Burdened by history:
Where does Uganda’s Museveni go from here?

Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni claims his party that came to power in 1986 has actually been there for 50 years.
Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni claims his party that came to power in 1986 has actually been there for 50 years.

By Vick Lukwago Ssali

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda was ‘re-elected’ last month for a fifth term in office. Some may argue it is his sixth or even seventh term, if we include the honeymoon period between 1986, when the National Resistance Movement/Army (NRM/NRA) took power, and 1996, when Ugandans went to the polls for only the second time since the 1962 pre-independence elections.

Two days after the February 18 elections I arrived back in the country from the diaspora where, unfortunately, I had had no chance to vote. I was nervous on landing at Entebbe after most of my relatives had advised me to cancel my ticket and travel at a later date. I had insisted on going, partly out of optimism, partly out of lack of choice given the limited time I had for fieldwork at home and for the school duties back in Japan. It was, in any case, sad that anybody could be worried of travelling to Uganda two days after an election in the era of ‘fundamental change’.

Despite all those mixed feelings, I was nevertheless surprised by the nervous quietness that I saw on the streets of the colonial capital and airport city of Entebbe, and all the way to Masaka, 114 kilometres southwest of the capital Kampala. The relative who had come to pick me up from the airport decided to avoid Kampala, and took a short cut joining Entebbe to the Masaka highway. Tuned to the car stereo, we were just in time for the scheduled Saturday four o’clock announcement of the results of the presidential polls: the incumbent had allegedly secured 60.75% of the votes, with FDC’s Kizza Besigye runner-up with 35.37%. Museveni’s recently dismissed prime minister and former ruling party secretary general, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, was pronounced third with 1.43% of the votes. The rest had been shared among five other candidates who included a retired major general (Benon Biraaro) who, together with Kizza Besigye and Amama Mbabazi had been fellow combatants under Museveni during the 1981 – 1986 bush war.

The results were mainly significant for their incredulity. All the voices I heard around family and friends that Saturday night and all through the weekend, were questioning the Electoral Commission’s incompetence and lack of integrity to organise free and fair elections, let alone announce the rightful winner. If there were any folks that believed in the validity of the results that had been announced that late Saturday afternoon, they were too scared to stand out. Three days later, on Tuesday February 23, I headed back to the city. What I saw and felt was also captured in the sentiments of a columnist in the leading independent daily newspaper, The Monitor: ‘Moving through Kampala after the results of the just-concluded election, one would be mistaken for thinking that the country was in mourning. The winning side was not celebrating. The losing side was obviously heartbroken and asking the dampened spirit to rise up and be happy would be asking too much.’

2 thoughts on “Burdened by history:
Where does Uganda’s Museveni go from here?

  • March 27, 2016 at 4:06 am
    Permalink

    Dear VLS
    I was hesitating or shall I say hesitated to say anything about your article. However, what clicked was that you were 21 years old when Gen Amos ushered a Fundamental Change’, stopping a Change of Guards. Now you are about 50 years leaving in some foreign land, and want to suggest to you that in that ex-country of yours you occasion visit, “Changing Guards” was “ABOLISHED”.
    Your article is empty of what Gen Amos has been saying and what those who supported him to acquire political control have been saying. Let me quote or paraphrase a few:
    1. ‘…we have captured the Treasury, who will remove us from power…’
    2. ‘…we took power from Obote to stop “our people” being killed… Obote was killing everybody Uganda is now peaceful …anybody who plays with us will find himself 2 feet deep…
    3. ‘…revolutionaries do not leave power….’ – Muammer Ghadaffi chief sponsor and funder of NRA.
    4. ‘…at least Museveni tells the truth….’ – one ex-US Ambassador to Uganda under Museveni.
    5. ‘….they came frontally and exposed themselves and we massacred them very badly… ‘…these Acolis cannot fight…’
    6. ‘….we have “people” and “biological substances”….
    7. ‘…these kipingamizi’s have no right to rule over us….’

    Take any of the above quotes. I have yet to read anywhere that they have been repudiated by ‘people’. As for ‘biological substances’ and ‘kipingamizis’, given that their lips were cut-off do not expect any comments from them.
    Let me say this with a degree of certainty that the ‘ERRRRECCTIONN’ is of the ‘People’ for the ‘People and by the ‘People’. Arguably, in short, this ‘ERRRRECCTIONN’ exercise is a small disagreement here and there but does not alter the Fundamental Change’ ushered in 1986, that is, after some 30 years of hard work since 1966.
    Opoya

    Reply
  • March 27, 2016 at 6:51 am
    Permalink

    Let me wage in despite my efforts to restrain not to utter even a coma or a fulstop.
    UGANDA IS A NATION WITH TWO STATES:
    1– Govt No 1 is the The Tutsi empire, that overthrow the Ugandan led Government and insititutions as well as Ugandan peoples power of ownership. The Empire that used the Ugandan Govt legal frame work, parliament to muzzle all Ugandan not to talk about the Tutsi people and their activities of taking over key places, the treasury, defence, Comerce, Revenue, key roles in all the other Government ministries like the allocation of scholarships etc.
    THE TUTSI EMPIRE GOVT HAS BASES IN KISOZI & RWAKITURA where bussiness like the oil, allocation of funds and powers from above are conducted.
    Check it out all Investors cut the deals with the KING M7 in Rwakitura & Kisozi.
    You have people waiting for weeks t be seen by the King.
    Informers from as far as Mbale and many other parts of Uganda are driven there at night.
    Most are local women bussiness personells.
    They would not drive their cars there but hire taxis and pay well.

    2)-GOVERNMENT NO 2;
    Ugandans owned, based in KAMPALA, with a doormant ,highly paid (muzzled) parliament, sitting and talking issues with no peoples outcomes.
    Nothing can be stopped in this parliament becuase all that needs WINDOW DRESSING COMES FROM KISOZI & RWAKITURA, Govt no 1, THE seat of the EMPIRE.
    The so called RDC”s, RMO’s are appointend from there.
    GOV NO 2, powerless, sleeping all the time.

    Until you know this well then one can think of Elections.
    The 2016 elections was an effort buy UGANDAN’s in Gov 2 TO TAKE BACK POWER & OWNERSHIP.
    The likes of Mbabazi telling you in the debate, Yes I was PM but incapacitated to make any changes as hehad to be directed and obey the EMPIRE.

    There are no GOV Jobs by GOV 2.
    Jobs are offered by Gov No1 The Empire are they are all armed.
    Those who are not Tutsi or affiliated are given jobs and seen over by junior poorly educated Tutsi’s or affiliates.

    NO ONE APPOINTED BY GOVT NO 1, THE EMPIRE CAN LOOSE A JOB.
    Example–Kayihura & Frederick KAWESI both disguised Tutsi’s.
    Who is in charge Kiffefe house arrest, Kawesi…

    UGANDAN’S WAKE UP, YOU NO LONGER HAVE COUNTRY, THE TUTSI HEGEMONY IN CONTROL AND HAS BEEN GEETING STRONGER.
    THEY OWN ALL , EVERYTHING AND BEHIND LAND GRABBING EVERYWHERE.
    NOW BUSSY POPULATING UGANDA WITH IRETREANS and others.
    ARONDA WANTED TO FOIL THE FINGERS OF THE EMPIRE , HE WAS ALONE!!!!
    ELECTIONS MY FOOT!!!

    I do not hate Tutsi, I hate what M7 has used them to do and now they feel they have the right to kill, imprison and deny UGANDANS their Rights.
    My brothers & sisters why cant you live with us, we let you in, we gave you food, land to stay and raise your families when you were exiled, you turned into butechers used by Obote 1 & Amin.

    Please Think again we love you but now fear you. because of your ways.

    Reply

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