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Even the one tilling a soft ground retires, says a popular Ugandan saying, but President Museveni insists that there is nobody to replace him.

I was baffled by press reports that President Museveni said he would have retired to his farm but when he scrutinizes people who want to take over from him, they lack focus to drive the ‘vehicle’. The president should give another excuse for his continued hold onto power other than making blatant lies that in a country with more than 30 million people nobody can steer the nation. Assuming by 2021 President Museveni hasn’t seen anyone with the focus, will he push for a constitutional amendment to remove the upper age limit?

In leadership, one cannot be successful unless one has successfully groomed successors. At least former president Milton Obote groomed young people in preparation for them to take over national leadership. People like Emmanuel Tumusime Mutebile and Livingstone Ruhakana-Rugunda were Obote’s protégés and they have been instrumental leaders during Museveni’s regime. Why doesn’t Museveni hand over to people he has groomed, if any, to drive the vehicle? I guess the president doesn’t respect all NRM members. He says NRM is a mass party but how can it out of its mass fail to have one single person with a focus to lead the state? Assuming the president had his inevitable rendezvous with the creator, will this country collapse? Then what legacy will he have left?

All other Ugandans may be impotent and incompetent but I guess not the president and his children. Colonel Muhoozi Kenerugaba is now of age and he can take over from his father, although Uganda is not a monarchy. If the president doesn’t deem his son competent, then ours must be a cursed country.

This is not the first time the president is making such remarks. He has invariably said that he doesn’t see anyone with a vision to lead this country. I think it’s absurd that after 27 years, he still talks of a vision, not what he has done. I don’t know whether his vision of prosperity for all will ever be actualized in his life time. I have read all Museveni’s manifestoes since 1996. I have also read countless times his book titled ‘What is Africa’s Problem?’ All I have seen are promises not kept. A whole generation of young people has been subjected to hopelessness, frustration and alienation from the national cake.

Surely the president cannot convince us that he has been successful if he is the only person that has driven the vehicle for 27 years and he hasn’t taught anybody how to drive. Moreover, the vehicle is now in a dangerous mechanical condition. Surely, with a collapsed healthcare system, a disoriented education system, a hungry and angry workforce, a corrupt political and civil service class, if one was to use an analogy of a vehicle, Uganda is a DMC. Maybe, the president is telling us that he is the only one who can drive a DMC. And instead of repairing the vehicle so that any driver can ably drive it, the current driver wants it continually in a dangerous mechanical condition to justify his continuity. Mr President, the Banyankore-Bakiga say, ‘nohinga ahorobi ayinuka, meaning, even the one tilling a soft ground retires.


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* Vincent Nuwagaba is a human rights defender and can be reached at [email protected]
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