Why is Museveni popular in Britain?

A former African head of state remarked that when an African leader is popular with and praised sky high by Europeans it means that by and large that leader is taking care of European interests more than those of his/her citizens.

Apart from areas of white settlement, Britain (unlike Portugal) chose to give independence to African countries without much struggle in order to keep them colonized and continue to serve British interests. It did so by influencing the choice of leaders or governing political parties. If a chosen leader digressed, he would be removed and replaced by a more compliant one.

In Uganda UPC/KY coalition and the rise to power of Obote were supported by Britain. When relations between Obote and Britain got strained Obote was removed and replaced by Amin, a gentle giant easy to do business with (Jon Abbink and Gerti Hesseling 2000 and New Africa February 2001).

As we have detailed elsewhere and posted on www.kashambuzi.com, Museveni was chosen by western powers including Britain in the early 1980s to topple Obote and UPC government (actually toppled by Okello in July 1985) because Obote was not trusted to do business with (Peter Phillips 2006 and Vijay Gupta 1983). Obote was chased out twice in 1971 and 1985 because by and large he put Uganda interests above Europeans! Amin was supported until Tanzania troops and Uganda exiles chased him out of the country in 1979.

Shortcut actions and long term consequences

In my culture we have a proverb “bugubugu tehisa”, meaning that if you apply too much cooking fire for quick results you will serve a poor meal. Consequently, we were taught to apply gentle fire so that the food cooks slowly for good results. This principle apparently applies to other human activities with long term adverse outcomes.

One of the reasons put forward for political instability in Uganda is that independence was achieved too early before national consciousness had developed to remove or minimize ethnic, religious and economic divides. The British policy of ‘divide and rule’ in addition to ‘indirect rule system’ that favored Protestant chiefs and their families and relatives over others in education, employment and political capital created a wide divide. To this divide was added the economic inequalities between the south and the north. The south became the economic and social development center while the north became the labor reserve providing men and increasingly women in police, prisons and the army and labor for economic activities in the south.