Ugandans are wondering whether Museveni is governing or campaigning. He was inaugurated at a scantly attended ceremony (Ugandans chose to meet Besigye at the Entebbe airport from Nairobi where he had gone for treatment after he was attacked by security forces) in May 2011 for another five-year term after fraudulent elections which lacked a level playing field as confirmed by the respected Commonwealth Observer Team.
Museveni’s new mandate came at a particularly difficult time of economic recession characterized by high prices particularly of fuel and food, high and rising unemployment of young men and women many of them university graduates. As confirmed by the former minister of finance, NRM had emptied the treasury to fund its campaigns at presidential, parliamentary and local levels. It also came at a time when Museveni’s role in the Great Lakes region was beginning to be recast by some of his sponsors in view of the continuing wars with genocide-like outcomes and the possibility he may have had a hand in them.
Museveni thought Ugandans would never discover his motive of tutsifying Uganda which he would use to create a Tutsi Empire. He blocked avenues of opposition by becoming Chairman of NRM, President of Uganda; Head of Uganda government; Chairman of the National Economic Council; Chairman of the Military Council and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. He appointed Tutsi to key and strategic positions in the government (foreign affairs and finance ministries in particular) and security forces especially the military. In his first government, he appointed the late Fred Rwigyema a Tutsi refugee as deputy commander of the army and minister of state for defense. Paul Kagame another Tutsi refugee was made deputy director of intelligence and counterintelligence with vast powers. Other key appointments were based on loyalty than competence allowing Museveni to dominate the national, regional and international stage as Uganda spokesperson and only Ugandan with a vision for Uganda development. He has treated the opposition as nothing but a gang of saboteurs and liars.
During and since our last broadcast on radio Munansi (February 20, 2011) many questions have been raised including whether Uganda is ready for change, where are the leaders, when should the change take place and, will Museveni and his security forces behave like Qaddafi in Libya? Let us look at history lessons for guidance.
Is Uganda ready for change? Yes it is. Historically, in countries where rebellions, revolts or revolutions take place, societies are characterized by extreme inequalities, high unemployment especially among the youth, high levels of poverty and high prices. For example, at the time of the French Revolution, France was characterized by high inequalities in wealth and privileges between the monarch, nobility and high clergy on one hand and commoners on the other. Also, poverty and unemployment levels were high and food prices were high. Uganda meets all these characteristics as discussed in previous debates.
Where are the leaders? Changes have taken place with or without leaders. History shows that some revolutions have had leaders that mobilized the discontented people through advocacy. The England’s peasants’ revolt of 1381 was prepared through agitation by priest John Ball and peasant Wat Tyler. After this revolt, no medieval English government attempted to impose a poll tax again. When Margaret Thatcher attempted to restore it she was forced out of office as prime minister.
The rapidly deteriorating economic, social, cultural and ecological conditions as manifested in the diseases of poverty, ecological deterioration and a breakdown in moral values to make ends meet have raised questions about the destination of massive donor development (as opposed to security and defense) aid money to Uganda. Since 1987 when the government signed an agreement with the IMF that opened the door for contributions, donors (bilateral, multilateral, UN and NGOs) have generously extended a helping hand. Additionally, Uganda was the first country to get debt relief under HIPC (Highly Indebted Poorest Countries) initiative on the understanding that the funds released would support critical poverty eradication programs such as primary education, primary health care, rural feeder roads, agricultural extension and water supply.
Donor funds were released on the basis of meeting aid conditionality (including zero-tolerance for corruption), drawing up, monitoring and evaluation of comprehensive rehabilitation and development programs.
Regarding development programs, Uganda developed excellent blue prints that received international recognition and praise for their quality in design and comprehensiveness. Here are the objectives of five of these development programs that were prepared in consultation with all stakeholders including development partners.
In early 1980s a few countries including Britain decided that Museveni would be the ruler of Uganda (Peter Phillips 2006) because Obote considered to be a socialist was not trusted (Vijay Gupta 1983) to take care of foreign interests. Museveni who was a Marxist was judged to be flexible and could easily be converted into a supporter of capitalism – which he has turned out to be. Britain led a visible effort in preparing Museveni for that role and has sustained him in power since 1986.
Before considering how Ugandans might lose their land to Britain and other foreigners, let us outline the steps that have been taken to enable Britain re-colonize Uganda through Museveni. The process started in the early 1980s during the guerrilla war. How was it carried out? Tiny Rowland provided finance, William Pike communication and media connections and Linda Chalker under Thatcher government political cover. According to Andrew Spannaus “Museveni, ever since he began fighting to take power in Uganda in the early 1980s, was backed by Baronnes Lynda Chalker, former Minister for Overseas Development of the Empire “ (EIR September 1997). His intellectual credentials which were previously considered insignificant were boosted by foreigners – African and non-African. Gerry O’Kane reported that Museveni was described as the intellectual who picked up a gun and used magical powers in his guerrilla war against Obote government (New Africa March 1986).
In countries with true democracy where citizens hire and fire their representatives through the ballot box and/or public opinion, Museveni would have resigned or forced to because he has failed to deliver on his promises. Museveni cannot step down in large part because he is not sure what will happen to him once he has lost the immunity that goes with the presidency.
Museveni has had all the support at home and abroad that he needed to succeed. Why has he failed so badly? Everywhere you look domestically, regionally and internationally you see nothing but failure. At home, the diseases of poverty and environmental degradation are undeniable, at the great lakes region level, he has been accused of removing governments, his troops of committing genocide against Hutu people in DRC and plundering DRC resources; at the AU level he has quarreled with Qaddafi and at the global level his star has faded.
Discussions with people who have known him for a long time have shed some light. First, it appears that he set high ambitions that were not matched by his capabilities. Apparently, he deceived himself that he is intellectually superior to Ugandans because of his connections with the Aryan race of Europeans and therefore did not need to listen to people of lower IQ.
The Sunday Vision online dated August 7, 2010 published an article about remarks made by President Museveni at a rally in Kanungu district where there have been clashes within the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party along religious lines. Museveni is reported to have reminded the audience at the rally and all Ugandans and indeed the whole world through the media that sectarian tendencies (ethnic, tribal, religious) forced him to fight previous regimes. He added that he will go back to war to fight people sowing seeds of disunity. He then advised religious leaders “to preach to followers how to get to heaven and told politicians to educate people on how to fight poverty without necessarily involving religion”.
With due respect, I disagree with President Museveni on the need to go back to war and on the comparative advantage he spelt out between religious leaders and politicians.
When Museveni became president in 1986 after the bushwar he preached in broad daylight, loud and clear that he would end sectarianism in Uganda once and for all. Everybody – Ugandans and others – applauded because sectarianism had done great harm to Uganda since colonial days when chiefs were favored over commoners and Protestant followers over followers of other faiths. To overcome this problem, Museveni reasoned, and subsequently announced that merit would be the only criterion for nominations, appointments, assignments, promotions in public domain and awarding of scholarships. Who could disagree with this innovative and appropriate leadership approach?
From Makobore to Mbaguta to Kaguta
Many people are still asking me to write concisely about the history of Bahororo: who are they, where they came from, where they live, how they are related to Bahima, Batutsi and Banyamulenge, and above all how they rose to prominence in Uganda politics.
Location before they entered the Great Lakes Region
Bahima, Batutsi, Bahororo and Banyamulenge are cousins. They change names and language whenever they move to a new place. In former Ankole District they are called Bahima; in Rwanda and Buruindi Batutsi; in Eastern DRC Banyamulenge and in Rujumbura Bahororo. Until recently Bahororo were relatively unknown because they registered or introduced themselves as Bahima. We shall say more later on.
There is credible evidence that they are Nilotic Luo-speaking people who entered the Great Lakes Region in the 15 and 16th centuries from Bahr el Ghazal in Southern Sudan and not from Ethiopia as John Hanning Speke had written in 1863 (Eric Kashambuzi. Uganda’s Development Agenda in the 21st Century 2009). They are known for their love of long-horn cattle. J. Roscoe described them this way: “Men become warmly attached to their cows; some of them they love like children, pet and talk to them, and weep over their ailments. Should a favorite cow die, their grief is extreme and cases are not wanting in which men have committed suicide through excessive grief at the loss of an animal” (Richard Poe 1999).