After dozens of years in power, President Museveni’s heart still pines for those early days.
See how on Thursday, as he delivered his State-of-the-Nation address, he summoned for help from the 10-Point Programme: restoration of democracy; restoration of security; consolidation of national unity and elimination of all forms of sectarianism; defending and consolidating national independence; building an independent, integrated and self-sustaining national economy; restoration and improvement of social services and rehabilitation of war–ravaged areas; elimination of corruption and the misuse of power; redressing errors that have resulted in the dislocation of some sections of the population; co-operation with other African countries; and following an economic strategy of a mixed economy.
The points, formulated in the early 1980s during the Bush War, had to be 10, not nine, not 11. A wholesome even number sounds beautiful, reflects the thinking of a rounded mind, and one can use it as a prop more than three decades later amid a pandemic-induced economic meltdown. Why, if the enduring Bible has The Ten Commandments, so shall we also have The Ten Points. Our is a messianic mission.
But who lives by all the commandments, any commandments?
After ticking through the sacred points to remind the bazukulu and the rest of us of feeble minds, Mr Museveni played a trick.
“As usual,” he said at the start of his address, “many of the people did not bother to grasp the importance of these points [the three relating to the economy] or, indeed, of the other seven points. They thought that we were just talking to justify our role in national issues. On account of this, even when we captured power, we continued to face resistance in pushing these points from elements of the political class and the bureaucratic class.
We have actually continued to be in the bush even when we are in the government and have continued to wage guerrilla warfare against the neo-colonial and colonial interests in Uganda. Much more could have been achieved, if it was not for this Opposition.”
Much more could have been achieved...
Mr Museveni regards himself very highly, as he should, but refuses to take responsibility for the failures of his government. He deflects. He ducks.
He is, however, happy to take credit for what he considers the resilience of the real economy. It appears to me he behaves more as a politician than the revolutionary freedom fighter he claims he is.
All right, let’s take another look at the 10 points, shall we.
Restoration of democracy. Yes, as long as it favours Mr Museveni. Restoration of security. Yes. Consolidation of national unity and elimination of all forms of sectarianism. Huh, sectarianism is very much alive. Defending and consolidating national independence.
Not sure what that means. Making our own gunpowder? Building an independent, integrated and self-sustaining national economy. Nah. Where is the muna’Uganda in this economy? Shouldn’t the organising principle of our economic management place the Ugandan at the centre? That would change the narrative and policy that favours foreigners. This is the way to consolidate national independence.
Restoration and improvement of social services and rehabilitation of war–ravaged areas. Ish-ish. Elimination of corruption and the misuse of power. Two per cent. Redressing errors that have resulted in the dislocation of some sections of the population. Tick.
Co-operation with other African countries. Resolve issues with Rwanda and we have a big tick. Following an economic strategy of a mixed economy. This depends on the ingredients in the mixture. So far not so good. Too much pili pili.
Bernard Tabaire is a media trainer and commentator on public affairs based in Kampala. bernard.