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Tibuhaburwa Dynasty still stoppable

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Tibuhaburwa Dynasty still stoppable

The imposition of the Tibuhaburwa Dynasty is now full steam ahead. General Yoweri Museveni Tibuhaburwa’s contempt for the electoral regulations and military codes of the land will not be the last laws he sets aside in pursuit of his dynastic agenda. Obviously, in societies where the rule of law matters and is applied equally to all citizens, General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, a serving army officer, would not have been allowed to engage in active partisan politics and pursuit of the presidency. 


If any other serving soldier in the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) even jokingly disclosed that they had had nighttime dreams of being elected president of Uganda in 2031, they would be immediately placed on the conveyor belt to professional and political oblivion. Why, some would even be sent to jail for a period of reorientation. 


Likewise, Muhoozi’s citizenship would have been thoroughly examined before launching his political campaign. Whether or not Muhoozi, who was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on April 24, 1974, is automatically disqualified from candidacy for the presidency of Uganda is not clear. Article 102 of the current Constitution expressly disqualifies one from becoming president of Uganda if one is not a citizen by birth. However, my layman’s review of Muhoozi’s case does not find a clear answer.  


Article 4 of the 1967 Constitution of Uganda allowed citizenship to “every person born outside Uganda one of whose parents or grandparents was a citizen of Uganda.”  Whereas Maj. Gen. Idi Amin Dada suspended parts of the 1967 Constitution following the military coup d’état in 1971, the Article on citizenship was probably not affected. On this basis alone, Muhoozi was a Ugandan by birth given that his exiled parents were Ugandan citizens. 


However, things get tricky if he was a Tanzanian by birth or if he acquired Tanzanian citizenship through application. Whereas Article 6 of the 1967 Constitution allowed dual citizenship, it required Ugandan citizens to renounce foreign citizenship(s) upon turning 22. For Muhoozi, this would have been required after April 24, 1996. Given that the 1967 Constitution was superseded by the 1995 Constitution, my very unlearned mind concludes that the 1967 Constitution will not haunt Muhoozi.


What may haunt him is that the 1995 Constitution prohibited dual citizenship. If he was a citizen of Tanzania or of Sweden (where he spent a few years in exile), and if he did not formally renounce such citizenship, he automatically lost his right to legally obtain Ugandan citizenship under the 1995 Constitution. The subsequent amendment in 2005 to allow dual citizenship required application by a non-citizen, including those who had been Ugandans by birth, to reclaim Ugandan citizenship. 


Was Muhoozi ever a citizen of Tanzania or another country? Did he renounce such foreign citizenship before claiming Ugandan citizenship under the 1995 Constitution? Did he formally apply for and receive dual citizenship status under the 2005 amendment of the Constitution of Uganda?  I pose these questions aware that his father’s regime can easily rectify such irritants by retroactively editing the records. However, the legal community ought to interest themselves in the matter for historical clarity. 


Muhoozi Kainerugaba is not subject to the rules that govern others. In any case, President Museveni can easily solve these minor irritants if he chooses to put a few cosmetic touches to his project. Parliament can amend the Constitution to empower the president to allow, at his discretion, a serving military officer to engage in active politics. While at it, Museveni can get Parliament to amend Article 103 of the Constitution so that the president is elected by the MPs, and not by adult citizens of Uganda. 


Not that these things should detain Ugandans or distract them form the urgent need to reclaim their country. Museveni Tibuhaburwa captured the land title of a 241,037 square kilometer territory called Uganda. With that land title, Museveni claims total ownership of the land, its resources, its laws, its people and its future. Those who think that Museveni will allow anyone to take the throne from his son without a fight deceive themselves. Those who think that prayers alone will trigger divine intervention without human agency to save Uganda from a predictable crisis, engage in delusional thinking.  


I see three possible responses to the Muhoozi Project. The first is to remain silent, out of fear or out of a misguided belief that one is “non-political” and exempt from the active struggle for freedom. This choice is tantamount to acquiescence or support for the dynastic project. Sir Thomas More’s famous saying in Latin at his treason trial in 1535 that qui tacet consentire videtur (silence denotes consent) has never been truer in Uganda than at this time of national crisis. 


The second response is an attempt by people to try Museveni’s method that enabled him to capture Uganda in 1986 and pursue his imperial dream. This would be a foolish and disastrous option for two main reasons. First, violence is destructive. Uganda has 60 years’ worth of evidence that the gun is a weapon that achieves only one thing – more violence. Second, the victors invariably lay claim to the spoils, subscribe to an entitlement to power and the country’s resources, and employ violence to retain power. For these reasons, I completely reject violence as an option. 


The third option is for people to place Uganda before self, mobilize or join forces with those who seek peaceful resistance against the ruler’s plan to complete his dominance and enslavement of the land. This requires a countrywide coalition that rejects the usual divisions along tribe, religion and partisan politics. Its success requires Ugandans to recognise and be confident that the Muhoozi succession is not a done deal.


 Past dynastic transitions in kingdoms like Buganda, Bunyoro, Nkore and Rwanda were contested. Many of the favoured crown princes lost the contests, though the methods used were often bloody and not worthy of emulation in modern times. Peaceful resistance is the only option I support.


That resistance should be supported by genuine prayers to the Lord for the protection of His people and for a new leadership that puts God before all else and lives and acts according to His Word. 


Stopping the Tibuhaburwa Dynasty is not going to be easy. Museveni will use his armies and militias, his extensive administrative structures and plenty of cash to try and pave the way for his son’s accession to the throne. However, a determined population of patriots that puts Uganda and the fate of their children and grandchildren first, can do what Kenyans did when they rallied together to peacefully defeat Daniel arap Moi’s succession project in 2002. It is the only worthy option.


© Muniini K. Mulera

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