Military tact in many instances has replaced civil methods of managing public affairs; the legislature and the judiciary will soon (if not already) be serving at the whims of the highest-ranking military officer; there are increasing occasions of outright disregard of due process of law; and all this is happening at a time when the center's ability to hold remains in dire question.
At first, many of us thought that it was those usual governance glitches – that come and go. Today, what begun as a mild governance hitch has compounded itself into a melanoma whose cure must be an immediate subject not just for me or a few of us, but for all Ugandans.
Interesting times indeed that we are living in. A few years ago, leaders solemnly swore to uphold the protection of whistleblowers – a whistleblower in this case is a person who reports misconduct in an organization. Recently, when one, General Sejjusa blew the whistle on potential politically motivated assassinations (founded or unfounded), what he received was not anything close to protection – some people within government actually launched a campaign of derision around Sejjusa's name. What message does this send to folks who blow the whistle on issues like theft of public funds, bad service delivery, etc? This means, one may have to think twice before reporting an on-going or anticipated misdemeanor in the public domain.
In short, we are talking about a state that is seen to be selectively responsive – on the ground if it is a matter of cracking down on demonstrations; absent when it comes to the real issues that affect its people. Recently a colleague told me how parts of Entebbe were 'no go' areas after 7:00pm because of robberies, iron-bar hit men etc, the police remain un-present in these places – many local folks lost their lives, Boda boda riders lost their bikes and cab drivers lost their cars. All this went un-noticed despite the locals complaints. However, around the days when Gen. Sejjusa was expected to return from London, all streets and villages of Entebbe became colonies of police and parade grounds for heavy military hardware. And one local asked, where were all these guns a few days ago when Entebbe was a dane of robbers?
The state organs such as police that were once much revered as saviors of the wanainchi are steadily mutating into nemeses of belligerence – a state dreaded for its vile actions and scorned for its inactions where it matters most.
If this is war, then my conclusion is that we have generals who are nervous, wavering and irresolute. Now, as citizens, we need to be more worried because such generals cannot win the battle.