Mr President, I want to believe that you still remember in 1996, I was on your team that was soliciting for votes in Kigezi region. On that team, which was chaired by Shem Bagaine, I was in charge of mobilisation and I think we did a good job.
During one of your campaign rallies in Kabale District- Rukiga Constituency, I was honoured to host you, with your dear wife Janet Museveni, at Kitanga Parish where you had your lunch in my room. As you were leaving, just outside my room if your memory does not betray you, I honestly and sincerely engaged you in these or similar words.
“Your Excellency. Thank you for availing a great opportunity to Ugandans to make their own Constitution within their country and by themselves. When you were promulgating it, you told the whole world that if anybody tries to change it, you would go back to the bush. Now Your Excellency as you embark on this campaign exercise and after winning the presidential elections, which I am sure you will, never be persuaded or tempted by any force either from within or outside, to tinker with the Constitution. You must be number one, as the Fountain of Honour, to observe, respect and defend it.”
I further intimated to you that: “Be on the lookout for those self- seekers, bootlickers and sycophants who will praise you with their lips while their hearts are far removed from you and Uganda. They are not sincere and if you are not careful, you will discover their treachery when they have already ditched you and Uganda. You should be punctilious when dealing with them.”
After thanking me for my advice, I blessed you and we continued on our campaign trail.
From that short, but ensuring encounter, I convinced myself and many others I met, that we have a leader who is out to revere the rule of law and Constitutionalism. It did not take me long to realise that I had been duped.
I was dumbstruck when in 2005 some dishonourable MPs, after pocketing Sh5 million bribe each, defiled the people’s Constitution, by removing Article 105 on the two term five year Presidential Term Limit, which you had sworn holding a Holy Book, to preserve, protect and defend. That heinous and egregious act, Mr. President, was the starting point of the chaos, turmoil and disorder the majority of Ugandans are excruciatingly undergoing today.
Mr President, although many of Ugandans’ hope is drastically diminishing because of the prevailing anxieties, you, however, still have a chance to save Uganda from sinking into a catastrophic situation and salvage your image. I am sure you are aware that majority of your unpatriotic MPs, advisors, cohorts and cronies, at different levels, are seriously holding a most deadly plan of, this time ,murdering the people’s Constitution by removing Article 102(b), which is about Age Limit. God save Uganda from the greedy and rapacious mafia.
Mr President, this time stand on your two feet and demonstrate your spirit of patriotism by flatly rejecting their selfish demands. If it means to die then let it be instead of betraying your country and her people. After all, as Caiaphas advised the Jews it is good for one person to die rather than having a whole nation go into extinction (cf.Joh:18:14).
These people, the mafia Mr President, started their deleterious and life threatening project long ago. This nefarious project of theirs was treacherously designed as early as 2015. In one local Tuesday Newspaper of February 10, 2015, the despicable MPs indecorously said “Give us cash, rule for life. MPs demand Sh300 million each to remove Presidential Age Limit.” With such huge number of MPs, how much money would that be, Mr President?
Then what appeared in the same March newspaper 18, 2017 on page 2, under the heading: “M7 To Set Up Team To Scrap Age Limit,” proved to doubting Thomases that you are symbiotically considering their demand. If you bow to their pressure, it will be a recipe for calamity.
President Museveni and First Lady Janet Museveni upon arrival at the airport.
Mr President, according to the same newspaper, “this team is to be composed of 100 members well facilitated and will be headed by the current Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana. This team is being set up and it will be fully operational as early as next year where its primary mandate is to popularize the Age Limit talk and ensure that it is the talking point in the public media and all fora so that by 2020, there is nothing new to discuss and the notion to scrap the Age Limit will have been inculcated in people’s minds.”
We have not seen or heard any contrary view from you. Do not, Mr President hide behind the smoke. Ugandans want to see fire. So come out openly and tell the whole world whether you want Article 102, on Age Limit, removed from the Constitution and you become a life President!
In the same local newspaper of March 27, 2017 on page 24, there was a story titled “NRM MPs Riot Over Age Limit Cash. Tell Nankabirwa (NRM Chief Whip) To First Deposit Sh300 million on accounts.”
Mr President, this demand is similar to the first one of Tuesday, February 10. 2015. The consistency on cash demand is a clear indicator that the mafia is determined to get what they want at any cost-No Cash No Age Limit. Here, Mr President, you are at crossroads.
If Article 102(b) will be removed from the people’s Constitution, then the obvious and only conclusion will be that you coughed the money to the mafia. They would have successfully blackmailed you! Currently, rumour has it that the bootlickers NRM MPs are to convene in Kyankwazi, the infamous epicentre of Uganda’s peril, to plan the demise of Article 102(b). Is it true, Mr President?
Mr President, if what was reported by one local Wednesday Newspaper of June 7-8, 2017 is true, then you are complicit in this project of your NRM MPs. In that paper, you are quoted to have said that: “My long stay in power is good.” Do not be deceived Mr. President. Your long stay in power is neither good for you nor the Country! I am being sincere to you. Even you yourself testified to this when, in 1986, you stated in these or similar words: “The problem of Africa are the leaders who over stay in power.” Have you forgotten this, Mr President?
Mr President, as the Fountain of Honour, I entreat you to hold in high regard that title by honouring your word. In case you have forgotten, because of your very busy engagement and old age, let me volunteer to remind you what your opinion on Age Limit was in 2012. You were spot on.
During the interview with Patrick Kamara, he asked for your opinion on the same subject-Age Limit, and you candidly said: “If you want very active leaders, it is good to have the ones below 75 years.”
And when he asked you whether you would go beyond 75, you emphatically and categorically said: “Not at all. Certainly not.” Mr President and the Fountain of Honour, honour your word. Let your No be No and Your Yes be Yes. Don’t allow yourself to be led into temptation.
Mr President, don’t prove late Paulo Muwanga (RIP) right when he, in 1990, while appearing before Human Rights Commission, said: “Ugandans are jubilating over Museveni’s rise to power, although they have no idea of what awaits them. I know President Museveni inside-out and I can even tell from his sitting posture or how he blinks, what he is thinking or plotting. By the time Museveni’s rule ends in 2060, the country will have lost all its possessions and national assets, the political class will divided one against the other and Uganda will be ruins.”
Mr President, you still have a chance to that Uganda is bigger than you and the mafia. You still have a chance to save Uganda and salvage your image. All for the greater glory of God and His people.
Lastly, I make a passionate appeal to all Senior Religious Leaders to come to your rescue by coming out and; “Speak up for the people who cannot speak for themselves (including the mafia). Protect the rights of those who are helpless. Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and the needy.”
(Prov: 31:89)They should do this by emulating the Uganda Martyrs, the late Arch-Bishop Luwum and recently the heroic and prophetic example of Rt Rev Kisembo the Bishop of Rwenzori Diocese when he, on March 28, 2017, at 9:24pm on NBS Television, requested President Museveni not to change the Constitution.
He said that: “He should be preparing to hand-over power peacefully.” Senior Religious leaders the country is waiting to hear same voices constantly and cohesively. Rescue Ugandans and President Museveni who are being held hostage by the mafia.
For God and my Country
Rev Fr Gaetano Batanyenda is the Parish Priest of Kitanga parish in Kabale Diocese writing to President Museveni.
First published by The Independent Magazine