Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My letter to Mr President and fellow citizens: No one likes life in exile

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have been circumstantially forced to share with you a heavily edited draft chapter, in my draft book:
“My letter to Mr President and fellow citizens: No one life like exile”.
This chapter is edited to fit the current situation unfolding in the country; that called for the president’s bitter response. You do not need to read it, if it is too long, I just wish to share with cadres of truth and patriotic Ugandans.
I have listened carefully to the ‘intertribal’ abuses TVO posted on the social networks recently and the President’s ‘bitter response’, ‘concerns’ and threats. I have put some of these words and phrases in quotes because I do not believe we are either ‘tribes’ in the real sociological meaning, nor do I believe the presidents response is genuine in any way. This because, I strongly believe as our people back home say; “embwa teleka amasitamiro go nyina” –literally meaning ‘a dog learns the way to squat from its mother’ (Runyoro).So, I was not surprised at all by such utterances as well as the responses of the President, when came face to face with reality checks.
What surprises me most is, however, the fact that many of us, either expressed shock when they listened to be abuses, or seem to believe president is genuinely concerned. Yet it is not a public secret that such arrogant acts and talks are manifested our country every day, especially with the president in the lead. Who did not hear the president call past leaders ‘swines’ or even insinuate that Dr Besigye should not vie for leadership because his health was suspect? Who did not hear or read that he wanted to ring-fence Bakiga in Kibaale against the law instead of solving the real problems of Banyoro and who does not know he has used the tribal ticket to try and break threat of Buganda? Is the president honest, that if it were not for the underlying tribal sentiments the civil war in the north would have taken a shorter time? Even General Tinyefunza was very clear on that point in 1996; there were many things that motivated the prolonged war. Ask him, he did protest against the war. I personally was in the peace mission, went throughout the East, North up to Sudan and Garamba in DRC-the stories are simply horrific.
I worked in the office Deputy Minister of State for Defence when I was still a young man, fresh from the University. As an ADC of the late Major general Fred Rwigyema, it was the first I had ever had of remarks like ‘Minyene yembwa’ which I came to learn was reference particular people like, literally meaning ‘puppies’ or babies of dogs. It took this as manifestations of ignorance of course. I hate tribalism; just as there are many Bahima and Banyankole who are very good people and do not like sectarianism, but I believe Museveni’s corrupt leadership has virtually messed us all and it is not about a specific ethnic group. Bad people are found in every society, what is important is good guardianship, which he has not provided.
The point I am trying to drive here is that, ‘tribalism’ as a phenomenon characterised by group behaviour that ‘insulates’ and ‘excludes’ others, typically fuelling arrogance and hostility for and against others has been the leading political device used by Museveni ever since. It has become worse as our identities such as-individual personalities; gender; ethnicity; race; sex, religion, nationality, language and so on-that are our natural gifts of diversity and the beauty of the world are used by the greedy system and for brokering power. The president has made himself the centre for desperate and mediocre people’s survival and allegiance (as he fears independent people), instead of building institutions and values. Uganda as a nation-state has been systematically pushed into an ‘identity crisis’ through calculated but deliberately unsustainable anti-politics of ‘parochial identities’, politics of difference and individual ‘one-man-hero’ at the expense of society, community, nation-state, institutions and a republic of justice.
The President knows very well, as a student of political science that power is nothing without justice; seeking naked power, illegitimately or through corrupt means is a recipe for injustice and national destruction. It is even worse when the power descends to political auxiliaries who are mediocre as they to arrogance and bigotry.
The essence of our country being a republic is to liberate a country from any relics and vestiges of aristocratic control and abuse of people’s rights. Republics seek to ensure justice and protect all the citizens and even non-citizens, resident in a country against; exploitation and direct or indirect slavery. A republican government, its functions function are to guard the nation, its identity as an all inclusive nation, providing justice to all within it, in the sense of offering protection against the leaders and the people being overcome by their own or others greed and lust, by providing honest, just and building institutions that tame the selfish and arrogant nature of human beings-whether Bahima, Bairu, Acholi, Baganda, Banyoro etc; which do not believe has been the case.
If ever, the NRM government and president Museveni have been and are working for democracy; justice should be seen to be the pillar of their works. Justice essentially protects people against the overweening rich and powerful, along with the enjoyment of equal civic powers (public rights and responsibilities). Uganda is a Republic, ‘justice is the soul’ of a Republic (Socrates and Plato). The republic of Uganda should be protecting us from the hazards of anti-politics: which has not been done. If the president is genuine about his reaction against those tribal utterances, I would like to ask, are those abuses and words worse than his actions? Is that arrogance not the manifestation of the actions of his blinded followers who unfortunately lack the intelligence and the craft he has mastered to deceive and manipulate the people, while hiding his real aims and actions from the unsuspecting masses? Are the cowardly and ruthlessly use of the military, laws like the anti-sectarian Act, public management whatever, and bribery meant to silence those he suspect his ill-advised agenda? Ladies and gentlemen, why should the President express anger and threaten action, when he has actually done the following?
1. He has systematically destroyed conventional politics in the country. As a student of politics he knows just too well that from Greek, ‘polis’ (City-State)-politics is classically understood to imply the highest or most desirable form of social organisation that need citizens at their best. Instead of letting people learn what it means, debate it, promote civic education, he has blocked them or beaten the or exiled them when they try. Deceived others that culture, religion, and developmental discussions should not mix with politics. This has ended up into keeping out some of the best brains in the country out of politics.
2. Anti-politics runs throughout the country today: the form of disillusionment with formal and established political process in the country is open secret. It is reflected in the apathy or peoples nonparticipation in the country when you compare it with 1980s to early 1990s. People now support antisystem institutions and a political party just because they have nothing to do but survive, as NRM’s anti-party shameless acts go on. The party has been set out to subvert the traditional party politics by abusing parliamentary independence through caucuses that compromise independent legislation, promoting a personality cult and emphasising popular mobilisation using bribery, brute force and constant ‘Rwakitura homage’.
3. Ethnic nationalism which is a form of nationalism that is fuelled primarily by a keen sense of ethnic distinctiveness and desire to self-preservation is very inseparable with his rule. I do not agree with President Museveni when he accuses the pre-colonial Kingdoms for being primitive and tribal. For instance Bunyoro- Kitara was a nation-state, just as Buganda was known for its assimilation and accommodation policy. Otherwise Luwero would not have hosted his war, when he was actually rejected and hunted by his own home people and he even ended up largely using Rwandese refugees and Baganda as the core of his fighters.
4. Actually ,it is his government that came in to revive ethnic sentiments and fan them in form of distinctive loyalties towards given populations, cultural groups or territorial areas, bonds that are tribal in the names of small kingdoms to break up the bigger units, districts and constituencies that are ethnic. This has effectively destroyed our regional and ‘national identities’, promoted tribal arrogance, made work difficult for both civil servants and genuine politicians in the country, only for a Museveni to always pretend to be the ‘honest broker’, as he wants to show us now .
5. In Uganda, because most of us think uncritically, we tend to give concepts face value meanings. If one gives attention and a critical analysis of the concept of corruption, you will find that it is one of the most abused notions like politics, in our country. The greatest damage this country has ever suffered is Museveni’s official institutionalisation of corruption in the last 30 years. Corruption refers to a failure to carry out ‘proper’ responsibilities as a result of the pursuit of private and usually material gains (Hayewood, 2008: p.000). In this respect, all the points I have mentioned above so far (1-3) are manifestations of corruption. President Museveni promised us liberation and we trusted him, but he delivered occupation; he promised us citizenship, we are now captives; he promise us democracy he has natured aristocracy (rule by a special group and a dominant ethnic group); he promised a non-capitalist Uganda, he effectively delivered us into the hands of liberal capitalism and individualism: man-eat man society; he promised unity he has divided the country; all for personal gains. Promised security of land, instead many are squatters in their own lands. The list is endless as you all know it too well.
Many of you outside there know actually better than me, that for instance, real intelligent and genuine men and women don’t just beat those who invite them to debate. And well intentioned leaders listen, have the courage for self criticism and the humility to say sorry and even give in when wrong. But cowards will use raw and naked brute force to silence other, when they know they are guilty of something. Or if not brute, they resort to bribery as acts of desperation. Museveni, after losing Amama and after many years of deceit and tribalism is terribly scared of the truth of his actions coming out. He cannot risk a Kiga-Nkore rift or a Hima-Iru rift, just as he feared the Rwandese conflict with Kagame. The talks of ‘Sabalwanyi or sejui sebalungu’ are mere paper tiger talks to scare those who may react or expose him further. Mr President’s guilt is clear and all he needs is to come clear, we reconcile and rebuild our country a fresh. There are some good things in him but what is at stake now is that:
1. Uganda has not been destroyed by his one man alone, but many of us have also fallen prey to his craft and the foolish delusion of people’s power, while he promoted minority (inner circle of power) power holders with real control and exercise privileges of elites in: good schools, health facilities, military command, police, businesses, holidays etc.
2. The cohesive minority is always manipulating other gate keepers from other communities (Acholi, Lango, Teso, and Bakiga, Baganda, Banyoro etc) to control the masses, parliament, security institutions, judiciary, economy, public offices etc. What is very unfortunate for Museveni is that some of the from the ‘inner circle’ members end up acting overzealously-like the recent utterance due to uncontrolled excitement and emotions leading to such outbursts.
3. The ‘outer circle’ of leaders used as political pawns, from other ethnic groups are handpicked or politically propped up as ‘gate keepers’ to sooth and appease the masses. But at the same time they have always been psychologically hyped and given imaginary power, excited and let loose like rabid dogs to bite any voices of reasons; to do the dirty work for the big man who keeps playing the role of the ‘honest arbiter’ and the ‘man of justice’. These overzealous bigots could easily be the most dangerous people Museveni has created for our country as ‘cadres of anti-politics’ and, that is very unfortunate, because even they themselves cease to know who they are, hence putting our country on the destruction path.
4. Museveni has been such a cunning type of a leader playing the role of the ‘fox’ in, ruling by being cunning and able to manipulate the consent of the masses, while at the same time the ‘lion’ in him, has dominated h typically through brute force, coercion and violence dispensed against helpless and unarmed people who do not agree with him; or many times breaking his opponents economic spines, bankrupting them to make them vulnerable to either courts or his bribery through the brown envelops he goes on dandling to his victims.
I would like to conclude by saying that we are not at a good point in our country. And no tribe or ethnic group is. We need to sort this mess honestly. For a country to progress, prosper and have peace (harmonious co-existence), two straight forward things are what we need to day. The first one is wisdom as a virtue (good deeds) of our leaders and courage as the virtue (good deeds) of the military auxiliaries (Melissa Lane, 2014). Only these two virtues can provide ‘moderation and justice’ these good are currently elusive in our country. Peace cannot prevail without these, and peace is not only the absence of war. Ugandan’s are currently not at peace! We need moderation and justice that are genuine, not a hoax. Moderation and justice are not only inseparable properties but are closely linked to harmonious co-existence: justice means access to national resources to all, on merit and non-exclusion from public goods, which is not the case in our country.
Socrates defines moderation as the agreement of each group or community to ensure good leadership and rulers are in place. It involves the willingness of the leaders and soldiers and their courage to be strong enough to limit their own desires for power and property, by directing their own efforts and appetites towards the public good. I think this has not been the case under Museveni’s rule. Justice is only when all the leaders and every citizen is performing each one’s responsibility. It is not about mere rhetoric. For example, you cannot confine others in UPE schools and other in modern schools and call that justice. Expect people without guns to resort to nasty verbal abuses.
Mr President has not not used power promote harmony, nor has his leadership harnessed people to do what is just and right. For instance, Museveni wanted to ring-fence Bakiga in Kibaale, while actually financing their economic dominance in Bunyoro (not all but some)-such double standards, he used them as an outer circle for buttressing his power, but ring fencing them to appease we Banyoro, was against the law: two wrongs don’t make one right. I personally opposed him as a leader in the region.
He encouraged riots and breakaway groups from Buganda etc. In a government that promotes justice; the virtues of the individual and the nation should fit together and be mutually supporting each other. In Museveni’s Uganda these two conflict; he has promoted unjust Uganda where his vices as an individual and his individual cronies actions and outburst like in TVO’s videos are constantly undermining the previously harmonious families, husbands and wives, children and parents, kings and their people etc, and threatening to worsen them further through a permanent damage of schools for the poor versus the rich, unemployment, poverty and spiralling corruption etc.
The social relations created in themselves have always been incentivised by corruption: nepotism, tribalism, favouritism and outright theft of national resources. In 1986, when Museveni was taking oath at the parliamentary house, I was personally there. Like many Ugandans, I thought a ‘virtuous circle’ (circle of good deeds) had been ushered in our country, but unfortunately it has been a vicious one (circle of bad/evil things), he couldn’t have done it alone, he killed the ‘animal’ as a lion and many hyenas descended on it. That seems for now to be the political choice many Ugandans have chosen as well. Our society has gone so low by some of ending up supporting unsustainable choices and decisions made by a few greedy, needy, possessive an uncouth members behaviour shaped to destroy and undermine voices of reason and sense of shame, peaceful co-existence and values of the natural social contract. The president couldn’t have seen it today, habits are built over time. My views are not directed against any ethnic group but the bad apples in our ethnic groups always bent on misusing the veil of the groups for selfish gains.
Thank you for reading this chapter

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