President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni was sworn in for a straight sixth term as head of state on May 12, 2021 amid enduring peace, security and stability; that has not been a small feat as compared to the ensuing epochal period after independence in 1962 when the country went up in flames; first with the 1966 crisis that pitted the central government against Buganda, then the coup detat of 1971 that brought the most diabolic regime of Idi Amin to power, the instabilities of 1979 – 1980 that saw the country shuffle heads of state five times with debilitating consequences, the coup detat of 1985 that wrestled power from Milton Obote to Tito Okello Lutwa and finally the take-over of 1986 that brought Yoweri Museveni and his liberating compatriots to power.
This swearing in, therefore, of the president elect is a signature cementation of the giant strides Uganda has made in the last 35 years punctuated by peace, security and stability that eluded the country for far too long. All Yoweri Museveni’s predecessors were invariably overthrown in this order: Sir Edward Mutesa in 1966, Dr. Apollo Milton Obote in 1971, Idi Amin in 1979, Yusufu Lule in 1979 just like Godfrey Lukongwa Binaisa; when the Chairman of the military commissioner, Paul Muwanga took over from Binaisa his singular responsibility was to quickly pave way for Dr. Apollo Milton Obote’s second shot at the presidency in 1980! The coup detat of 1985 brought General Okello Lutwa to power who was in turn overthrown by the gallant NRA combatants who have kept our peace since.
But what has made this president politically radiate in terms of securing Uganda better than his predecessors? This president has had his security credentials sharpened over time; like a doctor does to a disease, he diagnosed the requisite curative actions against the mis-happenings of the past especially in the field of security. As enumerated above, the mistakes his predecessors made in 1966, 1971, 1979, 1980 and in 1985 informed Museveni’s subsequent actions that led to obtaining the most precious commodities that Ugandans yearned for in vain since 1966 namely peace, security of persons and property as well as national stability.
Ugandans in a majority have repeatedly returned this president to power, through regular and predictable elections, not coups or take overs because in him they found a guarantor of those three precious concepts. Citizens also know that, despite the recalcitrant noises from sectional opposition oligarchs plus their westerly backers as well as some intellectually challenged clerics, the political stability of the country simultaneously ensures social-economic progress which stares at you in every corner of the country.
Secondly, this president knew from the very beginning that disbanding the residual elements of the colonial outfit, Uganda Army, which was built to oppress nationals and protect the political as well as economic interests of the British pilfering colonizers, would serve Ugandans. He, just like Julius Nyerere of Tanzania did, disbanded that outfit and in its place a new truly national and professionalized army, the UPDF, was born. As we celebrate the sixth swearing of this president, the UPDF is currently regarded as the most disciplined institution in the country. It is fully constituted with the land forces, air force and marines specialized units.
Thirdly, in a region bedevilled with countless insurgencies and a conspiratorial neighbourhood, amateurs with no security credentials comparable to Yoweri Museveni’s could not stand a chance of being elected to the office of chief executive officer of the country; Paul Semogerere and Mohammad Mayanja in1996, Kiiza Besigye – a perennial presidential elections loser and Jonny come lately – Bobi Wine, who to some with a cognitive deficit referred to him as “ripened coffee bean” in order to give him imagery political mileage could not match or dent by a particle Yoweri Museveni’s indomitability singly let alone even in a pack!
He has insulated us from multitudinous insecurities: to the western frontier, the ADF which marauds with impunity coupled with ineffective government to East of the DRC are still enigmatic; the closing of the border to the south by a recalcitrant neighbour that occasionally and provocatively shoots our gullible nationals who have relatives across is mind boggling; a volatile northern neighbour simmering with civil strife and all kinds of regional outlaws hell-bent on creating mayhem require the both this president elect’s intellectual as well as dependability resources. Neither Museveni’s predecessors nor his current political nemeses have had the equivalence to his knack in terms of security credentials.
Fourthly, over twenty rebel groups that have sprang up since 1986 to oust the Yoweri Museveni administration have all been degraded through a combination of carrot and stick recipe; a majority of them have been completely obliterated because of a general lack of viable ideology and several others, through Yoweri Museveni’s magnanimity, have either been absorbed into the forces and retrained or resettled in their respective places of origin with a stipend. Still others have been reconciled with the administration and have become political leaders in their own right.
Fifthly, this president has, in addition, been so forthright in enforcing peace, security and stability in the region as a means of warding off possible spill-overs of wars and the resultant refugee quandary from the neighbourhood; a case in point is Uganda’s involvement in pacifying South Sudan since 2015 when that globe’s newest country almost went up in flames; an intervention that Uganda’s venerated opposition riled against due to their dearth in security credentials.
That intervention particularly helped to forestall an uglier and incendiary situation that was unfolding with the potential to become the biggest regional catastrophe. This administration’s intervention in Somalia, where the Americans failed, deescalated piracy on the high seas of the Indian Ocean, forestalled terrorism springing from the Horn of Africa to the rest of East Africa and further added to Yoweri Museveni’s security credentials.
Ambassador Henry Mayega
Abu Dhabi, UAE