FOR 41 YEARS MUSEVENI HAS BEEN PART OF THE FORCES THAT HAVE IMPACTED ON UGANDA, RETIREMENT IS LONG DUE
When leaders like Museveni over stay in power, it is not abnormal for the people to wish such leaders bad, like getting cardiac arrest while still in office as an option that they eventually leave the stage. The case of President Museveni is similar. For the unemployed youth, for those whose businesses are not working out, for those who get peanuts after their income is badly eroded by ill advised economic policies which have seen a constant currency depreciation. Museveni is believed to have been born in 1944, and has been President of Uganda since 1986. As a university student in Tanzania he led a group allied with African liberation movements. When Idi Amin came to power in 1971, Museveni went into exile. He founded the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA), which helped topple Amin in 1979. He overthrew Lutwa and took power in January 1986.
While President Museveni had promised to stay for only 3 years after grabbing power in 1986, it looks like the chair has been sweet, but the people of Uganda are suffering the consequences. No body is ready to tell him that his leadership has outlived its usefulness to the extent that for every 100% decisions his Government is involved in, 20% are positive, 80% negative and the country declines at a rate of about 60%. The way the country has changed to a police state is not unexpected. The way some people can rob the treasury to the tune of billions is simply not easy to understand. The way he can spearhead the release of a killer of Koocky caliber shows it all. He is a spent force and badly compromised. The unemployment rate in Uganda reached scandal levels but his Government is simply in a fix about it. The patronage which has cost Uganda trillions of money is simply unexplainable. The failure to grant people’s wish like the feredal arrangement is a sad story which shows the president as one who wants to allocate the national cake which unfortunately he has failed to do in just way. When Obote left office, all parts of the country were getting some part of the national cake. There were poles of growth worth mentioning. Today, the Museveni Government has messed it up. There are a number of Inquiries whose outcome may never be known during Museveni’s time. His Governance killed the Uganda shilling to the extent that people get nothing worth their effort. The country enjoys write offs of loan as its capacity to pay is minimal. The highly skilled manpower is simply migrating to greener pastures the reason why we have treatment bills out of the country in hundreds of billions of shillings. Museveni thinks that using the law to fix Ugandans so that they are obedient is a solution. The removal of term limits has clearly shown that the President wanted just to benefit as a person in the Presidency, otherwise there is no justification of his not having gone to retire in 2006 which retirement was long overdue. The parents have called for an education loan scheme since 2001 when he promised the scheme in the manifesto, but there is nothing like it to date. The Government of Uganda has rented Buganda properties for long but it is deliberately reluctant to pay, it is not willing to return all the properties due to the Kingdom. Surely, why does not President Museveni leave the office of Presidency?
William Kituuka Kiwanuka
CORRUPTION COSTS SHS 500BN A YEAR IN UGANDA!
By Milton Olupot
Corruption and ineffective public institutions are still undermining good governance in the country, a report by the African Peer Review Mechanism National Commission has said. The World Bank (2005) estimates that Uganda loses about $300m (sh510b) per year through corruption and procurement malpractices, the 592-pages report notes. It reckons that the Government would save sh30b annually by eliminating losses from corruption in public procurement alone. Citing the 2005 Auditor General’s Report, it estimates that 20% of the value of public procurement was lost through corruption, prompted by weak public procurement laws, adding that procurement accounts for 70% of public expenditure.
MPs APPROVE SHS 92 BN STATEHOUSE SUPPLEMENTARY BUDGET
Parliament has today approved a 92 billions shilling supplementary budget for State House. According to the acting minister minister for the Presidency Muruli Mukasa who is also a Security minister, State House has already used up 63.6 billion shillings out of the 92 billion shillings released by the ministry of Finance
WHAT RDC’S, PRESIDENTIAL AIDES COST THE TAXPAYER
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 08:50 By Patrick Matsiko wa Mucoori
Increasing revenue but declining social services; What went wrong?
Have you ever asked yourself why there is always shortage of or no medicine in that government health centre near your home, which leads to high incidence of deaths due to curable diseases like malaria? Have you ever asked yourself why your child is not getting quality education under Universal Primary and Secondary Education? Part of the problem is the astronomical amount of taxpayers’ money that goes to finance and sustain your President’s political assistants at the expense of social services and people’s general welfare.
When President Yoweri Museveni came to power in 1986, the economy was in shambles and basic items like salt, sugar and soap, soft drinks were very scarce. The government was collecting as little as Shs 84 billion in revenue. Inflation was at 240%. His NRM government revived the economy and tamed inflation to single digits. Basic items became abundantly available in shops and markets. Today the government collects Shs 4 trillion in revenue a year, yet key sectors like education and health which used to be vibrant during the economic decline in the early and mid 1980s are declining fast today!
With only Shs 84 billion revenue collections before the Museveni era, schools were reasonably stocked with scholastic materials like textbooks from government. Pupils and students were performing well in Primary Seven and Ordinary Level national exams. The number of candidates passing in Division One at P.7 and S.4 was higher in percentage terms compared to today.
So how can services and materials which the government before 1986 used to provide with a purse of only Shs 84 billion be largely lacking today when the government is now collecting four trillion shillings? What has gone wrong?
While Uganda’s national purse has been growing fast, wasteful expenditure on President Museveni’s redundant public administration has also been increasing by leaps and bounds.
Uganda’s improved revenue collections since 1986 have been overstretched by the ever widening expenditure on Museveni’s political assistants who largely add no value to social/national development.
Donors, civil society, private sector experts and political activists have repeatedly raised concerns over the government’s rising cost of public administration over the years, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. In a meeting in 2007, members of the private sector under the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU) asked the government to cut expenditure on public administration as well as revise the national education curriculum to ensure the training of skilled manpower, in line with current market demands.
In a paper titled Private Sector Platform, referring to the incessant demands by Uganda’s donors, the private sector called for budget discipline in the 2007/08 financial year. The private sector asked the government to channel most of the resources to sectors that create jobs, wealth and generate income instead of investing too much in public administration. Review of the 2005/2006 annual budget performance shows that 46% of the government’s supplementary expenditure went into funding public administration. Uganda with 30 million people has a very large Parliament and cabinet per capita (333 MPs, 70 ministers and about 80 Resident District Commissioners and their deputies), all getting huge salaries and allowances per month.
During a consultative workshop on Commission for Africa (CFA) at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala on January 27, 2005, the participants reflected on Uganda’s situation and noted that Uganda is over-governed as indicated by the high cost of public administration. A limit should be set on the amount of public funds that can be assigned to public administration, the CFA workshop report reads in part. This situation has been the same since the NRM came to power and is likely to escalate with the creation of new districts and more political appointees of the president. Despite Uganda being the first beneficiary of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries initiative in April 1998 and May 2000, Ugandans have not realised the fruits of the relief because of the ever-expanding cost of public administration. Uganda is still heavily dependant on foreign aid (40%) to balance its national budget.
In the 2007 Universal Primary Education review, it was discovered that one of the reasons why the quality of education had declined seriously in UPE schools was shortage of teachers. In response, President Museveni said government did not have enough money to recruit more teachers and the situation could remain the same for years. There has also been a persistent cry of shortage of drugs in the government’s Health Centre IVs at sub-county level. The government explanation has been shortage of funds to buy the required medicines. Some analysts say the biggest problem is not necessarily the lack of funds, but the prioritization of government’s expenditure. They argue that if the government reduced its huge expenditure on public administration, there would be enough money to cure the shortage of teachers in primary schools and procure more drugs for local health centres.
According to the Chairman of the Donor Economist Group, Mr Jeroen de Lange, Uganda needs 200,000 primary school teachers but it has 128,000 leaving a shortage of 72,000 teachers. According to estimates of the Ministry of Education, it costs Shs 8 million to build a classroom in Uganda.
In our last edition, we looked at the cost of State House’s ever increasing expenditure on the Ugandan taxpayer. In this story, we take audit of the cost of the president’s political appointees at the expense of delivery of key social services like health and education. The political appointees include the 80 Resident District Commissioners and 80 deputies, 75 presidential advisors/ special assistants and 43 presidential private secretaries and their deputies. They total 278.
Each presidential advisor and presidential assistant earns a salary of slightly more than Shs 2 million a month plus other allowances like fuel and imprest. This translates into Shs 178 million the government spends on monthly salaries and other allowances for the 75 advisors and assistants. This means that for every presidential advisor or presidential assistant’s salary, the country loses money for 10 primary school teachers’ salaries a month (at Shs 200,000 per teacher). The Shs 178 million is enough to pay salaries for 890 teachers every month and translates into Shs 2,136,000,000 a year, which is enough to pay 10,680 teachers.
Each presidential advisor and assistant also gets gratuity of Shs 9.9m every year. This comes to Shs 742.5 million for the 75 advisors and assistants. When the gratuity is added to their annual salaries and allowances, the amount is Shs 2.9 billion. This is enough to pay 14,400 primary school teachers or build 360 classrooms to accommodate 18,000 pupils if we take 50 pupils per classroom. This money can also buy enough drugs for 343 Health Centre IVs for a whole year. The government also pays Shs 2 million for salary to every Resident District Commissioner and one million shillings to each Deputy RDC. There are 80 RDCs and their deputies, which brings the total number to 160. Their total earnings in salaries and allowances per month amount to Shs 249 million. This is enough to pay for 1,245 teachers a month. If we take an example of a Health Centre IV which receives drugs worth Shs 8,400,000 a year, the Shs 249m can pay for drugs for 29 health centres and 69 UPE schools of 800 pupils each for a whole year.
Apparently, government allocates Shs 507 to each UPE pupil a month for the three months of the school term. This means government gives Shs 405,600 to a UPE school of 800 pupils a month, which amounts to Shs 1,216,800 a term and Shs 3.6 million a year. This shows that a monthly salary of one RDC can pay for a UPE school of 800 pupils for a whole term and still leave a balance of about Shs 800,000. Government pays Shs 41,000 per student in Universal Secondary School per term. In a school of 800 students, the government pays Shs 32.8m a term. At this rate it means that salaries of 16 RDCs are enough to support an 800-student USE school for a whole term. The overall total of the government expenditure on advisors, presidential assistants, RDCs, deputy RDCs, presidential private secretaries and their deputies alone is about Shs 7.5 billion a year. This money would support 2,077 UPE schools of 800-pupil enrollment or buy drugs for 890 Health Centre IVs, construct 935 classrooms, or pay for 37,500 primary teachers, half of the additional 72,000 teachers required to lift the quality of UPE. This means that if Uganda was not spending on RDCs and presidential advisors/assistants, whom the country can conveniently do away with any way without suffering any negative effect, we would solve the shortage of primary teachers, shortage of drugs in most rural health centres and have more classrooms for the UPE pupils who are now studying under trees. Museveni justifies the appointment of presidential advisors, RDCs and presidential aides arguing that they help in effective service delivery to the people. But our neighbour Kenya does not have Uganda’s State House-style presidential advisors and special assistants yet it’s the most vibrant economy in the Great Lakes region. Kenya’s presidential advisors are civil servants recruited through the normal public service recruitment process like was the case in Uganda in the 1960s. They are neither handpicked nor are they party loyalists like is the case in Uganda. They are recruited on merit. “What makes it worse for Uganda is that Museveni appoints advisors whom he actually advises or lectures to. Many have failed in politics or the competitive private sector job market. Appointing them, therefore, is a way of trying to find where to place them for survival,” said an observer, who declined to be named because of his position in government. Some of the presidential advisors The Independent talked to said they had not met the President for more than two years. This means that for more than two years they have been receiving salaries and other emoluments for no service rendered. So the next time you wonder why there is no medicine in your local hospital or no textbooks in your school, know that part of the reason is that the money for that purpose was used to pay Museveni’s RDC and advisors who never advise.
EDUCATION COMMISSION OF INQUIRY TO CONTINUE ITS WORK
First published: 20120310 5:53:32 PM EST
The NRM parliamentary caucus has agreed to lift an injunction on the work of the judicial commission of inquiry into UPE and USE.
Parliament passed a resolution halting the work of the commission after the education minister Jessica Alupo informed the house that she had not received any report from the team. NRM parliamentary caucus spokes person Anite Evelyn has told journalists at parliament that the caucus decided to support the commission after they were briefed on the progress of the investigations by the commission chairperson justice Ezekel muhanguzi. Anite says the interim report from the commission indicates that the team had unearthed a lot of glaring rot in the ministry, some of which has been reported by the auditor general. Anite says the report indicates some ghost teachers and pupils under the UPE and USE program, and such things had led government to loss over 2 billion shillings. She says the commission also indicated that their work was hampered by the ministry of education when it failed to release the funds in time for them to start work
By Isaac Senabulya
WHY IS MUSEVENI BUILDING THE REGION'S STRONGEST ARMY?
Monday, 09 April 2012 12:28 By Haggai Matsiko
Uganda outspends Kenya on military for the first time
Uganda’s expenditure on arms surpassed Kenya’s for the first time in 2011, a new global arms expert report shows. Uganda spent US$1.02 billion; about double Kenya’s US$735 million.
Details show that Uganda spent US$270 million on its usual defense budget items (food, salaries etc) and US$ 750 million on jets pushing its officially disclosed expenditure to US$1.02 billion.
Uganda’s acquisition of 6 Su-30MK Russian jets elevated its air force to one of the most advanced combat aircraft squadrons in East and Central Africa, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, an international institute that carries out research into conflict and arms control notes.
In its recent report, Trends in international arms transfers, 2011, SIPRI notes that the purchase of the fighter jets and other arms increased Uganda’s military expenditure by 300 % dwarfing Africa’s 9 and the world’s 24 % expenditure on arms.
The revelation comes amidst reports that Uganda has this year ordered a new batch of weapons—tanks and anti-tank missiles.
When asked about the new order, Army Spokesman Felix Kulayigye refused to either confirm or deny it. This is not unusual because defense purchases of this nature are classified security information. The purchase of the fighter jets, for example, was only confirmed in Uganda after Russian and North African media reported it.
Why all these weapons?
Competition for regional military superiority with especially Kenya, the threat of spill-over from any feared war between Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan, and its operation in Somalia against al Shabaab and against Joseph Kony rebels in the DR Congo are quoted as incentives from Uganda’s ballooning military expenditure.
Of the small arms and light Weapons; assault rifles and submachine guns, transferred in Sub-Saharan Africa estimated in the last four years Uganda received 17% and Kenya, which remains the biggest military spender in the region took 23%.
In actual numbers estimated to be at least 220 000, Uganda is reported to have procured 38, 000 and Kenya 51, 500 of the arms amongst other countries, the Arms Flow to Sub-Saharan Africa report notes.
Joseph Dube, the Africa coordinator for the International Action Network on Small Arms, says that the increase in global arms trade is driven by governments facing opposition that arm themselves in preparation to attack citizens.
“For you to be seen as a power, it is determined by your defence and the budget that you put on defence… We are powerful, we are able to defend, engage not only on South Africa soil but in peace missions on the continent,” Dube said of South Africa. Despite being peaceful for decades, it accounts for 70% of the continent’s arms imports.
In Uganda’s case, Museveni has always wanted to be seen as the military giant of the region. He has wanted a strong well-equipped army ever since his government formulated its security policy in 2001.
Experts have questioned such heavy military expenditure considering that Uganda has been relatively peaceful and most importantly in economic doldrums, too unfavorable for such expenditure.
New oil mania
Critics say that Uganda’s arms appetite has been whetted by its oil discovery with the world’s weapon manufacturers increasingly seeing it as a potential buyer and Uganda not disappointing them.
High military spending is synonymous with Africa’s top oil producers from Angola, Libya, Algeria, Nigeria and even mineral rich South Africa which despite not having any wars, is Africa’s biggest military spender.
Lack of constitutional checks in terms of having parliament scrutinise military expenditure, they say, explains why President Museveni has been able to build his arsenal unimpeded.
But Kulaigye says those who complain about Uganda’s military expenditure want Uganda to keep weak and easy to over-run.
President Yoweri Museveni in August last year defended the purchase of the jets saying they would ease fighting insurgents especially the Lord’s Resistance Army. He said Uganda had paid heavily for delaying to acquire high quality fighting equipment.
“We suffered a lot fighting the LRA because of poor equipment. The UPDF was on foot just like the rebels and it became hard to flush them out easily, Museveni said, “The jets are meant for bad elements in the country that would surface to destabilise the peace in Uganda.”
But his former Army Commander, Mugisha Muntu, who has since joined the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) says combat wars like that against the LRA in the Congo jungles, do not require aircrafts but well equipped soldiers who are defensible.
He refused to speculate on Museveni’s arms purchases. One needs to be sure, for instance, that the US$750m was actually spent on the Russian fighter jets. He says of the earmarked money, only 50% might have been spent on the army and the rest “diverted into other things”.
“It is after we have answered that that one can make an argument on whether this should have been spent on other critical areas like ensuring that soldiers have good health care, insurance, good accommodation and are well equipped during the war so as to ensure that the army is well off,” Muntu says.
Muntu says that Uganda’s potential threats, both external and internal, do not even correlate with the kind of expenditure that is being made.
“Uganda’s potential threats have been the al Shabaab and possibly Khartoum but when the SPLA took over South Sudan, the dynamics changed,” Muntu says, “and for the al Shaabab, Uganda does not need aircraft and tanks but other strengths like well trained soldiers and high intelligence expertise.”
For Muntu, the frenzy in buying arms has largely to do with regime longevity and creating fear “to show that look we can do anything if you get in our way”. He says this is not the solution to the country’s threats given the economic conditions.
Uganda’s engagement in Somalia reinvigorated it as Uganda sought to show the region and the world that it is a military force to reckon with.
Since then, Uganda’s military has proved to be double-blessing for Museveni; it keeps him as a strategic ally of the U.S in the war against terrorism and earns him dollars. For instance, 17.3% of Uganda’s defense budget is from donor partners on the Somalia mission.
Under the United Nations and African Union peacekeeping agreements, troop-contributing countries are reimbursed if they deploy with their own equipment, both lethal and non-lethal under an arrangement named reimbursement of Contingent Own Equipment (COE).
Sources say Uganda has been raking in millions because it has tanks in Somalia, while Burundi, the only other partner before Kenyan joined, had only a few light arms.
Some estimates say last year Uganda was reimbursed up to US $7million compared to Burundi’s US$100,000.
A military analyst told The Independent, unlike before when Uganda was the sole force, donors are increasingly seeing a partner in Kenya in case Uganda falters.
Uganda’s position appears to be that for the war in Somalia to end, pirates in the Indian Ocean have to be dealt with because they furnish the al shaabab with supplies. UPDF's Kulayigye agrees with this view and Uganda’s Second Deputy Prime Minister, Eriya Kategaya, has been pushing it in summits. Kenya has also increased its defense expenditure to deal with the Shaabab and al Qaeda.
Dr. Fredrick Gooloba Muteebi, an independent researcher on regional issues, says ever since the South broke off from Sudan, there has been a likelihood of war and Uganda knows that the moment it breaks, it is likely to be sucked into it.
He says that there is likelihood that with Kony still out there, Sudan could use him in a proxy war against Uganda.
Recently, Sudan President Omar Bashir’s advisor, Mustafa Osman Ismail, was quoted saying that Khartoum would not stand idle while Kampala and Juba continue to backing rebels in Darfur. Uganda has rubbished these claims saying that it is a signatory to the Great Lakes security Pact that prohibits such behaviour.
Military experts say that this gives Museveni reason to arm especially knowing that Sudan is reputed to have one of the strongest aircrafts in Africa. In African Military ranks, Sudan ranks among the top 5 ahead of Uganda in 7th position.
Recently, army officials from South Sudan arrested six Ugandan MPs that had gone on a fact finding mission on March 1 over parts of Moyo district that South Sudan claims.
Security Minister Muruli Mukasa says the Presidents of the two countries have talks planned. The situation is explosive, experts say.
In the DR Congo where the central government is not in control of the whole country, Uganda military sources have been reporting that militia groups opposed to Museveni, like the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), are regrouping.
In mid-March, Uganda’s Chief of Defence Forces Aronda Nyakairima reportedly travelled to DRC to talk to his counterpart there about the possibility of jointly dealing with ADF, a rebel group that caused havoc in Kampala with bomb attacks in the 1990s.
Uganda also almost exchanged fire at the border with DR Congo forces a few years ago over the oil Albertine oil fields and experts say it remains a potential cause for conflict between the two. Military experts have attributed the buying of jets to need to protect the oil fields.
Friction with Kenya over the Migingo Island almost sparked a military confrontation between Kenya and Uganda.
In final efforts to wipe out the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), including the group’s leader, Joseph Kony who has terrorised the region with frequent attacks over the past two decades, Uganda, Central African Republic, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo have put together a 5000—strong force backed by the UN and AU.
Of all these, Uganda is the big boy on the battle front having fought a number of wars and some of them especially South Sudan and CAR have the weakest of armies in the region, therefore Uganda needs its hardware if its foot is to be felt.
To compile details of the arms purchases, SIPRI’s senior researcher, Pieter Wezeman told Aljazeera that the organisation gets information from several open sources and focuses on major arms deals. He admitted that the information is not complete and that there are deals that they missed.
“It is likely that more weapons and ammunition have been imported into the region from countries that do not report on their arms exports in sufficient detail or at all,” a SIPRI report notes.
But Kulayigye said the report findings are “skewed and not balanced”. Whatever new arms that have been acquired, however, they will only be money well spent if they are used soon. As Mutebi warned, weapons easily become obsolete. Apart from the Kalishnokovs, all the guns that were manufactured in the 60’s are no longer in use and Russia stopped manufacturing them in 2011.
MUSEVENI SHOULD HAVE RESIGNED OVER BASSAJJABALABA
Friday, 24 February 2012 01:10
Written by Edris Kiggundu
NO SHAME: Jaberi Bidandi says the president has lost a sense of shame
Says President has lost sense of shame
The People’s Progressive Party leader, Jaberi Bidandi Ssali, says President Museveni has lost the conscience to lead after he claimed that his advisors and ministers misled him on the matter of Hassan Basajjabalaba’s Shs 142bn compensation. “I think the President has reached a point where he feels so secure; everything is under his control and he no longer has this feeling of shame. What matters to him is what he wants and the moment he gets it, the rest does not matter,” Bidandi Ssali told The Observer on Wednesday at his residence in Nsimbiziwoome, Ntinda. “As far as I am concerned, that is a loss of conscience on the part of the leader.” Bidandi said it could not be possible that a head of state could be hoodwinked that easily into signing off billions of taxpayers’ money. The former minister, who periodically writes to Museveni addressing various issues, said had he been in the President’s shoes, he would have accepted political responsibility and resigned.
“He [Museveni] should show humility. This is concealed arrogance; a feeling of invincibility… it is dangerous to him, dangerous to his family and dangerous to his country,” said Bidandi, who was visibly concerned. He expressed doubt as to whether the Shs 142bn went to Basajjabalaba’s account or whether the businessman, who heads NRM’s Entrepreneurs League, even got a quarter of the sum. Bidandi fears the bulk of the money could have been used to fund ruling party activities, such as election campaigns. Bidandi, who was minister of Local Government when Basajjabalaba sought to redevelop the Constitution Square, said the businessman didn’t deserve any compensation for it. Bidandi blocked the defunct Kampala City Council from awarding the businessman a lease to redevelop the green park in the city centre. “I took trouble to explain to KCC [not to give away Constitution Square], but they were not heeding. I stood firm and took the matter to the cabinet. Some people in cabinet did not see the significance of what we were talking about; so, we agreed to set up a commission of inquiry, which was headed by Chris Mudoola. Fortunately, [the commission] came up with recommendations which fortified my position that this is one place in Uganda that should remain forever as a monument,” Bidandi said. Last week, two ministers — Syda Bbumba (Gender, Labour and Social Development) and Dr Khiddu Makubuya (General Duties) — resigned after months of sustained pressure from Parliament. The two ministers are accused of misleading Museveni on the compensation.
Bidandi said the duo’s resignation should only be taken as a good sign for those “who have staked their necks in the 9th Parliament to take the bull by its horns”, not as an indicator that Uganda’s fight against corruption is coming of age. Otherwise, he said, if public officials are committed to preserving their integrity, Bbumba and Makubuya should not have put up any resistance before they resigned. Bidandi counseled that any position of leadership is easy to administer provided a leader follows the law and retains their integrity. He said when he served as minister of Energy (in the late 1980s) and of Local Government (mid 1990s), he was faced with many tempting situations, but he did not give in. “At one time, I was in charge of authorizing the purchase of oil worth $7m every month. Imagine the temptation of pocketing even 10% of that figure per month. But I could not have any of it,” Bidandi said. In Local Government, he added, an official from KCC once approached him with a list of buildings in the city whose leases had expired. The official asked Bidandi, who as minister was supposed to validate a fresh bidding process, to make his pick, but he declined. “People should try to rediscover the seat within their heart of integrity and the basis for serving the people,” Bidandi said.
INSTABILITY OVER MUSEVENI’S UNDOING PREDICTED
Written by: amrwaga on 7th January 2012
by Anthony Rwaga, Str8talk Chronicles, 2012-01-07
President is now 67 and cannot govern forever
Handel was wrong. "King Museveni shall not reign forever"
Election year 2016 will be a turning point for Uganda, according to a report by the powerful American policy solutions provider, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). As a sign of likely instability, the June 30 report notes that “the NRM is on a long-term trajectory of decline, and thus its survivability by the end of President Museveni’s current presidential term is certainly in doubt.” Titled “Assessing risks to stability in Sub-Saharan Africa”, the report was commissioned by the Unites States of America’s military Africa Command, AFRICOM, which plans for America’s strategic security interests on the continent. The US government often uses the CSIS reports to project the future and strategize for change. The report is based on events that have toppled regimes that appeared to have a firm grip on power in Egypt, Tunisia, and led to a western-backed armed rebellion in Libya.
It is designed to delve below the day to- day events, like social and political unrest, to explain how historical and structural issues like unemployment, frustrated educated youth, political sterility, corruption, and abuse by security forces cause governments to collapse. It notes that although there are fundamental conditions that the people might not necessarily be contented with and the likely channels of a conflict, the decisions that will be made by the President on whether to run again or leave office in 2016 might be a great threat to Uganda’s stability.
“Museveni is now 67 years old and he cannot govern forever,” the report says. “Things might look okay for a moment and his ground secure given his recent election victory, his firm control of the state apparatus and the political opposition that is a bit disorganized and underfinanced, but a difficult political transition is looming.” “Two broad elements determine a country’s vulnerability to destabilizing crisis,” the report says, “first is the depth, intensity, and cumulative effect of structural weaknesses and fault-lines. But equally important is the country’s ability to manage and mitigate those structural factors in a way that makes any shocks to the system less potentially dangerous.” Uganda does not have a history of changing power peacefully. In 1966, the country’s first president, Sir Fredrick Mutesa II was ousted and exiled after a violent attack on the Buganda monarch. Milton Obote who ousted Mutesa was himself toppled in a coup in 1971, to return in 1980 and be overthrown in another military coup in July 1985. To become president, Museveni fought a bitter five-year guerrilla war that claimed thousands of lives. There is growing fear that unless the transition from Museveni to another leader is handled properly, it could lead to another bloodshed. The uncertainty of NRM or Uganda after Museveni is a big threat to the stability of the country.
The report is based on studies in 10 countries; Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, and Uganda, that it describes as “undergoing the growing pains of democracy”. It notes: “In Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, and Angola – democracy has little meaning beyond the ritualistic holding of elections in which political space is severely constrained and the winner is generally predetermined”. Joel Barkan, a professor of political science at the University of Iowa and a specialist on politics and development policy in sub-Saharan Africa whose books about the politics of Sub-Saharan African countries are recommended readings in many universities, wrote the Uganda section of the report. He notes that change is inevitable by all means either through anointment of a successor by Museveni himself or through the overthrow of Museveni or his chosen successor. He says the style of Museveni’s governance has grave implications for the future stability of the country because it is highly personalised that the running of the country to a greater extent revolves around Museveni’s personal position. At the centre of the report lies a big question on whether Museveni will run for a fifth elected term in 2016 at the age of 73 or who will be his successor if he decides to step down and how the succession will be managed not to create disputes both within the party and the country at large.
Although he seems to have an insatiable desire to remain in power, Barkan counsels, Museveni should be realistic enough to know he does not have much time left and the sooner he drafts his end game the better for him and his country.
Former Vice President Gilbert Bukenya, who had been in office since 2003, had been looked at by some as Museveni’s possible successor until the May cabinet reshuffle and his indictment before the courts of law over alleged corruption. Bukenya’s fall into disgrace is seen largely as a continuation of infighting within the NRM party between him and its powerful party Secretary General, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, who long ago announced that he was in “the queue” to be president. With Bukenya out and the new VC, Edward Ssekandi, happily existing beneath Museveni’s wings, the report says it is likely the man who has ruled Uganda for quarter a century is lining up his eldest son, Lt. Col. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, to take over power. But, it notes, this is unlikely to go unchallenged by the party itself because the elevation of Muhoozi would largely keep power in current hands. Observers say Muhoozi is a soldier and not a politician and would face considerable opposition even from NRM. Apart from the president’s son and Mbabazi, the other contender would be Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa. However, both men have unusually little support in and outside the party. They are also in their 60s something that might not go well with many younger politicians in the party who would like to see party leadership passed to a younger generation. The fight to succeed Museveni was publicly exposed in March when a leaked Wikileaks cable showed Mbabazi’s daughter, Nina Mbabazi, to have said in 2009 that Museveni was “too tired” to seek re-election in 2011 and that her father was the likely successor. Nina reportedly told a US embassy official that Kutesa was not a “serious contender” but was working to “sabotage Mbabazi”.
Another contender not mentioned in the report is Museveni’s younger brother, Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho aka Salim Saleh. During a Kfm radio interview in June, Saleh said he personally felt Museveni should hand over power to another person in 2016. He said he could take over the mantle of president if “necessary”. It is not unusual for Museveni’s inner team to throw such sentiments around in order to gauge the public reaction. Sources close to State House have also told The Independent that Museveni is consulting widely about leaving power in 2016. Renowned historian, Prof. Ndebesa Mwambutsya of Makerere University said the issue of Museveni’s succession should be every one’s concern and not only NRM party members. He said the names the report puts forward as possible successors have high chances of being challenged considering Uganda’s regional and religious differences. “Muhoozi, Mbabazi and Kuteesa all come from the western part of the country and other regions especially the Baganda will not take that,” he says
He says the Baganda have waited far too long for an opportunity of one of their own leading the country and the Catholic community will not like that as well.
“I agree with Barkan that there is an alarming problem and I think the president has created a vacuum that he needs to fill before things get out of hand,” Ndebesa said. Initial indications were that Museveni’s drive to run in 2016 was mainly because the NRM fears that if leading opposition figure Col. Kizza Besigye decides to run for a fourth time in 2016, no other candidate can defeat him. Recently, Besigye has announced that he will quit as president of Uganda’s leading opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) before 2016. He has, however, not ruled out running for president of the country in 2016.
Besigye is a close ally of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party. However, he is yet to secure an endorsement from US President Barack Obama, which is usually crucial in African politics. The report notes that by sending troops to Somalia, Museveni has positioned himself as an essential ally of the west, especially the US, in the fight against terror. But the US continuing to support his stay in power puts it “in an increasingly awkward position in Uganda”. “The United States thus faces a classic dilemma in Uganda – continuing its current policy of accommodating and working with an authoritarian ally, or encouraging democratic reform to secure long-term stability,” the report says and adds: “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s address to the African Union on June 13, 2011, suggests that the United States will henceforth emphasize democratic reform, though she did not mention Uganda by name”. This is not the first time that the US is pledging to support a democratic transition of power in Uganda. At the start of the 2011 presidential election campaign, the US Congress ordered Clinton to closely monitor and report on the conduct before and after the election. Although most observers of the Feb. 18 general elections said they were far from “free and fair”, the US has not taken any action publicly. However, that does not mean the US and other pro-democracy western government will not act on this latest report. The US embassy in Kampala was involved in forcing the Uganda government to allow Kizza Besigye to fly to Nairobi for emergency treatment after he was brutalized by the security forces to near blindness in April. Soon after, Besigye flew to the United States where made a point of showing his bandaged arm in a style similar to that of Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai after he was brutalized by dictator Robert Mugabe’s security forces.
Too early to speculate?
Prof. Mwambutsya says there might be chaos in Uganda’s politics when Museveni leaves power because there is no signal whatsoever that Museveni wants a successor yet. “If you look at South Africa, Mandela prepared Thabo Mbeki as his successor but Museveni has not done anything that suggests any one as his successor and he is wise enough not to leave abruptly,” he said. The opposition party FDC Publicity Secretary, Wafula Oguttu, says “for sure there will be some sort of a clash whether Museveni decides to stay or imposes any person on his party or the country”. “He might end up like Gaddafi or Mubarak because Ugandans will not sit back and watch one man drive the country to destruction,” he said. Hosni Mubarak was kicked out as president of Egypt by violent protesters while Gaddafi is battling a popular western-backed armed rebellion against his regime. Wafula said Museveni is likely to stand again in 2016 “because it’s in his nature that he does not care about what Ugandans think or feel”. Some, like prominent political researcher and analyst, Dr Golooba Mutebi of the Makerere Universities Centre for Basic Researc it is too early to speculate on Museveni’s succession or whether he will run in 2016 or not. “I don’t think the issue of succession is a debate within the party now, I think it will come up maybe two years or two and a half to the election,” he says. Makerere University Political Science Associate Professor, Yasin Olum says “there might not be any need for succession” because Museveni will come back in 2016. “Even if he decides to step aside, his succession will be determined by internal party democracy,” Olum says.
But others disagree.
“Any election in NRM will be façade,” says Mwambutsya. He said the appointing will largely, if not wholly, depend on Museveni and the ‘big men’ in the party. “They might put a ‘window dressing election which will have little or no influence at all concerning the matter,” he added. “We all witnessed how fair the NRM elections could be during last year’s party primaries. It would be naïve therefore for party members to think they will have their chosen successor through a non- manipulated, free and fair election,” another commentator said. Ndebesa said Museveni himself might be in a crisis and we might have a Zambia situation where Kenneth Kaunda left with his party. “If I were him, I would prepare a peaceful succession so that the situation does not turn out bloody,” he said.
Other causes of instability
Golooba says unrest might not necessarily emanate from Museveni’s succession. “There are many other factors that are likely to create instability in the country. People are not happy with the current economic situation and that has been manifested through the various strikes we have witnessed. That in itself is an unrest that might exacerbate, ‘’ he said. While the report agrees with Golooba by highlighting other possible catalysts of a threatening crisis like the falling government revenue, rising inflation, rising corruption and a transition to an oil economy, it holds the president largely responsible for this situation by increasingly relying on patronage to remain in power. The report highlights two forms of patronage namely the tolerance of corruption especially by cabinet ministers who use their offices for personal gain and the handing out of both offices and cash to willing takers. The latter is held fundamentally responsible for the awful present economic situation where the president allegedly pumped a lot of money in the public to get votes. The report traces the habit to way back in 2005 when members of parliament were given Shs5 million each to chang the constitution and repeal presidential term limits so that Museveni could run in 2006. Before this year’s general elections, the MPs were this time given much larger packets of Shs20 million each. The report says the president himself was photographed handing out “envelopes” on numerous occasions at political rallies and says a rough figure of $300 million given out in campaigns would not be unrealistic given the magnitude of the practice.
This has been held largely accountable for the current inflation and the central bank’s failure to avert the situation because foreign reserves were exhausted to finance campaigns. “Expenditures by the office of the president have clearly risen as Museveni has sought to meet the rising demands of patronage as well as the cost of running for re-election in the multiparty era,” the report says. The report also says that the discovered oil which most people look at as solution to Uganda’s problems might be a source of crisis itself. The government has already refused to release information about the existing and future agreements between potential producers citing “national security” for its lack of transparency.
Barkan projects that the advent of oil revenue is likely to raise the public’s expectations for services and exert pressure on Museveni’s government. There is also a possibility that oil will ignite debates about federalism and the rights of oil producing communities to a greater share of the national revenues. Other possible causes of instability in an already shaken state, the report says, are security factors. The report still considers the LRA rebels and the consequences of their operations as a threat given the decline of governance in most sectors. It says if the government does not do something about the disparity of living conditions between northern and southern Uganda, there is likely to be conflict. It also says there might be hostilities between North and South Sudan and a possibility of a civil war in the world’s newest country arising from a scenario of factional fighting between the leaders of the principal ethnic groups across the south could create a conflict that might spill over into the impoverished northern Uganda. There is also a threat from the Al-shabaab in Somalia where Uganda has contributed 6,000 of the 8,000 of the African Union peace keepers there. The militant group has already shown its fury by last year’s July 11 bombings in which about 80 people were killed in Kampala, something that many Ugandans blamed on Museveni. According to the report, all these other conditions could be there and Ugandans tolerate them like they have always done with all the other issues that have unfolded in the current regime but the issue of Museveni’s succession might not leave the NRM together and might strengthen the weak and scattered opposition. Prof. Ndebesa said however that the projected crisis will do the country a lot of good“The crisis, if it happens, will cause troublebut it will be good for democracy,” he said.