What you need to know:
- Recently we have seen that from Tanzania to Ivory Coast to Guinea, institutions are not holding up well from determined power-hungry men.
- I had always wondered how some junior officer with a shady track record can stage a coup in a country of millions and get support from decent compatriots. Beggars belief.
I was living in the United States 20 years ago. As something of a political junkie —politics fascinates me although from a distance — I watched as Bush versus Gore unfolded.
The electoral process of the mighty United States of America had somehow come up short in smoothly determining who between Vice President Al Gore (Democrat) and Governor George W. Bush (Republican) should replace the departing Bill Clinton as president.
The political kerfuffle animated journalism and law schools. For journalism, the TV networks had flunked in projecting who of the two men had won Florida and that was a huge point of discussion. For the trainee lawyers, the Supreme Court was weighing in and, therefore, raising all manner of constitutional issues and arguments. The election had been too close and it had all come down to one state — Florida.
Here we are again. While the voters seem to have determined who the next president of the United States should be (read Joe Biden), the sitting president (read Donald Trump) has refused to concede, hiding behind, to use his favourite word, “fake” accusations of voter fraud.
From what I can deduct from the American media, Mr Biden won fair and square, but Mr Trump simply refuses to accept defeat. America doesn’t look all that mighty and exceptional — an individual is messing with an entire country of hundreds of millions.
Such a dodgy individual always has enablers — and some of those are what Lenin called useful idiots (forget MP Betty Nambooze’s usage of the phrase on local TV).
Stalin had enablers. Hitler had enablers. Mussolini did. Bokassa had enablers. Mobutu did. And I am writing this from Arua. I just saw Idi Amin Road. Yes, our own Dada had enablers — very smart people, at least at the beginning.
Even Mr Trump has enablers in a country we are told time and again that institutions are so robust nothing can shake them, not even a Russian nuclear bomb. Apparently, it takes one courageously shameless person to shake things up.
I had always wondered how some junior officer with a shady track record can stage a coup in a country of millions and get support from decent compatriots. Beggars belief.
Someone will steal the vote, really steal it, and there will be supporters. Evil schemes, it seems, will always invite evil schemers.
As it sounds, people are always on the lookout to follow some charlatan or other. The charlatan just has to present himself (herself) and the infinite number of opportunists will be on hand.
I am all for institutions, but I now think institutions may not be all that although I have no idea what should replace them or if they should be replaced at all.
Just look at how President Yoweri Museveni has owned Ugandan institutions. It is not just control. It is ownership as one owns a shirt or blouse. The acquiescence from the professionals in these institutions has been total. Mr Museveni has had enablers for nearly 40 years. He just keeps recruiting new ones. Once upon a time there were the yellow girls. Now there are the Anites. Soon there will be the…
Recently we have seen that from Tanzania to Ivory Coast to Guinea, institutions are not holding up well from determined power-hungry men.
Anyways, let’s wait to see how things unfold in the United States of America, where one is holding the entire place hostage. So much for more than 200 years of democracy.
Mr Tabaire is a media trainer and commentator on public affairs based in Kampala. [email protected]