By Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda|
Countrymen, Countrywomen and, especially the Bazukulu.
Greetings again from the old man with a hat. When I last sent out a missive, it was talking about the prominent Ugandans that had died and what I knew about them. These were: Kirunda, the footballer; Kasirye – Ggwanga, Erica Mukasa, Bell and Nkeera. 489, 235 saw the message by the time I got the printout and many reacted- some positively and some negatively. The responses were in three categories: the positive, the positive but unhappy with the lockdown and the hostile, negative and arrogant.
I salute the positive responders such as Alierson, Brian, Henseley, Arabian Restaurant, Jordan, Sebunya Shafique, HBB, Vice-President small Acco, Mcedgars, Naiga Mooza, Owori Moses, DewishJa, Jesus Loves you, Mulekwa, Godfrey, Ryder 256 (only worried about my hair-style), Kiganira Enock, Kip , Weyale Andrew, Busobozi Emmanuel, Raymond, Lwanga Charles, Hussein Sadda, Moseyz K Kiribwaz, Kasule David, Shisha Elijah, Kairanga Moses, Paul Opolot, Mujjuzi (who informed me about footballer Fimbo Mukasa that needs support), Tamale Mirundi, Sanford, Mugweri, Fix_IT, Publicity Nateete (that advised me to put ykm when I write myself), Paul Kirimbi, Twende Kazi Uganda (but they need capital), Knight king talking about Makerere Ventilators, The ancestor (wants bibanda to open), Dr. Jenipher Tigs, Kiranda David, Zigo, Born Word Radio (inviting me for Bible Society), etc. I thank and salute these positive responders.
The second category, are the ones that were positive but were not happy with the lockdown. These were appreciating the NRM work but pointing out that the lockdown has killed some businesses, many jobs and created hardships for many families. They were also complaining about the indiscipline of the LDUs. What we need to remind ourselves is that while we do not have a direct cure against COVID-19, there are alternatives to all the other problems and inconveniences as we shall see.
However, before I go into those in details, let me first mention the third category. These are hostile, negative, rude and arrogant. It will be my pleasure to dismantle their erroneous and dangerous positions.
Before I go for each category, I need to thank all responders and also congratulate the NRM for its good work. I congratulate both the responders and the NRM because it is only people who are alive that post on social – media. I, therefore, congratulate the responders for using the gift of life to positively, negatively or maliciously post on social – media. I also congratulate the NRM for decisively contributing to keeping the responders alive by immunizing them when they were young and for aggressively keeping at bay the corona- virus since it descended on us in March, 2020, by using the lockdown method. The USA, which is a highly modernized country, has lost, in these few months, 152,000 people according the CNN news of Saturday. The USA has a population of 328 million people. This means that the population of the USA is 7 times bigger than ours. If we divide the population of the USA by a factor of 45 million, it would mean that if the same death rate had descended on us, we would, by now, have lost 152,000 divided by 7, a figure of 21,717 dead people from the Corona – virus. If you were to democratically distribute this to the 135 districts, each district would have, by now, lost 160 dead people from COVI19. I am, therefore, very proud, with the assistance of God, to have, So far, stopped such scale of deaths descending on Ugandans. David Cisse Sisye calls me a “disgrace”. I am very proud to be a disgrace that saved Ugandans. At one time I was called a bandit. Nothing new.
I congratulate the NRM for, in addition to immunisation and the lockdown, defending the Ugandans and Bazukulu from war and terrorism so that, before the lockdown, they could have the bikesa (transnights) etc. You remember the Bijambiya? What happened to them? They were defeated. I also congratulate the NRM for guaranteeing freedom of speech where the social – media actors, for instance, can insult everybody with no repercussions. That is not very common in Africa. I enjoy it except where the unwise want to cause insecurity and unconstitutionalism and those who say there is no danger from Corona like Doreen Kyohairwe said.
Again, I salute the positive responders and I welcome the positive suggestions like the idea of sports without audiences that have been tried in other countries of Europe. There are also ideas of isolating the tourism areas that I saw in Cuba. However, all this must be subsidiary to life. I salute the positive but unhappy responders but I would like to advise them on their stand of let us re- open with SOPs. I totally agree. If any activity can be re-opened with safety, with SOPs, then let us do it. The people involved should agree with the scientists. Hon. Ruth Aceng is not the only scientist. There are very many quiet and serious scientists who will produce good results for Uganda if they are assisted. Hon. Aceng stumbled into a mistake. She is not, however the only scientist. She apologized to me and to you, the citizens.
Any activity that can be opened safely, with SOPs, will be opened. I am one of the people most interested in good economic performance. However, economic performance should never be more important than lives. If you care about the people, you cannot say that an activity that can cause mass death should be tolerated because it is bringing money. Female circumcision in Sebei had to be stopped when science proved that it was dangerous. This was a big economic activity for those female cutters. That is why they still try to operate under – ground. With new problems, cultural and spiritual practices should, if no alternative, change. With AIDS, Bishop Misaeri Kawuma, on my encouragement, started doing away with the shared communion cups in the Church of Uganda. Banyankore used to share drinking straws (ebishekye), clothes, etc., until science told them of the health hazards. We decampaigned those practices as Bukafiiri (lack of enlightenment). The good thing is that corona is not likely to be here forever without a solution. Indications are that we shall, most probably, get a vaccine and a cure. The problem is the interim. I cannot accept the logic that let people die but we make money.
Both category two and three are making the mistake of comparing the incomparable. Some say, people are dying from lack of money, lack of jobs etc., just as they would die from Corona. This is wrong. Dying from Corona has no treatment other than supporting the body to fight or avoiding. Other diseases, even AIDS now, have solutions – medical solutions – drugs that either cure or control the disease. There are scientific solutions. The rest is organizational boda boda and taxis taking women to hospital. If there is a problem, the possibility of causing mass death, with the boda boda, let us look for another way. Let the pregnant woman go early and be near the dispensary. You cannot rationally say that we insist on the boda boda whether it will spread the dangerous disease or not because we must make money. The only way to defend the boda boda is to render it “undangerous” to the people. Therefore, that argument is wrong.
If some of the economic activities cannot pass the test of safety with this pandemic, are there no alternatives? In about
1350AD, there was a muchweezi man in the Ssembabule area (Bweera) who was a cattle keeper. It seems the cattle died and he shifted to Ssese and became a fisherman. The Banyankore were calling him Mugasha. In Ssese, he became Mukasa (Lubaale w’enyanja). When there was the war of Kony, many Northerners came to the Lake. They are now fishermen. Economic activity is Omwooga (an area of economic specialisation). It is not comparable to life (imager, obulamu). There is no alternative to one’s life.
There are activities that were never suspended: Commercial farming, manufacturing, fisheries sector, internal tourism, artisanship, cargo transporting, produce buying and recently public transport etc.
The other wrong argument of the two categories is the line that LDUs, by mistake have Killed some people and the police have misbehaved here and there and, therefore, dying by corona is the same. Wrong. Why? Every LDU that has killed a person is in jail and is on trial. The Corona-virus has killed 700, 000 (emitwaaro nshaanju) in the World. Who has arrested the Corona virus? In which Court is it on trial? Besides, the LDU shooting a person and being arrested becomes a lesson for others not to repeat the mistake. An infected Corona person will infect twenty. That is how the problem snowballs and becomes unmanageable. It is the total reverse of the LDU problem.
Coming to category 3 – the hostile, the negative and the arrogant, here below are their positions:
1) You old man, you are too weak, you must retire and hand power to the capable young people. The NRM answer, young and old, is that politics (which means management of society) is not biology (young, old, woman, man) but ideology. Ideology is like diagnosis of a patient and prescribing treatment. Similarly, political actors, individuals or groups, must first carry out diagnosis of the society they want to lead and prescribe a cure in the form of ideology, strategy and programmes (manifesto). The ideology of the NRM right from the early days, is based on 4 principles:
Patriotism – love Uganda;
Pan Africanism – love Africa;
Social – economic transformation – (from peasantry to middle and skilled working classes); and democracy (power of the people, by the People, for the people). This love for Uganda (anti-sectarianism) and love for Africa (Pan-Africanism) is not a fashion or mere slogans. It is because that is the only way we can guarantee the prosperity of each of us by creating big markets for our products. Currently we have surplus sugar, surplus milk, surplus maize, surplus bananas etc. In some parts of Africa, they have need for these products. That is why the NRM always works for the integration of Africa – both economic and political. Social- economic transformation is in order to create a modern Ugandan – educated and knowledgeable. That is how many of you are on the social – media, using the internet and the telephone systems the NRM put in place. You are not shouting across valleys with unaided voices (okweeta, kuyita, etc.), but using the systems that the NRM put in place. Democracy is how you are able to give your frank opinions, vote for the ones you prefer, socialize freely the way we have been doing until Covid-19 came in. Every principle of the NRM has got serious implications for the destiny of the Black and African races (nations). Therefore, please, discuss these issues seriously and with respect so that we get correct solutions. Number one and number two mean maximum unity within Uganda and economic and political integration in Africa and number three and four are clear. These are very serious historical tasks where we need all people capable to contribute. That is how the NRM Govt is a multi – generational Govt of grandparents, parents and grandchildren. That is how Uganda has developed so much and has become an island of stability. How would 1.4 million refugees come here if it was not for stability? That is how we have defeated the combined problems of the rising waters, the landslides, the locusts and the virus, the latter being a phenomenon that the negative group were cursing as to why we should have a lockdown when nobody has died. Well, they have recently been rewarded with five deaths from corona. I am in leadership because my party nominated me and I accepted because I know there is work for all of us to do. The majority of the people in Govt are young people, but young people working with the old ones: Museveni, Moses Ali, Kivejinja, Rugunda etc yes; however, also Namuganza, Evelyn Anite, Kasolo, kibuule, Galabuzi, Tumwebaze, Kaducu, Bahati, Adoa, Kasule Lumumba etc. It is a solid group: ideology, experience and energy of youth in a combined package.
If you are not happy with this, you have your parties. Peacefully, compete for votes like the others have done: Mzee Ssemwogerere, Besigye, Mama Miria, the late Mzee Ssebaana, Mayanja Kibirige etc.
To argue for only biology and not ideology is a disaster for the country. Actually, that is what happened at Independence, in
1962. All the leaders were young: Obote-35; Muteesa-39, Kakonge-26, Ibingira-28; Nekyon-28; etc. The only one in his 40s may have been BK Kirya or maybe Nadiope. What happened? Disaster. Biology did not work. Idi Amin was 39, I had forgotten.
2) Why is this old man always talking about history, bush etc. etc.? Oh dear!! Why do we read the Bible? Why do we read the Quran? They are old books but with a lot of wisdom. They were also inspired by God. The NRM documents were not inspired by God like the Holy Books; but they capture a rich experience. Nobody can stop me from talking about the glorious history of the People of Uganda.
However, coming to the missive I sent out on the 14th of July, 2020, it was actually a subject of history. Some of our important people had died: Ggwanga, Erica Mukasa, Kirunda, Nkeera, Bell, Sikaji earlier on. I had been too busy with the virus, but I had been reading commentaries in the newspapers and, of course, I had a lot of information about the people being talked about except some of the ones that were active in the 20 years of our struggle 1966-1986. I knew that I would talk about the virus and the lockdown later. It was, therefore history, history.
3) Some of the group accused me of singing the same song all the time. First of all, there is everything right with singing the same song for a long time. It is called consistency. As long as the problems persist, we must address them until they vanish. How long have we been fighting with the problem of subsistence farming? I started dealing with the problem of subsistence farming in 1966 in North Ankole. There, it has been partially dealt with. We broke off to fight wars in 1971 and for 16years, we were away. I resumed dealing with the problem until 1995, when I got good results; I started my countrywide campaign of bonna bagagawale. Up to now, many of the communities are still Kukolera Kidda kyoonka, tic me cam keken. Should I leave this unsolved problem and start singing Hollywood songs and watching European Clubs of football only? No, NRM sings old songs as long as they are needed and new songs as is necessary. In 1986, the song was to deal with shortages of sugar, soap, paraffin, textiles, beer, etc. Where are the shortages now? Instead, the song now is how to market surplus sugar, surplus electricity, surplus maize, surplus milk, surplus industrial products etc. Be serious.
4) The other wrong malignment is trying to cast the NRM as a system monopolized by people from western Uganda. Since you are allergic to history, otherwise, I would have reminded you that much of my time I was in Tanzania, Mozambique etc. How many Banyankore or Westerners were there? We fought in the Luwero Triangle. Many Ugandan groups were there: Baganda, Banyankore, Barugwaara, Baruuru, Barundi, Banyarwanda, Baruuli, Banyoro,
There was an unclear picture trying to show some army people. Kindly, leave our Armed Forces out of the nonsense of tribal debates. They have serious work to do and they have done it well. Leave them out of your confusion. The only point one can say about that is recruitment in the Armed Forces is by quotas per district. You check during the recruitment time. However, you can look at your fellow civilian officers. Here in the Presidency, I am quite comfortable without many Banyankore, or, indeed, any munyankore around.
1) Mitala- Unless he became a munyankore today – Head of
ii) Katuramu- Westerner- Kabalega’s land;
iii) President’s Office – Kakande- only munyankore through enkaanda, otherwise muganda from Ddwaniro- Masuliita.
IV) State House Comptroller- Nakyobe – only guilty on the nkaanda side, muganda of some place.
v) PPS to the President- Omona – Originally Acholi, but somehow Kumamunized by residence.
I am quite comfortable without any big munyankore in the vicinity. Do not tell us about those cheap things of tribes and religious sectarianism. The LDUs that you are complaining about were all recruited from Kampala and Wakes. Are you trying to say that people of Wakiso and Kampala are bad because of mistakes of individuals against laid down laws, who are, moreover, punished for those mistakes?
5) The negative groups also try to lecture me about the importance of the church and mosques, not knowing probably, that they are talking to the former President of the Scripture Union at Ntare School and a Bible enthusiast of some little weight. The one thing the actors should be careful about is bringing hypocrisy in the House or work of God. You remember what happened toAnanias? In the book of Acts, chapter 5. He deceived God and died promptly. When you press for the unplanned opening of places of Worship or criticize our actions on that, are you bearing in mind the safety of the children of God or are you thinking about something else? Be careful with that side of opportunism. Churches and mosques are, of course, important when the situations are normal. However, “Ruhaanga ari omu myaanya yoona” – God is Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent and He cannot be duped. The Inter – Religious Council (IRC) is discussing with the scientists until they find a safe-way of re-opening. Many of our scientists are devout Christians or Moslems.
6) There is a dangerous line by Agnes Akullo who was saying that God will protect us and we should not bother to take precautions. We should just open the schools. In the book of Genesis, God created man in His image (God’s image) and directed him (man) to establish “dominion over the creations”, including the viruses.
7) Then there is the attack on the old man with a hat. “Why are you writing long essays? We do not have time to read long pieces”. Unfortunately, problems in the world are not short.
Many are long and need long analysis. If the social-media contributors only deal with short issues, they may not be able to deal with protracted issues.
8) I welcome the comments about the corrupt police that extorts money to give exemptions in the lockdown. Why don’t you expose them? Ring Nakalema’s number 0800202500. If she does not, or her office does not, come to your rescue, put the issue on social – media here with facts. Besides, you are the ones that elect the Local Councillors to the district, to KCCA, the municipalities; you are the ones who elect the MPs of all types – Constituency MPs, Women MPs, MPs for the Disabled, Workers’ MPs etc. If you confront a problem of officials or policemen extorting money, why don’t you confide in any of those? There is no corrupt person that we cannot deal with. However, we need evidence. It is true that the corrupt people will try to hide the evidence. However, if you confide in the leaders you elected, whether they are opposition or NRM, we can trap these thieves. You saw what happened to the thieves in the Prime Minister’s office. Use Nakalema or the leaders you elected. Or put it in the social – media. However, get some evidence. Of course, the lGP and his senior officers should also carry out inspection. I may ask one of my retired police officers to go through the population and find out information about these thieves. However, whatever you say about the LDUs, they have helped us to fight the criminals that were attacking factories, the bijambiyas etc. Their mistakes are being sorted out by re-training and punishing those who make mistakes.
9) Finally, for now, one point of principle. FAD wondered why I use Bazzukulu which is a Luganda word. Why don’t I use the Runyankore word, abaijukuru? Then FAD added: “Otweesibako” (you tie yourself on us when you are not welcome). FAD, munnange nkwesibako Kubanga nkwetaaga nsobole kubeela obulungi (prosperous). Atte, naawe FAD, singa oleengela wala, wandibadde onesibako kubanga onetaaga osobole okubeela obulungi. I tie myself on you because I need you for my prosperity. Also, if you could see far, you should be tying yourself on me because you need me for your prosperity. How? FAD is one, most probably, of the people that buy my milk from Rwakitura and bananas from Ntungamo. Hence, FAD is supporting my prosperity. Yoweri Museveni and all the non-Baganda that live in Kampala are also buying a lot of things from the Baganda shops in Kampala. Hence, Museveni and other non-Baganda in Kampala, plus the Baganda of course, we are supporting the prosperity of many Baganda businessmen. What does FAD do? Therefore, if you do not love Museveni and do not welcome him and other non-Baganda in your midst, you are, actually, an enemy of the Baganda first and foremost and enemy of Africa. Why? Kubanga olinya musowaani kwebaliira- you are stepping in the plate from where the respective group feed (that prosperity).
I hope the ones that wanted to understand our thinking and the facts have benefitted from my long essay. The hostile ones are welcome for a dialogue.
YKM (The old man with a hat).