Friday , August 19 2022
Home / Cover Story / The new Museveni, Mbabazi connection

The new Museveni, Mbabazi connection

President Museveni arrives in Oyo Town. PHOTO PPU

Can their new plan stave-off coup fear?

Kampala, Uganda | RONALD MUSOKE | On Feb.11, President Yoweri Museveni who had not ventured outside East Africa since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Uganda in March, 2020, flew thousands of miles to Congo-Brazzaville and Senegal.

A statement from State House said President Yoweri Museveni’s visit of Brazzaville was aimed at boosting trade cooperation between the two countries.

This was even on show when the two presidents, Museveni and his host, Denis Sassou Nguesso, were photographed visiting a bio milk processing unit, a cattle ranch and an ostrich farm. But the real substance of Museveni’s visit happened on the second day of the visit on Feb.12.

Museveni and Sassou-Nguesso who have been in power for a combined 73 years, had by now been joined by President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo and President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé Eyadema of Togo for a mini summit on peace and security.

A communiqué issued after the presidents’ meeting noted that the “Exchanges between the four presidents were essentially focussed on the evolution of the political and security situation in the Great Lakes region, central Africa and western Africa.”

The presidents referenced the joint operations being carried out by Uganda and DR Congo’s armies in eastern DR Congo in order to eradicate rebel groups; the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), MTM (Madina al Tauheed wai Mujahedeen) and, the other negative forces which are threatening peace and stability in both countries.

The communiqué noted that Museveni, Sassou-Nguesso, Tshisekedi and Eyadema were delighted by the success already realised by the Ugandan and Congolese armed forces.

The presidents reiterated their total support to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which has taken stern action towards the coup organisers in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso. They also agreed to regularly meet and then continue to strengthen dialogue regarding political, security, regional and international issues.

Then on Feb.14, Museveni raked in another 3700km when he flew northwestwards to Dakar, Senegal to meet President Macky Sall who is now the chairman of the African Union.

On table were a “wide range of continental issues of mutual interest between the two countries of Uganda and Senegal” noted another statement from State House. But, the re-emergence of coups in West Africa once again featured in the discussions between Museveni and Sall.

President Yoweri Museveni (L) during their mini-summit in Brazzaville on Feb.12. PHOTO PPU

Mbabazi’s connections

Eyebrows were raised when President Museveni travelled and returned to Uganda with erstwhile ‘super minister’ Amama Mbabazi in tow. It later emerged that Mbabazi who has previously served in several capacities including that of Minister of Security, Minister of Defence, Attorney General and Prime Minister, was with Museveni on the state visits of Congo-Brazzaville and Senegal.

On Feb.16, Mbabazi called a press conference at his residence and announced what he called a new continental think tank known as the Africa Global Security Foundation. He said it had been set up following the Museveni trip to Congo and Senegal.

Mbabazi said he will be heading the foundation whose intention is to give analysis and insights on “the medium and long term security threats facing the continent.” Mbabazi, 73, said the foundation will have its headquarters in Dakar, the Senegalese capital.

“It will offer decision makers global, independent and strategic insights and innovative ideas that advance international peace,” he said.

He said the foundation will as well provide security briefings to member states through their established organs to provide insights to help members make sense of the changes happening in the region and the world.

Mbabazi said the foundation’s pioneer member states include; Congo-Brazzaville, Mauritania, Senegal, Togo, Uganda and the DR Congo. Speaking about the motivation for creating the Africa Global Security Foundation, Mbabazi cited the changing global political environment.

“We are not building a force or army. We are going to build a force of ideas and capacity. This is the cyber age. Any society that doesn’t have the capacity to develop its own weapons to define itself cannot be free.”

“International politics is rapidly changing, and we need to see how the member states can navigate this changing environment. The organization will offer member states’ insights on how to maintain peace in the face of the changing environment,” he said.

“One of the reasons why states exist and the central mission of the African Union and United Nations is to maintain peace and security. This can be accomplished by all parties working together by preventing conflict,” he said.

When asked to explain whether coups d’état influenced the formation of the initiative, Mbabazi said the idea had been on the table over a long period beyond the emergency of military coups in West Africa.

“Of course coups have also been the result of the insecurity that has existed in some of these countries. The decision to start a process of this (foundation) was having a global view of the security threats and issues in Africa and elsewhere,” he said.

Although, he holds no official government position, this is not the first time Mbabazi appears together on President Museveni’s foreign visit. In January 2020 they were together at a two-day France – Africa summit on drug trafficking and counterfeit medicines on the continent held in the Togolese capital, Lome.

Mbabazi attended in his capacity as a director of the Brazzaville Foundation; a charity organisation headquartered in the UK. It was founded in 2014 by Jean-Yves Ollivier, 77, said to be a long-time friend of Sassou-Nguesso.

Setting up the Brazzaville Foundation also involved Lord Bell of the infamous PR firm Bell Pottinger which was linked to the Gupta family corruption scandal in South Africa under President Jacob Zuma.

Apart from Mbabazi, others listed as key people in the Brazzaville Foundation are Kabiné Komara; former Prime Minister of Guinea and until 2008 a director at the African Export-Import Bank in Cairo, Egypt; Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe, former South African president, and Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria.

The Brazzaville Foundation, which has also been linked to British royalty through Prince Michael of Kent (Queen’s cousin), has similar objectives as the Africa Global Security Foundation that Mbabazi unveiled in Kampala. The question is why did Museveni and Mbabazi feel compelled to create a parallel organisation with the same leaders; Mbabazi as chairman and Jean-Yves Ollivier as his deputy?

Advisory Board of the Brazzaville Foundation: 1st row: Amama Mbabazi, Kgalema Motlanthe, Prince Michael of Kent. 2nd row: Dr Mathews Phosa, President Olusegun Obasanjo, Jean-Yves Ollivier. COURTESY PHOTO

Tackling coups

Jean-Yves Ollivier is a French businessman who works primarily in the commodities sector in emerging markets. Wikipedia describes him as “a parallel diplomat” who uses his personal relationships with heads of states to facilitate mediation and peace processes in Africa.

Since military coups are the current headache for African leaders, the next question is whether Mbabazi, Jean-Yves Ollivier, Museveni and Sassou-Nguesso can stave-off the coup pandemic gripping Africa?

Forceful power grabs or coups d’état are back in vogue and Africa’s remaining strongmen are nervous. In just over one year, the continent has experienced four successful coups including two in Mali and one each in Guinea-Conakry and Burkina Faso.

There have also been four coup attempts in DR Congo, Djibouti, Niger and Guinea-Bissau as well as an arbitrary transfer of power in Chad following the assassination of long-serving Chadian president, Idris Déby in April, last year.

The power grabs, observers say, are also threatening democracy on the continent which has been taking root over the past two decades.

Coups have been on President Yoweri Museveni’s lips since the successful takeover of government in Guinea-Conakry where Lt. Col. Mamady Doumbouya toppled 83 year old Alpha Condé in September, last year.

Museveni told France24 last September that the coup in Guinea was a “step backwards” adding that the coup leaders should be sanctioned and jettisoned out of power. He re-echoed his thoughts on coups at this year’s Liberation Day celebrations on Jan.26.  Museveni argued that the current problem of coups facing African governments, particularly in West Africa, can be dealt with when African leaders come together to find lasting solutions.

“Africa should not allow those novices to disturb our peace and agenda.  We shall get in touch with West African leaders to harmonise our thinking,” Museveni said at Kololo independence grounds in Kampala.

Museveni blamed the recurrence of coups in West Africa on the emergency of several armed groups in the Sahel region and the surrounding areas.  “The problems happening in more parts of Africa today started with the attack on Libya by people (the West) who could not listen to Africa. All terrorist groups who were in Libya are now spread up in the whole of Sahel,” he said.

But Dr. Solomon Asiimwe, a lecturer of governance at Uganda Martyrs University told The Independent on Feb.17 that coups are simply a result of bad governance. “Once you lack strong institutions of governance coupled with lack of accountability, you will have coups.”

“You just need to check the democratic governance standards of the countries where the coups have so far happened?” he said, “To avoid coups, you must have strong institutions.”

Dr. Asiimwe told The Independent that in countries, particularly in eastern Africa, where the coups have not yet happened, it is because the leaders there still have a firm grip on the military.

Dr. Asiimwe told The Independent that although many African countries had made strong democratic gains two decades ago, some of them have recently relapsed into the old ways of governance.

“Many of these countries in Africa are what are called transitional (democratic) countries) which means that they could easily fall back into the old ways,” he said.

According to a study titled, “African military coups d’état, 1956-2001: frequency, trends and distribution,” which was published in 2003 in the Journal of Modern  African Studies, sub-Saharan Africa has experienced 80 successful coups and 108 failed coup attempts between 1956 and 2001— an average of four coups per year.  However, Patrick McGowan, the study author noted that the figure had halved in the following decade ending 2019, thanks to many states embracing democracy.

In a recent blog post for the Observer Research Foundation’s strategic studies programme, Abhishek Mishra, an associate fellow says it is important to assess the recurrence of coups on the continent basing on the prevailing conditions in the international system and its shifting global orders.

“The structures, motivations, and conditions that incite coups in Africa, whether on the national/domestic front or on the global front, have not changed much,” he said in a blog published last September.

“On the one hand, democracy across Africa has not made satisfactory progress in national politics as to prevent a return to authoritarianism on the continent (while) on the other hand; the possible evidence of external involvement or sponsorship of coups cannot be ignored.”

He mentions particularly Russia which he says its mercenary groups have appeared to play a deeper role in countries such as Mali, Libya and the Central African Republic. He also mentions the surge of foreign interest in Africa, dubbed the “New Scramble” for resources and influence in the continent; a democratic recession in sub-Saharan Africa with weakening of democratic institutions and civil society; and the emergence of new and subtle methods of overturning constitutionally mandated presidential term limits and subsequently winning rigged or managed elections.

In his contribution during a seminar organized last October by the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies, Kwesi Aning, the director of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra also suggested that optimism around the declining rate of coups this century needed to be treated with caution.

He said forecasts should account for a “teeming democratic sea—of frustrated, uneducated, barely educated, unemployed youths—who see the possibilities of their participation in the domestic government of their countries truncated by people who want to stay in power.”

Dr. Asiimwe said he doubts much will be achieved with Amama Mbabazi’s Africa Global Security Foundation. He says the African Global Security Foundation is just a loose coalition.

“It’s not an internationally recognised organisation with a treaty ratified by governments subscribing to it. I also see it having challenges because it has no legal basis on the international stage.”

Asiimwe said the foundation may struggle with buy-in from other countries considering that some of its objectives around peace and security are already provided for within the framework of the African Union. “So what has failed in the AU that the Africa Global Security Foundation is going to do?” Asiimwe wondered.

****

2 comments

  1. Why is Museveni so worried about coups?

  2. Dear passionate people

    FEDA( Femmes et éducation des Adultes) is a women-led not for profit organization based in Kazimia and dealing with education and income generation of women and girls in the context of war. It launched the campaign <> here under detailed in this message.

    Please join us and support this campaign for girls who are in mourning of their parents. This cause is for humanity. The world would be concerned and touched.

    You can do a lot of things in supporting us by:

    1. Sharing this campaign with colleagues, friends and families,

    2. Help spreading it to church members , charitable people and individual donors

    3. Making your personal donations ,

    4. Reaching media coverage to widely publish it.

    Thanks for being part of our cause.

    ___________________________________________________

    EDUCATION SUPPORT OF WAR ORPHANED GIRLS IN EASTERN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC)

    The situation of education, in particular, girls’ education, in the DRC deteriorated recently due to the past several decades of war.

    Conflict continues to destroy not just school infrastructure, but also the hopes and ambitions of a whole generation of Girls. War Orphaned girls are poor, lack access to education; they are engaged in exploitative work conditions and conduct transactional sex for a livelihood.

    These girls generally do not resume their education after a conflict. These lost years of schooling reflect the legacy of the conflict and its repercussions. The case is much more complicated and deplorable for orphaned Girls. They face extreme poverty, lacking basic needs in their lives without substantial assistance in education.

    War orphaned girls generally do not resume their education after a conflict. These lost years of schooling reflect the legacy of the conflict and its repercussions and are facing extreme poverty, lacking basic needs of their lives without substantial assistance in education. These girls generally do not resume their education after a conflict.

    Sponsoring a child is a wonderful way to help change the life of a war orphaned girls in need and bring hope to her entire community.

    By becoming a sponsor you will provide desperately needed opportunities to war orphaned girls with incredible potential. In addition, you will be making a personal investment, building a relationship with your beneficiary and her family, and joining a family of “life-givers” around the world who share your commitment to change the world, one child at a time.

    The impact even small donations can make to a war orphaned girl and her family in FIZI territory/DRC in which we operate is enormous. The average cost to send one Congolese girl to school (fees, uniforms, books, school supplies, etc,) for secondary school is only $100 for ages 13 to 18.

    For many families in FIZI, where the average household income is less than $1.50 a day, these expenses can be overwhelming, leading to girls starting school later in their lives and/or dropping out of school completely.

    The world’s future leaders are today’s children and youth, and the Democratic republic of Congo is not an exception. Many families and schools in DRC do not have the needed resources to ensure that the girls are able to attend school and graduate, as well as receive a quality education. We are reinforcing and boosting education by providing the badly-needed supporting structure and resources. This includes the provision of scholarships, uniforms, and school supplies.

    Getting an education is not just a fundamental human right. It is pivotal to increasing employment and income opportunities. It is fundamental to breaking the cycle of poverty. Education is the key to unlocking the golden door of freedom for all in DRC. It is the bedrock of social and economic development. Education is crucial as it is an investment in human capital. This yields tremendous benefits at many levels and spheres. It benefits the individual, family community, and nation.

    Education is a sustainable means to alleviate poverty and bring lasting change. Consequently, to effect permanent change, any effort to bring lasting change must include education, in one way or the other.

    Providing quality education to children reflects the fact that every child is entitled to fundamental human rights and should be treated with dignity.

    Targets concerned with this call for support are further and recently identified 64 orphaned girls aged 12 to 18 years whose their studies were disrupted because of war who are living in extreme vulnerability conditions as well as teenager’s girls who suffer the consequences of forced marriage and divorce spontaneously at school age.

    The campaign support sorphaned Girls stand on following criteria

    • Having lost both parents from the war.

    • Orphaned Girls living with grandmothers

    • Orphaned Girls experiencing emotional or psychological impacts in their host families

    • Child losing one of its parents, the survivor remained seriously injured and amortized following the end of armed violence namely torture, sexual violence, contamination of HIV / AIDS Etc …

    • Neglected and discriminated orphans Girls living either in the families of its parents or in centers in the streets

    Where war orphaned girls lack access to education, this results in poverty, violence, abuse, sexual exploitation, early and forced marriage and other undesirable results.

    Poverty and its related challenges contribute to high dropout rates. Therefore, one of the goals of FEDA is to create opportunities for promising but impoverished war orphaned girls

    Unfortunately, gaining a proper education is challenging for impoverished or underprivileged families in DRC. The quality of education that girls receive is affected to a very large degree by the supporting environment. This environment includes access to essential learning materials – books and school supplies. A supportive environment also includes consistent financial support so that girls can depend on being able to go to school, and finish their education.

    Targets concerned with this call for support are further and recently identified 64 orphaned girls aged 13 to 18 years whose their studies were disrupted because of war who are living in extreme vulnerability conditions as well as teenager’s girls who suffer the consequences of early and forced marriage and divorce spontaneously at school age.

    The campaign supports orphaned Girls stand on following criteria

    • Having lost both parents from the war.

    • War orphaned Girls living with grandmothers

    • War orphaned Girls experiencing emotional or psychological impacts in their host families

    · Girls losing one of its parents, the survivor remained seriously injured and amortized following the end of armed violence namely torture, sexual violence, contamination of HIV / AIDS Etc .

    · Neglected and discriminated war orphaned Girls living either in the families of its parents or under independent caregivers

    The campaign is promoted by FEDA (Femmes et Education des Adultes)

    FEDA is a not for profit women –led organization, created on September 8, 2007 established following the needs of providing education and income generation opportunities to women, who as a result of the conflict were denied an education and now, need support to help re-building their lives. FEDA recognizes Education as a tool for transformation

    FEDA is registered at:

    1. Local level under decision of district administrator N0: 5072/Bur/AT/TF/2009,

    2. Provincial level under N0: 01/1597/CAB/groupro-sk/2020 (Authorization of regional commissioner) and provincial minister of Justice N0: 112/DP-SKV/CA/5835/2020

    3. National level by the ministry of justice: Just/SG/20/841/2020

    FEDA’s vision is to provide women and girls with educational and income-generating opportunities to eradicate illiteracy, violence and extreme poverty.

    FEDA aims at social awareness; promoting literacy of women and girls, girls’ education support, self-confidence and personality development; the promotion of gender equality, women’s and girls’s rights, and the social and economic empowerment of women; promoting health and the environment through educational activities; women’s participation in decision-making and leadership as well as the construction of peace.

    The value on which FEDA has based its activities is equality in the areas of rights, treatment and opportunities for women and girls without discrimination based on origin, religion, ethnicity or personal beliefs

    Best regards

    *Madam Lamartine Byahenga*
    Secrétaire Exécutive /Executive Secretary
    FEDA (Femmes et Education des Adultes)
    Kazimia-Centre, Territoire de FIZI, Province du Sud-Kivu/ République
    Democratic du Congo
    Tel: +243 826589337/+243827505187
    E-mail: feda.secretariat@gmail.com
    __________________________
    *Winner of British award for Africa development 2015,
    *Member of GBV prevention (Uganda)
    *Member of Initiative for equality coalition(USA),
    *Member of global
    women network for reproductive rights(Phillipines),
    *Member of YDAY-KIVU (DRC)
    *Member of NDSAN network( Italy), *Member of Girls not Brides( UK)
    *Member of coalition of adolescent girls(USA)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *