Britain through its citizens put Museveni into power. Tiny Rowlands funded the guerrilla war and facilitated Museveni’s travel. William Pike has led the media and publicity work for Museveni since the guerrilla war days. Linda Chalker a trusted former minister in Thatcher’s government was the first foreign dignitary to meet Museveni as president and has remained a very close adviser since then. Paul Collier has been the chief foreign macroeconomist that constructed structural adjustment program (SAP) based on Thatcherism – get socialism and state out of Uganda’s economy; focus on inflation at the expense of employment; discipline trade unions and facilitate labor flexibility to hire and fire at will and pay low wages; and privatize all public enterprises so that laissez faire capitalism and invisible hand of market forces drive Uganda’s economy and society. Structural adjustment program has been implemented by British economists in the powerful ministry of finance and central Bank. The Department for International Development (DFID) has also been active in Uganda’s economy.
Museveni came into power during the Conservative government. The Labor government extended support. “The new British Labor government has decided that it ‘will not press for multiparty reform in Uganda’”(Journal of Democracy April 1998). With this blessing, Museveni ruled the country his corrupt and sectarian ways and destroyed opposition parties so that by the time multiparty politics was allowed he had consolidated his hold on power militarily, economically and politically.
Museveni was imposed on Ugandans by western powers led by British interests during the Conservative government in Britain. Ugandans have never liked Museveni and that is why he has rigged every election since 1996. The Conservative government in Britain should take Museveni out of power in order to maintain good relations between the two countries and the two peoples. Museveni has turned out to be the worst leader in Uganda since 1894 for the following illustrative reasons.
1. Museveni has destroyed the good work that British colonial government left behind at independence in 1962. Britain decided – thanks to the tireless work of S. Simpson, Director of Agriculture from 1911 to 1929 – to keep Uganda land for Uganda peasants and native agriculture. Museveni is dishing out Uganda land to foreigners and enticing peasants to abandon agriculture and drift into urban areas where they will get worse off. British authorities developed fisheries for the sole purpose of providing affordable source of protein to low income Uganda families. Museveni has turned fisheries into an export commodity to earn foreign currency for the rich thereby depriving Ugandans a valuable source of protein which has resulted in serious under-nutrition. Britain started industries to transform Uganda’s economic structure; add value to Uganda commodities and provide jobs. Museveni through a reckless policy of trade liberalization is killing the industries. For example cheap imports including used clothes and powdered milk have destroyed textile and dairy industries as well as forward and backward economic and social linkages. British colonial policies protected the environment in rural and urban areas. Wetlands/swamps, steep slopes and water catchment areas were protected to minimize soil erosion and water runoff and to keep local climates from getting warmer, among other things. Nobody was allowed to build in drainage channels in urban area to avoid floods. Museveni has changed all these arrangements. Wetlands have been drained and steep slopes opened up to development. The result is urban flooding especially in Kampala and environmental degradation throughout the country. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has warned that if corrective measures are not taken immediately, Uganda could become a desert within 100 years. No concrete action has been taken yet. And construction has continued in Kampala’s drainage channels as if Museveni has not seen the floods.
2. In the mistaken belief that if you divide up the country into tiny units (so-called decentralization) you will automatically improve delivery of services Museveni has divided the country into over 100 economically unviable districts along almost tribal lines. As a result Uganda is more divided than at any time in its history and economically the districts are regressing because they lack adequate funds and qualified human capacity.
3. The quality of education and healthcare built during the 1960s has been destroyed by Museveni government. Consequently, Uganda has produced mostly functionally illiterate graduates at all levels that are unemployable. As a result, skilled jobs are being taken by foreigners. Poor health care has resulted in rising infant mortality (a measure of a country’s standard of living) and maternal mortality.
4. Reckless encouragement of food exports at the expense of food for domestic consumption has resulted in some 10 million Ugandans going to bed hungry or eating non-nutritious cassava and maize/corn. Eating too much cassava and corn without adequate nutrient supplements has resulted in mental abnormalities including insanity. Under-nourished women are producing many underweight infants with permanent physical and mental disabilities. Children are dropping out of school in large part because they are hungry in a country that produces surplus food that is sold on international markets to earn foreign currency to cater to the needs of the rich.
5. Focusing on inflation control has resulted in high interest rates (to reduce money in circulation) that have discouraged borrowing and investment in labor intensive activities by small and medium enterprises. Consequently over 80 percent of Uganda’s youth are unemployed.
6. The economic growth and trickle down mechanism model has failed to distribute the benefits of economic growth averaging 6 percent per annum. Accordingly 20 percent in the top income bracket earn over 50 percent of Uganda’s income while 20 percent of Ugandans have got poorer. Consequently Uganda has not attained the general standard of living enjoyed in 1970. The diseases of poverty such as jiggers, scabies, trachoma, pneumonia, malaria and under-nutrition are spreading rapidly to all parts of the country. Because of these adverse developments, Uganda was not able to present a national MDGs report at the MDGs Summit of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2010 and President Museveni skipped the MDGs Summit.
7. Museveni has increasingly become autocratic governing Uganda at gun point and presiding over a failed state. These conclusions have been arrived at through careful assessment of Uganda’s political economy since 1986 when Museveni became president with a helping hand from Britain. Museveni has been described in a credible international magazine as one of the worst dictators.
For these reasons, Museveni must go and Britain should help him exit Uganda’s presidency in early 2011 since it helped him enter into it.
UAH forumist in New York