At “Swearing-in” Uganda’s Dictator Gen. Museveni Promises Economic Growth With New Lies

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Dictator Museveni--more empty promises. Photo: Facebook.

As the country witnessed Gen. Yoweri Museveni being “sworn-in,” Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb, was turned into an armed camp. 

A company, which is a military unit of about 80-250 soldiers, was stationed in the suburb which spawned the greatness of Bobi Wine, the Ghetto President and whom many believe is the legitimate elected president of Uganda.

Even though the U.S. essentially bankrolls the Museveni regime with about $1 billion in annual financial and military support, on April 16, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Uganda’s Jan. 14, 2021 election was “neither free nor fair” undermining the May 12 “swear-in” and the dictator's attempt to win legitimacy. The U.S. also slapped visa bars on  regime military and political officials whose names were kept sealed.

On the “swear-in” date May 12, a white Nissan pickup license plate UG 3239R was parked at Kobil Petrol station, which is found at the entrance to the road sweeping down to the National Unity Platform (NUP) offices as you approach Kamwokya from Kampala’s city center. NUP is Bobi Wine’s party.

This road was closed to commercial cyclists, a.k.a boda boda, and two roadblocks were mounted by soldiers and police personnel who arrived in a Police truck UP 5637, a grey Nissan pickup UG 2375S, another Nissan pickup UP 4838 as a number of army motorbikes with license plates ranging from DFM 131 to 147 swept by.  It seemed like a bar on the verge of brawl, but when anyone criticizes such a pass Gen. Museveni will label them with all sorts of epithets. 

At what some have termed the “smearing-in” ceremony at Kololo Independence Grounds, Gen. Museveni castigated the West as “idiots” for deigning to criticize his Gestapo tactics. Blissfully unaware or stridently unconcerned about the reality in the country, Gen. Museveni said, at his inauguration, the economy will grow at a rate of 10% in the new term. 

Then he added the caveat “if all goes well”. 

The scenes in Kamwokya turned this proviso into a definite vote of no confidence in things ever going well; the bubble at Kololo independence grounds notwithstanding. Gen. Museveni said that in the past 35 years “his” government has been in power—the operative word being “his”, for it has never been about Ugandans with this man—the economy has been growing at a rate of 6.2% per annum.

“With the activation of the oil sector, which has been dormant ever since 2006 when we discovered the petroleum and if you add the expected average growth rate of 6% per annum post-covid-19, the combination will expand the economy to an estimated US $67 billion by 2026 using the exchange rate method and US $193 billion, using the PPP method; meaning that the economy will be growing at the rate of between 9-10% in the initial years of oil production,” Gen. Museveni said.

Regrettably, the oil sector will actually heighten the growing corruption in the country. The bad omens are there for all to see. Still fresh in our minds was the saga of golden handshakes and questionable bonuses paid to Ugandan officials who oversaw tax dispute settlements with international oil firms. 

The palms of 40 senior government officials were greased. These payouts, or baksheesh, were in excess of 6 billion shillings or $1.66 million. Even the head of the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Ms. Doris Akol, got in on the action by getting more than $100,000 in a personal bonanza which left her laughing all the way to the bank. 

History seems to be repeating itself. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has recorded billions of dollars lost since oil was discovered in Nigeria. Uganda, also run by the military, is likely to follow this thorny route. 

Obviously, this will have dire consequences to our national wellbeing and destiny as a people.

However Gen. Museveni, not yet done, added, “With the rise of the literacy rate from 43% in 1986 to now 76.53%, we can achieve much-faster rates of growth and I will see to that.”

Yet 90% of the youth, who make up 80 % of Uganda’s population, cannot get any jobs. This is partly why they have joined Bobi Wine’s National Unity Platform. 

Still, a deeper more deliberate policy is being engineered by the junta in order to keep the youth down. It is crystallized by Gen. Museveni turning Uganda into a gerontocracy—rule of the old—with him and his peers refusing to yield control to a younger generation and thereby hemorrhaging Uganda’s ability to reach middle income status. 

This time Gen. Museveni didn’t mention “middle income” which previously was a mantra—claiming he’d soon lead Uganda to that level of development. Evdiently all lies have a limit. He resorted to new lies, hoping to keep Ugandans distracted until his son Gen. Muhoozi Kaenerugaba, who commands the notorious Special Forces Command (SFC) succeeds him. 

Then the battle for the soul of Uganda will really turn bloody. 

Columnist Matogo can be reached via Mugashop74@gmail.com

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