Uganda: Tumwiine Served Brute Museveni, Not Uganda

There is a gigantic difference between serving the country and serving the military junta.

We should never mix up the two while mourning the dead who, instead of serving the country while they lived, served a brutish military junta leader Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

As everyone has seen and as the junta leader admitted on live broadcast, he only cares about himself, family and chamchas. He is not our servant, he said. The country will always be bigger than individuals who enjoy freedom from the injurious consequences of their barbarism.

While the president and those around him live with the carte blanche in total disregard of the gross consequence such has towards countrymen and women, when they leave forever, we feel a sigh of relief. It is justified. It is not immoral.

Whereas I condole with the family of Gen Elly Tumwiine for losing their father, husband, uncle and a dependable figure, his passing should not be thrown on the entire of Uganda’s face because he served a misanthropic and cataclysmic government. A kleptocratic gerontocracy.

It is their loss, not the country’s. The victims of his servility are also Ugandans and our feelings should never be rubbed under the carpet in the name of archaic inherited religious and cultural beliefs of honouring the dead. We need to be realistic in accordance with our hearts. It should serve as an example to those who are still broadcasting around their braggadocio.

Ugandans have suffered at the hands of these people who call themselves liberators. I always ask myself, what did they liberate us from? All the catastrophe the country was enfolded in before their coming, has persisted and even grown colossally.

They should ask themselves why they triumphantly entered Kampala in 1986 as heroes but now news of their deaths is welcomed with a touch of schadenfreude.

Helping one violent gunman to rule forever at the protest of the majority of impoverished Ugandans is not serving the country. Being a General in the army that is supposed to be protecting the country but instead protecting a few crooks to consolidate power while commissioning pogroms and mass shootings on the streets is not serving the country. It is killing the country. Will they kill everyone? Making yourselves immune from criticism is not serving the country.

When you ask these ruffians that are holding guns, power and some money to account for their 36 years in power, all they have to say is that they liberated the country and cannot elucidate what they liberated it from and to what. They bankroll a few propagandists–the chamchas–to carry themselves to radio and television studios to make use of the airtime paid for by the government to broadcast concocted statistics and theories.

They live by glorifying violence, threatening, torturing and murdering critics, yet when they leave forever, they want us to mourn them on extenuation that they served the country whereas not.

Serving the country does not mean that you send critics to their graves or wheelchairs, it does not mean that you send us to exile, it does not mean that you order mass shootings against people who are legitimately angry, it does not mean that you plunder and loot with impunity and then boast around as a hard worker and a servant of God.

Serving the country means respect for rule of law, human rights and democracy. It means respecting the social contract between the leaders and the led. It means putting the country first, not the lawless and consummate liar president.

All the impunity we are encapsulated in as a country is as a result of disrespect for the rule of law which has left all the institutions porous and weak and subservient to the junta. There is no country which has developed minus strong and independent institutions. There is a very big role the law plays in development so rule by the guns sinks a country into mess.

I will not mourn the people who helped GenYoweri Kaguta Museveni Tibuhaburwa put Ugandans at gunpoint in order to rule forever.

I will not mourn people who helped him rig votes several times. I will not mourn those who helped Museveni suffocate democracy by harassing the opposition. I will not mourn people who, while alive, found pleasure in the suffering of others.

Twitter: @KakwenzaRukira

The author is Novelist and Scholar on Writers in Exile Program of PEN-Zentrum Deutschland

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