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Thursday, May 12, 2011


25 years after Museveni rule
As President Museveni swears in today, admirers and critics alike will be looking to answer how the next five years will impact on his legacy.

Twenty five years in power, political observers believe it is too early to write Mr Museveni’s political epitaph. However, what is clear is that Mr Museveni has made, unmade, remade and again unmade whatever political historians will write of his contribution to the politics of the country.

For a man who as early as 1973 made powerful speeches on the vexed questions of unity, freedoms, security and approaches to not just economic transformation but empowerment of individuals, many contradictions now appear in his character.
The army
Dr Frederick Golooba Mutebi of the Makerere University Institute for Social Research says politically, were Museveni to leave after this term, he would leave a country more divided than he found it in 1986.
“The North-South divide is still alive and well. And then there is the West versus the rest dimension. Having said that, politically, the country has changed a great deal for the better. I cannot imagine another Idi Amin or Milton Obote coming up,” he says.

Mwambutsya Ndebesa a political historian also at Makerere, says whether Museveni were to leave power now or after five years, any discussion of his legacy will not be complete without examining the critical role he has played in “militarising the political space.”

While his predecessors, Dr Milton Obote failed to manage the military, Idi Amin was a soldier and therefore ruled by decree and knew nothing about politics, Museveni who came promising to send the army back to the barracks and make it subservient to civilian authority has instead succeeded beyond the imagination of his predecessors, in “militarising the political space.”

Prof. Ndebesa says this has helped build the most negative political competition under Museveni as the military clearly sides with the incumbent with the police walking in lock-step.

Dr Golooba-Mutebi says, “despite the broad agreement that the army has been more tame in the last 25 years than it has ever been since the 1960s, it is also true that a fairly large number of Ugandans look at it with a fair degree of mistrust, contempt, and fear.

“I am now convinced that if there broke out a war on the scale of the NRA’s insurgency, the UPDF would commit atrocities in the same way that the UNLA did.”
The biggest test to the military has come especially as Mr Museveni counts more years in power, and the aura of invincibility disappears with former admirers jumping ship.

Peaceful political demonstrations have become almost outlawed as the military and the police marshal all the armour they can to confront unarmed but determined demonstrators.

The police and military are forced to act more harshly. The columns especially of the military sent to keep peace in the night, communicate less and less with those they meet.

Ndebesa says, “Obote failed to manage his military, Museveni has managed but in the long run they might merge.” Mr Museveni’s legacy on the economy also seems to have turned on its head. A significant portion of the population remains stuck in the abyss of poverty.

The Uganda Bureau of Statistics says at least seven million have remained stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty from which they are unlikely to break anytime soon.
A smaller portion of Ugandans are swimming in obscene wealth – some of them beneficiaries to the corruption which characterised the cannibalisation of state parastatals when the NRM launched into an erratic privatisation of the economy.

Persisting poverty
The number of grass thatched houses in the countryside might have reduced but abject poverty remains. Mr Ndebesa says Mr Museveni will leave a legacy of an economy that has registered growth without achieving development.

Dr Golooba-Mutebi says: “The economy is much larger, the country more prosperous than 25 years ago. We would have done much better if there was more order, probity and accountability than there is. It is also fair to ask what happened to Museveni’s aspirations of getting Uganda to manufacture its own safety pins.
Instead, we manufacture bullets. The potential is very high. Shame about the quality of government.”

Hii makala nimeona ikae hapa. Shukrani kwa gazeti la Monitor la Uganda la jana 12/5/2011. Baadhi ya watu wametoa maoni yao hapo chini:
1."No African head of state should be in power for more than 10 years!" Don't forget, this is a qotation of a certain Mr. Museveni, made 1986, the biggest liar in Uganda.
2. One of the worst offences Museveni has committed against Uganda, is “militarising the political space” as academic Ndebesa has rightly pointed out. Democracy will never take root in Uganda until the rulers derive thier authority from the people/public rather than from the military..This is why I have some doubt whether Besigye is able to deliver the change we need given the fact that he too has similar background as Museveni. Among the major parties, probaly it is only DP which has never had any connection with the military.
3. Honestly I find no difference between these dictatorships. In fact the current one eroded all the good they ever did; public services,national pride etc... Not many from Uganda want to carry that identity anymore. Of course Uganda now more looks up to other nations than. Now we saw the oil wells, yea! there we see the mad man. No change,Kampala is where it has always been. What you call growth is just a difference in times;more computers and cars on the face of the earth - we can all get.

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