The East African Lion

NB: This article was part of an undergrad paper I submitted to University of Rochester!

The East African Lion is a nickname given to the current President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni. In January, 1986, Museveni who was a leader of a rebel movement marched his forces onto Kampala, the capital city of Uganda and forcefully ousted the newly established military government of Tito Okello who flew to exile. Besides the The East African Lion nickname, President Museveni has been given names such as Sevo(which means sir, in Luganda language) and The Gentleman Farmer, all in his praise for his policies that turned things around in Uganda in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Following his coup d’etat on Peter Okello, a short-lived military leader who had ousted President Milton Obote), Museveni was on January 29, 1986 officially sworn in as President of the Republic and thirty-one (31) years later today, he remains the President of the Republic of Uganda and the chances of him leaving power are very murky and clouding suspicions that he’s grooming his son to take over the presidency once he decides to quit. In what follows, I pursue attempts to answer to the question why African leaders, and specifically President Museveni of Uganda remain in power for too long in comparison to their western counterparts.

I argue that President Museveni just like many other long serving African leaders such as Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Paul Biya of Cameroon, just to mention some, remains in power because of Uganda’s militarized version of democracy and personalized power.

Mr. Museveni was a young commander and one of the leading military officers that ousted Uganda’s famous brutal dictator, Idi Amin Dada, and installed Milton Obote. However, Museveni soon rebelled against President Obote claiming that Obote rigged elections. He was followed to the bush by twenty-six (26) of his loyal soldiers on February, 1981, and formed National Resistance Movement which quickly gained considerable support from Ugandans who felt victimized by President Obote’s regime that almost equalled Idi Amin’s regime.

Museveni remained in the bush for the next few years and attended peace talks that produced a ceasefire with the new military government which he eventually exploited and ousted Peter Okello, who had overthrown the elected government of Milton Obote. In his swearing ceremony on January 29, 1986, Mr. Museveni said that ‘‘The problem of Africa in general and Uganda in particular is not the people but leaders who want to overstay in power’’, a statement that’s usually used against him.

Museveni came to power after he helped overthrow both Idi Amin and Obote and promised to democratize Uganda and better the lives of Ugandan people which he aggressively attempted in his earlier days and earned him praises from the people of Uganda and the western world, notably his economic policies and war on HIV/AIDS.

Now onto the why part. Uganda’s version of democracy as I argue in this paper is a militarized and personalized one by none other than President himself. This is not an attempt to say there has been a good democratic system before Mr. Museveni as those who came before him, specifically Idi Amin and Obote, ruthlessly pursued personal interests and corrupted the country to the core. However, President Museveni had a good start as Uganda escaped the colonial legacies and the terrible dictators that followed. In the early 1990s, Western leaders such as former United States Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who dubbed Uganda under President Museveni as “a beacon of hope”, praised him and describing Uganda as a postcolonial success story in Africa.

However, Ugandans soon decried Museveni’s first attempts to personalize power as noted by one opposition writer; The real transition taking place there is from a relatively enlightened and benevolent authoritarian regime— a country former US sec Madeleine Albright once hailed as “a beacon of hope” to a textbook case of entrenched one man-rule”. This was in response to Museveni’s attempts to alter the constitution as the 1995 Article 105(2) limited president’s time in office to two five-year terms. In 1994, Ugandans elected a Constituent Assembly to draft a new constitution, following an elaborate five-year process in which a Constitutional Commission had coffered with local councils all over the country. One of the most uncontroversial provisions of this draft was article 105(2), which limited the occupation of the presidency to two five-year terms(Mugisha,2004). President knew article 105(2) of the 1995 Ugandan Constitution was against his future political endeavors so he planned ahead time and on March 2003, called for a meeting with his party’s most top ranking officials to sell them the idea of amending article 105(2) of the constitution.

It’s worth noting that most African countries if not all had weak democratic institutions to strongly uphold principles of democracy after the colonial administrations left, including the constitutions, and this made it easier for some leaders to manipulate and personalize state power and it’s exactly the case with President Museveni who inherited anarchy from his predecessors.

Museveni’s road to personalization of power and militarization of Ugandan democracy. After he militarily took over power and enjoyed support both from Ugandans and foreign governments, Mr. Museveni was democratically elected in 1996 under the Uganda’s new constitution of 1995. On March 2003, Museveni called a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the NRM and sought a resolution to support the removal of presidential term limits. The NEC officially took no action, claiming that it would consult further on the matter (Mugisha, P.141). However, the Movement Conference, another general of the same dominant political party, the National Resistance Movement, took the issue a couple of days later which passed a resolution to present the (constitutional Review Commission) CRC with a proposal to amend article 105(2).

Here President Museveni was off to changing the constitution to fit his future ambitions. Mr. Museveni and his faced rejection of constitution amendment by the Constitution Review Commission and instead referred to Parliamentary vote where members of parliament could vote to amend article 105(2) but he feared the proposal would not get majority vote required, so he opted for a referendum. The cabinet’s proposals for constitutional reform would weaken the powers and the independence of the judiciary, Parliament, and other bodies. The cabinet has proposed that the experience required to become a judge of the Supreme Court be reduced from fifteen to ten years, and to become either a High Court judge or attorney general be reduced from ten to seven years. The large backlog of cases pending before Uganda courts has provided a convenient rationale for reducing the experience required for these positions, and thereby for elevating a new team of judges loyal to Museveni (Mugisha, 2004).

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The Disingenuous Jieng Council of Elders

The Government of South Sudan under the auspices of President Kiir must detach itself from Jeing Council of Elders. The recent resignations specifically that of Gen. Thomas Cirilo reasonably cited the interference of  tribal politics and specifically Jieng Council of elders’ shifty involvement in the national affairs.

Apparently the Jeing Council of Elders and their followers believe South Sudan was liberated by Dinkas and must be ruled by Dinkas. This is a pure and dangerous lie. South Sudan was liberated by ALL TRIBES of South Sudan. For instance…Remember when South Sudan Army captured and controlled Heglig in 2012? The forces that captured Heglig were led by Gen. Obuto Mamur, he’s not Dinka. The Dinkanization of South Sudanese politics is the apparent work of this tribal council called Jieng Council of Elders. We Dinkas and the Dinka led Government shouldn’t expect peace when other tribes have valid reasons to believe the Dinkanization of the country.

What happened when our brothers in Sudan tried to Arabize and Islamize the country? We resisted. We fought back. We won. Now here we are! Trying to do the same thing we opposed for the last five decades. The President and his government shouldn’t just ignore peoples concerns and continue to act like nothing is happening. Our poor and innocent people direly need peace to live their lives instead of being humiliated, raped, and killed every damn day. Stop Jieng Council of Elders from inciting hate, save the country. South Sudan for ALL!

Dear Ugandan Brothers and Sisters

I know you’re and I’m in pain over the sudden death of our good singer, Master Blaster, who got killed last week in Bwaise, Kampala. We’ll dearly miss him.Thanks to Ugandan Police Department for arresting the perpetrator and I hope justice will be justly served. He was shot by a Ugandan police officer who’s now arrested. He wasn’t killed by South Sudanese as initially claimed by locals who attacked South Sudanese living in Kampala. Uganda, dubbed as pearl of Africa, shouldn’t be another South Africa. Xenophobia has no place in Africa except in South Africa where rich white men have muddled Black Africans through economic inequality to hate themselves, and thus, killing themselves and killing other Africans in South Africa. I have heard of some Ugandans attacking South Sudanese living in Uganda over the years and this week’s attacks on South Sudanese in Kampala couldn’t escape my attention. Uganda and South Sudan need each other to develop and letting misconceptions ruin our ties is dangerous. I appeal to informed Ugandans to do what Brother Bobi Wine is doing; making locals understand of what really happened in Bwaise last week and defuse the tension.BY ALL MEANS STOP XENOPHOBIA IN AFRICA! ‪#‎WeAreOne‬#

Brother in sorrow,

NEW YEAR’S GREETINGS

Dear esteemed reader,

Cordial greetings from New York! I know you’re probably busy celebrating the onset of 2016 and thought I should salute you in your celebrations. Of course we made it to 2016 and that, itself, is an achievement. Congratulations, friend! As for me, my girlfriend brought me to her parents’ house here in Brooklyn so I’m kinda having fun with these great people here. Her father is a humorous and philosophical mind.

He asked me so many philosophical questions and our dinner conversations have largely been centered on how things come to be. That’s,” why does stuff exist”? As you know, dear esteemed reader, philosophical discussions barely get definitive answers.

So we were chary not to ruin happy moments with unending discussion so we ended the conversation and turned to the rest on the table. However, I’ll soon share with my view on “why stuff exists” if you’re about that life- questioning things. For now, have fun with those you love and stay blessed.

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors,and let every new year find you a better man”. Ben Franklin. HAPPY NEW YEAR, dear reader.

 

What is going on in South Africa?

The other fuckery news is here again, xenophobic attacks in South Africa!

This week, the humiliating and horrid news is coming out of South Africa where xenophobic attacks have left hundreds of foreigners especially fellow Africans from neighboring countries like Malawi in depressed and degraded lives and an unknown number of people killed in their homes and on the streets: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32299548 . This is not the first time that the South Africans are doing it. The history tells it well. Google for more, please 🙂 !

Apparently, the Black South Africans, which the world cozily stood by to untangle the then oppressive apartheid regime upon their necks have now got muscles and turning their backs against the very people whose unwavering help and sacrifices gave them the freedom they needed. It sounds strange for African man burning an African man in a broad day light in Africa for a mere presence in their country.

If true as it is, then the question arises: where is Africa heading in the 21st century? Developing or retrogressing?  I have heard of similar ugly events in other African countries like Tanzania where people reportedly killed people suffering from albino, and gays are having hard times in Uganda, Kenya and Gambia.  It is quite disheartening to say the least that all these inhuman practices still raise their ugly heads in 21st century. In this world, we’re all foreigners and there’s no wisdom in killing people just because they don’t have the same historical origin like you. Peace out!

And the Darfur Bleeds

And the Darfur Bleeds

Man where are you?

See you not Darfur bleeding? It is bleeding. You’re standing! You’re watching!

Of what reputation is the man who sits like earthen vessel when the ten old year Brooklyn girl is being raped, in his watch?  How different are you from that man? Man I say be gone! You’re of no use.

And the Darfur bleeds

And you say they’re Blacks and Muslims? And therefore not your business?

You see how imprudent and oblivious racism is, man?

See you not how unauthenticated and acrimonious religious views are?

Man, whatever happened to the value of humanity?

The Darfur bleeds

The Darfur groans

You are still sitting and watching?

Tell you what, friend, the politics of race and religion are drowning the value of humanity

Be warned

The race rules

The religion rules

The politics rules

And the Darfur bleeds.

And I say, will you stop Darfur from bleeding?

Stand up

Don’t watch

Act.

Boy on the Cross

Boy on the Cross

I mistake

I fall

They ridicule me to tears

Invisible tears flow

Cause am invincible

I make up

I rise

They assemble and wonder

I confront them

They are many

They overpower me and win

I rekindle the battle just as there is always a rematch

I win

They lament in pain, just as Jesus did on the cross

I lament not because you’ve never seen Messi weeping a loss to Madrid

I mistake I fall I rise I win they weep

Boy on the cross-