Although there is a lot of speculation as to why he has lasted long in power, that is the most charitable interpretation
COMMENT | ABBEY SEMUWEMBA | We have all heard scurrilous stories about President Yoweri Museveni – and believed some of them -even if we would never make any such claims in public. I don’t think anyone who had dealings with Museveni was in any doubt about his attraction to politics; whether dirty or otherwise. His outsize personality remains a strong drawing card, and even his lifelong ugly hat and suits, and jokes, guarantee headlines.
Although it is anyone’s speculation as to why he has lasted long in power, the most charitable interpretation is that he is just a lucky man. Hypothesising apart, however, his luck has been seen in several incidents. Starting from the 1980s Bush war when then-Uganda Army commander Oyite Ojok’s plane crushed, at a time when NRA was losing the war, to current events, you see lady luck following Museveni in all he does.
Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army rebels came and went, and Museveni is still standing. Opposition stalwart Col. Rtd. Kizza Besigye came and is probably the closet to see him leave power, but Museveni is still everywhere. Gen. David Sejusa aka Tinyefunza came, threw his toys out of the tram, but he is now as quiet as an elderly in a nursing home.
There was a massacre in Kasese after the 2016 elections but there was not any mention of it in the international press. Former Prime minister Amama Mbabazi came, excited some people but he is now more like a smiling duck on a lake waiting to drown. There has not been a single coup attempt, at least officially, ever since Museveni became president in 1986. He has sold almost all state enterprises and the public are just suffering in silence. He has passed rubish laws in our parliament and everybody is just looking on. He has told so many lies and nobody has ever tried to hold him accountable. The donors love him to bits to the desperation of majority of Ugandans.
He published no views whatsoever about “elimination” of Muslims self- or otherwise. But Uganda Muslim leaders have been assassinated, Muslims jailed in bigger numbers, and more and Museveni is still defended by a lot of Muslims. Some are even my friends.
Museveni is financially predatory, but then as some have famously remarked, he has to be because he had nothing before the presidency. A less grasping man would have gone under and not enriched himself using state resources, as former Presidents did, but not him. He has openly been doing it since 1986 and he now feels comfortable putting his fingers in national coffers for anything he wants. He has borrowed more money than any president in our history, such that it will take generations to pay it back, and he keeps getting away with it.
Without wishing to be unduly rude, I would suggest that unless his opponents study the man himself; especially get into his brain, none other than God himself will take him out of power. Let us analyse some of the opponents that people are now parading against him, minus Besigye. Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, for example, although he can find the heart of a character, is not an intellectual presence and he is a novice. His ability to sing music in the true sense of the word is in question. People only support him because they are super desperate for change, and they have seemingly lost hope in Besigye.
Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu , in contrast, is an excellent speaker with an analytical mind but his FDC presidency was probably the weakest moment of the party. The fact that he is a Munyarwanda by tribe, though not a fault, is likely to be used against him. Not that I have personally got anything against Banyarwanda; it’s just that ethnicity is still a big factor in our politics. Nevertheless, I still think that majority of FDCs saw Muntu as a saboteur within the party. Few shed tears when he quit the party. I believe a man is not punished for the good he does, but for the evil he does. Now, Muntu is spending most of his energy on weakening FDC rather than Museveni. Pity!
As a postscript to this, I find it interesting that when personal heroes are questioned, we seem to find this wall of defensiveness and something verging on screeching personal attack, and a recourse to notions of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ and other such nonsense. This totalitarianism of the mind, I feel, is the one keeping opposition supporters at each other’s throats, instead of targeting Museveni.
Museveni has, however, had his uncomfortable moments in recent years. His proclivity for gaining weight and a sickly arm have become a topic of public discussion. He has been booed off a few times; especially whenever he visits sites of on-going assassinations. People have nicknamed him “Bosco” in reference to his failed bicycle irrigation scheme. One can characterise his lapses as sinister; but they can be attributed, rather, to a happy-go-lucky style, a large ego, and certain carelessness.
Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba is a political commentator based in the United kingdom
‘Luck’ can only be exploited by those prepared for it brother!
Interestingly, Museveni’s downfall could be caused not by a super human being, but a person with enough determination, organizational capability and intelligence.
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