Opinion : Nobert Mao
Why there is Museveni fatigue in Uganda (Part 2)
Opinion polls show that Museveni does not enjoy a winning majority. There is Museveni fatigue all over the country. He is like a man who 30 years ago gave Uganda a cheque and upon presentation has been returned to the citizens marked “return to drawer, insufficient funds”. Museveni cannot be trusted to be the midwife to deliver a democratic Uganda. The Bank of Democracy cannot honour his cheque. In terms of democratic credentials the Museveni regime is bankrupt.
When Museveni came to power he proclaimed a mixed economic policy. He started off by claiming that the state and the private sector should have strong stakes in the economy. As we write now, the privatization process has been the most corrupt. Billions of dollars have been swindled as dubious foreign firms with connections to the regime swarmed in. They are beneficiaries of a free for all process that has only transferred national assets to Museveni’s cronies, foreign allies, relatives, friends and in-laws.
Now it has become clear that the economic model embraced by Museveni is not working. Instead of policies that would mobilize domestic savings, the Museveni economic model is donor centric and has poured in money with no anchor in productive activities.
On the democratic front Museveni has let down Ugandans. After claiming that Africa’s biggest problem is leaders who cling to power, he bribed parliament to change the constitution in 2005 in order to extend his stay in power. He blamed parties for the woes of the country yet he knew that militarism which he espouses with a passion is the major culprit. He constitutionally banned party activities. Whoever spoke out was stigmatized as having ties to armed rebels.
Museveni has shown no political will to resolve conflicts peacefully. He only negotiates with groups he has crushed. He is pathologically terrified of groups that are militarily potent because they remind him of his own path to power. That is why we had a 20 year conflict in Northern Uganda . Almost 2 million people were displaced. Hundreds of thousands died in the concentration camps due to the squalid conditions. The international community looked at this human tragedy as if it resulted from a natural disaster like an earthquake, tsunami or a hurricane. Yet this alone makes Museveni a top candidate for charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The corruption and incompetence in the national army gravely diminished the capacity of the army to defend the people. As if that was not bad enough, Museveni sent our troops into the Congo in a misadventure which is now going to cost the country a whooping 10 billion US Dollars in fines imposed by the International Court of Justice.
The country is more divided than it has ever been before. There is ethnic division with the primary one being between the Nilotic north and the Bantu south. The division is because Museveni has implemented sectarian policies favouring those ethnically related to him. Twenty years down the road, the military high command with the exception of very few officers is largely from Museveni’s clan. Wealth and power is concentrated in the hands of those ethnically related to Museveni. In the cabinet the north and eastern parts of Uganda are only marginally represented. These are also the poorest parts of the country deliberately neglected in terms of social services.
For these reasons it is imperative for the world to stand with the people of Uganda who seek democratic change. Walking in the footsteps of the champions of freedom who courageously proclaimed the desire that our world be free and prosperous, we call upon progressive African countries, the US and Europe to denounce wanton corruption, tyranny and economic inequality in Uganda. We have followed with great hope the bold messages of the Western leaders to the suffering masses in the Middle East, Latin America and even the last bastions of unbridled tyranny in Africa. That trumpet has shaken the thrones of oppressors worldwide and assured the people that redemption is at hand.
Museveni does not deserve to rule Uganda anymore. What was said of Napoleon can now be said of Museveni. He is the man who both built and destroyed Uganda in equal measure. That is why he must go! Even if the world does not give Ugandans a hand Ugandans will rise up and get rid of Museveni one way or the other. After all Uganda is our country and we should be willing to pay any price to emancipate her.
Norbert Mao is a Ugandan politician and lawyer. He has been president of the Democratic Party since 2010, and he served as the Local Council 5 chairman for Gulu District.