Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

A former Uganda Supreme Court justice has said that were the country’s top banana, President Yoweri Museveni, to meet his own self of a quarter century ago, “they would shoot each other.”

Will Ross, reporting for the BBC News, provides a fascinating account of what’s gone wrong in the country after the ousting of tyrant and cannibal Idi Amin. The upshot? Not so good.

Freedom of assembly and the right to petition — protest — one’s government are a thing of the past in Uganda. Protestors got around this by holding “walk-to-work” protests . . . and then found themselves arrested. For walking.

Brutal government is back in style. A law society official laments that his people are “mourning the death of law in Uganda.”

And Museveni himself has become brutal. As Ross tries to explain, he’s changed over time.

Power has done something to him.

But this is not shocking. Indeed, it was predicted. By Museveni himself. “The problem of Africa in general and Uganda in particular,” he wrote in 1986, “is not the people but leaders who want to overstay in power.”

And yet here he remains, still in power. Unwilling to give it up.

From this follows many of the country’s other problems, the suppression, the police state tactics, even the declining economic outlook. In America, we used to call the necessary principle “rotation in office.” Now we speak of “term limits.”

Fledgling democracies need term limits as much or more than we do. The concept is universal.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. “Why the Brutality?” is another excellent column by Paul Jacob. I recall with horror the tyrant Idi Amin.

    I didn’t know he was a cannibal as well. Maybe my memory is slipping.

  2. Bruce Ludwig says:

    Yes, we need term limits, but how do we get the power mongers to vote themselves out of office? I cannot imagine that a Senator like ‘Chuck You’ Schumer would ever vote for term limits. Can you?

  3. Pat says:

    Term limits are up to the people. A Chuck Schumer can have his term limited by the people. It’s time we stopped calling for term limits. We have the power to impose them ourselves – with a vote.
    Our fledgeling democracy never had term limits. After being denied reelection to the presidency, John Quincy Adams served seventeen years in the House – until the day he died.

  4. Kenneth H. Fleischer says:

    I think we should continue to bear in mind the famous quote from Lord Acton, “Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I break down and elaborate the formula a little more: Mental and moral corruption tend to occur in proportion to each of three factors: Desire for power, duration of being in power, and amount of power attained. If any of the three factors is equal to zero, there is no corruption. That is, however, never the case in career politicians. And, if any of these is total, then the corruption is total, too.

    Museveni is a very illustrative instance of this.

    Having term limits is not really enough, although it helps; we need limits to total political service, regardless of office.

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