Let me begin with this statement to clear the air hopefully once and for all. The purpose of my many years of research and writing especially about Uganda is not to undermine NRM’s efforts – as some have suggested – but to draw lessons about what has gone right and wrong so that appropriate adjustments can be made. Before I started publishing I had communicated my concerns regularly since 1986 with senior government officials in the cabinet, public service and public sector. So they knew my thinking but chose to ignore it. I have focused on President Museveni – not as a person – but as a policy maker who has dominated and served as spokesperson on Uganda’s political economy affairs (I have also commented on statements by the First Lady – not as a person – but as a public official. Ugandans should understand that when you become a public servant, you should expect that what you say and write will be commented upon, hopefully constructively. So when you get comments that make you uncomfortable don’t complain or use surrogates to do it for you which they don’t even do well. When the heat becomes unbearable, the best thing to do is to step down).
For various reasons, women have played key roles in changing the course of world history. In France and Russia women have been particularly effective. In the course of the French Revolution of 1789, besides demonstrations in Paris and other cities, the Parisian women marched twelve miles from Paris to Versailles to demand that the king help them address their difficulties including food shortages and rising prices of bread. The king, his family and bags of grain were moved from the comforts of Versailles Palace to Paris where voices for change were loudest. The National Assembly also relocated to Paris from Versailles. Women also provided places called salons where meetings took place to discuss national and other issues.
Food shortages and rising prices also caused Russian women to help change the course of Russian history. In February 1917, the situation was so serious that women stood in long lines for bread having worked in factories for twelve hours. A police report sheds light on the gravity of the situation.
Upon realizing that Batutsi are Nilotic people one fellow Ugandan wondered why then have Nilotic people been killing each other in Uganda. I replied briefly that the fight has been over power. Power doesn’t recognize relatives when relatives face each other. When relatives have a common opponent from another group (Obote and Ibingira versus Kakonge), relatives come together. When that opponent is out of the way (Kakonge out) relatives turn against each other (Obote and Ibingira). Before elaborating on Nilotic rivalry in Uganda politics, let us look at two examples of relatives fighting and replacing each other in England and Burundi respectively.
1. The War of the Roses (1455 – 1485). For thirty long and bitter years, two noble families in England: the House of York (whose badge was a white rose) and the House of Lancaster (whose badge was a red rose) fought a bitter civil war as a result of conflicting claims to the English throne. Many nobles and others died in the war. In the end the House of Lancaster defeated the House of York. Henry Tudor was crowned king of England as Henry VII. Henry VIII and Elizabeth I belonged to the Tudor family that ruled from 1485 to 1603. Because Elizabeth had no children (she never married), she was succeeded by James Stuart her distant cousin who became king of England as James I.