All posts by Michael Kivumbi

Michael is currently the Managing Editor of Kivumbi Press.

A little ambition…

A little ambition…
Michael P. Kivumbi (
Many things have gone wrong in our country and the problem has not always been the lack of aptitude as is with way of thinking that is rather primitive and detached. It is just appalling how many of our politicians never have any real motivation for working for the good of the nation.
What we see nowadays is a scenario of “status” outbalancing “purpose” of the government officials. It is unreservedly ludicrous because the phenomenon is a prototype of conceit where a patriotic service to the country for ever and a day comes in only as an inescapable appendage [which also goes to explain the shoddiness of the various works of government]. Forget the love affair between Uganda and these politicians: much less that they look forward to a nation that is all prosperous and first-world in a few years’ time. That’s gibberish, coming from the consequentialists we have today and when they claim it, it is because that rhetoric of patriotism is never unavoidable as it happens to be the most plausible apparatus to make a political case with.
When you hear [most] Opposition politicians speak, you can’t help but perceive innuendos of “me-too”. It is an attitude of entitlement. They work in the regime for some time and come to a level where they think; they have grown, worked hard enough and reimbursement should be coming and it should not be less than the best there is. Irrespective of who’s vulnerable. It’s how Obote rose himself to power, and then came Amin after the self-same precedent… and the rest is history. This pattern is recurrent and apparent even today. It has deplorably always been the country exposed to so much distress.
Do I have to be more blunt, mention word “gluttony” itself to get this point across? By the way; is it uncalled for? It’s the root for dishonesty upon which all potential renegades perch. No one is virtually as corrupt as most politicians of Uganda. And they think they have a touch-not decree on them as if they were the anointed ones.
It is an absurdity because these culprits never think it’s an indiscretion to bag public money. Even those caught red handed and had up have never thought that they deserved reproof more than they did applause for having been smart enough to cart off their share first. They think it is justified as in one of the local dialects it’s put thus: omugabiteyeseera. It’s a Ugandan vice and all these “I-am-witch hunted” propagandists are simply self absorbed “scavengers” exposed. They think they brought this “thing” and worked for the “thing” and should not be chased off their “thing”.
Prof. Bukenya is a well learned man and he’s certainly far away from silliness but until recently he did not realize that he had not been on contract to work for President Museveni’s yoghurt firm. Here are the Ugandans holding him accountable and he begins by frowning at the President! What!
He got really ahead of himself daring to think that involving himself in underhanded tendencies is the least he could do and be protected by the President. This is why these days he laments of being ekyanainstead of omwana. He’d like us to think he’s the good kid just out of the blue as if it shouldn’t be his integrity standing the test of time! It does not even extenuate him from the fact that he was involved in fraud; rather it sells him away. Moreover, we’re not unaware that his newly found rage springs from not having been immune from the law.
And he has the audacity to think that he should be our president so that he can protect himself! I don’t know but that sounds like anything but the former Vice President of Uganda–outstandingly egotistical. If he is ever elected, which I hope not, he’d make the worst President ever next to Amin Dada who had no regard for constitutionalism. Mr. Bukenya is unequivocally bad for Uganda.
We still have so many of a kind though and what’s clear is that they are out of touch. And they don’t even blush at their going too far in order to reach their goal.
They never move unless to strike for something in their exclusive favor. Bukenya, Ssejjusa, Besigye have not all pulled political stunts for nothing. Is it not rather too coincidental that they all covet their former boss’s seat!
What should be their credibility now, besides ambition? No wonder they all would rather make their most pertinent case for the International media where no one knows the ugly skeletons in their closets.
A little ambition does not hurt though but what one makes their “capital”! Why should a wanna-be president of a great country like Uganda someday have to embezzle, tell lies, be disrespectful, disparage people, government agencies and on top of which, impenitent… what happened to conviction? Is colorlessness all that praiseworthy? And which side accommodates patriotism?

© 2013

Our weird political embroidery

Our weird political embroidery
Michael P. Kivumbi (
996’s Peace, Unity, Democracy and Modernization campaign message had such a great appeal to Ugandans, coming from all the embittering tyrannies that ever trailed the 1966 precedents. By the end of the polls, Yoweri K. Museveni had on merit basketed for himself a 75% landslide – Quite an exposé of how badly Ugandans wanted a mettlesome makeover of their brand, not only politically, but socially and economically as well.
This election was such a milestone upon which Uganda’s politics would hinge from nearly less than infancy to a rock-solid power-belongs-to-the-people adjunct in the constitution. This is apparent today. Some, nonetheless, still reckon it hypothetical to disanchor other Afro-centric prognostics who think Uganda should be excused from all such denigration having been downrightly an exemplary work in progress not after so long.
Personally, I am a maverick, but I can’t agree more with the optimists this time. There has forever been a feasibility question on the working of all these democracy ideologies in the African setting.
This continent is a kings’ world and the subjects are almost instinctively attuned to decrees. It’s a heritage thing – One was either making demands or obeying them.
Pretty authoritative, if you will call it, but it was availing because of its “discipline”; until colonialism changed everything when with it crept in the White-man’s liberalism as if to menace all African political sanity and serenity.
While many Africans figured it was hijack, at the same time it turned out too alluring for them to flout. They got themselves entangled, and consequently, the classroom system bred a pseudo-royalty in the minds of these African elites and whence came it for Western Education to be perceived as an earned receipt of a license for non-royal “blood” to unprecedentedly rise to be crowned chiefs, and kings as well: It was the genesis of the apparent jungle-like political-field of today. The educated class made adversaries out of each other over who was better deserved for the roles in government. Why not: after all there was an influx – no more was there shortage of legibility or aptitude.
It would then be the “cake” problem to stray us from the real substance of our political conversation.
Whether it’d manifest as individualism, or tribal sentimentality, just the rendition of this imported pragmatism, separate from what it pitches, is literally polarization; considering we are barely fully a civilized society. And I put it to the radical progressives for having fostered the perpetual unrests and unconstructive bickering that inundates Africa of this political era.
Uganda clearly, is walking away from all these trends of political ignorance. The pace is simply acceptable. If any politician therefore is claiming to be “honest” as they assess the state of our political sphere in this country, or an analyst for that matter is citing a case of not-good-enough vis-à-vis literature-made-in-London, I feel compelled to remind them of how they may end up at a lesser speed because of an overly ambitious haste. For instance, if we were to take the Arab spring for precedence, as previously referenced by some, by now we would be hiding our faces in dismay. Egypt is not better off now! Neither is Syria.
And just for what so heavenly a change in this world would the Kenyans rather sacrifice so much blood for as in 2007? Raila Odinga? And in 2013, he’s not the guy they want! Ironic indeed.
We don’t want to be on some sort of roller-coaster because of some individuals’ ambition.
I know how realistic I may not sound for many Political Scientists but practicability be given chance: the elementary concepts such as compromise and concession of defeat in an election, typical of a genuine democracy, in 2012, in this black man’s land was still simply alien. Even in FDC. Malignment and ambition-motivated pursuits inundate our political sphere today instead; only to suggest amateurism. And we have to agree to this – we are politically not marched to USA.
Otherwise we’d appreciate that fondness is just not as mandatory as you do not lack grace when you want to rise to the top. The word “opposition” came in rather handy for our political immaturity. Parties have obliterated a middle course from their platforms to assume some kind of pertinence just by behaving too extreme against those “guys” yonder, in the state house – actually the election winners.
It begins with frustration, but it does not rationalize one even having to assassinate the character of fellow compatriots. Before you tell, personal feud has eclipsed national interest. We live with this mess everyday in Uganda though; even when we know it’s hardly where we want to be as a country.
Dismay has clouded many hearts and it’s with the abject failure of politicians to act more nationalistically than conceitedly.
And that NRM’s favorable ratings soared in 2011 surprise me? Not a chance. Just what philosophy was Museveni running against? Besigye?
Upon such as I-am-as-good attitudes, the Opposition front-runner premised what we know now as the second largest political party in the country. Deplorably, FDC is not exactly uncomfortable with its deficiency of the “issues-morale”. Such a party’s foundation couldn’t be groggier.
Counting one’s weaknesses too does not automatically make you a solution. Precisely why I squarely disagree also with the notion that newly elected leadership of this party could be a game-changer come any national polls that may involve President Museveni.
We keep on doing these rounds of this idle talk not unaware that structurally everything remains compliant with the status quo – rhetoric and nothing more. Serious about taking power, FDC would not be flirting with Mugisha Muntu. So many questions never got asked before these self-professed reformers enthroned another 1986 war-veteran; a former NRM cadre for that matter and a “Westerner”! Straight down another “NRM-aggrieved” fellow who leans much of his political deductions on the bush-time tutorage of YKM. Truth be told; this is not what change looks like.
I could perhaps be over-stating it, but I want to find one aspect that separates Mugisha Muntu from his predecessor, I can’t find it. His quest-strengthener is as much Dr. Besigye’s. It’s a soldier thing–A gutsy thing–A Museveni-can’t-be-that-hard thing. It puts country second and it’s preposterous. It’s a Ugandan vice though that we ought to evolve from.
Getting defensive against this fact would itself be in vain, as I insinuated not that the opposition politics is to compromise its customary objective. All I am saying is that anyone would be disgruntled that they are unconstructively too reactionary, which I realize comes in very convenient when there’s no other justification for being the opposing side besides ambition.
It was just too whimsical to think that transitioning Africa would be an overnight job. We had no background of a government of the people by the people for the people. The role of the people here is clearly not sabotage or clamoring for power. It is simply participation and compromise. If we have finally had some peace and ultimately a lead down this path, we don’t need as much pressure as we do poise. Even when we want to change leaders.