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.