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Uganda’s misguided debate


Vendors display a banner calling for lifting of age limits. PHOTO VIA

Why many Ugandans are addressing the wrong issue in the debate on lifting age limits

THE LAST WORD | Andrew M. Mwenda | Last week the NRM caucus did the expected and recommended the removal of age limits on the presidency so that President Yoweri Museveni can rule for life. With NRM controlling 82% of parliament, the amendment will sail through easily. There was a hue and cry among Ugandans elites with some people even threatening violence. Yet those fighting this constitutional amendment are fighting a wrong war.

During the Constituent Assembly, Uganda’s current opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, opposed the entrenchment of age limits in the constitution. Now he has joined the bandwagon opposing the removal of this provision. Of course Besigye has a right to change his mind. But he and his supporters should also remember that Museveni has a similar right!

Besigye now claims, and his supporters agree, that he opposed age limits because he knew the constitution had term limits, which would limit Museveni’s stay in power. He is qualifying his argument after the fact. Museveni has also said that when he said the problem of Africa is leaders who cling to power, he meant those leaders who are not elected. These changes of convenience only demonstrate the opportunism of politicians.

Besigye and his supporters have always argued that the constitution should be about principles not individuals. As a matter of principle, why should anyone above 75 years be denied a chance to serve Uganda as a president? Therefore, to oppose lifting of age limits because such an amendment would benefit Museveni is placing a person above a principle; and subjecting our constitution to the benefits some individuals may get rather than to values that transcend those individuals.

If Besigye really believes people above 75 years are competent to run for president, he should defend this principle even if Museveni would be the first to benefit from it. Museveni is mortal. Whatever his machinations, there is one inexorable huddle he will never cheat – nature. Museveni will die and Uganda will remain for a very long time after his death. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to oppose the amendment of a constitutional provision which is good for many aging Ugandans simply because Museveni will benefit from it.

The issue that is agitating many Ugandans is not the age limit, even though it has becoming the rallying cry. Rather it is Museveni’s seeming permanence in power. Many people in Uganda are tired of Museveni and want him to leave. This is a political not a constitutional issue. Rather than hide behind some pretentious defense of the constitution, activists should mobilise people for change. It will be easy for Museveni to buy 350 MPs. But it is much harder for him to buy off 20 million Ugandans who will be eligible to vote in 2021.

Opposition activists claim that their position against the amendment is a moral argument and not partisan. They accuse those supporting lifting of age limits of being unpatriotic sycophants bribed by Museveni, fighting for their stomachs rather than the good of the country. This is downright hypocrisy or delusional or both.


  1. Mwenda’s natural station, neither his attained intellectual status qualify him to call someone “stupid.” He remains a “Mutooro third world African little man.” By calling Ugandans “stupid” won’t grow him an inch taller. There is nothing extraordinary that he has achieved- he has no doctorate in philosophy, nor in political science and neither in journalism. The only extraordinary attribute about this lad, is the ability to run his mouth hoarse. I have witnessed many of his kind, just that most happen to be mentally challenged.
    Mwenda’s hatred for Besigye is quaintly amusing. Besigye is not the originator of the moniker “kwogikwatako”, its DP. The civil society has weighed in, religious leaders and so have some NRM members of parliament. But in all this, the fury has been directed to Besigye. If tomorrow Besigye decided to drop his guns on this, would it seize the fire from the raging debate? Mwenda’s contention is, that Besigye was against the inclusion of Article 102(b), and so, he could not be the very person defending it. He has, therefore, declared Besigye a hypocrite and an opportunist. But variously, Mwenda has held in contempt those who have referred to him as a “turncoat” for his change in ideas, however, he is furious that another is doing exactly the same. Amazing grace! And yet again, Mwenda exposes himself- how?
    Mwenda claims that the contentious Article was meant to block one person- former president Milton Obote. If this is true, then Mwenda is actually exonerating Kiiza Besigye. That Besigye was not ready to entrench an article in the constitution that was aimed at excluding one person. Today it can be stated that the removal of the age limit is aimed at benefiting one person- president Museveni. Which again Besigye is opposed to. Therefore, there is a consistent pattern in Besigye’s thinking and he cannot be accused of being an opportunist but rather he should be considered as an activist of fairness. Mwenda is right that there is no harm in amending the constitution, however, in law it is vital to consider both the spirit and the letter of the law. The timing of the amendment couldn’t be more suspect. The argument of equivalency- that the proponents of the amendment are as bad as those who oppose it, is as ridiculous to the extent of indignity. If the constitution was meant to protect the person of president Museveni as Mwenda suggests, then, Ugandans would have served out their sentences after having endured Museveni’s presidency for 35yrs when he is supposed to bow out (in 2021). If the amendment was to succeed without reinstating term limits, this would tantamount to fanning autocracy on the one hand and servitude on the other in perpetuity.
    Mwenda should note, that the running characteristic about “hypocrites” and “opportunists” is that they always tend to side/move with the tide. From his submission, it is very clear that if one woke him up from his sleep and asked the question to what Uganda’s problems were, he would simply answer; Besigye. It is as though Mwenda has since removed president Museveni from the seat of Uganda’s presidency and somehow enthroned Besigye. That is not hypocrisy, it is imagination of grandeur.

    (Let my mention of “Mutooro” seem not to be tribal, but rather a “meaning effort” to revert a delusional mind closer to home.)

    • “Let my mention of “Mutooro” seem not to be tribal, but rather a “meaning effort” to revert a delusional mind closer to home.)” can’t be man enough and say, as is apparent, that you failed to delete the tribal animosity you harbour against Batooro? see? caught again.

    • What is noble in creating constitutional provisions to serve /inhibit an individual in a democracy? 2 why are your arguments about a person – Mwenda, and not the substance /lack of the same in the context of the subject matter : having/not having age limits?

  2. “This is utter stupidity” kakyama you will understand English long after dogs have grown horns. Does this mean or meant to call activists stupid? or Mwenda meant and said it is their concept and idea which is? Get someone to read and interpret for you. English language (in which Mwenda excels) is not easily understood by upstarts and poseur who run from DRC jungles and cram textbooks and newspapers overnight then pretend to be…what they are not. Where did you sit your PLE? For your information someone can be foolish yet not a fool. And even you do not know the difference between cease and seize. one is to stop while the other is to hold. You are so naive that one wonders whether you sit with a dictionary and start writing; or perhaps copying from google. for your information, in lower primary, we were taught to answer that 3 minus five was impossible and it was right. in upper primary we were taught negative numbers and we covered up. does it mean the teacher in lower primary didn’t know negatives? or was he a turncoat? You dwarf till recently Sudan was the biggest country in Africa. I don;t know whether you will argue when Mwenda says it no linger is but was once. And Kakyama why don’t you take a rest from this forum?

  3. Well, certainly everyone has a right to an opinion but only the wise choose to analyse the motives and root cause of the different opinons. Besigye oposed the age limit then because he was one of them, he is now opposed to removal because he is now on the side against them.

    We need to cure Uganda’s historical problem of failure to change presidents peacefully and do away with statements like i can’t handover my oil to the opposition

  4. “NRM supporters have every democratic right to seek to amend the constitution to serve whatever political purpose they like.” I find that statement extremely problematic, should the NRM supporters decide that Museveni`s wife, son or daughters be the next rulers, maybe they could also decide that a toddler rules the country!!! Does it mean that they are right to do so? The Constitution provides a measure of safeguard from political idiocy. It should not be so cheaply dismissed.

  5. Mwenda I am very disappointed that instead of adressing and engaging your readers about the implications of lifting the age limit (good or bad), you have chosen as I expected to bash Besigye, his fans and the opposition in general. Apart from M7 himself, is there any other person including his wife who thought that he would cling to power for more than 30 years and counting? Now M7 is the consistent guy and the opposition are inconsistent and dishonest. My only wish is that I will still be breathing when the forces of nature retire M7.

  6. As always, sharp and factual analysis. Uganda’s opposition is locking herself in a debate in which she is unlikely to find many advocates in the international community if that is whose attention they are seeking. Tony Blair was very humble to recognise that he had no moral high ground to complain about term limits considering there were none for him…Mutti Merkel, one of the most worshipped leaders in the globalised intelligengsia could not be relied upon to offer guidance considering the length of her tenure. It would be nice though if the whole debate about age limits was conducted in a peaceful manner, and all sides could advance their arguments in a rational manner. There is no scientific evidence that age or term limits have delivered for countries whether in Africa or elsewhere better outcomes in terms of social and economic indicators of wellbeing…France has term limits, shortened the presidential term to 5 years from 7 a few years ago. Despite this cosmetic arrangement, Britain with no term limits is so much more democratic, and let’s not get started on their respective economic indicators in terms of employment, budget, trade etc. Let the advocates of term or age limits stop personalising their opposition to lifting age limits so as to offer us an argument which proves that having age or term limits is better for a country. Otherwise and as Andrew has never stopped urging them, let them organise at grassroot level having 2021 in mind…who knows? They could cause a serious upset then. Let them work on a manifesto which would make us belive they can deliver better what they incessantly call the evidence of the current administrations incompetence. With all due respect, FDC’s 2016 manifesto was a bit lightweight. Benon Biraroo was the star of the opposition…

  7. SASHA, its nice to see you on the forum, because you gave me the impression that you were taking a sabbatical.
    Anyway, I do find your arguments funny sometimes. You and Mwenda cherry pick what you would want from the west as and when it suits your purposes.
    The very west that you bash is the very west that you now quote as your examples when you say that the UK or Germany do not have term limits. What has that got to do with the case in Uganda.
    You claim that there is no scientific or ………….. have delivered………….
    Its a shame when you have to say something twice in the space of a few days, but , have you heard of something called records, as in GUINNESS. These are set and broken a, and have you heard the phrase ” for the first time”.. How many black presidents had America had before Obama, how many governments had come to power through an internal guerilla war before M7.
    Likewise, do you have scientific evidence to prove your opposite.

  8. Africas democracies are young, if I can use the term, and do need protection just like you would protect your children.
    Would you for instance allow your 10 year old to engage in sex and then conveniently quote that phaedophiles do it , or the Mormons do it.
    I’m honoured that you have decided to adopt the East African countries as your own and Uganda in particular, but based on my experiences, I would be weary in getting too involved with ones remarks, because your adoption is very much “arm chair” or “key board ” adoption, and no matter how much you read or hear what goes on , you can never fully appreciate what goes on in a country, sometimes even when you live there.
    This has just been brought to the fore by the recent Kenya elections , where the observers gave it a clean bill, only for the facts to prove otherwise. Likewise many expats come and live in a country, stay in the capitals and a few fringe towns and call themselves experts.

  9. If you were in Uganda for instance, you would realise that it is IMPOSSIBLE to organise in the so called grassroot areas without getting into serious trouble with the powers that be. I think you are imagining that the situation in Uganda is like in the UK where you can go door to door taking your message and the worst that can happen is the door closed in your face or the dog barking at you.
    No madam.
    The police, the army, all the security and administrative organs are FUSED(welded) to the ruling party and by extension, the one person, YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI.

  10. Do you think M7 and the NRM are in power because they have or had wonderful manifesto.
    It is simply because as one of the ministers said, they have the army, and they have all the means of persuasion and coercion.Where you have a place where the votes are more than the registered voters, voting materials are delayed to be delivered to areas of the opposition stronghold, when they are withi walking distance of the dispatch areas.

  11. Dear @ejakait,
    Thank you for your wonderful remarks. Indeed, you are right that so far, I have mainly been doing armchair activism regarding Uganda. It does not make me care less about this amazing land an her people. I have a lot of smpathy for your opposition, especially so as I credit them as having been at the forefront of the liberation struggle, therefore possessing organisational tools in order to gain power. I take your points about NRM possessing all the means to retain power. Nevertheless, FDC has some MPs, and Kampala Mayor therefore it is quite capable of winning some electoral campaigns. As for your criticism of me using Western examples, I am only using them in so far as I know that many times in Africa, oppositions try to ingratiate themselves to Western backers and therefore need to project an image of persecution. They are helped by heavy handed approaches sometimes displayed by security forces when provoked. By pointing that Angela Merkel had lasted so long, and that Britain had no term limits for PMs, I wanted to show that such countries would be unlikely to be of any help in trying to gain sympathy against term or age limits. Comparing Britain and France was about proving that having term limits like France does is not the guarantee of being a more democratic society or a more prosperous one. As for Africa, Andrew has written extensively oand make comparisons with countries which have term limits etc, or where there have been all these cosmetic rituals of so-called democracy, the evidence is not conclusive that term limits are the panacea. Still, today I saw a poll suggesting Ugandans are against lifting the age limit. Therefore, I do not understand all the shenanigans on display today in Parliament. It was very folkloric

  12. Please suggest how the opposition can mobilize the masses when every chance they try, they are met with state sponsored violence and or repression.The remaining mobilization option is then to organise against state repression through armed resistance and in the process spread their political ideology.We are back to square 1 circa 1981.

    • The constitution provides for that too. you are right. but which rat will bell the cat? If you travel on the road you will one day meet a Fuso truck with the caption on the rear “easy to say”

  13. Sasha, thanks for your response.
    I am not in any way suggesting that you do not and indeed have no right to care or get involved in your adopted countries affairs. Like I said, I am indeed proud that you have chosen to. Mine is only a caution to you not to see and view Uganda through the tainted ( tinted) lenses of M9’s articles.
    I have had the privilege of living in quite a few countries and as and when I have, have LIVED rather than simply stayed in those countries in that I have tries in as much as possible to immerse myself into the said countries affairs.So much so that I have several times when discussing any said countries affairs have sometimes been asked which part of the country I come from.
    Yet I do not try to profess to know too much and to sometimes get into arguments where there are underlying factors that I am no aware of .
    Such is the case with Uganda where those in power, have an evil streak but are very clever and cunning to the extent the unwary can be easily fooled.

  14. Take the case of the age limit debate.One would be fooling themselves if they argued that it was not being done solely to benefit one person, at this particular moment, at least.
    But the person whom it is meant to benefit is so far not saying anything. And like MAO Norbert said, school bullies who wanted to beat up(not fight) some one without justification would send a smaller boy/girl to provoke the subject and then would come in as the savior of the small person.
    It is not by accident that all this is happening while M7 is away at the UN.
    You and I will witness what will follow next.
    BTW, as for your praise for M9 s article, it is NOT a misguided debate, it is HIS arguments which are misguided and as they say , MONEY and WINE intoxicate.

  15. I appreciate your concerns about freedom to exercise your political activities; a recurring theme across Africa oppositions. Yet; there are FDC mps; there are political debates on TV where people go and express their opinion on the regime whatever that may be. I do like the lady called Matembe; she is very dynamic. People traverse the country in order to post pictures aimed at denigrating the gvt. So; one cannot say that opposition is stifled in Uganda. I really want my Ugandan brothers to look at this wonderful country they have and the potential they have as a people who together conducted a revolution war and liberated their country, to try and work together as ONE NATION. This is the age of industrialisation. I am not saying not to voice disagreements and you can do so peacefully and advance your arguments without doing what makes Uganda look like an unruly place and might discourage investments. No country on earth is perfect; but if we only look at the negative; we will never move this country and continent forward.
    @ejakait; if only you knew. M9 and I, we have contentions on issues which are unresolvable. I have decided to continue thinking as I do on those issues and live with the consequences of incurring the intellectual wrath of my idol. Why did it have to be Andrew Mwenda writing about the China-India paradox? This got me hooked.

    • Sasha,either out of naivety or otherwise,M7 has achieved with you exactly what he intends with the international community.
      First and foremost, M7s intention was to come to power through any means even if it meant the death of scores of people as it turned out to be.Rigged elections were only an excuse and those who know will tell you that he had stockpiled arms in Luweero and some areas and the notion of having started with a few guns is only meant to sex ( sensationalize) up the whole narrative.
      Having come to power by bloody means, he intended and still intends to stay in power through any means at his disposal, even if that means Ugandans dying.
      On the other hand , he also wants to portray a good image,especially to the international community even though staying power takes precedence.
      So the impression is given that we have elections, we have an opposition(enemies), we have freedom of speech and expression; all meant to play to the public gallery.

  16. In reality, UGANDA is a military dictatorship.
    All else is just grandstanding.
    The opposition is only allowed to do and say what he feels is of no consequence to his grand scheme
    and once they overstep that line then they face his wrath.
    Some criticism is stage managed and some do it so that they can be bought off or co-opted like Betty Kamya and probably Mwenda in what has come to be known as the”Basoga Nsadhu” (rip) syndrome.

  17. 1.The age limit debate is both a moral and a reality issue.
    2.History is again repeating itself in the Uganda’s Politics why do i say this?The Baganda and Luo were the main actors and causalities of the previous Obote and Amin’s regime are these group of people naturally indiscipline and big headed?Just look at the list of the suspended MPs all are from these regions.
    3.Desperate times calls for desperate measures for example; if a lady is 45 years of age and is not yet married and has no children when she gets a man who finally says i love you do you think she will wait for a wedding?she will just give out her goods out of desperation;now Ug has reached a stage where she is desperate for development thats why for now, its safer to cling on to M7.
    4.I liked the katembe in parliament Odonga Otto was dressed like a Ding Ding dancer.(There is a Nigerian proverb that says One farts as if they are a beating a drum continuously; this proverb best described the MPs behaviour..

  18. @ejakait, after all this exposé of what to you defines Uganda, and her political situation, could you please enlighten me as to what is the way forward for you? Which political formation do you see fit to run your country? Do you sincerely believe that what happened in Parliament today in Uganda is the way to conduct political debate? Beware my friends of falling for chaos, at this special moment in your history. Whatever you choose, I will never stop being inspired by Ugandans whatever side of the political debate they stand on, even if I unashamedly declare myself more inspired by M7’s vision, than that of his political opponents at the moment.

  19. Sasha, I have loved your calmness. Hope its real

  20. SASHA, thanks for your response.
    First and foremost, I am hoping that you lend yourself to rational analysis, and that you are not a “fanatic” who is so bent in your ways that no amount of reasoning can sway you, at least I will have tried.
    I am touched by your love for M7 and what you think he stands for in as far as moving Uganda, the continent and probably the world forward.
    Luckily, in as far as M7 is concerned, I have been there and maybe can count myself lucky to have seen through the rouse and I would probably refer to the likes of you in the words of my favorite “word smith” John Nagenda, as the “johny-come-latelys”, needles to say you are coming to the party when the horse has bolted.

  21. I will , if I may try to go back to some of your previous posts where you say some of the players in the west, and you did quote Blair and the UK having no moral right to question Ugandas quest for term or age limits, since they have none.
    I will try to put it simply.
    If your or neighbours child started going to the disco and drinking, would it not give one the right to complain especially if the complainants children also do the same things.
    I do not have to guess your answer.
    But put it this way.
    One child is a 12 year old and the other is a 19 year old.
    Is your answer still the same.
    Likewise does it take away the moral authority from a doctor who smokes or drinks to advise a patient who does to stop?
    One has to make a distinction between drinking and being a drunkard.
    I may drink and not be a drunkard and even if I am a drunkard, probably I know best the dangers and may be in a position for reasons beyond my control, but does not take away the moral authority to advise someone else.

  22. It is disingenuous for you to try and compare the UK and Uganda, all this very well knowing that you are or have been to the UK and know that their political system has measures which stop a situation such as we have in Uganda from happening.
    You must have been or aware of what happened to Lady Thatcher, a lady who was a serial winner for her party, a lady who wanted to win at all costs and is in fact credited with the practice of border/constituency manipulation (gerrymandering as we have come to know it today) , with even an ism to her name (Thatcherism) , but was unceremoniously booted from the premiership by her party when it was felt she had done her bit and it was time to leave, even at the expense of losing the next election.
    The same happened with Tony Blair (Blairites) who like Thatcher was a serial winner for the Labour party, but it was understood he had gone into a pact with Gordon Brown, which pact he did not want to fulfill.Likewise his super glue act cost the party the next election, and they too are at the moment in a political wilderness.
    I have a feeling that if they had made a bloodless transition and allowed the incoming enough time to settle and consolidate, the outcomes in both cases would have been different.

  23. Your admiration for M7 takes me back to my student days in the late 70s.
    I was lucky that my parents were able to send me to study in the UK, at the tail end of AMINS era.
    You will not imagine how my fellow students, especially those from West Africa, thought AMIN was a hero to the extent that one of them had a full blown poster of that photo where AMIN was being carried in an armchair by white people.
    To them, AMIN was the best thing that had happened to AFRICA let alone the world.So for some whom Amin had been responsible for the death or disappearance of loved ones, it was hard to swallow.
    Back to terra firma, there was this neighbour who was relatively well to do and had a nice house and car.But that is as far as it went. His kids were not so well dressed , just like his wife. I doubt that his kids and wife had ever stepped in his car. He would come home from work to bathe and change from work, while his kids washed the car and he would be gone til late.He would go to the bar where he was everybodys best friend because he would buy drinks and muchomo for the whole bar.
    Meanwhile his wife and kids had posho(maize meal) and beans for lunch and dinner.
    How do you think the parent of a kid who studies under a mango tree, or a structure that is very likely to fall on them, including schools in his wifes home district, hear that M7 has helped to build 2 state of the art schools in neighbouring Tanzania, or that he donated $350,000 for a school in Rwanda.

    • U.S. foreign aid budget in 2015 was than $5.3 billion while it would cost just $6 bn to house their homeless. This matter is difficult to understand ejakait. Start with yourself and do self-examination, the number of shirts and trousers in your wardrobe you don’t wear and other household utensils you hardly use at home; I mean family; then look around the destitute people you meet daily and the needy. This world lacks equity and I and you cannot do anything about it. M7 is no different from you and me; being human and a sieged one too….. numerous demands from numerous parties.
      Suffice to remember that Uganda once had the BEST education system in the world. When Indians were sent away in 1972, one Chandarana wrote to tell us he had been promoted one year ahead when he reached UK and was leading the class, yet in Nyangole he wasn’t even in the top 15. But I am telling you what you know ejakait; knowing that you did some of your studies there. What pains most is that those who benefited from the said educational system of the 60s and early 70s are the present decision makers. So they have no excuse for the decline. It is like selling off your father’s estate to drink and stripping the main house of roofings to buy a bicycle just because you are in-charge. tragic.

      • RWASUBUTARE,I hope you have not been taken in by this foreign aid thing.

        Even at a personal level, a being is first and foremost selfish. If and when they are selfless , then in it mostly for bampane, or again for selfish reasons, in that they hope to benefit from their seemingly generous act. Which is not to say that there are times when acts of generosity are completely selfless.
        I hope you are aware of the politics that surround aid money most especially in the US, and how AID is actually very big BUSINESS.
        I am also sure that you are aware that a great percentage of the so called aid money does not leave the donor nation and the little that does is eventually stolen and some of it finds its way back the the donor nation.

        So it is up to you to put M7s donation in whichever of the categories you deem appropriate.

  24. The people in parliament have done what is only left for them to do, just like what M7 and KONY did when they felt they had no other option.
    Take your pick.
    What the MPs did, or what M7 and Kony did

  25. @ejakait, thanks for all your patient explanation and for giving me context. My preference for M7 as a latecomer to Ugandan politics is derived from my frustration with his opposition in parts. It is true that when I hear him talking about the bottlenecks holding Africa back; or when I see the depth of his intellectual knowledge on so many issues; I am taken. He combines the strategic thinking of a general and the depth of analysis of the finest of philosophers. I share Ugandans frustrations with the missed opportunities in reaching development goals. I believe that M7 also realises how much fatigue there is and loss of patience with some of the shortcomings of his administration. This is why I do not understand that such a ripe climate for setting the agenda is not seized on by the opposition to present a credible alternative. Even if they failed to win; they might do much better than they usually do therefore forcing the government to improve its performance. NRM’s vision for Uganda could be transforational. Where is Uganda’s opposition in pushing them to realise that vision? Can you tell me if the areas which are under opposition control are better managed; have better facilities/infrastructures than the ones under NRM? Surely; within their many friends in the international community; Uganda opposition can find partners ready to come and invest in areas where they are in charge; so that on top of endogenous funding; and potential diaspora contributions; we could see what they are made of at the local level before they go on to get the landslide.
    I live in the UK and appreciate what British democracy offers; especially when compared to my country France. I also know the limitations and struggles we are confronted to on a daily basis. My preference for the British model is that it did not need the barbarism of the French revolution and all this violence in order to be a political model which is more responsive to its citizens than France’s. This is one of the main reasons why I dislike violent change of governance. In many ways, Ugandans you have a space for free political expression much superior to what Francophone West Africa for example provides. I know it is not perfect, I know it needs improvement . That does not mean that lifting age or term limits will achieve that. I read Daniel Kalinaki piece today, it was very well argued; provided great data on the economic fortunes of Kenya and Uganda since Independence could be seen as an example in favour of lifting term limits. Still; it could be refuted by using examples such as contemporary Rwanda or Ivory Coast under Houphouet Boigny to prove that in order to feel the urgency to deliver on development goals within the deadlines; you do not need to be constrained by age or term limits. Strikingly; both countries operated under the consensual model of democracy as they were rapidly delivering services to their citizenry. Another point raised by Kalinaki’s article was that the political union of East Africa had it a snag. It confirmed to me a theory I hold for which some see me as an enemy of Panafricanism; which is that a political union at the continental level is a utopia. You only need to look at what happened between Morocco which is not yet a member of ECOWAS and other members; as a result of Israel West Africa rapprochement. I see tremendous potential for economic integration, security cooperation etc….but a political union for Africa, time will tell. I am being consistent as I believe that it is the pursuit of this project and the demands it puts on national sovereignty, which will eventually break up the EU.

  26. SASHA, thanks for your response.
    I do realise that my warning to you was not misplaced.
    Your suggestion that the opposition should do certain things to prove their worth especially in areas that they “control” is laughable can only come from someone who does not know how things work in Uganda.
    Like I told you and anybody will tell you, most things in Uganda can only be done with the approval of the government, of which M7 is almost 90% . You as Sasha for instance can not just walk through the door and say you want to invest $10m if you have no connections to state house, and this in an area that is controlled by the opposition, which as far as M7 is concerned, is enemy territory. It may not be in the law books , but in Uganda voting for the opposition is a CRIME, most times punishable by withholding of public services.

  27. When M7 came to power, he went about consolidating power by removing alternative power sources among other things. One of the most powerful institutions and power centers at the time were co-operative unions.
    These were so powerful that they controlled a lot of peoples lives, especially financially and some like Bugisu Co-operative Union (BCU),was the most powerful single entity in the Bugisu region with massive investments in property, transport, and also one of the biggest employers.Even recently, realising that it still had some life left in it, and that it was headed by someone from the opposition, Hon Nandala Mafabi, they tried to destroy it even if it meant destroying the livelihoods of local people.

  28. Like I said before, Uganda is a military dictatorship, but also a police state akin to the East Germany of old.Even when an area is “controlled” by the opposition in as far as the MP and the local elected leadership is concerned, the administration is headed by a Resident District Administrator (RDC) who is appointed by the President, and a layer of security operatives all of whom are allied and owe allegiance to the NRM.
    Likewise , even NGOs are vetted to ensure that they have no ties to the opposition.
    So it is impossible for the opposition to do anything that is seen to popularise them.
    A case is where a prominent business man, a man I know to have financed the NRM during its bush days but eventually became an “enemy” by going to and financing the opposition and one time standing , and beating Amama Mbabazi in a fair fight, James Gauga Musinguzi.
    Even the offices of FDC are in a building that once belonged or still belonged to him.
    When he decided that he had had enough of politics, he left Kampala, where he has several business interests and decided to go to his native Kinkizi where he set up a golf course complete with a hotel and his own runway.He also went into tea farming and set up a tea factory with the aim of helping the locals, setting them up as outgrowers.The problem was that he did not have a supply of 3 phase electricity.The powers that be, and it is claimed Mbabazi, did all they could to ensure taht he never got the said supply , even if it meant denying the locals , who were Mbabazis constituents , a living.

  29. SASHA, on the one hand , you did disarm in that I had meant to ask you who else you read among those who write about Uganda and I had precisely meant to ask if you had read KALINAKIs article.
    I hope you do read some of the others as well; Miniini, Onyango Obbo, Ssemogerere,Sengooba, Oloka, Kanyeihamba,Khisa,to mention but a few.

  30. Thanks @ejakait, I do indeed read Charles Onyango work. I follow lots of people who are very critical of NRM, and unlike what many say, I have found in Andrew’s work, a lot of criticism of NRM. If indeed what you say is true and the authorities deliberately and I would say unpatriotically undermine what people who do not kow tow to them, try in order to empower ordinary Ugandans, then the opposition must collect this evidence and publish it on social media. I am not sure without accusing you of being a liar that there are cases like this. If there are, this is actually a very powerful argument to be advancing. My experience of African oppositions in other countries is that they would rather not do much for areas under their control; so as to pile up negative data on their governments. I will happily accept it if Uganda’s opposition is found to be the exception and to be public spirited and determined to develop areas under her control; but being hindered by the government. I sincerely doubt it, but I accept that you as a Ugandan, insider know a lot more than I do. Back to age and term limit; my personal objection to them, aside from the inconclusive evidence as to the virtuous cycle they engender, is that they run contrary to freedom. I don’t believe in setting up limitations based on age, race, tribe, gender etc… Everyone should be free to run…

  31. SASHA, thanks for your response.
    I am old enough to see subtilty when I see it and luckily I am past the stage where I need patronising.When you do say you do not believe that such cases exist, then by extension you do mean that I am telling lies.
    Fortunately for you and I, there is the monster called WWW ( world wide web) which at the click of a few buttons, most things these days are verifiable.
    So which part of what I said do you find to have been lies , or as they say am I trying to be clever (by half) by lying around facts.
    Is it the James Garuga Musinguzi, Nandala Mafabi and the BCU??????
    It is not as if I am writing this love letter to you in which I am telling you all these fancy stories , and you are reading it under your pillow.NO, the things I am saying are on a public forum, and any person is free to come up and say, no Ejakait, what you say here and here is wrong.
    I am a mathematician, among other things and mathematics does lend itself to rational, logical reasoning/analysis and you do not state things without the ability to prove what you say.
    You will therefore note that everytime you or some other person makes a posting and I have a response to make, I go about it in away that I think is systematic and logical.

  32. It does seem, and hopefully I am wrong, that you have created this impression that the NRM and their MESSIAH M7 are the chosen people meant to deliver Uganda to the promised land, and the opposition with their PHARAOH Besigye or some other opposition character , are the Biblical Egypt who are hell bent on making sure this does not happen and are justified in visiting the plagues on the opposition.
    As for your objection to placing limits, being the person who wants things to conform to scientific analysis, is this based on scientific analysis.
    Life in itself and nature by extension does place limits on us.A woman bears a child, where a man does not, a womans reproductive age is different from a mans. We as society have placed limits on when people can morally or legally do and not do certain things and some are for scientific, cultural or other reasons, these none the less do exist, sometimes fairly and sometimes unfairly.
    The main argument in the case of the age and time limit is also, among other things to do with the timing and the spirit

  33. Why now, and why just the age limit for the presidential position. If this is such an important amendment, why not the government or indeed the party to bring the bill , rather to leave it to an individual, and why this bill when there were many other private members bills ,some submitted before it.

  34. @ Ejakait: All over the world businesses are registered by governments agencies and are linked to politics didn’t you see the Philips team was dying to great M7 you think they just wanted to show M7 their nice smiles and suits??they wanted to get deals to supply health equipment to Ug and by the way the shortest cut for a successful business deal is thru direct access to presidents/governments ; how will an investor know about the economic status of a nation without carrying out research about the country they intend to invest in and their political status?You thinkl the would is concerned about Ug just for the sake of it?they see a lot of potential in Ug coz of M7’s skills.

    If i was in parliament during the melee,i i would have given Kadaga a peck on her cheeks or forehead and Kayihura a kiss on his sweet lips they out did themselves.( Its not by coincidence that the 2 are lawyers are are normally thorough people)

    People are complaining about the skills of the SFC mbu how can it take 2hrs to evict some lunatics?1st of all their work was made easy coz the MPs were in neck ties and it was easy to pull them like goats 2ndly,since the Sergent at arms had not anticipated resistance from the MP’s they gave the SFC the map of parliament and in 10 minutes they could figure out what to do 3rdly;When we were kids we would jump on chairs and we would either sink in the chair or bounce up and down basing on the type and condition of the chair so if you saw the SFC fall it was coz of the set up in parliament is like that of a seating room in squeezed muzigo,4thly since they were skilled there was no drop of blood on the flow and no one lost a tooth.

    The SFC guy who spinned around the table should be given a medal it was my best scene he did a James Bond.

    @ Rajab & Ejakait were asking why there were covering some parts of the road with cloth on the on going works on Entebbe road they thought it was meant to stop the road from feeling cold at night Rajab & Ejakait It was meant to quicken the curing process.

  35. It so seems that some people are asking me for “baptism”, I can only be “Rajab Kakyama” and not “John the Baptist.” Sorry mate, you can chew on your “lucky mistake!”

  36. @ejakait, please do not assume I believe you to be a liar. I accept you know Uganda a lot better than I could ever dream. I was actually saying that if indeed NRM is at the centre of frustrating developmental projects from the opposition, it is very urgent that Uganda opposition regularly highlights this. This would be a dent in the steady progress, transformation narrative. What you do not understand about me is that yes; I admire M7, but even if he was not President tomorrow, I would admire him. So, I have no vested interest in fighting for his political survival as Uganda President. He has played his part already; and that is the part which makes him one of my African heroes. I believe that Besigye has been a poor strategist, because evidence of gvt hindering opposition advancing economic dvt, if true is much more powerful, than any of the sloganeering on his twitter timeline about juntas; rouge regimes etc…this is overly emotional. Being the most arrested opposition member is not good enough a proposition in order to swing a country your way. If I despised FDC, I would not be acknowledging their heroic contribution to the struggle of Ugandan liberation. I quite like Besigye, just not his methods. I have a lot of time for Muntu, though I think he has not yet found the formula in order to make FDC the opposition that Ugandans deserve.
    Interesting yesterday on Andrew’s timeline, yet another tweet about how racist America is. I mean by all means, denounce the racism which might still exist in the USA, enlighten us all about the history of racism in the USA etc. I cannot wait for Andrew’s take on intra-African racism, tribalism which deliberately excludes some groups from opportunities in Africa, xenophobia in Africa, child trafficking for slave work in Africa, continued slave trade in Africa, African Heads of State who participated in the tragedy in Lybia, and the list goes on. You cannot claim that you would have treated opposition more harshly if you were in power, because of their hooliganism whilst undermining the work of police forces in the West; and branding them racists. Who said that they are not faced with hooliganism too? That is not a justification of deliberate targeting of Blacks which might be happening from a tiny minority of police officers in the West, and needs fighting. But rather, it is an exercise in African self awareness. I remember President Macky Sall tweeting about police treatment of Blacks in the USA sometime last year, and oh the irony of his own prison system and hails said to be refectories of human indignity, where people who only say derogatory stuff about him on whatsapp might end up. Oh, the irony of him participating in building up this theory of racial bias in the criminal justice system in the USA, when his own criminal justice system paid lip service to Pan African ism, when just like slave traders back in the days; he delivered an African who possesses an African passport (even if expired), to his Western Massa. Oh the irony of Africans trafficking children for them to work in plantations, harvesting cocoa for the benefits of Western corporations. Yes; those corporations should clean up their acts in Africa by no longer paying bribes; under declaring what they produce and therefore being partakers in corruption which they pompously criticise about Africa; but neither can it be ignored that they can only do so in Africa’s backyard, because some Africans are happy for short term benefits, to allow the exploitation of their own children, and the plundering of their lands, so they can cure themselves in the West, send their children there for school, and feel like they have achieved by depositing their loot in properties and banks in the West. Other people do so, but they are not as poor as Africans still are; whilst being so endowed. So; my dear Andrew, let’s talk about the West and the road still needing to be travelled for race relations, religious tolerance etc; but let us talk in depth about Black on Black crime; gang grooming in the West too, and Black on Black hatred in Africa otherwise known as tribalism. ThOse are more detrimental to Black people than supposed White supremacy, which has not stopped non White China and India reemerging as economic powerhouses about to dominate the 21st century destiny.

  37. Hello M9,
    Here is an article retweeted by Doctor Lonzen Rugira this evening : I thought you might be interested.
    I am not really sure how this goes hand in hand with some Africans imagining that they should interfere in American politics; so as to excoriate American authorities on their supposed institutional racism. Maybe it is time for Africa if it has not already been done to offer her own apology for her participation in the crime against humanity which was the transatlantic slave trade. Then; African elites such as Dlamini Zuma would have the moral high ground when banginger on about the transatlantic slave trade; in order to make America feel guilty for refusing to let in potential terrorists on her soil; and imposing bans on Nations which have been identified as unable to produce accurate background checks on some individuals; because of the absence of State machinery. Enjoy this sobering read. I was 8 years old when I spent an entire summer in a New York apartment in which Africans and African Americans lived together. It was enlightening. Still; I am grateful for the historical background I gained from your articles. It helps me empathise with the pain of those Afro descendants who were so badly let down by Africa.

  38. ejakait engoraton

    SASHA,”I am not sure , without accusing you of being a a liar, that such cases exist”.
    Maybe it is because my understanding of English is not as good as yours being as it is you live in the UK and we are most likely separated by post code, or my understanding is not up to your level, but if someone says something that is not true(does not exist) then that person is a liar.
    FYI, the only grey area between the truth and a lie is FICTION.
    Something is either the truth or not, no buts no ifs.

  39. ejakait engoraton

    I admire your tenacity, your devotion, commitment and at the end of it all , some NAIVETY.
    For you to suggest that the opposition should highlight these issues, are you saying that the US or The UK does not know most of what goes on.
    Do they not know when M7 tells voters in an area that they will not get a road or services if they vote the opposition.
    And incidentally, these to me are some of what I refer to as”governance” issues. Because a president and the government are there for the whole country and not just for those who vote for him/them.
    I am sure that you know that these countries do have their foreign policies, and in most cases a countries FP, the US for instance in respect to Uganda , might have been set up 10/15/20 years ago, though this may change over time, but it will not change overnight simply because Trump / Obama has come to the White House.Nor will it change overnight because there has been a change of government/ president in the other country.
    Despite all he had said about African leaders before coming to power, he still had a one to one with M 7 and a photo shoot of the 1st families.
    This is because despite all the noise , M7 does what the US wants him to do bravado and tough talk from both side notwithstanding.

  40. Dear @ejakait,
    And this will be my last comment on this platform for a long time as I desist from getting myself entangled in the complicated Web of internal African politics. I must admit that you were right that within Uganda’s opposition, unlike what I haveseen in other parts of Africa, and proving that looking at Africa as a country is a self defeating exercise, can be public spirited. Bobi Wine “Umuganda” in his constituency yesterday is proof that Uganda offers those within her opposition who wish to participate in steady progress, however outspoken they are about the executive; the opportunity to do so. Therefore, on this occasion at least, your claim that Uganda’s opposition would be stopped from contributing to the development goals, takes a hit. Good luck Uganda…please; stay at peace however the debate on land, age limit etc go…you are an inspiration to many of us and good luck for World Cup qualifier. …the more African teams get to experience the World Cup stage; the better for the discipline as a whole. I was very glad to see the happiness of African Heads of State, as they were getting their photos with Donald Trump…who would not celebrate being pictured with the World’s most powerful man, and assuaging fears that America would have withdrawn precious foreign aid…which nobody wants of course, even those tasked with pretending by writing about it being withdrawn, only just to identify those who genuinely believe that self respecting independent Nations should look after their own…how inspirational was it to see an Indian politician stating that aid from the UK to India was now a mere 0.01%of GDP…that’s what 70 years of Independence should lead to eventually. This is great for all parties concerned : the developed and developing World.

  41. ejakait engoraton

    SASHA, I am sure we shall miss you if and when you decide that you are keeping away from whatever it is you have decided to call it.
    In a way you have behaved like NICO ROSBERG who after struggling to beat LEWIS HAMILTON in Formula One, more by default where LH had an engine blow out, rather than by pure skill, retired from the sport rather than defend his title.
    I have enjoyed the interactions we have had , set as you are in your ways, but as you noted, I pride myself in being patient and many times never tire in my efforts to put my opinions across, especially where they are rooted in fact or rationale.
    You do quote the UMUGANDA of Bobi Wine and use it as proof that the NRM does indeed allow the opposition in steady progress. I did not say that they do not allow completely, which on the one hand is impossible , but also the NRM are not stupid, they are responsive the public opinion when it suits them, and would not not do anything that is so glaring, they will only make it very difficult as the cases I have quoted, against your one.
    And, we do not normally take exceptions to be the rule. Simply because OBAMA was able to become the American president does not mean the system is heavily tilted against people of colour.
    You are being like IAN SMITH when asked if his system or he in particular discriminated black people , to which he said NO, he employs them on his farm.
    Have a nice sabbatical and see you when you decide to come back, I too go on and off from time to time.

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