2019 Message from CLOUD: What Ugandans at Home and Abroad Must do to End Museveni's Tyranny

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Museveni. Corrupt brutal dictator of 32 years.

Dictatorship in Uganda is very much a consequence of the following: Gen. Yoweri Museveni's is a power-hungry despot who is very corrupt; and he is a puppet who fulfills Western interests in Africa much like Gen. Mobutu did from 1960 to 1997 in Congo.

Today, Western governments have been reluctant to leash their puppet Museveni, who is their "partner" in the global war against terror and extreme Islamists. On his own part Gen. Museveni has exploited Western interests to entrench his life Presidency. As Museveni digs in and publicly vows “not to go anywhere” even in the face of upcoming elections in 2021, Ugandans are even more determined at home and abroad to end his tyranny despite his plans to clamp down on protesters when he is defeated at the polls.

Gen. Museveni has been dictator for 33 years. He has progressively and mercilessly dominated political space. In this time, he has rigged multiple elections. He personally hand picks members of the electoral commission. His acolytes announce the results. He diverts millions of dollars of public funds toward his campaigns and monopolizes media.

Rules, electoral regulations and administration are all strategically slanted in his favor. His competitors have been: routinely intimidated through violent action by security forces loyal to Museveni; had their businesses destroyed thus depriving them of income; and, illegally imprisoned, and tortured. Supporters of political opponents have been killed, assaulted, or bribed in broad daylight by the dictator who travels with sacks of cash to dole out.

The rigging was so blatant when Gen. Museveni stole the 2016 vote that the EU Election Observer Mission issued a scathing report indicting the regime abuses and calling for electoral reforms. Eduard Kukan, head of the EU Observer team said the 2016 vote did not meet "internationally acceptable standards." If the reforms are carried out, such as creation of an independent Election Commission, three decades of nightmare could come to an end in Uganda in 2021.

Political Conditionality and China: Given contemporary global relations dynamics like the "war against terror" plus the rise of China as an important global player democracy and the protection of human rights in Uganda have consequently suffered.

Europe and the U.S. have relied on regional dictators like Gen. Museveni to execute proxy wars against militias in Somalia. Museveni has profited severally from this dynamic. He is able to gain financial resources, some of which are stolen, as well as arms. There is no pressure on dictator Museveni to democratize and respect human rights. He has even labeled his political opponents "terrorists."

With the rise of China as a significant international lender providing billions of dollars to African countries without regard for human rights records Gen. Museveni sees another lifeline. China uses any means necessary to gain competitive advantage and this is suitable for a corrupt ruler like Museveni. On December 5, 2018, Chi Ping Patrick Ho, a Chinese agent who is Hong Kong's former minister of Home Affairs was convicted in U.S. federal court in Manhattan for bribing Gen. Museveni and his Minister of Home Affairs Sam Kutesa $500,000 each. The bribe was for CEFC China Energy for non-competitive concessions in the oil sector. How can major corporations continue to do business as usual with such a corrupt dictator?


Gen. Museveni has used Washington lobbyists and European PR firms to market himself as the most magnanimous host of African refugees. These efforts have borne much fruit as the international community rushes to shower him with accolades and hundreds of millions of dollars for refugees in Uganda from South Sudan. This is particularly diabolical since Museveni is the one who created the refugee crisis by invading South Sudan in December 2013. He militarily sided with South Sudan dictator Salva Kiir instead of mediating the political dispute between Kiir and South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar. Come the 2021 election dictator Museveni may also exploit these refugees into voting for his party in return for continued assistance.

How to Remove Museveni's Dictatorship: Museveni is terrified of opposition because he has no popular support. In August he unleashed terror against the opposition including Member of Parliament (MP) Bobi Wine when they campaigned for an opposition candidate in the city of Arua. Museveni's forces killed Yasin Kawuuma, Bobi Wine's driver and beat, arrested and tortured the opposition MPs and their supporters. Museveni still lost the parliamentary seat; the third such loss to the opposition in a row. These are clear evidence he would lose a free and fair presidential vote.

There was universal condemnation of Museveni's Arua atrocities -from the EU Parliament, the U.S. government and leading Senators and Members of the House of Representatives. There has been demand for independent investigation of the August atrocities from both the EU and U.S. Congress with threat of sanctions if there is no follow through.

The Uganda Diaspora will ensure that the pressure by the international community continues and will join our brothers and sisters at home to ensure that electoral reforms occur such as creation of an independent election commission.

Diaspora will continue to expose Gen. Museveni's corruption and atrocities to the international community through protests and advocacy, social media mass mobilization campaigns, petitions, and regular dialogue with Members of Congress, the Trump administration, and global human rights organizations.

The organization I lead Common League of the Uganda Diaspora (CLOUD) organized a very effective protest in June outside the Boston headquarters of GE company to demand that the company withdraw its stake from the oil refinery being built in Uganda on account of human rights abuses and corruption. GE CEO John Flannery was fired on October 1. In light of the U.S. court verdict confirming the bribes to Museveni and Kutesa, CLOUD plans additional actions to get GE to abandon the Museveni refinery; he has referred to the country's oil as "my oil."

In 2019 CLOUD is planning a series of activities aimed at: pressuring Museveni's dictatorship to desist from intimidation of voters and human rights actors; mobilization of voters to register and take effective participation; legal assistance and court fees for political activists and protesters jailed by police; mass confidence building advocacy; formation of local electoral observation teams; documentation and reporting of human rights abuses to the world; meeting hospital treatment costs for activists injured by security forces; and upkeep for families of activists who die while protesting human rights abuses.

Ugandans are encouraged to forward information about abuses and corruption.

Ugandans in Diaspora stand shoulder to shoulder with those at home to build democratic institutions and a modern state with accountable elected government. Western countries must abandon Gen. Museveni and embrace the vast majority of Ugandans who want a new beginning after 33 years of tyranny.

Martin R. Byakuleka President.

Tel: +1-781-572-9109

CLOUD: Front for the Defense of Human Rights and Democracy in Uganda
24 Crescent Street, Suite 3
Waltham, MA 02453

Email: [email protected]

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