#FRONTROW: Ugandans, learn to accept and move on, Kenyan style

Wednesday February 24 2016

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni salutes his supporters at a past rally. Mr Museveni has won a fifth presidential term on February 20, 2016 to extend his thirty-year rule. PHOTO | EUROPEAN PRESS AGENCY | DAILY MONITOR

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni salutes his supporters at a past rally. Although President Museveni secured a big victory, his popular vote margin in several battleground districts was very thin. PHOTO | EUROPEAN PRESS AGENCY | DAILY MONITOR 

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Yoweri Museveni never intended to lose the Ugandan presidential election. But he needed to dress it up like your typical democratic universal suffrage nonsense that Western types and those

misguided civil society noisemakers often harp about.

If he did that, he could buy himself another five years until his son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, was ready to take over. Uganda has been a monarchy for hundreds of years anyway, and it is the fault of former leaders like Milton Obote and Idi Amin that they did

not create a proper kingdom at the national level. Museveni didn’t need to show up at that “childish” presidential debate and argue with people who were never going to be president anyway. Besides, the reach of television is very limited, so what was the

point of bothering with appearances?

But then the pesky Twitter people started saying he looked bad by not showing up. That he had spat in the face of their precious pseudo-democracy by refusing to subject himself to the humiliation of a verbal contest with his inferiors.

Good thing they would not have their Twitter, Facebook and silly WhatsApp on election day. So he showed up for the second debate, as long as decorated journalist and noted tough questioner, Shaka Ssali, was not allowed to ask him any questions.

He easily won the debate. But then again, none of the seven other candidates had been president for 30 years. Or ever.

Much to his amusement, his former personal doctor, Kizza Besigye, had gone back to believing that he could become president even after three failed attempts. He and his merry band of Forum for Democratic Change were going around exciting young

townies about what they would do once in power. It was comical, really. Museveni  had half a mind to lock him up permanently for one reason or other but where was the fun in that? It was a lot more entertaining to have him arrested and released every so

often so he could watch his supporters and those ambassadors get their knickers in a twist every time. What was that whole thing about a “rigging and tallying” centre he claimed on election day anyway? The good doctor rejected the outcome of the poll, as

if it matters what he thinks. He railed against “the targetting and disenfranchising of hundreds of thousands of our supporters through deliberate delay of elections in parts of the country that are well known to support the opposition.” Boohoo, cry me a river.

The European Union described the atmosphere as “intimidating”, lamenting a “lack of transparency and independence” in the whole process.

“They are wrong, they are not serious,” Museveni told reporters in his country home in Kiruhura, southwestern Uganda. “I told those Europeans ... I don’t need lectures from anybody.”


Even the Americans are putting fire under his feet and had the Secretary of State personally get in touch. “Mr John Kerry rang me and I told him: ‘Don’t worry, we’re experts in managing all those things (elections),’” because he really is. After all, he has

“won”elections for longer than most Ugandans have been alive. Even former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, who performed dismally in the election, called it “fundamentally flawed”.

Mercifully, Ssebo has some real friends, like President Uhuru Kenyatta, who rushed to congratulate him after the Electoral Commission declared him the winner, much to the surprise of nobody.

“The people of Uganda have spoken, and they have spoken very clearly.” Hear, hear! “We respect their choice of President Museveni.”

He would be well advised to ignore the thousands of people on social media who disagreed with his fawning endorsement of M7. People like Kibet Ronald Ruto: “On behalf of myself, my conscience and other sober-minded Kenyans, we humbly disassociate

ourselves with (sic) our President’s congratulations and goodwill message to Museveni!” Yeah, those ones. Enemies of progress.

He will deal with the dissenting Ugandan voices like Bana Mutibwa later. “…the people of Uganda have been robbed, and they have been robbed very clearly. If you really respect our choice, then you have congratulated the wrong president. Sorry!” Mutibwa


Those misguided fellows who don’t know what it is like to fight in the bush think their opinions are important, that this Western idea of democracy is important. In their comfortable little lives which he allows them, and their bubble of a middle-class

existence, which he also tolerates, they think they are advanced in thought. They had better learn to accept and move on, Kenyan style.




Anne Waiguru showed up at the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission’s Integrity Centre offices again on Monday. The former devolution Cabinet secretary was once again accompanied by “supporters”, who miraculously appear whenever one has to

show up at that address. A day before my column was published last week, new revelations came to light in the form of Josephine Kabura’s affidavit, which implicated Waiguru in the Sh791m NYS scandal.

Since affidavits have become fashionable in Kenya of late, I, too, wish to aver as follows: That I am an adult of sound mind and competent to swear this affidavit in a national newspaper of good standing. That I still believe to be true everything I wrote about

summary judgment in my column last week. That I have not met or interviewed Ms Anne Mumbi Waiguru during her public trial or after her resignation from office. That I have twice exchanged text messages with Ms Waiguru in recent times, only one of

which was replied to with a single sentence. That I still hope that Ms Waiguru will agree to an interview with me at a location of her choice should she find it in her heart to respond to my request.



I am often amused by how bitterly Americans talk about their mainstream media, choosing to label it lamestream media. In the UK, The Independent and its Sunday cousin are shutting down in March and moving to a digital-only future. The Guardian wrote

about what led to that decision, but there were no tears in the comments.

“It is hardly surprising, the standard of journalism with the mainstream media is very poor,” wrote one reader, Stephen Reid. “The MSM have become stenographers for their corporate masters…where’s the journalists instead of churnalists?”

While there are truly shameful moments in Kenyan media, like that front page headline talking about a public figure’s genitalia on Monday, the lethargy appears to be everywhere. Journalism and journalists are often grouped together, good and bad alike, and

called choice epithets almost for sport. My current favourite is presstitute. It is not a defence of the media, just an observation.




My grouse with Kenyan journalists is that they are incapable of doing what Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein did during the Watergate saga in the ’70s – dig out the facts and follow the story to the end! The two journalists played a major role in bringing down US President Richard Nixon. Instead, you moan about lack of facts. Giving us the facts is the business of people like yourself.

Samuel Owiti


I agree totally that condemning anyone without giving them a fair hearing goes against the principles of justice. My only worry is that all the institutions that should help in this fair hearing seem to have collapsed. Look at the Judiciary, Parliament, the

Executive and the police; they are all chaotic.It’s sad that an important institution like the Judiciary, which is well funded, can allow even a whiff of corruption.

Benard Walukwe


The interview you had with the former deputy chief justice was quite educative.

I was impressed that NTV made a follow-up to get her side of the story, as it seems most people had sent her to the gallows and condemned her to oblivion.

However, I would like to know what happened to Kerubo. Can NTV seek her out so that she can give her side of the story? Ms Barasa claimed that she asked for a Sh5 million bribe; is it possible to get her to respond to this claim?



Most people find it easier to judge others than to get the facts and make an objective conclusion.

Baraza’s case was peculiar. Our society has not yet embraced women in power, so they are judged more harshly than men.



Kenyans are a jaded lot. Too many bad things have happened for us to believe in anything good (read anyone innocent). In the case of women, however, it is no secret that they are judged and hounded out of office in the most ludicrous of ways.

Your were right, though; a person should be considered innocent until proven guilty. But that is easier said than done.