Museveni follows the Constitution, not as portrayed by Western media
Posted Wednesday, October 23 2013 at 01:00
What these Western media channels do is to target and frame the portraits of these resolute African leaders like President Museveni and others in the stereotype of their attitudes towards Africa and her people.
The Economist recently published extreme hate content against Uganda and its President. The article was neither an objective critique of the political realities in Uganda nor a balanced account of what the country has achieved or missed under the leadership of President Museveni. Instead, it was a well-spiced instrument of propaganda from a hired political hit-man, rehearsing dirty insults, innuendos and attacks against President Museveni.
The article was laced with personal outrage and emotions of the writer, easily discernible by an objective reader, who could also tell that this was the Economist’s attempt, albeit a failed one, to support the desperate anti-NRM forces which have failed to win the confidence of the electorate.
This was, however, not surprising. The Western media has always had an agenda against African leaders, especially those with reasonable amount of influence in their countries and in the region and with clear footprints of transformation.
It is these leaders that they seek to target and demonise. What these Western media channels do is to target and frame the portraits of these resolute African leaders like President Museveni and others in the stereotype of their attitudes towards Africa and her people.
Yet they cover up the actions of most of their own despots at home and fail to condemn the wars sponsored and exported to other countries by their leaders leaving their own economies bleeding. What a shame!
Their agenda is to demonise the continent’s transformational leaders while deceptively pampering and promoting weak unpopular stooges against them.
Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi, for example, suffered the wrath of these partisan international media, despite the fact that he turned around Ethiopia, a legacy that the country prides in today and has buffered it amidst economic challenges.
With this background, it was not surprising to read the article titled “Uganda and its President, a leader who cannot bear to retire”, in which the Economist unleashed all sorts of outbursts against the person of President Museveni.
Post-independence Uganda was known for violence and short-lived regimes. Naturally, a 27-year-old Museveni regime will confound many. Uganda’s post-independence moment of truth was in January 1986 and the man responsible for that moment was Yoweri Museveni. His consecutive electoral victories are well grounded and come as deserving rewards from a population that knows Mr Museveni has walked with them through this prosperous journey.
Democratic symbolism must be debated. Real democracy should not only preach rhetoric of mere political appearances but work to entrench the actual fundamental prerequisites that enable democratic cultures to thrive. NRM has never worked for mere political appearances but rather for real causes.
Any country worth being called a democracy should, therefore, be judged on these parameters and not on questions of longevity or short stay of leaders. What is crucial is the path that the leader navigates a country through and the policies he adopts. In fact, if the policy instruments are excellent as is the case for Uganda, longevity becomes very significant.
Conversely, regular change of leaders is no guarantor for good governance. If that was to be the case, then post-independent Uganda would have taken off much faster as a super democracy, given the fact that between 1962 and 1985 alone, Uganda changed eights presidents.
So why didn’t a democratic culture then take deep root? Was the problem then, leaders who couldn’t bear to retire as was alluded to by the Economist? Certainly not. The problem was the collapse of the entire political structure.
The aspect of longevity alone distracts us from asking relevant questions like: how has the country fared since Museveni came to power? What are Uganda’s strategic challenges? How are the socio-economic indicators of growth in all sectors doing? Let us attempt to answer these questions and assess scientifically the performance of the Museveni administration.
For instance, the NRM government has managed to maintain a positive rate of sustainable economic growth in terms of real GDP. Since 1992/93, fiscal policy in Uganda has entailed strict budgetary discipline. The government has kept firm control over its own expenditures to ensure that it does not have to borrow from the domestic sources to finance budget deficits. Fiscal discipline has been essential for the control of inflation.
In turn, low inflation has spurred higher levels of private investment, sustaining rapid economic growth. But even when inflation shot to double digits last year, it was eventually squeezed back to as low as 3.4 per cent.
Uganda also remains the only country in East Africa with the lowest rate of tax contribution to GDP averaging about 13 per cent. Despite pressure from the IMF and World Bank to raise the tax rate contribution to GDP, the government has moved cautiously not to hurt the growing private sector.
I dwell on the economics because it is a variable highly dependent on the country’s political leadership and, therefore, a good measure in assessing governance credentials. This should be the yardstick to evaluate Museveni and his long service, biases notwithstanding. His contenders too could do better articulating their alternative agenda instead of dwelling on Museveni’s “long stay” in power. With or without President Museveni, Ugandans will reject merchants of rhetoric who are deficient on real alternatives.