Why Uganda’s Museveni would be Republican if he was American.

By Alex Taremwa

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The Broad bash is my default methodology whenever I’m making a qualifier. It views issues from a rather broad point of view as opposed to zeroing down on a specific item; it’s as boring to an audience as it’s boring to the writer.

This same method hypothesizes that of the 44 American Presidents, the most ambitious and aggressive have largely been from the Republican Party.  This is largely because of their warrior brands and desire to win popular mandate in terms of foreign policy.

The American citizenry judge a leader’s achievements not only from his economic-domestic policies, social policies but also on foreign policy; how a leader has worked to uphold their mythical “super-power” brand.

Brand: Their Ugandan counterparts are anti-aggression and don’t give a damn about foreign policy. Their leadership under H.E Yoweri Museveni is not like its populace, it’s more like the Americans. This is either a historical factor since it’s born of a military mark or the persona of their President. Mr. Museveni is an army man, a General (rtd), Son is a Brigadier and Brother a General too so evidently his personality is much more militaristic than diplomatic.

The difference that Museveni strikes from the Americans is that he goes an extra mile to use his militia in consolidating himself in power by not only deploying them to crack down on media, protesters and civil society claiming these are the subversive forces fighting him. In Uganda, army commanders occupy positions in civil service like ministries and partake in organizing elections.

The fact that the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) is a creation of Mr. Museveni has put the institution in a position where they pay full loyalty to the president than they pay it to the country they claim to serve. They have committed the gravest atrocities including unlawful evictions, murders, kidnaps and assassinations that clearly are contrary to “protecting the people and their property.”

By and large nonetheless, the UPDF remains the most disciplined army people of my age have observed and I’ll leave all my life thanking and respecting them for that kind of professional conduct. Sometimes I’m even inclined to believe that when the tables turn, they won’t have the gut to point a gun towards the Ugandan’s direction in the name of one individual.

Foreign policy:  The Americans have bases almost on every continent worldwide except in China and Russia. They have occupied countries that by far beat the countries both Britain and France occupied in the colonial era.

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Being a veto on the UN Security Council, they leverage that position to Kajol, threaten and bribe several other UN member states to vote in their favour which mostly is an attack on a sovereign country, America has overtly or covertly participated in financing rebel movements in different countries or actively participated in dislodging them from power forcefully like in Iraq, Venezuela, Somalia etc.

Mr. Museveni who represents Uganda in this case has his troops scattered in several nationals majorly East & Central Africa, the Horn of Africa specifically in Somalia. He has succeeded at creating a belief that if the UPDF doesn’t intervene in a country, a cross cutting reform cannot be reached at so have the Americans; if they don’t intervene in a certain country, a solution has come yet in that case.

Museveni & Uganda are the preeminent military in the East & Central Africa; a good foreign policy stunt and the only mediator ever known in the Great Lakes region. As I write this, a summit is sitting in Kampala, the Ugandan capital to discuss the Rwanda-Tanzania Question which follows a lot more summits discussing the Congolese question, the future of EAC among others.

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Like the Americans, Uganda and Rwanda have been on the spotlight for alleged participation in supporting the M-23 rebel movement in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo; an allegation that both have come out to rubbish. The Americans don’t have to come out to denounce anything because theirs is done live on Television for the whole world to know that Syrian, Libyan rebels have received military aid from USA. Who will raise a lip after all?

Budgeting: October last year was the most hectic for the 9th Parliament of Uganda. They were divided as whether go give a UGX. 39 billion to the Health or Security ministries and this decision was determined by a vote where the social justice pro’s won.

The President of Uganda however had pronounced himself already on the issue claiming that the army needs to be well-equipped to perform their respective functions, he asserted the significant change that 39billion could bring about in fostering the army as the strongest force across the continent.

The Museveni administration with almost 25% of his entire population living below a dollar (shs.2500) can afford to stock fighter jets, modern tanks and soviet artillery at the expense of improving the living standards of its citizenry.

The Ugandan Police is fully sophisticated with gallons of tear-gas canisters, batons, ammunitions and water cannons not only available to cracking down on any force of opposition but also unarmed demonstrations that are branded “unlawful” assemblies across the countries major urban centers.

On the other hand, the US spends an unprecedented $530billion on national security. America has borrowed an amount almost an equivalent of its total GDP, had its credit rating downgraded and the hell almost broke loose on the famous October 2nd date the year 2012 if the US had failed to service its loan.

The US hasn’t had a budget surplus since the time of President Bill Clinton. He was a democrat who tried hard to service their ever growing debt. Obama is doing the same by trying to tax the rich capitalists but the Congress which is Republican by and large just won’t let him.

What President Obama can be sure of is unanimous support on his proposition to attack Syria. Congress will enjoy that move now that famous political figures in the American polity have already announced their support for the move calling “long-waited.”

Uganda isn’t the most secure in terms of loan servicing and I have learnt from the Finance Minister of Uganda that its debt is almost getting unbearable. I should state clearly that not all the moneys borrowed end up financing military operations but some is embezzled in the Ugandan polity while the rest is diverted to other Gov’t bureaucracies.

Policy: On terms of policy, both systems are paralyzed thought the Ugandan system is worse. Mr. Museveni prefers an ad hoc approach to areas that pose an existential threat to his power.

So areas like Gender, Labour, Tourism, Roads, health and others pose a threat but one that is not immediate hence the kind of management approach that Museveni employs is what I call Management by Abdication.

Other sectors like the Police, Prisons, and the Army that can unite around a common injustice to either influence or mutiny or make a coup, Museveni employs a micro-management system where his fingers are on every arm and leg of either of those areas so instead of a reactive approach to managing their affairs which is really Ad hoc, Museveni will use a much more proactive approach. What a strategist!

So Museveni and Uganda are much more like the Republican America; they both thrive on myths. Museveni’s myth of invincibility politically and the preeminent military super power in South of the Sahara while the US has done a lot to convince the world that they’re the superpower both through literature like movies and through invasion of sovereign states without anyone raising finger. The question is are they?

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131 thoughts on “Why Uganda’s Museveni would be Republican if he was American.

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