KAMPALA – Increasingly senile, stranded, hostage and unable to offer feasible options to a restless population, as poverty bites harder, Gen. Yoweri Museveni has yet again resorted to what he knows best.
His bloodlust can be traced from his undergrad university thesis wherein he extolled violence.
Theory became practice soon thereafter and some of his earliest recorded experiments in carnage can be traced back to the 1979 shootings he ordered as Defence Minister to quell pro-Yusuf Lule protesters.
Since its formation, the so-called National Resistance Army has waged war on Ugandans ostensibly to liberate them when in fact, as is now apparent, it was just another change of guards—never a fundamental change.
For a population whose vast majority were either unborn (like yours truly and the now-deceased Rita Nalubega) or, like thirty-two-year-old Daniel Kyeyune who was too young to comprehend public affairs when Museveni’s lot marched onto Kampala, the blood-soaked legacy of the NRA seems so distant.
One might as well be discussing the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade of centuries past.
Fortunately, the archives of history can help us map the killing fields of Luwero, Northern Uganda, Teso, Kayunga and most recently Kasese to confirm what many believe but cannot say.
Not many years ago, Kahinda Otafiire spoke about the numerous acts of perfidy committed by the NRA to win over the unsuspecting peasants of Luwero while blaming the same acts on others.
The show trial of Kale Kayihura, a long-time henchman with a great deal of blood on his hands, inadvertently revealed that Crime Preventers and the Kifeesi were the handiwork of the ruling dynasty.
There are no prizes for guessing who was behind Kakooza Mutale’s Kalangala Action Plan and their later incarnation, the Kiboko Squad. In fact, Museveni is on record for praising the nefarious deeds of these death squads.
The script has largely been the same every time the Lord of Death is organizing his five-yearly coronations, misleadingly referred to as elections. One such ritual is coming up next year but since he isn’t sure whether he will be six times lucky, a terror campaign to cow the population into silence seems to be his best bet.
If this is his chosen approach to clinging to power, he obviously has a problem:
Even Moi who terrorized Kenyans over twenty-four years died this month as did Hosni Mubarak yesterday. The latter killed nine hundred protesters in eighteen days while the death toll under the former is indeterminate.
Blaise Compaore, whose regime’s bullets felled dozens of protesters in the streets of Ouagadougou is a fugitive and lives a solitary life in exile.
Mobutu, the unrivaled looter of our Western neighbour was buried upright, in a pit outside his country.
Sani Abacha, for whom seas would rise when he gave the word is dead and permanently consigned to the dung heap of infamy.
The above examples of these former despots show that hubris is like a rabid infection which does not stop afflicting its patients until it kills them. Which is why Museveni thinks he is infallible and can imprison or kill all of us.
Maybe death, the only thing he cannot amend out of the Constitution, is what will stop him.
He must realise that it is the very conditions of calculated poverty, dispossession and emasculation that have created the rightly angry army of young Ugandans who will not be intimidated by psychological warfare and summary executions.
And before he consigns more of us to our graves—where he will also soon be going whether he likes it or not—we will mourn our dead comrades and accord them the dignified sendoffs they deserve while at the same time moving forward with the cause for liberty and an economy that works for all—not for one family.
The defeat of dictatorship is something Ugandans have done before and will most certainly do again.
Go ask Amin.
Andrew Karamagi is a Uganda Lawyer and human rights activist.