How the military got into Uganda politics

Uganda is virtually a militarized and tutsified nation and is likely to remain so for a long time unless we act quickly. Any Uganda patriot must be concerned about what is happening to the Pearl of Africa. Uganda was designed to be a country by, for and of Ugandans and participate in the development of the world. Because Ugandans are afraid of the military and of being branded genocidaire if they complain about what Tutsi are doing to our country, they are unable to express their discomfort and discuss a way out. But some voices of dissent are beginning to be heard and are getting louder for all to hear. If Museveni is trying to find a place for his people we also have a right to stop him from doing it at the expense of the people of Uganda. And we shouldn’t feel guilty about it provided it is done peacefully and transparently.

Museveni and his Batutsi kith and kin resolved to establish hegemony over Uganda by militarizing all aspects of Uganda society since they couldn’t do so democratically because of demographic handicap. So under Museveni leadership, Batutsi are methodically, silently and incrementally penetrating all aspects in Uganda but are being betrayed by a poor record of performance, rampant corruption, sectarianism, cronyism and above all an outstanding different lifestyle – they have become the richest kids on the block and are acquiring assets especially land at breakneck speed. Consequently, Uganda and the majority of Ugandans is in bad shape economically, socially and environmentally, raising questions about where Uganda will end up under military and tutsified leadership that is spreading tentacles in all directions particularly in the Great Lakes region where they plan to create a Tutsi Empire with some tacit external support. But first, let us understand how the military got into Uganda politics.

Uganda got independence in 1962 under conditions that were not conducive to political sustainability. The political parties were young especially UPC and KY and leaders unknown and inexperienced. Britain was in a hurry to hand over power because of the political volatility in surrounding countries of Burundi, Congo, Kenya, Rwanda and Sudan and the refugees and cattle that were crossing into Uganda in large numbers with possibility of epidemics. Uganda politicians were more concerned about who gets power first than laying a strong foundation for independent Uganda. The leaders that eventually emerged were relatively new to the political scene. Experienced politicians like Ignatius Musazi, William Rwetsiba and Ben Kiwanuka were replaced or marginalized by relatively inexperienced leaders like Milton Obote and Grace Ibingira with conflicting ideologies and social backgrounds. They chose to sweep under the carpet delicate issues like head of state, lost counties, regional integration and Amin criminal record that would have delayed independence. Because of a split among those in favor of a unitary or federal system of government Uganda came to independence not as a monarchy or republic but as the “Sovereign State of Uganda” with the Queen as head of state.

Because Obote and Ibingira were scared of John Kakonge who was popular and a successful organizer as UPC Secretary General, they conspired to get rid of him and his youth wing. First, he wasn’t nominated to parliament and so couldn’t be a minister and lost his post of secretary general to Ibingira at the 1964 UPC Gulu conference.

Ibingira, a distant monarchist from Ankole wasn’t going to accept the leadership of Obote, a commoner from Lango. As soon as Kakonge was out of the way, Obote and Ibingira fought for the leadership post, through Ibingira and Obote groups. As the struggle proceeded it became necessary to seek military backing. Opolot the army commander from Teso joined the Ibingira group, leaving Obote no choice but to ally himself with Amin, deputy army commander from West Nile. So, it was civilian politicians that invited the military into politics. Eventually, Obote group with Amin support trounced Ibingira group with Opolot support because the former struck first.

The precedent was set that politicians would only survive with military backing. When there was a rumor of arms cache at Mengo, the matter was resolved by military rather than political and/or diplomatic means. So the military became an integral part of solving political problems. From 1966 to January 1971, Obote was sustained in power by the military. Amin felt important and eyed the presidency itself. If he could keep Obote there, he could grab it and sustain himself there. When Obote tried to remove Amin on various allegations including the disappearance of $5 million from the defense department and the death of brigadier Okoya and his wife, Amin struck first against Obote like Obote had done earlier to Ibingira using Amin. So, Amin knew the trick but he had some external guidance and local support.

After Amin captured power he promised his was a temporary caretaker government and he would return to the barracks after a civilian government had been elected. He confessed he was a professional soldier to defend the nation and not govern the country. But he never returned to the barracks. Instead he declared himself president for life. The civilians couldn’t do anything about it because opposition was crushed. He was removed by Tanzanian troops and Uganda rebels in April 1979 and fled into exile first to Libya and then to Saudi Arabia where he later died.

At the Moshi conference in 1979, it was decided to return Uganda to civilian rule. Lule was elected head of state and a National Consultative Council of thirty members was elected. For security purposes, a military commission was also formed chaired by Muwanga with Museveni as the deputy. Sadly political quarrelling among Council members and between them and the executive resulted in the removal of Lule within 68 days upon assumption of office.

Binaisa, another civilian leader was elected to replace Lule with instruction to organize elections and return the country to civilian rule. However, differences developed over his ideas, one being the exclusion of old political parties from participation in the elections. The military stepped in and Binaisa was removed from the presidency opening the door once again for the military. The government was taken over by the military commission under the chairmanship of Paul Muwanga with Museveni as deputy. Once again it was civilian political fighting that opened the gate for the military into Uganda politics.

The military set the date for elections, allowed Obote to return and lead his UPC in the campaign which with military support won but the opposition called the exercise fraudulent although the Commonwealth observer team described it as generally fair, honest and valid exercise. Obote nominated ten members and the army returned 10 officers to parliament (Dennis Austin 1984). Obote also appointed Muwanga vice president and minister for defense. Thus, the military set foot into parliament and has stayed there since.

The military was increasingly being seen as the tool for resolving political problems. So, the solution to Obote challenge was the military and not to wait for the next election. Museveni and the opposition launched a guerrilla war against a civilian government led by Obote. In July 1985, Obote was overthrown by a section of his national army that conspired with Museveni’s National Resistance Army on the understanding that the two would form a government of national unity. But they soon fell apart. As Yash Tandon observed:“But, being militaristic and undemocratic, they were unlikely to agree to share power. For them the issue could only be decided by who was stronger militarily on the ground” (Azzam Mahjoub 1990). Museveni won.

Since he came to power in 1986, Museveni has carefully tried to achieve two major goals with tacit foreign backing: militarization and tutsification of Uganda. Museveni has made it clear many times that he didn’t kill a beast to then handover the carcass to others to enjoy the meat. The animal he killed is Uganda by defeating the national army. So Uganda is his and he will enjoy it with his fellow fighters. And who are his fellow fighters? The majority who planned and commanded the guerilla war were Tutsi mercenaries.

Upon capturing power, Rwigyema a Tutsi refugee was made deputy army commander and deputy minister of defense and Kagame was made deputy head of intelligence and counter-intelligence. Since they came to Uganda as political refugees in 1959, many Tutsi have adopted local names and local languages to disguise themselves as Ugandans – such as Banyankole, Bakiga, Baganda etc. Most of them fought in the guerilla war and therefore are soldiers employed or working in all sectors of Uganda including Uganda embassies and international organizations.

Museveni took a decision that in order to penetrate Uganda society with Batutsi and soldiers prevented educated and experienced Ugandans in the diaspora from going home and retrenched or marginalized Ugandans already at home. So wherever you go in the military, police, intelligence, prisons, private sector and civil service, in parliament and district councils you will find that many heads are Tutsi or tutsified Ugandans that have pledged to serve Tutsi interests instead of their own people in return for favors as a job. Tutsi and soldiers have also dominated political parties. The two major ones of NRM and FDC have been dominated by Tutsi since their establishment. Currently General Museveni a Tutsi heads NRM and General Muntu a Tutsi heads FDC. The Inspector General of Police is also a General and Mutusi so is the army commander. Thus, Uganda is being militarized and tutsified. This is a fact and there is no sectarianism or genocide about it. Furthermore, Uganda is being used as a staging post in pursuit of Tutsi Empire. This is real. The M23 has been directly supported by Tutsi leaders in Rwanda and Uganda.

Museveni and Kagame plan initially is to take Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and DRC as the nucleus of Tutsi Empire. Then grab Angola, Namibia, Congo, Gabon and Cameroon and Kenya and Tanzania: the idea is to have access from Indian Ocean to Atlantic Ocean, so middle Africa will become Tutsi Empire first. In 1997 Museveni spelt out his mission that is to create a federation of states into one nation stretching from the Horn of Africa to the Great Lakes region. But that isn’t end of the story.

If you have noticed Museveni has placed himself strategically by being Chairman of many regional organizations: soon he will add on AU. As chairman of these organizations he hopes to influence policy that will discreetly prepare a path for the realization of Tutsi Empire. Museveni wants to dominate the continent, now that Wade and Qaddafi are out of the way through politics, military and diplomatic means.

In one of the early interviews Museveni stated he would quit Uganda politics and focus on pan-African issues. This appears to be the moment because it is difficult to see how he can chair so many organizations and have sufficient time to devote to mushrooming challenges in Uganda.

This is the time that we should also re-establish civilian government starting with a transitional one of all stakeholders to prepare a level playing field for free and fair multi-party elections hinged on an independent electoral commission, term limits for president and MPs and standardized campaign finance so the wealthy don’t buy votes.

Second, to avoid taking advantage of incumbency, those who serve in the transitional government should not contest in the next elections.

To conclude, it has become clear that by and large whether educated or not, soldiers aren’t trained to run national governments and it shouldn’t be seen as disrespect. It means that they are trained to do something else. Imagine a chemist or economist asked to command a national army – just like that. That is what soldiers do when they overthrow a civilian government. They take over without tools to govern a country even if they stay for a long time they don’t do well. General Porfirio Diaz of Mexico was president for over 30 years but could not tackle many problems including poverty and illiteracy and was eventually overthrown in the Mexican Revolution in 1911, fled the country and died in exile. Museveni has been in power for a long time with all the external support in money and experts but Uganda is retrogressing because Museveni has ruled the country the wrong way including insisting that he is the only person in Uganda with a vision for Uganda’s development.

Let us bring civilian government back for the good of the country which should by now have become an upper middle income nation. Instead Uganda is drifting backwards. This is an indisputable fact and the donors who praised Uganda sky high have now recognized that there is something wrong because one can’t explain what over $30 billion of grant money has done.

When the Generals in Latin America realized their shortcomings they returned the business of running governments to civilians. And the countries and citizens are doing much better. Uganda should be next.