Obama’s take on Uganda-US foreign policy

Tuesday March 30 2021
By Guest Writer

In the last chapters of his latest memoir, The Promised Land, former US President Barak Obama covers much of his foreign policy and highlights on the implications of being the US ally and a recipient of her aid.

In Chapter 25, Mr Obama says, when expressing his concerns over revising the US foreign policy that shields her allies who don’t conform to their terms and conditions on human rights thus:

“US policy makers didn’t consider the death of innocent Cambodians ,Argentinians or Ugandans relevant to our interest because many of the perpetrators were our allies in the fight against communism.”

The 44th US president insists that US considers  human rights above anything else. He gives his  account on his administration’s relationship with Egypt’s former autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak, as a case study.

Mubarak, whose government was a strong US ally after weaning it off the Soviet Union and was among the first Islamic governments to make peace with Israel, says he played a very strategic role in harmonising the Israel-Palestine relations, which are among the top priorities of US’ foreign interests.

Few days before the Arab Spring  movement that marked the end of Mubarak’s tenure as the Egyptian president , he alongside his Palestinian and Israeli counterparts  Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu, had previously made a historical visit to the White House to craft a solution to the Israel-Palestine disputes that were destabilising the middle East for decades.


As the Arab Spring movement soared, Mr Netanyahu phoned Obama to remind him of how maintaining order and stability in Egypt mattered above all else, how they risked to see Iran in there in a few seconds . Obama’s response, in writing, was precise:

“Mubarak’s regime had received billions of US taxpayers dollars, we supplied them with weapons, shared information and helped train their military officers.” He insisted that his administration couldn’t take a backseat as a recipient of all that aid, who the US considered as an ally, to violently crack down peaceful demonstrators as the world watches.

The last three chapters where much of Obama’s foreign policies are crammed, including US missions to Iraq, the Benghazi uprisings and many others, somehow portray the US as what the Bakiga call Baryanengwe (dining with a leopard). Western countries, the US inclusive, are over demanding  friends that are very hard to please, and can’t be relied on in the long-run.

The Uganda’s post-election period has been characterised by an influx of US-European diplomats, where our leaders have taken it upon themselves to flood Twitter with  photo opportunities of the events, which is not bad. However,  that is not a fool-proof that US and its top allies have legitimised our democracy and  election process, which according to their watchdogs, had multiple interpretations.

To clarify my impartiality,  I am neither Pro-Left nor Pro-Right, or Pro-West or Pro-East.  I am pro-good governance. But for any African leader with nature’s survival instincts ,it is illogical to test the deep waters of the West with both feet given the current administration in the White House .

Steven Akabwayi,