”Ugandans,If what was reported in the Uganda Observer was true about giving jobs to only NRM supporters or card holders, then the President one time I loved is speedily moving towards the path of Zimbabwe Dictator, Robert Mugabe. Mr.Mugabe has been employing the same tactics to keep himself in power. As one millionaire businessman remarked: ‘Iam rich because I belong to Zanu-PF. If you want to be rich you must join Zanu-PF’, Phillip Chiyangwa boasted one time. The whole purpose is to create a new ruling elite as a means of ensuring their loyalty and underpinning support for the dictatorial regime.
The first thing that Museveni borrowed from Mugabe was the change of presidential term limits in our constitution. At a ceremony on 30 December 1987, accompanied by the refrain You Are The Only One, Mugabe was declared executive president by parliament with powers to dissolve parliament and declare martial law and the right to run for unlimited number of terms of office. Both have ruled through a vast system of patronage, controlling appointments to all senior posts in the civil service, the defence forces, the police and parastatal organisations, gaining a virtual stranglehold over government machinery. One by one, the civil service, the state media, the police and parastatal organisations are now subordinated to Museveni’s will.
Both these politicians took their troops to Congo without consulting parliament. They were both hoping to establish themselves as the region’s principal power-brokers though it exposed both of them as real dictators. The Congo venture changed Museveni’s image as ‘the darling of the west’ and a’ new breed of African leaders’ to a ‘normal African leader’ particularly when his Army got involved in the scramble for Congo’s mineral resources.
Both these leaders threaten voters with war drums during presidential elections. Museveni made a threatening remark in 2007 in Luwero to that effect. There is also the famous ‘Kwotapini ojijamu nanyondo’ meaning ‘the quarterpin can only be removed by hammer’. Similarly, Mugabe also remarked during the 1985 election meeting in Bulawayo to Zapu supporters that: ‘Where will we be tomorrow?’ he asked. ‘Is it war or is it peace tomorrow? Let the people of Matebeleland answer this question’.
Also during the war against the white rule he had become fixated by the power that came from the gun. In a radio broadcast from Mozambique in 1976, summing up his view of electoral democracy, he had remarked: ‘Our votes must go together with our guns. After all, any vote we shall have, shall have been the product of the gun. The gun which produces the vote should remain its security officer-its guarantor. The people’s votes and the people’s guns are always inseparable’.
The way both leaders carry themselves during presidential elections is also worthy noting particularly in name calling their opponents. Museveni throws a lot of insults to opposition politicians. At one point during Mugabe address, he shouted in reference to Tsvangirai: ‘Death to the tea boy’.
I was wondering if mayor of Kampala, Erias Lukwago, was a victim of this copy cat game between Mugabe and Museveni till when one Ugandans at heart (UAH) member, sent the following email to us, and that explained everything. He basically summed up almost everything i thought of this so called tribunal that found Lukwago guilty:
‘’ I has expected that Bamugemereire report would recommend for the resolving of KCCA, But I was surprised that only Lord Mayor is found guilty.
1. If Lukwago was not conducting meetings, how come that councillors were being paid sitting allowances? Bamugemereire did not see this nor did she question the person who was paying them.
2. Evidence was tendered before the tribunal that for number of times Lukwago called for meetings and Councillors boycotted them on this the report would have recommended for expulsion of all boycotting Councillors from the council but instead it is Mayor who is found guilty.
3. Lukwago questioned the legality of the tax being imposed on his people and even requested for meeting for the Authority to discuss the matter and the meeting was failed. Why didn’t Bamugemereire question under what mandate was this tax imposed?
The worst disappointment of it all is the Lawyer “KK” who has now turned himself into the spokesperson of the tribunal, Government and NRMO on this issue.
Now some of us get worried by this Aghakan-Museveni partnership verses the opposition. Isnt this the reason why Andrew Mwenda was thrown out of the Daily Monitor?(Read Mwenda’s Resignation letter) . I guess the question on every one’s mind now is that: ‘is President Museveni going to walk that extra mile to meet Mugabe in the race for dictatorship or not?’ Let us just keep watching.
Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba.