Back in the day, long before National Resistance Movement (NRM), the whole bush-war and the hostile takeover from previous governments. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the freedom fighter and former Tanzanian student, we’re the founder and leader of Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM). It wasn’t a successful one at that, he even lost his district Member of Parliament position to Honorable Sam Kuteesa in the 1980 election. Clearly, the drive and the message didn’t sink-in, if not the rigging of Milton Obote was so rampant that none else than his candidates could win an election. Which is most likely if you followed the 1980 Election. The young Museveni was an idealist, not like today when the riches and stolen wealth has consumed the old-man. Who will find ways to buy his adversaries, instead of trying to reason with them? That is too hard for old man and he doesn’t even consider it. So today, I have dozens of outtakes of speeches he made while being a UPM leader. It is given that the times changes, as three decades of power and rule has eaten his soul. As much as the reality is different today, but the ideals and the governance he spoke of is still relevant today, as much as it was back-then.
“A Government that subjects its citizens to humiliation and desperate solutions is not worth the name and should hence be removed. It was the violation of this cardinal principle by Amin that forced Ugandans to take to arms to liberate their motherland” – Speech at Ishaka, Bushenyi District, Uganda Times (July 16th 1979).
“Uganda’s causes of disunity mainly spring from the fears that public officials are cutting up the national cake among themselves. During the last 12 years, most people especially the top brass had been grabbers” – Speech at a News Conference in Kampala, Uganda Times, (September 10, 1979)
“Ugandan would have been taught how to fight against dictatorship. Don’t fear anything. Amin used to say he feared nobody but God; but where is he today?” – Speech at a rally in Bushenyi, Uganda Times, (July 9th 1980).
“I am saddled by all types of unclean people in the UNLF government. Otherwise, things would have looked much better than they are today. Some unclean people are responsible for the suffering of the people of Uganda” – Speech at a rally in Masindi District, Uganda Times (July 15th 1980).
“Using a government position to a mass wealth is high treason. If the UPM is not going to be supported because it denounces such methods of getting rich, let it be” – Speech in Bushenyi and Mbarara District, Weekly Topic (August 27th 1980).
“Africa is tired of leaders who clings to power against the wishes of the masses” – Speech at the UPM fundraising at Fairway Hotel Kampala, Uganda Times (November 10th 1980).
The young man Yoseri or Yoweri is so more likable are reasonable, than the one leading the republic today. He has had no issues to rig himself, use the power of the army and police to intimidate and harass citizens. Neither, has he had any issues concerning the grabbing land and having cronies making wealth on the state coffers. It is like everything he stood for, was a shell that he decided to break. He used a sledgehammer against everything he believed in, when he got to power. Then he saw the potential and possible reach of power and ran with it.
That is why today he clings power against the will of the people. That why the army was the key group of people at his latest inauguration and paid crowds, not people celebrating his victory, because there was a small fraction of people who was cheering. Clearly, he knows it, that he has become everything he was up against as a UPM candidate.
When he had these speeches, the ideals we’re good and the man was talking righteous. Who knows how the wealth and trigger-happy donors in the 1980s and 1990s has sponged funds on him without any concern on how the funds gotten used by his government. As long as they showed some slow progress and had a few nice photo-ups for their timely magazines, it was funky-dory.
Clearly the revival of the donor-friendly environment and the possible all-control has eaten all his ideals, you can even question if he ever believed them. If it was a ploy to look significantly different from Obote and Amin. Nothing else. It would be an easy trick. Since, the relics of the state would so shatter the display of character they had. He could amaze and please with simple promises, but no need to keep them. That is why he promises industries and agricultural output today, without having any consideration for budgets or programs that is sufficient for this, if so he would have invested in it long time ago.
President Museveni is a shadow of his former self, the UPM leader I would have respected and cheered for, but the one he is today, I cannot stand and want to get rid-off. In a peaceful transition way, do not want use his tricks, there are better ways than bush-war. The uncertainty and loss of lives in the midst of that is not worth the coup d’état.
UPM Museveni, knew what Good Governance was and knew what a state was supposed to do. Not there to enrichen himself and the cronies, it was not there to prolong suffering and famine. It was there to serve and if they acted wrong. Fight them, dismantle them and get rid of the dictatorship. He is now the man he fought to bring down, he fought Amin, Obote, Lule and Biniasa. All of them got at one point played out by the men who was loyal to Museveni.
Certainly, the matter at hand, how long can he keep the ideals he believed in while leading UPM away from the citizens. How long can embarrass and humiliate citizens so he can stay in power. How long can he eat of the government plate without anyone toppling him. How long? What does it take, how much does the citizens of Uganda stomach of this mess? What is the final nail in coffin? When does the last drop of water hit the cup, so it spills over?
The UPM Museveni, anyone would consider as a fair and good leader, the one that is ruling today, has passed his prime and due date, long time ago. In addition, lost all his principles and values on the way, except for enriching himself and the ones who are by his side.
He is now the one he ones fought against, he is now mirroring the example of the ones who he overthrow. It is something rare and weird about it all, the UPM Museveni would say: “that would never happen, the Ugandans would not let that happen”. Well, they did and they fear you now, because they have seen your actions and your misgivings. They don’t respect you, but wonder how and when you strike. There isn’t a consensus, but a fear and tension to what you might bring, the game you set-up is for the ones who are abiding to you and the ones who could lose it all, since they are not your kind. Peace.