Museveni Is Riding On The ghosts Of Art. 269 In Kampala Of Today

Morris Komakech

The Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago must be applauded for turning down an invitation to meet with Mr. Museveni over the fate of Kampala’s evictions.

The “Muloodi” was right. In reiterating that the whole purpose of meeting Mr. Museveni was to devise plans to implement the agenda of ousting opposition from Kampala, Muloodi interpreted it right.

The Kampala Minister, already known for her sentimental enthusiasm bordering a flirt with Mr. Museveni, appointed herself a campaign manager in Kampala for the President in 2021.

The events that are taking place in Kampala right now, in which KCCA is forcefully evicting vendors from the street is reactionary, populist, poorly thought and lacks both in strategy and philosophy.

Cast against a simple test of urban planning, KCCA will continue to ride against a tide of angry Ugandans, deporting them from the city. Nevertheless, they will return the next day.

Kampala is not necessarily a bedrock of opposition although it votes for Opposition candidates. Kampala of today is multicultural city, with fewer ethnic monopoly and more disenfranchised hustlers. Most of them do not actually vote in the downtown core.

The real voters of Kampala are the slum dwellers who are also the same street vendors.

Kampala is not only for the upper class. It is a melting pot for the poor, the impoverished, the wretched and the hustlers who must learn to co-exist. You cannot clean a city by deporting people. You build a culture and superior infrastructure to accommodate diversity.

Since the NRM issued Legal Notice No. 1 in 1986 that effectively banned Parties and restricted them to their headquarters, most of the Party headquarters were situated in Kampala – and still are. Kampala therefore became the epicenter of political activism with Makerere University and UPC remaining active ingredients in challenging the status quo.

With the promulgation of the 1995 constitution, the ban on political party activities in the countryside was entrenched in the dreaded article 269. In that article, everyone in Uganda forcefully became NRM and all institutions of government were fused with the NRM party – still many are!

The countryside was deprived of political activism and all political parties obeyed. One would imagine that the Parties would change headquarters, say UPC would retreat to Kisoro, and DP to Teso.  Unfortunately, DP and Conservative Party of Mayanja Nkangi were in bed with the regime.

UPC and its President, Dr Milton Obote were singled out and targeted for destruction through intense propaganda to objectify and destroy them.  Unfortunately, UPC, on its own, is like Cancer. The more they attacked UPC, the more the Party gained political currency to remain afloat.

The challenges that Museveni meets in Kampala today are the repercussions of the article 269. Kampala was exposed to political activism they developed such a culture of defiance and became the political elites. The countryside remained docile, alienated from politics and continue to “sleep” with the “peace” that was “ushered in” by the NRM.

The rural folks are now waking up because the economic hardship cannot permit a sound sleep. Even the ghosts of Luwero, Northern Uganda and Teso are haunting the country.

Rural folks are suffering from Museveni-era economic programs dictated by structural adjustment programs. They know it has stifled the fundamental change promised at inception in 1986 at the steps of Parliament of Uganda and now they are destined to no change.

Our “Muloodi” was right. Attending a Kisanja Hakuna Muchezo planning is counterproductive and subversive to the Opposition. The economy needs fixing and opening up to include the street people in Kampala. As it is, the economy is cluttered with “greedy bastards” as Dylan Ratigan described in his 2012 book “Greedy Bastards:  How we can stop Corporate Communists, Banksters, and other Vampires from Sucking America dry”. It is not as flowery as Mr. Museveni wants us to believe.

The exclusion of indigenous Ugandans from the formal markets has generated second tier markets on the verandas and streets, where informal economies are contested. Expelling those people from the streets is not only immoral, but also politically suicidal.  Hon Betty Kamya can as well become the de-campaigning manager of Mr. Museveni in 2021 as they ride on the ghosts of Art. 269.

Mr. Komakech is a Ugandan Social Critic and Political analyst. Can contact via