Following his being declared winner of his January 14 sham electoral process, Museveni has been suffering a crisis of confidence. Mindful of the massive disillusionment amongst the general public as a result of his massive rigging, Museveni feared that the aggrieved masses would resort to protests. He therefore turned to his security apparatus to subdue any form of political dissent which he termed as an insurrection. Consequently, his security goons have been on rampage kidnapping, summarily executing, arresting and detaining in ungazetted places, detention without trial and gruesome torture of victims. His hope of achieving legitimacy through the usual hopeless court rulings on election petitions suffered a big setback when it was withdrawn.
Driven by guilty consciousness, he harbours delusions of an opposition led mass protests. He embarked on a rigorous mobilization drive of the security forces by meeting the top leadership of both the police and the army and promising to improve their welfare. He, as usual, went ahead to mobilize the army veterans with promises of being deployed in Somalia so as to deny the potential protests and the vital veterans’ technical backup. However, he is also convinced that the population may never again dare to come out in protests after he shot dead more than fifty and maimed hundreds in a matter of hours during the November 2020 protests. On the other hand, he is also convinced that without external support, Ugandans cannot sustain effective protests on their own. In this regard, he is worried of the role of external players. He has repeatedly accused his so-called ‘foreigners’ of aiding Ugandan political opposition. He has repeatedly pointed an accusing finger at the West and “another country in the region” that he recently accused of sending its “agents to meddle in our politics.”
Obviously, the said other country in the region is Rwanda which his regime often refers to as a “neighboring country.” Museveni’s two decades relations between Kampala and Kigali soured. The diplomatic fallout can be traced to the time when their two armies repeatedly clashed in the eastern DRC city of Kisangani. About eight years later, Museveni managed to dupe Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, who had the upper hand, into believing that his counterpart had buried the hatchet. Instead, after he felt he had gained a sufficient upper hand, Musevenid embarked on behind the scenes schemes aimed at undermining the Kigali government. The resumption of hostilities climaxed in Kigali registering unprecedented victories against armed dissident groups that it claimed were being aided by Kampala. To consolidate its success, Kigali went ahead to close its border with Uganda in February 2019.
Based on a wrong belief that Kigali would not survive economically without imports from Kampala, initially Uganda did not take Kigali serious. It’s now two years since the border was closed and Kampala has been losing USD 166m per month worth of exports to Rwanda while Kigali has been losing USD 26m per month worth of exports to Uganda. The 2019 talks between Kampala and Kigali under the mediation of Angola only helped to delay the escalation of hostilities. Back in Uganda, Museveni chose to treat the diplomatic fallout as a private matter between him and Kagame. Museveni restrained all other institutions of government and civil society from poking their noses into the matter. He appointed a one Adonia Ayebare as his own Special Envoy to Kagame, Ayabare also doubles as Uganda’s representative to the UN. The first message that Ayebare delivered to Kagame was in December 2019 before Ayabere secured the January 2020 meeting between the two principals at the border town of Katuna. Whatever messages and responses that Museveni’s so-called envoys carry are his private matters.
When the COVID-19 pandemic set in motion, the diplomatic fallout adopted a low intensity as accusations and counter accusations continued. Museveni is a strong believer that had it not been for Tanzania’s intervention, the Idi Amin regime would not have been dislodged and hence Museveni wouldn’t have gained the presidency of Uganda. In this regard, Museveni’s only interest in the East African Community (EAC) is in pursuance of the policy of the so-called non interference in the internal affairs of member states. Pursuant to that interest, he feels that once he has secured the non interference by any neighboring country, his pursuance of dictatorship in Uganda would go unchallenged. He is very worried about Rwanda’s alleged links with the political opposition in Uganda. When his former spy chief and Minister of Security, Gen. Henry Tumukunde argued that Rwanda ought to support the opposition in Uganda, Tumukunde was incarcerated on charges of treason.
Some sections of the opposition are allegedly plotting to fail Museveni’s being sworn in May. For Museveni, the only obstacle to his swearing in for his next term of office in is the alleged “meddling in our politics” by agents of a neighboring country, Rwanda. He is mindful of the fact that Ugandans are yearning for change and the time is more ripe now than it was even for the Idi Amin regime. Therefore, he rightly fears that if Rwanda would effectively throw its weight behind the advocates of protests in Uganda, his hold on power would be in big trouble. It is reported that last week, he once again sent his same envoy, Ayabare, to Kagame and whatever transpired is, as usual, a private matter. However, from the a foregoing, what is obvious is that Museveni is trying to plead with Kagame to exercise some restraint, thus approve his (Museveni’s) May swearing in ceremony. What is most intriguing is the fact that Rwanda is also mindful of the fact that Museveni’s next term of office has ‘Rwanda’ as priority.
INFORMATION IS POWER AND THE PROBLEM OF UGANDA IS MUSEVENISM
Peril of Africa provides breaking by aggregating news for the East Africa Community (EAC) and surrounding regions. We also report some global news from major media houses. Our team also has our own journalists, researchers and analysts who write about pressing issues which affect Uganda.