Before bombs went off in Kampala, killing about 80 innocent people on July 11, President Museveni had been beaten in the diplomatic game. Museveni’s diplomatic defeat at the hands of the opposition was confirmed by a US congressional order requiring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to watch over him as he organises next year’s general elections. Reports about Museveni’s leadership are obviously negative because if his ministers are not stealing taxpayers’ money, his partisan security agencies are caning FDC president Col. Kizza Besigye.
There were indicators that the US would force Museveni, like they did in Nigeria, to disband the Eng. Badru Kiggundu led Electoral Commission which he has been using to rig elections.
Museveni faced more diplomatic isolation with the election of David Cameron as UK Prime Minister recently.
The two leaders (Barack Obama and Cameron) very well know that with Museveni as president, no amount of aid will lift the over 10 million Ugandans from abject poverty. If it is money for drugs, it will be stolen; if it is money for farmers, it will be stolen. Even money to buy military hardware necessary to keep “peace” in Somalia or launch an offensive against the suspected Al-Shabaab bombers will be swindled.
Swindling of money is one of the reasons the war in northern Uganda took two and a half decades to end. Museveni’s Generals had turned the conflict into a lucrative business venture.
I am not in any way suggesting that Museveni was behind the bombs, but elements in his government could be, because he is not the only beneficiary of the status quo.
In fact, even during the bush war that brought him to power in 1986, Museveni never planted any bomb but elements in his NRA guerilla outfit did. In his book, The Agony of Power, Brig. (Rtd.) Matayo Kyaligonza who commanded the Black Bomber unit writes on page 14:
“My unit, Black Bomber, and the 7th battalion made Kampala City very unsafe by 3pm. All shops were closed. This became the order of the day, and it was inadvertently referred to as ‘Akabbomu kabisse’.”
On page 73, Kyaligonza writes: “The greatest challenge we had to confound as a unit at that time was how to clandestinely conduct all the urban terrorist activities as per the requirements of the Task Force.”
In his book, Uganda’s Revolution 1979-1986: How I saw It, Maj. Gen. Pecos Kutesa who belonged to Kyaligonza’s Black Bomber writes: “One of the missions I carried out was an attempt to blow up an Agip fuel depot. These tanks were built in one location at Namuwongo. I did not know what the intention of the city planners was but all the main petrol depots in Uganda were located in this one suburb. If we had succeeded in blowing up the Agip tank, then Shell, Caltex and Total would all have caught fire. As luck would have it, the tank was empty …”
Therefore, before we go to Somalia to hunt for Al-Shabaab which claimed responsibility for Sunday’s bombings, why don’t we start at home where we have people who have made public confessions about their involvement in terrorism?
I highly suspect that people who bombed and carried out terrorist attacks, like Kyaligonza writes, to get into power can repeat their act when properly cornered.
This regime had been cornered and it can do anything not to lose power.
I am surprised that after declaring a week of mourning, His Excellency decided to continue with his campaigns. Yes, death doesn’t devastate him, this is something he said when his helicopter crashed, killing SPLA’s John Garang and about 12 other people. What message was the head of state sending by resuming campaigns as Ugandans observed a week of mourning?
The government propaganda machinery has now hijacked the debate and wants us to focus on the Somalia conflict. The debate is therefore degenerating into who supports and who doesn’t support the deployment and continued presence of Ugandan soldiers in Somalia.
Obviously many will call for the troop withdrawals but by doing so, you are losing the support of the Americans. The opposition and other peace loving Ugandans face a catch 22 situation.
The Americans only care about their interests and that is how they have come to support all despotic regimes in the world.
Through deception and opportunism, Museveni has identified himself as the good boy who is willing to risk the lives of his countrymen to serve American interests.
That is why I have no time for juveniles like Pamela Ankunda who have been instructed to insult and provoke us into abandoning the bigger issues.
The author is the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC) Spokesman.