By Alain Mucyo
On October 11, Chimp Reports published a piece titled “Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni Makes Roads Not War.” The author of the article is David Himbara, a propagandist of the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and publicist of Tribert Rujugiro, the chief financier of the terror organisation who has substantial joint investments in Uganda with Museveni and his brother Gen Caleb Akandwanaho, aka Salim Saleh. It’s unsurprising that in the article Himbara tries to resuscitate President Museveni’s image in the international arena where he is largely forgotten.
The entire article is nothing short of a cloying image-laundering. It starts with the claim that “President Museveni surprised his admirers and critics alike in his speech celebrating his country’s 58th independence anniversary on Oct. 9, 2020. Museveni announced that his government signed an agreement with neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to build three road networks that connect the two countries.” The surprise apparently is due to the fact that “Previously, Uganda [in fact, Museveni] had acquired a reputation of making wars and plundering the DRC’s natural wealth.” Moreover, for this “remarkable mindset shift,” Himbara argues, Museveni “ought to be congratulated” for his “personal road to Damascus moment.” it is as if Himbara is meeting Museveni for the first time. No one is surprised by the fact that Museveni is yet again saying things that he has no intention of ever fulfilling in his faux pan-African affectation.
If Museveni was really serious about fixing roads, he would start with the potholes in Kampala that make Uganda’s capital a bone-jarring obstacle-course at the best of times and a series of impassably overflooded lakes during the rainy seasons; he would do this instead of patronising the Congolese about building roads for them. Moreover, if he had any goodwill towards the DRC, he would promptly pay up the 2005 US$10bn International Court of Justice (ICJ) reparations award against his plunder of that country, an amount that must have accrued compound interest well into US$30bn by now – enough to allow the DRC build its own infrastructure across their entire country.
“The DRC government subsequently took Uganda to the International Court of Justice for acts of armed aggression and for stealing the country’s natural wealth. The Court concluded, firstly, that Uganda was an occupying power in parts of DRC. Secondly, the Court determined that the troops of Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) had committed human rights abuses in DRC. Thirdly, the Court concluded that officers and soldiers of the UPDF, including the most high-ranking officers, had plundered DRC’s natural wealth. Uganda was ordered to pay $10 billion reparations to DRC, which has yet to be settled,” as Himbara acknowledges Museveni’s monumental damage to the DRC while parroting the latter’s patronising attitude towards that country.
Imagine the audacity of urging the Congolese to “congratulate” Museveni for “this effort [that] signals a departure from war mentality that has bedevilled this region for far too long.” Himbara has no clue about the cause of the “war mentality” in the region. Although he is partly right regarding the problem of “mindeset” and “mentality” he would rather dance around this toxic mentality by wasting time on its consequences when its cause is obvious to any thinking person who isn’t motivated by image laundering of someone whose reputation at the global stage is no better than that of Mobutu Sese Seko in the 1990s. To imagine that Museveni can change course at his late age of 75 (some say 85) is to think that Mobutu should have been urged to reform rather than to smoke him out of what was then Zaire.
I have a free lesson for “Professor” Himbara regarding the main cause of war and violence in the great lakes region of Africa over the past two decades: The “war-mentality” that different leaders in the region have adopted is a natural response (a consequence) to Museveni’s patronising and bellicist mindset (a cause) that seeks to subordinate those leaders to himself and to dictate to them how to run their respective countries; Museveni’s mentality makes the choice of war inevitable, as a suitable alternative to accepting his overbearing urge to dominate others. This is something he has achieved to different degrees of success. For instance, in South Sudan he has managed to inciting both sides of the conflict and then inviting them to Kampala to dictate to them how to get out of the conflict he has helped to fuel. Similarly, as he claims to want to build roads for the DRC he is busy fueling violence in the ituri region by, again, supporting both sides of the conflict as a means of plundering the area of natural resources, gold and timber. For some countries that Museveni has tried this approach on, it has been a road to nowhere. Maybe that should have prompted the road to Damascus. But he never learns, which explains why “a departure from war mentality that has bedeviled this region for far too long.” For a man who brags about being “The Ssabalwanyi ” (the Supreme War-maker; usually the chest-thumping of cowards), it is unlikely he enjoyed Himbara’s strained attempt to convert him into a meek “peacemaker.”