Most readers of this column are clever men and women, so they will be aware of Sun Tzu.
Sun Tzu was a Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who lived between 544BC and 496BC, and author of the delightful little book The Art of War.
In there, Sun argues that, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”.
I invoke Sun because his insights apply very much to Uganda, where President Yoweri Museveni called out the dogs on Amama Mbabazi, and then sacked him as prime minister for the alleged crime of eyeing the presidency.
The interesting thing is that Amama never expressly stated that he wants the job. So he has become the first person at his level to be punished for a thought crime.
Ours is a strange country. If you are a Kizza Besigye and you definitively say you want to be president and campaign for it, you are beaten, jailed, slapped with trumped up charges of rape and so forth, and then cheated at the polls. If you are an Amama, you are punished for saying you don’t want the presidency and not campaigning openly!
The point here is that the attempts to remove Museveni as president are getting (or rather have been) frantic over the last 10 years – including what he himself alleges were failed attempts to remove him by rebellion. It is like a war. Yet, after 28 years, Kaguta’s son is still in State House, and is working on being unopposed in 2016 when he will have been eating things for 30 years.
So is there a way of sending Museveni to Rwakitura to tend his cattle peacefully? To subdue him, without fighting as Sun suggests?
Yes, but the solution is so unpalatable to most people, they would rather have Museveni rule into eternity. It is hiss on, Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba, commander of the Special Forces Group.
I am no way saying that Muhoozi should take over from his father: I am intellectualising the possibilities that might offer.
I for one think that Uganda needs a different pair of hands and eyes at the helm other than Museveni’s. He has done his bit. Part of the problem is that many Ugandans want both change, and a successor who is not a Museveni.
It is an understandable loathing of dynastic politics, but it also means that if Muhoozi is the man to bring that change, we shall not have it because he is Museveni’s son.
Now Muhoozi might not make a better president than Musevenibut he will be different. He will bring in a new cast of ministers, dole out jobs to his friends (who are different from his father’s), appoint his relatives (but younger and different ones that his father has done). He will make mistakes, but they will be different ones from his father’s.
The dynamic of a Muhoozi presidency therefore, could give the country some new breath and open up different outcomes that are right now closed by his father’s rule.
Yes, people say he will be his father’s puppet. Maybe. Maybe not. At some point, if he has any pride (and being Museveni’s son he probably has), he will want to be his own man. To do that, he will have to remove his father’s functionaries, and strike out on a different path to make a point. In so doing, some of the apparatus of the older Kaguta regime will be dismantled.
There is a big wrinkle in this, though. There are NRM groups that have already formed to push for Museveni to hand over to Muhoozi in 2021.
There are many problems with this. First, it presumes that though Museveni would then have been in power for 35 years, he would be willing to leave. His record has shown so far that the longer he stays, the less willing to leave he is.
Secondly, at that point the prospect of a Sun Tsu-prescribed defeat would be unlikely, and claimants to the throne will have to fight for it. Not to mention that it would be difficult for a Museveni to take over, because the household brand would have been too damaged.
Thirdly, at the current rate of corruption and decay, one cannot be sure in what state Uganda will be in. It only makes sense to Muhoozi to take power if he has a remote chance of success.
In 2021, he would most likely be presiding over a resurrection of Uganda, not a succession. And he will fail. So the only time it would make sense for Muhoozi to become president, is if he took the job in 2016.
But we all know his father has already thrown his hat into the ring, so the son will probably never become president.
Mr Onyango-Obbo is editor of Mail and Guardian AFRICA (mgafrica.com).
SOURCE: Daily Monitor