Museveni’s Uganda Is Now Like Amin’s “State of Blood”

Dictator Museveni
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Ugandan military dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni. Photo: Facebook.

Journalist David Lamb wrote in his book, “The Africans”: “Uganda no longer exists today as a viable nation. It has disintegrated into a cluster of tribal states. Its cities have become frontier towns, terrorized by bandits who will kill for a Seiko watch. Its government is a collection of outcasts and misfits serving only themselves. There is nothing left to rebuild. The economy, the governmental infrastructure, the spirit of reconciliation had all been destroyed. The Ugandans have committed national suicide.”

If you ask the average Ugandan, this is precisely Uganda’s state of affairs today. The country is in free fall, and no amount of lies by Gen. Yoweri Museveni’s regime will change this. He can taken in as many Afghan refugees as he wants for cheap propaganda but he’ll fail to divert attention from the rot. 

There’s a lull before the impending storm, and this has thrown a cosmetic carapace over the actual reality in Uganda. 

Heil to the chief. The dictator inspects troops. Photo: Facebook.

In the past, violent conflicts in Uganda’s tortured history could and can be convincingly traced to political institutions of domination and control that remain at the foundation of Gen. Museveni’s system of governance today. The recent spate of unsolved killings of civilians in Masaka is reminiscence of the Amin era. 

Idi Amin’s “Second Republic”, as he called it, started on a populist note with the Asian expulsion. The businesses they left behind fell into the eagerly rubbed palms of Amin’s cronies and other Muslims who had no background in business. 

This led to an economic crisis which spiraled out of control and threatened to sink Amin’s ship of State along with a drowning nation. 

Kondoism—armed robbery, or banditry—became the order of the day as law and order broke down. This is where “Marshal” Amin’s era and Gen. Museveni’s misrule become one. 

The security forces, which were out of control, played a murderous role in the criminal times of the Amin era. There are no shortage of similar examples from the current Museveni era. Last year, when the former national boxing captain, Isaac Ssenyange a.k.a. Mando Zebra, was killed by security personnel, it emerged that he was shot nine times by about 12 officers who were moving in vehicles with no registration plates. 

“I have so far found out he was killed by security personnel,” admitted Gen. Museveni, as if just making that statement translates into justice. Consider the comparisons. In June 1971 Amin said, “Any soldier caught looting property will be treated as a kondo and will be liable to be shot on the spot.”

"Marshall" Amin would be proud of Museveni today. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Again, in March 1972 he warned the country's top Army, Air Force, Police and Prison Officers to not get involved in criminality. “See that civilians got the full protection of the law of Uganda”, he said. A few months later, he went off again by warning: “high ranking officers in the Police Force and civil service who are connected with highway robbery and killing of innocent people by assisting kondos, I am going to deal with them very mercilessly.”

The dictators speak like twins. Museveni has said, “Don’t bark at people that are not a people’s army, don’t beat people even criminals, you are not allowed to beat anybody—not even the children. There shouldn’t be any killing of Ugandans for any reason other than during fighting.”

Museveni, like Amin, was warning security personnel against using their positions to terrorize Ugandans. Given his track record of brutality over the last 35 years, Museveni’s statements sound like he’s creating a form of alibi should there ever be a day of reckoning.

As in Amin’s time, however, the extrajudicial highhandedness of the state has not reduced in any shape or form. So history is repeating itself because Gen. Museveni is an updated version of “Field Marshal” Idi Amin.   

“Post hoc, ergo propter hoc” which is Latin for “After this, therefore because of this”. 

Or, simply stated, one thing follows the other because it was caused by the other. 

Columnist Matogo can be reached via including with news tips. 

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