It would be a big mistake to discuss Uganda politics since independence in 1962 without a consideration of the role of external factors. External support can be in the form of commission or omission. The pre-independence politics was manipulated externally to defeat DP and Catholics and pave the way for Protestant UPC/KY and Obote as leader of the coalition and executive prime minister at independence. The coming to power of Amin in 1971 had a huge external involvement and sustained him in power until 1979. The overthrow of Obote II government in 1985 involved a heavy external hand operating from within and without Uganda. Obote was denied external funding at a particularly difficult time under the pretext he didn’t stick to one of the conditions set by the IMF and the World Bank cut off funding after Kanyeihamba and his colleagues convinced it at a conference in one of the Scandinavian countries on the basis of human rights violations and the World Bank switched support to NRM while still in the bush.
Besides Banyarwanda (Rwandese and Burundian Tutsi) mercenaries numbering some 33 percent of whom fifty percent were recruited in Luwero Triangle (Luwero, Mubende and Mpigi) (Dixon Kamukama 1997), Museveni was rendered huge external media, financial and diplomatic support during the guerrilla war, so Museveni didn’t fight the war by just capturing arms from the national army as he asserts (the war was funded and possibly directed by others).
Since he came to power in 1986, Museveni has been facilitated more than any other leader in Uganda and possibly in Africa. He was permitted to ban political activities in the countryside and to delay elections for ten years while others are allowed a few years within which to conduct multi-party elections. These ten years gave Museveni a golden opportunity to cripple pre-independence parties of UPC and DP from the bottom up. He used DP supporters to damage UPC first and then turned against DP which suffered the same fate as UPC as the NRM took root. UPC and DP were accused of being parties based on religion which divided the country. But Museveni’s political strength has been built largely on Catholic and Baganda support. Museveni will not go as long as he continues to enjoy the support of Buganda, Catholics and donors. Those who want change in Uganda must detach Museveni from these three forces and prevent mercenary involvement in Uganda affairs.
Under Museveni close supervision, a constitution was debated and passed in 1995 with a very important provision of presidential term limits. When the provision didn’t suit him, Museveni ordered it removed and indeed it was. In other countries the external forces would have objected by cutting off funds forcing its reinstatement. In Uganda’s case, the constitutional amendment was allowed to stand by the silence of donors. Museveni was also allowed to build strong military under the pretext of preventing riots against structural adjustment which he eventually used to invade and destabilize neighboring countries and overthrow governments without sufficient condemnation from outside. Absence of presidential term limits, strong personal rather than professional army and backing of Museveni by external forces, Uganda is stuck with a military dictator who recently announced he is running again in 2016. The donor community makes complaints which Museveni interprets as not strong enough to make him change course. He thinks these warnings are for public consumption, not powerful enough to force him to step down.
When Museveni government was criticized for poor economic and social performance because of program inflexibility, the response was “Both the IMF and World Bank are satisfied with the recovery program implementation by the NRM government. The country’s adherence to tough economic reform package has paid off”(Uganda Yearly Review 1993) in terms of winning NRM strong external support.
In exchange for facilities to experiment with structural adjustment program which was resisted in other countries, Museveni was allowed to diverge from some of the key conditions set by IMF and World Bank. NRM government exceeded the budget ceiling, accumulated external debt, increased military spending by reducing development funds, allowed corruption and sectarianism to flourish and mismanagement of public funds. Museveni re-appointed as ministers NRM cadres who had been dismissed or censured by parliament for corruption. He purchased one of the most expensive presidential jets using borrowed money for development purposes and was tolerated. He rejected creation of an independent electoral commission which signified NRM’s readiness to rig the election in order to stay in power. Since 1996 all the elections have been rigged but externally endorsed as reasonably free and fair. However, in 2011 because of serious irregularities throughout the entire electoral process (from voter registration to announcement of final results), the powerful and credible Commonwealth Observer Mission declared that the electoral process lacked a level playing field, implying that the results should be declared null and void.
The opposition presidential candidates rejected the results and did not concede defeat but some major donor countries congratulated Museveni on his re-election and donations continued to flow in. With endorsement of donors, the matter of electoral fraud and rejection of results was over and he proceeded with inauguration and forming the government of over 70 ministers which the opposition regards as illegitimate. So you can see how external factors have impacted on Uganda politics. If donors had rejected election results, Museveni would probably have been forced to form a government of national unity to avoid political instability. However, with external endorsement accompanied by generous donations and technical assistance, the possibility of a government of national unity was undermined and Museveni is the president ruling on the basis of winner takes all.
Regarding human rights and fundamental freedoms Museveni announced in his latest State of the Nation address that he will crush resistance to his rule and has ordered parliament which he controls to pass a draconian law for that purpose in addition to the tough anti-sectarian and anti-terrorism laws to stop non-violent demonstrations. In spite of condemnation by development partners, Museveni has continued to torture Ugandans for exercising their inalienable rights peacefully.
UDU believes very strongly in peaceful resolution of differences. But if the government doesn’t respond positively and donors don’t step in, opposition groups may be forced to turn to other strategies. We believe the international community can extend a helping hand in finding a mutually acceptable arrangement.
There was official announcement recently after a meeting in Kigali between Uganda and Rwanda delegations that national borders should be eliminated because they were demarcated by colonial authorities. The two countries of Rwanda and Uganda are about to be merged into under Tutsi hegemony as an integral part of creating a Tutsi Empire in the Great Lakes region. Because of strong external support for the so-called peace and security in the region that Kagame and Museveni have brought about and praised sky high the two leaders have become what commentators call “political bullies” roaming all over Uganda, Rwanda and DRC destroying as they please with heavy losses in lives and property and displacement of many families. With millions dead and millions others on the run and starving or dying of wounds or diseases since Museveni and Kagame came to power in 1986 and 1994 respectively, how can there be order, peace, security and stability in the Great Lakes region? What peace and security are they talking about? Human security refers to security from want, security from fear and security to live in dignity. These three forms of security are lacking in the Great Lakes region. Even political security is not there!
The ill treatment Kagame and Museveni have meted out to people who are not Batutsi is planting seeds of trouble. Batutsi believe they are created by God to rule others hereditary almost with divine right. They command others to do what they want in large part because of their military training and experience. Notwithstanding, delegations from powerful countries have visited Rwanda to deliver to Kagame messages of support for a job well done. Others have gone to Uganda. Onlookers from the region and those familiar with horrible developments in the region wonder what criteria are used in reaching such conclusions of support for Kagame and Museveni leadership.
As reward, we hear Rwanda has applied for a two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council. Is the purpose of seeking a seat to bring peace and security in the region or to cover up Rwanda government atrocities? The United Nations General Assembly will be judged on how it handles Rwanda’s application for a seat on the Security Council in view of reports accusing Kagame government of fomenting mayhem in DRC in addition to an earlier report alleging that Batutsi committed genocide against Bahutu in DRC.
The behavior of Kagame and Museveni towards non-Batutsi people which donors are aware of is planting seeds of trouble in the future. Batutsi believe they are more intelligent than others even with low education and are created by God to rule others hereditary almost with divine right. They command others to do what they want in large part because of their military training and experience. If you don’t toe the line they or their surrogates using fake names subject you to all sorts of abuse on the internet to shut you up. But times are changing. Other ethnic groups are waking up and demanding respect and equal opportunity and treatment. Any criticism of Batutsi leaders to do better is manipulated and interpreted as inciting genocide against them once more. But we are learning their tricks and we won’t allow them to continue with that strategy of intimidation.
When Museveni and Kagame finally retire presumably on account of age if not forced out earlier, you can be sure they will try to handpick their relatives to take over some of whom have already undergone military training (instead of ordinary education suitable for civilian government) in preparation for that role. We have seen the limitations of military leaders in Uganda and Rwanda and are not ready for another military government or military president. In a situation like this likely to lead to war a third party is necessary to bring the opposing groups together and help them hammer out a lasting agreement for peace, security, prosperity and happiness for all.