I first interacted with President Yoweri Museveni before the liberation war in the 1970s. Later, he and I and other Ugandans met in Lusaka, Zambia, and founded the short-lived Uganda Liberation Front.
My recollection is that President Museveni has always strategically vanquished his critics and opponents who stand in his way to whatever goal he personally desires. He has now achieved his ideal objective of being Uganda’s first and, hopefully, last president for Life.
Thanks partly to the NRM maintenance of law, security and its health policies and services, life expectancy in Uganda is about 60 years. It was partly on this basis that the Constitution and laws fixed term and age limits of people employed in government positions.
The ancient Holy books fixed the span of human life from birth to death to be between 60 and 70 years old. When former vice president Samson Kisekka (RIP) was around 70 years old, he thanked God that he had allowed him to live 20 years beyond life expectancy in Uganda.
I was diagnosed diabetic in the 1970s. Later, I discovered that my late mother, who passed away in 1957, must have been suffering from the same condition because I recall that she complained of symptoms which I now find to be characteristic of diabetes.
Unfortunately, at the time, that condition was unknown, certainly not in Rubanda District. However, God’s wisdom and mercy are infinitive. The UK doctors who discovered that I was diabetic set me a very rigid and unpalatable regime of diet, which bored and nearly starved me to death.
I chose to ignore it against their dire warning that I would die within a few years, if I continued eating and wining normally. They also said even if I stuck to their plan, diabetes reduces a person’s lifespan by a third.
They were, however, confident that if I religiously stuck to their plan and diet, I would live to the age of 50 or even 60 years. I am now 79 years. My father and my late sister both died aged more than 100 years old. Her son, who is my nephew, is still in good health and climbing mountains in Rubanda to cultivate and graze goats, aged 86 years.
My former teacher’s son is 83 years old, while his father is nearly 100 years, still living on his own home and briskly walking to and from Kampala City. He only stopped driving his car two years ago. The Kigezi environment and modern medicine do wonders.
President Museveni has been endorsed by his party as a presidential candidate for the 2021 elections. Going by the past record, the political and military strength of the NRM and bearing in mind the chaos in which his opponents and rivals find themselves in, it will surely take a little short of a miracle for any candidate standing against him in 2021 to defeat him.
By the end of that term, however, President Museveni will be about 84 years. This is the age when elderly people in the same age bracket will be preparing for their final retirement from mother earth.
It is, therefore, no longer a matter of shyness or fear that, irrespective of what happens now and then, that Ugandans, whether they like or dislike Museveni and the NRM for what has or has not happened in our country, must think and plan about his successor, the future and welfare of Ugandans.
Prof Kanyeihamba is a retired Supreme Court judge.