Saturday, April 30, 2011

Uganda: Publication Names Museveni Among Worst Dictators

The Monitor (Kampala)

Tabu Butagira and Gerald Bareebe
27 October 2010

Kampala — Writing in the influential Foreign Policy magazine, Ghanian-born American Prof. George Ayitteh, listed 40 presidents, among them President Museveni, as the world's "worst of the worst dictators".
On Tuesday, the first day of nominations for presidential candidates, the article published in the June/August edition, became part of the 2011 election politics. Makindye East MP Michael Mabikke, current chair of the Inter-Party Cooperation and leader of the opposition Social Democratic Party, stirred the crowd at Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium by reading out this list.
The large crowd surged forward as Mr Mabikke reached Venezuela's Hugo Chavez at number 17, and then roared as he declared: "At number nineteen, number nineteen is President Museveni." The stage had been set for Forum for Democratic Change leader, Kizza Besigye.
Everyone's responsibility
Dr Besigye said: "Some people have been saying you have lost twice what makes you think you can defeat Museveni this time? Like honourable Mabikke told you, pushing a dictator from power is not a responsibility of one person." "It is a responsibility of all of us."
Kizza Besigye, leader of the FDC opposition party, on the campaign trail.
Presidential Press Secretary Tamale Mirundi yesterday criticised the lumping of Mr Museveni together with the likes of Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, Cameroon's Paul Biya and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame as well as Egypt's Hosni Mubarak.
In Uganda, he said, regularly conducted elections; a vibrant, free media and functional Parliament as well as an independent Judiciary are hallmarks of democratic governance for which Mr Museveni deserves praise. "Museveni is a property of a revolutionary party called NRM," Mr Tamale said. "As long as NRM needs him as the most able to handle the challenges at hand, they will pick him."

Prof. Ayitteh, named by the Foreign Policy magazine in 2008 as one of the Top 100 public intellectuals globally, said in his article that he ranked the presidents based on "ignoble qualities of perfidy, cultural betrayal, and economic devastation." "After leading a rebel insurgency that took over Uganda in 1986, Museveni declared: No African head of state should be in power for more than 10 years."
Still here
"But 24 years later, he is still here, winning one coconut election after another in which other political parties are technically legal but a political rally of more than a handful of people is not." But Mr Tamale said Prof. Ayitteh, president of the Free Africa Foundation in Washington, is no intellectual because he is not working for America's National Space Agency and has no medicine discovery to his name.

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