File photo of Cadre Amlan Tumusiime the writer of the opinion
Joseph Kabuleeta is my good friend. He’s a generous and intelligent man. Although we are close friends, he never shared with me his interest to join active politics particularly the presidential race. The first time i heard about it as a rumour, i contacted him and inquired from him if it was true and he gave me a rather cryptic answer, thus “Those things aren’t easy and I don’t trust you because i know you are a very strong supporter of President Museveni, let us leave that story “.
Later i started hearing of the stories of kabulata organizing the Kabuleta football tournaments in Hoima. Again i took an initiative to ask him what plans he had and still he was reluctant to reveal his intentions to me. On the 31st day of December, 2019, both i and Joseph Kabuleta we were invited by a youthful pastor in Hoima called Pastor Vincent Museven of Ebenezer church to usher in a new year 2020 at sir Tiito Wnyi play ground in Kiryateete Hoima municipality where close to 30000 people mainly the youths attended.
Pastor Joseph Kabuleta was the main preacher of the night and through out his summons he never made any political statement but only concentrated on the word of God. Instead it was the host Pastor Vincent Museven whose love for his namesake President Museveni couldn’t allow him to shy away from making political statements.
Smartly dressed in a white suit with marching white shoes and neck tie Pastor Museveni said, ” dear church members we have our brother Amlan Tumusiime with us here whom you all know as President Museveni’s strong supporter and we as church are sending him to tell the President that we love him and support him and through him we request the President to come and visit our church because we are his supporters “.
He further went on,” My father loved President Yoweri Kaguta Museven so much that the day he won the bush war and took over Kampala is the day i was born and my father named me after him. I personally love and support President Museven and i openly campaign for him. We still need President Museven for many more years as our President and we shall continue praying for him”. Pastor Museven said.
As he was saying this, Joseph Kabuleta was only smiling and he never said anything contrary. Later i was invited to address the crowd and on taking to the microphone the excited crowd couldn’t wait for me to utter a word before they started chanting ” Happy new year, Museveni oyee” I almost failed to make a speech until the host Pastor Vincent Museven took a microphone from me and calmed the excited crowd down.
When Joseph Kabuleta later announced his presidential bid, i personally rang him and once again asked him what game he was planning and he in a friendly tone said ” You are for President Museveni and therefore I don’t trust you “. So now it is official that Joseph Kabuleta is a presidential hopeful waiting to be nominated.
File photo of Kabuleta above
Since Joseph Kabuleta’s declaration that he’s going to contest for the presidency, i have seen all the Bunyoro based social media platforms getting excited about the his bid. This excitement in my own view i would call it ” Temporary ” because it’s not based on Joseph Kabuleta’s ability to perform the roles of the president but rather “he’s a munyoro our own son ” which i personally find unconvincing and totally uncalled for.
I have also observed that majority of the people from Bunyoro on social media platforms who are popularizing and promoting Joseph Kabuleta’s presidential candidature are the known people who have never supported or even voted for President Museveni . I know almost 90% of them personally and they are my friends both in Hoima Masindi, Buliisa and the greater Kibaale. They have been supporting Dr Kiiza Besigye and of recent Bobi Wine and Gen Mugisha Muntu and now they have abandoned them for Joseph Kabuleta.
The question is, do they have a strong message from my friend Joseph Kabuleta which is a serious one to the people of Bunyoro or even Uganda as a whole? My answer is no, they are only excited by two factors, namely ” Joseph Kabuleta our own son” and the secondly Joseph Kabuleta has promised to bring money in our pockets”. I personally consider the second one a total pipe dream or call it false hopes because apart from talking of money Kabuleta is not explaining the source of this money.
It’s important to note that Uganda’s economy is doing fairly well and has since significantly improved with the coming of the NRM leadership under President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. For instance Uganda’s GDP in 2018 was USD 27.46 billion compared to USD 3.923 billion in 1986 when NRM took over power. Uganda’s GDP was projected to hit USD 30 billion by the end of the 2020, USD 32.50 billion in 2021 and USD 34 billion in 2022 according to the Trading Economics global macro models and analysts. Uganda’s Tax to GDP ratio has been has been consistently improving with the country recording 13.5% in 2017, 14.01% in 2018, 14.4% in 2019. Uganda’s Tax to GDP ratio in 2017 (13.5%) was lower than the average of the 26 African countries according to the Revenue statistics in Africa 2019 (17.2%) by 3.6 percentage points and also lower than the LAC average (22.8%).
Therefore going by the most reliable Uganda’s current economic statistics, you will appreciate that Uganda isn’t a poor country and indeed the people of Uganda Bunyoro inclusive aren’t poor. Money can trickle more into the households when people are encouraged to appreciate the importance of strategic importance of adopting commercial agriculture as opposed to subsistence agriculture. Agricultural production should focus on both money and food for home consumption. This will require deliberate government intervention in areas of agricultural field extension services, post harvest handling, value addition and ofcourse improved agricultural markets. Government will also need to step up efforts in combating corruption in public offices and internal sabotage by the wrong elements within the system.
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has done his best but he’s being let down by those who are entrusted with critical responsibility to take his vision forward and therefore he’s not to blame. Fortunately, the president has stepped up efforts to weed out all the saboteurs who are hell bent on failing his well intentioned programs for the people of Uganda.
Secondly, on the argument that ” Kabuleta our son” I find it very unfortunate and politically misleading. Any politics based on tribal and religious sentiments is not only bad but it’s backward as it causes division, hatred and in some cases death as a result of tribal clashes or genocide. NRM under the leadership of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni dispises and discourages tribal and religious inclined politics and this is partly what shaped the dark days of Uganda before NRM took over. Such an approach to politics must therefore be condemned and rejected with all the contempt that it deserves.
File photo of President Yoweri Museveni
In 2021 when I was still working as a News Editor on Radio Hoima, i witnessed how bad tribal based politics could be. The people of greater Kibale district voted “omufuruki” a word commonly used to refer to the Bakiga migrants in Bunyoro region Mr Fred Rulemera as district chairman and a group of radical Banyoro led by the Mubende Bunyoro Commit mobilised the native Banyoro to reject the elected Mugika chairman who had defeated a native Munyoro Sabastian Ssekitoleko. This resulted into the death of innocent people and destruction of property until president Museveni intervened and diffused the tensions by recommending a compromise personality George William Nyamyaka who took over as chairman LCV Kibale district. I’ve since then devoted myself to fight against tribalism and promote peaceful coexistence among the different tribes in Bunyoro region.
My efforts in fighting against tribalism especially using Hoima Radio where i worked by then prompted HRH Solomon Gafabusa Iguru to host me at his palace at Karuzika Hoima in appreciation for the good work i was doing. When my young brother Hon. Kirungi Kadiri was elected as district chairman Hoima i quickly advised him to come up with an all-inclusive district Executive where different tribes are appointed from among the district councilors and also the same for the district boards and commissions so that all parties are represented and I’m glad that he obliged.
In conclusion, the narrative of “our son” won’t make Joseph Kabuleta to eat into the NRM’s support base in Bunyoro but instead will see NRM win with not less than 90% in the forthcoming general elections. Joseph Kabuleta will be lucky enough to get 5% of the votes in Bunyoro in the next general elections. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni will still win Bunyoro region comfortably.
Cadre Amlan Tumusiime.