It is reported that the president of Uganda and minister of defense have announced the possibility of a military coup against the constitution and government of Uganda. This has been prompted by the forces of democracy that are gathering speed and demanding answers about NRM wrong doing since before it came to power. Allegations that Museveni’s National Resistance Army (NRA) committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Luwero Triangle and Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Northern and Eastern regions of Uganda together with other wrongdoing in the political and human rights fields are becoming too much for the authorities to handle.
Through civic education conducted by United Democratic Ugandans (UDU), other organizations and the media, the people of Uganda and the rest of the international community are beginning to understand the gravity of wrong doing committed in Uganda by the NRM. The struggle for democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is beginning to bear fruit.
When I started writing about Museveni’s Uganda, many commentators thought I was either crazy or had an axe to grind against Museveni and Tutsi. The response was quick and acidic in many instances, hoping I would be intimidated and stop writing or move on to other subjects. Friends and relatives also felt I was endangering myself and those related to me and urged me to stop. I didn’t comply and many have since dissociated themselves and don’t want to have anything to do with me.
What I am doing is not for me personally and didn’t jump into it abruptly. I thought long and hard and prayed before I leapt into action. I am doing it to save Uganda from itself because I see trouble ahead. I have studied revolutions and rebellions very carefully. And I see Uganda getting closer to a revolution or rebellion that will not be prevented by AK47s and air force jets or branding Ugandans as idiots and fools.
There are reports including on Ngoma Radio that NRM government plans to limit children per couple to three. The argument is that land is limited and there is no room for more people. There is something fundamentally wrong with this approach. Here are some thoughts. Details of my work are posted at www.kashambuzi.com
1. UK which has the same geographic size as Uganda has twice the population size of over 60 million.
2. Netherlands which has one of the highest population densities in the world is cultivating less land than before because productivity is very high.
3. Uganda needs to increase agricultural productivity and reduce extensive agriculture of clearing more land for crop cultivation and ranches. Also Ugandans should be trained for work outside agriculture so there is less pressure on the land.
4. Uganda statements are contradictory. On the one hand NRM preaches that Uganda has surplus arable land and is encouraging a liberal immigration policy to bring in more people from outside. East African economic integration and political federation will allow more people to move into Uganda. It doesn’t make sense to restrict Uganda families to three children when we are encouraging others to come into Uganda especially from neighboring countries of DRC, Burundi and Rwanda.
Yoweri Museveni who has a medieval mentality of lords, knights and serfs the latter to remain un-empowered in order to labor for the lords and knights has been able to implement that ideology by adhering rigidly to the elements in structural adjustment program (SAP) that focused on economic theories of market forces and trickle down mechanism even after SAP was abandoned in 2009. Structural adjustment had three principal components that have hurt the future of Uganda youth – export of food, poor education focusing on primary education and labor flexibility. The youth can still recover its robbed future. It needs to understand how it was robbed in the first place. In this article, we shall focus on food and nutrition insecurity since 1987. As they say, life begins with breakfast.
Food and nutrition security: Until NRM government came to power in 1986, parents, governments and religious-based organizations paid attention to the value of food and nutrition security.
During the colonial administration, malnutrition largely through lack of sufficient protein intake was addressed through the development of fisheries including fish ponds to provide affordable source of protein. The government also set up nutrition facilities such as Mwanamugimu at Mulago Hospital to treat malnourished people especially children and train women in how to prepare balanced meals and serve them in a safe environment that included safe drinking water and good general hygiene such as washing hands before cooking and eating.
History shows that religious leaders step forward as representatives of voiceless people when political, economic and social conditions become hard. Parish priests who live and work among the people understand their suffering very well. The priests of Uganda are no exception. During the Christmas sermons in 2011, religious leaders throughout the nation spoke out against the suffering of the majority of their flocks. They pledged to speak out in the following years until human conditions improved. The public welcomed this resolution and is waiting to hear their voices that haven’t been loud enough thus far.
During medieval Europe, there was much suffering of serfs or peasants. Priests led in the struggle to liberate them. Priest John Ball together with peasant Wat Tyler led the English peasant revolt in 1381. The authorities were forced to cancel the poll tax.
During the colonization of Latin America, there was too much suffering of indigenous people. Priest de Las Casas stepped forward and protested on their behalf. During the French Revolution parish priest Abe Sieyes wrote and spoke on behalf of the Third Estate that represented the commoners who had been exploited and blocked in their efforts to progress for a long time. In Russia priest Gapon led the suffering urban population in St Petersburg into a protest demanding improvements in their condition.
Museveni thought Ugandans would never discover his motive of tutsifying Uganda which he would use to create a Tutsi Empire. He blocked avenues of opposition by becoming Chairman of NRM, President of Uganda; Head of Uganda government; Chairman of the National Economic Council; Chairman of the Military Council and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. He appointed Tutsi to key and strategic positions in the government (foreign affairs and finance ministries in particular) and security forces especially the military. In his first government, he appointed the late Fred Rwigyema a Tutsi refugee as deputy commander of the army and minister of state for defense. Paul Kagame another Tutsi refugee was made deputy director of intelligence and counterintelligence with vast powers. Other key appointments were based on loyalty than competence allowing Museveni to dominate the national, regional and international stage as Uganda spokesperson and only Ugandan with a vision for Uganda development. He has treated the opposition as nothing but a gang of saboteurs and liars.
This is what a good leader does. When things go well, he/she shares credit with his/her team. When things go wrong the leader takes full responsibility.
In Museveni’s Uganda things are done differently. When Uganda was described as star performer in structural adjustment program; when Uganda was congratulated for confronting HIV & AIDS boldly and when Uganda was praised for its efforts to bring about peace and stability in the Great Lakes region, President Museveni took all the credit. He attended all the Summits at the United Nations in New York and G8. He spoke with confidence that Uganda would end poverty and suffering and would become an industrialized nation within fifteen years. And nothing would stop Museveni in these endeavors.
When things turned sour, Museveni has blamed everyone but himself. He is known for blaming Ugandans as lazy and drunkards, blaming Ugandans as empty tins, idiots and bankrupt. He has blamed opposition groups for sabotaging NRM worthy efforts, civil servants for incompetence and corruption although he is the one who appoints and promotes them. He has blamed development partners for donating insufficient funds and foreign experts for giving wrong advice. He has blamed slowdown in economic growth on external factors including weak developed country markets and “Acts of God” beyond NRM control. His New Year message is a repeat of what Museveni does when things have gone wrong.
Some Ugandans still doubt my sincerity that I didn’t join Uganda politics for personal gain in glory or wealth. I joined politics because I was and still am disturbed by what is happening to a country that with patriotic and capable leadership should be among the first world countries and not drifting to the fourth world. Uganda, however, you describe it is decaying. It is a failed state under military dictatorship concerned about keeping citizens silent and exploited at gun point disguised as maintaining national peace and security. What about peace and security for individual citizens? What about job security, food and nutrition security, health and education security and ecological security to mention just a few? I went to school to gain knowledge and skills with which to help others help themselves and I expect others to do the same. When leaders fail to do so or create conditions for citizens to help one another, then something has to be done about it, beginning with pointing out what is wrong and the cause of it without fear or favor. We have to call a spade a spade if we are going to recover our sanity and humanity as Ugandans.
Reports that a pregnant woman lost her life at Mulago teaching and referral hospital while giving birth to a new life because she didn’t bribe health officials isn’t only a national disgrace but also a crime against humanity. This is a second report that a pregnant woman lost her life this time in the eastern province under similar circumstances. This is a scandal of immense proportions that should be corrected immediately.
In the year 2000 world leaders met in New York City and adopted a Millennium Declaration including Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It was agreed, inter alia, to reduce by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015 maternal mortality ratio and reduce by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015, under-five mortality rate. It was also resolved that the implementation of MDGs should be reviewed every five years: in 2005 and 2010. Uganda was unable to produce a report in time for the 2010 UN General Assembly review.
There is no fun
Writing about Uganda and the Great Lakes region isn’t fun. You are either correcting distortions or reporting on wars, human rights violations, genocide and other crimes against humanity; land grabbing and stealing elections; corruption and sectarianism; people dying mysteriously or of negligence and others of starvation in a region that has the potential to produce surplus food over and above domestic needs. In many of the interviews I have been asked why I don’t report on good news. Frankly I would love to but there isn’t much good news to report and twisting things to please isn’t my cup of tea. I am writing these stories not to start trouble but to prevent one. In this article, I will focus on Tutsi land grab in Uganda and the implications for the landless.
Museveni’s hidden agenda
Yoweri Museveni came to power with a clear but hidden agenda from the majority of Ugandans. You have to study Museveni dialectically to find the truth which many of us haven’t done or those who know don’t want to say it for various reasons mostly selfish ones. He also came to power with a conviction that he could do whatever he wants with impunity as long as he has his AK 47 and full support of security forces and some western backers.