Does Museveni vacate like Zenawi or Gaddafi? [kiflu Hussain]

Kiflu Hussain.1Coincidentally both my first country of asylum, Uganda, and my second, United States are in an election fever. Yet, there is a world apart difference between the two elections just like the geography that set them apart in different corners of the world. To start from the trifle; the Ugandan “election” has climaxed to “choose” the next president in less than 48 hours. The US, however, is still in the primaries. Hence, the two traditionally contending parties, the Republican, and the Democrat are slugging it out internally to field their flag-bearer for November 8, 2016.

Unfortunately, the trifle difference ends there and turns into a serious or rather grave difference. The first simple but profound difference; Obama, the current US president for the last seven years cannot run again despite being sure that he is “a pretty good president,” who could have won, if he ran. But he can’t, like he emphasized to the African strongmen in Addis Ababa in July 2015. On the contrary, the incumbent in Uganda who is counting three decades in power is a law unto himself who can change the “rules in the middle of the game.”

Thus, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni by “sprinkling election” every five year as per Obama’s observation in his previous historic remark in Accra, has made sure that the democracy in Uganda is “in name only but not in substance.”

Events unfolding in the two countries that are different as day and night further testifies to this. In a truly democratic election such as the United States, you don’t get to choose mediators to debate with a contender. Either you appear for the debate or fail to show up like Donald Trump did on account of a lady from Fox network. As a result Trump lost the primary in Iowa. No such risk for Museveni, even though, he refused and went to the extent of banning the mediation role of the renowned journalist Shaka Ssali of Voice of America. Shaka, a Ugandan American as well, was even denied access to participate as an audience at Serena Hotel.

While Museveni roams all over Uganda at any time of the day and night to bamboozle the public against the Electoral Commission’s guideline that prohibits campaigning after 6:00P.M, he jails, Dr. Kizza Besigye, his longtime adversary, for accessing public place during the day. Despite the playing field so skewed in favor of the incumbent and so stacked against his adversaries who are overcrowded and unable or reluctant to field a joint candidate, Museveni still goes extra mile and employs more dirty trick.

An unconfirmed report even had it that ballot papers supposed to fly directly to Entebbe from Johannesburg landed first in Kigali to ensure Museveni’s retention of power by stuffing ballot boxes, if the need arises later. Though, this was denied by Rwandan Civil Aviation that the plane belonging to Ethiopian Airlines had made no such stop over, none offered a plausible explanation as to why its arrival delayed by three to five hours except blaming it on South African weather. Nothing’s been heard from South Africa too about such weather phenomenon that delayed the particular flight. Nor anyone bothered to follow up the story with Ethiopian Airlines crews anonymously. After all, the strongmen in the region have a history of complicity to entrench dictatorship from the Great Lakes to the Horn of Africa by abusing state apparatuses and by flexing state muscle on public and private businesses. In May 2011, Kenya Airways barred Besigye from boarding a flight to Uganda lest he spoils Museveni’s coronation in the wake of another unsavory election. Therefore, the alleged story of the diverted flight of Ethiopian Airlines carrying ballot papers ought to have been brought to its unequivocal conclusion.

At any rate, one would be sweetly surprised if Museveni is to lose this “election” against the backdrop of all these chicanery. But one has to be realistic and ask the inevitable question as to whether Museveni vacates the State House through the removal of nature like his friend the late Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia. Or like his other “revolutionary” friend Muammar Qaddafi of Libya who was removed brutally and inhumanely. Since Uganda was my refuge for seven years before I came to the United States; and since Museveni’s regime has been kind enough to grant me asylum and accord me protection; and since I consider Museveni a “benevolent dictator” like Emperor Haile Selassie, I wish him no harm. Unfortunately, the dynamics of history against dictators whether “benevolent or ruthless” is unpredictable and often brutally vindictive.

Email: kiflu.hussain08@gmail.com

Twitter: @Hussainkiflu

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