By Ange Ngu Thomas
Two days after police raided the Red Pepper Newspaper and disrupted work at the company, it resumed publication today with the blazing headlines “Red Pepper is Back”. It nicknamed todays paper “The freedom Issue”. There is also an apology on the frontpage ; “Today’s copy is not our daily super quality but we hope you accept it”.
The Red Pepper and The Daily Monitor newspaper offices were invaded by “mean looking” police officers Monday after they published a confidential letter supposedly signed by army General David Sejusa in which he called for investigations into a “plot” to kill anyone who opposed plans to make Museveni’s son his successor.
The General’s Lawyer Joseph Luzige says the Gen Sejusa who is presently abroad, will not be returning anytime soon for security reasons.
Red Pepper now claims the police was using the present situation as an excuse to shut down their business.The Daily Monitior Namuwongo premises are also still under a police seal. Their sister Radio stations, KFM and Dembe FM, have also been shut down.
The police invaded both newspaper premises Monday after they reported president Yoweri Museveni was grooming his son to succeed him. The president’s son Muhoozi Kainerubaga is a Brigadier in the Ugandan army.
The president has consistently denied that he is grooming his son to succeed him but shutting down two newspapers after they published stories he was doing just that is in itself suspicious according to most Ugandans.
Rebel president who refuses to change
For the past 27 years, Museveni has re-invented himself with one aim, political survival. His long time critic and opposition leader Kizza has claimed Museveni has seized control of the army and created a “presidential monarchy”. He lost the 2001, 2006 and 2011 elctions against Museveni
Former Ugandan Attorney General George Kaneihamba is once quoted to have said; “…if the Yoweri Museveni of 1986 were to meet the Yoweri Museveni of today, they would fight on sight – in fact they would shoot each other.”
This statement outlines the changes that have taken place since the former rebel leader seized power in 1886.
Yoweri was applauded by the west when he seized power and somehow transformed country. He is no longer in favour following his attempts to entrench himself in power and his clampdown on gay rights in Uganda.
When he first seized power, he published a book called What is Africa’s Problem? and in it he wrote: “The problem of Africa in general and Uganda in particular is not the people but leaders who want to overstay in power.” 27 years after he came to power, he is no different from the “sit tight” African leaders he criticized in his book. He has since changed the constitution and “won” every elections he stood in.
Like father, like son
Ugandans don’t want a similar transfer of p[ower that happened in Togo, Gabon and DR Congo to happen in their country but Museveni might have other ideas.
Faure Gnassingbe took over as president of Togo when his father Gnassingbe Eyadema died in power in 2005. External pressure forced him to resign but he quickly organized elections in which he was a candidate. He easily won the elections in a way legitimizing an illegal transfer of power from father to son.
Following his death in 2009 after an uninterrupted 42 years in power in Gabon, Ali Bongo, son of Omar Bongo took over from him. Like Faure, he too organized elections he easily won.
Another African leader who succeeded his father in Democratic Republic of Congo is Joseph Kabila Kabange who took over as President from his father, Laurent-Desiré Kabila, ten days after he was assassinated in 2001. Joseph Kabila was later elected president in 2006 and again won the 2011 presidential elections