Museveni finally concedes, corruption is in his DNA
Museveni accused his father of being corrupt and that where he inherited it from. Unfortunately his father is deceased and not able to defend himself
By Asumani Kakimba
On Monday 12 December President Yoweri Museveni launched yet another anti-corruption unit in addition to the office of the inspector general of government (IGG), the anti-corruption court, and a plethora of other similar outfits. The unit, headed by a military woman, Lt Colonel Edith Nakalema, will be operating from State House and reporting directly to the president. This new unit follows in the aftermath of an international scandal in which Museveni is alleged in a US federal court trial in New York to have accepted a cash bribe of $500,000 from a Chinese national Patrick Chi Ping Ho. In that case in which his foreign minister Sam Kutesa is also said to have been bribed the same amount by the same Ping Ho, Museveni is referred to as “Exhibit 1510”.
In other words, the timing of the announcement of this anti-corruption unit was clearly intended as damage control, a device to deflect from that international crime syndicate in which he is implicated. Museveni said as much when he conceded that the problem in Uganda was that “mistake of assuming that elected leaders would diligently serve in their people’s interests,” he told an audience at the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Ugandan chapter of Transparency International that was held last week in Kampala. At the same event Museveni basically admitted corruption was in his DNA, telling those in attendance that his own father, Amos Kaguta, was corrupt, something he observed at an early age when his old man would steal public resources, noting “my father was also corrupt.”
Museveni’s father is no longer alive to defend himself from his son’s accusations. However, Museveni’s wife is able to recall what his old man thought of the character and integrity of his son. On page 68 of her memoir “My Life’s Journey” Janet Museveni has this to say:
“When my father died in 1955, his father, Amos, sent him to bring some milk in a big milk pot ‘ekyanzi’ to offer condolences on behalf of his family. So, Yoweri made his way to Irenga but was put off by the large crowd of people he found at our home in Irenga. He says that he saw my mother outside the house talking to another lady and went to greet her. My mother apparently told him to take the milk pot into the house, but Yoweri, on seeing Saffila, who was older than him, on the other side of the compound, thought to leave the milk pot with her. So he circled the homestead hedge looking for the entrance so that he could get to Saffila. After going round in circles and failing to find the entrance, he gave up his mission, went and sat in the garden, drank some of the milk, poured the rest and went home. Upon his return home, his father, asked him if he had delivered the message to my mother. He replied that he had done so.”
But Amos knew the son he loved so dearly was dishonest at the core, “Amos continued to prod and asked who else was at the house and what they were doing. Yoweri, of course, did not know who had been there because he had never made it into the house.” The prodding continued until “Yoweri’s elaborate story unravelled” forcing him “to save face” – which he did with yet another lie.
After his wife, another person who knew Museveni well was Mzee Boniface Byanyima, at whose home Museveni was raised in his formative years and took care of Museveni’s parents when the latter was in the bush. In an interview re-published in the Observer (Uganda) newspaper on 22 May 2017, Mzee Byanyima describes Museveni as treacherous, tribalistic, selfish, a person not to ever rely on, “the greatest liar of all time.”
He enjoins Museveni’s wife and his father to reveal Museveni’s character thus: “I wouldn’t describe him as a nationalist because a nationalist works for the benefit of a nation as a whole, but Museveni is a selfish person…he is looking for the promotion of his own clan, his own family. He is not a straight kind of person.”
Like Museveni’s wife and father, Mzee Byanyima paints a picture of an opportunist, “He (Museveni) has got his own line of thinking and he can’t reveal it to you. But he appears friendly, talks to one person one language, then talks to a different person another language—We know that Museveni has been lying to the people of Uganda, telling them a lot of lies.”
As far as the complicity to bargain away Uganda’s interests in the disclosures at the trial in the New York federal court, the warning came from Paulo Muwanga, who served with Museveni on the military commission preceding the Obote 2 reign. Here’s what Muwanga foresaw: “Ugandans are jubilating over the NRM rise to power, although they have no idea of what awaits them. I know President Museveni inside out and I can even tell from his sitting posture or how he blinks his eyes, what he is thinking or plotting. By the time Museveni’s rule ends, the country will have lost all its possessions and national assets, the political class will be divided one against the other and Uganda will be in ruins.”
Janet’s story in her memoir reveals something fundamental about Museveni. This is a man who has managed to surround himself with people, including his wife, who indulge his dishonesty and opportunism in ways that help to expose him as someone without principle. However, they appear unable to see the role that indulgence plays in destroying our country.
Be that as it may, their recollections prove that Museveni’s selfish character can be traced to his childhood. Turning the blame for his corrupt ways onto his father is in line with Mzee Byanyima’s and Museveni’s own wife Janet’s assessment that this is someone ready to blame others, even lie, in order “to save face.”
Something rather ironical explains Museveni’s success despite his exemplary dishonesty and opportunism. Among the people he has somehow managed to surround himself with are those who, unlike himself, were known to be honest and selfless (Eriya Kategaya, Noble Mayombo, Aronda Nyakairima, and of late Kale Kayihura) who have sacfificed their own wellbeing in fierce loyalty to him. It’s their sacrifices that have allowed those who share Museveni’s greed (his brother Caleb Akandwanaho, aka Salim Saleh, his brother-in-law and long-serving foreign minister Sam Kuteesa, the equally long-serving Maj Gen and justice and constitutional affairs minister Kahinda Otafiire, and the like) to thrive so long, besides “Exhibit 1510” and to continue to loot our country.