Writers says Gen. Amin, shown on top is ‘a mouse’ compared to Gen. Museveni
Happy Idi Amin Liberation Day 25th January 1971 along with Idi Amin’s New Republic of Uganda; Happy NRM Liberation Day 25th January 1986 along with Museveni’s Fundamental Change and “Moto na waka” and all that.25th January is not the only thing that Idi Amin and Yoweri Museveni have in common. There are more similarities to them than oddities; however, Amin is a mouse compared to Museveni.
Fast forward to today. What have we achieved in Uganda in almost 30 years of Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) government? I leave it to you subscribers to Ugandan Politics 2016 and other forum members. I can only say this: change has been fundamental, less the ‘fun’ or ‘fund’, leaving us with just the ‘mental’.
We have seen wars across the region with Uganda at the heart of it. We have seen extra-judicial killings within the country. We have seen concerted oppression, against human rights groups, the press and the opposition.
We have seen persecution of people from other parts of the country from the ruling Junta. We have seen 20 years of war in the northern part of Uganda as part of a government-designed persecution agenda.
We have seen corruption at a level that has consistently propelled us to the top of the Transparency International’s Top 10 graft list.
Let us look across at other countries:
Mozambique and Angola are barely 15 years out of war but are two of the fastest developing countries in Africa. We shall not even look at the Thailand, South Korea and Singapore as case studies. Let us cast our eye at Vietnam. In 30 years, it has become the second-largest coffee exporter in the world.How did Vietnam do it? Well, by caring more for the country than caring for corrupt leaders’ pockets and stomachs.
Recently, I lost a friend in Uganda who, when the NRM government came to power, was one of the most successful farmers and industrialists in post- independence Uganda. He owned a farm and a coffee processing factory among other things.
He died a poor man because the NRM destroyed his factories and promised, for 20 years, to compensate him but he wore out his shoe leather chasing for it. He was buried in Masaka last weekend – his friend and family rallying around him to fund his funeral.
This is just one of several industrialists ruined by the NRM government. I have an archive of a printing press, steel mill and other industries that the NRM government has torpedoed in favor of foreigners who have bribed government officials to their side.
Things must change. Like some 23 year old Ugandan said to me when I mentioned the colloquy of ‘fundamental change’; she said, and I quote verbatim: “Fundamental change my foot! I live on less than a dollar a day and you call that fundamental change? I would hate to give birth to a child in this regime that I was born in. We need a platform in order to bring change. Everytime we have gone out to protest every Monday as part of the Black Monday Group, we have been beaten, tear-gassed, arrested, detained without charge or trial and we have been persecuted and our families threatened. We need help and assistance because since this Public Order Bill has been passed, we have really suffered.”Under the Bill, Police approval is required if three or more people want to gather publicly to discuss political issues.
To Ugandans, as Malcolm X (RIP) once said “it is about time you ‘stopped singing and started swinging. Singing will get you no where. Swinging will'”.
Use the social media;it is the safest and best method of getting messages across the country to all youth and activists.
Frank Okello Abe is an International Attorney