Monday, January 21, 2013

Uganda: Good news. No coups this week.

The Daily Monitor ( Uganda ) reports takes the piss


UPDF cannot topple the government




By Muniini K. Mulera

Dear Tingasiga:
President Yoweri K. Museveni and Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, his defense minister, have reportedly expressed fear that the army may overthrow the government to “refocus the country’s future” if the “confusion in parliament persists.”
I blogged on this a couple of days ago and fairly much reached the conclusion it was never going to happen. I just wish I had been this funny.
I have very good news for the president and his defense minister. The UPDF is a professional army that cannot be bothered by the annoying aspects of democracy. Therefore it cannot overthrow the government.
Professionalising the UPDF was the main reason why the president very reluctantly sought his second and last elected term in 2001.
The top agenda item in his 2001 re-election manifesto was to “consolidate the building of a professional army.” 
By 2006, he was ready to launch his re-election campaign to his third and last term. Top on the new agenda for 2006 was “consolidating the building of a professional army.”
Hilarious but as my last blog points out Museveni seems to keep running for president. This take is brilliant though.
Fast-forward to 2011, and the president very, very reluctantly accepted the demand of the people that he must continue to rule them.
To do so, he sought re-election to his fourth and last term with a 241-page manifesto in which he confidently informed us on page 5 that “the earlier years of military coups, armed groups, human rights abuses, a failing state etc have (sic) now history.” 
Gen. Museveni pointed out on page 24 that the peace and security that Ugandans were enjoying was “irreversible” “because of the maintenance of high professional standards by the security organisations.”
“The way forward” would include the maintenance of these high professional standards and investment in “defense diplomacy” that would contribute to peaceful resolution of conflicts internally, regionally and internationally.
Museveni is starting to look like a bit of an idiot at this point.
Happily, the president also had a lot to say about the state of democracy in Uganda. On page 17 of the 2011 manifesto, he said the NRM was “committed to promoting democracy and good governance first as a core value, but also as a sine qua non for national transformation.” 

The NRM was therefore diligently working for, among other things, “existence of constitutional democracy where there is a separation of powers between Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.” Implied in that statement was that Parliament would be left to do its thing, without interference from Rwakitura.
I am assuming, of course, that Gen. Museveni was the author of his election manifestos; that he read them and that he meant what he said. In case the manifestos were mpewo (hot air) or kiwani (fake), then the president and his minister are right. 

The military could overthrow the government, though such statements by the president and his defense minister are tantamount to treason or, at least, incitement to violence. We fully expect Gen. Kale Kayihura’s boys to show up to quiz Museveni and Kiyonga about their statements.
Ouch, hoist by his own manifesto no less.
Yet Ugandans need not despair, for we have very good news for you as well. A military coup would not change anything. It would not affect your lives one bit. How so, you ask?
The newly installed military regime would be made up of Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (president and commander-in-chief), his son Brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba (Commander of the Special Forces Command), Maj. Gen. Kale Kaihura (Inspector General of Police), Gen. Aronda Nyakeirima (Chief of Defence Forces) and Maj. Gen. Fred Mugisha (Joint Chief of Staff).
These are the men that matter in Uganda, the most important of them being Brig. Kainerugaba who would continue to be assisted by Col. Sabiiti Mzei and Maj. Don Nabaasa in his task of keeping his father in power.
I am laughing to hard to sip my coffee.
To give the regime a semblance of civilian participation, the vice president would be Edward Ssekandi, with Amama Mbabazi as prime minister and Crispus Kiyonga as minister of defense.
So there would be no change, though any similarity to the current regime would be purely coincidental.
I end on another happy note. As Barack Obama takes his second oath as president of the United States today, we remember the declaration that he made in his inaugural address on January 20, 2009: 
“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” 
Although Obama embarks on his last term, with a most confused and troublesome legislature, there is no worry that the US army might step in to refocus America’s future. 
Meanwhile, the Ugandan president continues to dress up MPs in military attire at compulsory Kyankwanzi retreats, reminiscent of Marshall Idi Amin’s treatment of his civilian ministers. He threatens to overthrow his own regime. He is clearly on the wrong side of history.
The strange thing is why he brought up the whole subject.

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