UGANDA: AN APPEAL TO US PRERSIDENT DONALD TRUMP- STOP FINANCING CORRUPT AFRICA’S DICTATORS

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A cartoonist’s impression of how General Museveni’s ego

An open letter

“Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained- the form of it- but those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning”

“So on Madiba’s 100th birthday, we now stand at a crossroads- a moment in time at which two very different visions of humanity’s future compete for the hearts and the minds of citizens around the world. Two different stories, two different narratives about who we are and who we should be. How should we respond?”

“In the end however, the judges are not the ones in charge of the country. If NRM MPs follow my guidelines and bound closely with the people, we can, together with the people, make the necessary constitutional reforms, judges, no judges”, fumes Mr. Museveni, adding; “How can you say old soldiers should be disqualified when everybody’s efforts are needed because the good soldiers are not enough?’

GULU-UGANDA: Dear Mr. President, I send you warm greetings from the heart of Africa, a continent blessed with abundant natural resources, specifically from Uganda; a country once described by colonial masters that it was the Pearl of Africa; which unfortunately has been reduced to ashes by corrupt dictators.

This open letter comes hardly two weeks after your predecessor, Barack Obama, concluded his African tour with a lecture at The 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture during which lecture he acknowledged that there are still “Strongman Politics” in the world; a vise he failed to address during his eight years in charge of the US presidency.

“Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained- the form of it- but those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning”, he says, during the Madiba lecture to the applause of many listening to him.

“So on Madiba’s 100th birthday, we now stand at a crossroads- a moment in time at which two very different visions of humanity’s future compete for the hearts and the minds of citizens around the world. Two different stories, two different narratives about who we are and who we should be. How should we respond?” he continues.

What crossroad is Mr. Obama talking about? The crossroad is about how the likes of Madiba can save the world from sharks like emerging African corrupt dictators who want to destroy humanity through undemocratic maneuvers.  Who needs free speech as long as the economy is doing well? The free press is under attack. Censorship and state control of media is on the rise across Africa.

One such autocratic strongman and very corrupt African presidents is our very own-General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the life president of Uganda.

When he ascended to power on January 26, 1986, General Museveni correctly prescribed Africa’s problem as “leaders who overstay in office”. He initiated the promulgation of a new Constitution; and in 1995 a new came into effect.

In that constitution, General Museveni maneuvered the Constituent Assembly members and put in Article 102 (b); which specifically states that “A person is not qualified for election as President unless that person is not less than thirty-five years and not more than seventy-five years of age”.

At that time his arch enemy was former president, the late Dr. Apollo Milton Obote, then exiled in Lusaka- Zambia. Dr. Obote, who was above seventy-five years at that time, had challenged him in a free and fair election. He wanted Obote out in the general election in 1996, the first since he took over power eleven years earlier.

Recently, he manipulated parliament, which his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party dominate, and removed that safety belt from the constitution. He also amended Article 77 (3) which had fixed the term of parliament to five years from the date of its first sitting after a general election to be seven years.

Article 77 (4) states that ‘where  there exist a state of war or a state of emergency which would prevent a normal general election from being held, Parliament may, by resolution supported by not less than two-thirds of all members of Parliament, extend the life of Parliament for a period not exceeding six months at a time’.

These amendments, including the re-introduction of term limits, were challenged in the Constitutional Court, which ruled on Thursday July 26, 2018 that the extension of the life of parliament to seven years and the re-introduction of term limits were unconstitutional but the court upheld the amendment on age limit.

Although the court granted him leeway ticket to life presidency, General Museveni is still furious over these judgments despite the alleged independence of the judiciary. In an opinion he sent to Ugandan media from South Africa where he had gone to attend the Brix summit, he said it was not the judges who were in-charge of this country.

“In the end however, the judges are not the ones in charge of the country. If NRM MPs follow my guidelines and bound closely with the people, we can, together with the people, make the necessary constitutional reforms, judges, no judges”, fumes Mr. Museveni, adding; “How can you say old soldiers should be disqualified when everybody’s efforts are needed because the good soldiers are not enough?’

For how long will the United States tolerate General Museveni and sustain his presidency? Are you going to allow him to continue to plunder Uganda’s natural resources in the guise to help you fight terrorism in Africa?

He has seen at least five US presidents come and go but he has refused to let go despite is correct judgment of African leaders when he first took over the mantle. There are no drugs in hospitals. The education sector is in shambles. Corruption and gagging of free-speech and association is the order of the day. It is needless to say the lawlessness in neighboring countries except in Kenya and Tanzania. Is the world waiting for another Arab Spring to happen in Africa in order to wake up? –The author is a journalist in northern Uganda (mutono@gmail.com)

 

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