Uganda after Museveni: What will it be like? Part I, Uganda's history and in
the missrule of Tibuhaburwa Yoseri Museveni.
von Radio Free Buganda
Sonntag, 5. Februar 2012 um 13:17 .
By timothy kalyegira (email the author) Uganda after Museveni: What will it
be like? Part I, Uganda's history and in the missrule of Tibuhaburwa yoseri
Museveni by Radio Free Buganda on Sunday, 5 February 2012 at 21:17
Posted Sunday, February 5 2012 at 00:00
Boredom sets in. At this stage in Uganda's history and in the rule of
President Museveni, with daily reports of yet more grabbing of land, looting
of public money and impunity from top to bottom, reporting and commenting on
these excesses of the government is starting to become rather boring to both
the writer and the reader.
The public is getting weary of all these stories, not because they are not
interested but because they send them deeper into gloom and despair and
which excesses they are helpless to stop or prevent.
Better now to give or attempt to give readers a glimpse into the future, the
place Uganda will be when Museveni is finally out of power. What will that
Uganda be like? What will or might be the political calculations and
decisions by those to succeed the NRM?
The answer to this depends on how Museveni leaves power. If he is succeeded
by his son, Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, in "Dear Leader" North Korea style,
then Uganda will be made to walk in the father's footsteps.
Only that Kainerugaba will take care to bring into prominent office more of
the diversified classmates and friends he made at Kampala Parents' School,
Kings' College Budo and St. Mary's College Kisubi.
If Museveni's successor is a popular leader like the FDC President Dr Kizza
Besigye, he will have a lot of work to do. Uganda today is pervaded by an
exceptionally bitter political and social climate.
The fate of westerners
When one mingles with ordinary people and compiles research on the national
mood, one thing that stands out distinctly is the amount of bitterness that
is felt in central Uganda against the westerners (the people colloquially
called "Shae-shae" or Bashae-shae").
Most of the biggest corruption scandals under the NRM have involved at least
one prominent person from western Uganda. At present, all the heads of the
armed services - the police, prisons, army and airforce - are from western
Uganda, as are all the five Five-Star army generals.
What Baganda, Basoga and many in western Uganda used to feel about
northerners from about 1966 to 1986, many of the same people now feel toward
Banyankore and Banyarwanda. Or rather, more accurately, feel toward
Banyarwanda and the sub-group within the Banyankore called the Bahima.
Baganda, whose very basis of existence lies with their clan system and their
land, have seen huge tracts of that land bought up, seized and fenced off by
senior political and military leaders and it is perceived - rightly or
wrongly - that these grabbers of Buganda land are "Banyarwanda" and
It is just that Buganda's administrative seat at Mengo finds itself in a
historical dilemma concerning how it lent all its support to the Museveni
guerrilla war, only to find itself with a foe who has shortchanged it even
more than the 1960s UPC government did.
Otherwise, it must have occurred to many, if not most, Baganda loyalists
that in real terms the "desecration of my kingdom" that the late Kabaka
Edward Mutesa II spoke of in his memoirs has taken place since 1986 and not
1966, now that the benefit of historical hindsight is at our disposal.
What happened in 1966 was an "attack on my kingdom"; what is taking place
these days especially with land is what feels like the real desecration of
the kingdom.Besigye as head of state would have to, regardless of his
personal wishes, lead much like the late President Milton Obote who came
from Lango but drew some of his most loyal support from places as far apart
as Mbale and Bushenyi.
Besigye comes from Rukungiri and given the bitterness against westerners
that has been brought on by Museveni's excesses, Besigye would have to make
the effort for his government not to look like another outfit dominated by
Fortunately for westerners, so brutally and consistently so have Besigye,
Ingrid Turinawe, Anne Mugisha, Winnie Byanyima, Maj. John Kazoora, and
several other FDC leaders from western Uganda been treated by the police and
the army, with front-page newspaper photographs and TV footage, that the
brutality of the present time will be viewed by many Ugandans as that by
Museveni and his regime and not by westerners.
But whatever happens after Museveni leaves power, the public anger will be
such that only the absolutely and unquestionably deserving westerners will
be appointed to top civil service jobs or awarded government tenders,
contracts and university scholarships.
In the early years of the Museveni government, there were two main opinions
about the guerrilla force that had brought him to power, the National
Resistance Army (NRA). In the southern and western Bantu-speaking areas of
Uganda, the general view was that the NRA had come as a liberation force, a
sane voice and instrument for restoring order and discipline just when
Uganda seemed about to fall apart.
In northern and northeastern Uganda in Sudanic, Nilotic Luo and Nilo-Hamitic
areas, a very different view of the NRA took root from the very start. It
was of a terror machine unleashed by Museveni and "his Banyarwanda" on the
people of the north and northeast.Reports, not just spreading as rumours but
also reported by the BBC and various international human rights groups,
spoke of a scorched earth policy in which granaries and grass thatched huts
were set alight, women (and men) raped or sodomised and wells poisoned.
It was this brutality, carefully hidden from the southern Bantu, that partly
created the resistance fronted by Alice Lakwena, Francis ("Hitler") Eregu
and Joseph Kony.Today, the two views of the NRA (now called the Uganda
People's Defence Force, UPDF) have merged into one and this one view is that
which the people of northern and north-eastern Uganda first witnessed in
In Kampala and Masaka, especially since the arrest of Besigye in November
2005 days after his return from exile in South Africa, this image of a
brutal, terror machine that is the Museveni army has been joined by the
From Besigye's arrest to the Black Cobra (misnamed by the public as the
"Black Mamba") commando invasion of the High Court, to the violence used to
quell the Buganda riots in September 2009 and the now uncountable instances
of police use of teargas on crowds of demonstrators, the image has taken
root of the police almost as being the army's Fifth Division.
Since Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura took over as the police's Inspector General,
the police have acted like the army, now in camouflage dresses like the
army, been equipped like the army and (as photographs published by the Daily
Monitor in November 2005 of the Black Mamba men demonstrated), even been the
army dressed up in police uniform.
To many grassroots political activists, opposition leaders, human rights
defenders and journalists in Kampala, since about 2001 under Brig. Henry
Tumukunde, Col. Noble Mayombo, Col. Leo Kyanda and Brig. James Mugira,
another deadly force, the one dreaded the most, has increasingly been the
Directorate (later Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, CMI), the army's
intelligence and security service.
The CMI has gained a reputation of being even darker than the main national
intelligence services, the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) and its
foreign intelligence-gathering counterpart, ESO. Many younger Ugandans born
after 1976 probably fear the CMI more than older Ugandans feared Idi Amin's
State Research Bureau.
Stories of torture in safe houses, poisonings or rumoured poisonings of
political opponents and arrests and vanishings have been widely reported by
the local and international media.
It will be very difficult for the government that succeeds the NRM to retain
these armed services and military groups in their current form, certainly
under their current names. The only way these armed services will remain in
place is if Museveni's successor is from the NRM or is neutral about the
To be continued next week
Uganda after Museveni and NRM: Part II
Posted Sunday, February 12 2012 at 00:00
Continuing from last week where this writer anticipated what Uganda will be
like after the rule of President Yoweri Museveni, today we look at what
these last 26 years have done to Ugandan society.
Based on the image of principle and revolutionary that the NRM government
projected in 1986, there are not many people then who would have expected
that the NRM would still be in power to this day.
Also, when the NRM took power in 1986 most of the state structure inherited
at independence in 1986 was intact. Ugandans took for granted that they
should have a nationally owned airline, railway and commercial bank.
It was assumed that hospitals and schools owned by the government would
receive the first priority of the government. It was assumed that civil
servants and other officials who worked for the government or its related
corporations would live in houses built decades ago by the government.
It was assumed that the army would be housed in good barracks and have its
own efficient transport system and soldiers' children, just as it had been
in the 1960s and 1970s, would enjoy a decent middle class or lower
Of course, for the prestige of the country, not only was it important to
have a national airline but it was taken for granted that any normal country
should have a string of embassies and diplomatic missions around the world
to handle the country's political, military, commercial and cultural
It being Africa, many would not have been surprised that Museveni would wish
to cling onto power or would want to dominate the political stage. Even
reports of election rigging would not have entirely shocked Ugandans or
watchers of Uganda.
But what was taken for granted was that the NRM would be better in public
administration, delivery of social services and accountability for public
funds and property than any of its predecessors with the exception of the
first Obote government in the 1960s.
Given the above assumptions, most Ugandans alive and of age in 1986 would
have expected that all these institutions that even the governments headed
by the semi-literate Tito Okello and Idi Amin had been important enough to
maintain, would either crumble to ruins, be sold off or stolen under the NRM
government, the one viewed as being led by some of the best-educated men and
women in Uganda's post-independence history.
Very few people indeed would have expected in 1986 that the NRM would prove
to be not only by far the most corrupt government in Uganda's history but
one of the 20 most corrupt in the entire history of Africa since the start
of the independence wave in the late 1950s.
The bitter reality of what has happened is one of the most important effects
the NRM has had on Ugandan history.
The second effect has been on the way the population views the military.
Because the army, from the days of the Kings African Rifles in the 1940s
until 1986 had been dominated by tribes from the north and north-east
regions of Uganda, the southern and central tribes had come to assume a
stereotype about northerners as being somehow genetically inclined to
violence and brutality.
The now very public stories, TV footage and newspaper photographs of the NRA
(now UPDF) beating up, shooting, raping, setting granaries on fire,
torturing opposition supporters and leaders in safe houses has caused the
old stereotype to get revised.
Now an army is viewed as an army, no matter its ethnic composition.
By 2011, this great disillusionment with the NRM and with President Museveni
had started showing itself in patterns in national elections with opposition
candidates taking over places considered to be NRM strongholds.
These telling victories by the unlikeliest of candidates reveal the new
understanding Ugandans now have of their history and nation since 1986, and
how much they have had to come to terms with what befell them.
After the Museveni government one day goes, the post-NRM Uganda will be a
different one in the "fundamental change" sense that Museveni declared at
his swearing-in in January 1986.
Most likely, there will be a public outcry for a repossession of some, if
not most, of the state-owned corporations that the NRM sold off to foreign
"investors" or NRM leaders sold to themselves.
The national political mood after Museveni is gone will incline toward
social democracy, if not a downright state-led economy. Whoever succeeds
Museveni, if he or she is not from within the NRM, will have to placate the
public anger and hope to win widespread national support by doing some of
what Idi Amin did in 1972 - announce a Ugandanisation or re-Ugandanisation
of the economy.
As mentioned last week, so great will be the resentment against western
Uganda by the rest of the population that only the absolutely most honest
and deserving westerners will win government tenders, scholarships and
contracts for the next 20 years.
Western against other regions
In interviews or bids, even if someone from western Uganda scores 75 per
cent and the runner-up from, say, eastern or northern Uganda scores 69 per
cent, the pressure and overwhelming public opinion will be that the job or
contract or tender or scholarship should be given to the one who scored 68
Ugandans will start to respect their national assets much more after the
departure of Museveni, now that they have had the bitter experience of
seeing what they took for granted, taken away from them.
Right now in 2012, there is still a good deal of complacency within Ugandan
society and it is clear that not all the lessons that need to be learnt have
However, at the present rate and from the trend that the country is taking,
in which public land is being grabbed by the acre every single day, billions
of shillings stolen daily, the true "fundamental change" is going to set
into society over the next five years.
But 2016, Uganda will be in an acute and desperate state of mind. To have
driven Ugandan society to that state of total despair, total loss of faith
in the NRM and in educated people who can't respect the law and who loot
with impunity, will be the ironical lesson Museveni will have bequeathed
The Italian historian Benedetto Croce, in his 1932 book History of Europe in
the Nineteenth Century, in which he examined that tumultuous century in
European affairs, painted a picture of a political climate not unlike what
we see in Uganda today in 2012.
He wrote on page 202, of an atmosphere of "mental restrictions, compromises,
and fears and terrors and desertion of friends and cowardly denunciations,
insensibility to the violation of justice and to daily wrongs, the pretence
of not seeing and knowing, in order to silence the pangs of conscience, what
everyone saw and knew perfectly well, ignorance concerning the conduct of
public affairs with accompanying and ceaseless whispering of scandals,
supine applause for every statement or assertion coming from above and at
the same time incredulity for all news of an official character; and in the
midst of this general timidity, the boldness of the bold in taking fortune
by storm, the readiness to seize private advantages or to satisfy private
hates under the semblance of political zeal."
That passage alone is one of the best descriptions of the current Uganda as
almost being submerged in primitive 19th century political intrigue, and
Croce summed up the broader reason for why a society can sometimes sink to
this level: "Liberty is a divine gift, and the gods sometimes take it away
from men, who are eternal children, and remain deaf to their supplications,
and do not give it back until they have once more become worthy of it."
Yoweri Museveni, the man who has done the most to destroy the
infrastructural foundation of the country is going to be the man, by these
very actions, who will give Ugandans the desperation of circumstance to
really undertake deep soul searching and out of that soul searching, will
emerge a new, much more sober nation.
If these 26 years and counting - some would say 50 years - have been a
divine punishment, then let us drink of the bitter cup of hemlock until our
lesson has been learned.
A disillusioned child sits near an open trench that he has failed to cross
in Kampala. FILE PHOTO
------------[ Sent via the dehai-wn mailing list by dehai.org]--------------
Received on Sun Feb 12 2012 - 11:25:04 EST