The year 2019 is coming to a peaceful end, with Uganda steadily marching off in stability, national unity, democracy, freedom and an all-round progress, contrary to the alarmist assessments that the collective opposition made at the beginning. At the time, taking false advantage over insecurity, murders, robbery with violence, and widespread economic uncertainties especially among the vulnerable urban poor, unemployed youths, and rural folks, the opposition believed that sudden and sad end of NRM and President Yoweri Museveni had approached.
The much anticipated cabinet reshuffle made by President Yoweri Museveni last Saturday appears to have come too late, too little in the estimation of many Ugandans who had believed that a massive shake up was necessary to kick out evident inertia in what had been christened Kisanja hakuna mchezo. Clearly, the public is demanding that more blood flows especially on corruption related issues which they believe this reshuffle hasn’t decisively dealt with, but merely people going through the revolving door.
Uganda is entering that time, the election campaign season when opposition groups and their allies in the civil society and Western so-called donor groups accuse the NRM, and President Yoweri Museveni of dipping hands into the public till to run elections campaigns. But knowing that no opposition group has independent, reliable and sufficient sources, we must ask them if their tree isn’t rotten as well.
In the last three months Cabinet has vacillated with statements over the possibility of permitting the development of hydro-power dams on Uhuru and Murchison Falls (devil’s cauldron) along River Nile three times. That vacillation is causing anxiety and suspicion that perhaps government is acting under pressure from a dubious hand, up to no good, and the public is spoiling for a big fight.
Next week marks one year since President Yoweri Museveni established the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) under State House as a direct link to him and additional efforts in the fight against widespread, but neglected reports of corruption within government.
The political murmurs doing rounds that perennial presidential contender, Kizza Besigye Kifefe, and his sidekicks are collecting ‘evidence’ and two million signatures to drag President Yoweri Museveni, senior government and security officials to the much acclaimed International Criminal Court (ICC) is a bluff. Without pouring so much cold water, Ugandans need to be reminded that there have been three failed similar efforts previously by the same groups to drag President Museveni to the ICC and other similar bodies.
The recent appointment of three artists, Catherine Kusasira, Mark Bugembe (Bucherman), and Jennifer Nakamgubi (Full Figure) by President Yoweri Museveni as his advisors for Kampala and ‘ghetto’ affairs has kicked up needless raw anger with some leaders across the aisle exchanging political expletives. Not surprisingly, some NRM leaders especially in Kampala joined the opposition in a chorus of condemnation and damnation with absurd claims that their roles were being taken away, and efforts undermined, not recognized or enumerated.
It is becoming cool again to roundly condemn security agencies especially the police when handling protests by groups well-known to promote the political campaign dubbed civil disobedience to “make Uganda ungovernable”, by disrupting economic and commercial activities, in the hope their foreign backers will step in. The foreign backers are mainly some elements from the US, West Minister Foundation for Democracy, and Netherland Institute for Multiparty Democracy channeling various forms of support either directly or through CSOs and the media.
Makerere University is again in the news for one week running for no so good reasons. Notoriously famous for staging strikes, often violent, and most of them invariably triggered by funding, management and even mundane administrative issues like quarreling over food, furniture and toilets. Overall Uganda has 180,000 students in both public and private universities. The nine public universities combined have the lion’s share of one hundred ten thousand (110,000) students.
The renewed engagement with Africa in what appears to be a paradigm shift towards mutual, cordial and hopefully progressive benefit to the continent is a good sign that China, alongside Russia, Japan and India are seeking to reshape the world order. Of course we should expect that countries that defined the old world order, some of which are now museums, will try staging rearguard actions to undermine the new shifts.