Dear Mr President,
Several months ago, I was amused to read in the local paper that you have directed a UK based public relations agency, to clean up your image and the image of Uganda – in order to continue garnering Western silence in respect of the true character of your regime. If your national address disavowing all forms of torture on 14th August 2021 is anything to go by, they have clearly failed; for your monologue did not amount to a hill of beans.
I believe there is a cheaper way to clean up your reputation. Here is how you may do it: Members of your ruling political party, the NRM, who are jabbering about the future being guaranteed for another generation in power, are clearly intoxicated with hubris. For no political party, let alone a political movement, has a divine right to exist. If they did, Uganda would be a different country today. It is highly likely that the NRM will eventually disintegrate under the ever-growing weight of her own contradictions, lies and corruption. Indeed, your disastrous mismanagement of the Covid-19 pandemic aside, there is credibility to a school of thought that changing demographics will ultimately shift the terms of trade for the NRM countrywide. But there’s a rub: Ultimately maybe a long time coming. While it is true that ultimately will not arrive soon enough to save the opposition parties from yet another defeat at the next election cycle, thanks to the NRM’s accomplished skill at rigging elections; and yet, the reality is, the tide is turning against you.
For the citizens of Uganda are growing tired and desperate each passing day. So wretched are they that on the very day of your swearing in on 12 May 2021, a father confessed to killing his own two young children in exchange for money. Your hopeless people have nowhere to go. For the international community abandoned them a long time ago, when they acquiesced to a conspiracy of silence about you and your government. You are the only man in the country who has the power to relieve their anguished suffering. One way you may do that is to start a dialogue with those you disagree with, to explore options available to you as to how you can best help Uganda in her hour of extreme trial. This is not a time to push your people over the edge, leaving them with no choice but to resist you; and they will – so long as injustices persist in Uganda, and their dreams for a better tomorrow continue to push them towards direct confrontation with your authoritarian regime. If, peradventure, they should lose all fear of death; no amount of violence visited on them will stop them from violently overthrowing you. Please talk before it’s too late. This is the only way to clean up your image – both at home and abroad – and it’s free of charge.
I am, Sir, yours respectfully,
Stephen Kamugasa FRSA – is a non-practising barrister, an author, a consultant, a teacher, a pod-caster, a blogger; and, an occasional opinion columnist for ‘Edge,’ the official journal of the Institute of Leadership and Management in the UK.