Is Uganda Systematically Slipping into A Police State?

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Bobi Wine

Whereas I may not yet have embraced the political belief system of my name sake Robert (Kyagulanyi) a.k.a. Bobi Wine; the M.P for Kyadondo East and People Power Supremo, anybody`s sense of the timeless values of Truth and Justice demands that we sympathise with his lot. For as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, better known as Malcolm X, the Black American Muslim Minister and human rights activist (1925 – 1965, assassinated) opined many years ago: “I am for Truth, whoever tells it; for Justice whoever it is for or against”. This sounds like the Biblical Golden Rule (Do Unto Others As You Would Be Pleased Done Unto You, Mark 12:31)! The blatant violation of Bobi`s rights, as an aspiring leader – under the Law of the Land – must smell to the high heavens. 

For a start, Bobi has demystified the narrative of a ganja smoking, kinky-haired, good-for-nothing-ghetto-singer. Bobi is an established family man with a solid wife, great children and a plush home in Magere besides other investments. He had long established himself with messages of social justice based on his fairy tale grass-to-grace prominence in the ghetto of Kamokya, near Kampala. He is intelligent, and smart!  He is young, vibrant and energetic. He has endeared himself both internally and externally and has walked political corridors in the Western Capitals to the envy of many a Ugandan politician. He has duly filled the – apparent – political vacuum that would see the Museveni stranglehold on power – perhaps – go unchallenged come 2021.

That Ugandans –especially sections of the opposition and the  Prelates – seem not  bothered by what is happening to Bobi portends of  what one Freidrich Gustav Emil, commonly called Martin Niemoller (1892 -1984), a German Theologian and Lutheran Pastor and a  Nazi holocaust survivor said: First they came for the Socialists, and  I did not speak, because I was not a Socialist; then they came for the Trade Unionist, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist;   Then they came for the Jews, and  I did not speak, because I was not a Jew. THEN they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.  Dictatorships have a cunning knack for carefully choosing its prey, one at a time.

By the benefit of hindsight I now fully understand why my late father; a former Policeman and Kings African Rifle (K.A.R) veteran, so opposed any of his children serving in the armed forces because an Independent thinker with a conscience would not disabuse himself /herself to serve the obnoxious purpose to which the Public Management Order Act (P.O.M.A) is being relegated. In typical Manor`s farm scenario of the Animal Farm by George Orwell, after the liberation by the Pigs (pun intended), the provisions of the P.O.M.A seem to ever metamorphose by the night for implementation during the day. For example, since when  did the P.O.M.A require a Presidential aspirant on constitutionally provided for consultation  to allegedly provide things like sniffer dogs, ambulance, bomb detectors for which we already paid taxes to the State to provide, should they be very necessary?

Obviously Governments come and Governments go. Uganda is for all of us and will surely outlive even the most powerful elements in it today. In the words of Victor Hugo,    “An invasion of an army may be resisted; but not an idea whose time has come”. The idea of an inclusive pro-people governance regime may well be that idea whose time has come.

I wish we would care of our legacy: that for which posterity fondly remembers us when all else is gone. But again it takes a Statesman to think of the next generation; but a politician to think of the next election in which everything goes!! 

Is Uganda steadily slipping into a Police State of the old school South Africa (Under Apertheid)?  Germany (under Hitler)? Cambodia (under Pol Pot)? Tunisia (under Ben Ali)?  Chile (under Agusto Pinochet)? Cuba (Under Baptista Fulgencio)?

At such possibility, like Alan Paton titled his book: Cry the Beloved Country!

Adongakulu Robert, E-mail: adongakulu@gmail.com

The Author is a Political Scientist, Psychosocial practitioner, General Secretary for Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) Gulu District, and aspiring M.P for Gulu.

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