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Has Museveni destroyed Uganda?


How the opposition have invented a non-existing problem and are promising to build bridges where no rivers exist

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | On Monday, President Yoweri Museveni was nominated to run for an eighth term of office. When (not if) he wins this election, it will take him to 40 years as president, a remarkable feat. His efforts to cling to power, in spite of many promises not to, tells us very little about Museveni the man but a lot about power itself: few men find it possible to leave it easily and willingly. But that is a debate for another day. For now we need to deal with his legacy.

I think Museveni should retire. His inability to bequeath Uganda the first ever-peaceful transition of power is perhaps his worst act as president. Yet in spite of this conviction, I find it difficult to associate with Uganda’s opposition. Even when I try to warm my heart towards them, their leaders and activists just make it extremely difficult. One such example is the cartoon they have been circulating around of a malnourished Uganda feeding an overfed NRM.

You cannot position yourself as a viable alternative to any government without offering anything new that you want to do. Uganda’s opposition have a very narrow view of the future of Uganda. They believe the problem of Uganda is Museveni and the solution is “Museveni agende” i.e. Museveni must go. This narrow vision has led them to a blind alley, where they have invented problems that do not exist and then invent solutions for them.

In respect to the cartoon, the belief that Museveni/NRM is feeding off a malnourished Uganda is false and unnecessary. Museveni inherited a country where both the state and economy had collapsed. He has reconfigured the state: a country that was once considered a failed state is now helping other nations of Africa reconfigure themselves – Somalia, South Sudan and DRC. Museveni/NRM also placed the economy on a long-term growth trajectory. For the last 34 years the economy of Uganda (measured as GDP) has grown at an annual rate of nearly 7% per, its per capita income at 3.8%, both of which are among the best in history.

Thus Uganda’s economy was about $1.7 billion in 1986, now it is $35 billion. How do I arrive at this number? According to the information provided me by the World Bank at my request, our GDP was $6 billion in 1986. But this is misleading because the exchange rate at the time was fixed by the government and hence did not reflect the actual value of the shilling. So I went to IMF and Bank of Uganda sources and found the actual market rate, then called Kibanda.

Although in 1986 the official exchange rate was Shs1,400 to the dollar, the Kibanda rate was Shs12,000 – almost 8.6 times its value. So the market exchange rate of our GDP was about $700 million and a per capita income of $46. When we adjust these numbers to inflation, Uganda’s GPD was about $1.7 billion and its per capita income was $113 in 2020 prices. Today, Uganda’s GDP is $35 billion and its per capita income $800. If this is evidence of Museveni and NRM sucking life out of Uganda, our country is better off with such suckers.


  1. Do you take into account the time value of money? Even dollars deteriorate. For example in America a loaf of bread which cost $1.20 in 1995 now costs $4.99.
    Your financial analysis, just like those of the President from time to time. are bogus without this consideration!

  2. Another evidence of a merchant of falsehoods, Mr Mwenda!
    Okay how much goods and services was US $ 46 able to purchase in 1986 before the malnourished looters/ thugs/ killers arrived in town from the Bush?
    For example what was the price of a kilo of meat or sugar in 1986? I’m asking this because then it will tell the actual value of the Ugandan shilling against the US dollar!
    At the time your cult bombed his way to power, I was a P. 4 pupil in a certain rural school (mark you before the advent of this useless UPE so I was able to muster basic rudimentary commerce, if you like), and used to be sent by my parents to the nearby butchery with a 10,000 shilling note and came back with a kilo of meat! What’s the current market price of a kilo of meat? It’s between 13,000/= to 15,000/=!
    With the highest denomination note of shs 50,000, Uganda’s face-value shilling is only next to Burundian franc in East Africa.
    In fact I put it to you Andrew Mwenda that you can not proudly cross any of Uganda’s borders with a 50,000 shilling note and expect to buy anything of value in that country!
    Looking at exchange rates of any of our neighbor’s currency Kenya at Kshs 101/5 :US $1, South Sudan US $1 : ssp 250, Rwanda frc 1000 : US $1 and Uganda’s 3750/=: US 1$!
    SO Mr Mwenda stop that hypocrisy and concentrate on propagating your cult’s insatiable appetite for power.
    If anything why don’t you offer yourself to lead this country out of this quagmire with your “superior ideas” instead of concentrating on lambasting people who are doing everything humanly possible to rescue this country to the Golden age of H.E Milto Obote 1? (By the way the M7 administration is only comparable with Iddi Amini 1971/9 & Obote 2, 1980/5 because if we’d remained with Obote 1 for just more 10 years we would propably be next to the South Koreas of this world)
    Last question: With such wonderful GDP figures for the last 35 years coupled with per capita income of 3.8%, surely what has really retarded Uganda to be near south Korea, Malaysia, Singapore etcetera?
    If a doctor treats a patient in intensive care unit (ICU) for 35-years, that good doctor has only one option: which is euthanasia (merciful killing!), because that patient can never fully recover to be able to support themselves (for as long as M7’s still the president Uganda’s economy will remain foreign-dependent) politically, economically & militarily!!!!!

  3. Andrew Mwenda, the answer to your topic is YES! Mr. Tibahaburwa destroyed Uganda. And the destruction is immeasurable.

    First, he destroyed education. By population proportionality there are more illiterate and semi-illiterate Ugandans than under the administrations of his predecessors.

    Second, he destroyed Agriculture. Proportionally, there are more poor Ugandan peasants than their predecessors under previous regimes combined. At domestic level many Ugandan children go hungry during and after childhood. Ironically Mrs. Tibahaburwa one time wondered why Ugandans parents can’t buy “Food Flask” for their children to take food to school.

    Third, he destroyed the health system. Under Mr. Tibahaburwa Ugandans, including the so call middle class, false sick/ill and/or die at own risk. Hence many, including Mr. Tibahaburwa’s family members seek healthcare outside the four corners of this country. Thanks to Covid-19 we are all stuck here to die in our neglected facilities.

    Fourth, he destroyed the public transport system. E.g., completely destroyed the historical Uganda Railways.

    Fifth, he corrupted and totally destroyed the civil service

    Sixth, because of the above; proportionally, there is a bewildering, widespread unemployment/poverty 86% uder Mr. Tibahaburwa than under all his predecessors.

    Seventh, after 35 years in power Mr. Tibahaburwa has not only destroyed Uganda, but automatically become the embodiment of the “Problem of Africa. E.g., Mr. Tibahaburwa has been responsible and will continue to do so, for more torture/brutality, imprisonment and the deaths/massacres of Ugandans than all his predecessors combined.

    Therefore AM, what does destruction mean to you? What does corruption mean to you. In other words Andrew, to corrupt literally means to BREAK. To corrupt in English s therefore to DESTROY.

    Because his inherent character and nature of sabotage and blame game; Mr. Museveni was directly and personally involved and responsible for your so call economic and state collapse. E.g. was it Obote (RIP) who went to Luweero and engaged in terrorism and subversive activities?

    Was it Obote who looted Cooperatives in Ankole and Buganda? Was it Obote who robbed UCB Bank branches? If these are not destruction what are they Andrew?

  4. I find your commentary rather un researched content disturbing. M7 has killed Uganda, the evidence is there on ground.we don’t need to explain anything. You speak about GDP and percapita income;You and M7 mafia gang own 3/4 of Ugandan wealth. Therefore that per capita does not reflect Ugandans, many are just represented by you people. Mr. Andrew Mwenda, you won’t confuse any one.

  5. Andrew please always try to distinguish between institutional countries and dictatorial regime in Uganda 🇺🇬 ur amygdala has gotten no difference from soil erosion

  6. Mr. Musevenis’ biggest advantage has been inheriting a very low base of economic development/GDP etc and has used it maximally against the opposition. What perhaps should be coming up now should be what he has done vis-a-vis the relatively stable 40 year rule. The opposition could focus on this ‘not enough’ approach and build their case, i guess it would be even difficult given their deficiencies to articulate economic matters. GDP as you mention, is a weak measure that combines accumulation of wealth and production of goods and service but gives less on other social, environmental aspects of dev. I don’t think with his SAPs in the 90’s he would have performed better on wealth distribution, remember world wide richest 1% of the world own over 50% of the wealth. I believe the opposition would have better arguments if they attempted to front policy measures based on alternative economic development measures such Human development index, Human capital Index, social progress index. Museveni knows he would not do well with this, the reason he avoids them. Its also important to note that the question of leadership is still outstanding.

  7. I cannot believe this article was written by you Andrew !!

  8. This is absolute rubbish coming from a man who lost any credibility. …uy primary job is to figure out how u to steal money from all governmental departments. ……

  9. Mr. Mwenda I still remember your words you promised to campaign for Gen Mugisha muntu please don’t eat your words
    I agree president Museveni has done well but he has to retire and our team (UPF) gets a new chief army commander .

  10. Rwabwogo responds to Mwenda on family privileges Sunday vision, Mr Andrew mwenda re read that article

  11. We cannot stand for all this injustice, museveni has killed all institutions ,he is the one with power over everything wealth,security,electoral commission and the basic necessities .even when he lives power it will take time for Uganda to a recognized country,

  12. We cannot stand for all this injustice, museveni has killed all institutions ,he is the one with power over everything wealth,security,electoral commission and the basic necessities .even when he lives power it will take time for Uganda to a recognized country,good enough for mwenda

  13. It is all easy to say that M7 has destroyed this country because that is what everyone knows and believes. But has he done it alone? No, he has done it with the western influences in the name of capitalism. When he came to the presidency, he harboured socialist ideas that perhaps salvage us from the chaotic past. However, Britain and its allies gave him a different script to read and that is where all the problems originated from. There’ a futile belief in Africa that regime change can automatically lead to a new dawn where everything is perfect: no corruption, active rule of law and free and fair elections. This make- belive is often promoted by the elite and passed on to the gullible masses. In this, I have already witnessed it in the above comments that are both misleading and shallow.
    What can Africa do about its elite who are equally to blame for all its problems?

  14. The damage that M7 has done to Uganda that we are able to see now, is nowhere near what it will turn out to be when he leaves power, most likely through death.
    This he has and is doing deliberately because of the hatred he has for Uganda and Ugandans for what in his twisted mind he perceives Uganda and Ugandans did to him. This was the question Betty Kamya once raised ” what has Uganda/Ugandans done to you (M7) that you should treat us like this”
    I think I may know the reasons he is doing what he is doing, partly because of who and what he is, as opposed to what he has made people to believe he is and he from time to time has said some of these things, just like Obote(rip) said that M7 only says the truth by accident, though I tend to believe that he is a very calculated and evil person.

  15. As for claiming that people are wrong when they say the problem of Uganda is M7, you have to be a complete idiot not to realise that.
    Once you personalise all the institutions it means one can not blame the army, the police, the judiciary, the legislature etc etc because all these institutions have become M 7.
    Which is not to say that by getting rid of M7 is the solution, because that is the easiest part compared to what we as a nation will have to do to right the damage he has inflicted on us.
    As they say, the cure will be more painful than the disease and it will take more than a generation, if ever, to reverse the damage he has done, which is exactly what he wants and what he set out to do from the word go.
    And this is hidden in his own words when he said he is not anybody’s servant, and that he had HIS own mission and those who joined him had a misguided interpretation of his aims thinking that they would be able to fulfill those aims by joining him.
    As it turns out most, if not all were disastrously wrong and we are paying a terrible price

  16. Museveni played a big part in the dire 1986 economy. Remember he was in the Bush fighting a rebellion against a legitimate government. This government had to divert resources to fight a rebel insurgency. If a new rebellion breaks out it will be dejavu again. Uganda’s problem is Museveni not putting place a mechanism of peaceful transition.

  17. NO Ugandan leader has their path to power and their tenure littered with more DEAD bodies than Yoweri Tuhaburwa Museveni and the per capita death rate is probably only comparable to Hitler n King Leopold.
    Musevenis death print starts with the death of a teacher at Ntare in a strike that was instigated and led by him. His appetite for killing is demonstrated even in his book where he claims he went to join the fighters of FRELIMO in order to “know how it felt to kill a white person”, something he proudly carried out.
    When he was sent to Korea as a special guest of the then president, he was asked what it was under the sky that he wanted to be taught, and considering he could have chosen anything, he asked to be taught how to kill, because all he asked was to be taught how to use a GUN which all of us know is not a gardening or manufacturing implement, but an instrument of death.

  18. M7s coming to power in 1986 cost more than 500,000 deaths as a result of a war that he needlessly started on false claims of a rigged election.
    Even during the war against Idi Amin, waged mostly from Tanzania, it was only FRONASA which carried out activities inside the country prior to the all out attack, which carried out activities which led to the death of people, which attack M7 was directly involved in in Mbale.
    It has come to light that some of not most or all of the deaths that were initially attributed to Amin were actually carried out by FRONASA t discredit the then Amin regime especially deaths of prominent personalities among these Ben Kiwanuka, Kawalya Kaggwa among others.
    Even the deaths that occurred after the liberation war and before the 1980 elections , deaths of the likes of Barlow among other prominent personalities is attributed to FRONASA.

  19. 1.M7 has been such a big blessing for Uganda.
    2.M7 is the chief Marketing Manger of Uganda.
    3.The big number of Multinational companies and their franchise in Uganda is a sign of trust in the government.
    4.M7’s friends include; Lord Dolar Popat,Lord Tim Clement,Baroness Lynda Chalker,Forsa Whitaker this says alot about him?
    5.I bet M7 will retire a contented man coz Uganda will never return to war given the various Economical and Political acheivements under his watch.
    6.Uganda has all the qualities of a good economy for example our; exports have increased;Research is translating into products for example Kawanda and Uganda Research Bureau in Nakawa are great Research Hubs.
    7.@Ejakaait;i know M7 brought civilization to you Karamajong he actually taught you to how to wear clothes please tell POA to wear shoes .
    8.M7 please listen to us;provided your gut feeling tells you to continue standing for presidency please do.
    9.I am so happy will the caliber of Presidential candidates in Uganda they have exposed Ugandans as a bunch of jokers i think Kenyans has really laughed at us this has really worked in M7’s favor.

  20. WINNIE, there is nothing wrong or criminal being a Karamojong, Munyarwanda, Munyoro. What is wrong or criminal is a Karamojong, Munyarwanda etc etc who doesn’t want to acknowledge what they are and a Karamojong claims he is an Etesot or a Munyarwanda claims they are a Muhima.
    M7 s mother Esteri (rip) was a Munyarwanda who even hardly spoke any Lunyankore, but M7 has hardly ever acknowledged this fact. Kaguta, even IF he were to have been M7S father, was not a Muhima. M7 claims he was born “among the Bahima”, which doesn’t make him a Muhima and like Rwakasisi said if you are a Muiru (whatever that means) and you own a thousand heads of cattle, does not make you a Muhima.
    M7 s problems start with him wishing he was a Muhima, but at the same time hating the Bahima so much for the despicable way they despised Banyarwanda as did unfortunately many other Ugandans, just like we have such cases all over Uganda and indeed the world where one set of people despise and look down on another set of people. This is borne out of ignorance, displayed here by the likes of Winnie.
    M7 grew up in this sort of environment where he saw first hand the prejudice against his people and was later to experience the same when he stood for the parliamentary seat of Nyabushozi , which is the rock bed of the Bahima, against his now brother in law Sam Kuteesa who went on to win the seat on a DP ticket, but not before some of the worst abuse and insults were hurled against M7 who was called all sorts of uncharitable names.
    Therein lies M7 s hatred for not only the Bahima, despite pretensions, but all Ugandans for what he perceives as the unfair treatment has been meted out to his people.
    And this was his mission; to avenge the injustice, but also to enslave Ugandans and to ruin their country and dehumanise them like he wrote in his thesis where he quotes Fanon in the Wretched of the Earth.
    M7 hates every one, he hates the Mbabazis, Mushega, Kategaya etc etc, people he knows inwardly despised him n knew exactly what he is, and people he feels are intellectually superior to him

  21. My “learned” sister Winnie, please always endeavor to back up your arguments by citing evidence like say giving us an example of a country(ies) that have no multinational trading companies because they are not under the rule of an autocrat like your idol M7!

    That way you’ll always come across as an intelligent “learned counsel”!

    This is what we used to call “handing over” the point to the question during our discussions in literature and history at A’level about two and a half decades ago!

    So next time take much ado with juxtapositions that will make your rejoinder look beautiful.
    Can’t resist any more to yield to the temptation to use these uncharitable words that for now you opine so shabbily!

  22. @Uwelugosi;You think you can find Sheraton,Hilton,Total,Shell,Macdonalds,KFC,Abasa,Shell or Woolwoths In Liberia,Sierra leone,Mali,Iraq or South Sudan?

    @ Ejakaait:
    I.Do you know that M7 has the orginal concentrated Scripture Union background?
    2.Are you aware that his early exposure to civilization like Education moulded him alot?
    3.There is always a difference between the educated and non educated.
    4.Do you know why he abolished Ankole Kingdom?
    5.Do you know why he easily bonds well with all tribes in Uganda?
    6. Its not M7’s fault that the people from the North,WestNile and Teso Region are sort of stigmatized coz their leaders blundered alot actually i am surprised that FDC chose a Karamajong who still fears wearing shoes to be her flag bearer well knowing that the Bantu still have some question marks about those people.

    • But Winnie,

      1. How can someone who in 1986, told whoever cared that he has no friends “bonds well with all tribes in Uganda”?

      2. How can someone who told the world that he is the author and master of violence, “bonds well with all tribes in Uganda”?

      3. How can someone who told Ugandans that he is neither their servant nor employee, bonds well with all tribes in Uganda”.

      4. How can someone, who in July 1986 told the AU Summit that the problem of Africa is leaders clinging to power like a leech; but ends up being in power for the last 35 years, “bonds well with all tribes in Uganda”?

      5. How can someone, who wanted to get his personal physician, Dr. Kiiza Besigye murdered by the state; through malicious prosecution for rape and treason, “bonds well with all tribes in Uganda”. Etc., etc.

  23. Winnie,

    How can someone who in Nov 2016, caused the massacre of over 120 loyal subject of the Omusinga of the people of Kasese men/women and children by the UPDF and to date, exile the Omusinga, “bonds well with all tribes in Uganda”?

    How can someone who for the last 5 years, since Nov 2016; is holding over 120 citizens in prison without trial, ‘bonds well with all tribes in Uganda”?.

    In other words Winnie, the wounds or violence never heals. How can Mr. Museveni Tibahaburwa go to Kasese and with a straight face, ask the people to vote for him?

    If that is the way Mr. Tibahaburwa bonds well with all tribes in Uganda, then I am amazed by how Mr. Tibaaburwa’s “orginal concentrated Scripture Union background”.

    Otherwise what I know about Mr. Tibahaburwa is that: he is an avid, materialist cold-blooded Marxis/Leninist. At Dar-es-salam University, because of his cold-bloody inhumanity, he was nicknamed Juma Lenin. Hence committing genocide is no big deal. He practiced it in Luweero (1981-1986), Greater Northern Uganda (1986-2005) and exported it to Rwanda (1990-1994 Rwanda Genocide).

    How can a person with “original concentrated Scripture Union background” become an inhumane atheist?

  24. Ismail

    Great tribute to the editor for the ‘free speech’ discussion on the leadership economic legacy. Glad that bwana Mwenda has sought the World Bank/IMF data rather relying on the dubious govt stats to present his case.

    The argument presented is not watertight as the readers’ comments have illustrated- it’s misleading to use one indicator- Real GDP ( inflation adjusted) especially when we are lagging behind our Swahili speaking neighbours- Kenya and Tanzania, who are currently watching the current ‘state’ inspired political violence with dismay.

    To give credit to our absolute ruler viz a viz Obote 1, you need to assess other indicators:
    * Unemployment rate – seems high in Uganda
    * Consumer Price Index (CPI) …high
    * Producer Price Index (PPI) …high
    * Balance of Trade- negative
    * Housing starts- good
    * Interest Rate- high
    * The Stock Market ?
    * Health – state basic care in decline
    * Good Governance ?
    * Community vitality?

    I think all the above indicators should give us a true picture of where we are after 35 years – the same period if not less, it took the tiger economies ( Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan) to reach the high income status -through exporting, trading hubs and stock market.

    Credit to the real estate ( Housing starts) but a lot is unplanned, which speaks volume for our disjointed planning system with the overcrowded capital city centre and suburbs. A small shower can cause flooding and bring the city to a halt!

    Lots of Ugandans are going hungry, suffer poor health, police brutality and high youth unemployment-to name a few including what one of our writers – mentioned our currency not buying much across the border without carrying many ‘envelopes’ of it. Little wonder, our rulers carry $$$$$s instead – have your cake and eat it.

    I would kindly request our scholarly editor to research into the wider data to see if he can reach the same conclusion – of being better off with the status quo.

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