When President Tibuhaburwa Museveni captured the instruments of power in Uganda in 1986 through the barrel of the gun, he immediately started the popularization of the falsehood that the national Resistance Movement (Movement) was an effective political means of involving everyone and every community of Ugandans in the leadership and governance of the country towards development and change.
Almost simultaneously, he adopted the politico-military strategy of depoliticizing, dissocialising, de-radicalizing, dehumanizing, de-intellectualizing and impoverishing the broad masses of Ugandans towards ensuring that the Movement became the central to everything in the country. He invaded the academia and destroyed independent thought and sowed the seed of fear using the administration, which came to be filled with cadres from departmental level to Council level.
As if this was not enough, he made sure that he segregated between the sciences (Arts, Social Science and Natural Science) so that even if knowledge workers held similar qualifications and boasted of similar experience, they did not earn the same. He preferred those in the natural sciences and natural sciences-linked professions to earn excessively more that the others.
This was apartheid-like strategy in the academia. Some knowledge workers see no reason why they should produce or educate young people to excel and take over from them. Many have been thoroughly deintellectualized so that the university is no longer a centre of dynamic intellectual activity. Ignoramuses outside the university setting and leaning towards the ruling party are now the intellectual leaders in the country. It is terrible when deintellectualization is concentrated among the indigenous groups outside the university setting.
The President popularized the falsehood that political parties (i.e., Uganda People’s Congress, Democratic Party, Conservative Party and Uganda Patriotic Movement) had reached a ‘gentleman’s agreement with the NRM/Army to postpone their political activities to allow the new regime to rule and stabilize the country politically, economically and security-wise, while they were in abeyance at least for four years, after which he would open up the country to competitive politics.
The President knew what he wanted. He had talked of “fundamental change and not mere change of guards”.
He wanted the leadership and governance of Uganda to be completely different from what it had been – neo ideological and constrained by political divisions and confusion. He wanted to build a new legacy and dominion that would not be challenged by any other political organizations. He strategized to absorb the various political parties into his Movement scheme, not to empower them but to weaken them and use their leaders to buttress his rule. Since then, he has never allowed political parties to manifest as essential element in the political spectrum of the country. Thirty-seven yeas on he is the supreme ruler of Uganda who organizes elections every five years since 1996, not to lose them but to win them and demonstrate that however long he has ruled, he is the most popular ruler that Uganda has ever had.
Despite his commitment to depict himself as the most popular ruler Uganda has ever had, he presided over the erection of some obnoxious and/or exclusive laws, some favouring refugees and former refugees in his regime. Let me mention them:
- The Movement Act 1997: This made everyone, born and unborn, a member of NRM and Movement the only legitimate political group
- The Sectarian Law: There was no sectarianism in Uganda before Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni captured the instruments of power. Ugandans were the most hospitable people on. Earth. This law was made to secure refugees that opportunistically found themselves as functionaries in the NRM/A regime, were still refugees or would seek refugee status in Uganda.
- The Political and Other Organization Law: This was designed to disable alternative organization to NRM – whether political, social, environmental, etc.
- The Dual Citizens Law: This was ostensibly designed to enable Ugandans residing in other countries and who acquired citizenship in their new countries of abode, but the greatest beneficiaries have been people with roots in Rwanda and Mulenge in DRC.
- Anti-Terrorism Law 2002: While the intent and purpose of this law can be easily discerned, it has been used to disable people of political persuasion or organization alternative to NRM
- Local Government Act (Chapter 243): While this was intended to improve the organization and functionality of local authorities, it was pirated by the Movement and now functions to ensure the Movement is in full control of local authorities in terms of structure and function.
- The Electoral Commission Act, Cap 140: This makes the Electoral Commission a body corporate but puts the President at the centre of elections as the appointing authority of all the members of the Commission.
These legal instruments have been frequently abused by the Movement people without expecting repercussions, but when people of alternative political faiths have come in conflict with them, the consequences have been clear: if not accused of treason, then long prison terms, sometimes without trial, have been exacted on the victims. It now looks most likely that the powers that be want to remove universal suffrage as the means to decide who governs Uganda. If the constitutional changes that the Minister of Constitutional Affairs and Justice, Nobert Mao, has talked about take place, they are likely to involve election of a President to Parliament, which is in the hands of the NRM and the President. This could be the reason behind the fact that the President’s son is conducting public exposure without any constraints by the often-harsh security organs, while other alternative political leaders are as chained as they have been since President Tibuhaburwa Museveni captured the instruments of power in 1986. The officially evolving popular view is that Parliament will elect the President. If, therefore, the President’s son decided to stand as President, the predominantly-NRM legislature would elect him President of Uganda. Some top-level Movement leaders have not hidden their belief that if the President’s son replaced his father, the interests of NRM would be preserved and served well. To them the interests of Uganda as a country are secondary and insignificant. This is in line with the evolving predominance of hereditary politics that other political families have already exploited to the benefit of their genealogies. Of course, ultimately God will determine what obtains. He has always intervened to frustrate plans of men
In my book, “Political and Leadership History of Uganda: From British Colonial Era to Movement Era” which is in the Press, and may be published any time now, I mention Mchaka Mchaka as another strategy of President Tibuhaburwa Museveni to depoliticize and deradicalize the majority of Uganda’s indigenous groups for effective perennial domination and disempowerment of the indigenous people by the Movement well in the future. I write:
“Mchaka Mchaka (a mixture of military science and political education) is the avenue used to inculcate the various aspects of NRM ideology It is a disguised program of political indoctrination into the NRM ideology, including the belief that political parties are at the root of Uganda’s past troubles in every sphere of human endeavor, which is a falsehood. It is a political program, indoctrination into hating especially democratic pluralism, and a constant reminder of the skeletons of the political conflicts in the past, at whose centre Front for National Salvation (FRONASA), Patriotic Resistance Army (PRA) and National Resistance (NRA) all of which glorified violence, with Tibuhaburwa Museveni as the chief ideologue and leader. Aspects of the ideology, which are not publicly proclaimed to those exposed to military science and political education, are clandestinely proclaimed to the dominant small ethnic group”. All the ideology was/is directed at capturing the instruments of power; retaining power at all costs; violently occupying, dominating and exploiting Uganda’s resources for the benefit of a small, ethnically-oriented group of people with exogenous cultural and biological roots elsewhere (Rwanda and Mulenge in DRC)”.
I then add:
Because Mchaka Mchaka includes political indoctrination into the belief that political parties were responsible for Uganda’s problems, the falsehood serves to justify the restrictions of the political rights that are pursued by the NRM on alternative political organizations and of political actors in those organizations. This therefore explains the continuing domination of the political space, sub served by repressive, oppressive, suppressive and depressive laws (Movement Law, Political and Other Organizations Act, Anti-terrorism Act, Sectarianism Law). The political parties are confined at their headquarter, and if they venture into the population, even when campaigning for political office, they are hunted down by the personalized military and police. Post-election periods are periods of kidnaps (using vehicles called drones), arrests, incarceration, disappearance of politically-active functionaries of the political parties or trying civilians (mainly political activists) in military courts. Sometimes the Judiciary sends so-called treason cases to the military courts. Or else every effort is made to project the picture that there are no viable political parties in Uganda, through co-options, political buying, cooperation agreements with leaders of the political parties, political exclusion and continuous propaganda against political pluralism to disorient the young against it by sustaining the lie that past problems of Uganda were caused by political parties. This is despite the truism that political parties have never been given adequate opportunity to be in power long enough by the militarists since independence. UPC. The only time a political party (UPC) was in power was between 1962 and 1971 and between 1980 and 1985. The rest of the time, Uganda has been in the hands of militarists or political militarists pretending to wear civilian cloth and to adhere to the rule of law.”
We can now address the question “Can genuine involvement of indigenous groups of Ugandans in development and governance occur under Musevenism?’
If we take everything I have written so far as beginning and ending with President Tibuhaburwa Museveni, then we can characterize it as Musevenism. In one sentence “It is the desire of President Tibuhaburwa Museveni to ensure that the governance of Uganda remains firmly in the armpit of his political club, kith and kin, family and ethnic group, with others just servicing it well in the future.
Musevenism has ideological, political, military, and sociological, ecological, cultural, economic, environmental and futuristic aspects, all woven and interwoven into the word “domination”. Under these conditions of governance, it is wishful thinking to imagine, think, believe and be convinced that genuine involvement of indigenous groups of Ugandans in development and governance can occur under Musevenism. Musevenism aims to ultimately remove the leadership and governance of Uganda from the hands of indigenous Ugandans and ensure that the prosperity and destiny of the country lie entirely in foreign hands, preferably in a few hands of former refugees, Indians and Chinese. Ethnic segregation is its hidden agenda. If the country were still a debating society, this is what would ignite serious national debate, because it reverses whatever gains we made towards meaningful and effective independence and sovereignty. It is prone with sociopolitical collapse and chaos in future.
One thing is true. Nothing under and within Musevenism has really been negotiated with Ugandans. Everything has been imposed through the NRM pathway of power acquisition, exercise, retention, domination, and military, social, political, economic, ecological, environmental exclusion of indigenous Ugandans as much as possible and well in the future.
Accordingly, indigenous groups of Ugandans have become more or less like slaves of the increasingly exclusive State. The majority of Ugandans in all spheres of life no longer have confidence and assertiveness in improving their own livelihoods. That’s why they are easily convinced that they can develop and make ends meet through money bonanzas from the NRM regime in general and President Tibuhaburwa Museveni in particular.
The ultimate impact is that the people, now mostly youths, no longer engage in hard work to produce and transform their livelihoods, but simply look on the chimney producing money bonanzas, hoping that they will be among the few to be targeted by the “releasers’ of money bonanzas. The majority of the people are outside the chimney and simply fence for themselves. Community initiatives seem to be a thing of the past. Some of the mushrooming mental breakdowns among indigenous Ugandans may be explained by evoking this reality. However, serious integrated multidimensional research is needed to establish the facts scientifically.
The grand falsehood is that when a few partisan individuals are given money bonanzas they initiate projects that then produce and sell, and the rest of the community benefits through a trickledown effect. However, failure has outstripped success in all the money bonanza schemes. Lessons seem not to have been learn’t by the releasers of money bonanzas. They continue to do things the same way and reap the same failures as if the aim is just to release as much money as they can whatever failure outcomes they realize. This way they are keeping the country on the road of underdevelopment.
If underdevelopment and uninvolvement of the majority of Ugandans in development and production is the order rather than the exception during the era Musevenism, the explanation can be sought can best be sought in the determination of the NRM regime and President Tibuhaburwa Museveni to invest in individuals rather than communities an aspect of Musevenism. Musevenism is ultimately ant people, anti-communities of indigenous Ugandans. No wonder, most Ugandans are today not only discontented with the way they are being governed for exclusion, but they are also despondent and unsure of what the future holds. Mental breakdowns are likely to overwhelm families and communities. To a critical mass of Ugandans, development and involvement in governance have become a joint distant possibility. Transgression rather than progression is now the ultimate end product of government policies and choices in development.
Therefore, so long as Musevenism persists and continues to both predominate in every sphere of life, and to dominate the country behind the falsehood of having liberated Ugandans, we can forget genuine involvement of the absolute majority of our people in the governance of their country. It is a slave-master society the NRM has built and continues to build for the benefit of a small ethnic group. The small ethnic group has the power, money, wealth, opportunities and future, and has strategized to displace and dispossess the new slaves of their land everywhere. Ugandans can now seek to use their COLLLECTIVE intellectual capacity to debate their new reality. Conspiracy of silence will make their reality direr. Unfortunately, in his article in the Daily Monitor of 27 January 2023 “Museveni will go but Musevenism will remain paka last” Benjamin Rukwengye warns us that Musevenism is an attitude of mind that will not easily disappear when President Tibuhaburwa Museveni goes. He concludes, “The question for whoever takes over will be how to negotiate, correct and/or undo 40 years of this practice, system, philosophy, and ideology that is Museveni’s Uganda”.
For God and My Country.