Celebrating East African Writing!
The history of Uganda’s stability and economic prosperity in the later parts of the 20th century will have a significant mention of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. After actively engaging in the toppling of two Ugandan leaders, Idi Amin Dada and Milton Obote, Museveni took over power in Uganda and is currently serving his 23rd year as the Uganda president.
In that quarter of a century that he has been at the helm, Museveni has helped steer the ship of Uganda in a commendable direction, particularly economically. The confidence of local and international investors in Uganda has soared and it is no wonder that many Kenyans have resorted to Uganda for economic and academic empowerment. For his gargantuan achievements, Museveni the man, deserves plaudits and respect.
Despite the commendable job, two things seem to baffle most admirers of Uganda: the inability of the Museveni government to put away Kony’s LRA rebellion in Uganda’s north, and Museveni’s penchant for conflict with his neighbors (and friends). If Museveni, as acclaimed, went to the bush with only 26 young soldiers and overcame the country’s then army, what makes him unable, with the vast military disposal he currently commands, to eradicate the Kony menace?
Congo, Rwanda and now Kenya have had bones to pick with Uganda. These conflicts paint Museveni as a man who cannot stay still without provoking his neighbors.
The latest conflict with Kenya over Migingo Island was not necessary at all, and yet, it now makes Museveni, who was earlier well admired in Kenya, our new hate object! It would have been well if Museveni had stuck to inter-national conflict, but to reduce this to a nation against tribe conflict is frightening! To now target and label a single community in Kenya is not only childish of him but also vain primitive. The unpalatable language he has used to refer to the Luos (of Kenya) reduces him to the level of an irascible village chieftain out to engage in the primitivity of yore, where tribal chauvinism led to unnecessary wars.
After fighting nations and armies for the most part of his 65 years, is Museveni now turning his smoking guns to tribes? Has he considered that the destruction of the railway and/or rioting is only a reaction to his regime’s uncalled for adventurism and shameless expansionist attempts?
Museveni’s assertion that the land mass that makes Migingo is Kenya’s and the waters surrounding it is Uganda’s is another dangerous pronouncement. It clearly shows that he is spoiling for a fight and that after failing to annex our land, he will be busy harassing innocent fishermen in the name of trespass.
Conflict over resources is always heightened when irrational claims of rights to access are asserted. In this case, Museveni wants to claim all the fish and waters that surround Migingo at the expense of Kenyans. I can imagine Ugandan marines patrolling and keeping vigil on the shores of Migingo waiting for a Luo (Kenyan Luo) to place a foot in the waters and be arrested or shot dead instantly! Kenya must not allow this power-corrupted warmonger to continue such games.
We must assert our territorial rights and remind Museveni that we have better things to do than engaging in mind games.
Once upon a time, Museveni was a darling of everyone. As the years roll over however, he is proving that power corrupts absolutely. It would be wonderful if Museveni outgrew his warlike, arrogant and provokingly foul behavior and became a little bit more humble and wise. The latest interview he gave to the BBC and in which he looked down upon the Luo of Kenya does not bode well for his supposed wish to be the leader of East Africa. Museveni seems, probably after reigning for nearly a quarter century, to be so intoxicated by the ecstasies of rulership for him to be a leader.
He goes down as just another African Big Man, but this time, one who not only desires to conquer nations but also to annihilate ethnic groups. Fortunately, I do not think the Luos of Kenya have anything against the man. It would be interesting to find out what the Luos of Uganda and of Tanzania think.
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