By MP Zaake Francis
Dear Gen. Museveni,
I appreciate that you took time to read and respond to the post I wrote to you here on Facebook a couple of days ago. It appears that whereas you read that post, you made no effort to process what you read. And so I am not surprised that you conveniently mistook the questions I put to you on behalf of citizens to be conclusions that there is no #Covid19 in Uganda. Perhaps you know something we don’t know.
In your response to my post, you made several baseless claims that I feel are best ignored altogether as no reasonable person can find logic in them. But while that may be so, I am compelled to dispute the racist and ludicrous allegation you made against my comrades in the People Power movement / National Unity Platform and I that we are being used by “foreigners to destabilize Uganda”.
This claim is particularly strange because those you call foreigners have controlled our economy throughout the 35 years you have spent clinging on power. About 40% of Uganda’s annual budget is funded by foreigners. This includes the money you use to buy teargas and other ammunition that you routinely employ against us who oppose you.
In case you’ve not noticed, most critical industries and sectors in Uganda are dominated by foreigners. This compromises our sovereignty but you don’t care about that because you personally benefit from such an arrangement. Our telecommunications industry is controlled by MTN and Airtel companies, both of which are owned by ‘foreigners’ from South Africa and India, respectively. These foreigners repatriate to their home countries most of the profit they earn here – to our detriment – yet I have never heard you complain about them. By contrast, our locally-owned Uganda Telecom (UTL) has been steadily collapsing without any genuine intervention from your Government.
Constituting about 31% of Uganda’s total foreign exchange earned last year, Gold has been our leading export for the past many years. Strangely, this key sector is controlled by the African Gold Refinery Ltd, a Belgium-owned company with questionable business practices. Rather than protect and empower Ugandan entrepreneurs in this sector, your security forces have instead presided over the torture and illegal eviction of Ugandan gold miners such as those in Mubende, Kassanda and other Districts off their mineral-rich land for the benefit of foreign-owned companies.
Sometime in 2018, your government tabled in Parliament the National Coffee Bill that was purportedly meant to streamline the coffee sector, Uganda’s 2nd largest foreign exchange earner. That Bill, if passed, will literally make it criminal for any Ugandan farmer to grow, sell or consume coffee without permission from Government. If your government is making it impossible for ordinary Ugandan farmers to deal in coffee, would one be wrong to conclude that you are ring-fencing the coffee sector for foreigners?
Every other day, we get reports of local fishermen being tortured or murdered by UPDF’s Fisheries Protection Unit that was ostensibly set up to fight illegal fishing. In mid-2017, Ivan Katongole – a prominent fish maw exporter – was arrested by your men on allegations that he was behind the serial murders of women that were rampant in Entebbe Town at the time. If it were not for Court to declare his prosecution malicious, Ivan would still be in Prison.
Yet what is saddening is that by the time he regained his freedom, Ivan’s business had been taken over! Several other local entrepreneurs in this sector have suffered the same fate. Those who have been following this pattern of events have concluded that your government wants to lock Ugandan fishermen out of the fishing industry for the benefit of foreign-owned companies, particularly those from China.
Gen. Museveni, American authorities in 2017 arrested and later jailed Chi Ping Patrick Ho for, among other reasons, allegedly bribing you through your foreign Minister Sam Kuteesa to corrupt our 2016 electoral process. Was Mr. Chi Ping Ho a Ugandan?
For the 2 years you spent in the 1970s training with Mozambique’s FRELIMO army in preparation for your NRA war, were you training with Ugandans on Ugandan territory? Was it Zaake, let alone People Power, who led you to Tanzania, Zambia, Libya, Mozambique etc in search of ‘foreigners’ help in overthrowing Amin, Obote, etc? The proxy wars that you are fighting in C.A.R., South Sudan and elsewhere, in whose interest are they?
It is interesting to see you referring to me as ‘mis-educated’ and accusing me of ‘misleading’ my fellow youth whenever I point out facts such as these. But let me remind you Mr. Museveni that I have lived my entire lifetime with you as at the helm of Uganda. I am a product of the very education system operated by your regime. Many of the schools I studied from are UPE schools. It goes without saying, therefore, that you are responsible for the mis-education you accuse me and many other opposition members of.
To routinely implore us to do as you and your Ministers say, but not as you do, is utter hypocrisy. Hypocritical leadership has no place in the New Uganda we want to build with H. E. Robert Kyagulanyi as our President. You should not excuse your Ministers’ violation of the COVID-19 guidelines, on one hand, as simple mistakes while on the other hand you send your security criminals to kill me for allegedly making the same mistake.
You pass yourself off as a tolerant, just and peace-loving leader but you are not. You pretend to have Uganda and Ugandans at heart, but you don’t. If that were the case, you would not be rewarding Gen. Moses Elwelu who massacred innocent children in Kasese with promotion after promotion! You would not have blocked the prosecution of your guards who tortured us and murdered Yasin Kawuma in Arua! You would not have let the businesses of Ugandan investors such as WBS TV and Ssembule Steel Mills to collapse because of heavy taxes while foreign ‘investors’ are given incentives and tax holidays. If you really cared, you would not be looking on as tens of thousands of your grandchildren are sold into slavery in the Middle East!
Next time you wish to accuse us of colluding with foreigners as you ride your high horse of ‘Pan-Africanism’, take a long hard look in the mirror. You have no moral authority to accuse anybody of colluding with ‘foreigners’.
Lastly, I expect you to discard the hat you put on your head as it is associated with war-time cowboys from Northern America. If this isn’t agreeable to you, neither should you keep making a fuss about our red berets.
Zaake Francis, MP Mityana Municipality
Youth Leader, National Unity Platform/People Power movement