By Andrew Mwenda
Jacqueline Mbabazi was dying. The hospital bill had gone out of the roof. Amama Mbabazi had vowed never to meet up with Museveni and stoop so low to request for his help. The family was divided. Leave the mother to die or run to a man with whom they had fallen out with?
In the end, one of the daughters Rachael Mbabazi stripped herself of the ego and ran to State House. Museveni was shocked to see her. She broke down with these words; “Mzee, mummy is dying. There is no money. Please help.” Museveni immediately gave an order and asked that Jacqueline’s hospital bills be covered. Even then, Amama being the Mukiga he is, he never called, he never exchanged any words with Museveni.
Museveni has done these for many of his political opponents such as Amanya Mushega, Norbert Mao just to mention but a few.
The personality of Museveni is one that is intriguing. He seems to be too merciful but also too cruel when need arises. That he could help a lady who had convinced his man to run against him is shocking.
But also more shocking is how public money is given out to private individuals without outlined procedures. That Museveni runs Uganda like a small chiefdom while enclosing it in democratic veils.
The more you learn about the stories in the corridors of power, the more you just stand aside and enjoy Swengere and Taata Sam. I pity people who take Uganda’s politics and politicians serious. It all begins and ends with one man, he is the Alpha and the omega. And the reason he is that way is because it is what works. Obote failed to understand this and twice he lost power. Obote was not practical. Museveni is.
Finally, in comes the Uganda election petitions.
In 2001, CJ Benjamin Odoki calls Museveni to inform him that they were going to annul the election. It was a 4 to 1 in favour of annuling the election. Odoki calls Museveni and informs him of how they were going to rule. Museveni picked up the phone and called up everyone of the 4 judges. His words were clear; “go ahead and annul the election, I will be in Rwakitura and the army will take over and we shall see what shall become of your ruling.”
He called each of them once again and apologised for his outburst. “Forgive my words, please go ahead and rule how you find right.” Two of the judges crossed over and it became a 3 to 2 decision. The story was similar in 2006.
The judges perhaps later understood that even if they annulled the election, it would still be the same system administering the election. For most change, it is always slow, an evolution of institutions and structures. Rarely does change come out of revolutions and even when it does, it is always short lived and destructive.
The conclusion here is, what we see on the surface is not the actual power dynamics of a country. Power is much more than that. It is a complex puzzle, a game show, going on and forth about decisions. Young people tend to be theoretical about power and how governments work. Only for them to get power and fall in an abyss. And the only way to understand power is to be close to it. Be there in the late nights when decisions are made, you will learn a thing or two and you will come out humbled and refined.
And if Museveni has been president for over 3 decades, it is not by chance. He knows which compromises to make, where to crack the whip, which things to turn a blind eye to. Uganda is not incompetent because Museveni is. Rather Museveni is incompetent because poor countries like Uganda require such a character. In such a country where a ministerial position is looked at as an opportunity for a son of the soil to kusaaka for his tribe or clan, you can understand why Museveni has ran this country in this fashion. The Gaps between theory and practice are the quarrels of governance.
First published on his Facebook wall