While on vacation in Rujumbura in southwest Uganda my neighbor fell sick. I visited her and found that she had been in bed for three days without medication. Her health was deteriorating. I suggested that she should be taken to hospital. But her relatives were reluctant. I discreetly found out that they did not have money to cover transport and medical bills. She was rushed to Nyakibale hospital when I offered to cover most of the expenses. She had malaria and recovered fully after four days of hospitalization.
While at the hospital I met a woman in the corridor and she looked troubled. Apparently she knew me and so we quickly connected. During the brief conversation she stood stiff, cleared her throat and made a statement so clearly as though she had been practicing for quite some time. She said in the local language “Museveni ogu hona nomuntu? Obworo bwaturetaire nibuza kutumaraho. Sitani akashanga nkahi Museveni. Ahabwenki Sitani yamuresire Uganda?”. In English translation she said “Is Museveni a true human being? The poverty he has brought will destroy us. Where did Satan find Museveni and why did Satan bring Museveni to Uganda?” This sentiment in one form or another has been expressed by others. When a cross section of Ugandans tells you that Amin’s overall performance was better than Museveni’s, they are saying the same thing as the lady in the hospital said except in a less dramatic way.
These remarks and the story of a sick woman reported above who could not be taken to hospital because of household poverty forced me to do a study on poverty and deprivation in Rujumbura (which I have since then extended to the entire country). I wrote an article on the findings titled “How Rujumbura’s Bairu got impoverished” showing how impoverishment developed in a historical perspective and got worse under Museveni’s regime. It was published in Observer (Uganda). This article on poverty and its offshoots was in addition to work I had done on Uganda’s other development challenges since colonial days and published in my books (accessible at www.jonesharvest.com and www.bn.com or posted at www.kashambuzi.com).
Poverty and its offshoots of hunger, ignorance, disease, crime, corruption, violence, human sacrifice and exploitation including sexual are not only real but are spreading and deepening in Uganda. To understand their full impact they should be studied in an integrated manner.
When Keith Muhakanizi and Ahmed Katerega (apparently spokes persons for the government and the president write respectively that poverty has declined in Uganda and Bairu should thank Museveni for improving their quality of life they are really adding injury to a wound. They are consciously or otherwise reopening old wounds and inflicting new ones. Such insensitivity and immaturity is very troubling under Museveni’s regime when an increasing number of people are going to bed hungry, becoming insane because of poor feeding and stress, dropping out of school for lack of lunch and infant, child and maternal mortality rates rising etc. To end this reckless and extremely disturbing behavior of his agents, Museveni should bear responsibility and be forced to leave through the ballot box so that responsible and mature people are appointed by his successor.
Poverty remained very high at over 60 percent during the highest level of economic growth in the 1990s and has remained over 50 percent since then. This can be deduced not from Muhakanizi’s numbers but from the diseases of poverty which are everywhere for all to see. For example, when people cannot bathe because they have no money to buy water and soap, the only solution is to remove the government that has caused this suffering.
Muhakanizi told the nation and the whole world just before Christmas that the number of people wearing shoes and living in improved houses has increased. If that is so why has jiggers’ infestation not declined commensurately because poor housing and lack of shoes create conditions for jiggers to thrive and disfigure or even kill their hosts? Since jigger infestation is increasing Muhakanizi needs to look at his figures again. Also having a blanket is not a good indicator that a life has been pulled out of the poverty trap. Muhakanizi gives an impression of a person who grew up in a wealthy environment and has not bothered to study the economics of poverty and social and environmental impact.
A senior government official like Muhakanizi in the vital ministry of finance, planning and economic development who writes like this should surely raise questions about his breadth of knowledge and qualifications or level of understanding sensitive issues or both. If Muhakanizi knew that Uganda’s overall standard of living has not reached the level attained in 1970 and that some 20 percent of Ugandans have got poorer, he would have made a better nuanced presentation or better still kept quiet.
I have communicated with Muhakanizi’s ministry raising questions about distorted statistics in economic, social and demographic sectors. As spokesman for the ministry he has not responded.
I have also communicated with the President, Speaker and Prime Minister on Uganda’s development challenges. They too have not responded, even acknowledged receipt of my communications some of them contained in my book titled “For Present and Future Generations”, accessible at www.jonesharvest.com.
Despite the domestic and international good will Museveni received, his regime has turned out to be the most devastating for the majority of Ugandans. This revelation leads to the conclusion that Museveni should not be re-elected because after 25 years of failure, there is no way he can reverse the trend. Uganda will need a new occupant of State House starting in 2011.
What is heart breaking is that when you study Museveni’s policies closely you find that the adverse impact on the majority people of Uganda was deliberate. So for him and his inner circle of Bahororo advisers he is on course – to marginalize and reduce poor Ugandans in order for Bahororo to rule powerless and voiceless people without difficulty. If you have noticed during the current campaign, Museveni is focusing on the future not so much on his performance record since he became president. He is afraid that as he talks about performance, the hidden agenda could escape, hit headline news, make him lose re-election and kill the project which was agreed upon at Rwakitura on March 15, 1992 when Bahororo leaders met. To refresh your memory visit the report published widely. But should he be re-elected he will take it that Uganda voters endorsed his current destructive policy which he must continue in the next five years. He should not be given this chance even by those who have gained from him because the long term adverse impact on them could be very serious. So Museveni supporters should read the signs correctly because you have been warned.
Museveni came to power with a mission carefully hidden from the public: to identify Bahororo, educate and empower them economically, socially, militarily and politically to rule over impoverished, illiterate, hungry, sick and numerically reduced Ugandans in collaboration principally with Britain (Britain has provided finance, media and political backing to Museveni since the early 1980s. In return, Britain has regained control of Uganda through Museveni).
During the guerrilla war and since then Museveni has identified Bahororo wherever they live e. g. in Rwanda, Buganda, northern, eastern and western regions of Uganda and strategically placed them in key ministries (finance and foreign affairs in particular), security forces and private sector (rumors claim that the oil sector is almost 100 percent Bahororo or those closely related to them though marrying their women). When Museveni says so and so is a Muganda, Itesot, Langi etc, you need to dig deeper into his ancestral history. You may find that he/she is a pure Nilotic Muhororo who has adopted Kiganda name and speaks Luganda but does not represent Buganda interests.
To preempt criticism of his sectarianism which began during the guerrilla war (EIR 1997), Museveni has based his destruction of Uganda on the twin philosophy of individual merit and anti-sectarianism which have protected him against criticism when he has openly hired or promoted people from the same family like his wife and brother as ministers because he will say the choice was made purely on individual merit. This has been complemented with deceptive statistics through Keith Muhakanizi, Museveni’s right hand man at the powerful ministry of finance, planning and economic development. Muhakanizi has continued to use the discredited economic growth and per capita income index as a measure of development in Uganda – to say that do not worry who is minister or ambassador because you are doing well where you are. To avoid criticism Muhakanizi should adopt the new Multidimensional Poverty Index (Foreign Policy (FP) December 2010 page 75) which will help him produce real results about Ugandans’ standard of living.
And Ahmed Katerega needs to give concrete evidence that Bairu (including Catholics that have supported Museveni since 1981) have benefited in real terms as a group from Museveni’s government.
Let us walk through some measures Museveni has instituted to impoverish, reduce and marginalize Ugandans in order for Bahororo to rule them indefinitely with impunity which is Museveni’s goal.
First, Museveni knows the vital importance of food in human development. Nevertheless, he has consistently against all manner of advice called on Uganda peasants to produce for cash rather than for the stomach. He has consistently refused to provide school lunches which keep children in school especially girls and improve performance. Consequently, some 33 percent of Ugandans go to bed hungry or eat one inadequate meal a day of non-nutritious maize or cassava resulting in severe under-nutrition and neurological disorders including insanity which is rising very fast. Mad people perish quickly or are chained up in Butabika and others mental institutions and are safely out of the way. If you add on criminals who are increasingly being jailed (and these are young and potentially troublesome cohorts), you begin to see why impoverishing and underfeeding Ugandans can help him and his relatives to hold onto power with relative ease.
Food insecurity and poverty undermine Ugandans in many other ways and help Museveni to stay in power. Under-nourished women produce underweight children who are permanently physically and mentally underdeveloped. Sixteen percent of Uganda’s children under-five are underweight and forty percent of them are undernourished. Infant mortality, a measure of a country’s overall standard of living, increased from 81 to 88 deaths per 1000 live births between 1995 and 2000 and under-five mortality increased from 147 to 153 deaths per 1000 live births during the same period when economic growth recorded the highest level reaching 10 per cent in mid 1990s. Under-nutrition in early child hood constrains brain development which takes place during the first three years of human life from conception. In Uganda this is the time under-nutrition is very high. So Ugandans may be mentally unfit to challenge Bahororo who are eating well and studying well in contrast to those from poor families.
It has been established that 80 percent of primary school children are dropping out of school largely for lack of school lunches with adverse impact on human capital formation. And 62 percent of children in 20 percent of poorest families are getting married as teenagers and begin having children too early that will grow stunted mentally and physically in a poor environment. If they had stayed in school with the help of school lunch they could have avoided early marriage and pregnancy, acquired a good education to empower them economically and politically in adult life. Empowering poor people is not Museveni’s goal – the opposite is. Museveni wants to keep poor people poor or poorer and reduce their numbers using contraceptive pills and possibly other methods.
With migrant population rising mostly from Batutsi in Rwanda who could be Bahororo who returned to Rwanda when Mpororo kingdom disintegrated but have clung together tenaciously since then could boost their numbers to a critical mass to challenge indigenous Uganda population at the polls. Ugandans please take this warning seriously if you want to avoid another Ivory Coast. Remember that Tutsi Rwandese were closer to Museveni during the guerrilla war than any other group including Bahima.
It is interesting to note that while government finds it difficult to raise money for primary school lunches and provide employment relief to Uganda youth through public works that would construct roads, build water wells and plant trees etc all of them badly needed, it is relatively easy to mobilize money for contraceptive pills and mobile vehicles that crisscross the country distributing pills. Some of these pills kill sex urge and reduce sex relations and prevent birth of children in the process!
Without public works, the end result is that unemployed youth will have no money for dowry and wedding and so will not start a family. Government then helps them to use contraception to avoid birth of a child. Ultimately Uganda’s population of poor families will be stabilized at a low level of income. Poor Ugandans are likely to enter demographic transition (low death rate and low birth rate) without going through a period of earning high incomes and entering middle class as happened in the past.
When people have good education and high income, they understand their human rights better and fight to have them protected. When you are poor and numerically insignificant the government can abuse your rights and you cannot fight back. That is what Museveni is aiming for among indigenous people. That is why many think he indirectly launched birth control by limiting the number of children to four per family in free primary education without telling the nation. Then poor families are enticed with free pills to stop more children from seeing light of day. In ten or so years the population of the poor will be much lower. Fertility rate (number of children a mother produces) has already declined from 7.1 to 6.5 since the launch of birth control a few years ago. This reduced population size together with rural-urban migration which Museveni is encouraging will depopulate rural areas which will be taken over by big farmers mostly foreign that will use modern machinery to do farm work and do away with human labor. Indigenous poor people will end up herded into urban slums where diseases and crime etc will reduce them further.
Museveni has deliberately ignored education. Bahororo are getting top notch education in Uganda’s limited and expensive excellent schools which they can afford or studying abroad while the rest of Ugandans is dropping out of school too early or are functionally illiterate and unemployable upon graduation.
Over eighty percent of Uganda youth, future leaders, are unemployed and over 60 percent of them are university graduates. Ugandans would like to know how many Bahororo are involuntarily unemployed (they would like to work but cannot find a job) – possibly none. That is Museveni’s goal and he is steadily getting there. You give him another five years Museveni will sail through and turn back and laugh at your short sightedness.
What about healthcare? It is a mess to say the least. And that is deliberate. At one time he appointed a group of ministers (one of them a former police officer) who pushed the ministry to the brink of collapse and has not recovered. The status of maternal health is a good indicator of the status of health care. According to the Peer Review report (2009), maternal mortality rate increased from 527 in 1995 to 920 per 100000 live births in 2005. This was the period when economic growth was fastest. Very little was invested in health (in fact the little money that was allocated to the health sector was stolen by ministers that no one can touch). Accordingly the level of skilled attendants at birth has averaged 37 percent in rural areas where some 90 percent of women lived between 2003 and 2009 (UNICEF September 2010).
The few illustrations clearly indicate that it was not by accident that Uganda has degenerated towards a fourth world category. Read government statistics contained in Uganda National Household Surveys (UNHS) and Uganda population status reports including the one published in 2010 etc with a grain of salt. They have distorted reality. If you keep your eyes on the ground you will appreciate the suffering of Ugandans better than spend too much time reading distorted government reports some of them with donor backing.
This takes us back to where we started. If Museveni had been God send, Uganda would not be in this extraordinary mess. Museveni as the lady at Nyakibale hospital stated was probably dropped on Uganda by Satan who did not know where else to drop him. Ugandans must find a proper place for Museveni in 2011 elections where he will do least damage. Thus, elect another president and throw out MPs that have joined Museveni in ruining the country. All Ugandans with cultural and religious leadership have a responsibility to protect present and future generations and this can be achieved by voting Museveni out of power this time around.
We are doing all this to save Uganda for present and future generations. Therefore on elections day in February 2011, go out in large numbers and vote with one goal in mind: to defeat Museveni to save Uganda and her people. Your children and grandchildren will thank you for it. Those who want to mess up are being watched and will be judged harshly when the time comes. You have been warned well in advance. For those who made a mistake in bringing Museveni to power, this is your moment to correct that mistake. And you will be rewarded here on earth and in after life. Good luck!