There was a time when policies espoused by the NRM government had clarity of vision. Uganda became the “first country in the world” to establish free Universal Primary Education and the message was clear; let there be learning even if it is under trees.
Free Health care unlike in many African countries was expanded with clinics built in the farthest corners of the country, again the message was clear; let everyone see a Doctor even if they don’t get medicine.
But in years when you would think the experience earned from longevity should pay off with refined and well-informed policies, you will be disappointed.
Take for example President Museveni’s recent advice to investors at a London conference that he would rather they stay away from power generation in Uganda because “their electricity is expensive.”
For a country where almost 95 percent of the population can’t access electricity, the choice is not that hard. You get the electricity first then worry about cost later. For, even if the two touted power dams, Karuma and Isimba were to miraculously be completed on schedule, Uganda will still have a production deficit.
You must wonder then what motivated the president’s statement. Is it even for Museveni to determine the price of electricity? The price will be that which the markets determine and can bear.
So why is Museveni not saying “let there be power even if it is expensive” yet saying “let there be expensive Kerosene even if people are poor?”
Kerosene is a basic need of the poor. To control the poor, you control what they need most by making them toil hard that all efforts are dedicated there, they forget about challenging your power. It is a communist playbook.
In 2012, President Museveni’s visit to Moscow opened a new chapter in Africa since the end of the cold war. He was honoured with a soviet era medal of courage and he reciprocated with praise of Russia’s role in the liberation of Africa. It is the kind of “looking East” that even Moscow shy about, but North Korea, whose officials are training Ugandan Police is enthusiastic to promote. Good old communism is creeping back into Africa and Yoweri (read Yuri) is leading the charade.
There are other pointers.
In Kampala, Yuri overthrew a constitutional order and appointed a Tzar, contravening the local government Act with a pseudo legal regime specially made for the capital alone and disguised as a political battle with Erias Lukwago. Since when do we legislate for particular geographical areas? Jennifer Musisi is almost as powerful as the head of the Communist Party in a Chinese Province. This is an “experiment” will most likely be rolled out across the country with a “clean, modern Kampala” given as the justifying example. Remember, the era of district creation is over and one of awarding City status has arrived.
With the army, Ugandans may have long resigned to the fate of combatants trampling allover civilian matters but Yuri’s latest move where combatants have been deployed to administer farm production is Kim Jong il 2.0.
Yuri also descended on the unpopular and widely despised Secretary General of the ruling “party,” overthrew him and will soon install himself as alpha and omega, making the direction of the country his sole prerogative since the movement system remains on the law books as noted by former Democratic Party President General, Paul Kawanga Semogerere. All Yuri did was shout wolf and everything fell into place coz if Mbabazi was indeed a wolf then he was a toothless one. Even the opposition prayed for the day NRM fielded Mbabazi for president so they can defeat him in a landslide victory.
Apart from the historical bush war veterans, majority of Yuri’s party MPs served in such security agencies as ISO and ESO et al and have been seen drawing guns during elections. They are all communist style cadres groomed for the system, most through the off-limits statehouse scholarship scheme operated by NRM for decades.
Yuri then made sure Ugandans started losing rights one by one. Freedom of assembly was taken by the Public Order Management Act and before it the Police Act. Freedom of expression was taken by the Communications Act and the Media Act. Freedom of fashion was taken by the ambiguous anti-pornography Act commonly known as the miniskirt law. Privacy was taken by the Interception of Communications Act. The Anti-Homosexuality Act attempted to dictate matters in your bedroom. To crown it all, the anti- terrorism Act seems to supersede the constitution itself. Like China’s Tiananmen, public parks and squares are not accessible to anyone except the police.
Yuri then turned to the Judiciary and rendered it a lame duck. Judges are finding it harder to raise quorum on benches lately, a first of its kind since Uganda’s post- independence. Not even Idi Amin’s murder of Benedicto Kiwanuka crippled the Judiciary as much as Yuri has done. Of course it’s no secret that communists despise the law in every way possible except if it’s for use in oppression.
Yuri even escalated his despise for the law by demonizing international institutions. He embarked on assaulting a world court that is going after suspected murderers like Joseph Kony and Omar el Bashir. Withdrawing from the Rome Statute en mass by the African Union is still on the cards, a move largely engineered by Yuri. No coincidence seeing his Moscow ideological Mecca has too excelled at that same thing – crippling the UNSC.
And now Yuri rejects private capital in a country where the power grid blinks when it rains and load shedding for Katwe’s Jua Kali is the order of the day.
The mask is off, Yuri the revived communist is back!