By Stephen Lwetutte
LONDON-UNITEDKINGDOM/NEWSDAY: The trending Luganda expression Museveni takyaswala, aswaaza buswaaza (Museveni has lost all sense of shame and is now reduced to an embarrassment) coined in recent years to describe his outrageous gaffes and public conduct, comes in handy and could not be more appropriate to his condemnation of the recent coup in Guinea. Museveni himself came to power in so similar a way and circumstances that it is rather disingenuous and dishonest of him to now be seen to be playing holier than thou.
Following the coup d’etat in Guinea on 5 September 2021 against President Alpha Condé, led by Col. Mamady Doumbouya, Mr Museveni denounced it as a step backwards. He said that strong measures should be taken against the coup leaders. 41-year Col Doumbouya, however, was quite clear about the grounds and the purpose of his decision to overthrow the government of President Condé. Not unlike President Museveni himself back in 1986 when he led an armed insurrection against the elected civilian government of the late President Milton Obote, incidentally at exactly the same age as Col. Doumbouya. Unlike Col. Doubouya’s bloodless coup, Mr Museveni’s acts of armed insurrection cost lives in their hundreds of thousands, some estimates put the toll at at least 500,000 lives lost in the infamous Luweero Triangle alone. Justice for these victims may well have to be sought in fullness of time.
Without any objective analysis and consideration of the causes, necessity and justification of the coup in Guinea, it was rather rich of President Museveni to pronounce himself on it. It is evident, though, that there was widespread popular jubilation across Guinea following the coup, which leads one to surmise that Col. Doubouya’s action was generally welcomed by Guineans. Who is Museveni to attempt to thwart the aspirations of the guinean people in whichever way they are sought to be achieved?
Is Museveni’s reaction prompted by personal sympathies with an equally ageing deposed President who, like Museveni, had last year manipulated the system to seek fraudulently to serve another possibly 2 more 6-year terms when he shouldn’t have done according to the constitutional term limits in Guinea. He made constitutional amendments of two increased 6-year presidential terms, and reset his tenure in line with the amendments. In the ensuing demonstrations, scores of people were killed.
In fact, among the reasons advanced by Col Doumbouya, the manipulation of the constitution to extend the deposed President’s rule ranks high. It should be noted that President Alpha Condé, notwithstanding his subsequent authoritarianism, had first been legitimately elected in democratic elections in 2010 and had served two legitimate terms, before starting the third illegitimate one. Museveni, to the contrary, has never been subjected to free and fair elections ever for the 35 years he has ruled Uganda, and should have been the last person to lecture anyone on democracy, because he has no democratic credentials whatever to show for the close to four decades years he has been in power.
Quoting late Ghanaian President, Jerry John Rwalings, Col. Mamady Doumbouya said “If the people are crushed by their elites, it is up to the army to give the people their freedom.” While a military take over in a democratic society would definitely amount to raping the constitutional order, it could be the redeemer in an authoritarian system, and the lesser of the two evils. Having benefited from it, it is hypocritical of him to now turn around and condemn it, even if he had some legitimacy and leverage left to influence the events in Guinea. As it is, he enjoys neither and should really not be punching above his weight.
Guineans should instead be wondering how Ugandans have been able to put up and withstand that kind of tyranny under Museveni for 35 years, when they could hardly breathe for the last few years under the deposed Alpha Condé. They must be considering us as heroes, and think they should be lecturing us, not the other way round as President Museveni is trying to do.
The strength of feelings about Mr Museveni’s comments on the Guinea coup on social media is almost palpable – with the central message being that Museveni long ago ceded the moral high ground to condemn anyone on grounds of legitimacy, governance and rule of law, and should have kept his peace and save himself the inevitable embarrassment.
The writer is a Multilingual Human Rights Practitioner, formerly at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in London for over 20 years and now Legal and Human Rights Consultant.
Do you want to share a story, comment or opinion regarding this story or others, Email us at email@example.com Tel/WhatsApp........0726054858
Discussion about this post