Thought and Ideas
Save your breath, Museveni reign ends 2021
Posted Sunday, August 19 2012 at 01:00
I am aware that human beings can never be the same but leaders with presidential attributes enshrined in Article 98(1) of the Uganda Constitution are indeed a scarce commodity.
Recently, I was watching a documentary on the history channel of DSTV on the world leaders during and after the Second World War. At the end of it run a statement like this, “Roosevelt died in office, Churchill was defeated in the election following the war, Hitler blew himself up and Stalin stayed and completed his mission of capturing Poland and declaring it a communist state”.
I have also read missives of David Mafabi, and Margaret Wokuri as well as Bishop Zac Niringiye’s retirement mission on restoration of term limits for the President of the Republic of Uganda. The debate between Mr Tamale Mirundi and the leadership of the Catholic Church’s Easter message as well as that of the Pentecostal Churches cannot go unnoticed.
I also recall an article I wrote in 2008 in the Daily Monitor titled, “Term Limits have failed the test in Africa” citing examples of countries which had also amended their constitutions to lift presidential term limits and today I have not changed my position on this.
Lest I forget, I am even reluctant to mention that in the first constitutional 7-year term of President Paul Kagame, he stated in no uncertain terms that he would never run for a third term. Recently in an interview while in Uganda and was asked if he will run for another term, he stated that the people of Rwanda will decide.
Thank you Paul for at least stating the truth. This is Africa! I recall during the debate on whether or not to lift term limits in 2005, Hon. Nyombi Thembo stated, “In Africa, and Uganda in particular, we are not endowed with many people who are presidential material. They are a scarce commodity and Uganda should not be seen to lose on the God given chance in the person of Mr Yoweri Museveni” and I could not agree with him more then and even now.
I have monitored for quite some time now and analysed the attributes of those who have openly manifested themselves as successors of Mr Museveni and those who are quiet but have been talked of being potentials in the widely termed succession queue. I am aware that human beings can never be the same but leaders with presidential attributes enshrined in Article 98(1) of the Uganda Constitution are indeed a scarce commodity.
What the dictionary says
Reading from Oxford Dictionary of English, Commander-in-Chief for this purpose means “a politician or head of state in supreme command of a country’s armed forces” where command means, “give an authoritative or peremptory order; be in a strong enough position to have or secure; be in charge of; dominate from a superior height; control or restrain”, etc. Fountain of Honour means, “guarantee eternal honour to anyone who drinks from it” implying being devoid of mischief or any semblance of it where honour means, “high respect, great esteem; the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right”, etc.
Whence are you who fit into this description? Those pestering President Museveni to leave power and name a successor probably have not realised that he himself is yet to see a person convincing enough given the above definitions/attributes and not requirements or qualifications described in Article 102 of the Uganda Constitution alone! Note further that under Article 103(4), “A candidate shall not be declared elected as President unless the number of votes cast in favour of that candidate at the presidential election is more than 50 per cent of valid votes cast at the election”, implying that in addition to the attributes defined above such a person must be popular.
My opening reference to the world’s 65 years in history is meant to reveal that as recent as that the world powers who had already discovered the atomic bomb were having leaders whose tenure was determined by fate but hardly 50 years of age and with no evidence of a home made safety pin, the only pre-occupation of Uganda’s elite is the term limits debate or probably the hunker to also be there (State House)!
To those with such wishful dreams its one thing to wish to be a President, it’s another thing to manage to be a President. I can assure you, Dr Obote, Prof. Lule, QC Binaisa were all Presidents but were they really according to Article 98(1) of the Constitution? Let me also take this opportunity to wish you well in your endeavours. To Mr Museveni, stay calm, the Constitution still protects you under Article 1, 98, 102, and 103. I am made to understand that you will be only 72 years in 2016? May be I am wrong but in case, I am right, Article 98 has vindicated you, Article 104 qualified you and Articles 1 and 103 will guarantee your presidency till 2021. I wish you good health as well.
However, in case you heed my voice and present yourself in 2016, please make a public pronouncement that whoever wishes to succeed you should come out for public scrutiny during your last term in office and certainly out there will appear some one who is suitable and who fits the definitions/attributes, mentioned in the Oxford Dictionary of English, Third Edition, 2010.
It is for the above reasons that I do not hesitate to tell the Besigyes, Wokuris, and some religious leaders of this part and the rest of the world to stop making noise and making life difficult for other people to live that Yoweri Museveni’s constitutional term ends on May 11, 2021 (Aticle 61 (2) and when he will be 77 years young but old according to Article 102 (b) of the Ugandan Constitution respectively.
May God Bless Uganda.
Mr Ahabwe is a former MP and now a PHD in Economics student at Makerere University.