Wednesday 2 November 2011


By Omar Kalinge-Nnyago

25 years ago, much of Uganda was filled with excitement and optimism. A ‘bad’ regime had fallen and a promise of a new Uganda was made. The heroes were unassuming simple folk from villages, with their child soldiers also known as Kadogos in tow. There were a few elites, who were the real owners of the revolution though. Many of them spoke a common language.  The former Kadogos are now men and women.  Children born on the day Kampala fell on January 26, 1986 have already graduated from University. Many more have died of preventable diseases. The real owners of the struggle have made immense personal progress: money and influence.

Three things about the NRM struggle stood out. First was the intellectualism that characterized the new liberators. The picture of a brainy president who loved his chalk and board and good, if badly pronounced English, mixed with a kind of Kiswahili, to emphasize his Tanzanian education background.  Today, to survive in the ruling party, you must not be seen not to be smart enough to have a mind of your own. NRM has the largest number of educated people whose common actions cannot motivate any child to ever
go to school. There is no serious intellectual activity today even at Universities.

Second, was the distaste for materialism, consumerism and capitalist ways. The picture of a skinny youthful president dressed awkwardly in a (short sleeved) Kaunda suit worn over a long sleeved shirt  folded up to the elbows, occasionally peeping through the Kaunda, drinking out of a plastic mug was re-assuring. As events unfolded, it became clear that The new leader was just acting.  NRM’s twenty five years have given to the nation a unique ‘gift’ of consumerism and materialism that can only be fuelled by graft and wanton theft of public funds. An unacceptably high percentage of Ugandans live beyond their means, a situation that can only compromise their integrity. Legislators will receive bribes. Teachers will sell marks. Married women will be ladies of the night too. Decent business people will be crushed and disgraced for refusing to bribe some high ups.

Third, was the new revolutionaries’ debasement of religion and spirituality. These were the days of Chango-Macho, who, in the name of austerity, once urged Churches to drink Malwa (a local brew) to save money spent on importing wine for the holy communion. Often religion would be mentioned as part of a joke.  Today, Museveni, the leader of the NRM revolution is remembered for two things when he speaks. A quote from the Holy Bible and an abuse or two against Amin and Obote. I don’t recall how many national prayers have been held.  “Prayer works” declared the president, as the nation ‘prayed for oil’ in 2006. It is now 2011 and not a drop of oil has been pumped out in commercial quantities. Now we are told to be patient till perhaps 2015. Yet, billions are believed to have been already siphoned off, in dubious transactions. An adhoc committee to
investigate the alleged loot has commenced work today, November 1, 2011.

Uganda has made a lot of ‘progress’ under the 25 years of NRM, in quantitative terms. There are more buildings without approved plans that could collapse any time. More pupils in their seventh grade who cannot spell their middle name. More University students and more graduates who cannot write a decent job application. More boarding schools whose hostels / dormitories are death traps. More cabinet Ministers whom the president thinks sleep most of the time. More districts without resources.  More vehicles on the terrible roads which can only cause thousands of avoidable deaths per year, because someone stole the money for road construction. The ruling party went to nominate its flag bearer for the 2011 presidential elections. Little guess, it was the ‘visionary’ leader.  His subjects, some of whom just crossed to the Movement the other day were singing along with the late Franco Luambo Makiadi when he sang for Marshall Mobutu in his hey days in his song: “Candidat Mobutu”
(Candidate Mobutu).

Luambo Makiadi sang: “Mobutu azongisa la paix na Zaire” (Mobutu has returned peace to Zaire). “Abebisa ata moke te” (he has not made any mistake). “Alembi naano te” (he is not tired). “Nzoto naye ezali naano makasi” (his body is in good health). “Pona nini toluka candidat mosusu?” (Why should we look for another candidate?). Now the opportunists and cronies are gunning for another presidential term for “Candidat” Museveni. Well, as events have unfolded in the past few months, there is a slim chance that he will be the candidate in the next general election. The regime is steadily on the decline, the NRM is divided – the Centre cannot hold anymore.


  1. This is a good and brief description of the situation. Museven is not the problem toaday in Uganda because he is out dated, cannot reason, has remained with just a name like a ten thousand Uganda Shillings note which can nolonger buy a plate of good food. Who is the problem? The one who accepts to be misled by an out dated specie.

    Kaliija Kats

  2. you should ask people for money in order to help the organisation financially. Please add pay-pal on your website. people are ready to help financially.