Will Museveni Use The Gbagbo Strategy To Retain Power?

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[Global: Africa Politics]
While the majority of the international community believes that Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo lost the Ivorian presidential election in December 2010, Gbagbo has a supporter in Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni.

At the end of January 2011, Museveni  rejected the recognition of Mr. Ouattara as the winner of the Ivory Coast’s election.  A number of reasons explain why Museveni supports Gbagbo’s position and endorsed the idea of reviewing the election's outcome.

One reason is that it may become harder and harder for US tax dollars to be contribute to dictators around the world given what happened in north Africa --Egypt, Tunisia-- and now in other Middle Eastern countries. Dictators propped up by American tax payers were either swept away or are now threatened.

American citizens are now aware that their money is being wasted on despots around the world. They are also aware that supporting dictators is a waste of money and resources. For that reason, Museveni is unsure of how much support he will continue to get from his sponsors in Washington.

In addition, Museveni has a habit of blatantly rigging elections. While the controversy over the winner degenerated so quickly that neither of the declared results have been verified, Museveni is not talking on the basis of that position.  Uganda’s president is supporting Gbagbo because there is an election taking place in his own country today, February 18, 2011.

The election is gearing up to be a tight race and some polls have even shown at least one opposition candidate, Dr. Kizza Besigye, is leading. Given the possibility, remote as it may be of a fair monitoring of elections by the international observers, Museveni is making a move in anticipation of a loss at the poll. As Gbagbo has done, Museveni would find it convenient to use similar methods; declare victory and defy the world.

While Gbagbo may fear leaving the presidential palace due to possible charges of crimes against humanity --for the reported targeted killings of Quattara supporters-- he or his subordinates may be responsible for, Museveni has a lot more reason to fear being replaced. Museveni’s troops were named in a damning report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights known as the “UN Mapping Exercise” report that documented crimes committed by his army in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. Much of the crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide committed between 1993 and 2003. Already in 2005 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found Uganda liable for what amounted to war crimes in the DR Congo and awarded Congo $10 billion.

The war in Congo has cost nearly 6 million lives, mostly women and children. Museveni’s war mongering has cost nearly 10 million lives in the East and Central Africa region. In Uganda alone, Museveni’s thirst for war has contributed to the death of hundreds of thousands of people in the Northern part of Ugandan-- in the Karamojong and Acholi regions. He's been in power 25 years.

Without presidential immunity, Museveni may find himself shoulder to shoulder again with his fellow dictator and warlord Charles Taylor who is in the Hague at the International Criminal Court facing charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes. His friendship with ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo may not be enough to save him.

Given his crimes against his own people and against Uganda’s neighbors, Museveni cannot afford to live without presidential immunity. Therefore, his support for Gbagbo is a move to cover for one of his many possible routes to retaining the position of president once he loses elections. Remember when he lost presidential elections in 1980, he waged a six year war that claimed thousands of Ugandans lives; he has not ceased warmongering ever since.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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