Can somebody reduce the President’s work? I was alarmed to read in Sunday Monitor of October 21 that, “Museveni sacks six over rot in Education”.
The President has responded to allegations of corruption against top Education ministry officials by firing six, including a commissioner and disbanding the ministry’s contract committee. Many Ugandans will be very pleased that the President has acted decisively against corruption on this occasion.
However, many of us wonder whether it is right that the President, busy as he has always been in performing his constitutional, political and legal duties, should be exhausted by being burdened with all duties, responsibilities and chores assigned to and easily performed by government ministers, institutions or officials or other public organs such as the Judiciary, Parliament, numerous commissions, inspectors, tribunals and local councils and governments.
In happy days, numerous tasks which the President is called upon to do today were performed by millions and minions of people. If we love the President and our motherland, we should reflect on the wisdom and effect of overburdening President Museveni with extra work.
Like any other human being, Museveni has limited capacity even though it may be better than that of many Ugandans. He needs breaks from work from time to time. He must sleep normal hours. He needs to relax and enjoy the company of his family and grandchildren. It is medically recommended that a person should have periods of pleasurable and sporting activities.
However, since 1986 Ugandans have tended to ignore other centres of authority and qualified individuals including those that the Constitution has mandated to run, determine, control and dispose of specified duties and functions as a way of assisting the head of State and government.
This dependency syndrome by us, ministers, holders of other government offices which also makes us to fear, hesitate, refrain or expect our President to be the only one to do all public tasks is not good. It does not auger well for Uganda. It is a negation of evolutionary and expanding human society that has had a past, possesses a national ethos and has a future.
Since the beginning and end of civil war in Uganda in the 1980s up to now, there has been one and only one captain navigating and commanding the national ship known as the Republic of Uganda.
Unknowingly or deliberately, that leader himself has not realised the folly and futility of his country’s dilemma in placing all its political eggs in one basket perilously held, guarded, protected by one individual.
Moreover, this is an individual who never spares himself any moment to reflect or plan if ever fate suddenly incapacitated or moved him from the office he has held for more than 30 years. He has had no time to remember what happened to his peers of the same philosophy who had long reigns over their people.
History recalls Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Ben Bella of Tunisia, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Yakub of Nigeria, Juvénal Habyarimana of Rwanda, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Jacob Zuma of South Africa.
President Museveni knows that in Uganda alone, we have had the colonial government at the time when the British Empire was arguably the largest and most powerful in the world. It is no more. Apartheid of South Africa based on faith and invincibility was founded to last forever. It withered away within no time and the White supremacists were replaced by African nationalists and bigots.
President Museveni is to be appreciated for realising that not all systems or officials who have demanded to effect changes in Uganda are always as candid or decisive as he would wish. That is why he acts and behaves the way he does. However, every coin has a reverse side. The reverse side of Museveni’s brave acts is his weakness in appointing and retaining the wrong, dishonest or timid people in public offices even when he knows they should not be there.
When Sunday Monitor reported that he sacked six from the Education ministry, the photograph showed that the minister of Education and one of the alleged culprits were with the President. The alleged culprit had been investigated before by a commission of inquiry into mismanagement which recommended that he and others to be prosecuted for their alleged roles in the mismanagement of two programmes. Why did the government not act on them then?
Prof Kanyeihamba is a retired Supreme Court judge.