Yesterday, July 2, 2012, I wrote an article appealing to Ugandans to come together quickly and save Uganda from Museveni’s notion of metamorphosis or complete overhaul. Museveni prepared step by step what he wanted to achieve including sending messages or making observations in the form of questions after he has stated his view for those who cared to know where he was headed. For example, in his interview with John Nagenda shortly before he became president Museveni through a question posed by Nagenda (perhaps with Museveni’s encouragement) made a statement to the effect that there are two races in western Uganda – Ugandans of the white race (Museveni’s race) and Ugandans of the black race although both races speak Lunyankole language. He sent a convoluted message about white superiority and black inferiority. But his supporters including those in Ntungamo district have made it clear who is who and who deserves what in Uganda.
Museveni elaborated his views in an interview with Bill Berkely and said with reference to colonialism and slavery: “I have never blamed the whites [M7 believes he is white] for colonizing Africa; I have never blamed these whites for taking slaves. If you are stupid, you should be taken a slave”. This was in 1994. Museveni believes almost religiously that he fought Ugandans with his Tutsi mercenaries and some “stupid” Ugandans and conquered Uganda and took Ugandans slaves. So, he should not be blamed. Ugandans who facilitated Museveni to conquer and colonize them are the ones who should be blamed (and those who supported and still support him know themselves and know how Museveni refers to them). Similarly, if Ugandans are taken slaves, witness human trafficking and commercialization underway in Uganda, it is the fault of “stupid” Ugandans.
The above statements may sound incredible but that is the reality – and the truth hurts sometimes. Those who don’t want to hear the truth or want to let sleeping dogs lie are going to castigate me in order to shut me up. Before doing that, I suggest you reflect and consult others in order to take an informed decision. You may realize that I am trying from the bottom of my heart (despite the risks involved) to make life better for present and future generations.
I have studied Museveni very carefully within the Great Lakes region context since our student days at Ntare School. I am convinced about what I am saying. Let me repeat what I have said many times before: I have nothing against Museveni as a person and his family – believe me. I hope Museveni and his family will treat me and my family the same way. I am simply and honestly opposed to his policies which are leading Uganda into hell including the possibility of abolishing Uganda boundaries as one East African president has suggested to a high powered Uganda delegation. Hopefully, other patriots feel the same.
Reversing NRM’s failed policies will save Ugandans including Museveni and his family. For the sake of inclusiveness, UDU is extending an olive branch to NRM. Let us work together. As noted already, NRM cannot do it alone because it has a big problem. When the old and the young fall in deep sleep when the president is addressing the nation and the world – the occasion when everyone especially cabinet members must be alert, it means that there is a systemic problem. The cabinet is telling Museveni, the nation and the world that it needs help – either they are very tired and need to be retired or they are incapable and need to be replaced. And they should be excused. Museveni is the one to blame for retaining in public office such people. Museveni seems to be afraid of new blood with fresh ideas. That is why he has retained the old and picked the young who have a sleeping problem and possibly other disabilities. Such people are easy to handle. For Museveni, it seems, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush regardless of the cost to the nation.
Be that as it may. Stories coming from Sheema in southwest Uganda indicate that under the leadership of MP Elioda Tumwesigye the youth have launched Museveni for a fifth term. Instead of asking Museveni to cater for the interests of youth and children who are dying of preventable malnutrition and communicable diseases, who have been denied school lunch and are dropping out of school in large numbers, whose unemployment rate exceeds 80 percent and whose rights and freedoms are being violated when they stage peaceful demonstrations asking government for help, Tumwesigye has endorsed Museveni for a fifth term. It appears Tumwesigye represents those Ugandans that Museveni refers to as “stupid”. If you are stupid you will be exploited and then you will request your exploiter to stay in power and continue to exploit you. That is exactly what Tumwesigye has just done to the youth and entire people of Sheema. Tumwesigye represents those MPs who simply don’t understand what it means to represent people or Tumwesigye is a relative of Museveni by birth or adoption and is perpetuating the interests of Museveni and his family or Tumwesigye is simply greedy for power and/or wealth and Museveni has used such Ugandans before to achieve his goals. Tumwesigye should therefore be ashamed and if he has realized the mistake he committed he should apologize to the people of Sheema and the entire nation.
Museveni is seeking early endorsement for another term starting in the former Ankole district to save NRM from total collapse on his watch for three compelling reasons. First, the defeat of NRM candidate in a by-election in Museveni’s back yard has embarrassed and scared him. Second, the ongoing fight for succession among the First Lady, Speaker of Parliament and Prime Minister has shaken NRM. Because Museveni is unable to decide who should succeed him, he has chosen to run for another term to contain fire that has started in the kitchen and might spread and burn down the entire house. Third, stories reaching us indicate that Museveni and NRM are scared of UDU, its non-corrupt and anti-sectarian leadership and excellent National Recovery Plan (NRP) as a replacement for the failed policies of NRM. That is why Museveni has rushed to invite UPC to join NRM and to offer Miria Obote a cabinet post as rumored before UPC decides to partner with UDU. That NRM has failed and that it is in trouble and therefore cannot reverse course is not in doubt any longer at home and abroad. We urge UPC to work with UDU which is moving forward and not NRM that is sliding backwards at an accelerating speed. You don’t join a sinking ship. You rush towards a rescue vessel. Notwithstanding, Museveni wants to continue as president beyond 2016 in the belief that rulers do no wrong.
Museveni is clinging onto power for other reasons similar to those of James. Before he became king of England, James I wrote a book “The True Law of Free Monarchy”. He reasoned that monarchy was established by conquest and passed on through inheritance. Once established, the monarchy was sovereign (not the people). He added that monarchs are the “agents of God upon earth”. The King’s will is God’s will, a king, therefore rules by divine right and can do no wrong. James I passed the throne to his son Charles I who insisted on absolute rule and divine right of kings. The British Parliament that was already angry with the first Stuart king James I who ruled differently from the Tudor kings said no. The dispute was resolved through a civil war that Charles lost. From then on the power and sovereignty have rested with Parliament through the people who elect members to serve in that institution.
Museveni should drop the idea that he conquered Uganda and took Ugandans as slaves and will pass on the presidency to his wife, son or brother. One of the reasons UDU was created and is gathering support is to re-establish the sovereignty of the people of Uganda who in turn will elect representatives to parliament to serve their interests through the instruments of democracy and good governance. The people of Uganda have become enlightened, their eyes and ears are alert. And they don’t like what they are seeing and hearing. They want change preferably by peaceful means. Once people and their institutions have refused there is virtually nothing that the ruler can do except to yield and save lives and property.
The people of Uganda and increasingly their institutions are sending signals of resistance to NRM rule through demonstrations which should continue and spread to all parts of the country to stretch police capacity to the limit or force it to join demonstrators out of frustration and hunger while the military stays neutral or joins the suffering majority to send a joint message to Museveni to let go before chaos breaks loose (security forces especially those suffering like civilians need to know that their duty is to protect or join the people when the government oppresses them in any form. You are not there to serve the ruler. In fact you should send signals to the ruler that he has gone too far).
Non-violence works through many visible and invisible ways by inter alia creating an environment that discourages investors and tourists and remittances. Capital flight and business relocation outside Uganda follows and donors cut back assistance. These actions reduce government revenue. Salaries for civil servants and teachers and health workers etc, security forces and embassies abroad are not paid. They cannot buy food and send their children to school etc. Drivers refuse to work and farmers to grow or sell food. The country is paralyzed. Anger and hunger erupt.
The demonstrations that started last year reduced economic growth rate to 3.2 per cent (the lowest since NRM came to power in 1986) below population growth of 3.5 percent, meaning that poverty has increased. So demonstrations are working and Museveni and his police cannot use force to kill and maim and intimidate demonstrators because the international community has warned Museveni and UDU is watching like a hawk for any sign of trouble and we shall spring into action. UDU press releases and other contacts have contributed in a big way. So, go out and demonstrate until NRM comes to its senses.
In 1917, the people of Russia and their Duma (Parliament) said no to Czar Nicholas II when he told them to disband. He called on the police to put down the demonstrators. The police said no and joined the demonstrators. Then he called on the army to step in on behalf of the Romanov family and the Russian Empire. The soldiers including the most trusted Cossacks said no and joined the demonstrators. Eventually, army commanders advised Nicholas to abdicate. He did and called on his brother Michael to take over. Michael was very wise and realistic and politely said no. And the Romanov dynasty came to an end.
Mobutu Sese Seko was advised by his very close advisers to step down and he said no. We all know what happened in the end. History repeats itself. Museveni and advisers at home and abroad, please take heed because Ugandans have rejected NRM’s corrupt, sectarian and incompetent rule.