By Stephen Twinoburyo
There is a need to carefully examine Museveni’s role in our whole Ugandan situation. If you look at his whole past, it has been one of projecting himself as the good man surrounded by bad people.
Even in the NRM itself, he has projected himself as the only one who has worked to makeparty what it is and as such has made other people in the party seem useless. He has manipulated the party in such a way that members have blindly supported him, entrenching him in his position, enriching him and his family, having little say in party matters and direction, ceasing all crucial affairs of the party to State House and finally being discarded whenever he feels he no longer needs them. The NRM has become a party around him and for this reason the party is likely to go down with him. This means many of the party members will suffer when it’s actually only him that benefited. Museveni is now a liability to NRM. All NRM values are now packaged together with Museveni’s selfishness, uncouthness and bad actions. Of course the NRM has some upward-thinking people and it would be sad if they are lost to the country because of the selfish interests of one individual – and maybe a few people surrounding him. Well, it’s up to those in the NRM. Uganda will remain.
If some in the NRM can take time, let them look at how advanced parties like the ANC and Chama Cha Mapinduzi operate. The strength of the party derives in being able to rotate and guide its leaders, and collectively determine policy. Whenever the ANC meet, they discuss a whole range of issues and producepapers or policy on economy, science and technology, trade, international affairs, social conditions within the country e.t.c. They develop a comprehensive plan for the country that they give to government – which they control – to implement. The working plans are discussed by ANC members in their caucuses because the party has got experts in all fields – the NRM too has. Some of the positions are of course changed when other role-players like opposition parties, trade unions or civic organisations oppose them. Whenever the NRM meets however, the whole exercise is to pay homage to Museveni and he spends the entire time bragging, listening to all that are fighting to get close to him and making party members – even professors – look like clowns. The NRM needs to advance beyond this and they cannot do it with a Museveni that craves control. Well, he played an important role in the establishment of the party (or movement) but after 30 years at the helm and member being suffocated of thinking, NRM members need to start thinking beyond Museveni.
Let’s now look at the army. Why should ordinary soldiers be on the streets everyday awaiting instructions to shoot their brothers and sisters? They are poorly paid – if paid at all, they live in squalid conditions and it’s almost an abomination to be an ordinary Ugandan soldier. They are sent on the streets to kill their brothers and sisters for a man whose family is living in comfort and will just take off and leave them to suffer the consequences. Those who send them onto the street will not be with them at the funerals crying for the departed ones that have been shot. Those who send them onto the streets to kill their brothers and sisters will not be with the grieving families that will never fill the gaps left behind by the departed. The soldiers will bear this pain. Soldiers are trained to defend their countries against foreign aggression but not to be enemies of their own people. At the end of the day they will be in our villages and Museveni and his family will be somewhere else – maybe here in S Africa. Soldiers must think carefully about what their moral duty is and what they are protecting. Egypt offers a good example.
The same applies to police. Why are they becoming enemies of the people? Why do they display extreme anger when they see a Ugandan saying he or she wants to live better? When they go back to their homes, do they think they’ve done the right thing? Do they even think Museveni they are killing for knows who they are? However their neighbours and the people in their villages know.
So much as Uganda needs change, a change within the NRM and existing structures is needed even more crucially. There is a need to start thinking differently.