A Western lawmaker has finally stood up to Uganda’s genocidal tyrant Gen. Yoweri Museveni.
U.K. and U.S. support for Museveni has helped create millions of widows and orphans by Gen. Museveni because of his preference to realize his ambitions with bullets –in Uganda, Rwanda, Congo and South Sudan– over his three decades reign. In the clearest possible terms British Member of Parliament Dr. Paul Williams on the floors of Parliament today demanded: “Will the government use CHOGM to give a message to Uganda’s President Museveni that after 32 years in power he’s become a barrier to his country’s development and that good governance includes leaving office.”
CHOGM is the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, no ongoing in London. The meeting brings together the U.K. and former British colonies; the MP posed the question to a government official on the floors of Parliament.
The British government must respond to.
Without the hundreds of millions of pounds from Britain, and over $1 billion annually in American taxpayers’ money, the Museveni dictatorship would not endure. Museveni has been in office since 1986, having rigged multiple presidential elections. The most recent case was in 2016 when he stole the vote from main challenger Dr. Kizza Besigye whose massive crowd of supporters always dwarfed the dictators.
Had Museveni not shredded Uganda’s constitution, which was meant to preclude the possibility of tyranny again after 1986, he wouldn’t be in office today. In 2005 Museveni coerced and bribed Parliament into removing the two-term limits for presidents from the constitution. He was able to steal two more elections. Yet, Ugandans believed the constitution would still save them. After all, it contained a clause barring anyone 75 and above from running for president. Officially, Museveni will be 76 by the 2021 elections; some believe he will be 80.
Either way, he would have been ineligible. So last year, as reported in The Economist, Gen. Museveni bribed members of Parliament $8,000 to rermove the age ceiling. A survey before the sham vote by the bribed members of Parliament showed that 85% of Ugandans opposed removal of the age ceiling; meaning nearly nine out of 10 want Museveni to leave.
When opposition members of Parliament tried to fillibuster the bill, Museveni showed how contemptuos he was of Parliament by sending in his body guards dressed in suits to beat the MPs mafia style. The age ceiling was removed. One member of Parliament, Betty Namboze, suffered a serious back injury and was flown out of the country for treatment.
Even after the desecration of Uganda’s Parliament and constitution by Museveni, the U.K. government and the Americans continued business as usual with the dictator. Just last week the American ambassador Deborah Malac posed with Museveni and some American business executives and celebrated the signing of a deal to build an oil refinery by tweeting: “We are very excited about U.S. private sector led consortium landing this project. AGRC includes General Electric a world class company. Congratulations, Uganda!”
How could Malac congratulate Uganda when she knows any proceeds wil be plundered by Gen. Museveni and his family? One of Museveni’s former ministers, Zoe Bakoko Bakuru was granted asylum by the United States after she shared with American officials a portfolio detailing how Museveni’s family members stole up to $5 million per month from the country’s social security and employees’ pension fund.
Now Ugandan blood is cheaply traded for an oil refinery.
This is truly macabre considering that the same ambassador Malac in 2016, shortly after Museveni stole the elections from Besigye, condemned his regime for corruption. In another speech she condemned the conduct of the election and pledged support to the Ugandan people. Did she mean what she said at the time?
Also in December 2017, President Trump, in his National Security Directive said brutal African regimes and officials would be sanctioned and corrupt ones would face suspension of foreign aid. Museveni and his foreign minister Sam Kutesa are implicated in an ongoing money laundering and bribe-taking trial in U.S. District court in New York and surely Malac is aware of this.
Instead of recommending that these Trump directives be applied against Museveni’s brutal and corrupt regime, America’s representative to Uganda is instead whitewashing tyranny. Malac has yet to utter a word about the massacre of Ugandan civilians in Kasese region in November 2016 or about the atrocities being carried out by Museveni’s and Salva Kiir’s troops in South Sudan. Has she even reached out to MP Namboze to inquire about her broken back? This is shameful conduct.
Such an ambassador is an enemy of peace and stability in the region.
That’s why Museveni will continue abusing power when he knows diplomats like Malac will just roll over. Museveni has so far never been sanctioned for his militarism which has left millions of Africans dead because of: his scorched earth war in the northern part of Uganda as documented in A Brilliant Genocide; his 1990 invasion of Rwanda, which exacerbated tensions between Hutus and Tutsis and contributed to the genocidal killings of 1994; his multiple invasions of Congo, contributing to the deaths of six million Congolese and leading to a favorable 2005 judgment of $10 billion for Congo by the World Court–the Wall Street Journal reported that Museveni also asked Kofi Annan to block an ICC investigation into crimes by his military in the Congo; and, his role in the ongoing massacres in South Sudan.
Those who aid and abet Museveni in his crimes must stop.
That is why the British Member of Parliament’s bold demand is historic. Never in these 32 years had Museveni been so publicly challenged by a lawmaker in the two countries that primarily help finance and maintain his ruinous regime–Britain and the United States. Now what needs to happen is for more British lawmakers to pose the same question and for members of both houses of the United States Congress to do the same.
Why continue turning a blind eye to Museveni’s crimes? So, to paraphrase MP Dr. Williams, when will the U.K. and U.S. tell their client, Gen. Museveni, that “after 32 years in power he’s become a barrier” to Uganda’s development and that he must leave? Better still, when will they cut off the military aid and diplomatic cover that sustains his tyranny?
Americans can call Congress at (202) 224-3121 and demand that their elected representative take action to stop U.S. support for Uganda’s corrupt dictator of 32 years.