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Mr Museveni is evidently aware of his waning support

President Museveni

President Museveni

There is one family friend that we often reminisce about with laughter in our family recollections.

This generally warm young man, who used to be our immediate neighbour, often joined us to play cards; which in most cases were his. When he was winning, he would sing and dance annoyingly while he mocked his victims.

But on many occasions when he lost and you did the same, he would cry foul and threaten or indeed collect his cards. He had a little disability in the legs; so, he would limp away in anger with his cards and disappear into the banana plantation that covered their house.

What often followed was him climbing their big jackfruit tree, and making sure we heard the big jackfruits he was throwing down. When we didn’t go pleading with him, he would then return with pieces of the fruit, asking that we play again.

As he grows older and less popular, President Museveni’s evolution in political behavior reminds me a lot about this old friend of ours. I have mentioned it here nostalgically before how Museveni was my childhood hero that I held in high regard. I would even give up my school porridge for a newspaper cutting of his picture.

Whereas some few readers responded that they never trusted him from the very beginning, I am more inclined to believe that those were a small minority. Museveni was such a compelling enigmatic figure that you would listen to him and forget a fork in your mouth. Many always looked forward to his eloquent proverb-spiced speeches that sounded quite promising for the country. We loved his characteristic sort of stammer too.  

There were some glitches here and there in his leadership, but, with the exception of a wide section of northern Uganda that was afflicted by war and with some historical scores to settle with him, Museveni had the goodwill of many Ugandans.

In 1996, in his first electoral contest while president, whereas Dr Paul Ssemogerere presented a formidable challenge, Museveni did not have to rig a lot or spend sums of money in buying voters. His rallies filled organically. Even though his star was not as bright as in the late 1980s, he still commanded wide appeal.

But, just like the sun runs irreversibly to set, his aura has been declining since then. The ending of the war in the north could have significantly helped not to bend the curve sharply downwards, but the public mood has generally been growing unfavourable.

This is best demonstrated by his own behaviour, which clearly shows his awareness that he is selling an expired product. It bothers me intensely to watch my hero claiming back one by one of his initial scores into the drain! Museveni’s greatest earlier achievements were in trying to build institutions such as the army, police, legislature, judiciary, and building security around the country.

It was not all that polished, but there was clear indication of some level of commitment to make things work. As we speak now, the militarised regime police may only appear admirable in the public eye if dipped in a lake of detergent; CMI is turning into a fascist agency; parliament often follows the smell of money, even if it means burying the country at a fee; the judiciary tries but is staggering as if it swallowed something that disengages the nerves of justice; the army remains largely disciplined but increasingly partisan and tribalised.

It was almost improbable in his early years for President Museveni to be heckled. Songs in his praise were sang voluntarily and with charismatic passion. But now you mostly have to facilitate people to sing those songs in competition with the unpaid opposition chants.

He didn’t have to transport people from one area to another to constitute a rally. We would fall over ourselves to watch him speak.Our Fountain of Honour did not have to move with biscuits, brown envelopes, and bags of money wherever he went; splashing them at one group after another as though at an Igbo showbiz party.

But, unfortunately, that is how he can find audience now. The disturbing irony is that it is the money sucked out of us that is being abused while recipients clap euphorically.

No wonder that opportunists who have studied his panic are now making a living by coming up with various money-minting schemes of ‘neutralising the opposition’, especially Bobi Wine.

There are mercenary online firefighters, international image cleaning agencies, rented radio callers, mercenary musicians, mercenary diaspora neutralisers, youth demobilisers, mercenary alternative ‘role model’ advertisers, etc. And it will only get worse.

More than ever before, the road to 2021 is going to be paved by bags of money, state violence, and other ugly political manoeuvres - such as those already seen in the suggested imbecilic electoral reforms.

Never did many of us imagine that we would live to see Museveni panic this much in the face of the possibility of embarrassingly losing power to a young musician from a ghetto - a ‘boy’ largely a product of the former’s failure to know when to let go. Could anyone predict that, under his paranoia, freedom of assembly by those opposed to him would eventually become criminal?

Never did many imagine that under our hero, who fought a long costly war to reinstate democracy, a young man fit to be his third child would be arbitrarily stopped from holding music concerts for being a political threat to him.

Indeed, as quipped by the late Paulo Kafeero; okuwangaala kuno kutulabisa ebintu (living long makes us see a lot)! We thought that at last Uganda had gotten a hero whose name we would, like other countries do of theirs, forever sing without hesitations; but here we are, chocking again. Fundamental change gradually cascading into detrimental change!

jsssentongo@gmail.com

The author is a teacher of philosophy

Comments

0 #31 Akot 2019-08-26 14:25
Quoting ronald ronald:
Mr Museveni is not just aware of his waning support, he is very much aware of is waned support.


Agreed, but,

This makes no difference to Ugandans' situation because without tribal leaders giving chance to UNITY, no Ugandan from a tribal land will be supported by ALL to replace Museveni, but Ugandans will fight themselves while Museveni goes on.

Did Dr Besigye, mp Bobi Wine, manage to UNITE Ugandans, draw them away from Museveni to ensure he's out?

But Ugandans are busy ensuring Museveni goes unoppossed, right?

Why is Dr Nyanzi in prison & who locked her up?
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0 #32 Akot 2019-08-26 14:37
Budapest, agreed!

Yet, without the tribalistic system & with Ugandans UNITING around, say mp Bobi Wine, would Museveni survive?

Did Acholi hold on when all the tribes UNITED to bring in Musevnei?

What would happen if tribal leaders stand down & Ugandans UNITE against Museveni, even without a common opposition leader?

Why do Ugandans feel safer with Museveni & not 1 of them from any tribal land?

What if Museveni dissolves posts of tribal leaders & reforms the republic as he wants, or drops dead?

Museveni ran out of the massive support, but as Ugandans won't UNITE around just 1 of their own from a tribe, Museveni is going no where & doesn't need to fight as Ugandans block/fight/imprison one another to ensure he is unoppossed!
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0 #33 Akot 2019-08-26 14:45
sula, understood.

This is why any one who wants to become a leader in any country MUST be bron in that country!

B. Obama had to publish his birth certificate to prove he was born in USA!

French accept those born outside their country in any posts, except that of president of the country!

Museveni's life is over & what's left of it doesn't matter to him as Ugandans made him so so rich, yet he will remain in power as long as our people need him to keep them tribally apart so that no one from any tribal land becomes a National Leader!

But, Ugandans must know they will have to face one another when Museveni will be no more, unless they will be alright with his family business just going on!
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0 #34 sula 2019-08-26 17:07
Akot I agree 100%.That is the core of our problem.

That is why Kawuma can be killed as a dog, and hundreds can be slaughtered in Kasese ! thousands in Luwero/ Northern Uganda
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+1 #35 sula 2019-08-26 17:35
Dr J Spire, my last word , I have always appreciated your articles but was taken aback by this one.

1- The bushmen since their arrive have traded a narrative that they sacrificed for the country,where nobody dared and ever since they came they have done a lot for this country. For the average person on the street that is gospel truth.

BUT as educated people we should overcome our emotions develop instrument s to evaluate and give balanced evaluations of such sweeping statements.

2-So many questions about the NRA war remain un answered and have to wait for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission one day.

Many of these guys may end up in Hague.

3- Why did Museveni &co go to war ? Who sent them? Which party did they represent ? How National was their cause ? Was killing /war the only option ? and who decided so ?
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+1 #36 sula 2019-08-26 17:49
4- with 27 men how were they expecting to win the war?

Were the methods which as proved by history which they used normal war practices including abuse and use of children?Did the mainstream political parties then agree with them?Which manifesto were they using? Did their subsequent actions prove their cause ? etc.

5- On the question of leadership, we need to demand higher standards, not applaud a leader moving with bags of money to solve unemployment !

We should judge leaders not what they done , but what they have done which any normal leader would not have done.Mandela instead of imprisoning the people who imprisoned him for 27 years , he called them for discussion on how to build a New country !
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+1 #37 sula 2019-08-26 18:02
6- How can Museveni/ Tumwine &co tell our children that they sacrificed so much ; but they did not die, In Luwero some entire families were wiped out, our sisters and mothers became their wives, our brothers were the one sent at the front line and they never made it.

people missed out on education on a future , even those who survived regardless of their sacrifice they are poverty ridden in Luwero.

Above all, why didnt they take the war in Nyabushozi/Kiruhura ?

What about the North ?was the bloodshed necessary ? In short what has the country gained ? we need to weigh our admiration for Mr Museveni &co. Before you make your admiration public be sensitive to those whose wounds are still bleeding .
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+1 #38 Lakwena 2019-08-27 07:33
Quoting sula:
6- How can Museveni/ Tumwine &co tell our children that they sacrificed so much ; but they did not die, In Luwero some entire families were wiped out, ...

people missed out on education on a future , even those who survived regardless of their sacrifice they are poverty ridden in Luwero.

Above all, why didnt they take the war in Nyabushozi/Kiruhura ? .


In other words Sula, the day every Ugandan gets pissed off like you are now, maybe that is when Mr. M7 and NRM Cabal will have to cut and run.

But we are almost there. E.g. Mr. M7 and NRM are now dirty words.

Verbatim, here is what Salim Saleh had to say at the funeral of Gen Otema Awany:

"Like in OWC, you give someone a cow, they abuse it because they took it to be NRM. Even when you give them a tractor, they will disown it saying it is NRM. This is a a big blow to us now."
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0 #39 Lakwena 2019-08-27 14:36
But the Observer, please catch up with your subscribers!

In other words, you are running far behind schedule and risk missing the boat.
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+2 #40 Lakwena 2019-08-28 10:11
Correction! It was not at Gen Otema Awany's funeral. But Otema Awany's father.

In other words, when the mind is faster than the hands/fingers some words are left behind!
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