By Ritah Nakigozi
A few days ago from the comfort of my living room, I watched a YouTube video that related to two interesting people in the politics of my country. One [Bobi Wine] is a young musician cum politician and the other [YK Museveni] is a career politician cum dictator.
In the video was an interesting fellow Julius Sello Malema, a young politician and MP from far across borders in South Africa, miles away. He was commenting about the politics of my dear country Uganda. Of course I have always loved and admired Malema. A number of young people across Africa equally admire him because he motivates many for his courage and ability to speak truth to power.
In the video recorded at the most recent press conference for his Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, Malema is seen and heard asking the president of Uganda Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to go and “rest all his oversize suits…” This line made me laugh to so hard not necessarily because I enjoy seeing the Ugandan president being ridiculed but because Malema was speaking the truth about him and the politics of our country at large. Museveni’s sense of fashion is not really something that matters at all to me but then it says something about him. In September 2018 while unreasonably dishing out tax payers’ money in Ndeeba (Kampala suburb) to his NRM cohorts, Museveni appeared in creased over size trousers. Many Ugandans laughed about it and let it pass. What most of us who laughed at Museveni didn’t realize is that we were laughing at a tired old man leading an old tired regime. With all his handlers at his disposal, why would a head of state appear in public donning creased trousers? Anyhow that’s a story for another day.
MALEMA PRAISES BOBI
Malema went ahead in his speech to give encouragement to Hon Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine and all young Ugandans that need change to persist and fight on because at all costs, the old men that rule us would go and watch from the peripherals at some point in the near future. It is nice to hear such a foreigner of African descent having interest in Uganda’s current affairs. However, Malema is not the first foreigner to have interest and goodwill to support change in our country. In November 2018, Bobi Wine was hosted for a five-day visit in Kenya by Hon Paul Ongili aka Babu Owino where a lot of awareness activities on the plight of the political situation in Uganda were held. I am glad that from the many videos I watched during that visit, many Kenyans sympathized with the plight that Bobi Wine and all Ugandans are going through under Museveni’s dictatorship which they said is worse than the terror Arap Moi inflicted upon them. When I see young foreigners like Malema and Owino speaking up for us the young Ugandans, my heart saddens and cries from inside. The things that these people are saying to Museveni are actually facts that ought to be spoken by us. Why should foreigners come out in solidarity with Bobi Wine and Uganda at large as though we Ugandans cannot speak for ourselves?
Most of our youth are detached; others are taken up by women and alcohol on full time basis. When do we plan and hope to speak up? Why have we allowed Museveni’s dictatorship to triumph upon us? Why have we allowed him to silence and threaten us? For how long shall we allow foreigners to speak up for us? Bobi Wine has for a while been calling upon youth and all Ugandans to make sure they register and get National Identity Cards to ensure that they can actively participate as voters in the forthcoming General Elections in 2021. The Ugandans I know most especially the youth have certainly not taken heed yet they come first on the list of those that insult Museveni on social media for failing our country. Sadly our young people don’t realize that by not registering to vote in the forthcoming election, they are not failing Bobi Wine but themselves.
Just this week, Museveni’s NRM party celebrated 33 years in power but truthfully, what is there to celebrate? Must we celebrate the high levels of corruption that have made the cost of doing business in Uganda for both local and foreign investors too high? Uganda scored 26 points out of 100 on the 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. This makes our country the 151 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries making us the 24th most corrupt country as per the study.
What are Ugandans celebrating about the so-called Liberation day? The abject poverty under which Ugandans are living where many families across the country can’t afford two meals a day? Even the concocted unreliable statistics from Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) still put our poverty index up high. According to the revised National Household Survey Report published by UBOS in February 2018, the proportion of people living in poverty stood at 8 million which still remains too high.
Every year, our young people graduate from universities and other institution of higher learning. Over 50,000 youths graduate with degrees every year from the many substandard universities that have bribed their way into Museveni’s regime and been allowed to operate in Uganda thus miss-shaping the future of our country and academia. As much as many are not qualified for reasonable employment. Even those who qualify can not find jobs and continue to wallop in hard biting poverty.
I think it is about time Ugandans adjusted their mindset. Let us leave the unimportant things alone and focus on things that matter. The exit of Museveni from Uganda’s political arena is one of those things that should matter the most to us all. There is no reason or excuse for Museveni’s long stay in power. I pray and hope every day that Uganda never gets such a nightmare ever again to be ruled for over 33 years by one dictator.
When foreigners like Babu Owino and Julius Malema start to speak for us for a fact I begin to shudder. I worry, I wonder, I cry for whatever befell our generation. I think all pro-change activists from all political domain in Uganda be it Forum for Democratic Change (FCD), Democratic Party (DP), People Power Movement, et al need to work together, unite and field one candidate in the next General Election against Museveni. Ugandans must reject a divided opposition in the next election because division has always been Museveni’s strength.
As we wait on age to do Museveni the ultimate justice as Julius Malema put it in the now viral video clip, we need to support Bobi Wine and all young Ugandans who are speaking up against the dictatorship. We can offer than support physically, morally and financially at all time. The change we need in our mother land Uganda is to benefit us and our children, not foreigners.
As I conclude, I am glad Malema put a smile on my face. But what I am most delighted about is a picture doing rounds of Museveni standing in snow while in a town called Davos in Switzerland with his daughter where both are putting on oversize ski jackets. They looked so nice and beautiful in exile, that picture is a clear depiction of Mr Museveni’s future and his family. Malema is right after all. Museveni must go and rest his over size suits because he is a big problem.
Ritah Nakigozi is a wife, passionate writer, political activist and People Power sympathizer.