POSTED BY RUBUKUI
While addressing women groups in Mbale over the weekend, Museveni told them that he took the move to promote poverty eradication in the country after his success strategy regarding development of the people in Nyabushozi county and the neighboring places. While it is true that poverty in Nyabushozi has been eradicated, its not true that the methods that were used in Nyabushozi are the same methods that Museveni is preaching to the rest of the country.
Nyabushozi is Museveni’s home area. the neighboring areas are Kazo, parts of Lyantonde and Bwizibwera. Much of all this used to be part of the greater Mbarara district before Lyantonde, Kiruhura and Ibanda were curved out. The area in question is part of ecological cattle corridor and it is dominated by the cattle keepers. Before Museveni came to power, its only Bwizibwera that had signs of development characterised by modern cattle farms and banana plantations, modern permanent houses, a reasonable number of families that had embraced formal education. On other hand, Nyabushozi, Kazo and Kabula were dominated by nomadic cattle keepers who lived in abject poverty who had not so much embraced formal education. However, there existed isolated traditional enlightened families that led a modern lifestyle.
When Museveni took to the bush to fight the then government in 1981, it is this part of the cattle corridor that by his own designs dominated his NRA’s command positions. Shortly before in 1980 Museveni had migrated to Nyabushozi and sought to be elected as the area Member of Parliament (MP) but the residents at the instigation of these few influential enlightened elders outrightly rejected him in favour of their own Sam Kuteesa of the Democratic Party (DP). These enlightened families did not approve of his bush war and that is how apart from Mathew Rukikaire, no Hima was on his NRA political wing. In this regard, he only managed to recruit semi illiterates Himas and Rwandese refugees from the cattle corridor while he drew unsuspecting educated fighters from other areas of western Uganda.
After taking over power, Museveni’s Nyabushozi dominated top command of the NRA went on a looting/thieving spree. These commanders competed for primitive accumulation of wealth. Acquisition of land, modern houses, modern farms with huge numbers of cattle local cattle and armed soldiers guarding them, taking their children and relatives to good schools etc was the order of the day. Museveni assisted them through the ranches restructuring scheme, provision of valley dams, degazeting of Lake Mburo National Park to provide for his Kanyaryeru Luwero war victims, encouraging and protecting cattle keepers to cross from Kazo and invade Katonga wildlife reserve, founding of the State House funded Ngabo Academy, Provision of State House bursaries and bursaries, dominating the Presidential Protection Unit(PPU) now SFG whose pay was above other ordinary soldiers, domination of Revenue Protection Services/URA, State House staffing etc. Actually if one stood at the round about of Busega on the Masaka Road on a Friday afternoon and a Sunday evening you would think that may be the entire government is going and coming from a holiday respectively. The number of posh private cars, government vehicles and army jeeps would be amazing. Many of them would branch off the Kaguta Road and disperse in Nyabushozi while a few would proceed to Rubaale in Ntungamo and Kebisoni in Rukungiri. Ofcourse, such weekend trips would drain the national coffers of billions of shillings while feeding it into Nyabushozi.
Within a short period, a new class of wealthy families emerged in the area. There is a joke in that area where the traditionally wealthy and enlightened elders refer to the emerged wealthy ones as “The Museveni Wealth” as opposed to their traditional wealth. There was also an underground scheme to educate the boys and girls and to help them secure jobs. The scheme was managed by among others the likes of Enos Tumusiime when he was the MD of the defunct URC, Gordon Mwesigwa at the helm of City council, John Nasasira the ‘permanent minister’, Canon Rubunda the State House i/c welfare, Muhinda the tate House Comptroller. Everyone hailing from that area and in position of authority was tasked to assist and account for how much he had assisted. The likes of former IGG Jotham Tumwesigye who could not give in to nepotism were sidelined. There is talk that Museveni was angered by learning that Tumwesigye had not built a modern house at his country home in Nyabushozi and that he was staying in a rented house in Lubowa Housing Estate in Kampala. At one time former Army Commander, James Kaziini publicly thanked the people of Nyabushozi for providing a whole Division of recruits for the army! This implies that almost every home in Nyabushozimay have a soldier or two that earn a salary from the government. The Uganda army has six divisions and if one county of Nyabushozi contributes a Division, then there is a big problem.
After sometime, the new breed of sons and daughters of Nyabushozi acquired the necessary academic qualifications from within and abroad. For them, employment is guaranteed courtesy of high connections in government. They occupy vital positions in URA, State House, ENHAS, CAA, ISO, CMI, Army, SFG, oil sector and now they are venturing into Kayihura’s Police etc. At least almost 70% of the families in that area have a family member in any of the above mentioned sectors. As a result, while other family members ventured into juicy government jobs and security services, their spouses, siblings, offsprings and relatives would use the accruing proceeds to manage fancy shops in most of the fabulous shopping malls in major commercial centers, real estate business, and juicy tenders to supply ‘air’ to government departments. A good number of deceased senior army officers haled from that area. IGoing by the recent publicised survivors benefits of one hundred and sixty million for a single officer fromNyabushozi who died in a recent heilcopter crush in Kenya, you can imagine how much of such money ends up in that geographical area alone. Note that it is very rare for any other fallen soldier’s family to access such benefits since they may not have the necessary connections. Imagine the economic benefits that go with Museveni conducting much of government business from his country home in Rwakitura/Nyabushozi. With all those pilgrims to Rwakitura, Nyabushozi is a tourist destination for both local and foreign visitors. There has been concerted efforts to use the huge financial might to acquire huge chunks of land in Buganda (Kiboga, Mubende and Nakasongola), Tooro (Kyaaka and Rwamwanja) and Bunyoro (Hoima and Masindi). In these new found territories, it is fashionable for army officers from Nyabushozi including Museveni to own huge chunks of land for cattle grazing. Museveni has huge chunks of land in Kisozi Gomba and Kyabiguru along River Kafu.
Tuli Mukintu are a Bantu language words to mean ‘we are in it’. It is now a popular slogan used by those who are benefiting from thieving under Museveni’s patronage. Members of the ‘Tuli Mukintu’ group are identified by the financially paying position they occupy in the government, the luxurious tender they win, the rapid promotions, rank and corresponding financial benefits in the security forces, the fat bank account, the posh car, the real property held in Kampala, glamorous weddings and weekend get- together parties and expensive outings, studies abroad, affording medical treatment abroad, number of foreign trips and the corresponding per diem, etc. ‘Tuli Mukint’u is the Museveni’s regime version of the Iddi Amin’s regime of Mafuta Mingi (those who benefited from illicit trade). It is this Tuli Mukintu that gave rise to the popular saying of “Museveni Mpaka Last’ (Museveni till the end) that is used during election time. It is also a modification of the infamous Bidandi Ssali warning to the electorates during Museveni elections thus ‘olina kewekoledde, londa Museveni’ (have you achieved, Vote Museveni). It is this ‘Tuli Mukintu’ that is driving many Ugandans to cross from the opposition to Museveni’s camp. It is not by conviction but are driven by the urge to join the thieving (‘kuba mukintu’) hence the saying “if you cant win them, join them”.
Therefore, it is not the milk and cattle selling that has improved house hold incomes of residents of Nyabushozi and the neighboring areas but Museveni’s politics of patronage, nepotism, favouratism, sectarianism, and thieving from public coffers. In Nyabushozi, cows and Milk are sold not for income generation but as a waste disposal and to avoid overgrazing. Otherwise for majority of the homes, their income is from weekly and monthly remittances from the son, daughter, father or mother who is in any of the above vital government sectors.For the people of that area and in particular the Himas, Museveni is their lifeline. He is more of their king than a President of Uganda. However, his patronage is currently threatened by the emergence of Gen. Ssejusa on the opposition political scene.
INFORMATION IS POWER