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Just last Tuesday, I was with a former United Nations colleague having coffee and chatting about governance in East Africa (particularly the upcoming elections in both Kenya and Rwanda) when a news report was broadcast and a senior NRM party member was saying: "Museveni is the only one with a vision, the only person who can guarantee peace and security in Uganda. So we are going to remove the age limit for Museveni abeewo."
My friend who is a French citizen then asks me what "abeewo" means, and I told him it was the Luganda dialect and basically meant "so that he remains president."
I suddenly realized how petty Ugandan politics is being seen from outside.
He then asks: "So one Ugandan word means that many in English?"
I said: "It's a long story. I'll send you the entire book if and when I can write all that has happened under the name of "Abeewo".
We had a good hearty laugh and watched other party members making similar statements about their campaign to remove age limits from the Constitution. I told my friend "All that is "abeewo" as well."
It was the first time that my old colleague and I, both peace-keeping/humanitarian specialists, were unable to factor a universal correlation between peace and age.
This begs the question; Has Uganda ever had a political system that grooms, selects and produces leaders, administrators and related institutions that guarantee peace and security?
Without knowing it, all the party officials in the news report were basically saying "No, we don't have that here. There is only Museveni".
Let me rephrase the question: Does Uganda have the fishing net that can catch the best new big fish from the lake rather than being content with the one that beached itself on the shores in 1986 and which Ugandans have almost finished consuming today?
The answer might be two phase: "No we don't and sagala kumanya." (and I don't even want to know).
So this National Leadership Institute Kyankwanzi for example, what is it exactly for then?
And all these cadres and party officials who have purportedly been going there for leadership studies for the past 30 years, what have they been doing there all this time if "only Museveni can bring peace and security"?
While efforts have been made to make Uganda appear as a functioning institutional democracy, the reality underneath is Kyankwanzi-ism.
A good building with workers who have nice official titles and uniformd, the institution has a professional name and a good corporate mission slogan, but what is really going on in there doesn't live up to its name, right?
Instead we have once heard one party official talk about "a leadership queue". Which in itself is a concept that defeats any pretence to open, institutional democracy.
Today, the Age limit removal campaign is being used by others to edge themselves closer to the top. To temporarily secure their own political futures, and snatch any lucrative government seats available. We all know how todays politics has turned into a money-making business. A genuine committment of service to the people of this country is actually considered stupidity. I wonder who is teaching that widespread ideology.
Then suddenly Mr. Museveni comes out two days ago and asks: "Those debating age limit, what are you debating? Who has brought that proposal?"
He then tells Ugandans: "Don't waste your time with people who don't have what to do."
It would seem as if his own fanatics have once again been crushed by Museveni himself.
Personally I have been wondering what they would do with the age and term limit issues once he was out of State House and some greedy fascists get to the presidency. Bring the limits back, isn't it?
Too late. You took them out yourselves.
The ordinary Ugandan people who can think ahead might want to ask themselves one pertinent question: "Will the next president have the clout to control all these opportunistic forces within the NRM party, the army, police, the business mafia, and the civil service across the country by 2021?
It is most likely to be a difficult (possibly bloody) frenzy if left to intrigue.
But let us first be clear that if their is any instability, it will not come from the people. They do not have guns or an army.
Meanwhile, on Sunday 13th May 2012, Mr. Yoweri Museveni was interviewed by my former media colleague Journalist Patrick Kamara on the popular NTV talk show called "On the Spot". In that interview, Museveni spoke in no uncertain terms about his retirement;

Patrick: What is your view on [Constitutional] age limits, should it be there?

Museveni: "I think after the age of 75 there is some scientific idea there that maybe the vigour is not as much as before. So that one I wouldn't argue so much. I know there are some leaders who have been leading even beyond the age of 75 but I think if you want very active leaders it is good to have ones below the age of 75."

Patrick Kamara: "So are you saying you wouldn't go beyond 75 yourself sir?"

Museveni: "Not at all. Certainly not." 

Sincerely speaking, how clearer do we want a once proud man to admit that his physical "manpower" has now dwindled?
As Ugandans, we need trusted, just, and rock solid leadership solutions. That requires very difficult and honest consultations with all stake holders and from all political inclinations. Difficult because there are many different interests going around and alot of stupidity as well. How one overcomes all that and obtains some consensus is no easy feat.
As we think about the momentous task ahead, Mr. Museveni, kindly give me back all the 28 Constitutional Amendments that I submitted for review in 2015 when all citizens were asked to bring in their views.
Back then, with all the urgent substantive concerns that this country suggested, the only two constitutional amendments ultimately considered were;
1 - Allowing the independent members of parliament 12 months before elections to cross to political parties of their choice, and
2 - Changing the Electoral com­mission's name to "Independent Electoral commis­sion".
An indication of the petty priorities in our politicians minds who should have tackled the two top substantive issues which where;
1 - restoration of term limits and,
2 - in-depth electoral reforms.
In 2015 the legal and parliamen­tary affairs committee also only gathered views from 16 districts out of the 112 that existed then. Why did you, who claims to be a pro-people leader, keep quiet on that major ommission of the people's views?
The one leading national concern that the people of Uganda clearly wanted was the presidential term limits restored in the Constitution. That was even mentioned by virtually all those who ap­peared before the 2015 constitution review committee.
The Attorney General promised that "those views will be for­warded to the next constitutional review so that they are considered in future."
The Prime Minister also made the same promise that "government had not implemented the proposed reforms because of time constraints, and that is why we are carrying forward the ideas and proposals."
Now the new Constitutional bill 2017 was last week tabled before parliament.
Surprisingly there is only one amendment in that bill and it is Article 26 on how private land can be acquired by the state.
What is wrong with your Constitution reviews sir?
I and others made important meaningful contributions as our patriotic duty, then some ignorant individuals just put them on their shelves or what?
More importantly, why try confusing the people? The one major amendment that Ugandans were waiting for and promised in 2015 was not Land issues. It was not even age limits.
It was the presidential term limits. Their only guarantee of timely peaceful transfer of power and political stability for their children even beyond Museveni. Where is it?

By Hussein Lumumba Amin

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