In his heart and mind, Museveni is convinced that he fought a five year guerrilla war and captured power. He used that power to purchase Uganda, the people and developments on it. His behavior is likened to someone who works for five years, earns an income that he uses to purchase a piece of land with a free hold title. That land becomes his property permanently and he does what he wants with it and the people settled as well as developments on it. He consults when he wants but the final decision is his. Those members of the family and relatives that have different ideas are either marginalized or thrown out. Finally he decides who should succeed him.
Museveni’s conviction that he owns Uganda and everything on it can be deduced from his utterances such as he killed an animal and will not let someone else feast on the meat; he found oil (the oil exploration began during Obote II government in 1985) and none will benefit from it except him, his family, relatives and friends. He has also said that a revolutionary cannot be chased out of the house like a chicken thief.
When he came to power he decided that those in exile except a few relatives and friends should stay there, work hard and remit earnings to help in Uganda’s development. He has since encouraged those Ugandans at home that can compete on the international labor market to work outside Uganda. This decision has created a shortage of skills that has necessitated hiring very expensive (largely ignorant about Uganda’s history and culture) expatriates to fill the gap. Consequently, Uganda has become a destination of foreign workers from many parts of the world.
The hiring, promotions and assignment of Ugandans are done apparently on individual merit which has turned out to be a method for hiring Museveni’s family members, relatives, in-laws and friends or those that can advance Museveni’s personal interests – with very little, if at all, relevance to education and experience.
Museveni (who is government) unlike any other leader in the world – past and present – decided to privatize Uganda’s economy and hand it over to foreigners including British Asians who repossessed their assets acquired during colonial days. He de-nationalized enterprises and handed them back to former colonial owners turning Uganda into a British neo-colony. He rejected advice to undertake a comprehensive assessment of public enterprises before deciding which ones to privatize, eliminate or retain. This quotation summarizes the rush:
“It has been decided [by the country’s owner] to begin divestment immediately, and to deal with any problems as they arise, rather than to delay the privatization program until all the constraints have been resolved. Privatization in Uganda has come to stay”(V. V. Ramanadham 1993).
Museveni has decided he has no money for primary school lunch but he has enough funds to help with funeral expenses. What a way to set priorities! No wonder Ugandans think Museveni is a foreigner because a true Ugandan would not come up with an idea like this, at least not so directly.
Museveni has decided he wants to divide the country into districts beyond recognition. In 1967 Uganda had 18 districts. Amin increased them to 38. Museveni has so far created over one hundred and he is promising more after the election. He knows he will be re-elected at gun point if need be because none can take over his territory unless he says so.
Museveni is pushing Uganda into the East African economic integration and political federation because it will contribute to the realization of his Tutsi empire dream (ultimately to cover Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and DRC as he announced in 1997). Therefore he does not care how the rest of Ugandans feel. He is openly preparing his son to succeed him when he becomes head of the federation government planned for 2012.
He has built a powerful security system (defense, police and intelligence) to hunt down and crush any dissent. What is even more disturbing is that the donors are going along. They just make announcements of disapproval that have no enforcement mechanism.
During the preparation for this month’s presidential, parliamentary and local elections Museveni has used huge funds (the government has announced it is broke), state infrastructure and institutions including security forces to his advantage. We have a voter register with more registered voters in excess of those eligible to vote. The campaign is taking place in a playing field that has disproportionately advantaged Museveni and his NRM.
Clearly, the use of democratic means has not worked to unseat Museveni. When you consider a clean voter register and a level playing field as pillars of free and fair elections you can conclude that February 18, 2011 elections have already been rigged by Museveni and his team. According to reports, Museveni agents are busy buying voters. His electoral commission (Museveni refused an independent commission) compiled a voters’ register that has more voters than those eligible to vote.
We are appealing to the international observers to base their recommendations on the entire electoral process from voter registration, to campaigning to casting and counting ballots and to the announcement of results. The yardstick for assessing and announcing results should be ‘free and fair elections’ and not on such expressions as ‘given the prevailing circumstances’. Since the 1980 elections all international observer announcements have been based on ‘given the prevailing circumstances’ not on ‘free and fair elections’. This ‘prevailing circumstances’ yardstick has favored the party in power, undermining the credibility and impartiality of observers.
Appealing to the Supreme Court will be a waste of time given its record of reaching a decision on election results. If this election turns out to be another sham, Ugandans should think seriously about the value of holding elections every five years because they have legitimized illegal regimes.