With President Bush in 2004. Still supported by U.S. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Forty years ago, a poor thug and a loser in an election in Uganda declared that he would go to the bush and fight against a legitimate government. The president then, Dr. Milton Obote, ignored the bangarang and deemed it improper to take a poor rascal seriously as far as catapulting him was concerned.
Little did Obote know that Ugandans would support the thug and install him president five years later and little did Ugandans know that the greedy lumpen would go against what invoked him to fight a legitimate government and do more and even cling onto power forever.
When Gen. Yoweri Museveni emerged from the bush, and installed himself the president of Uganda after a five-year period of fighting the elected government of President Obote, he said, while being sworn in as a president on parliamentary steps: “The problem of Africa are leaders who overstay in power.” That was on 26th January 1986, 34 years ago. Right now, he is still the president of Uganda.
The very ills that provoked him to fight against the elected government of President Obote are the same ills that his government has practised perpetually. He sternly blamed the previous governments for corruption, but his government is composed of only corrupt officials. The ministers are corrupt, members of parliament are corrupt, his entire public service and police, army are corrupt. The evidence is available, everyday newspapers and social media are awash with news of corrupt officials but none has ever resigned because it is a norm to be corrupt in the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government.
Gen. Museveni bribed Parliament and used his party’s majority numbers to amend the constitution and scrap term limits in 2005 and the age limit in 2017. Huge sums of money were given to each member of parliament as an incentive for them to do his dirty deal despite the public exhorting them not to touch the constitution. He deployed the army around parliament and arrested whoever was against the amendment. No one beats him at dishonesty and corruption. Gen. Museveni has corrupted most of the religious leaders and made them his cadres.
The handouts he gives to churches and witch doctors, the new cars he buys for the Bishops, Sheikhs and others is evidence that he buys their conscience and allegiance. The same man who said he would lead Uganda for two terms and retire is the same who corrupted the members of Parliament with five million shillings each to remove term-limits in 2005. Why would you need money and gifts to buy someone’s allegiance to support a reasonable cause? Isn’t that being dishonest?
No leader can achieve much without an able team. Gen. Museveni is fond of hiring incompetent people into sensitive positions like ministers, permanent secretaries and others as long as you show him your support. He will appoint you regardless. Some ministers sign deals and contracts without reading through first and walk away free in case of causing financial losses. Museveni’s bunch of ministers and advisors are useless.
He works with people he knows are dummies and will not challenge his stupid and selfish ideas. He works with only “yes men,” those who challenge him become his enemies. An honest politician does not need huge sums of money to assume office. In the current generation of Museveni however, you have to purchase the mandate of the people. A vice he introduced himself. He loves Ugandans to be poor because he knows during elections he can throw some few coins to them and purchase their allegiance. Isn’t that corruption and dishonesty?
There is no country that beats Uganda when it comes to plundering the country’s resources. We live in a country where corruption is a family business: the president is a thief, the wife is a thief, the children and in-laws are thieves, relatives and their friends are thieves. They have grabbed other peoples land and walked away unpunished, because they are the first family, they are untouchable.
With Museveni unleashing violence against Ugandans under the watch of the USA, Europe and the whole world for 40-years since he first went to the bush in 1981, he is well prepared to serve more violence in order to extend his rule ahead of the 2021 general elections.
Gen. Museveni’s past 34-years in power, has been defined by plunder, violence–before, during, and after elections–empty promises, vote rigging, extrajudicial killings, ethnic bigotry, incompetence, greed, nepotism, and human rights violation.
Sadly, the USA government and the European union have concertedly continued to empower this brutal and unsavory dictator who has impoverished Ugandans despite the fact that they portray themselves as defenders of human rights, the rule of law and democracy. If it were not for the military training, aid, financial and other support the despot receives from these countries, he wouldn’t still be president of Uganda unleashing the avalanche of pogroms after pogroms, and thuggery upon Ugandans.
The USA preaches human rights and democracy then turns around to sell firearms to African despots like Gen. Museveni who in turn uses them to suppress human rights and rule of law. The USA’s foreign policy shouldn’t aim at propping up outlaws and despots but to champion the rule of law, democracy, and to foster development.
Unfortunately the perpetual military support to Gen. Museveni is strangling rights of dissidents, and the financial support is fanning the interminable graft whereby people inside his corrupt caboodle are never prosecuted for stealing funds or if they are, they get “acquitted.” The funds disappear and no transparency is recorded. Available information shows that USA provides military assistance currently to 73% of the world’s dictatorships and Uganda inclusive with hundreds of millions of dollars in American taxpayers’ money every fiscal year.
The writer is a victim of torture by Gen. Museveni’s regime.