Museveni’s shenanigans in South Sudan reach alarming proportions
By Charles Kamya Ssentamu
In yet another scandal in the extremely long list that has dogged the 34 years of the Museveni regime, it has been revealed that he has issued a South Sudanese outlaw military general, Paul Malong, with a Ugandan passport. Museveni has issued diplomatic cover to a man wanted for war crimes back in his country.
By its very nature, this latest scandal by the Ugandan ruler once again confirms what so many already know: he is the biggest destabilizing factor, and disrupter of peace in the region.
Museveni’s government has not only given safe passage to Malong, PP no. DA025963, issued on December 15, 2017 with a validity of three years; it means Malong can safely travel through many parts of the world – under the radar of UN Security Council sanctions that were slapped on him in August 2016 for his role in the conflict in South Sudan.
This is consistent with Museveni’s manipulative character, observers say. On the one hand he poses as a friend of (South Sudan) President Salva Kiir and postures with “military assistance” whenever Kiir appears to be threatened. On the other hand he is in bed with Malong, a man bent on rebel war against Kiir’s government. Museveni has given him diplomatic cover even when he knows well Malong is leading an outfit, South Sudan United Front, to cause further civil strife!
“This is tantamount to Museveni on the one hand pretending he is protecting President Kiir, while on the other hand he is backing rebel groups against him; it is all in Museveni’s playbook!” commented a regional security analyst.
Museveni has used the argument that he is a guarantor of peace in Uganda, or even the region as a whole!, to justify his 33-year stranglehold on power. His acts only show that if he weren’t in the picture the region would be much safer. In South Sudan instead of helping find lasting solutions to a long-suffering country, he exploits the fact the country hasn’t yet achieved stability, for his own greedy, power-hungry ends!
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Perennial anarchy and conflict are the tools Museveni deploys at will to feed his power-hungry ego, and his insatiable greed for material wealth.
Malong as a pawn of Museveni according to those in the know is driven by the usual motivation of power and money. For that, Museveni is quite happy to sacrifice the peace of long-suffering South Sudanese. Museveni has Kiir where he can threaten him, and the South Sudan leader finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place.
On the other hand, Malong is completely beholden to his puppet master.
The Ugandan financial system that operates under Museveni’s direct control is reported to hold Malong’s substantial loot from his war-ravaged country. When his son, Malong Junior was apprehended by Ugandan security forces after he was implicated in a gold scam, it was “orders from above” that secured his release from custody. That was the last anybody hear of that case.
It matters very little to Museveni that people, including non-combatants – including women and children – are starving and dying in swathes of South Sudan. The script is the same wherever Museveni has sent his marauding military. In the Congo it is the same. As long as the illicit wealth from the countries he destabilizes keeps flowing, for his personal gain, he is perfectly happy with the situation.
Kampala has recently become a major hub for illicit trade in gold, thanks to mineral smugglers from countries like DRC, Central African Republic and South Sudan from where Museveni’s military guarantees a safe passage. Museveni has even had a gold refinery established in Entebbe, just a stone’s throw away from his State House.
However, audits of the Uganda Revenue Authority have established that despite gold exports running in thousands of tonnes, Uganda has not earned any royalties from what is supposed to be its homegrown gold industry.
For as long as this plunder can go on, it does not bother Museveni that war, disease, starvation and all other miseries continue to exact a heavy human toll. With the backing of actors whose raison d’etre is to perpetuate insecurity he in fact makes sure chaos and conflict are unending.
This week Museveni has been playing host to Dr. Riek Machar, and President Salva Kiir in Entebbe. How fast any agreements he arrives at with his visitors in the absence of any discussion about the status of Gen. Malong remains to be seen.
It can safely be argued that Museveni is the primary source of conflict in South Sudan, where he has maintained a permanent troop presence since the early 2000’s, purposely to meddle in the affairs of the neighbor country. It was a section of those troops that in December 2013 intervened on the side of President Kiir in a domestic conflict.
Museveni has illegally expended significant Ugandan taxpayer finances to prop up President Kiir. Having done that, Museveni is now cavorting with a rebel leader with all intents of destabilizing Mr. Kiir’s government. What can the South Sudan leader be thinking of a situation like that? Observers have asked rhetorically.
He is a meddler, and he will never stop meddling in the affairs of Kiir’s country; or in other people’s countries!, those that know Museveni consistently point out.
All the things Museveni does for personal gain; all the cynical power plays moreover are at the expense of the Ugandan taxpayer. But when the illicit wealth comes, it is Museveni with his close family members that gain! It is close cabals that gain. “Uganda has really suffered this brutal man!” informed citizens have lamented time and again.
“From the criminal networks that sustain the violence he exports to eastern DRC to enable all his illegal activities there; to selling charcoal in Somalia; to shenanigans in SS, Museveni has quite simply become a nightmare!” one journalist in Kampala commented.