Attacks on security installations, poverty, transition politics mark 2016
2016 might easily go down as one of the most challenging years in recent times for President Yoweri Museveni. The year recorded the highest number of attacks on security installations in the west, north, and central and saw growing sympathy for embattled opposition leader Kizza Besigye.
As the year ends, low investor confidence as a result of political uncertainty following the divisive elections is still partly blamed for poor current economic situation.
While the government maintains that these are separate incidents that have been decisively dealt with, some say collectively, these incidents might point to either increasing weakness of President Yoweri Museveni’s government or growing resistance against him.
There is also a hint of transition politics in events of 2016 as the President’s younger brother, the decorated army general Caleb Akandwanaho aka Gen. Salim Saleh, the President’s son, Maj. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaaba, and his wife, Janet Museveni took on more central roles in the government.
Gen. Saleh has been chairing government meetings, was the architect of the new cabinet appointed in May this year, and vetted some who ended up on the list.
In the army, Museveni on May.16 promoted his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba to the third highest military rank of Major General, sparking fresh claims of how he is being prepared to succeed his father.
But while all these maneuvers went along way to give Museveni what appears to be firm grip on his government, they did very little preventing resistance from other centres that left confidence in the government shattered.
Take Museveni’s moving his wife from the peripheral Ministry for Karamoja and placing her to head what is arguably the most powerful and sensitive government department; the Ministry of Education. Although Janet Museveni is admired for the passion with which she pursues her missions, she appears to have walked into a booby trap when a lecturers’ strike paralysed Makerere University, the premium symbol of education in the land. The year closed with the institution still closed and anger boiling over the closure among the public.
The Makerere closure washed away any hope in Museveni’s earlier attempt to rally the masses with pledges to improve service delivery under the new initiative of Kisanja Hakuna Mchezo, which emerged from a July cabinet retreat at Kyankwazi Leadership Institute. Matters worsened when, critics say, the 12 resolutions including fighting corruption, reached at the retreat appeared to have remained on paper.