Yoweri Museveni's Quarter-Century Tyranny in Uganda

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[London Bridge Is Burning]

On 26th January 1986, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was sworn in as President of Uganda.  This was welcomed and celebrated by many Ugandans who saw Yoweri Museveni as a liberator.

In his inaugural speech he famously said: "This is not a mere change of guard, it is a fundamental change." Speaking to crowds of thousands outside the Ugandan parliament, the new president promised a return to democracy and said: "The people of Africa, the people of Uganda, are entitled to a democratic government. It is not a favour from any regime. The sovereign people must be the public, not the government."

Museveni promised to restore security and respect for human rights in what he termed the Ten Point Programme:

"The second point on our programme is security of person and property. Every person in Uganda must [have absolute] security to live wherever he wants. Any individual, any group who threatens the security of our people must be smashed without mercy. The people of Uganda should die only from natural causes which are beyond our control, but not from fellow human beings who continue to walk the length and breadth of our land."

This is the same government that has now turned its weaponry on the very citizens it promised to protect; to paraphrase the President’s words, "smashing them without mercy."  Peaceful protesters are sprayed with teargas and shot at with live ammunition and left in the streets for dead like dogs. If it is not trumped up charges against leaders of the opposition or their attempted assassination, then it is illegal land grabbing and corruption at the highest level. Museveni’s brutality and human rights violations is now becoming legendary.

Once feted as the West’s darling, someone they could do business with, one of the new generation of leaders to replace the ‘’Big Men’’, Museveni’s rule has been marred by corruption, brutal murder and intimidation of Uganda’s citizenry.  Clinging on to power by any means necessary, Museveni has become the "big man" he once claimed to despise.

Rather than liberating Uganda from former regimes of bad governance, the reality is that Uganda has been plunged into total darkness forcing the ordinary Ugandans to take to the streets under the umbrella of a peaceful non violent organisation, Activists for Change (A4C) to protest over the rising cost of food and fuel.

W2W (Walk2Work), is the brilliant idea of A4C where citizens walked to work, some with empty saucepans to let the world know that they can neither afford the cost of petrol for their cars nor food for their saucepans. These demonstrations are interrupted by the police and the crowd dispersed with pink teargas, some, including opposition leaders arrested in a brutal manner like common criminals and bundled in police vans and detained at various police stations in Kampala.

Yet Uganda continues to be on the top list for U.S. financial and military support. For how long will this go on before the Obama administration takes notice?  When will the International community condemn this "Big Man"? Where is the voice of the African Union?

While so-called main stream newspapers and television stations focus on Syria and fresh uprising in Egypt and Libya, who will fight for the lives of Ugandans? Where is the uproar for the Congolese and Somalians? These are all precious lives forcefully extinguished through power hunger, blood thirst and murderous arrogance.

Since he arm-twisted Parliament to eliminate term limits, Museveni could stand again in 2016. This constitutional amendment has compounded the unrest in Uganda. Compared to his lofty pronouncement in 1986, the president has now been exposed as a liar and a political fraudster. This however should come as no surprise.  After all, in December 1985, whilst Museveni was in negotiations to sign a peace accord in Nairobi with Gen. Tito Okello who had deposed President Milton Obote, unbeknownth to the Okello delegation, Museveni was making headway to Kampala from the South and South Western Uganda.

That is the character of the president of Uganda.

Today, Thursday 26th January, many Ugandans will be dressed in black and their facebook profiles will be black as they mourn the death of Uganda and in respect for those who have lost their lives in the struggle for democracy and freedom.

Friends of Uganda, rage with us as the citizens of this once beautiful country, the pearl of Africa, the bread basket of Africa now live in abject poverty.  Cry with us as we gather up the bodies of our dead peaceful protesters.  Lament with us as our "leaders" wash the blood off their hands with seeming impunity.

Uganda will rise up and rage against this dictatorship and appalling human rights abuses just as Tunisia and Egypt did.  No longer will we perish silently.  Now, this is change we can believe in and there is nothing wacka wacka about it!

Allimadi writes for The Black Star from London.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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