Museveni claims to have studied history. It is not clear which branch of history he studied. Did he study revolutionary; military; diplomatic; colonial; negotiations; medieval; modern or all the branches of history? Whichever branch he studied, Museveni’s behavior demonstrates that he learned wrong lessons and that is why he has ended up described as a dictator presiding over a failed state.
Museveni believes very strongly that when you are militarily strong and you are feared (that is why he wears military uniform when there is a domestic challenge), then you can crush all your enemies (Museveni sees dissent in enemy, not opponent terms) with impunity. That is why he devoted his early life undergoing military training. As president, his number one priority has been building strong security forces to intimidate and when necessary crush political dissent. The defense budget has therefore been disproportionately larger than any other sector. Consequently infrastructural, social and environmental sectors have been starved of resources and are on the verge of collapse (potholes in Kampala City are an obvious case) – an outcome that may end his presidency.
Museveni is a big dreamer and strategist. He has plans for Bahororo dynasty in Uganda as an integral part of Tutsi Empire in the Great Lakes Region. He is using a combination of military, political, economic and diplomatic weapons to realize his dreams. Ugandans should listen and watch carefully when Museveni talks or acts. He has a subtle way of sending messages. This article will focus on plans for declaring Bahororo dynasty in Uganda. For easy reference, let us review the history of former Mpororo kingdom as background information to Bahororo dynasty.
A group of Batutsi from Rwanda under the leadership of Kahaya Rutindangyenzi of Bashambo ruling clan founded Mpororo Kingdom around mid-1600s. The kingdom lasted less than 100 years because of serious internal problems. Although the exact boundaries are not known, it stretched from northern Rwanda to southwest Uganda largely in present-day Ntungamo district. When the kingdom disintegrated the portion in southwest Uganda was taken over by Bahima under Bahinda ruling clan. Bahororo who had been rulers over Bairu (slaves or commoners) became commoners themselves under Bahima kings.
President Museveni is campaigning for reelection for another five-year term. He has been telling NRM supporters that he has a solid record of achievements for the last 25 years. But he does not elaborate on that record. Deep in his heart he knows that his performance in all areas of human endeavor has been dismal. He has been variously described as a dictator presiding over a failed state. Images around the world of Ugandans disfigured by jiggers which he condemned while waging a guerrilla war, children dying of hunger, Ugandans dying in traffic accidents because of bad roads, patients sleeping on hospital floors, children studying under trees, Kampala City under floods, shooting unarmed demonstrators while he was Chairman of the Commonwealth, demonstrations against him in New York City in 2009 and 2010, recent allegations that Uganda troops committed genocide against Hutu in DRC and terrorist attack on Kampala have left Museveni a weak and vulnerable man. That is why talk of his achievements is circumscribed.
In the article on “Who are Bahororo?” it was mentioned that men do not marry Bantu women. Some readers have asked me to elaborate in order to understand why they don’t. Although Bahororo (Batutsi from Rwanda), Bahima and Batutsi cousins speak Bantu language, they are ethnically different from Bantu people, hence the use of Nilotic Bahororo and their cousins in the heading. At one time it was erroneously believed that Bahororo and their cousins were white people, but scientific studies have demonstrated conclusively and definitively that they are black people and darker with thicker lips than Bantu people – no disrespect is intended (J. D. Fage A History of Africa 1995 & Jean Hiernaux The People of Africa 1975). Although Bahororo and their cousins do not marry Bantu (Bairu and Bahutu) women they use them frequently for sexual pleasure and even produce children together. More references will be provided for those who would like to read more on the subject. Many quotations will also be used to avoid misinterpretation of authors’ messages.
Well placed people in Uganda and abroad who have watched Museveni’s rapid rise believe he has reached the top of a hill and has begun riding down a steep, winding and slippery road in a poorly maintained vehicle with unreliable brakes.
Museveni has had four reliable allies: western powers; Baganda and Catholics; NRM; and security forces. Museveni received strong western support for his willingness to implement the unpopular structural adjustment program (SAP) and to serve as a surrogate for one western group in the Great Lakes geopolitics. IMF and the World Bank wanted a place with a bold leader to develop structural adjustment into a development model for developing countries. Uganda was that place and Museveni was that bold leader who would not tolerate complaints about the harshness of SAP.
What we are witnessing is that Ugandans have entered a new phase – a phase where they are asking questions and demanding convincing answers and analyzing issues dialectically to make the absent be the present because the greater part of the truth is in that which is absent, hence examining Museveni’s restoration and expansion of colonial policies.
When Museveni came to power in 1986, he preached what Ugandans wanted to hear – improve education and healthcare, balance production for domestic consumption and export, transform the economy from agriculture to industry and export manufactured products instead of raw materials etc). However, in practice, Museveni has behaved like a colonizer, making many people feel – rightly or wrongly – that he is Rwandese colonizing Uganda with connivance especially of Britain that has supported him even before he became president. Before comparing Museveni policies to those of the colonial regime, let us briefly examine what the British colonizers found at the time of colonization, how it was destroyed and replaced by colonial policies, what Obote and UPC did to undo colonial policies and then examine how Museveni has returned Uganda to the colonial period.
Thank you for your comment on Tutsi Empire project that appeared in my remarks in Observer this week. The idea of Tutsi Empire is not new. It has been raised at national, regional and international levels. If you have been following the debate on this subject and history of relations between Batutsi and Bahutu and Bahororo and Bairu you will understand why the possibility of Tutsi Empire is alarming.
The donor community has expressed concern about this project. Problems between Museveni and the West (donors) began when Museveni dreamt of a Tutsi empire and together with Kagame invaded DRC. The donor mood towards Uganda changed (Business in Africa April 2001). President Mugabe was drawn into DRC war primarily to prevent the establishment of Tutsi Empire in Middle Africa (J. N. Weatherby 2003). During my mission to DRC, Rwanda and Burundi early this year, the region was full of talk about the imminent establishment of Tutsi Empire and I reported this in my article in Observer. Many commentators are of the view that it will be achieved by military, political or economic means. So when Museveni pushes the E.A. Political Federation many think he has Tutsi Empire in mind. And Museveni has not denied it.
I have devoted some time to studying and writing books on Uganda’s political economy. One of the findings is that when things go wrong at the individual, community or national level, you hear those involved saying that if they had known, this or that would not have happened or would have been done differently. I have heard Ugandans regret that if they had known, they would not have dropped out of school or married early, or sold their land or abandoned their families or ignored their parents’ advice or voted for so and so to represent them at the district or national level or neglected environment issues in Uganda’s economic growth. Another common observation is that when events do not affect certain groups, Ugandans tend not to bother. For example, those who have comfortable jobs do not care about the unemployed. They even blame them for being lazy or drinking too much. It is only when they are directly (or family members or relatives) affected that they care and actually complain that the government is not doing enough to resolve unemployment.
Museveni came to power with a feudal mentality of governance. Feudalism was a system of political, economic and social organization in medieval Europe made up of three classes: the clergy who prayed and cared for the souls; the lords who governed and fought; and the serfs or peasants the majority who worked for the other two classes through exploitative tribute and tithes.
The feudal system was introduced in the great lakes region by Batutsi in Rwanda (especially) and Burundi, Bahima in Ankole and Bahororo in Rujumbura. Batutsi, Bahima and Bahororo were the lords and fighters and Bahutu and Bairu (slaves of the lords) the workers who paid exploitative tribute to the lords in foodstuffs, drinks and free labor including carrying lords and their family members in litters and/or their luggage when they travelled. The clergy and tithes were added to peasants’ burden during the colonial rule. As in medieval Europe the clergy preached peasants (and still do) not to worry about earthly material things and to suffer pain on earth for their rewards are in the kingdom of heaven. The story of a camel going through the eye of the needle conveys this message of hardship on earth very well.
Many Ugandans have been disappointed by Museveni’s government in large part because they do not understand why he came to power. Museveni, like Mobutu and Amin before him, came to power at the height of Cold War confrontations between capitalism and socialism. The return of Obote as president in 1980 represented a return of socialism to Uganda which had been defeated in 1971 using Amin. Western powers and corporate interests were alarmed by the return of socialism to Uganda through the return of Obote as president after 1980 elections. Obote was still considered a socialist. Museveni, like Amin, was used by western capitalist forces to remove socialism by ousting its agent – President Obote. Since these western interests were not going to send European troops to the jungles of Luwero, Museverni appealed to disgruntled Ugandans especially Baganda and Catholics to join him in ousting Obote who had ‘stolen’ the 1980 elections although certified by the Commonwealth observer team that has certified Museveni’s victories since the 1996 elections.