Let ‘the Mafia’ run Uganda

Author: Phillip Matogo. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Mr Phillip Matogo says: At one time, our bogeymen were Obote and Amin as everything bad was blamed on their regimes.’’    

The outgoing minister of Works and Transport, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, survived an assassination attempt on Tuesday that left his 32-year-old daughter and driver dead. It is reported that 56 bullets were shot at his car. 
The General has said he is clueless as to who is trying to kill him.

Many Ugandans, however, are not waiting for the silent testimony of the 56 bullet casings scattered on Kisota Road in Kulambiro (where the shooting happened) in order to pass judgment. 

They’re already pointing an accusatory finger at “the Mafia”. 
Whoever these Mafiosi are or whatever they have done, it’s clear they’re the new bogeymen of Ugandan politics. 

A bogeyman is an imaginary evil spirit used to frighten children into doing what’s “right”. 
At one time, our bogeymen were Milton Obote and Idi Amin as everything bad was blamed on their “swinish regimes”. 

President Museveni used them as bogeymen to scare everyone into supporting his “transitional rule”. 
In George Orwell’s classic allegorical satire on the Russian revolution, Animal Farm, Napoleon created a bogeyman out of Snowball. 

This propaganda tactic was best served by fears stoked up by an ‘evil Snowball’ emerging to spread mayhem amongst the animals. 

Today, the Ugandan population has turned Museveni’s regime into the bogeymen by claiming Uganda is under the thumbs of a Mafia. 

This talk of a Mafia began in 2005, when former vice president Gilbert Bukenya told Daily Monitor that some people in government were bent on fighting him. He spoke of a Mafia clique of three ministers. 

After that, Ugandans, who are generally paranoid, started using the word to describe enemies hiding under every bed. 
The real Mafia, however, is “a network of organised-crime groups based in Italy and America, evolved over centuries in Sicily” so Sicilians could protect themselves against foreign aggressors. 

These Mafiosi developed a code in the shape of (a) Loyalty to members of the organisation. “Do not interfere with each other’s interest. Do not be an informer”. 
(a) Rationality: “Be a member of the team. Don’t engage in battle if you can’t win.” 
(c) “Be a man of honour. Respect womanhood and your elders”. 
(d) “Be a stand-up guy. Keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut. The ‘stand-up guy’ shows courage and ‘heart.’ 
(e) “Have class. Be independent. Know your way around the world.”
Our “Mafia”, clearly, doesn’t live by this code. For it is not rational, it doesn’t have honour, class, heart, loyalty nor is it world-wise. 

If it did have all these qualities, this country would be far better off. 
Instead, we could say that government is run by a syndicate in charge of a ‘kakistocracy’ (a government by the worst persons). 

Only a Kakistocrat can shoot to kill unarmed civilians during an election and reduce Ugandans to down-and-outs holding up begging bowls to seal their mouths with crumbs from the government’s high table. 
There is no Mafia in Uganda. 

Our rich and infamous do not have the vision to set up a commission, the governing body of the Mafia, in order to organise crime into a smoothly run crime machine. 

With all the primitive accumulation of wealth going on in Uganda, what we have is disorganised crime.  
Mafia boss Lucky Luciano stated, “I learned that you need just as good a brain to make a crooked million as an honest million dollars”. 

Do our government officials have such learning? 
The only way we could agree that Ugandan leaders are the Mafia is if they learnt Italian and finally said “Arrivederci,” which means “goodbye”.

Mr Matogo is co-host of the RX Radio satirical show: Hear Me Out.