“Soldiers feel that the Police are not serious with the criminal elements and that they are corrupt. The army had to come in and insist that criminals must be punished. It happens in all countries, there is a time when the army assumes the duty of internal security”. General Museveni (Daily Nation – Nairobi – January 26, 1987).
This is ironic that President Museveni said in 1987. We can see that times has changed or that his mind set to other perspective then directly from the bush. With the guerrilla warfare and the so-called liberation struggle, that has been discovered more and more about the tactics done to get power.
It is surely and clearly many ways President Museveni talked democratic values while it has been uncovered that he oppressed the media and opposition. It has done that since day one of the regime, just different how far and to what extent. It has always tried to look beautiful on the surface and smiles to the donors and Election Observers Missions while in the end, the institutions built around the Mzee. That the Electoral Reforms haven’t really been there for free and fair elections. When I went through the 1996 elections the stories are similar to today’s oppression of the opposition.
While opening up for free-market thinking has over time and letting the United Kingdom, Kenyan, South African, Indian and Libyan businessmen got easy trading ability in the country, while the exports and trade boards are gone, less of unions and other governmental structures. In the later years the government has started with micro-credit, Operation Wealth Creation and Youth Livelihood Programs as a cheap way of trying to patch up with the loss of sufficient structures that are sold out, by government to get loans in the beginning of its administrations.
We can easily see that the government who came to power with the guns and ammunition, and still has MPs directly from the army is bound to have the militarized effect on the politics. As the Police are acting with direct force and not following always rule of law. While the government overflows with former colonels and generals becoming politicians instead of businessmen and civil servants as the President is a bush-man himself and been part of two insurgents to power. One in the end of 70s and one in the famous 1986, so the guns never left the power and stayed there; even the tale with the donor-funding of the army from abroad to fight dirty wars the U.S. don’t want to stick their finger in, as in Somalia and Central African Republic.
The Electoral Reforms as discussed briefly the NRM-Regime have stifled most of the time any kind of reform and ruling power therefore had to have two elections on referendum to release the Multi-Party Democracy and also been making the difference between using government funds and using the well-known factor of promises pledges from direct government subsidies to the big-men and chiefs, even Parejo’s and other SUV’s given to men to secure the votes and loyalty to the Mzee.
There been steady shifts in leaders underneath Mzee as he has taken down the men who has been built by his leadership, as he want the ones with his former MPs, VPs and PMs as they wanted to elevate themselves and leave him behind. As the founding father of NRM, nobody else should rule the party and have the Executive control. He took it with a gun and easily takes pictures with it to show where his strength is.
The government have used all kind of methods and tricks to gain riches to NRM elite and leave the certainty of other manufactures, industries and even achieve certain outcomes only for the closest allies of the NRM, even on Town Council levels where NRM members and NRM elders have closest call to get add-ons and secure funding for projects, while the opposition and other institutions have to get hands-out by international NGOs or Bilateral funds to get enough for what they need. The Resistance Councils and the now Local Councils are built for securing de-facto loyalty to the Executive and learn the strength of regime, not to be a democratic system.
The Police and Army is built around loyal men in the top and men the Executive can trust to follow his suit and have his family close connected, even with Gen. Salim Selah not in direct leadership position as he has been involved into too much thefts, thieving and other activities to clean the leadership to look decent for international community, even with Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba who is groomed and quickly up the ante with running the Special Forces Command. The ruthlessness of the army and Police never left, and the new laws in place have given lee-way to them to use it as free-for-all to shut down dissidents. While the leadership is steady shifting and moving as they don’t want the DPC, RPC and Army commanders to be on short-leach and not be to homely where they work.
The continuation of post-election violence in Bundibugyo and Kasese, the way the army is deployed there days on days, shooting Rwenzururu Kingdoms security guards, while the treat of the ADF-NALU who is stations right over the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and as always the Police issues statements blaming other forces, even when video footage and other eye-witness counter their words and intelligence; in the end insulting the intelligence of the people.
The NRM-Regime and the words of their Executive is now totally different than what he was talking the first years of their reign. The Economy is dire, the donors are more futile and less interested in involving themselves in a militarized economy and where the NRM-Elite instead of the citizens and general population, the ones that get funding is direct funded projects as roads and buildings, but not economic prosperity as the inflations is high, the value of currency dwindles, the amount of monies to buy ordinary food-stuffs, the government have added higher loans to sufficiently take up the vacuum of the loss of donor-funds to the governmental budgets.
The whole picture is not as it should be after the ruling-party have run the country for 30 years, the picture should be a steady economy, a secure police-force respected and honor the citizens, an army working for securing the borders and doing international missions not for securing funding, but to generate peace. The country should have beneficiary institutions and taxations with representation, the ones that been done have not delivered, the steady progress has not been delivered, and when is when the media has blasted or BBC have got a whiff of it. As the NBS or NTV cannot whip the power to change, the same with the papers as they are mostly censored and controlled as the radio-stations have lost their transmitters, license and even their hosts been detained while being on air, the Daily Monitor ransacked for two days and the NTV banned from following the Presidential Campaign trail of the Executive.
There is an issue when the army is such a big part of nation, in the parliament, in the streets, in deployment and around all the time. The internal security is based on the army, not the police who is also militarized with sections of special units with military equipment for breaking down demonstrations and other gatherings of opposition, even independents who was former NRM have struggled with army and the Police Force. As the detaining of Opposition without charges, house arrests of Presidential Candidates and taking people with Candidates Declarations Forms from the Polling Station.
The whole picture is not of the state of business, the way of government that NRA and the NRM promised, it has overtaken the control of the institutions, but not given the accountability and transparency, not the economic landscape or investment climate that they have promised for so long, the basics are much of the same and the deals between the oil companies and drilling has been happening behind closed doors; like not open dealings and showing how the companies pay for their operations and how the government structures are as the oil-laws are not strict and not fully operative yet.
The tear-gas operations and the live bullets are not showing the proof of democratic values and society. The internal security and the structures are not strong, when the army enters all kind of operations, as they even killed bed-bugs in neighborhoods of Kampala in mid-February as the KCCA didn’t have the manpower to reach the area, as the UPDF have been used in any kind of processes, even the training-center of the army Kyankwanzi the National Leadership Institute and military training camp; where the NRM MPs has had retreats before the new parliament like the 9th and 10th Parliament went there.
The Kyankwanzi resolutions or decrees as party MPs has set precedence for the coming term and the evolution of the ruling-party as the structure in the last go-around left many of the old-foes behind, and the former secretary-general and Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi behind. While this time the struggles with Justine Kasule-Lumumba, Jacob Oulanyah and Rebecca Kadaga might go through hardships in the coming 10th Parliament as the internal security means the security of the Executive and bring down the men and woman who has ambitions. That is why the Executive have centered the powers close to him. As even ambassador’s claims he is hard to read, the generals of UPDF fear him and just want to do his will, and the same with the police force who has a loyal Inspector General who follows every whiff from him. Even former Warlords and M23 are yearly on the payroll from the State House. As they are securing the security of the state and the government institution as civilian militia-men that does their army bidding; also does discreet business for the Executive as their role have never been told to the world. Therefore we can only be guessing at this point; though they are not cutting the grass at Entebbe or Nakasero!
The way the Army is embedded in the society and external politics, the guerrilla warfare brought the Executive first to a Ministerial Position before the General Election of 1980 and again at the takeover in 1986. He came with the gun and never left it, and never let it go, in all endeavors and structures the embedded army has followed, the loyal cadres and commando have continued, the re-payment of loyalty and offered protection have come in handy. The kickbacks and graft never left the offices, the building of the businesses have also centered the government officials, while the former government businesses has been sold for quick bucks or privatized.
The internal security can be questioned with the army running the streets in Kasese, Kapchorwa and Kampala as a steady force and looking like Marshall Law or state of emergency as the government shows the display of power, and the Police rides around in Personal Armored Carrier and have mortars as Journalist lose their cameras and the media get muffled with. The insecurity created and the ballots been stolen in broad daylight, the impunity of law of fellow citizens is not creating the peaceful atmosphere the Executive have promised and said he delivered, as the Kenyan funding of the campaign and Sudanese Army men proves the Executive went far to secure his stay in power, instead of trusting the ballots and votes, he trusted his instinct and went for the guns and ammunition that have given him the power before, as he had loyal well-paid puppets in the Electoral Commission and generals in the Campaign Team, together with losing NRM Primaries who was paid off; in his mind this should have gone in silence and gotten the credible result needed to be respected statesman abroad, instead the announcement and the cracks of the army and the social media showed the true colors and not the story given by the Executive or his party cadres, which shows the payments and party program is shell of keeping power by any means, instead of building fruitful societies and institutions for better tomorrow. The lies are not invisible anymore, the questions the actions and killings is not only in the hands of semi-army police force and the general populations knows it. As the mourning of the announcement and the weakness of the state comes forward; therefore army had to be deployed and the reshuffling of Police Commanders happening a month after Election Day.
You can lie once and fool the crowd, but lie twice and then the storm comes on the horizon. That is what is happening now and the Executive knows and knew before these elections that the people are tired of his lies and reprogrammed pledges. As the changes of society has only brought bottled water from mountains of the Rwenzori and cellphones, certainty at one point the Universal Primary Education and extended Local Councils that has benefited, but also after a while the schools started to disappear and become depleted. The more districts, sub-counties and counties have taken a toll on the economy. Also been set-up to secure more loyal cadres in Parliament and locally. Through the chain-of-command as the structure is militarized and set to fix the monies, the government institutions, government businesses, government organizations and the commission to be loyal to the Executive, even the churches and holy institutions, if possible they can have some dissidents and opposition; that is just enough for the country to have a rouse and jolly while eating the donor-funding and letting the people stay poor while the NRM-Elite stays powerful. Especially the NRM and the Executive does not care about the FDC and their claims to justice, as the justice is the basics, but for the NRM it is to keep Power and let their Executive stay continuously. And by the minute does not seem to want to leave the country in a state that he promised when he took power.
As his guns does not seem to be silenced, the level of fear, the way the PAV rides down the streets and highways, the way the roadblocks are put, the way the Police detain without charges and the way the government mend laws to fit the Executive, the way the banks are demonstrating their will of following him to earn monies, the way the businesses are centered around him and given favorable deals, the way the harassment of opposition and media, the way the army and police involve in politics and daily life, it does not seem as a democratic and just society. The detention of the ballots and preventative arrest of citizens are worrying, as much as the control and efficiency of it. The pride of the government and its institutions are weak when the KCCA need the Army to fight local problems, the Executive does not trust anything else and therefore the biggest smiles on the photos from him comes in army fatigue and guns as that is the place he feels the best, not in the office or at state meeting. If not it is on his farm relaxing while the monies are piling in without doing anything. Peace.