When President Museveni first proposed the scrapping of Bail for specific categories of people, I thought it was one of the usual political jokes that he throws around to crack people up during his long speeches. Little did I know that his move was real and would raise such extraordinary national dust as has been witnessed in the past couple of months.
Nevertheless, in the event that the President continues to passionately push for the passing of this ironic Bill, we will need to thoroughly debate the definitional issues embedded in some of the concepts that the Bill carries. My personal views would be, while defining economic saboteurs, the Bill should broaden its definition to also focus on individuals who are suspects of committing economic crimes of omission. The Bill should provide for no Bail for public office holders who demonstrate reluctance in responding to serious public economic questions. Actually, I think as a country, we would require a corresponding law under which any public officer who makes cynical statements in response to key national economic issues should be arrested and not granted Bail. In my view, cynical statements would then include both satirical verbal and action-oriented gestures – failure to keep government spending under reasonable and agreeable check, loathing about building up rainy-day reserves, plunging currencies, failure to intervene in controlling run-away inflation, as well as apathetic public officials' reaction to economic issues.
I spent my eid el fitr reading literature on some of the world's one time powerful men – Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler. This was not because they are my inspiration figures in any way but because I wanted to have a clear understanding of how they maneuvered to become the world's most powerful leaders of their time; and why they later one earned themselves a position as the most hated men who have ever lived on earth till today. Interestingly, both men rose to power as uncontested darlings of Europe and the world at large but were later stoned to death like chicken thieves by their very own citizens. Borrowing from William Shakespeare's description of the seven stages of human life, I think there are also seven ages of a leader – the first being that where a leader is more or less an embodiment of fresh ideas, charisma, action, strength, focus and drive. The seventh stage then describes a time where a leader is exhausted, has lost focus of long term goals, communicates poorly with his or her followers and is driven by fear of failure. The truth is that almost all leaders in the world reflect the characteristics of the first age of the leadership cycle when they have just taken up office. Some wade faster to the seventh stage other take a very long time – a decade, a quarter of a century or even half a century.
Nevertheless, taking you back to the once 'all powerful' Italian Duce, Mussolini spent about a quarter of a century in power in the early twentieth century. During his later years in power, he took over most of his government ministries and directly supervised as many as seven departments simultaneously. He single-handedly headed the all-powerful Fascist Party and the armed local fascist militia, the "Blackshirts". Mussolini progressively dismantled virtually all constitutional and conventional restraints on his power. He was no longer responsible to Parliament and could only be removed from office by the Grand Council of Fascism, a body he had personally appointed made up of his party henchmen and relatives. Much as Mussolini could have succeeded in keeping power in his own hands and preventing the emergence of any "rival", he descended into what usually consumes everyday leaders – micro management. He got subsumed into directly managing every segment of his government and got consumed with the trivial and unimportant aspects of his state – he lost sight of what was important.