Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An Entry From Patrick

A piece my husband wrote about the recent clashes with citizens and the government in Uganda


It's hardly two months since our all wise President, Mr. Museveni, was in the media criticizing the US, Canada, UK, France, etal for militarily intervening in Libya. According to our President, the west should have engaged in dialogue with the embattled Libyan leader, Ghadafi. He reasoned that the west was being simplistic in addressing the situation in Libya and were using the approach of 'might is right' that is wrong according to him.

For about two weeks now, several Ugandans have mobilized for walk to work protests in protest of skyrocketing fuel and food prices in the country. Currently, fuel and food prices have doubled and beyond and inflation has doubled from 6% in February 2011 to above 11% this month. All this resulted from corruption, careless Government spending on activities that are not people oriented such as the recent expenditure of over 740 million US dollars to buy fighter jets from Russia God knows to fight who!, financing activities meant to develop the stomachs and cheeks of the ruling individuals and their relatives, emptying of the national treasury to finance the recent elections (vote buying), high taxation and to a small extent the global economic factors.

Many Ugandans can hardly now afford a meal and other basic essentials hence the attempt to walk to work in protest of the economic situation in the hope to draw Government's attention to their suffering. Our 'wise' President's response has been tear gassing, beating up, shooting and arresting of people participating peacefully in the walk to work protests. So far 4 people are confirmed dead and over 47 injured from gun shots, while close to 300 have been arrested and jailed for attempting to walk to work.

I am left wondering why the contradiction. I thought in the wisdom of our president he would have engaged the nation in dialogue instead of the 'Might is right' approach he criticized the west for.

A while ago, I remember watching a video of the swearing in ceremony of our President in 1986 when he had just taken power, of course by the gun. Our dear president was on record for saying, 'the problem with African leaders is overstaying in power' and that he was ushering in a new era, 'a fundamental change.' We are now in the 25th year of Museveni's presidency and will be in the 30th year come 2016. This follows several manipulations of the constitution to extend his stay in power, stolen and sham elections. What became of the promised fundamental change?

In the early days of his presidency, the good president openly criticized the previous governments for being extravagant with tax payer's money and non responsive to needs of Ugandans. A while a go, among many examples, the president sent one of his daughters to give birth in Germany in a presidential jet, costing the tax payer several millions. For the size of our economy, that was quite a pinch. Interestingly, that money could have improved facilities in any of our rotten hospitals to the comfort of the first daughter and would be available to serve many other Ugandan mothers that keep dying or cheating death (for the lucky) due to inadequacies in our maternity services.

What happened to the big heart, the heart for the nation.

I see many contradictions in our President, what happened? Who is this man? I am tempted to think, if Museveni of back then, by any chance happened to meet Museveni of today, he would beat the hell out of this one, that's only of course if the former Museveni was not fooling Ugandans about his character.

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