President Museveni – Remember When YOU Were a Rebel?

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Entebbe, Ju...

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It is more than a little hypocritical when President Museveni criticizes the West for getting involved in the Libya crisis. If countries really should be left to work out their own issues, even when “the people” are vastly out-gunned, how does he justify having received help from Gadaffi himself, an outsider, during the bush war against Obote?

Is the issue Africa vs. Non-Africa? Are African nations the only entities that have the right to intervene in the case of severe human rights violations in Africa? Hmmm…given that Gadaffi funds most of the African Union budget, it seems that that organization’s ability to respond in this situation might be a bit compromised.

Museveni has gone from being an idealistic freedom-fighter, struggling against a system of corrupt leaders and a corrupt electoral process, to being a life-King of Uganda, draining the national coffers to ensure his own victory in this year’s elections.

Uganda Needs Fresh Leadership

Through the fog of my advanced years, I can look back to the me of my youth. I remember seeing the things that “old” people – the people who were the age I am now – did, and saying with conviction that I would never be like that. And now I find myself preferring a comfortable bed rather than a dirt floor to sleep on when I am traveling. I spend hard-earned money on health insurance rather than beer because I realize I am mortal. And yes, I find myself smirking at those 20-year-olds who know everything.

Maturity is not all bad. I do believe that I have knowledge and wisdom to offer to the world as a result of my experiences that I didn’t have at my disposal 20 years ago. But I also realize that some of the energy that came through my idealism at the time has been lost, and I miss it. We need the energy, ideas and ideals of young people who haven’t yet been overtaken by all of the reasons that we can’t change the world.

This is one of the reasons that leaders shouldn’t be in power for 30 years. No matter how passionate and idealistic they are when they start out, they can’t help becoming comfortable over time. I do believe that Museveni still sees himself as that rebel in the bush that he once was. He has built up an image of himself that can’t be shaken by reality. Unfortunately, he has become many of the things he fought against 25 years ago.

It is important for a country to get fresh leadership and fresh ideas occasionally. That is why term limits exist, and why they should be inviolable. In a perfect world, you will get a regular infusion of young, inspirational leaders each election cycle, and their lack of experience will be balanced by the presence of the older members of the government. But you need the youth to push and keep the older folks from getting too comfortable. When the whole system grows old together, it starts to break down just like a human body becomes frail over the years.

Mr. Museveni, how will you feel when it is your subjects taking to the bush to get their country back?

Mark D. Jordahl – Kampala

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About Mark D. Jordahl

Mark Jordahl is a writer, trip leader and naturalist who has lived much of the last 7 years in Uganda and currently calls Colorado home.
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