Uganda’s metamorphosis under Yoweri Museveni

By Eric Kashambuzi

Ugandan President Gen Yoweri Museveni who is accused of masterminding the rise of the Tutsis in Uganda.
Ugandan President Gen Yoweri Museveni who is accused of masterminding the rise of the Tutsis in Uganda.

The idea to restore pre-independence Tutsi and Tutsi/Hima (hereafter Tutsi as a generic word) domination in Rwanda and the Ankole district of Uganda, was conceived by Ugandan President Yoweri]Museveni and Rwandan refugees in Uganda while students at Ntare High School, Western Uganda in the early 1960s.

Based on one person one vote rule, the majority Hutu in Rwanda and Bairu in Ankole won the elections and captured political power at independence in 1962 in Rwanda and Uganda. Realizing that the Tutsi did not have the numbers to win free and fair elections in Rwanda and Uganda, Museveni and colleagues decided at an early date to use force, hence military training. Museveni probably chose to study at Dar es Salaam University in Tanzania to have easy access to the OAU Liberation Committee and liberation movements like FRELIMO [that were then] based there.

When Museveni returned to Uganda, he was posted in then President Milton Obote’s office as an assistant on refugees and possibly migrant workers in Uganda, thereby identifying and locating where the Tutsi lived and worked. This facility enabled him to recruit Tutsi for FRONASA and National Resistance Army and Movement (NRA/M). In the recruitment process, Museveni picked mostly Tutsi for military training and non-Tutsi for administration, resource mobilization, advocacy and diplomatic networking. Non-Tutsi guerrillas that were recruited in the military were in the rank and file category. The few that made progress were largely subsequently eliminated in one form or another.

During the guerrilla war and after the National Resistance Movement (NRM) captured power in 1986, Museveni and senior officials preached the metamorphosis of Uganda. To many Ugandans, the concept was misinterpreted as transforming Uganda into an industrial state that would process Uganda’s raw materials into manufactured products for domestic consumption and export to neighbouring countries and beyond to earn the badly needed foreign currency with which to import technology for the transformation and diversification of Uganda’s economy and society. Metamorphosis would also end poverty and all forms of suffering in Uganda, restore democracy, free and fair elections, rule of law, respect for inalienable human rights and freedoms, good governance including ending all forms of corruption and sectarianism, good neighbourly relations, regional cooperation to expand opportunities for free trade and investment, free movement of persons, livestock, capital, goods and services and sovereignty of the people served by their elected government.

This was welcome news to Ugandans that had greatly suffered since 1971 and development partners. However, under all this sweet talk, Museveni had a hidden agenda of turning Uganda into a colony occupied and governed by Tutsi and used as a base for the establishment of a Tutsi empire in the Great Lakes Region during the first phase. Very early in his administration, Museveni declared that his Tutsi people who had lost their land during the colonial days and since independence in 1962 would have it restored to them.

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