As we predicted here last week, Uganda’s former prime minister Amama Mbabazi’s woes are far from over. After receiving the sack, there was a show of force at his home in what the military referred to as a routine ‘change of guards’. The military guards were replaced with police guards in dramatic fashion. It all had a humiliating effect. Some of the guards have been detained for interrogation.
A lot of colourful imagery has been conjured as derogatory references for Mbabazi, whose main sin was to be perceived as being interested in competing for the presidency. We have heard of tales of dead bodies of people who ‘commit suicide’ being canned (Richard Todwong.) Others have dismissed him as being arrogant (John Nagenda) while some have reminded him that there can only be one Commander-in -Chief (Kintu Musoke).
Mbabazi is like the proverbial man who is bitten after being floored in a wrestling match. His aersary will stop at nothing to make sure he is thoroughly humiliated.
The purpose of all this is to extinguish Mbabazi’s ambition and to give an example to all those who may nurse similar aspirations that they face a gargantuan task. Their objectives will not only end in futility but they will go down bruised.
But that is only half the story. The more serious part is the one about Museveni.
Over the years, Museveni has for all intents and purposes seemingly endeavoured to create a Ugandan history with himself and his acolytes being at the centre of the plot.
In the 52 years of our history, he is the deliverer of peace, prosperity, progress and permanence. He is the architect of the correct line and custodian of the clear vision for this country.
Now that he has a firm grip over the two vital ‘Fs’ – force and finance, Museveni can subdue anyone friend or foe either by coercing them or cajoling them with money and privileges like jobs, healthcare abroad and protection from prosecution.
What seems to perturb Museveni most when faced with people who want to compete for the presidency be it a Kizza Besigye, Captain Maguru or an Amama Mbabazi is not that Museveni fears a defeat at the ballot. In any case, I dare say that no one will ever defeat Museveni in an election while he is still the incumbent, partly because of the two ‘Fs’ above.
Museveni’s disdain is an ego thing. Competitors poke holes in his attempt at positioning himself high up in the tree of Uganda’s history. Museveni’s dislike for Milton Obote and the Idi Amin (I am not a fan of either) was part of that battle.
Anyone who stands out shows that being president of Uganda is not a super human feat only for the likes of Museveni. There have been many before him and others will come after him. They naturally serve the purpose of reminding Museveni that he can be forgotten and that there is and definitely will be a Uganda without him.
Museveni is clever enough to understand the fact that those whose support he has acquired over the years using the two ‘Fs’ cannot be relied upon as genuine support and that a day will come when they will move on –or even worse, slight him.
Many of those in the crowds that welcomed him from his US trip last week are part of this group. For now, they serve the purpose of nursing Museveni’s ego, which is at pain for someone once again has been perceived as attempting to say that Museveni is not indispensible.
By keeping out competition – real or otherwise – Museveni postpones that painful day of reckoning even though he knows it will finally come. That is the day when he will have to go.
Mr Sengoba is a commentator on political and social issues. firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: Daily Monitor