In the 1974 heavily censured book, ‘The CIA And The Cult of Intelligence’, Victor Marchetti, a veteran of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and John D. Marks preface the book with an interesting quote.
It is the inscription on the marble wall of the main lobby at the CIA headquarters at Langley, Virginia. “AND YE SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE (John 8:32.)
That an intelligence organisation can have that as its motto, if you may call it that, is the mother of all ironies. Intelligence work as this book and several others teach us, is never clean business.
Its success and failure depends heavily on the deception, misinformation, impersonation, misrepresentation, blackmail, propaganda, torture, and even death.
Going further, most intelligence organisations from the CIA, M16, Mossad, etc, employ and hang around with the most vile of characters from prostitutes, murderers, terrorists, etc.
But before any intelligence organisation go on a spree of doing all the bad things above to help them get the truth, they will refer to John 8:32, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
Truthful information gives you the foundation to work with. For instance, opinion polls for an election may show a candidate in the lead, but because the candidate knows the real truth about where they stand, they will use security agents to stop others from campaigning, lock up their polling agents, etc.
As Uganda eases the lockdown instituted to curb the spread of the Covid-19, there is increasing pressure on President Museveni to ease on the restrictions.
Many people are crying out about the financial ruin that they have suffered during the lockdown. From business people who ply their trade in the arcades to church leaders mourning the loss of tithes and offerings, the call is let’s get back to work.
Many are quoting the fact that Uganda has not lost a single soul to Covid-19 and that many of the infections are coming from foreign truck drivers, to justify the need for easing up.
We have all sorts of self-congratulatory messages and platitudes about the capacity and resilience of our healthcare system to manage the pandemic.
Museveni, who is the man in the middle of all this mix whose word is law and whose decision determines where we go from here, has heard all this information and is still cautious.
You have to go back in history to understand what may inform his stance. In the 1970s after his studies at Dar-es-salam Univeristy, Museveni returned to Uganda to work in the then president’s office as a research assistant. This introduced him to the cult of intelligence to his advantage.
Museveni leans so much towards intelligence for most of his vital decision making. No wonder the whole country is littered with all kinds of intelligence operative from a myriad of intelligence organisations. You have ISOs, DISOs, GISOs, etc.
So, on the matter of Covid-19, despite all the ‘success stories’ being bandied about, Museveni more than anyone else knows the real truth about where Uganda stands on the pandemic. He knows how many functional ICU beds and ventilators are available; the number of doctor-patient ratio and who can work efficiently to handle the pandemic.
He knows the number of people who have been victims of the disease and to what extent they have been affected by the illness.
Museveni has much more information than what most of us read on the state of health in the country.
Therefore, when you read about Uganda having a very successful approach with doctors and nurses dancing and singing while discharging patients, don’t be flabbergasted as to why we don’t go easy with the lockdown. You will know the truth and the truth shall make you free. Museveni knows the truth about the state of health in Uganda more than anyone else.
Nicholas Sengoba is a commentator on political and social issues.