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Museveni’s AU speech

THE LAST WORD: Why there is a big disconnect between Museveni the intellectual and Museveni the politician

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | Last week, President Yoweri Museveni delivered an impressive speech to fellow African Union (AU) heads of state in Addis Ababa about the need for regional and continental integration. According to social media, the president even got a standing ovation. The speech was Musevenisque in its historical sweep, breadth of perspective, depth of analysis and strategic foresight. It showed how Museveni the politician contradicts Museveni the intellectual. It also proves that leaders are human – they have egos and other emotions that stand in the way of their strategic ambitions.

Museveni argued that the colonial conquest of Africa was made possible by the failure of pre-colonial African chiefs to unite against the foreign invader. Instead, he said, they allowed their tactical differences to blind them to this strategic threat they all confronted. He then advised contemporary African leaders to put aside such tactical disagreements in pursuit of the bigger continental goal of what he called “strategic security” and prosperity. Even the president’s harshest critics on Uganda’s social media agreed that this was indeed a great speech.

I read the speech with admiration and frustration: admiration for its grand vision and frustration with its disconnection from Uganda’s foreign policy towards Rwanda. Charity begins at home. If Museveni believes that strategic cooperation should be placed above tactical differences, why has he not promoted this approach in Kampala’s relations with Kigali? The Museveni who spoke in Addis Ababa should find it important to work hard to solve this misunderstanding with Kigali.

It may be surprising to many readers that Uganda has never made any formal or informal complaint to Rwanda about what Kigali has done to her. Yet social media and security officials in Kampala accuse Kigali of kidnapping Rwandan dissidents in Uganda and either killing them or taking them to Rwanda and thereby violating our sovereignty, a complaint Rwanda reads in the Ugandan media. I have asked for evidence of this from Kampala to take to Kigali for four years and gotten NOTHING. The only person Kampala has presented as evidence, a one Lt. Mutabazi, was NEVER kidnapped. He was officially handed over by the officials of the state of Uganda to the officials of the state of Rwanda.

Let me assume that Kampala’s claims of kidnappings and killings are true. Museveni should send his officials to Kigali, or personally call President Paul Kagame to find ways to resolve it. Kigali has complained to Kampala that Uganda provides sanctuary to persons working actively to destabilise their country and ensure regime change. Social media and intelligence services in Uganda also claim that Kigali has been seeking to overthrow the government in Kampala and this is one of the reasons why former police chief, Kale Kayihura, was hounded out of office.

To his credit, Museveni has many times gone out of his way to resolve differences with his enemies and critics. In 2011, I worked closely with him to fix the relationship with Kigali. He has throughout his political career sought talks with nearly every rebel group that he has fought, including the psychopathic Joseph Kony. He reconciled with Chris Rwakasiisi and with the families of Milton Obote and Idi Amin. Therefore, it is surprising that Uganda and Rwanda can veer so close to military confrontation at the time when Museveni is leading the argument for strategic cooperation.


  1. I find a big disconnect between Andrew Mwenda the intellectual and Mwenda the apologist/mercenary/hatchetman (pick or choose)

    • Albert, Mwenda summarised what he had earlier on explained in detail with one concluding paragraph. Read it again sloooowly……if you have the time.
      “The lesson I drew from Museveni’s otherwise great speech is that our strategic needs are often in conflict with our tactical considerations. Basically we are human. The fact that we know the problem and the solution does not take away our feelings, egos and idiosyncrasies. That is why Museveni needs to revise his views about pre-colonial African chiefs. Their response to colonial intrusion was shaped by the petty conflicts they were involved in. Consequently tactical quarrels overpowered strategic considerations – exactly as is the case between Uganda and Rwanda today”
      Mwenda may be a hatchet man,apologist or mercenary or a combination of all three as per viewpoint of viewer but Mwenda has facts,information and contacts far beyond what you will ever have. Like he says; Nyerere killed the EAC of 1977 for the petty reason that he could not sit with President Amin on same table…………..this is going to be killed by Museveni for the petty reason that his army of lions, commanded by a donkey was decimated in Kisangani by the RPA(for allegedly disregarding advice not to attack the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) in Kisangani during which a UPDF battalion of about 700 soldiers was wiped out. The soldiers were under the late Col. Sula Ssemakula’s command)[] and the rumour mills have it that the wife pesters him day and night to revenge. This time, the EAC demise will be attributed to the pestering of an septuagenarianess. Tragic indeed.

      • It is however hoped that common sense will prevail and the rumours, typical of all rumours will come to naught and the cordial relationship will resume as has always been. It is incumbent on leaders to maintain sanity and not exacerbate the already charged atmoshere because when brothers quarrel, only vultures gain and all others lose. Let us wait for time to heal this like it has all others.
        As for Burundi, the matters are murky and it will take very long to normalise because the diagnosis is wrong and noone is eager to remedy the status quo.

    • The solution is simple – Museveni must get Abel Kandiho and other like minded individuals out – in the same way Kagame restructured the entire security apparatus and got die hards out (Kabarebe) -He reconfigured – Immigration /CMI/DMI/ Minister of Defence -only then will both leaders be fed with accurate strategic advice -the kind of advice that will get them to realize the larger strategic goals of a healthy neighborly relationship and accept some ego related collateral damage for taking this choice as minimal.

      There is too too much at stake –

  2. M9 is just discovering the multiple/split personality of the callous/devious M7.
    Other definitely more intelligent and perceptive people, like Allan Tacca of MONITOR have remarked on this trait.
    When M7 makes a speech at the UN or AU or any foreign/international gallery, you wonder to yourself, is this the same rumbling M7 that is so painful to listen to.
    M7 is very calculated person, he knows what , when , where, to who n why he says the things he does.

  3. THE big difference between M7 and KAGAME is that one has the absolute interests of his people at heart and expresses this both in words and his actions , even if they may be viewed as misplaced or even extreme at times; the other is beholden to several forces and does not have the interests of his people at heart.

    ONE is in total control and focused on his objectives, he knows where he is coming from and where he wants to go; the other is a maverick and at times a hostage of other forces.

    HE may preach UNITY for the Africans but his actions in balkanizing his own country tell a different story, his pandering to foreigners in favour of locals is quite telling. He is worse than the chiefs that he rails against, considering the limitations the chiefs of the time had, a child soiling his pants is not the same as an adult who does not wash his underwear.

  4. Kingezza okubeera nti ndi “muganda.” (The sheer thought that I am a “muganda” fattens me.) With that statement I don’t need enemies. There is a Luganda saying that, “akasanke kakulemye okumaanya nti bampe egganga.” Literally meaning that if someone has failed to pluck off the feathers of a hummingbird, he cannot turnaround and ask to pluck off of the hornbill which is a bigger bird. To put president Museveni’s speech into context, one has to critically consider the person and the venue where the speech was delivered. Addis Ababa, is associated with “African ness” due to the fact that it is capital city to Ethiopia a country never colonized. It is also the seat for African Union, an umbrella of all African countries. However, the full story lies in who formed/championed its formation, who is its outgoing president, who is its incoming president and who is president Museveni? To former US President Bill Clinton, he described President Kagame, Museveni, Meles zenawi and Isaias Afewerki as the “new breed of African leaders.” He had compared the quartet to the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta, Kenneth Kaunda, Patrice Lumumba and Uncle Robert. He had underestimated their imperialist desires. President Museveni and President Kagame have since changed their constitutions just to prolong their presidencies. Meles Zenawi died as prime minister after ruling for 21 years. Asaias Afewerki has ruled Eritrea since its independence (1993). These leaders were later characterized by the famous Ghanian writer George Ayittey as the “cheetah generation” who could look at Africa more less like the “hippo generation” of the 1960s. Kagame had been at the helm of the AU but he was at loggerhead with part of his membership. He could not see eye-eye with Nkuruziza of Burundi, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Joseph Kabira of DRC and Tanzanian president. The incoming president of Egypt had toppled through military means a democratically elected government. President Museveni who is advocating to “unite and defend Africa” against outside aggression has publicly before attacked sovereign African states. He supported the SPLA/M who finally seceded from the Sudan. He has attacked DRC not once during the Kisangani and by extension transferred that war to Rwanda. So what type of “African unity” is the president advocating. During the Arua saga, the President’s car was stoned, up to now the culprits are yet to be identified. If the president cannot ensure protection of his convoy, how is he to ensure that of the whole African continent. I have known the president not to be a joker but maybe he’s even not a good liar. Things like, Uganda, East African community, African Union mean less when their effects are not tangible. I am better served remaining a muganda because I don’t need a passport to prove so.

  5. Mwenda, like you rightly said one was handed over to your paymaster and handed life imprisonment yet he had sought for refuge in Uganda and Uganda has the moral authority to accord him that, since it is a signatory to UN charter. The question then, why did Kayihura hand him over to his tormentors? Museveni should just solve this mess that he created in the great lakes region by getting rid of that lunatic/illiterate once and for all and Rwandese will enjoy ever lasting peace. They will have not to run away from their motherland because of a fool who has captured everything for a selected few. Museveni, go and bomb his palace and kill his immediate family members . That will serve as a justice to those innocent souls he and his henchmen have killed.

  6. 1.In every important regional or international conference M7 is always made a keynote speaker and whenever he is called upon to delivered his speech there is total silence you can hear a pin drop.Recently he was in Switzerland and the session he was chairing was fully packed with invited guests nodding in appreciation to every point he raised.
    2.Ugandans should know who to start a fight with at least not Rwanda.because the current top Rwandan government officials share the same dialectic with top Ugandan officials,secondly some of the Rwandan officials were either drivers and office attendants during the NRA war now tell me how do you expect respect from either side?
    3.Uganda is right to be scared of Rwanda and vice-versa coz the leadership of both governments have miraculously attained a certain level of political ,economic and social liberalization in region.
    4.Rwanda is Africa’s equivalent of Russia in terms of espionage and carrying out assassinations it may be a small country but their hit squad is deadly.

    • Being a “keynote speaker” and “delivering a keynote speech” are two different things.

      M 7 is definitely not an “off the cuff” speech maker, and most of the speeches he delivers are written for him and according to those in the know, he reads it over and over almost to the point of cramming it. Left to his own devices, he rambles, stammers , repeats himself, nani, and dives into the native Runyankole or where it suits him some local lingua like Luganda, Luo.

      Its little wonder that sometimes he is made to read the same speech , sometimes several years later with just the commas and full stops moved and yet he seems none the wiser, especially when he has a receptive audience especially his sleeping MPs and cabinet.They have now learnt to clap out of habit.

      “secondly some of the Rwandan officials were either drivers and office attendants during the NRA war now tell me how do you expect respect from either side?”

      This is part of the problem with most of the Ugandan bushmen. They have never overcome this simple fact, that people whom they saw as refugees and as drivers and in some case “baliisa” are now successfully running a country. This is what informs the actions of even people like Mugisha Muntu who rues what could have been, seeing that the person who was his junior is now a head of state. Likewise the likes of MWENDA feel a sense of ownership simply because these people breathed TOORO air.

      So its partly EGOS on one side and COMPLEXES on another side.

      AND someone thinks the situation where he warned HABYARIMANA (rip) that “these boys ” were capable of causing havoc, that they are still the boys he referred to then.

      UGANDANS collectively feel that the RWANDANS owe them, the RWANDANS somehow feel that they paid their debt and do not owe any one S**T.

  7. It wasn’t only Mutabazi that stirred the pot-the Rwandan infiltration of Uganda security systems alarmed and angered the old man and what you see are outside signs of this. Both sides know where the problem is, cant discuss it in light of day (Uganda would be embarrassed by how easy Kagame kept tabs on all of them to the point he allegedly knew M7’s lunch menu on one given day–). And that’s why neither diplomacy nor mediation can remedy the situation. Only time will. It is not an exaggeration that Kagame has been rooting for M7’s ouster and has overtly and covertly tried to reach his goal. Conversely, M7 would probably do the same but he has no reliable people on the inside in Kigali like Kagame had in Kampala (think of Kayihura and the like). And so for Mwenda to go around saying that he hasn’t seen evidence, well, my brother, this is not a chemistry lab. If Kagame loves Rwandans, he needs to desist and refrain from his overt and covert agression in the region. He also needs to know that Uganda is among the few places on God’s green earth where Banyarwanda feel at home and have established roots and are welcome anytime. Don’t blow this for your beloved Banyarwanda or you’ll live to rue the day.

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