Monday 27 February 2006

This Ugandan Moses leads to the Demised land

Englishman abroad
Living in the Netherlands has me searching for information that would not tax my translation circuits about ideas, events and people.
I cannot say that I am the best integrated expatriate, whilst, I understand most of the Dutch I hear; I speak Double Dutch when I open my mouth, that the natives think I just dropped in from Mars.
Being European, thankfully, I am not under duress to master the lingo before I am capable of joining the job market and making my mark on society.
Hence, I find that my channel-hopping is really a hopscotch game from CNN through National Geographic, BBC World, BBC One & Two and Discovery.
All imported programmes on the regular Dutch channels are not dubbed-over with amateurish lip-synching as you find on German television, but daintily sub-titled in Dutch – if I do venture on to any of that fare.
Long-serving CEOs bring good returns
Anyway, it transpired that as I was about to bed-in with BBC World on air I heard something about someone failing to understand democracy. But for the fact that my bed has good surface area, I could easily have fallen out.
The results of the Ugandan elections had just come in and the eternal incumbent had taken the spoils after having been in power for 20 years.
As a basic research diversion, I went off in search of CEOs who have been around since year dot and it appears CEOs of over 30 years tenure have brought back annualised returns of over 30% over their tenures. Facilitators and improvers.
Remaining a CEO is a performance-based vocation that can have you voted out once shareholders decide that you are delivering good value for their investment.
These stakeholders are making serious changes to corporate governance and if they cannot remove the CEO, they would cause enough of a rumpus to get things moving their way.
Term limits are for the best
Political CEOs are a completely different crop, they have to go back to the electorate every so often to renew their mandate or be pushed into opposition.
Fixed terms allow for leaders to give their best shot to the job and then move on for others to work at it – the erstwhile leaders move on to other grand schemes of world peace and prosperity, hopefully.
The tactfulness of George W. Bush in bringing his father and the Bill Clinton who denied his father a second term together to work on disaster relief is utterly commendable.
Jimmy Carter who left the presidency in 1980 is still about helping fledgling democracies operate their electioneering processes fairly.
Death – the panacea to eternal incumbency
In Africa, we have the second term of the Nigerian president coming to an end and there is all this talk about a third term.
Too many African leaders have been in power for over a generation that the hope of change is the certainty of death somewhere hopefully in the not too distant future.
Nigeria was suddenly liberated from the shackles of tyranny when Sani Abacha kicked the bucket in the middle of am̩nage a trois allegedly; we all cried rivers of tears Рof joy Рwhat do you think?
Many a country would get deliverance from those demigods who live like they have found that elusive elixir of life and immortality – time will tell.
Soldier politicians
So, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda who seized power in a military coup in 1986 and only just discovered through coercion from aid donors a multi-party system accuses someone else of not understanding democracy – the effrontery.
Africa is full of smart people but we have for years been governed by those who could only attain power through the barrel of the gun and then suppress opposition through despotic means and they squander the life-blood of the land.
Understanding democracy includes not abusing your incumbency by allowing equal air-time to all parties during the electioneering process.
Unfortunately, it appears most opposition to these fossilised governments can only come from erstwhile friends and partners of the tyrannical government as differences lead to a Damascene conversion to better things about democracy, freedom, liberty and prosperity.
Breakaway opposition personalities
Such is the case of Dr Kizza Besigye who was once the personal physician of Yoweri Museveni – he probably took a cardiograph and decided Museveni’s heart is not in the right place.
Dr Besigye, never really had a good enough shot at the presidency, no sooner had he returned to Uganda when trumped up charges had Besigye incarcerated and running the gauntlet of the courts as Mr Museveni was free-wheeling on the future of his people.
Twenty years for the roll of dishonour
Twenty years is a long time to be in power, even if you have done a lot to change the fortunes of the country and its people.
However, we read that in 1986 Uganda was probably one of the poorest countries in Africa and we hear of no particular progress till the 90s based of copious amounts of foreign aid.
After 14 years in power, in 2000 Uganda qualified as a Heavily Indebted Poor Country Hurray! Apart from a handful of those countries, most of them have poor democratic records.
The unrest with the Lord’s Resistance Army still rumbles on having started in 1987 as AIDS has thrived and abated during the regime of a man who has really not moved his country out of the doldrums.
Mr Museveni protests that time is not yet up for him, after 20 years, he believes he still has much to offer and hence the constitutional removal of presidential term limits.
If you have not represented radical change for your people for 20 years, you cannot suddenly come up with great fresh ideas, especially when all executive power is vested in the presidency whilst the legislative and judicial arms of government are literal perpetrators of the tyranny beholden to the President through patronage. It is too unhealthy to countenance.
The George Bush Book of Democracy
This Moses is not leading his people to a promised land; more a demised land.
+        What gives any one man the right to think he is the best his country can offer for the governance of his people?
+        Why does every despot who has plundered the resources of their country believe so much in their unassailability that the most minor dissent is treated like treason?
Now we have to take democracy lessons from Yoweri Museveni – this world has gone crazy.
However, I cannot blame him, he takes a leaf out of George Bush’s book of democracy which is all about people going to vote – suddenly the people (Palestinians) vote for Hamas and democracy mutates to electing only those you are pleased to see in power no matter how corrupt they are.
In the last 4 years Uganda has come 88/91; 93/102; 113/133; 117/159 in the Corruption Perceptions Index – as the sampling has increased so has their position worsened progressively – this does not bode well for anyone, especially for the Ugandans under 21 who have known no other leader than this megalomaniac.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary offers two meanings for megalomania – one can easily award both to President Yoweri Museveni with honours.
1 : a mania for great or grandiose performance
2 : a delusional mental disorder that is marked by infantile feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur

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