After holding state power in your fist for 33 years, and convincing yourself that no other citizen should ever refer to you as one of their subjects, with a pack of professional flatterers and grovelling opportunists insisting that as long as you are biologically alive, with or without useful ideas, you will remain the best candidate for steering the nation; when you have goons ready to pile wound upon injustice to break the backs of your political opponents, and you have prophets who see these wounds and proclaim that God wants to keep you in power, something strange may happen to your eyes.
The left eye may squint towards your nose, and the right eye squint towards the same nose. One nose; many false objects floating in front of you.
Try it. If you keep your eyes in that position for just a few minutes as you move around your house, you will bump into many real objects and may even injure yourself.
If you were a long-serving ruler, you would know the professional flatterer’s trick of luring you to do the eye twist so that you may not look straight ahead to get a long view of things.
Actually, that would be exactly why you pay him. You pay the flatterer to encourage you to see a severely distorted world.
All of us see a variously distorted world. But yours must be severely distorted; otherwise your motivation to hold onto power would collapse, and you might then begin to accept the intolerable condition of being someone else’s subject. An ex-ruler. An ordinary citizen, albeit with a tidy bundle of perks and vanity trappings that you may even sometimes have to beg for.
So, in front of you, or of your nose, where the people standing by see exactly one bronze trophy, you see several gold trophies dancing about. And of course they are all yours. Long live, serial marathon champion!
If we lived in times with his famous vision intact, President Museveni would have glanced back, then looked ahead, and seen clearly why he cannot be the ruler to lift Uganda from the rut where it is now furiously spinning its wheels without going anywhere beyond the rut.
It is time for the push-push boys to eat mud flying from the rear wheels. It is time to waste fuel (and money) powering the engine. It is time to watch President Museveni turning and twisting at the steering-wheel and getting exhausted without moving ahead.
A ruler can only re-invent himself once or twice, but not infinitely.
During the 2016 campaign, the professional flatterers vowed that during this last term, at last, Mr Museveni would round up all Uganda’s powerful thieves, whom he had left in place only because he had deliberately chosen to handle other issues first.
Well, over three years down the term, quick money is still killing honest work.
Government fund thieves are fatter and more arrogant.
The impunity of land grabbers is protected by State security operatives.
Powerful financial engineers and tax avoidance wizards are prowling uncomfortably close to central bank cash crates.
In many villages, under-18 school drop-outs are quickly learning from the political, security and business elites, that the quickest way to get food and wealth is stealing; perhaps followed by gambling.
The President’s (Operation Wealth Creation) money bags work like a lottery. For every few beneficiaries, there are millions beyond the President’s quick money.
But then again, after a successful eye twist job, the lucky few probably look like a multitude.