If you think foreigners will initiate change in Uganda, you are mistaken

There are some Ugandans who are still calling on foreigners to initiate political change in Uganda preferably through the barrel of the gun to end abuse of power and the suffering it has caused there. Why should they? Foreigners have had it so good until now under Museveni like never before. Conditions for them (enabling environment) are better than in colonial days in many respects. Take land as an illustration. Governor Bell, Commissioner Spire and Director Simpson refused foreigners to own or lease land except for a few plantations. They argued successfully that land in Uganda belongs to peasants and it should remain so and convert it into commercial enterprises.

Museveni is changing all of that. He has given foreign developers the land they want and where they want it. A model school that Ugandans were proud of was pulled down in Kampala City because a developer wanted the site. Construction has taken place in previous water drainage channels in Kampala City because those are the sites the developers wanted, causing flooding and breeding ground for mosquitoes. Museveni shouted down advisers who argued against such developments. Uganda farmers have lost their land where they grew a variety of crops for own consumption and sell surplus in urban areas in the Entebbe-Kampala corridor in order to create space for cut flower production for export. Mabira forest is under constant threat because that is where the developer wants to grow sugar cane for export. It is reported he has refused other sites. Although Museveni has delayed the decision on Mabira forest he will likely yield in the end because foreign interests have triumphed over national ones.

Uganda’s challenge for 2012

There is understandable frustration among Ugandans who are agitating for a quick regime change. They are complaining that opposition parties are not doing enough in large part for selfish reasons that prevent them to come together and fight as one.

Some are arguing that opposition parties are ineffective in large part because the leadership is from NRM or opposition parties have been infiltrated by NRM agents.

There are those who are getting impatient with a non-violent and diplomatic strategy of effecting political change and are calling for outright war because fire must be met with fire.

There are those who are tired of the elite that have done nothing under the NRM to break the chains that have kept Ugandans trapped in poverty. Instead they have lined their pockets with looted public money.

There are those who are complaining that many in the leadership – NRM and opposition parties – are not patriotic enough because they are not Ugandans.

There are those who are praying for emergence of de Clerk and Mandela in Uganda to hammer out an agreement for a new Uganda.

These voices of frustration are getting louder.