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HomeAHEAD OF 2026OWEYEGHA-AFUNADUULA: Does President Tibuhaburwa Museveni Have Friends In Uganda?

OWEYEGHA-AFUNADUULA: Does President Tibuhaburwa Museveni Have Friends In Uganda?

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By Prof Oweyegha-Afunaduula

Way back in 1997 when responding to a question “Do you have friends”? in an interview with a Monitor journalist whose name I have forgotten ( People at Daily Monitor can remind me who he was), President Tibuhaburwa Museveni retorted “I have no friends”. However, in practice the President manifests as if he is a friend of everyone. This has endeared the peasants, businessmen, traditional doctors, Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, the Savedees, et cetera to the President. Many politicians have also fallen prey to the President’s personality.

The majority see no alternative to him. Others have already decided that in case God says enough is enough with President Tibuhaburwa Museveni then his son, General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, must step in his shoes. They see those who want genuine change in the sociopolitics of the country as monsters or devils that must be either eliminated or constrained in every way possible.

Elections are then used to show that there is no one in Uganda who is, or can be, as popular as the President. This is despite the fact that central to the electoral process is military and police activism. In any case the boundary between the military and police has become deliberately erased. Civilian police no longer exists.

The unity of the religious and the political in Uganda reminds me of political philosopher Nicole Machiavelli’s advice to the rulers thus: “If you want to be a ruler be more religious than the religious themselves”.

The Muslims, who have been thinking that in President Tibuhaburwa Museveni they have a true friend, may have woken up to the truism that the President only wants support from them, when the Army and Police raided their main Mosque in Kampala built by Gaddafi of Libya. They were prevented from praying. This was in keeping with the President’s declaration to the Academic Staff of Makerere University in 1997, that “God rules in Heaven and he rules on Earth and in Uganda, and that he is next to God”.

Meanwhile, Chief Mufti Mubajje and his team that sold land that belonged to Muslims were sacrificed to the full power of the courts. It is probably not far-fetched to imagine what might happen to the remaining properties of the Muslims in Uganda in case the Muslim leaders fail to pay the creditors of the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.

Hopefully, the powers that be will intervene to resolve the financial crisis and Court ordeal of the Muslim leadership. It will not be the first time the powers that be have intervened to resolve financial crises of individuals and institutions, and even stopped court proceedings in favour of preferred individuals and institutions.

Numerous examples, such as Hasan Basajjabalaba and Mike Mukula, abound. In all cases, it is public money that has been committed and spent to salvage individuals and institutions. Those who aren’t meaningful political capital, such as doctors and teachers, have not benefitted much from Presidential interventions despite their usefulness to the Ugandans.

Their periodic withdrawals of their labour have not aroused the powers that be to act in their favour. Although they are a critical labour force, they remain poorly paid while some undeserved but politically useful to the powers that be are paid highly.

Clearly doctors and teachers may be friends of Ugandans but are not friends of President Tibuhaburwa Museveni. If they were friends of the President, they would not be the unhappiest in a country said to be the happiest in the whole world!?

For God and My Country

The Writer Is a Ugandan Scientist And Environmentalist

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