President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is another African leader who has lost direction. Mugabe started well in 1980 as prime minister, but soon got intoxicated with power; fell out with Nkomo whom he locked up and unleashed a scorched earth policy against Nkomo’s minority Ndebele tribe who were humiliated, subdued and forced to accept Shona hegemony.
Daily Monitor of September 1 published a sad, but telling story inside on page 5 titled: “Short terms not good – Museveni” by Frederic Musisi which, in my unsolicited opinion, should have been on front page.
According to the story, Sabalwanyi argued before a stunned audience of scholars and students at Makerere University that being in power for a short time, such as five years, is not a good thing because one never has enough time to do a lot of things.
Sabalwanyi made these weird remarks at the first Nelson Mandela memorial lecture on August 31 which was organised by Makerere University’s Political Science department and the High Commission of South Africa. South Africa is Africa’s economic giant which is misgoverned by Mr Jacob Zuma who has lost direction and become an embarrassment to everything Mandela struggled for decades to achieve.
A friend who attended the lecture described Sabalwanyi’s presentation as shameless, tasteless and laced with contradictions and falsehoods.
At the 1986 OAU summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sabalwanyi castigated and ridiculed African presidents who cling to power like ticks and correctly argued that Africa’s main problem is leaders who overstay in power. He got a standing ovation, but little did he know that he had unwittingly made an accurate prediction of what would, in due course, come to haunt him forever.
Today he has the audacity to publicly and shamelessly tell Africa’s youth that staying in power for a short term, as Mandela wisely did, is not good “because one never has time to do a lot of things.” What useful things, if one may ask?
I am glad two young and promising MPs, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi and Ms Anna Adeke Ebalu, rejected Sabalwanyi’s dishonest, laughable and self-serving arguments and offered some good and positive alternatives instead.
According to the head of Makerere University’s Political Science department, my fellow alumni of the University of Toronto, Dr Suzie Nansozi Muwanga, the annual memorial lecture is intended to keep Nelson Mandela’s ideas and legacy alive in the wake of enormous damage which Zuma has done to ANC and to South Africa’s moral fibre.
As I have argued before, Zuma is a disgrace, an open sore on South Africa’s body politic and totally unfit to lead that great country. South Africa deserves better and the sooner Zuma is retired the better for Africa.
Sabalwanyi who described himself as “one of the last remnants of freedom fighters” vowed that he will not allow Africa to be subjugated as long as he has some strength and using doublespeak he said that “opportunists who put self before Africa are not good planners.” Please don’t laugh!
Let me remind our esteemed readers of some unpatriotic remarks made by the revolutionary at a public event in Masindi on January 26. The speech was broadcast live on national radio, television and online; hence nobody can claim that he has been misquoted.
“I am not an employee. I hear some people saying I am their servant. I am not a servant of anybody. I am a freedom fighter; that is why I do what I do. I don’t do it because I am your servant. I am not your servant. I am just a freedom fighter. I am fighting for myself, for my belief; that is how I come in. If anybody thinks you gave me a job, he is deceiving himself. I am just a freedom fighter whom you thought could help you also,” he said.
It is amazing and mindboggling that millions of normal Ugandans obediently and humbly swallowed this bitter pill silently, like sheep before its shearer. Some even applauded Sabalwanyi for insulting them! Looks like too many Ugandans have lost self-esteem and self-respect.
Whose freedom was he fighting for? I don’t know. But certainly not freedom of the vast majority of Ugandans who have not enjoyed liberty for more than 30 years! One hopes he will one day tell Ugandans what kind of freedom he was fighting for.
It is disingenuous, offensive and unacceptable for anybody to think that all Ugandans can be fooled all the time. I tell you, anybody who thinks or believes that Ugandans, who are made by God in His image, are fools is making a big and fundamental mistake.
Tragedy of men who have lost direction
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is another African leader who has lost direction. I first met Mugabe in New York in 1975, the year Uganda was chair of the OAU. Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo (RIP) came to address the UN Security Council on the situation in Rhodesia and in my capacity as Charge d’ Affaires ad interim of the Uganda Mission to the UN, I went to New York’s JFK airport to meet the two co-presidents of ZANU/PF who had flown from Lusaka.
Mugabe started well in 1980 as prime minister, but soon got intoxicated with power; fell out with Nkomo whom he locked up and unleashed a scorched earth policy against Nkomo’s minority Ndebele tribe who were humiliated, subdued and forced to accept Shona hegemony. The rest is history.
Ian Smith, the last White racist prime minister of Rhodesia, must be laughing in his grave and feeling vindicated by the mess Mugabe has made of Zimbabwe.
May the Lord have mercy!
Mr Acemah is a political scientist, consultant and a retired career diplomat. firstname.lastname@example.org