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Day May 30, 2015


Check out this photo of Nigeria’s new First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari with her daughters, and some of her step daughters. Their names are; Fatimah, Aisha, Safinatu Lami, Amina, Musa, and Zarah Buhari. These beautiful ladies will be occupying Nigeria’s Aso Rock villa over the next four years. Such a sight to behold. Congrats to them.

Check out this photo of Nigeria’s new First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari with her daughters, and some of her step daughters. Their names are; Fatimah, Aisha, Safinatu Lami, Amina, Musa, and Zarah Buhari. These beautiful ladies will be occupying Nigeria’s Aso Rock villa over the next four years. Such a sight to behold. Congrats to them.

May 29, 2015

Press Release

Inaugural speech by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari following his swearing-in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on 29th May, 2015

I am immensely grateful to God Who Has preserved us to witness this day and this occasion. Today marks a triumph for Nigeria and an occasion to celebrate her freedom and cherish her democracy. Nigerians have shown their commitment to democracy and are determined to entrench its culture. Our journey has not been easy but thanks to the determination of our people and strong support from friends abroad we have today a truly democratically elected government in place.

I would like to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his display of statesmanship in setting a precedent for us that has now made our people proud to be Nigerians wherever they are. With the support and cooperation he has given to the transition process, he has made it possible for us to show the world that despite the perceived tension in the land we can be a united people capable of doing what is right for our nation. Together we co-operated to surprise the world that had come to expect only the worst from Nigeria. I hope this act of graciously accepting defeat by the outgoing President will become the standard of political conduct in the country.

I would like to thank the millions of our supporters who believed in us even when the cause seemed hopeless. I salute their resolve in waiting long hours in rain and hot sunshine to register and cast their votes and stay all night if necessary to protect and ensure their votes count and were counted. I thank those who tirelessly carried the campaign on the social media. At the same time, I thank our other countrymen and women who did not vote for us but contributed to make our democratic culture truly competitive, strong and definitive.

I thank all of you.

Having just a few minutes ago sworn on the Holy Book, I intend to keep my oath and serve as President to all Nigerians.

I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.

A few people have privately voiced fears that on coming back to office I shall go after them. These fears are groundless. There will be no paying off old scores. The past is prologue.

Our neighbours in the Sub-region and our African brethenen should rest assured that Nigeria under our administration will be ready to play any leadership role that Africa expects of it. Here I would like to thank the governments and people of Cameroon, Chad and Niger for committing their armed forces to fight Boko Haram in Nigeria.

I also wish to assure the wider international community of our readiness to cooperate and help to combat threats of cross-border terrorism, sea piracy, refugees and boat people, financial crime, cyber crime, climate change, the spread of communicable diseases and other challenges of the 21st century.

At home we face enormous challenges. Insecurity, pervasive corruption, the hitherto unending and seemingly impossible fuel and power shortages are the immediate concerns. We are going to tackle them head on. Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us. We must not succumb to hopelessness and defeatism. We can fix our problems.

In recent times Nigerian leaders appear to have misread our mission. Our founding fathers, Mr Herbert Macauley, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Malam Aminu Kano, Chief J.S. Tarka, Mr Eyo Ita, Chief Denis Osadeby, Chief Ladoke Akintola and their colleagues worked to establish certain standards of governance. They might have differed in their methods or tactics or details, but they were united in establishing a viable and progressive country. Some of their successors behaved like spoilt children breaking everything and bringing disorder to the house.

Furthermore, we as Nigerians must remind ourselves that we are heirs to great civilizations: Shehu Othman Dan fodio’s caliphate, the Kanem Borno Empire, the Oyo Empire, the Benin Empire and King Jaja’s formidable domain. The blood of those great ancestors flow in our veins. What is now required is to build on these legacies, to modernize and uplift Nigeria.

Daunting as the task may be it is by no means insurmountable. There is now a national consensus that our chosen route to national development is democracy. To achieve our objectives we must consciously work the democratic system. The Federal Executive under my watch will not seek to encroach on the duties and functions of the Legislative and Judicial arms of government. The law enforcing authorities will be charged to operate within the Constitution. We shall rebuild and reform the public service to become more effective and more serviceable. We shall charge them to apply themselves with integrity to stabilize the system.

For their part the legislative arm must keep to their brief of making laws, carrying out over-sight functions and doing so expeditiously. The judicial system needs reform to cleanse itself from its immediate past. The country now expects the judiciary to act with dispatch on all cases especially on corruption, serious financial crimes or abuse of office. It is only when the three arms act constitutionally that government will be enabled to serve the country optimally and avoid the confusion all too often bedeviling governance today.

Elsewhere relations between Abuja and the States have to be clarified if we are to serve the country better. Constitutionally there are limits to powers of each of the three tiers of government but that should not mean the Federal Government should fold its arms and close its eyes to what is going on in the states and local governments. Not least the operations of the Local Government Joint Account. While the Federal Government can not interfere in the details of its operations it will ensure that the gross corruption at the local level is checked. As far as the constitution allows me I will try to ensure that there is responsible and accountable governance at all levels of government in the country. For I will not have kept my own trust with the Nigerian people if I allow others abuse theirs under my watch.

However, no matter how well organized the governments of the federation are they can not succeed without the support, understanding and cooperation of labour unions, organized private sector, the press and civil society organizations. I appeal to employers and workers alike to unite in raising productivity so that everybody will have the opportunity to share in increased prosperity. The Nigerian press is the most vibrant in Africa. My appeal to the media today – and this includes the social media – is to exercise its considerable powers with responsibility and patriotism.

My appeal for unity is predicated on the seriousness of the legacy we are getting into. With depleted foreign reserves, falling oil prices, leakages and debts the Nigerian economy is in deep trouble and will require careful management to bring it round and to tackle the immediate challenges confronting us, namely; Boko Haram, the Niger Delta situation, the power shortages and unemployment especially among young people. For the longer term we have to improve the standards of our education. We have to look at the whole field of medicare. We have to upgrade our dilapidated physical infrastructure.

The most immediate is Boko Haram’s insurgency. Progress has been made in recent weeks by our security forces but victory can not be achieved by basing the Command and Control Centre in Abuja. The command centre will be relocated to Maiduguri and remain until Boko Haram is completely subdued. But we can not claim to have defeated Boko Haram without rescuing the Chibok girls and all other innocent persons held hostage by insurgents.

This government will do all it can to rescue them alive. Boko Haram is a typical example of small fires causing large fires. An eccentric and unorthodox preacher with a tiny following was given posthumous fame and following by his extra judicial murder at the hands of the police. Since then through official bungling, negligence, complacency or collusion Boko Haram became a terrifying force taking tens of thousands of lives and capturing several towns and villages covering swathes of Nigerian sovereign territory.

Boko Haram is a mindless, godless group who are as far away from Islam as one can think of. At the end of the hostilities when the group is subdued the Government intends to commission a sociological study to determine its origins, remote and immediate causes of the movement, its sponsors, the international connexions to ensure that measures are taken to prevent a reccurrence of this evil. For now the Armed Forces will be fully charged with prosecuting the fight against Boko haram. We shall overhaul the rules of engagement to avoid human rights violations in operations. We shall improve operational and legal mechanisms so that disciplinary steps are taken against proven human right violations by the Armed Forces.

Boko Haram is not only the security issue bedeviling our country. The spate of kidnappings, armed robberies, herdsmen/farmers clashes, cattle rustlings all help to add to the general air of insecurity in our land. We are going to erect and maintain an efficient, disciplined people – friendly and well – compensated security forces within an over – all security architecture.

The amnesty programme in the Niger Delta is due to end in December, but the Government intends to invest heavily in the projects, and programmes currently in place. I call on the leadership and people in these areas to cooperate with the State and Federal Government in the rehabilitation programmes which will be streamlined and made more effective. As ever, I am ready to listen to grievances of my fellow Nigerians. I extend my hand of fellowship to them so that we can bring peace and build prosperity for our people.

No single cause can be identified to explain Nigerian’s poor economic performance over the years than the power situation. It is a national shame that an economy of 180 million generates only 4,000MW, and distributes even less. Continuous tinkering with the structures of power supply and distribution and close on $20b expanded since 1999 have only brought darkness, frustration, misery, and resignation among Nigerians. We will not allow this to go on. Careful studies are under way during this transition to identify the quickest, safest and most cost-effective way to bring light and relief to Nigerians.

Unemployment, notably youth un-employment features strongly in our Party’s Manifesto. We intend to attack the problem frontally through revival of agriculture, solid minerals mining as well as credits to small and medium size businesses to kick – start these enterprises. We shall quickly examine the best way to revive major industries and accelerate the revival and development of our railways, roads and general infrastructure.

Your Excellencies, My fellow Nigerians I can not recall when Nigeria enjoyed so much goodwill abroad as now. The messages I received from East and West, from powerful and small countries are indicative of international expectations on us. At home the newly elected government is basking in a reservoir of goodwill and high expectations. Nigeria therefore has a window of opportunity to fulfill our long – standing potential of pulling ourselves together and realizing our mission as a great nation.

Our situation somehow reminds one of a passage in Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar
There is a tide in the affairs of men which,
taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life,
Is bound in shallows and miseries.

We have an opportunity. Let us take it.

Thank you.

Muhammadu Buhari
President Federal Republic of NIGERIA
and Commander-in-chief of the Armed forces

Remembering the Bunyoro Hero:Joseph Mujoobe Kazairwe

kazeirwe1When Joseph Mujoobe Kazairwe, almost single-handedly fought pitched military battles where he was jailed for five years, and was forced to live in forests in fear of Baganda killing him, when he rreturned two of the seven Lost counties, the Banyoro of Hoima and Masindi have never named a street in Hoima or Masindi by his name.

Indeed, Banyoro of Hoima and Masndi have written several books narrating the history of Bunyoro-Kitara where they do not even mention the name Joseph Kazairwe.

Also, I have written a book, OIL DISCOVERY THE ROLE UGANDANS PLAYED. the book higlights the role Banyoro have played in the discovery of oil in Bunyoro-Kitara. But you will be surprised a few Banyoro refused to buy this book saying I was imposing it on them.

This is the book which makes Banyoro the proud owner of the most valuable, most sought after product internationally, but nobody has offered to avvil it to schools so that our children grow knowing that Bunyoro-Kitara is the cradle of a very precious human want.kezeirwe2

The late king, Sir Tito Gafabusa bestowed the highest Bunyoro-Kitara knighthood of OMUJWARAKONDO. to Joseph Mujoobe Kazairwe in1965. He also appointed him county chief of Bugangaizi. In 1977 Idi Amin, in recognition of Kazairwe’s World War Two achievements elevated him to the rank of ADC

But the district councils of Hoima and Masindi did not name a street in Hoima or Masindi, Joseph Mujoobe Kazairwe.

However, Kibaale District Council, Kazairwe’s home district, in its sitting in 2002, passed a resolution to name the road from Karuguuza market, via his house at Busaana, up to Kibaale Trading Centre, two miles long, Joseph Mujoobe Kazairwe.

In the same resolution Kibaale District Council resolved to name a secondary school in the county of Buyanja after Joseph Mujoobe Kazairwe.

Kibaale District Council was quick to pass the resolution because Kazairwe is a son of the soil in the district, and most members of the council were veterans of the military struggle to liberate the two lost counties from Buganda colonialism.

While a secondary school, in Nyamaarwa sub county, was named Joseph Mujoobe Kazairwe Secondary School, the street named Joseph Mujoobe Kazairwe has not been implemented to-date more that 10 years after the resolution was passed. I think it is a slip of the mind on the part of the district council.

I blame Kibaale District Council members for not implementing the resolution to name the road after Joseph Mujoobe Kazairwe. I am now going to remind them.

King Iguru remains, up to today, an admirer of the Kazairwe legacy. Similary, he is the only one(apart from Henry Ford Mirima) fighting for a kingdom share of the oil sitting in the kingdom midst.

Henry Ford Mirima

Press Secretary of the Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara


It was a mistake for Dr Besigye to quit and hand the torch to general Muntu. Dr Besigye quit organized opposition in favour of the informal one where he and Lord Major Lukwago seem to dominate. I have never seen general Muntu threatening YKM. I suspect that is why General Sejusa who can speak his mind is now causing waves in Uganda.

Let us wait and see how things will turn out in FDC. I see general Muntu doing to FDC what Ed Miliband did to Labour in the UK, hang on leadership fully aware they are the problem and not the solution. I still believe Labour could have done better had it elected the elder Miliband. but Ed Milliband entered the race to spoil for his brother. Now he is dead politically and finished kabisa. Labour will soon do what FDC members are doing in begging Dr Besigye, beg the elder Milliband to rescue labour. The odds are high.

In reality Dr Besigye never let the political scene. So he overshadowed general Muntu and other opposition figures. He could come back but under a different arrangement or umbrella.

Well Dr Besigye should make up his mind pretty soon.

QN: Why do you thinks diehards party members are prone to screwing up? Mr Blair made Labour electable so to screw him they went for Ed Miliband who has now made labour unelectable. I compare Ed Milliband to firebrand senior Senator Elizabeth Warren-unelectable nationally.

WBK Via the UAH forum

Why it is that Uganda and Burundi that like Kenyan have soldiers in Somalia are not prone to terrorism”?

Many journalist compare Uganda, Burundi and Kenyan without taking into consideration the geography. On many times the nation has asked the question: why it is that Uganda and Burundi that like Kenyan have soldiers in Somalia are not prone to terrorism”? think about that/ A serious editorial board of one of the best newspapers in Africa or aspires to be asking such a dumb question. Of course, a) Ugandan and Burundi do not border Somalia, and b) Uganda and Burundi do not have an ethnic Somali population.

sometimes you read stuff in Africa’s papers and you simply shake your head. Most times they write forgive me for being rude, rubbish.

When was the last time you read a thoughtful editorial in an African paper/ Which paper was it? Most times the editorials are driven by raw emotion and have nothing thoughtful in them.

That the papers mint a lot of money despite such very low standards is an indictment of our people for indulging in mediocre reporting. Just think about it, if the Daily Nation can go that way what about the rest?.

Have you ever wondered why the most narcissistic professionals hide behind the caption ” team”?. Why not take the credit directly? Because they are in most cases peddling lies and rumours.

Just yesterday even the Nation was caught up in the rumour that Mzee Moody Awori had passed away. They then turned around and blamed twitter. The other day they reported that so many police men had been killed in an ambush in Garissa which was not true.

What happened to the time proven virtue of verify? I suspect journalist may claim that they do not trust politicians. But what about journalists? How trusted are they? No better than used car salesmen who sale to you a lemon without blinking. That is not good for the fourth estate.

QN: why do African editorial boards never ask to meet with influential opinion leaders including politicians? Put differently, why do not we see president or presidential candidates and other politicians having editorial meetings with leading African papers? Yes I know many politicians hate the press, but not all so why not try?

WBK via the UAH forum


Tanzania has avoided the menace because it is a nation thanks to Mwalimu Nyerere’s vision. Muslims in TZ have never felt marginalized because they have held the highest office not once but now twice. In fact in the coming October elections it is almost a given that the next TZ president will be Christian due to the rotational rule within CCM.

Another take is that TZ is relatively equal with less opulent one sees in Kenyan especially at the Coast where many seem to protest the opulent lifestyles.

Yet another is that Kenya lacks a strong state because they copied without contextualizing their new constitution. Recently Mr. Charles Mugane Njonjo has lamented that during his day anyone could go to North Eastern and return to Nairobi alive. In his view that is no longer the case.

For some reason elite Kenyans including leading opposition figures were stupid to delude themselves that peace falls like manna from heaven. No. Countries are peaceful and secure because they have a strong-read intrusive -state. Put differently, the Kenyan elite-hello Ugandan elite-thought they could have their cake and eat it too. Hell no. I am sorry there is a trade off between liberty and security and anyone who tells you otherwise I fool period.

Do not think for a moment that state agents in Uganda like it it when sheikhs get killed, they do not, but they understand what is going on. What the heck , in Uganda sheikhs are being eliminated , okay murdered, so that the majority of Ugandans can have peace. That sounds utilitarian so to paraphrase Mr. Al Gore , it is the inconvenience truth. Some lives have to be sacrificed so the majority (emphasis added) can enjoy their rights or peace. No need to be politically correct.

Listen folks, state security is not pretty. We enjoy the peace over sadly, dead bodies and again, anyone who tells you otherwise is in denial.

I am confident that eventually Kenya will get it right. It may not be pretty and will be deadly, but they have to for the sake of their country.Mr. Onyango-Obbo said something that reminded me of Kenya’s attitude towards HIV/AIDS. Because of their tourism sector, Nyayo did not want to scare tourists by openly doing what YKM was doing in Uganda with the help and courage of the late Mr. Philly Bongoley Lutaaya (RIP).

We all know how Kenyan ended up. So if Kenyan will not adopt Uganda’s tactics of fighting terrorism because it doe snot want to scare away tourists, it may be in for another rude shock. Better to face the reality now in order to save the tourist industry in the long term.

TZ is unique not just in EA, but Africa. It is a nation in the real sense where ethnicity and religion matter, but do not dominate as in other African countries. In Uganda it is religion, in Kenya it is ethnicity and so on. So Muslim, Asians , Chagga, Masai, name it all feel they belong with a good chance to make it politically as longa s they belong to CCM. I have met many Indian students from TZ who always said they were Tanzanians and spoke Swahili to the surprise of other Indian students. Their loyalty to TZ is something to admire.

And of course TZ has a very strong state . One theory which may apply to Uganda and Kenyan are divisions within the Muslim leadership. You rarely hear of divisions in TZ the way you do in Uganda, which has created a situation where different factions are funded by different foreign countries and even groups/princes within countries. You know and it is true that Saudi Arabia, yes, is the leading sponsor of terrorism in the world. This is one of those inconvenience truths.

Actually the Muslim community in Kenya is fairly united compared to the infighting and greedy factions in Uganda. The problems in Kenya are found mostly in Coast and North Eastern. Ironically the problems have escalated under devolution which is meant to promote inclusion and level the playing field.

The boom line is that when it comes to matters of national security appeasement has never worked. One side has to enjoy a monopoly of violence to avoid a stalemate. In plain English many more have to died to create that position.

Funny, Kenyans miss the no nonsense tactics of the late John Michuki who never discriminated and went after anyone including Mungiki elements. Mungiki’s capability was significantly degraded. editorials that sued to criticize him now remind current office holders to emulate the late Michuki. Again, they miss the problem.

Mr. John Njoronge Michuki wasa hardened administrator who knew the system and the effectiveness of state apparatus all the way to local chiefs. Can you imagine the Kenyan elite wanted chiefs abolished. So who would be listening on the ground?


Anne Mugisha on 2001 Kizza Besigye’s Task Force.

The afternoon I was introduced to Kizza Besigye’s Task Force in November 2000, we got down to work and our first order of business was to draft a response to a missive that President Museveni had released in the media in response to Kizza Besigye’s decision to run for the presidency. We were at once surprised and disappointed that the President had responded in a very personal tirade that left him open to our stinging response. He was like a boxer who throws his best punch with the confidence that his opponent will be knocked out and does not anticipate what he would do if the opponent took the blow standing. We stood around Winnie in their little study room in Luzira and framed a response to the missive. We got into the technicalities of the ‘individual merit’ of candidates and whether there was internal democracy in the ‘all-inclusive’ monoculture of the Movement system of governance. Everyone chipped in and each response was followed with hoots of laughter. There was complete disbelief in the room that the President had made himself such an open target. We tore his missive apart while enjoying some good wine and glasses of beer. All went well for me until Beti Kamya turned to me and asked if I could participate in the Capital Gang Radio Talk show the next Saturday to represent our position.

I was a total mess. What was our position? Who were we? I stopped her right there and asked her to think of finding someone with a little more political weight that myself, an unknown activist. Who would take me seriously? Was she serious, this was me Anne, I liked to have a good time, swig some beer, have a good laugh and the reason that I had recently taken up independent consulting instead of getting a regular job was because no one could fire me even if I was asking for it! I was my own boss. Oh please! So I left Luzira feeling less than honorable. I was elated that I had participated in something meaningful and did not care that we might have only a limited impact on the political scene. It was enough that we could create the space to publicly express an alternate view to the monolithic rhetoric that was churned by what was effectively a one party state. When I got home, I called my friends and family to tell them about my encounter with Kizza Besigye and Winnie and I got mixed reactions. Some were clearly proud of my association with a budding opposition others thought I was getting involved in personal battles that were of no concern to anyone but the principal players.

About a week later I went shopping with my mother at the new Shop Rite supermarket located at the busiest intersection leading into Kampala city. In 2000, the main road into the city from Entebbe International Airport was a narrow two-way traffic corridor that was joined at Kibuye round-about by two more busy routes from the Natete and Makindye towns. On a busy morning the short distance from Kibuye to the clock tower could be a nightmare from which there was no escape since there was no detouring out of the corridor until one reached the clock tower. Congestion increased as motorists from Katwe, Nsambya, and Nakivubo joined the drive into the city center at the Tower and after a driver navigated their way to the next roundabout they approached the chaotic scenes of the main Kampala taxi park where drivers and pedestrians made their own traffic rules. Woe to the driver who was not quick to learn the rules that changed every hour. In 2000 the roads were dusty and there were potholes lying in wait to trip even the most experienced driver. It was in the midst of this chaos that a South African supermarket had opened its doors to the general public. The novelty of a modern supermarket with imported foodstuffs and a well equipped and well supplied butchery was enough to draw us out of upscale quiet suburbs to mingle with shoppers who had discovered the joy of shopping with a cart around the long straight corridors of a mega super market.

“It is just like being in South Africa,” my mother remarked, “or Tesco’s in London.” “Is this not the development that Ugandans wanted?” My mother had clearly bought into the spin of those who never paused to acknowledge that the average Ugandan would never set foot inside Shop Rite because they simply could never afford the items on sale inside the supermarket. Shop Rite was for people like me who escaped the trap of poverty because we grew up at a time when hardworking parents could rely on government to admit deserving students to its higher institutions of learning. An education system based on merit meant that a peasant’s daughter could stay in the same dormitory with a Minister’s daughter and compete for scholarships to the national University. We took it for granted that a good education would lead to a good job to pay for the finer things in life. No one ever thought that a time would come when sending your child to school was not the same thing as getting them a good education. Somewhere along the way we exchanged education quality for quantity and generations of Ugandan students whose parents could not afford private schools would never get the opportunities of my generation. It never crossed my mother’s mind that November morning that we were among a small elite minority of the Ugandan population who cared for well stocked supermarkets packed with their favorite delicacies.

I ran into an activist as I roamed the wide shopping rows at Shop Rite. We had last met at Besigye’s home and she seemed happy to see me. When she told me the campaign was looking for someone to join the host of the Capital Gang show to speak on behalf of the campaign for the presidency, I decided to take the plunge. If this team thought I was a good enough spokesperson for the candidate then I could use the position to get a few things off my chest. The show was hosted by upwardly mobile journalist Robert Kabushenga who still claimed a neutral role in the upcoming campaign. This would not be the first time that I was interacting with the media, after all I had been a government spokesperson for a controversial policy of privatization through which government had disposed of national enterprises to the private sector. The difference between advocating an unpopular government policy and supporting an opposition candidate for a presidential election was not apparent to me as I climbed the narrow stairs that led to the studio of Capital FM in Kamwokya on a mild and sunny Saturday afternoon in November 2000. I would answer the questions put to me as honestly as I could and then rush over to my friends flat in Wandegeya for a postmortem of my performance and a cold beer. The level of my ignorance about what I was about to do and the consequences that would follow bordered on extremely naive.

I knew Robert Kabushenga as an upwardly mobile professional in my age bracket that lived in Kampala. Kampala was a small town and the people you had not met in person you still knew by reputation. The studio was a deceptively small private space where I felt safe sharing my thoughts with a familiar face. It was easy to forget that there were thousands of people out there listening to every word that I said so I opened up to Robert Kabushenga and answered his questions as though we were speaking alone. I was his only guest that day and we touched on issues related to corruption, political intolerance and nepotism.

I left the studio feeling a whole lot lighter after I had laid out my issues as I saw them at the time. Looking back they seem to have been very narrow issues that led me to the opposition. One would have liked to think that I had greater concerns but that really was the gist of my concern. The increasing disparities between the highest and lowest incomes of Ugandans, the emergence of a group of government officials who dipped their sticky hands into public coffers without fear of prosecution. The untempered greed of those who openly amassed wealth using their government connections. I had worked on government’s privatisation program and it struck me as grossly unfair that only a limited number of people seemed to have benefited from the sale of national assets. And because I had been a spokesperson for the privatisation unit of the Ministry of Finance I spent the next few years trying to explain that this position did not make me complicit in any shady deals that were struck between politicians and privatization officials. The underhanded deals that may have taken place were well above my pay grade and I only had the thankless task of defending them after they leaked to the public.
When I left Capital FM, I headed directly to Enid and Jimmy’s apartment over in Makerere looking forward to the usual laughter and merriment of a night out with my girlfriends. Instead I found my small circle of friends in a rather pensive mood. ‘Do you know what you are getting yourself into?’ During the interview with Robert Kabushenga he had pointedly asked me which candidate I would be voting for and I had evaded the question by stating that I would vote for the best candidate, but my accompanying remarks had been interpreted to mean that I was not going to support the incumbent. It was my friends’ feedback and the reaction of people after the Capital Gang show that sealed my decision: I now knew that I had a responsibility to support Kizza Besigye’s Task Force.

Up to that point I had been flirting with the Task Force. I knew many people that were quietly grumbling about corruption, injustice and inequity but there also seemed to be an unspoken agreement, a conspiracy of silence against publicly opposing the status quo. It seemed pretty obvious to me then that if we did not take these private conversations into the public sphere to debate them exhaustively and rally support against abuse of power, then nothing would change. The status quo would remain intact to the detriment of the people whose voices were not being heard.

I did not seek to become the conscience of the middle class and I never sought justification for our collective negligence. There were no grand visions and agendas when I took the plunge into opposing the government. I was pushed by the willful blindness of the elite and a strong belief that there ought to be alternative views to those with power. I was pulled by the availability of a platform however temporary to express myself. The campaign had now become a struggle for my right to associate, to be heard, to make a difference in people’s lives. What had started as an opportunity to shed light on issues that had been nagging at the back of my mind became a mission.

This realization did not happen in a dramatic ‘Saul to Paul’ moment. In fact, I did not for a moment think that the mission I had embraced required me to leave my comfort zone. All that was required, I thought, was an extension of myself beyond the consulting work that I was doing; to put some arguments on paper and share them with the public through the Elect Kizza Besigye Task Force. I did not think this extra assignment would interfere with my daily socializing rituals, instead I saw an opportunity to get serious with the people I socialized with. Many of them shared my disgust at the increasing corruption and abuse of public office. We all knew that the government was sworn into office following the sacrifice of many young crusaders of democracy and good governance, and surely we had a responsibility to check the emerging trends of bad governance. It all seemed so obvious, but how wrong I was, how naive indeed. I completely underestimated the impact of 15 years in power and I overestimated our ability to make a difference in a few months.

At 50 I know that joining the Elect Kizza Besigye Task Force was a major turning point in my life and today am grateful for that platform which gave me an opportunity to meaningfully participate in Ugandan public life.”—ANNE MUGISHA

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