News and Views
nternational Crisis Group has warned ‘Museveni leading Uganda into deadly chaos’
President Museveni is ruling Uganda through repression and patronage like Milton Obote and Idi Amin did, setting up the country for future bloodshed, the International Crisis Group has warned.
The latest report released on Thursday – but one State House described as the handiwork of “ignorant Europeans” – alleges that the President favours his kinsmen and increasingly relies on them to sustain his weakening rule.
The Brussels-based organisation, which works to predict, prevent and resolve occurrence of deadly conflicts, says in the report that Mr Museveni needs to change his governance course.
“Museveni’s governance trajectory resembles those of Milton Obote and Idi Amin – without the blatant brutality – beginning with policies of tolerance and inclusion that gradually change to exclusion and repression,” notes the report.
The two presidents were violently ousted; the former by his army and Amin by invading Tanzanian troops supporting insurgent Ugandan exiles. Both ex-leaders died in exile.
ICG now says Museveni, Obote and Amin “relied on personal rule, rather than constitutional and institutional restraints, and turned increasingly to patronage and coercion to govern.”
The President distastes any comparison of him to his predecessors – who he fought against, but failed to topple – and has on occasion called them “swines”.
His courtiers yesterday slammed findings in the latest report, with Spokesman Tamale Mirundi branding it a handiwork of “ignorant Europeans”.
He said: “Because the report authors have a white skin, they think they are knowledgeable and intelligent yet they are not. Where were they when Obote and Amin were killing Ugandans?”
In the 48-page report, the group traces Uganda’s problems to the divide-and-rule policy injected by the British colonialists, and decries the inability of post-independence leaders to cure, and their ironical appetite to promote, the polarisation based on ethnicity and religion.
Democratic reform and unifying leadership under Mr Museveni lost momentum in the first decade of his now 26-year rule, the report notes. In the period after, the President, according to the report, used the ‘no-party’ Movement system to entrench his rule.
“He replaced old politicians and long-standing NRM members who criticised his policies with trusted members of his inner circle, often from his home area.”
In 2005, Mr Museveni offloaded the likes of Miria Matembe and Eriya Kategaya from his cabinet after they publicly opposed his manoeuvres to remove the constitutional presidential term limits.
Government Spokesperson Karooro Okurut told Sunday Monitor by telephone that the report is premised on “falsehoods” and the prediction of violence in post-Museveni era is “wishful thinking” of the authors.
“NRM has put in place mechanisms to ensure there is continued stability and prosperity of Uganda,” she said. “The authors are most likely misinformed. Museveni’s is not a one-man rule because the Legislature and Judiciary are strong, each working independently, but both providing oversight on the Executive.”
The report titled; Uganda: No resolution to growing tensions, explores the perfidious and often confrontational relationships between the central government and Mengo, the seat of the populous Buganda Kingdom.