If you retire peacefully, Ugandans may forgive you, Mr President

Sunday January 6 2019



ROBERT MUGABE

ROBERT MUGABE  

By ROBERT MUGABE a

Dear Gen Museveni,
This is the second time I am addressing Your Excellency within a week, on the same subject. I am doing so because of the imperative of peaceful transition. Your Excellency, it is a few weeks to commemorating 33 years of violently capturing power and ruling over a country whose previous rulers you once despised for ruling over a country that is plagued with biting poverty and backwardness. Unfortunately, during your tenure, the narrative has not changed, Mr President.

Your Excellency has and continues to rule over a country whose citizens, living in an entire geographical and administrative region, suffer from endemic jigger infestation in the 21st century. Several Ugandans, Mr President, continue to suffer and die from backward and treatable diseases like malaria, typhoid, cholera, and whooping cough. The number of mothers who die giving birth is unprecedented. Your government’s impressive, probably cooked, healthcare statistics notwithstanding.

On the economic front, Mr President, we know that the rosy economic figures you always spew are not reflected on the material welfare of Ugandans. Majority of Ugandans are wallowing in nagging poverty. They can hardly afford decent meals, accommodation and medical care. If you want to know this, take time and go to rural Uganda. Majority of the people eat one meal a day. They sleep in grass thatched, mud-and-wattle huts. When sick, they go to herbalists rather than wasting time to go to ill-equipped health facilities.

In urban areas, especially Kampala, the situation is even worse, Mr President. If you want to understand it, visit suburbs like Bwaise, Kireka, Kamwokya, Kisenyi, and Nakulabye. Many of the people living in these areas live in houses that during wet season are not even habitable to animals. They are usually water logged. The roads as well are blockaded by running water turning into crater lakes. They have no access to electricity or medical care. Their children too, have no education worth talking about.

It is of course a lie that urban dwellers have access to subsidised medical and education services. Very few Ugandans during your reign, Mr President, have had access to subsidised services from your government without paying a bribe here and there. The corollary is that those who are unable to pay a bribe perish. Your government, Mr President, has turned Uganda into a man-eat-man society. We don’t care about anybody but our own individual survival.
Your Excellency needs to know that peoples’ prosperity is not seen through beautiful economic growth figures spewed out by government agencies. In any case, we know that statistics from a deceitful regime like Your Excellency’s, speak for those making them, rather than those from whom it is gathered.

People’s prosperity should be evident in their material welfare, Mr President. How they eat, dress, access services such as education and medical care and most importantly, how free and happy they are. Sadly, your government’s report card in the last 33 years looks very bad in nearly all these key governance areas. Even sadder, is our knowledge that Your Excellency’s vision can never stretch further than that anymore. Certainly, we know your government, Mr President, can never make amends in any of these areas.

Ugandans, Mr President, are a very kind, magnanimous and forgiving people. I don’t know of any nation on earth with people as resilient, accommodative and tolerant as the people of The Republic of Uganda. Look, for all the atrocities that past leaders, including Gen. Idi Amin Dada committed, Ugandans were still willing to forgive and let go of his transgressions.
I come from Acholi, Gulu District to be more specific, where you and Gen Joseph Kony fought a vicious war for over two decades. Your Excellency knows that, in the interest of peace and harmony, the people of Acholi, like many Ugandans, were willing to forgive Your Excellency and Gen Kony and your armies for the atrocities committed through the mato oput process.

Therefore, I have no doubt in my mind, Mr President, that in spite of your grotesque political transgressions, if you choose to hand over power peacefully in a well organised transition arrangement, the people of Uganda will forgive you. It is not yet too late Your Excellency, take the bold decision and let 2019 be the year in which you lay the foundation for a peaceful handover of power in 2021.

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