I am a muzzukulu who is publicly and resolutely opposed to your continued stay in power for more reasons than one—not least because it is apparent that your best days are far behind you.
So, why am I writing an open letter to someone I do not consider a legitimate president?
Two reasons: first, I am in a position of not wanting anything material or monetary from you. Unlike the sycophants and leeches you have surrounded yourself with in the Executive branch, I have the latitude to tell you the truth as I see it.
Secondly, the decisions made by the office you occupy have life and death implications for our day-to-day lives. Having used the bullet to defeat the ballot to impose yourself on us for another five-year spell, we Ugandans have the unenviable task of living under a regime that majority of us consider illegitimate; part of the adaptation we must make is to say whatever we feel about your misrule of our society. Maybe a few of our rants will get to your ear and give us some respite from the hell you’ve created.
In my lay understanding, all intelligence information is processed in three main stages before it gets to decision-makers like you. The first stage is collection/gathering. Under collection/gathering, all information available about a given issue is collected/harvested in its raw form. The second stage deals with sorting and making sense of what has been collected/harvested. The third stage helps with refinement and compression of the analysis into chewable bits which form the basis of decision making. This is how decisions, from daily tasks like the presidential motorcade’s route to more serious issues like declarations of war, are made.
In the absence of institutions and processes, the decisions, actions, and statements that come out of your office have revealed a lack of coordination, absence of information sharing across agencies, turf wars over funding and jurisdiction, and a failure of supervision of the intelligence community. Professionals have been overshadowed by fortune hunters and wheeler-dealers who present baseless reports to get “operations money” from you!
A few examples will illustrate the scale of the risks that a dysfunctional intelligence network poses not only to the Ugandan state, but the region as well:
A functional and professionally run (military) intelligence system should have detected erstwhile police chief Gen. Kale Kayihura’s indulgence in refoulement of Rwandans, but because he was doing your partisan bidding in Uganda, red flags were ignored until the rogue IGP’s behaviour threatened your grip on power, forcing your hand to take a decision that should have been taken years earlier.
Proper and nonpartisan intelligence estimates should have warned you beforehand that the revival of Uganda Airlines was going to end in the spectacular failure we are witnessing, given the human resource deficiencies and flawed processes that preceded its incorporation. Instead, the entire machinery of government was running after Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu!
Between them, the Financial Intelligence Authority and Bank of Uganda should not have frozen the bank accounts of six major nongovernmental organisations on allegations of money laundering and “funding subversive activities.” Verifiable information is easily available from their bankers. A quiet check of these accounts would have revealed cash inflows and outflows, which can further be investigated by taking a look at the affected organisations’ books of accounts.
It would be hilarious if it wasn’t absurd, to see you repeatedly ordering that bars must remain indefinitely closed (as per your directives) while revellers roar with laughter (and even take selfies) in bars as you make those claims. Thus, you will continue running after hapless NGOs, and never see an intelligence brief which shows you how money laundering (and other forms of organized crime) is the forte of the criminals you call foreign investors.
The mess is compounded by your creation of parallel, conflicted, and illegal outfits such as Edith Nakalema’s Anti-Corruption Unit, which is always throwing its weight around and frustrating the work of mandated bodies like the Criminal Investigations Department of the Uganda Police. Such is the criminal oligarchy you’ve built.
So, why should you care about this?
Besides the common good and security of Ugandans, it is in your self-interest to have a competent intel establishment. These are the conditions under which rulers like you are toppled—a development that would send me dancing in the streets.
As acute as your deficiency in democratic practices is, you need to base decisions on the truth and not partisan conjecture or rumours. As allergic as you are to the Rule of Law, you still need functional intelligence. Even terrorists hire honest accountants.
The whistle I am blowing is that your naked quest for life presidency is steadily leading you (and forty million of us) into the same situation that your brothers-in-crime like Omar el Bashir, Hosni Mubarak, Yahya Jammeh, and Blaise Compaore found themselves in not too long ago.
Your enemies are within.