GULU-UGANDA:In 2005, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report which says that 1000 Acholi were dying every day, from “concentration camps”. These camps were created by the regime in power which was meant to protect people from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel attacks. People were dying more from the camps than from rebel fire. Speak of “Acholi genocide”.
This was reason enough for the United Nations Security Council the world body created to protect the most vulnerable from the excesses of their leaders, to arraign President Yoweri Museveni before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to answer charges of genocide against the Acholi people. To date, Museveni is a freeman and is busy executing his personal ambition to rule until death by removing the age limits which bars a president from the constitution which says that a president should not be beyond 75 years of age.
In the same year (2005) Museveni removed from the constitution, that clause with limits terms for a president to rule for two terms only. The removal allowed Mr. Museveni to extend his stay in office to 20 years uninterrupted, despite protest by the opposition. He has been in power since 1986 when he shot his way to the presidency, saying it was “not a mere change of guards but fundamental change.” At that time, Museveni diagnosed African problems as created by leaders who overstay in power. By the end of his current five year term in 2021, he will have ruled Uganda with an iron fist for 35 un-interrupted years.
In this year’s (2016) election, the focus of Ugandans was on who Museveni will appoint as the one anointed to succeed him in 2021 because at that time he will have clocked 76, than to support opposition for change in leadership. Article 102 (b) of the Uganda Constitution, states that a president of Uganda should not be below 35 years of age and not above 75 years of age. A section of his supporters are already pressurizing him to be their sole candidate for the 2021 elections.
During 2016 campaigns in Gulu, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) flag bearer, Mr. Kizza Besigye, described the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party of President Museveni as an institution of an individual which he runs like “Museveni Enterprise”; not belonging to Ugandans. He, who nearly brought business in Kampala to a standstill with demonstrations by his supporters, has been arrested and charged before different courts countless times since the February 2016 election. The most serious crime he is currently facing is treason charge.
The US Republican Party presidential candidate, Billionaire Donald Trump, promised, during his campaign trail, that he will arrest and prosecute two African dictators; Mugabe (Zimbabwe) and Museveni (Uganda) as soon as he wins the November 2016 elections. Both Mugabe and Museveni saw five different American Presidents; Jimmy Carter, George Bush Sr, Bill Clinton, George Bush Jr and now Barak Obama; come and leave power to a successor without causing turmoil in America.
What is happening in Uganda now is worst than what is happening in its troubled neighbors like South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo or Burundi for that matter where the international community has intervened concern and designing strategies to solve.
Corruption, which has been reported about countless times elsewhere in the country has reached State House itself; where one of the dailies reported that Mr. Museveni and his wife, also Minister of Education in his new cabinet, Ms. Janet Museveni, clashed openly during a cabinet retreat. Museveni was furious by revelation that the World Bank was recalling back 1.8 billion dollars of unspent loan. Government is, apparently broke, which it cannot pay for services like paying civil servants in time.
Museveni’s move to amend the land law to allow government grab private land in the name of investment and the removal of age limits from the constitution to allow him rule beyond 2021 is a recipe of danger and a return to open war.
Burundi is in a crisis because the president extended his mandate to rule for a third term without the people’s consent. DRC is in crisis because the opposition suspect president Joseph Kabila is following the footsteps of Burundi. The world is stuck with the situation unfolding in South Sudan.
Surely, Ugandans, who are wallowing in poverty under Museveni, deserves better from the international community.