Ugandans are right to fear a war with Rwanda

Sunday March 1 2020


By Alan Tacca

A seemingly minor sore on your body may refuse to go away because you are diabetic.

In a manner of speaking, exploiting the malaise deep in your body, the sore has invited an army of germs to unsettle you.
To grasp just how diseased Uganda’s body politic is, you sometimes contemplate its small functionaries. You watch their greed and cheap gratification in naked form.

Honourable X X, who may be only a few vampires below the chief, can swallow very big things without excitement.
In the past, (s)he may have swallowed a hotel, lumps of airport cargo, oil kickbacks, crates of GAVI drugs, several banks, forests, military helicopters; things like that.

Unless they remained a street mongrel at heart, these glamorous top dogs will not jump and broadcast when a Chinese tycoon kicks half-a-million dollars into their mouth. They stride through life unmoved. If you find them out, your gaze will not prevent them from swallowing an entire hospital.

The low creatures are different. They have a circus on radio and television stations where they open their hearts for all to behold.
After swallowing a loaf, they will scream to the whole world how the party (NRM) or the government (NRM)) has neglected them, but how unshakably they love and preach love for President Museveni. They will scream how the Mafiosi have stolen everything and control everything, until Mr Museveni throws them more loaves – from the taxpayers’ account.

When our Ssekabanja finally gets another loaf, you can almost literally see the fire of his joy as he races from one radio station to another, reeling off praises of President Museveni. He almost eats his tongue.


When they get a new government car, their excitement is an exhibition for the international community; thanks to the digital technology that gives our radio stations a global reach.

Now, look: the former minister-without-portfolio, Abdul Nadduli, is falling. In his kindness, President Museveni has laid a cushion called ‘Presidential Advisor’ under Nadduli to absorb some of the impact.

Nadduli does not dispute his fall. But media reports suggest that he wants – and has reportedly been encouraged by the President – to keep earning the salary of a minister! Instead of a monthly Shs2m or Shs2m, he wants Shs14 million-plus of taxpayers’ money.
Dear Mr Nadduli, if this narrative is correct, and you love President Museveni as your ilk always professes, why do you put him in a position where he will be perceived as an aging grandfather who can no longer make rational decisions?
Tomorrow, a dismissed minister might announce that the President cannot fire him!

The President and his ministers habitually challenge young jobless Ugandans to create their own jobs. But what about the parasitic politicians who refuse to go away?

After three decades of privilege, if Nadduli cannot create his retirement self-sustenance, and if Mr Museveni can no longer call his likes their bluff, then Ugandans must collectively help the President by daring them to go to the bush and start another revolution.
I doubt that a dismissed minister in Rwanda can even entertain the thought of pressing President Paul Kagame to conjure up administrative devices that would leave the ex-minister collecting a free salary.

We are told that Nadduli is a Luweero Bush War veteran of sorts. Like all Uganda’s past military coups and armed power struggles, that war partly depended on uniformed defectors.

Yes, the relative hardness of the Rwandan regime can breed resistance and uniformed defectors. But the brazen abuse of public resources in Uganda can also breed disgust and uniformed defectors.

Ugandans do not want a war with Rwanda. They would also be right to fear a war with Rwanda; for while the strength of the UPDF is legendary, they do not know how to count those who would be defectors.

Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.