Most churches teach that King Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived. True. But only one or two will go beyond that, and point out that he had a foolish son, who was the reason the solid 80-year legacy of Solomon and his father King David was blown up within a matter of weeks after Solomon’s death.
Giraffes can breed monkeys!
In the latter years of his reign, Solomon, like most men who forsake the Lord, had actually become like President Museveni: despotic, anti-people and quick to suppress dissent.
Many were relieved that he died early, at just 60. When he was ascending to his father’s throne, the leaders of Israel approached Rehoboam and asked him whether he was willing to be more democratic and people-centred, with respect for human life and human rights. Rehoboam asked for three days to consult.
When he (for an hour or so) consulted the old men who had been his father’s nobles, they advised him to be pro-people, respect human rights and be a humble servant unto the people – and he’d rule them forever.
Then Rehoboam (over the next two or three days) consulted his peers – reckless, happy-go-lucky young men like him, who had porridge instead of brain. When he emerged from the long consultation that was no doubt done over the finest beers, fortified wines and beef steaks on the rare side, sprinkled with naked girls to ice the cake, Rehoboam was in great spirits.
“My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins,” he said in his inaugural speech to the nation. “You chaps must be joking. You think my father’s yoke was heavy? I will make it heavier! Did you say he chastised you with whips? He was much too kind, that my poor dead father; I will chastise you with scorpions!” Rebellion broke out! Ten tribes constituted themselves into a separate kingdom as “Israel” under the brilliant King Jeroboam; leaving Rehoboam as King of “Judah” (comprised of Judah and Benjamin). Even that was sheer courtesy because the Lord doesn’t break promises. He’d promised David that his royal lineage would never cease. Otherwise Rehoboam would have ended up empty-handed.
When President Museveni re-appointed his son Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba as head of the Special Forces Command (SFC) a few days ago, the Swahili service of radio Deutsche Welle called me, as they sometimes do, for comment. I did well with the initial questions and thought the interview was done; only for a final question to pop up.
It caught me completely off-guard. The journalist asked about the twitter messages Gen Muhoozi had been sending out against Presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine.
I had actually read the tweets. I thought they were cheap, reckless and ill-advised. I even dismissed them, saying Gen Muhoozi would never be so foolish; must be a parody account, someone trying to make the President’s son look bad.
I am spontaneous when asking questions, but the exact opposite if I am being interviewed - I usually need time to collect my thoughts. The interviewer, however, needed an answer immediately. I was brief.
“Shida yake hana busara,” I said. “Hunena bila kufikiria yaliyopo mbele; anahitaji kushauriwa.” (His problem is that he lacks wisdom; he speaks without considering what lies ahead, he needs to be advised).
There has been a lot of talk about Gen Muhoozi succeeding his father. Nothing wrong with that, if he has the requisite qualifications and if the people of Uganda, in a peaceful, free and fair election (which his father has never organised), choose Muhoozi.
Two things. The first is that the Lord has used the year 2020 to show us that we may make our plans, but only God has the last word. Just because Museveni has kept in power for so long doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed that his son Muhoozi will be able to take over. That is taking life – and Ugandans - for granted.
The second is that on the evidence of those tweets, methinks I see Rehoboam written all over Gen Muhoozi. His father’s legacy, would, like that of David and Solomon, be blown up within a matter of weeks after Museveni is dead and buried.
Mr Tegulle is an advocate of the High Court of Uganda