A few days ago, France was celebrating the #BastilesDay. It is a day when the french peasants and middleclass stormed the Bastiles prison in july- 1789 and freed all prisons who had been imprisoned without trial by the French first class(nobles). They had been over exploited, tortured, oppressed and marginalised for over 400 years and after the storming of the Bastiles, it marked the start of the French revoluntion which ushered in the revoluntionary ideas of Liberty, equality and Franternity (LEF)
The ideas of LEF spread to the whole continet and by 1848, Europe had experienced a lot of revoluntions as people wanted to foster such ideas. In our Ugandan context, it explains why Museveni picked up guns in 1981 to fight the ruling government partly because of the ideas of LEF..
However, the frontliners in such revoluntions who were seen as liberators later turned into dictators after assuming power.
Napoleon Bornapate assumed power in 1799 and was welcomed by fellow frenchmen. However by 1814, he had turned into a dictator and an enemy of Europe practising the same stuff that had existed in the pre-1789 period. In 1814, Metternich led a coalition which defeated Napolean however by 1848, he had become the worst European dictator. The story continued upto the second world war..
Coming here to Africa, i can cite Libya under Gadaffi where Gadaffi was welcomed in 1967 as a liberator but later turned into a dictator till his people lyched him to death in 2011.
In otherwords, leaders who come into power after a struggle to defeat dictators are always seen as liberators when they assume power. However after assuming power, they get drunk on power and only mind about sustaining power through oppression, exploitation, intimidation and torturing of the citizens they rule.
Coming back to the point, In Uganda, most people were excited in 1986 when Museveni and his NRA took over power and promised people are fundermental change through the 10-point programme. The president who condemned African leaders who overstay in power has now been in power for 31 years and is seeking to make himself a life president by amending article 102. This is how liberators turn into dictators just like the examples i mentioned above.
Should people expect M7 to handle over power peacefully?
Ooohh.. This is a dream for every Ugandan but its a dream that will never come true. Most dictators do not leave power peacefully. They believe they struggled and risked their lives so no one should get power easily.
Its on record that Museveni once quoted that “A quarter-pin is put and removed by a hammer” literally meaning that he captured power by force(hammer) thus should be expected to be removed by force.
He went ahead to note that he cannot leave his army to the wolves(opposition) while addressing a rally in Kabale in 2015. As if that was not enough, he told moslems in Masaka that he cannot leave his oil he has discovered himself to the opposition..
All that mentioned, its clear that Museveni has not planned on leaving power as of yet.
Influence of Regional politics.
Rwanda recently amended their constitution to almost make Kagame a life president. Museveni has always been Kagame’s mentor when it comes to politics.
In Burundi, Nkurunziza has also forcefully stayed in power through intimidation, harassement and arrests although his mandate was supposed to end last year. Museveni has remained silent about the matter but its clear he is compling with Nkurunziza to stay in power.
In DRC, Kabila fleed into Uganda to meet Museveni last year before he extended general elections to 2018 such that he could plan on amending the constitution to remove the term limits.
Talk of South Sudan, talk of Zambia that is under a state of emergency.
All these presidents see Museveni as the role model and their actions make it easy to predict M7’s next move of life presidency.
With less trust in our MPs in defending article 102 because they are commercial politicians who are easily be bought, Ugandans have a role to play in ensuring that M7 does not become a life president.
One, we must strongly condemn the action of amending the age limit everywhere we can reach. We need to be clear with our leaders and tell them we shall hold them accountable in case our country goes into turmoil after 2021.
We have already exerted a lot of pressure on MPs and they are also worried about losing their seats if they amend the article.
Our religious and cultural leaders need to get on board and rally behind the masses against such a move.
Secondly we should be ready to move to the streets and greatly oppose such a move in time. They cannot shoot us all.
What is clear is that M7 is ready to die in power but we should not let him destroy our country. We do not need to fight him with guns but through people’s power.
Look at what happened in Gambia, there was no blood shed but dictator Jamah ran into exile without anyone forcing him.
If pressure accumulates, we shall see M7’s righthand men stepping down such as Rugunda, Kadaga, Katumba among others and he will eventually lose weight to hold power. So lets sustain the pressure on his surbondinates on every platform we can.
If we are together, we can end dictatorship successfully and usher in a new kind of leadership without bloodshed.
I thank you
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY