|Museveni campaigning under UPM 1980|
Once, I hated President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. I loathed the man. Blamed him for everything that is wrong in Uganda. I believed it was because of him that I will probably never live to my full potential in our Uganda. Have already been stunted. That I will never be able to accomplish all the things I can accomplish and the little that I will be able to achieve, it will be through overcoming overwhelming hurdles.
I believed all the spewing rants I used to listen to on all the bimeza on the FM radio stations that detailed in depressing detail the latest corruption scandal by yet the same cabinet minister. Or President’s in-law. Or the wife of one of his 1980-1986 bush war comrades. Or the son/daughter of a long dead comrade who done him a favour in the 1970s when he was a new graduate from Dar-es-Salaam university and was learning to navigate the byzantine civil service bureaucracy.
I even reached a point of such depths where I began to believe that Museveni could not be a real Ugandan. Yes, those hurling insults of he came from Rwanda, he must have Rwandese blood, must be true. How could a Ugandan, a person who claimed to love Uganda let things get so bad? How could a Ugandan at heart let our referral hospitals go so much, claiming there was no money, so that I could no longer even get a free piriton or headex tablet in a hospital? How could a Ugandan at heart claim there was no money, no money so much so that not only were there no more working street lights but no road in the dictionary definition of it anymore? How could a President of Uganda proudly claim that title, ask to be called his Excellency when I could see with my own eyes, lived through the harrowing experience, of where a family could hold hands before going to bed on an empty stomach because they could no longer afford the food on the stalls in the market-it was for export?
I hated him. I hated him because with all the hate I thought it was possible to hate until I knew what it means to have a heart full of black hate, going down Joseph Conrad’s dark river.
Then one day, I just didn’t hate him anymore. Without taking a bribe, without getting a juicy-where-can-I-eat from job, without being shut up in any safe house-I just woke up one day, and I did not hate President Museveni. I did not want to puke in disgust when one of his Ministers or spokespeople came on the radio, came on the TV, with justifications of the latest absurdity in Uganda so heartless you had to wonder how that Minister or spokesperson reconciled it with themselves. I just was...not indifferent...not caring...not resigned...I just did not hate him anymore. Or his government.
It was a plateau of understanding you reach when, dumped, you accept.
|Herbert Ssegujja does a perfect M7 imitation|
It was not until I had reached this level that I began to see President Y.K. Museveni in a new light. To see him, I believe, for the man he is. For the supreme artist he is. To understand something Museveni imitator and comedian Herbert Ssegujja had tried to explain to me, when I was interviewing him, that Museveni is, “Knows what he is doing and why he is doing it,” that is why he admired him so much and had dedicated all his spare time to learning his every mannerism, his every tick, his every body and speech movements.
I was one of the least surprised when during the Tulinawe Music Concert, President Museveni delved into that now famous, “Do you want another rap” performance. Because that is what it was-a performance. Because that is what it was, a performance. Being a leader is a performance and Museveni knows his Ugandans. That is why he has led us so long, 24 years and still counting. He understands the kind of show Ugandans need. Like a good performer, he knows before his audience knows what they need.
Look back, think, tell me if each year for the last 24, has not had its own choreographed diverting drama and you did not relish each. Even as you bemoaned, cursed, wept-were you not entertained?
I have been.