So Ugandans are now into the 23rd year of the NRA/NRM reign! Its Chief Execution Officer, Commander Yoweri Museveni was on hand last Saturday at their ‘celebrations’ at Kololo airstrip to remind Ugandans and the international community that they are here to stay, after 22 years that is.
But this left me wondering if this is the same, slender Comrade Museveni who, within a month of his arrival in town 22 years ago visited Makerere University and at the faculty of law grounds, told us that his was a transitional government and, that they would hand over power within two years? Funny old world.
Funny because Commander Museveni told his Kololo audience that anyone thinking of a political change of leadership in Uganda sometime soon is a ‘dreamer’.
After all, according to him, the NRA/NRM has the skill and the determination to “keep” Uganda. This is not surprising, considering the circumstances under which these guys landed in town.
Objective No. 1 of the NRA/NRM stipulated at their inception, perhaps in Luwero bushes was to; ‘Overthrow the UPC/Obote dictatorship by force of arms’ and, most significantly, to ‘Establish a one party “Popular Democracy” in Uganda, with the NRA as the military wing of the ‘revolution’ and NRM as the political wing.
With 22 years of experience, who would not have the skills? And with the ‘mafuta mingi’ economics of privatisation and squander of the proceeds in the various sectors, including securing the best health deals in Global Aids Fund, who would not have the determination to continue?
I just wonder how someone like Commander Besigye, an authoritative partner and founding ideologue in this ‘revolution’ could ever have dreamt that he could jump the queue, cleanse or take over this historical cause by means other than that which brought them in.
Anyhow, for those Ugandans who were celebrating ‘victory’ against those backward chaps, I mean those ‘biological substances’, these semantics are irrelevant.
After all, their heroes totalled only 27 at the beginning yet by the victory day they included several thousand child soldiers many of whom were shorter than the AK47 guns they were dragging into town.
Which now leads me to the question of who these decent child soldiers were, their parents, their origins and the circumstance of their recruitment. Reading Milton Obote’s Notes on Concealment of Genocide in Uganda, www.upcparty.net/history paragraphs 149 to 170, I get some idea.
In fact, as we celebrate the new beginning, I would invite everyone to read it. Why they were mainly and mostly boys and not girls, who were those who were keen to kill older people and girls is a wonder dream. To whose benefit was it, UNLA or NRA?
These questions need answers since Commander Museveni told his loving audience that, “Kenya has taught us that East Africa is like a human body”. A rare and a nice thought.
Rare because if he believes it, then perhaps we should not have invaded Rwanda in October 1990, never invaded Congo twice, the Sudan let alone the genocide in our own northern Uganda.
Of course if Ugandan troops are found in Kenya, then Minister Kutesa would resign! Is it not that charity begins at home, or is it the case that we love to become experts in exporting war?
Whatever the case, I am confident that with the sad developments involving Mwai Kibaki who has been minister since I was born, Ugandans and Africans generally will take a leaf from their tragedy and say NO to dictatorship where ever it is.
When those who want to execute their fifty year plan get back to the drawing table, am sure it will not be lost to them that if the human bodies in Kenya can do it, what about those suffering lots in Uganda, who have seen themselves subjected to the most horrid and arrogant portrait of power Africa has ever seen?
I say it again; no one has monopoly over violence, even trainee Kenyans seemed to have done wonders in one month, something that ordinary Ugandans have not yet tried.
Most of the atrocities committed both in Luwero and the North, have been by military ‘experts’; in both cases, with interesting similarity, characteristics and execution.
But unlike Commander Museveni, I have always had a dream about lots of things. For instance, that one day, in my life time, religious leaders would have the courage to pray like Archbishop Lwanga reportedly did at the Kololo event thus; God should give our leaders “guidance and good health to make good decisions and laws that are just and wise, thus bringing prosperity (for all), happiness and credibility”.
Yes, so that in future, when Commander Museveni gets tired or God calls him back to Ruhama, we are able to have a genuine and new crop of leaders with credibility
And of course, as a practising Catholic from Tororo, I pride that my religious leaders pray for courage and right judgement for peace and justice, at last.
Only prayer can help us heal from the historical fact that the Chief of Luwero operations for 4 years and the Commander in Chief of Uganda for 22 years told the BBC’s Gavin Hewitt in an interview that he had never read the UN’s Geneva Convention on war!
Could this explain the child soldiers and the skulls in Luwero and the conduct of the northern war now conveniently called ‘Kony’s war?
And my dream continues; that one day in my life time, Uganda and Africa shall be viewed not from our leaders’ skills at the bullet and capacity to cling to power, but rather, by the smiles of God’s Angels, those beautiful African boys and girls, their mothers and fathers, their grand parents and their greats, surrounded by the expanse of their coffee, oil, uranium, gold and their prowess at building for the future.
Joseph Ochieno is UPCs Special Presidential Envoy to the United Kingdom and Ireland. He writes, commentates and campaigns for human rights and multi party democracy in Africa.