The news of the “bloodless coup” in Zimbabwe fell unexpectedly, not that a coup is already an unexpected but a coup or call it an attempt against the country’s strong man, Robert Mugabe!!
I wondered how such an arguably powerful leader would allow the army and the party to operate independently from each and still from the fountain of honor.
The genesis of the problem started with the sacking of Vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa as has been reported widely, others insist that it all started way back with the sacking of Joyce Mujuru, whom Mnagagwa replaced. But one thing though has been consisted, Mnagagwa and the army are very close to the answer no matter how you look at it and Mugabe is to blame for their involvement.
Mugabe’s power strategy was with good intentions for Zimbabwe, unless the men with the same skin in other countries. He allowed institutions to operate in a very professional way. The army commander had equal powers as the President, no wonder like Uganda’s Obote, Mugabe has tasted what loss of power could mean.
Dr. Milton Obote managed the army in a very professional way like Mugabe. Obote would chair the defense council, then adopt a certain policy, send it down to be executed from the level below. Milton Obote exceeded delegation of power to abdication of power.
Enter Museveni, the master of grand strategy. Museveni understands that when you allow institutions to work, your efforts will later be undermined. That is why most Ugandans are fatigued of his personality. They claim everything in this country no longer functions. It doesn’t because then his power will be undermined. His management approach to the army is specific to the reality of Uganda.
Museveni will appoint an army commander, pass behind him and receive intelligence direct from the chief of staff, appoint a division of commander, but deal directly with the brig commander and battalion commander.
The Ugandan army has standing orders. Museveni does not allow troop movement without his approval. The delegation of authority can’t become distant. Museveni can never allow the movement of 20 soldiers in 20 km without his approval.
Museveni took lessons from Obote and understands that If you allow institutions to work, give them the freedom, autonomy, You will have a coup. You will have uncoordinated movement of troops like what happened in Zimbabwe.
Institutions like the army, in countries like Uganda are poorly developed from poor society.
Milton Obote and Robert Mugabe managed the army like the British. They both failed to understand the social context in which they were managing institutions.
M7 hasn’t depended on the same theory on how the British manage the army. He has been able to domesticate the army by ensuring the procedures of management are a reflection of the social realities of Uganda.
Uganda is not about to experience a coup anytime soon, because the army here in Uganda is managed by procedures and processes that have emanated from our experience.
Museveni enjoys historical legitimacy. His historical role has given him a cult following. A higher degree of legitimacy than other personality.