Uganda: Kampala's Mayor Defeats 'Erratic' Dictator

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Mayor Lukwago takes on a general

[Black Star News Editorial]

In addition to ruthlessness, after nearly 28 years in power, people are questioning the state of mind of Uganda's dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni.

The Economist magazine, once a cheerleader for the general in a recent column wondered about "erratic" behavior.

Shortly after the article appeared, Gen. Museveni piled on more mind-boggling behavior. He has been dealing with a series of crises, of his own creation, including the current one, an ongoing struggle with Erias Lukwago, mayor of Kampala the capital city.

The mayor has so far bested the general.

In a bid to divert attention away from the disastrous defeat of M23 the proxy army he'd sponsored in neighboring Congo --the army created lawlessness and committed war crimes, according to the U.S., the U.N., and Human Rights Watch-- the general created a homegrown crisis.

Museveni's supporters on the Kampala city council voted to impeach the elected mayor, Lukwago, on what his supporters say are bogus allegations of incompetence and mismanagement.

Gen. Museveni would have Ugandans believe that it's a mere coincidence that Lukwago is a popular opposition political figure and that even with the rigged elections that have kept him in power Museveni has never been able to win the vote in Kampala.

Even after 28 years in office, the general may run for office again in two years time, now that his bid to instal his son, Brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba seems to have stalled due to rising opposition.

Lukwago is a brilliant organizer and a big ally of Dr. Kizza Besigye, Uganda's leading opposition figure whose supporters and many Ugandans believe would today be president were it not for the massive rigging by general Museveni's National Resistance Movement (NRM) political party.

Lukwago is a brave organizer who has been brutalized during his multiple arrests in the past by Gen. Museveni's security agents.

The general is determined to crush opposition in Kampala before the next election -- hence the attempt to remove Lukwago through dubious and unlawful means. His supporters lost in Kampala in the rigged 2011 vote.

Following the so-called impeachment and removal of the mayor last week Uganda's High Court had now ruled that the vote to impeach him was unlawful and that Lukwago remains mayor of Kampala.

Now in a brutish move, the City Executive Director of the City Council, Jennifer Musisi, most likely under pressure from Gen. Museveni himself, has announced that she is shutting down the city's headquarters which will affect services --garbage collection, maintenance of buildings, general services.

She implies that she's not defying the court's ruling but that she fears Lukwago's supporters, who plan to march with him during his triumphant return to City Hall, could damage government property and present a security risk to other workers. Musisi was appointed to her post in April 2011 by Gen. Museveni, clearly for the purpose of undermining the elected mayor.

This is what Uganda has been reduced to by a man who continues to maintain his brutal and corrupt regime through the police and military as noted in the recent article in The Economist.

The Economist, in the article entitled "A Leader Who Cannot Bear To Retire" also questioned the general's mental stability, writing: "Mr Museveni, in any event, seems increasingly erratic. At a recent event he told a group of youths that he had learnt about an American form of music called rap, evidently unaware that it predates his presidency."

Due to rampant corruption, including the embezzling of funds by several of Gen. Museveni's cabinet ministers, several EU countries, including the U.K. have cut off foreign aid to the regime.

Gen. Museveni hopes he can last long enough until the country starts oil exports in about two years from the country's recent finds.

By his increasingly ruthless and erratic actions Gen. Museveni seems determined to push Uganda towards a Hosni Mubarak-type exit plan for his own departure. 

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