hauser, MOROAL MINDS: How nature designed our universal sense of right and wrong, Harper Collins Publishers, 2006.

[60] Marc D. Hauser, id. P. 2.

[61] Marc D. Hauser, id. 2006, p. xvii.

[62] Marc D. Hauser, id. 2006, p. xviii.

[63] Marc D. Hauser, id. 2006, p. 97.

[64] Marc D. Hauser, id. 2006, p. 229.

[65] Marc D, Hsuser, id. 2006, p. 240.

[66] Marc D. Hauser, id. 2006, p. 286.

[67] Marc D. Hauser, id. 2006, p. 286

[68] Marc D. Hauser, id. 2006, pp. 282/3.

[69] Marc D. Hauser, id. 2006, pp. 97/8.

[70] Marc D. Hauser, id. 2006, p. 155.

[71] Sripada And Stich, “A Framework for the Psychology of Norms,” in P. Carruthers, S. Lawrence and S. Stich, eds, Innateness and Structure of the the Mind, vol. II, pp. 9/10.

[72] Sripada and Stich, pp. 13 , 15.

[73] Boyd and Richerson, 2005, p. 84.

[74] In any country where a military coup d’état has taken place during the period when there is no recognized political authority looting takes place because the efficacy of the social norms temporarily disappears. This means that there are exceptions to Marc D. Hauser’s general rule of the spontaneity of the efficacy of social norms.

[75] For an example see G.W. Kanyeihamba’s article in the Sunday Monitor, “The Judiciary’s weakness should be a concern of everyone in Uganda,” published on line:

[76] Each Parliament whose duration is a maximum of five years votes to confer these benefits to all MPs in spite of the fact that an MP earns over $10,000 a month!

[77] We have clearly demonstrated in the sections above that political parties in Uganda are not coherent and politically effective because they lack the important element of political philosophy. It is not clear what is meant by “pro-people party.” The label, judging by ka-Rusoke’s arguments, implies socialism. However, merely relabeling the political party does not transform its substance or endow it with a rational political philosophy.

[78] All quotations attributed to Kajabago ka-Rusoke are from his article “Corruption: Individuals to Blame not the NRM,” published online in the New Vision, February 18, 2010,

[79] Both China and Cuba, the last strongholds of communist ideology, seem to be gradually transforming themselves into non-communist regimes. Their economic systems are undergoing radical changes inevitably propelling them towards capitalism and hopefully democratization.

[80] V.I. Lenin, Selected Works, International Publishers, New York, 1971, pp. 169-263.

[81] Hauser, id.

[82] Hauser, id.

[83] For different interpretations or explanations see Mahmood Mamdani, When Victims Become Killers—Colonialism, Nativism and Genocide in Rwanda, Princeton University Press, 2001 and Girard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis—History of a Genocide, Columbia University Press, 1995.

[84] The evolution of Buganda’s social system and its comparison with Rwanda and Ankole is discussed in my review of Daniel Muliika, “Draft Concept Paper on Convocation of a National Convention in Uganda,” 2010.


[86] When Jim Muhwezi appeared before the Commission of Inquiry into the Mismanagement of the Global Fund presided over by Justice James Ogoola in 2006 where he was accused of embezzling Global Fund money we are told that “tempers flared when Muhwezi reminded the Judge that he fought for the prevailing peace.” Muhwezi is quoted sarcastically remarking to the Judge: “…I don’t know my Lord, where you were at the time, but the peace that prevails, I was a part of.” It is important to note that Muhwezi refers to “prevailing peace.” There was no democracy in Uganda at the time Muhwezi was talking about “peace.” In the north over a million people had been displaced from their homes. They were living in refugee camps. Therefore there was, for all practical purposes, no “peace” in the north. For Muhwezi’s statement see Newvision, posted online on October 3, 2008,

[87] Obviously discrimination, racism, sexism and other forms of prejudice constitute an exception to this general rule in a democratic system.

[88] The rule of “political entitlement” within NRM is clearly distinguishable from the “spoils” system in Western democratic systems under which a party that wins an election is free to fill certain “political positions” in government such as ambassadorships whose personnel automatically change when a different political party wins an election. The origin of the NRM rule had nothing to do with NRM winning a free and fair competitive election. The first election under NRM was held in 1996 long after the NRM rule was firmly established.

[89] We say that the principle of individual merit sounded good and innocent because one could not easily decipher its corrupt nature and implications at the time it was introduced by listening to the political rhetoric used to market it to the public. Later on experience made it possible to pierce the legal jargon in which it was diplomatically wrapped under the 1995 constitution. For example Article 70 provides that the “movement political system is broad based, inclusive and non-partisan and shall conform to the following principles—

(a) participatory democracy;

(b) democracy, accountability and transparency;

(c) accessibility to all positions of leadership by all citizens;

(d) individual merit as a basis for election to political offices.”

Article 70 of the 1995 constitution was, however, a clever political delusion. By declaring the movement system to be “broad based, inclusive and non-partisan” people were made to believe that such a theoretical declaration in the constitution actually turned the movement system into what it purported to be under the law. The political reality is that the movement system was neither democratic, since it survived by suppressing political freedom, nor non-partisan because in politics there is no such thing as a non-partisan political organization. Political parties may act on a “bi-partisan” manner to serve their own interests. But that does not mean that they are “non-partisan.” Moreover, after institutionalizing corruption as we clearly illustrate below, the movement system did not practice “accountability” and was obviously not “transparent.” See below a section on corruption scandals under NRM.

[90] G.W. Kanyeihamba, Constitutional and Political History of Uganda from 1894 to the Present, Centenary Publishing House, Ltd., Kampala, Uganda, 2002, pp. 266—268, 278.

[91] The New Vision, May 29, 2010, 26

[92] Albinos have recently emerged as a special political interest group who deserve separate representation. See Article in New Vision, published on line on June 10, 2010, “Albinos tipped on next year’s polls,”

[93] It is ironical to reflect on the fact that the reason why King Henry VIII broke away from the Catholic Church is because he could not corrupt the Pope to grant him a decree to divorce his wife in order to marry another woman who would give him an heir to the English throne.

[94] John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M Walt, The Israel Lobby, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.

[95] Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, Supreme Court Opinion, No 08—205, 558 US—(2010).

[96] 494US652 (1990)

[97] Point 7.

[98] Point 1.

[99] Point 5.

[100] Point 6.

[101] Museveni’s bloated cabinet of over 70 ministers consists of the largest number of corrupt ministers Uganda has ever seen. A close adviser to Museveni, Kintu Musoke, who is also a former Prime Minister in Museveni’s cabinet, used the NRM Parliamentary Caucus retreat at Kyankwanzi to “mourn” the death of the ten-point program and condemn corruption under NRM by urging Museveni to “disband” the cabinet because “most of its members are tainted with allegations of corruption.” See Daily Monitor report, published online January 18 2012, “Disband Cabinet, Kintu Musoke tells Museveni,”

[102] The Anti-Corruption Act, 2009, consolidated the laws dealing with corruption in the Penal Code, The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1970, and other legislations. Uganda has a Leadership Code Act, 2002, the Inspector General of Government Act, the Auditor General Act, 2008, and The Public Procurement Act. Other laws relevant to the control of corruption include Registration of Titles Act, Oaths Act, Uganda Human Rights Act, Financial Institutions Act, Capital Markets Authority Act, Electoral Commission Act, Commissions of Inquiry Act, Uganda Revenue Authority Act, Money Lenders Act, Uganda Law Society Act, Accountants Act and the Police Act. Considering what has been going on in Uganda during the last 25 years all these laws have been either ignored or ineffectively enforced.

[103] Among the institutions which are supposed to fight corruption in Uganda are the courts, the police, the Land Office, the Attorney General’s Office, the DPP, the Uganda Law Society, the Uganda Revenue Authority and Parliament but officials from these law enforcement institutions have themselves either been charged with corruption crimes, convicted, dismissed from their posts or accused of corruption and serious ethical violations. Other institutions which are supposed to be on the frontline fighting corruption are: the Inspectorate of Government (IGG), the Human Rights Commission, the Electoral Commission, the Auditor General, the Uganda Customs Agency and the banks. It is within these institutions that institutionalized corruption resides. A brief look at the corruption scandals clearly shows that the institutions which were supposed to fight corruption are themselves corrupt. Prominent among these are the police, the URA, the Attorney-General’s Office and even the courts.

[104] Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa, Minister of Works & Transport, John Nasasira and Minister of state for Labor, Mwesigwa Rukutana were involved in another scandal in which they were charged with benefiting from a corrupt deal worth $4.8 million involving refurbishing a hotel for the CHOGM summit. The three Ministers were charged in court for corruption arising from that deal in October 2011. They pleaded not guilty to the charges but were forced to resign from their positions in the cabinet.

[105] Page 105 of the AG report on CHOGM.

[106] Quoting Annex 27 to the AG report, id. p. 106. It should be noted that the one company which had come up with proposals is the one Kutesa had contacted without authority to do so since the function belonged to the Accounting Officer of the MoW&T.

[107] Page 108.

[108] AG report, p. 111, quoting Annex 28 to the report.

[109] Id. P. 110.

[110] Id. P. 112.

[111] Id. P. 115.

[112] Section 7A of the Public Procurement Act, 2003.

[113] Spear Motors had been disqualified and a Kenyan company, Mashariki Motors, had mysteriously withdrawn its bidding papers.

[114] Id. P. 118.

[115] Id. P. 113.

[116] Id. P. 113.

[117] Id. P. 114. Bold in the original.

[118] See a Daily Monitor report published online on January 17, 2012, entitled “Salary scam in police unearthed,”

[119] Consider, for example, the Auditor General’s report of 2000/1 in which it was revealed that government paid Shs19bn in “ghost” bills. In the Report and Opinion of the Auditor General to Parliament on the Public Accounts of the Republic of Uganda, the Auditor General found that Shs1.7bn simply disappeared from the Ministry of Defense and losses amounting to Shs2,075,042,830/= “disappeared” from other ministries. For details see, for example, The Monitor, posted online, May 3, 2002:

[120] It is important to distinguish between Commissions of Inquiry whose main objective is to discover facts about corruption and locate responsibility for wrong doing and recommend prosecution and/or punishment for the guilty and Truth Commissions whose focus is violation of human rights in general and the primary goal is achieving reconciliation and not to assign responsibility or blame for corruption but to lay bare the historical facts and let the chips fall where they may. Examples of Truth Commissions are those of Chile and South Africa. Their impact on the two political systems was tremendous in activating social change that formed the basis of reconciliation.

[121] See section 4.1 of the report.

[122] Id. section 4.2 of the report.

[123] Id. section 4.3 of the report.

[124] Id. section 4.5 of the report.

[125] Id. section 6.11 of the report.

[126] Paragraph 11.74.1(h)(vi). It is important to note that a professional consulting committee on recruitment had recommended Dr. Mutumba to be hired. Their recommendation was either rejected or ignored by Jim Muhwezi, both to the same effect.

[127] 43 Paragraph 11.75.12(vi).

[128] 44 Paragraph 11.75.12 (xii).

[129] 45 Section 11.53.

[130] 46 Section 11.60.

[131] 47 Paragraph 15.10 of the report.

[132] Paragraph 9.7(f).

[133] Paragraph 9.7(g), bold is added.

[134] The Presidential oath runs as follows: “I…swear in the name of the Almighty God/solemnly affirm/that I shall faithfully exercise the functions of the President of Uganda and shall uphold, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and observe the laws of Uganda and that I shall promote the welfare of the people of Uganda. [So help me God.], italics added. Article 107 of the constitution provides that the “The President may be removed from office … [for]abuse of office or willful violation of the oath of allegiance and presidential oath or any provision of this Constitution.”

[135] Paragraph 9.7(g).

[136] The author met him in Boston while he was busy fundraising for NRM.

[137] Permanent Secretaries are supposed to be civil servants who are neutral to the daily politics of the administration. They retain their positions even after a new regime ascends to power through an electoral victory. They are supposed to be the “impartial” advisors of the Minister and a chain of continuity between administrations which are democratically elected by the people from any political party, regardless of ideology.

[138] Paragraph 10.6.1.

[139] Paragraph 10.6.1(d).

[140] See section 11.74 of the report.

[141] Paragraph 10.6.1(e)

[142] Paragraph 11.10.1

[143] Paragraph 11.6.1(f)

[144] For all the testimony and discussion of Jim Muhwezi’s liability see section 11.74.1 of the report.

[145] This and the following discussion involving Mukula is taken from section 11.74.2 of the report.

[146] Sundayvision, March 22, 2009.

[147] Newvision, July 14, 2009.

[148] Paragraph 11.40 of the report.

[149] Available on the Uganda High Court Website:

[150] Paragraph 11.57(b)(viii)

[151] See section 11.57 of the report.

[152] Justice Katutsi in Uganda v Teddy Ssezi Cheeye.

[153] Section 11.57 of the report.

[154] Uganda v Teddy Ssezi Cheeye: The italics are in the original.

[155] Transparency International Uganda applauded the Court of Appeal for upholding on October 20, 2010, a 10-year prison sentence imposed on Teddy S. Cheeye, by the High Court in April 2009. However, Robert Lugoloobi, of Transparency International was reserved: “It does not make sense if the likes of Cheeye and other junior officers are convicted when senior politicians, who have been implicated in grand corruption in various scandals like Global Fund and CHOGM are not brought to book.” Although it upheld the sentence the Court of Appeal made it clear that the sentence was very lenient.

[156] See footnote 136. The italics are in the original.

[157] Id.

[158] See text to footnote 138.

[159] See Daily Monitor posted on line on October 21 2010: and Newvision, online:

[160] The meaning of the saying is that when your enemy has thoroughly incapacitated you and rendered you helpless he cannot avoid laughing at you. But in order to do so he has to cover his mouth so that you may not see him laughing at you or realize that he is actually enjoying your suffering.

[161] According to Martin Okumu and Dr. Huguette Lubelle of Transparency International, Newvision, March 17, 2009, This estimate is too low considering the fact that in the allegations of the oil company scandal which took place at about the same time the estimate was made it is alleged that Tullow Oil Company made a $200 million payment to the Minister in order to sign the Production Sharing Agreement.

[162] Newvision, June 25, 2009.

[163] The Prime Minister, Prof. Apolo Nsibambi, is quoted saying: “I got the money and I am using it to clarify the White Paper to various audiences and also getting their input. For example I had a consultative meeting in Buloba, Mityana Road on Friday, November 12 [2004].” See Article written by Alex B. Atuhaire, “I took Shs5 million in good faith—Nsibambi,” published online by The Monitor, November 18, 2004, http://www.

[164] World Bank, Africa Development Indicators, 2010, “Silent and Lethal: How Quiet Corruption Undermines Africa’s Development efforts.”

[165] Id.

[166] For a critique of Uganda’s performance see A. Ruzindana’s article: “Uganda Scores lowest in Education in East Africa,” published online on September 29, 2010, Ruzindana is former head of IGG. One has to assume Ruzindana understands the nature and problem of corruption in Uganda.

[167] See G.W. Kanyeihamba, “There are more fake land titles than real ones,” published online on November 2, 2010,

[168] “To my knowledge, many victims of these forgeries have lodged complaints, in writing to the relevant authorities without any reaction from those authorities I have personally taken action on those members of the public reported to me. I have listed half a dozen or so of the worst of forged titles and brought them to the attention of the Ministry of Lands. I have had discussions with at least two senior officials of the ministry and presented a sample of the forgeries with promises from the officers that they will investigate and take action. The minister concerned and I had discussions on land thefts and the forgeries and he promised to act on them immediately. I even offered to assist his ministry in unveiling the causes of this problem. This was months ago.” Id.

[169] Nicholas Sengoba, “Hidden Secrets: How Ugandans cope in the era of economic growth Part IV,” published on line by Daily Monitor, April 3, 2012,

[170] March 3, 2012, reported on line, The translation is that of the author.

[171] Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, East African Educational Publishers, Nairobi, 1989.

[172] Apathy, fear and timidity are not unique to Ugandan community. Poland, for a long time, suffered a similar fate under communism before Pope John Paul II paid a visit to Poland. “His greatest impact, of course, was in Poland, where his dramatic 1979 visit, as one Polish bishop said, altered ‘the mentality of fear, the fear of police and tanks, of losing your job, of not getting promoted, of being thrown out of school, of failing to get a passport. People learned that if they ceased to fear, the system was helpless.’” The quotation is from Samuel P. Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century, University of Oklahoma Press: Norman, 1991, p. 83.

[173] See, for example, Uganda, The Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Violations of Human Rights: Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations, Kampala, Uganda, 1994.

[174] For a general discussion of the views of the two schools of thought See Huntington, id. pp. 213/4.


[176] See, for example an article by Tebaire, published online by the Daily Monitor which describes how the secret service operates:

[177] For example in 2008 the UHRC awarded Shs592,982,000/=, in 2007 Shs445,440,000/= and in 2006 Shs368,081,600/=, according to the annual reports of the UHRC. Note that the amount of damages increased every year implying that more violations of human rights are taking place instead of being reduced if NRM administration was concerned about the issue and the rule of law.

[178] Article 1, UN Convention Against Corruption.

[179] Article 15.

[180] Article 17.

[181] Article 23.

[182] Article 25.

[183] Article 27.

[184] Article 20.

[185] Article 24.

[186] Articles 43—50.

[187] Articles 51—59.

[188] Article 53.

[189] Article 57.

[190] My detailed critique of Museveni’s sectarian theory is in my review of Sowing the Mustard Seed.

[191] Benjamin J. Odoki, The Search for a National Consensus: The Making of the 1995 Uganda Constitution, Fountain Publishers, Kampala, 2005, pp. 334/5, my italics. Obviously, the phrase “People’s Defense Force,” is common, if not popular, in describing socialist and communist armies. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that it reflects Museveni’s sublimated ideological inclinations, bring to the fore his contradictory and ambiguous ideological positions. No other rational explanation makes sense.

[192] Huntington, id., p. 313.

[193] Samuel P. Huntington, The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century, University of Oklahoma Press: Norman, 1991.

[194] Huntington, id. P.270.

[195] The case of South Africa is unique. It was pressure from below that activated the top to carry out the necessary reforms that abolished apartheid.

[196] Id. pp. 13—15.

[197] Huntington, id. pp. 75, 76, 289. In associating democracy with Protestantism Huntington seems to be following Max Weber’s script in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, translated by Talcott Parson, Charles Scribner’s Sons: New York, 1958.

[198] Huntington, id., p. 311.

[199] Huntington, id., p. 315.

[200] Huntington, id., p. 3. “The beginning of the third wave more or less coincided with the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), the Helsinki Final Act, and the beginning of what came to be known as the Helsinki Process.” p. 89.

[201] Huntington, id. Writes: “A democratic regime is installed not by trends but by people. Democracies are created not by causes but by causers. Political leaders and publics have to act,” p. 107.

[202] J.C. Holt, Magna Carta, Second Edition, Cambridge University Press, 1992

[203] Generally see A.V. Dicey, Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, Ninth Edition, London, MacMillan & Co, Ltd. 1961. First edition was published in 1885.