Muhoozi and war on corruption
What you need to know:
Impunity is an issue of governance and political morality, not of temperament
Whether it is high government officials involved in embarrassingly low shenanigans, or mega scale plunderers who sometimes do not even have a recognisable job in government but are often linked to State House, most of these people owe their privileged positions to President Museveni.
So it is natural to hold the President responsible for their impunity when he dodges the work of bringing them down or fails to break those links.
By the same token, Mr Museveni is increasingly being held responsible for the negative impact the activities of the thieves make on everything that involves spending public money.
It is also natural that the citizens with this perception get agitated when they are told by regime propagandists that it is up to Mr Museveni to determine his successor and shape the future of the country.
They ask: Can a ruler who has presided over so much corruption and inequality deliberately plot a future that dismantles his own system and disempowers his cronies and family members?
Tamale Mirundi, Museveni’s fiery apologist and media hatchet man, was vowing eight years ago that Museveni had planned 2016-2021 to be the mother of his presidential terms; the term when Museveni would absolutely stamp out corruption and drive the thieves to their political and mortal graves.
But Mirundi has recently been conceding that Mr Museveni has failed and will not succeed in the fight against corruption.
Appearing on Impact FM on Friday, March 17, and elsewhere, Mirundi was peddling Museveni’s son, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, as the man who, if and when he succeeds Museveni, would defeat corruption and eliminate the corrupt.
Mirundi’s reference to ‘masasi’ (bullets) is presumably meant to dangle an extreme populist charm before frustrated sections of the mob, which often mindlessly call for the execution of the corrupt.
To fall for this populism is to buy into the myth that corruption has persisted because Mr Museveni is ‘kind’. Opposition politicians have witnessed more State-perpetrated ruthlessness than kindness.
The problem of impunity is an issue of governance and political morality, not of temperament. The Nordic countries, which are among the least corrupt, do not have the most barbaric rulers. They have sound institutions and rulers with integrity.
But if some take Mirundi seriously about Muhoozi, as others took him about Museveni eight years ago, shall they not be equally disappointed?
Can ‘Team Muhoozi’ assure the mob out there that Muhoozi will execute (with or without trial) the corrupt in his father’s circle?
For the umpteenth time, without giving details, Mirundi claimed that ‘they’ (the gangsters linked to State House?) stole Shs5 billion that President Museveni had given him. Then ‘they’ stole another Shs5 billion sent (or paid) to him by an unnamed ‘Canadian’.
The people at Impact FM/Dream TV may congratulate themselves for being the broadcasters where Uganda’s leading newspapers are constantly attacked, but they do not have the courage or competence to ask Mirundi a few obvious questions.
For instance, if someone employed to advise the President can so casually lose Sh10 billion that is (legitimately) earned, and neither President Museveni nor Gen Muhoozi has helped the victim to recover his money from people close to the President, isn’t it amazing that the same victim is peddling the two generals as the most viable alternative rulers for tomorrow’s Uganda?
On the other hand, if the payments were arbitrary or illegitimate, would a President Muhoozi in 2026 or 2031 also abuse taxpayers’ money to compensate Mirundi? Or would Muhoozi cite Mirundi’s enthusiasm for firing squads and execute Mirundi?
Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.