Ignore your subjects and you will pay a heavy price

History is written to provide lessons about what to build on and what to avoid completely. By and large those who ignore their subjects and rule by divine right of king’s have by and large paid a heavy price. Or when they escape like Louis XIV they lay the ground for the destruction of their successors like Louis XVI and his wife who were guillotined. Czar Nicholas II was executed with his entire family. Charles I was beheaded after he lost the civil war while James II was forced out of England during the Glorious Revolution.

On the other hand, enlightened leaders managed to stay in power longer by introducing social reforms such as education and healthcare that improved the quality of life of their subjects. The Tudors of England including Henry XIII and Queen Elizabeth I ruled by divine right but were smart enough to push their ideas through parliament.

The second category of leaders that exit in unfortunate circumstances includes dictators who stay in power long after their welcome has expired. Porfirio Diaz was forced out of Mexico after over thirty years of dictatorship. Haille Selasie of Ethiopia who had been treated as the father of Africa was humiliated when soldiers drove him out of his Palace in a beetle Volkswagen, never to be seen again. Ferdinand Marcos who thought he could not be removed from power because he had strong external allies was chased out of the Philippines when he stole the election results and the people refused him another term.

Mobutu was advised to depart and settle anywhere in the world of his choice. Power was so sweet that he turned down advice from everybody. Eventually he was chased away from a tropical forest and died in a desert in North Africa. The last Shah of Iran ended up the same.

Those kings and leaders who think are different from those mentioned above you have not read the lessons of history properly. Those who rely on outside support are particularly vulnerable because what matters are not friends but interests. Leaders that are seen to jeopardize the interests of their sponsors will be got rid of with or without warning. Those who think they don’t need to be advised by commoners you have a problem and you need to recast your philosophy. Times have changed or are changing very fast. And if you are not careful and you continue to ignore the people or their representatives you risk being shunted out with humiliation.

The MOU which has turned out to be an agreement between Museveni and Mutebi is a classic case of two leaders who have decided to act alone in secrecy for quite some time and ignore their subjects. If they fail to present the agreement to the Uganda Parliament and the Buganda Lukiiko for ratification, taking into account the comments of the public, they risk heavy criticism or worse.