In December last year, Museveni led hundreds of his cronies in what they called ‘Anti-Corruption Walk’, calling corrupt people parasites who steal public wealth.
The joke was not lost on Ugandans though, as they watched the PR stunt with a mixture of restrained discontentment and amusement.
The reason that some deemed Museveni’s ‘newly found moral awakening’ amusing is the fact that they knew, and Museveni himself knew that they knew, that he is the chief priest of corruption in Uganda. The streets saw Museveni and his unwelcome parade as the real parasites sucking Ugandans dry.
For the last 34 years, Museveni has presided over a highly corrupt government, where corruption, nepotism and cronism have been the norm rather than the exception.
As Ugandans watched Museveni lead his cronies through the dilapidated buildings and dirty streets of Kampala, their minds were racing, wondering whether this was the same man who had sprinted his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba to the top of the Ugandan army ranks in a very short time, and appointed his wife to super cabinet portfolios. Ugandans were also aware that Museveni has imposed his half brother Gen Caleb Akandwanaho alias Salim Saleh on Ugandans, whose insatiable appetite for ill-gotten wealth has seen many of them lose ancestral land, livelihoods, property, spouses and even lives.
Since his take over of Uganda’s leadership, pausing as a ‘revolutionary liberator’, Uganda has never been the same. Simply put, Ugandans were moved from the frying pan into the fire.
In many instances, Museveni has cunningly been able to package his corrupt tendencies to make them look like benevolent state projects aimed at transforming Uganda and Ugandans. That way, he has managed to hoodwink Ugandans into abject poverty, while members of his family have been smiling all the way to the bank throughout his painful 34- year rule.
Museveni’s Somali half brother Caleb Akandwanaho is the poster child of Museveni’s endemically corrupt establishment. Gen Salim Saleh, as he likes to be called, has been a prominent figure in Uganda’s economy not because of his ingenious enterpreneurial prowess, but because of illicit support of his big brother, who has always endorsed his thieving ways, using his state house connections to amass wealth for the both of them.
Salim Saleh can grab any land, award himself government tenders, access state coffers any day, everything in Uganda is his for the asking. There have been hushed inquiries about what happened to the three square mile land acquired by Museveni’s government in the late 90s in Namukenkera, Kapeeka in present day Nakaseke, as a national army cemetery.
The cemetery is said to have seen a handful of military burials before it was grabbed by Salim Saleh, who has been using it as personal property, dishing out parts of the land in philanthropic gimmicks as part of buying his brother votes from hapless peasants.
Salim Saleh’s appointment by Museveni as the overall head of the ‘Operation Wealth Creation (OWC)’ gives him unrestricted powers and access to state resources under the guise of ‘creating wealth for Ugandans.’ OWC is Museveni’s Trojan Horse. It is through this disguise that huge state properties like that of the army cemetry and many other Ugandan resources have been taken over and turned into personal properties.
As Salim Saleh is busy stealing and amassing property for himself and his brother Museveni, opportunistic cronies are also busy grabbing whatever is left over. For Museveni to sustain his rule of thuggery, he has to appease tribal political cronies so that they can keep their people diatracted, for fear of a popular uprising.
However, you cannot fool the people all time, and 34 years later, there are signs that the veil is unpealing from the eyes and minds of Ugandans.
A huge spectrum of Ugandans is waking up to the reality of being besieged by wolves in sheep’s skin. Its only a matter of time now, otherwise change is inevitable.