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Mwenda could be right about Muhoozi discipline, respecting authority

Andrew Mwenda (R) with Muhoozi Kainerugaba in office

Andrew Mwenda (R) with Muhoozi Kainerugaba in office

While appearing on NBS TV's show, Morning Breeze on January 19, 2023, Andrew Mwenda, the spokesperson for the Muhoozi Kainerugaba (MK) Movement said: "Muhoozi Kainerugaba is very disciplined and respectful to authority. If I were Muhoozi, there are many things that I would do, forcefully, to support my father( Museveni)."

The claim by Mwenda that Muhoozi is disciplined and very respectful to authority sounded somewhat ridiculous given the way Muhoozi, a serving army officer, has violated the law by involving himself in partisan-politics-activities.

The Political Parties and Organisations Act (Section 16) says: "A member of the Uganda People's Defence Forces, Uganda Police Force, the Uganda Prisons Service or a public officer or a traditional or cultural leader or a person employed in a company wholly owned by the government  shall not- (a) be a founder, promoter or other member of a political party or organisation; (B) hold office in a political party/organisation; (C) Speak in public or publish anything involving matters of political or organisation  controversy; or  (d) engage in canvassing support of a political party or organisation or of a candidate standing for public election sponsored by a political party or organisation."

The same Act [Section 16 (20)] continues: "Anyone who contravenes subsection (I) commits an offence and he is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty-four currency points (Shs 480,000) or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both."

The Constitution, Article 208(2), requires members of the UPDF to be non-partisan and subordinate to civilian authority. But it seems Mwenda was arguing from a point of realism not idealism. With the way power is organized and dispensed in Uganda, a president's son, and Muhoozi in particular, can perform many unconstitutional things with impunity if he so wishes. 

Mwenda being a close friend to Muhoozi for many years, it's very possible that he knows about many of his friend's frustrations with officials -- ministers, permanent secretaries, security officers etc. -- serving in his father's government; and understands that Muhoozi has the capacity to deal with the same frustrations legally and or illegally, without facing serious consequences. 

If we are to be realistic enough, self-restraint in this context should be measured by looking at one's capacity to perform illegal things with impunity, the desire to do the same and at how many illegal things one actually does with impunity. 

If it is found that one has so much power and understandable desire to do many illegal things with impunity; but has performed significantly less illegalities than he would do if they chose to yield to their desires optimumly, then it can be deduced that the individual in question is self-restrained. 

In his Nobel lecture, What Desires Are Politically Important?, Bertrand Russell noted that "if you wish to know what men will do, you must know not only, or principally, their material circumstances, but rather the whole system of their desires with their relative strengths." 

In Muhoozi's case, I think it's certain that he has always had the desire to prop up his father's government and, for many years, has had the strength or capacity to do the same with both legal and some illegal means, without facing dire negative consequences. 

Contrary to what many "schooled" urbanites in Uganda believe, restraint isn't always a function of the strength of the constitution or any law or authority. A powerful individual can go against some important aspects of the constitution in specific societies as they please. 

If the way power is organized and dispensed in a society permits misuse of power by powerful individuals against the powerless, restraint then becomes a function of moral conviction and personal discipline of the powerful individuals not strength or accuracy or depth of the law. 

Anyone who labours to analyse how power is organized and practised in Uganda can know that some individuals in the state can get away with many illegalities if the same illegalities serve the current administration. 

Strategically and gradually, effective power has been so siphoned out of the media, cultural institutions, political opposition parties and individual opinion leaders that no alternative power centre in Uganda can seriously challenge the state and compel it in a specific direction. 

The state is so on ground that even people with as little influence as Frank Gashumba can be approached and persuaded (or even persecuted) to stop their jabs against the state. 

Museveni's wide and deep patronage also creates a situation whereby opposition politicians and other power centres cannot successfully mobilize people against some misbehaving government officials. Somehow, almost every person has a relative or a friend or a friend of friend who works in government. 

Doesn't it surprise you that almost every person on the street has a "gamba n'ogu" they can call in case they need some assistance? Because of the wide and deep patronage, almost everyone in Uganda feels represented in the government which makes it hard for the opposition and other institutions that should hold government to account to mobilize the masses successfully against government. 

Whereas Mwenda could be biased, and understandably so, for Muhoozi, it's not improbable that he has reached an objective conclusion that Muhoozi has not overrun institutions and defied the law the way he would desire to do with his power.


+2 #1 Lakwena 2023-02-01 14:17
In other Moses Baguma, it is the "like father like son" adage.

If Gen Muhoozi's father, Gen Tibuhaburwa, a self confessed criminal, has defied all the laws in our Law Books and taken all the laws into his hands: committed treason, murder, massacres, terrorism, bank robbery, aids and abet corruption etc; what should stop Muhoozi from doing the same?

And after Tibuhaburwa publicly told off Ugandans on 26th Jan 2017, that; he is neither their servant nor employee, why should Gen Muhooze care a straw, about Ugandans and their stupid laws sic Constitution?

Besides, because blood is thicker than water; Andrew Mwenda is not just an ordinary friend of Muhoozi, but a blood cousin, hence a proud family Cheerleader/Spokesperson of a regime of rebels, by rebels and for rebels.

Wachireba? What crime hasn't Gen Tibuhaburwa & Son not yet committed?
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