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Museveni’s lazy tribalism

President Museveni

Presidemt Museveni

Every government has to have its own middle-class. Native capitalists, if you like. No country ever becomes rich without having own local

Native billionaires who own big money and their home addresses are known to smaller businesspeople. (Not government employees, commission agents and dealers). Indeed, governments go to great lengths to nurture, support and protect these businesses from foreign competition, and bad economic times.

If they aren’t giving them direct cash (not stupid bailouts), they are offering them guns to conquer the lands beyond. In other times, governments are threatening other governments on behalf of their businessmen. This is how capitalism works.

Consider, for example, that the USA government arrested the Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on some trumped-up fraud charges in order to create bad press for Huawei and to protect Apple from superior Chinese competition. Americans continue to invade other countries to allow their businessmen to profit from those resources.

Israel and the USA have fermented conflict in DRC, South Sudan and other numerous times on behalf of Dan Gertler International and Glencore Plc. For the last many months, European farmers have been on the streets demanding more protection from Chinese and Russian cheaper agricultural products.

In addition to asking for more fuel and fertiliser subsidies. And European governments have indeed acquiesced to these farmers’ demands. This protection and support are given to all areas of business, especially in the areas of banking, farming, telecommunication, motor vehicle production, mining, etcetera. A country cannot transform and be considered rich without native business folks dealing in real money. In big money.


What has Museveni done on his part for the last 38 years as president? They say, President Yoweri Museveni is a supersmart man, a strategist and so on. But how did he miss this principle of developing an own billionaire class — to buttress his regime and uplift his people?

I perfectly understand that he was unsure of Baganda businessmen that they might be rich and overthrow him. But why did he not consider developing an own billionaire class from among his closed circle of trusted tribesmen and kin: bankers, telecom giants, major exporters, gold miners, construction businesses. Why did he not?

Look, with a state in his hands, Museveni and kith and kin remain uninterested in becoming rich — like real rich. With big money. While retaining their pastoral lifestyle and all its communal-sharing traditions, they have remained lazy hunter-gatherers amidst one of the richest countries on earth.

Indeed, as soon as Museveni collapses, all his men will fall back into penury. This is not smart.

Consider this: Three things define Museveni and his tribesmen:

(a) An obsession with public service, which means they are only interested in eating from the state. So, they are falling over each other sharing public service jobs.

(b) If they are to do any work outside of public service, it is responding to a tender from the public purse. Again, eating from the state.

(c) An obsessive interest in commissions, cuts, and bribes from foreign businessmen. You will find them on boards of major corporations, or in the corridors negotiating deals with major corporations. You will find Museveni’s clansmen fighting with their poor compatriots over land, market squares - not to do any serious business, but to simply own them and collect fares and rents.

What becomes visible is absolute laziness, an ingrained peasant mentality and some clumsy lowbrow dreams, and a long list of small pleasures. Because actual money is in business outside of the state: In Uganda, on average, a commercial bank makes Shs 2.5 billion a day, a telecom company estimated with the lowest market share, makes Shs 5 billion by 7 am in the morning.


If you asked me honestly, the problem is not Museveni’s tribalism per se, that was expected from a man with a pastoral hunter-gatherer background.

Yes, after a successful hunt, the animal is shared with the entire clan. Indeed, one time when talking about the 1980-86 bush war, Museveni would famously use the image of hunter; that he hunted his animal. He should be allowed to share it with whoever he willed. Indeed, not to share is to attract the ire of Ishe-Katabazi, the renowned satirist in Ankore folklore famous for, among other things, calling out selfish members of the clan.

To this end, I would never begrudge Museveni’s tribalism. This was expected. (And with the exception of Buganda, if Museveni had been
a man hailing from another non- cosmopolitan society, they would deploy their near and distant relations in all key positions). The problem for me is that in defining the animal to be shared among clansmen and family members, Museveni and co., have continued to focus all their energies on rabbits rather than the elephant.

Why be content with small things?

If Museveni was afraid of Baganda businessmen such as Dr Sulaiman Kiggundu (Greenland), Ssembuya (Ssembuya Investments), and others, he would have developed his own to take their place. I will ask these questions one more time: why isn’t comrade brother Gen Salim Saleh an owner of a bank, or a renowned gold dealer filling the country’s gold vault?

Why isn’t businessman Patrick Bitature the owner of a large telecom company, but instead a small shop called Simba Telecom? Why is the
very brilliant Allen Kagina not owning a Roko-like business, and scooping tenders here and abroad? Why move around to tout a Pinetti to the world and not Robert Kabushenga or Andrew Rugasira?


The author is a political theorist based at Makerere University


0 #21 Akot 2024-05-26 20:11
Quoting Remase:

Kyagulanyi and NUP are busy running around like a chicken without a head mbu to mobilize their supporters in order to get a share of taxpayers money!

That's what Kyagulanyi calls democracy at work and he is determined to show us that democracy works in Uganda! Kumbe Kyagulanyi is only interested to get his hands on taxpayers money just like M7, his family, relatives and tribesmen.

NUP is not different than M7's NRM because NUP is led by Kyagulanyi and chairman Nyanzi, Kyagulanyi's brother, ...is hell bent on sharing our taxpayers money for doing absolutely nothing!


Why are Ugandans still powerless tribally divided ruled, just watching, helping their total destruction?

A REAL opposer to M7 would just call for an end to the tribalistic system & to UNITY, to show M7 & family way out!
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+1 #22 Kalibbala 2024-05-27 11:50
Stop Shouting and Embark on Plan B! meaning taking up Arms to Liberate Yourselves or Remain Slaves of Rwandese who Captured Your Country!

Uganda Today is run by War Lords in Names of Sodo Kaguta and Toyota(Chairman) and Balaam as Foot Soldier! Bent on Abducting and Killing Ugandans until They Get tired of Dying! Stop Fooling Yourselves About Politics!..NRA (Notorious Robbers Army) had Powers to do Evil in the Bush! Meaning Killing a lot of People! up to 1.000.000!

Besigye, Muntu, Tumukunde, Tinyefuuza, Otafiire, and Others Still at Large are Busy Hoodwinking You about Transition! Cowshit!
It will never Happen!
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