OPINION: The failure of institutions and rise of an unruly army officer

OPINION: The failure of institutions and rise of an unruly army officer
Kakwenza Rukirabashaija

By Kakwenza Rukirabashaija

The Patriotic League Uganda, formerly MK Project, is in the embryonic stage to become a political party.

The Chairman, a serving military officer, is none other than Gen. Muhoozi Museveni Kainerugaba whose presumptuousness, agreeable to the majority Ugandans, has become incurable.

We must not inculpate his father, Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tubuhaburwa and our extremely powerless institutions, but chasten ourselves as Ugandans.

In 1997 when he, Muhoozi, began to recruit Makerere University graduates, the then defense minister, Amama Mbabazi, defended him that he was merely recruiting Local Defense Unit (LDU), the legislators of the 6th parliament were asked not to make a meal of it and they capitulated.

Later in 1999 the entire ‘LDU’ group would be dissolved into the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF). Joseph Stalin of the former Soviet Union was one day questioned about his autocratic rule and reportedly quipped, “Because the people let me be”.

The same way the people let Stalin weaken institutions to become a dictator is how we have watched our institutions weaken and become simulacrums of what we expect of them.

If the Supreme law, Article 208(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995 as amended, and Section 99 of the UPDF Act 2005, prohibit any serving UPDF officer from involving themselves in politics, and such a law has been used against other officers being suspected of harboring political ambitions before, where is it now to be used against the son of Mr. Museveni?

In a country that respects the rule of law, leaders will avoid breaking or being complicit in violation of the same for fear of impeachment and/or imprisonment. This is how the doctrine of rule of law helps to ensure that leaders’ actions or omissions do not offend the law.

Whenever you see someone fronting themselves to the highest office of the country but they do not respect the laws of the same country, know that they are budding autocrats.

In democratic countries, strong and independent institutions are the envy of the world because leaders respect

them but in Uganda it looks like the law and institutions are used to consolidate Gen. Museveni’s presidency.

If we had foreseen from afar that Muhoozi was waiting on his father’s hand and foot as he gathered military ranks with indescribable rapidity, we would have acted on it but now we are wreathed in the comeuppance of our omission and that guarantees self reproach.

One can easily find a remedy for a symptom but when you wait until it becomes a disease close to putting you down, the medicine is not in time because the disease has become incurable–they say.

Just like King Louis was brought into Italy by the ambition of the Venetians who wanted to gain half the state of Lombardy for themselves opportunistically using his coming, the same traits can be seen in those surrounding Mr. Muhoozi and being accessory to the crime of airing his balloon to the thorny skies of partisan politics when he is still a serving officer of the UPDF.

It is unimaginable that even the parliament which is charged with an obligation to protect the constitution pursuant to Article 79(3), the speaker Anitah Among, her deputy Rt. Hon Thomas Tayebwa, and several other

members of parliament, are busy cheering on the lawlessness of the son of the president as he violates the law and executes absurdity.

Their(those surrounding him) aim is conceivably that since the NRM system tolerated their looting habits and allowed them to hold positions without any competence or merit, the Patriotic League Uganda will carry forward the maladministration.

That is the same problem that I had with meal card politicians who pushed Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu into an (s)election he knew he would never be declared a winner.

For those opportunists, they achieved whatever they wanted–to be in parliament and begin to eat and some to retain their positions, but Kyagulanyi did not achieve his ambition.

Perhaps that is why the same opportunists did not rally behind him to reclaim the stolen 2021 victory. Before that, we had another group that snuggled into Dr. Kizza Besigye’s ribs opportunistically.

The Judiciary has been used by the rogues to abuse rights of several people so it will never interpret the law against the offspring of their appointing authority.

If they were to do so, they would have done it with alacrity already in the petition before them filed by Gawaya Tegule in 2022.

If our institutions cannot help to save the situation, then we must act in accordance with Chapter One of the constitution; defend the constitution and resist this group of presumptuous Ugandans.

Kakwenza Rukirabashaija is an exiled Novelist and Master of Laws (LLM) Candidate at Europa Universität

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