The NRA rebels led by Yoweri Kaguta Museveni seized power in a military coup on 25th January 1986. This was coincidentally not unprecedented since Amin had captured power on 25th January in 1971. The NRA then thought it unfitting to share their day of victory with Amin hence deferring it by a day to 26th a deception Ugandans have taken unquestioningly. Though ignored, it is day one would call a curse on for having brought forth a deceptive rebel government whose brunt Uganda has born for 31 years and possibly still counting. The unanswered question as to whether Ugandans should celebrate or mourn still haunts even the sanest of minds treading the socially, economically and institutionally dilapidated country Called Uganda.
The Museveni regime has continually insinuated that the governments before the 1986 coup had fallen out of grace and had to go. They claim it was in their calling to restore the rule of law and revamp the economy and in so doing they paint a picture of a country that had gone to the dogs. However, even with the usual challenges that may cause a nation to stagger a little, it didn’t warrant an ouster for any reason except that of being power hungry. Instead, Ugandans have been given a raw deal and truly, welcoming the NRM then was a case if jumping from the frying pan to the fire.
Before the ill-fated entry of the NRA/M onto the Ugandan, the country renown all over the world by such signature cash crops as Coffee, cotton and tobacco then famed for keeping every Ugandan rich and sound. The country had in as backup oil deposits reserved for the future generation by our wise past presidents. The economy one sees limping now was healthy and upright with an international debt burden of less than $400m. That was before it was reduced to being the current supermarket economy depending on foreigners and choking on a whopping $400 trillion debt. Every Ugandan, young and old alike has a debt of over 1.3m hanging by a thread over their heads like an executioner’s axe and it’s getting worse by the day.
One could safely swear by their ancestors, dead and alive that corruption, nepotism and theft of national resources were unheard of until one YK M7 appeared with the evil scheme that birthed and has ever since nurtured a pack of thieves some of whom are richer than the country at the expense of the taxpayer.
The Health Sector
By 1986 Uganda was regionally famed for the best health services in East and Central Africa. All regions had fully functional referral hospitals with professional well paid doctors and other medical staff. Only good quality Medicine was available free of cost in all health facilities across the country. In fact specialist hospitals were strategically located across the country to counter such epidemics as leprosy, sleeping sickness etc. Those admitted to the facilities had free food beddings and access to counseling services. Besides, the country could rightly boast of a solid ambulance network which covered the entire country free of charge. Today, the health system is itself sick and a shadow of its former self to a level that the above realities sound impossibilities to the young.
The Education Sector
Uganda was a sought after destination for he best education system in East Africa. No wonder Makerere University was christened the Harvard of Africa and ranked the best university on the continent. From the elementary level, through to high school and on to tertiary institutions, all facilities were provided and sometimes with an allowance. In primary schools exercise books were given free to all pupils. Secondary education was subsidized and university education was actually paid for from tax payers’ money.
The education system was designed to turn out professionals in the UCCs, TTC’s, Technical Schools and universities and other tertiary institutions were deliberately equipped to train trainers for all society. A child studying anywhere in the country could get same good quality education and compete effectively for promotion to a subsequent level regardless of whether they were rich or poor. Today education has since been commercialized, privatized and government schools intentionally run down to deny education to the poor and force Ugandans to pay through the nose at schools owned by big Turks in the regime.
The Transport Sector
Uganda had Uganda Airlines, at the time with 28 Cargo planes. A running rail network with over 100 trains. The country road transport had public bus services UTC in all parts of the country and UCTU. All these were inhaled by Museveni and his henchmen and in their places we have just shadows of a dilapidated system.
Uganda has proved most insecure during the last 31 years despite defence and security taking up the biggest chunk of budget after another all classified. Besides, M7 has effectively had a hand in the insecurity that has plagued our dear Republic since 1971 in his selfish quest for power. He can be traced as far as 1972 with his FRONASA when he attacked Id Amin and put his regime on the defensive. From 1980—1986 his rebel activities destabilized the whole country in a devastating war the ravages of which the nation is still paying dearly for. In places where M7’s rebel activities were not rife no insecurity in the past was reported. Museveni destabilized freedom/security and brain washed us into believing he liberated us from his own mess.
There Uganda scenario falls so short of having the achieved the structural conditions that would form the basis for attaining democratic development. What with the NRM organization dominating the scene!!!! It is all defined by neopatrimonialism reasoning and public organizations feature a high degree of personalization with M7’s name, person or office showing up at every point. All that he is obsessed with is to maintain a grip on the reigns of political power and consolidate himself, family and friends. This is so unlike in the past when we had active institutionalized administration running.
Uganda had agriculture extension officers at every level to practically help farmers increase output. Today agriculture programs besides being theft channels are all meant to destroy agriculture with an intention of putting the poor out of farming and impoverishing them the more. Our government openly promotes deadly GMO’s and Monsato products directly meant to destroy farming!
Uganda’s unity once revolved around its ethnic diversity promoting and respecting each other’s cultural values. The NRM regime has set tribe against tribe by creating ethnic entities that are treated as superior to others.
Governments fully catered for all sporting activities in the country and promoted talent. Sports has since been relegated to the backyard being sought after only when there is a political statement to make for M7 especially when he wants to appear benevolent.
So, 31 years on, should we celebrate a family victory or mourn a socially politically economically dilapidated state?
By Kaweesa kaweesa