How Museveni has manipulated national politics to enable him rule for life

President Yoweri Museveni who is accused of having dodged the numerous questions about the rationale (or irrationality) of clinging to power beyond his legitimate mandate during his recent interview on Al Jazeera TV
President Yoweri Museveni who is accused of having dodged the numerous questions about the rationale (or irrationality) of clinging to power beyond his legitimate mandate during his recent interview on Al Jazeera TV

Typical of Africa’s big-man “liberators”, Yoweri Museveni is unlikely to hand over power to another leader. He has reached a point where he believes he alone is qualified to rule Uganda. Contrary to his self-glorification, Museveni is not in power because Ugandans love him. Rather, he has carefully manipulated national politics to enable him to rule for life – so writes Vick L Ssali.

In a recent interview with the Doha-based Al-Jazeera TV, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni lied to the “young man” interviewing him, to Ugandans and to the Al-Jazeera audience worldwide. He also looked calm as he lied all through the interview, and that was scary! He dodged the numerous questions about the rationale (or irrationality) of clinging to power beyond his legitimate mandate. He insincerely justified his 31-year stay in power as a constitutional right while aware of the way the law of the land was desecrated two decades ago to remove term limits.

There are rumours he is bent on removing age-limits and stand again in 2021. He couldn’t say it openly, but it was obvious he has two deceptive self-convictions: One, that he is the only Ugandan (out of 40 million) who can meaningfully lead the country (and the East African region) to its God-given destiny: And two, that he has the right, as a liberator, to rule for life. He also told the world that any other aspiring leaders should content themselves with district (and other administrative units) leadership.

Never mind that the decentralization drive that has created over 130 districts (from 33 in 1986) is crumbling under the weight of patronage. He gave false reasons for keeping any serious contender to the presidency, such as Besigye, on the edge. He didn’t seem bothered by the death of over 100 people in Kasese at the hands of his security forces even when he was challenged on the irrationality of holding only one side of the confrontation in detention. He accurately quoted the Oxfam (2016) appraisal of 19.7 per cent of the population below the poverty line by 2014 as opposed to nearly 56 per cent in 1992. Nevertheless, he didn’t (and wouldn’t) acknowledge the fact that the Oxfam report in question was actually focusing on the sad reality of gross horizontal inequalities in a country where the richest 10 per cent of the population enjoy 35.7 per cent of national income; the poorest 10 per cent claim a meagre 2.5 per cent, and the poorest 20 per cent have only 5.8 per cent.[1]

3 thoughts on “How Museveni has manipulated national politics to enable him rule for life

  • May 7, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    The time is now for Africans to admit that independence was a mistake. Every post colonial leader has demonstrated that they are unable to lead a nation whether big or small. 60 years is a long time not to learn a thing or two. Before African independence was called for, if those leaders organizing the resistance had any understanding of what a nation state was/is all about, they would have taken time to study and understand the many tribal and ethnic groups in their own countries before telling colonial administrators to pack their bags and leave. Secondly, they should have worked with the colonial administrators to learn their techniques of ruling people whose languages they barely understood. Countries such as Uganda which did not spill any blood in the name of independence, should have worked hand in hand with colonial administrators in preparation for self-rule. After all, struggles in other parts of the continent such as Ghana, had triggered awareness in colonial administrators that they may not last long as rulers. A polite request by an aspiring African leader such as Apollo Milton Obote would have been entertained particularly if the Buganda king, Edward Mutesa was involved in that dialogue. Since none of this was done, Africa has found itself with selfish leaders from Cape Town to Cairo and from Abuja to Addis Ababa. With the exception of perhaps Botswana, no African country can claim success and enjoying the fruits of independence. Africa may do itself a favour and invite their former colonial masters back to take care of business. After all, through the welfare checks they hand to African leaders every year, they are still in charge. It is the same welfare check which has turned Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni into life president. Before Europeans return to take care of business, Ugandans should forget about party politics. It does not take 60 years to develop party politics.

    • June 26, 2017 at 7:16 pm

      An interesting article. However, first ask yourself, who helped Amin to come to power in Uganda?
      Who killed Patrice Lumumba in Congo? Who kept Mobutu in power? Who made sure that Gaddifi is killed?
      Who supplies and makes sure there are endless wars in Arab countries? Sincere answers to these questions may make the writer think twice,

    • July 2, 2017 at 1:56 am

      Mr. Peter Magosi,
      Thank you for appreciating this brief article. In your response you did mention Amin, Lumumba and Ghadafi as representatives of external power. True to some extent. However, one thing that students of colonialism as well as intellectuals and academics have failed to point out over the decades, Africa was colonized at a time when the world was divided on ideological lines Marxism, Socialism, Communism and Capitalism if you will. Africans did not understand any of these terms until education opened their eyes and minds, The type of education early Africans received was not directed towards the development of their societies, but an image of Europeans in a far away land. By the time people such as Jomo Kenyatta, Kwameh Nkrumah, Abdel Nassar, Patrice Lumumba and Julious Nyerere to mention a few realized that what was being taught had nothing to do with transformation of their societies, it was already too late. In the end, these leaders who had very little understanding what the interest of Europeans was, they took arms to get rid of them without knowing what they would do next. Unknown to these leaders was that Colonialism had already brainwashed a few of them such as Mobutu. What these leaders failed to understand was that the wars they were fighting were proxy wars representing the interest of the very same people they are fighting. Due to lack of this understanding, African leaders turned against their own people by denying them every fundamental human rights and instead continue the policy of divide and rule. When the ordinary people organize themselves to get rid of these leaders, they call these people rats as Ghadafi did until he was found hiding in a water pipe this time becoming a rat himself. To address your concern, had African leaders truly fought for the freedom and rights of their, leaders such as Lumumba, Ghadafi etc would have not died the way their did. Africa is still very far away from achieving independence if at all that is even possible. African leaders have invested too deep in external interest to break away from it being causing civil war as a payout.


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