19th February 2016, Oslo
Dear His Excellency (H.E.) President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni!
I write to you in this moment as you are in the midst of another turmoil called Ugandan elections. I know you are trying to ensure your kind of peace and your kind of democracy. Though we are many who disagree at what levels of freedom and validity of your concern of the ballots that the people of Uganda has casted during the last 48 hours in the country.
As you was the man who went to the bush for rigging after the 1980s. When the political platform Uganda Patriotic Movement which you founded Mr. President; was shattered in a well manufactured election by President Obote and his cronies. The same you are delivering today. The different are the amount of people, electronics, cellphones, parties, candidates, districts, cars and strength of the army. As you have seen the different the country is since you seized power in 1986.
You have gotten a Police Force and Special Force Command who kills and destroys; and in the end, doesn’t give assurance of safety; as the “mambas” and tear-gas thunder through streets; as they demolish and kills the democratic values the country supposed to have.
You as commander-in-chief and a fellow army-man even before the polls, in the weeks before pictures of you shooting rifles and later calling out that you was the only one who could keep Uganda safe; doesn’t speak of integrity of the laws and systems you put in place or the governmental structure you have been in charge of; if the legacy of your rule is that you couldn’t let anybody else become President in the country and have the ability to control the army. As if you have secrets in the army you don’t want the society to know.
Mr. President your continuation of detaining opposition leaders, presidential candidates, human-rights-activists, journalists and such does not speak of the free society for the peasants you wanted to liberate in the 1980s. It seems more like the society you wanted to free, have you now made in the same image as the your predecessors did. It does not speak of freedom or liberty seeing army men walking down with AK47 in broad-day light and taking ballot-boxes His Excellency! That sounds more like a totalitarian state and a police state. What was the hurry of the Special Forces Command the other day, when they had to take control of Nakasero Hospital on the day of polls?
Mr. President you did not only go to the bush for fighting against the vote-rigging regime of Obote, you went to war because of the knowledge of the Northern control or the Acholi in the army; this was even proved by Professor Gingyera-Pinycwa at Makerere in 1988. You have during your time turned the Government Officials, Army and Police into a Ankoli or Western-Ugandan people in the institutions, and the people connected to you Mr. President. You have made the state in the image of Obote!
Mr. President you have a flash car, flash air-plane, big-farm, own businesses, your brother Salim Selah own businesses, your daughter owns businesses and the Museveni family is interconnected in higher parts of life, the same as the cronies of the Obote, difference is that your family has been living for decades on the laurels of you His Excellency!
I beg you too see your ways and think about the values you talked about while being in the bush and the peoples who died for the reasons that the peasants deserved a government who truly represent them and tried to build society together with them. At some point you did, you even by narrow escape and people believed in you; the reforms and constitution and laws was positive. The reaction was that the country got more donor funding and strengthening of the army. Also a better relationship with the countries around as Idi Amin and Obote had offended Tanzania and neighbors.
The then peasants are now grown people and know all of your terms, known your rhetoric and how you have changed. Mr. President you have had the chance of going with glory, but your lingering into power has proven to be one of your sticking points, even if that beats your own words that was: “The problem of Africa in general and Uganda in particular is not the people, but leaders who want to overstay in power”. Today you are in a elections that if you wins you will start your official 5th Term, though I am coining it your 7th. I am sure you will disagree with me there Mr. President, but I have issues with taking away your first decade in power.
Mr. President I know it is much to ask as your wasn’t officially elected in 1986 and as if you get men to cook the ballots to fit you now; to think about what made you go to the bush in 1980, and what made the start of February 7th and 8th with the battle of Kakamba School and taking the town of Kiboga Town to take some guns for the guerilla warfare. This here should make you think of the progression and the state of affairs, as the army, elections rigging and governmental institutions are placed and made for you instead of the peasants you was out to liberate.
The lives that have died during the polls and during the pre-elections period should be a reminder of the way you have made the state of affairs right now. Mr. President you have done everything in your power to let out information by stopping mobile-money and social media; even if your own media-houses spread information through them. As you also will try to remember the opposition men and woman who has been hurt and gone by your army and police. Mr. President you serve your opposition as much as your own yellow brigade of yes-men even the people of Elegu close to South Sudan as much as the men in Kisoro close to Rwanda, the people of Bududa district; the people of Mbale and Tororo district and even in Kawempe, Kampala. Peasants and blue-collar men deserve security and not having “mambas” driving around making kids and parents afraid to buy splash at the Muhindi store down the street. The helicopter shouldn’t wake people up and look for people with pre-ticket ballot papers for you who hasn’t been counted. Mr. President! This here is your people and the people who at one point trusted you and thought you wanted them well. The times have change and the opposition should be given a chance as you were given. Mr. President you have represented them for ages, but you do not own the country or the people; I am sure Paul Ssemogerere would like to ask how you rigged the 1996 election. Those years nobody can’t take back, but at the same time; Uganda and Government of Uganda deserves a future!
Mr. President, as it seems by the rallies and the will of the people, you should give them a chance to have a positive change. Give the peasants and the people what is theirs. Their will and ballots, their representatives and their lives that has been altered by your orders and the way you have used government funds to get tear-gas and bullets, instead of medicines for hospitals and wages for teachers. You know this Mr. President and don’t think of it or haven’t been advised about it. Times for that to change as the people should be behind their President and be sure that the government entities as Army and Police working and hurting them now.
Mr. President the Army and Police is issuing and making violence against the people and not securing their homes as they are securing your power. That is not what 1986 was about. You know that Mr. President, the constitution of 1995 was not about your staying in power for life Mr. President. Mr. President this cannot be what legacy you want to live behind. You might write two editions of Sowing the Mustard Seed, but it is the people like me, who either build reputations or destroys it; As the truth of the different times of your regime Mr. President, the times has changed since 1986 and 2016. 30 years of power should be enough for any man. Mr. President do you remember the smile on the face of President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania when he gave-way to the new President of Tanzania? That is something that also could been you and the people would have remembered the big-man who had it in him to step-down and let new blood control the country. Mr. President I never expect you or any of your men to read my letter. Though I hope that somebody tells you the sentiment and the care; the concern of the state of affairs, the violence, the unnecessary deaths and the careless attacks on democratic values from the government entities.
The Writer of Minbane.