Transcript: Uganda: 50 Years After Idi Amin | Feb 17, 2021

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length straight brown hair. She's wearing glasses, a gray blazer over a black shirt, and a golden pendant necklace.

A caption on screen reads "Uganda: 50 years after the coup. Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

Nam says IT'S BEEN FIFTY YEARS SINCE IDI AMIN LED THE MILITARY COUP IN UGANDA THAT OVERTHREW THEN PRESIDENT, MILTON OBOTE. BOTH OCCUPIED BLOODY REGIMES IN THE HISTORY OF A NATION WHOSE EFFORTS AT DEMOCRACY REMAIN TENTATIVE TO THIS DAY. WITH US NOW FOR MORE: IN KAMPALA, UGANDA: GERALD BAREEBE, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE AT YORK UNIVERSITY AND FORMER REPORTER AT THE DAILY MONITOR, UGANDA'S LARGEST INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER...

Gerald is in his thirties, balding, with a shadow of a beard. He's wearing a blue suit and shirt.

Nam continues IN ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN: DEREK PETERSON, PROFESSOR OF AFRICAN HISTORY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN AND A WINNER OF THE "GENIUS." FELLOWSHIP FROM THE MACARTHUR FOUNDATION. HE IS ALSO THE AUTHOR OF THE UPCOMING BOOK: "THE UNSEEN ARCHIVE OF IDI AMIN: PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE UGANDA BROADCASTING CORPORATION."

Derek is in his fifties, with receding brown hair and a mustache. He's wearing glasses, a blue shirt and a striped tie.
A picture of his book appears briefly on screen. The cover features a black and white picture of Amin giving a speech.

Nam continues AND IN WELLINGTON, IN PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY, ONTARIO: RITA ABRAHAMSEN, PROFESSOR IN THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA, WHERE SHE IS ALSO DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRE FOR INTERNATIONAL POLICY STUDIES.

Rita is in her late forties, with long wavy gray hair. She's wearing glasses, a black blazer over a black blouse, and a blue pendant necklace.

Nam continues HELLO. WELCOME TO YOU ALL. THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE FOR THIS TIMELY DISCUSSION. BEFORE WE START OUR CONVERSATION, I'M GOING TO SHOW A SHORT CLIP THAT AIRED PRIOR TO THE ELECTION. SHELDON, PLEASE ROLL.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "January 14, 2021."

A woman on the street says WE NEED THIS ELECTION IN PEACE AS WE UGANDANS, WE NEED THIS ELECTION TO BE IN PEACE.

A man wearing a red facemask says WE WANT PEACE, FIRST OF ALL, AND WE NEED THESE ELECTIONS, THE COMMISSION TO ENSURE THAT ELECTIONS HAVE GO SMOOTH and nice.

The clip ends.

Nam says THE UGANDA ELECTION TOOK PLACE IN JANUARY AND PEACE WAS SOMETHING THAT WE HEARD ABOUT THE ELECTION, AND HERE'S AN EXCERPT FROM THE OBSERVER...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Statistical impossibilities." The quote reads "President Museveni scored 100 percent at 348 polling stations in the Kiruhura, Kazo and Isingiro districts, according to an analysis of presidential election data released by the Electoral Commission."
Quoted from U.R.N., The Observer. January 29. 2021.

Nam says GERALD, I WANT TO START WITH YOU BEING YOU'RE THE FURTHEST AWAY AND YOU'RE IN KAMPALA ON THE GROUND. PRESIDENT MUSEVENI SAID AND I QUOTE THIS IS THE MOST CHEATING-FREE ELECTION SINCE 1962. HOW HAVE THE RESULTS OF HIM WINNING THE ELECTION BEEN RECEIVED BY UGANDANS?

Two pictures pop up briefly showing Museveni in his youth, in a military outfit, and in present day, in a suit.

The caption changes to "Gerald Bareebe. York University."
Then, it changes again to "Democracy in dire straits?"

Gerald says THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR HAVING ME ON, NAM. SO MANY UGANDANS EXPECTED THE ELECTIONS NOT TO BE FREE AND FAIR AND THEY WERE WORRIED, OF COURSE, FOR SECURITY AND ACCEPTANCE IN THE POST-ELECTION PERIOD. PART OF IT WAS, OF COURSE, THE PRESIDENT HAS CULTIVATED THIS IMAGE OF SOMEONE WHO CAN GUARANTEE SECURITY AND PEACE AFTER UGANDA, OF COURSE, WENT THROUGH A PERIOD OF SOCIOECONOMIC CORRUPTION AND CIVIL WAR THAT TOOK PLACE IN 1986, AND OF COURSE OVERTHREW IDI AMIN GOVERNMENT. SINCE THE VOTING TOOK PLACE, OF COURSE VOTING WAS MARRED BY WIDESPREAD CASES OF VOTER FRAUD, BALLOT BOX-STUFFING, BUT SINCE PRESIDENT MUSEVENI WAS DECLARED WINNER, WE HAVE SEEN MASS PROTESTS OF OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS. THERE HAS BEEN A HIGH LEVEL OF REPRESSION THAT HAS PROBABLY NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE IN UGANDA SINCE THE IDI AMIN PERIOD. PART OF IT IS BECAUSE THE ELECTION WAS HIGHLY CONTESTED. THE OPPOSITION REJECTED THE OUTCOME. THERE WERE WIDESPREAD CASES OF VOTER FRAUD AND BALLOT BOX STUFFING AND THE OPPOSITION SAID THEY COULD NOT ACCEPT THE OUTCOME OF SUCH AN ELECTORAL PROCESS. SO WHAT WE SAW AFTER THE VOTING WAS THE DEPLOYMENT OF THE MILITARY AND POLICE THROUGHOUT KAMPALA AND ALL OTHER MAJOR TOWNS IN ORDER TO CONTAIN ANY POSSIBLE CASES OF PROTESTS AGAINST THE OUTCOME OF THE ELECTION.

A map of Uganda pops up briefly highlighting the location of Kampala.

Nam says WE SHOULD MENTION THAT THE OPPOSITION, HE'S BEEN CALLED PRESIDENT MUSEVENI'S MOST FORMIDABLE OPPOSITION TO DATE. HAVING AN ELECTION DURING A PANDEMIC, COVID PROTOCOLS WERE USED TO EXPLAIN A LOT OF THE RULES AROUND THE ELECTION. WHAT DO YOU THINK... HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE CURRENT MOOD ON THE GROUND IN UGANDA?

The caption changes to "Gerald Bareebe, @geraldbareebe."

Gerald says THE CHALLENGE THAT THE OPPOSITION HAD IN THIS ELECTION WAS THAT THEY HAVE NO ACCESS TO MASS MEDIA, OF COURSE THE MEDIA IS CONTROLLED BY THE GOVERNMENT, AND WHEN THE GOVERNMENT INTRODUCED THESE COVID-19 PROTOCOLS IT WAS UNDERSTOOD THERE WOULD NOT BE MASS RALLIES OR CAMPAIGNS AND THAT THEY HAVE TO BE DONE THROUGH THE INTERNET OR ANOTHER PLATFORM OR RADIO OR TELEVISION, IT BECAME VERY DIFFICULT FOR THE OPPOSITION ON THESE PLATFORMS BECAUSE AS I SAY MANY ARE CONTROLLED BY THE GOVERNMENT. SO IT'S BECOME A VERY BIG CHALLENGE. BUT ON THE OTHER HAND THE GOVERNMENT OR THE RULING PARTY WAS ABLE TO EXPLOIT COVID-19 AND ALLOWED THE PRESIDENT TO MOVE AROUND THE COUNTRY TO ADDRESS PEOPLE VIA RADIO STATIONS AND ON TELEVISION AND ALWAYS HIS ADDRESSES WERE COVERED BY EVERY TELEVISION AND RADIO STATION ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. SO THE GROUND WAS OF COURSE TILTED AGAINST THE OPPOSITION IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Nam says DO YOU FIND THAT THERE IS A BIT OF A GENERATIONAL DIVIDE AS TO WHO SUPPORTS BOBBY WINE AND WHO SUPPORTS PRESIDENT MUSEVENI?

A montage of two pictures shows Bobby Wine. In one picture, he sports a modern look, in a black synthetic hoodie, with chains. In the other, he wears a suit and a bright red beret as he holds up a fist, surrounded by people wearing the same outfit.

Gerald says YES. SO OVER 70 percent OF UGANDANS ARE BELOW THE AGE OF 30, AND BOBBY WINE IS VERY YOUNG AND ENERGETIC ENERGETIC. HE HAS BEEN ABLE TO BECOME AN INSPIRATION FOR MANY YOUTH. THE PARTICIPATION OF THE YOUTH IN THIS ELECTION HAS BEEN VERY, VERY HIGH. PART OF IT IS BECAUSE THE WAY BOBBY WINE CARRIED OUT HIS CAMPAIGN WAS APPEALING TO THE YOUTH AND UGANDA IS ONE OF THE YOUNGEST COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD. THE YOUTH WAS ABLE TO TAKE UP THIS BOBBY WINE MESSAGE AND PARTICIPATE IN THE ELECTION. NOW, THE CHALLENGE THAT PRESIDENT MUSEVENI HAS, HIS RULING PARTY, IS FULL OF PEOPLE THAT ARE OVER THE AGE OF 70. AND FIRST THING THE CANDIDATE IN BOBBY WINE WHO IS ALMOST HALF OF PRESIDENT MUSEVENI'S AGE BECAME A VERY BIG CHALLENGE AND I THINK GOING FORWARD THAT'S THE CHALLENGE THAT THE RULING PARTY FACES. THE COUNTRY IS VERY YOUNG. THE YOUTH FACE A LOT OF PROBLEMS LIKE UNEMPLOYMENT, LACK OF JOBS, POOR SERVICE DELIVERY, ACCESS TO EDUCATION. BUT THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT THE RULING PARTY HAS PROVIDED AND BOBBY WINE HAS BEEN ABLE TO HIGHLIGHT SOME OF THESE PROBLEMS THAT AFFECT YOUTH IN UGANDA AND SHOWING THEM THAT THE RULING PARTY FOR 35 YEARS HAS FAILED TO MEET THE CHALLENGES OF THE YOUTH.

Nam says BEEN IN POWER FOR 35 YEARS AND BEEN ABLE TO BE IN POWER FOR THIS LONG BECAUSE THE CONSTITUTION HAS BEEN CHANGED A COUPLE OF TIMES. HOW MANY TIMES AS THE CONSTITUTION BEEN CHANGED IN UGANDA.

Gerald says UMM HAS BEEN ABLE TO POSITION HIMSELF IN A WAY TO ALLOWS HIM TO RULE THE COUNTRY USING ALL DIFFERENT TACTICS REPRESSION WITH A STRATEGIC. THE CHANGE OF THE CONSTITUTION IN 2005 WHEN THE AGE LIMITED GROWS. LIMITED THE PRESIDENT WHEN REMOVED. AGAIN IT WAS CHANGED SIX YEARS AGO TO REMOVE THE RULES THAT BAN ANYONE ABOVE THE AGE OF 75 FROM PARTICIPATING IN THE ELECTION AS A HEAD OF STATE. NOW ALL THESE PERSONS WERE REMOVED IN ORDER TO SERVE OUR PRESIDENT TO RUN ANOTHER TIME IN OFFICE. NOW AS A RESULT UGANDA NOW IS IN A STATE OF UNCERTAINTY WHERE PRESIDENT IS ABLE TO RULE THE COUNTRY UNTIL HIS DEATH. BECAUSE HE'S NOW OVER THE AGE OF 75 AND HE'S JUST WON TO ALLOW HIM TO RULE THE COUNTRY UNTIL THE AGE OF 80 AND GIVEN HIS APPETITE OF POWER. HE WILL RUN AGAIN AT THE NEXT ELECTIONS. WHICH WILL ALLOW HIM TO RULE THE COUNTRY UNTIL HE'S 85. SO THIS EXPLAIN ALL THE AVENUES DEMOCRATIC AVENUES TO BAN THE PRESIDENT FROM RUNNING AGAIN. BE IN THE CONSTITUTION AND BEEN REMOVED IN ORDER TO GET GATHER THE INTERESTS OF ONE PERSON TO RULE THE COUNTRY AS LONG AS HE WISHES AND USING THE MAJORITY IN THE PARLIAMENT BECAUSE HIS PARTY BEEN IN CONTROL OF THE PARLIAMENT AND HE'S BEEN GIVING FOR EACH CONTROLS AND RECEIVED MILLIONS AS A BRIBE IN ORDER FOR THEM TO CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION.

Nam says RITA, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS ELECTION, WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT THIS ELECTION IS PARTICULARLY SIGNIFICANT?

The caption changes to "Rita Abrahamsen. University of Ottawa. Centre for International Policy Studies."

Rita says WELL, IN LIGHT OF WHAT GERALD SAID, THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION IN THE SENSE THAT ELECTIONS IN UGANDA HAVE LONG BEEN A FOREGONE CONCLUSION, AND THIS ELECTION WAS NO DIFFERENT. NOBODY EXPECTED A FREE AND FAIR ELECTION. NOBODY EXPECTED MUSEVENI AND THE RULING PARTY TO LOSE. BUT ELECTIONS STILL MATTER. THEY DO KIND OF BESTOW A VERY THIN VENEER OF LEGITIMACY ON THE REGIME. AND I THINK THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS THAT WERE IMPORTANT ABOUT THIS ELECTION, BUT TO START... AND GERALD AGAIN HAS HINTED AT THIS... IS THE PHENOMENAL RISE OF BOBBY WINE AND THE WAY IN WHICH WINE MANAGED TO MOBILIZE THE ENERGY OF THE YOUTH, AND REALLY IT SIGNALLED THAT MOVING FORWARD THERE IS NO WAY ONE CAN RULE UGANDA WITHOUT INCORPORATING THIS MASSIVE YOUTHFUL POPULATION, AND THAT POPULATION HAS SO FAR BEEN EXCLUDED FROM POLITICS, EXCLUDED FROM THE DAY-TO-DAY RUNNING OF THE COUNTRY, AND THIS WAS A REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT CHANGE AND SIGNAL TO MUSEVENI AND THE REGIME MOVING FORWARD. THE OTHER THING I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO HIGHLIGHT ABOUT THIS ELECTION IS THAT IT REALLY ILLUSTRATES THE EXTENT TO WHICH THIS REGIME IS WILLING TO TURN TO AUTHORITARIAN MEANS TO KEEP THEIR GRIP ON POWER. VIOLENCE, OPPRESSION, INTIMIDATION HAVE BEEN A FEATURE OF PRETTY MUCH ALL MULTI-PARTY ELECTIONS IN UGANDA, BUT THE VIOLENCE, THE INTIMIDATION THIS TIME WAS UNPRECEDENTED. AND I THINK THIS ILLUSTRATES TO UGANDANS AND TO UGANDA'S SUPPORTERS ABROAD THAT MUSEVENI WILL DO PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING TO KEEP HIS GRIP ON POWER AND THAT CALLS INTO QUESTION A WHOLE LOT OF THE DONOR ASSISTANCE THAT UGANDA HAS BEEN RELYING UPON TO A SIGNIFICANT DEGREE AND IT SHOWS THAT THIS IS NOT REALLY A DEMOCRACY. WE MAY BE LOOKING AT AN AUTHORITARIAN REGIME WITH ELECTIONS BUT WE'RE NOT LOOKING AT A DEMOCRACY.

Nam says I THINK PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT MUSEVENI WOULD SAY, AND THIS IS SOMETHING THAT PRESIDENT MUSEVENI HAS ALSO SAID, HE'S ACCUSED FOREIGN AGENTS OF INTERFERING IN WHAT'S GOING ON IN UGANDA. HOW TRUE IS THAT?

The caption changes to "Rita Abrahamsen, @abrahamsen_rita."

Rita says I DON'T THINK THERE'S MUCH TRUTH TO THAT. I MEAN, THIS HAS BEEN A TACTIC OF MUSEVENI FOR VERY LONG. THIS IS HOW HE SEEKS TO DELEGITIMIZE HIS OPPONENTS BY SAYING THEY ARE AGENTS OR STOOGES OF FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS, AND IF IT HAD BEEN UP TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IDI AMIN WOULD HAVE STILL BEEN IN POWER AND SO FORTH. THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT OPPOSITION POLITICIANS LIKE BOBBY WINE HAS A FAIR DEGREE OF SUPPORT AND ENTHUSIASM IN THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, BUT THEY ALSO HAVE SIGNIFICANT SUPPORT AND ENTHUSIASM AT HOME, PARTICULARLY AMONG THE YOUNG URBAN ELECTORATE. BUT THIS IS NOT TO SAY... AND I THINK THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERLINE... IT IS NOT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, WHOEVER THEY SUPPORT, BE IT MUSEVENI OR THE OPPOSITION, THEY CANNOT BRING ABOUT DEMOCRACY IN UGANDA. DEMOCRACY IN UGANDA CAN REALLY ONLY COME FROM AT HOME FROM THE DOMESTIC ELECTORATE. IT CANNOT COME FROM ABROAD BY BEING IMPOSED IN ANY WAY LIKE THAT.

Nam says I'D LIKE TO READ A QUOTE FROM UGANDAN MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT IBRAHIM WHO WAS TWEETED RECENTLY...

A tweet by user "@beewol" pops up that reads "'The difference between the Amin regime and the Museveni regime is that the Museveni regime has educated people who can explain away murders. Otherwise the crimes that Amin committed, this regime has committed.' Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda."

Nam says DEREK, HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND TO PEOPLE WHO COMPARE IDI AMIN'S REGIME WITH TODAY?

The caption changes to "Derek Peterson. University of Michigan. Author, 'The unseen archive of Idi Amin.'"

A picture of Amin appears briefly. He wears a military uniform and a green beret.

Derek says THAT HAS A LOT OF CURRENCY TODAY IN UGANDA, AS YOU MIGHT EXPECT, ON TWITTER AND TO SOME EXTENT ON OTHER MEDIA AS WELL. IT IS CERTAINLY RHETORICALLY POWERFUL COMPARING MUSEVENI TO IDI AMIN IS USEFUL TO GENERATE OUTRAGE AND TO HELP HIGHLIGHT THE STAKES IN MUSEVENI'S GOVERNMENT. BEYOND ITS USE AS A RHETORICAL TOOL, THOUGH, I'M NOT ENTIRELY CONFIDENT THAT COMPARING PRESIDENT MUSEVENI WITH PRESIDENT AMIN IS THAT HELPFUL. FOR ONE THING, IT'S WORTH SAYING THAT WHILE PRESIDENT MUSEVENI'S GOVERNMENT IS INCREASINGLY AUTHORITARIAN, PRESIDENT AMIN NEVER HELD ELECTIONS AT ALL. FROM THE LATE '60S, IN FACT, POLITICAL PARTIES WERE BANNED IN UGANDA, AND WHEN PRESIDENT AMIN CAME TO POWER IN JANUARY 1971, HE CARRIED FORWARD THIS OLDER POLICY AGAINST HAVING POLITICAL PARTIES ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN PUBLIC LIFE. SO THE FIRST ELECTION THAT WAS HELD FROM 1962... THE FIRST NATIONAL ELECTION HELD FROM '62 FORWARD OCCURRED IN 1980, IN DECEMBER, AFTER IDI AMIN'S REGIME FELL. SO ONE THING TO SAY IS THAT THE MUSEVENI GOVERNMENT IS SET UP DIFFERENTLY THAN THE AMIN GOVERNMENT WAS SET UP. THE AMIN GOVERNMENT WAS A MILITARY DICTATORSHIP. POLITICS HAPPENED BY DECREE. EVERYTHING WAS DONE FROM KAMPALA AND HANDED DOWN TO THE PROVINCES IN A VERY ONE-WAY MANNER. PRESIDENT MUSEVENI'S REGIME WORKS DIFFERENTLY. I TAKE THE POINT THAT, YOU KNOW, THE INCREASING VIOLENCE IN PUBLIC LIFE REMINDS PEOPLE OF ASPECTS OF THE 1970S. BUT NONETHELESS, PRESIDENT MUSEVENI'S REGIME IS MORE ANSWERABLE TO THE PUBLIC WILL, CONSIDERABLY MORE ANSWERABLE TO THE POLITICAL WILL THAN AMIN'S HAD BEEN. FOR AMIN, THE MILITARY ITSELF HELD THE ANSWERS AND IT WAS UP TO GOVERNMENT TO IMPLEMENT THE PRESIDENT'S DIRECTIVES AND FOR ADMINISTRATORS IN THE PROVINCES TO FOLLOW THE LINE THAT AMIN GAVE. THAT'S THE WAY THAT POLITICS WORKED IN THE '70S.

Nam says AS AN HISTORIAN, WHY THEN DOES PRESIDENT MUSEVENI HOLD ELECTIONS?

The caption changes to "Derek Peterson, @Unseen_Archive."
Then, it changes again to "A fair comparison?"

Derek says WELL, PART OF IT IS TO DO WITH THE ISSUES THAT RITA ABRAHAMSEN MENTIONED A FEW MINUTES AGO, THAT IS LENDING A KIND OF VENEER OF AUTHENTICITY, AS SHE PUT IT, TO POLITICS. ELECTIONS HAVE A LONG HISTORY IN UGANDA, AS RITA POINTS OUT. THEY'VE OFTEN BEEN FOREORDAINED. THEY HAVE BEEN FROM THE BEGINNING OF CREATING SOMETHING LIKE A NATIONAL CONSENSUS. SO THE FIRST NATIONAL ELECTIONS IN UGANDA WERE HELD IN 1961. THEY WERE DEEPLY CONTESTED. A LARGE PART OF UGANDA'S PEOPLE BOYCOTTED THE ELECTIONS BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T AGREE THAT THE ELECTION ITSELF COULD BE LEGITIMATE, THAT MAJORITY RULE ITSELF WAS THOUGHT TO BE ILLEGITIMATE BY A SIGNIFICANT PROPORTION OF UGANDA'S PEOPLE. THE BIGGEST NATIONAL ELECTIONS IN UGANDA'S HISTORY WERE HELD IN 1962 AT THE TIME OF INDEPENDENCE, AGAIN DEEPLY CONTESTED, RESULTED IN THE FIRST PRIME MINISTERSHIP OF MILTON OBOTE WHO CAME TO POWER AT THE TIME OF INDEPENDENCE. MUSEVENI HOLDS ELECTIONS TODAY BECAUSE HE'S CARRYING ON A LONG TRADITION OF ELECTORAL ORGANIZING. IT'S A WAY, AS COLLEAGUES WHO ARE ANTHROPOLOGISTS POINT OUT, OF GENERATING AN IMPRESSION, A KIND OF CONSOLIDATING POLITICAL LOYALTY, EVEN IF THE VOTES ARE NOT ACCURATELY COUNTED ENTIRELY, NONETHELESS ELECTIONS HAVE AN IMPORTANT PURPOSE IN HELPING GOVERNMENT AND THE PEOPLE TO WHOM IT'S ACCOUNTABLE ENTER INTO SOMETHING LIKE A BARGAIN WITH EACH OTHER. THAT'S THE IMPORTANT THING HERE.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Nam says GERALD, I WANT TO BRING YOU BACK IN THIS. DESPITE THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HIM, PRESIDENT MUSEVENI IS STILL SEEN BY MANY AS A FATHER FIGURE, HE HAS A NICKNAME AND HE'S CALLED GRANDFATHER. WHY IS THIS THE CASE?

Gerald says WELL, THE PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT MUSEVENI, AND I THINK WE SHOULD ALSO ADMIT THAT, YES, MUSEVENI REMAINS VERY POPULAR, ESPECIALLY IN RURAL AREAS OF UGANDA WHERE HE BASED HIS REBELLION TO FIGHT HIS WAY TO POWER. THEY LOOK AT HIM AS A FATHER FIGURE. THEY CALL HIM A FORM OF RESPECT FOR ELDERLY. HIS WIFE IS CALLED MAMA ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, AMONG THOSE SEGMENTS OF THE POPULATION. PART OF THE REASON IS BECAUSE... IF YOU COMPARE MUSEVENI AND IDI AMIN, I WOULD SAY THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE IS THAT IDI AMIN WAS A COMPLETE AUTHORITARIAN OR MAYBE DICTATOR. MUSEVENI IS A DICTATOR DRESSED IN DEMOCRATIC COLOURS, RIGHT? SO HE HAS CREATED THE INSTITUTION OF THE STATE WHICH IDI AMIN DID NOT HAVE. BUT HE HAS WORKED TIRELESSLY TO UNDERMINE THE INSTITUTIONS TO ENSURE THAT NO INSTITUTIONS GETS POWER, TO BECOME INDEPENDENT AND HOLD HIM ACCOUNTABLE. SO THIS IS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MANY OF THE PEOPLE THAT WERE KILLED AND MURDERED AND IDI AMIN WE NEVER CAME TO KNOW ABOUT THEM UNTIL LATER. THE MILITARY IN UGANDA RIGHT NOW IN TORTURE, IN ABDUCTION, IN KIDNAPPING OF UGANDANS AND AT TIMES BEING RECORDED BY EVEN CIVILIANS. NONE OF THIS VIDEO OF TORTURE OR ABDUCTIONS HAVE BEEN SPREADING OVER THE INTERNET. PART OF IT IS BEING RECORDED BY INDIVIDUAL CIVILIANS NOW WHICH ALSO ADMIT THAT, YES, MUSEVENI HAS CREATED THIS IMAGE OF INSTEAD OF AS THE FATHER OF THE NATION, OF UGANDA AS A NATION, PART OF IT IS BECAUSE HE IS SUCH A BIG DOMINATING FIGURE IN UGANDAN POLITICS, HAS CAPTURED POWER AS A LABOUR LEADER AND HAS SPENT 35 YEARS IN POWER CREATING A HUGE PATRONAGE NETWORK ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

Nam says I WOULD LIKE TO READ an excerpt.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "International aid for Uganda: Justified?" The quote reads "This oppressive regime is bankrolled by international donors. The U.S. provides nearly 1 billion U.S. dollars a year, and another 1 billion U.S. dollars flows from other countries, including Canada, and international institutions. The U.S. has trained more troops from Uganda than any other country in sub-Saharan Africa except Burundi."
Quoted from Rita Abrahamsen and Gerald Bareebe, The Globe and Mail. January 20, 2021.

The caption changes to "International aide: Boon or curse?"

Rita says THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS LONG BEEN INVOLVED IN UGANDA AND HAS PLAYED AN ON AND OFF ROLE IN TERMS OF MOBILIZING AND FACILITATING VARIOUS ACTIVITIES OF THE MILITARY. WHAT WE'VE SEEN IN RECENT YEARS IS UGANDA HAS POSITIONED ITSELF AS A KEY ALLY OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IN FIGHTING INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM OR FIGHTING EXTREMISM IN THE CONTINENT. AND AS THE INTERNATIONAL... SECURITY CHALLENGES FOR THE UNITED STATES, THE REST OF AFRICA, AND FOR INTERNATIONAL STABILITY. THEY HAVE COME TO FOCUS MORE AND MORE ON SECURITY. A FORMER REBEL LEADER HAS POSITIONED HIMSELF AS A KEY ALLY. KEEPING IN MIND OF COURSE SO PEACEKEEPING HAS FALLEN TO AFRICAN COUNTRIES AND UGANDA HAS POSITIONED ITSELF AS ONE OF THE KEY COUNTRIES TO CONTRIBUTE TROOPS TO THESE VERY DANGEROUS MISSIONS. AND HENCE FORTH THEY HAVE RECEIVED ALL THIS ASSISTANCE TO TRAIN, TO EQUIP THE MILITARY AND THEIR POLICE FORCES, AND WHAT WE SAW IN THIS ELECTION AND WHAT WE SEE OVER THE YEARS IS THAT IT IS THE SAME VERY WELL-TRAINED, VERY WELL-EQUIPPED SECURITY FORCE THAT IS BEING DEPLOYED ON THE STREETS OF KAMPALA TO POLICE AND OPPRESS LEGITIMATE POLITICAL PROTESTS.

Nam says GERALD, YOU WANTED TO SAY SOMETHING?

Gerald says YES. I THINK THE CHALLENGE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. THE PRESIDENT RIGHT NOW HAS BEEN VERY, VERY SMART IN THE WAY THAT HE HAS SORT OF CATEGORIZING THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AS OUTSIDERS TRYING TO INTERFERE IN THE INTERNAL PROCESSES OF UGANDA AND ACCUSING THE OPPOSITION OF COLLUDING WITH ELEMENTS FROM OUTSIDE, ESPECIALLY EUROPE AND U.S.A. TO BASICALLY HAND OVER THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE COUNTRY. AND WE HAVE SEEN THAT MANY AFRICAN DICTATORS WHEN PRESSED BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, THEY TEND TO RALLY THEIR COUNTRY, THEIR EFFORTS AGAINST EXTERNAL INTERFERENCES. FOR EXAMPLE, WE SAW THIS IN ZIMBABWE, IN RWANDA, IN LIBYA WHERE DICTATORS ARE PRESSED BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, THEY TEND TO RALLY THE SUPPORT OF THE POPULATION AGAINST WHAT THEY CALL EXTERNAL INFLUENCE IN THE INTERNAL PROCESSES OF THEIR COUNTRY. BUT I THINK FOR PRESIDENT MUSEVENI, AND I KNOW THE E.U. FOR EXAMPLE HAS PROPOSED... BUT THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS TO BE VERY CAREFUL IN THE WAY THEY COME UP WITH [INDISCERNIBLE] AS LONG AS THEY DON'T OBSTRUCT INDIVIDUAL CIVILIANS ON THE GROUND, IT NEEDS TO BE FOCUSED ON THE TOP MILITARY AND POLITICAL ELITES WHO HAVE PRESIDED OVER OPPRESSION AGAINST CIVILIANS IN UGANDA.

Nam says WE ONLY HAVE A FEW MINUTES. TO GO BACK TO WHAT YOU SAID, RITA. DOES CANADA NEED TO TAKE MORE RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS WHERE AND HOW THIS AID IS DISPERSED, EVEN THOUGH, AS YOU SAID, IT IS SMALL?

Rita says I THINK THERE'S A LOT FOR CANADA TO THINK ABOUT IT, IN TERMS OF HOW IT POSITIONS ITSELF VIS-A-VIS VERSUS THE BROADER DONOR AGENDA OF SUPPORTING DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS AND SUPPORTING SECURITY AND STABILITY. CANADA HAS ALWAYS SAID THAT ITS MAIN PURPOSE IS TO SUPPORT DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS. IF YOU GO TO THEIR WEBSITE ON CANADA-UGANDA RELATIONS, THEY'RE PROMOTING SECURITY. THIS SHOWS IT'S HARD TO DO THE TWO AT THE SAME TIME. CANADA HAS TO THINK NOT FROM...

Nam says BEFORE WE THINK ABOUT MOVING FORWARD, I WANTED TO ASK YOU IN JUST ONE MINUTE IF YOU COULD GIVE US A QUICK DESCRIPTION OF CANADA'S RELATIONSHIP WITH UGANDA BECAUSE IT DOES GO BACK.

The caption changes to "Canadian-Ugandan relations."

Derek says YEAH. I THINK IT'S FINE FOR POLITICAL SCIENTISTS AND POLICYMAKERS TO THINK ABOUT WHAT THINGS WILL LOOK LIKE GOING FORWARD. IT'S WORTH SAYING THAT CANADA'S CONNECTIONS WITH UGANDA GO BACK A LONG WAY. AT THE TIME OF UGANDAN INDEPENDENCE IN 1962, CANADA PROVIDED THE FIRST TRAINING FOR UGANDAN DIPLOMATS AT THE UNITED NATIONS. UGANDA'S NEW U.N. AMBASSADOR SAT WITH CANADIAN A FEW YEARS AGO. WE'VE GOT THEM DIGITIZED. NOW WE'VE PUBLISHED THEM IN THIS BOOK. THEY ARE PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE INNER LIFE OF IDI AMIN'S GOVERNMENT THAT HAVEN'T BEEN SEEN BEFORE AND THEY OFFER REALLY RICH INSIGHTS INTO THE WAY THAT IDI AMIN RELATED TO HIS PEOPLE, THE MACHINERY OF GOVERNMENT AT WORK AND INTO HIS DOMESTIC AND PERSONAL LIFE AS WELL.

The caption changes to "tvo.org/theagenda; agendaconnect@tvo.org."

Nam says AS WE MOVE FORWARD, I THINK THE SITUATION IN UGANDA RIGHT NOW FROM A SECURITY STANDPOINT, THE INTERNET WAS SHUT DOWN FOR A MONTH WHICH MEANT BEYOND EVERYTHING ELSE, IF KIDS WERE AT HOME THEY COULDN'T ACTUALLY STUDY BECAUSE THE INTERNET WAS SHUT OFF. RITA, WHEN YOU THINK OF THE SECURITY OF UGANDA ARE YOU CONCERNED WITH HOW THE SITUATION IS RIGHT NOW?

The caption changes to "Looking towards the future."

Rita says I THINK IT'S HARD NOT TO BE CONCERNED. IT'S HARD NOT TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT PEOPLE'S DAY-TO-DAY LIVES ON THE STREETS, THE BRAVERY OF MANY OF THE URBAN YOUTH WHO HAVE BEEN ON THE STREETS PROTESTING. WE READ ALMOST DAILY ABOUT KIDNAPPINGS AND FURTHER DISAPPEARANCES. SO IT'S HARD NOT TO BE CONCERNED. I THINK ALSO, THOUGH... WE OFTEN SPEAK ABOUT YOUTH AS AN OBSTACLE AND A CHALLENGE, AND LOOKING TO THE FUTURE OF UGANDA, I THINK THE HOPE WILL HAVE TO BE THAT THERE MIGHT BE A WAY OF MOBILIZING THE ENERGY, THE CREATIVITY OF THIS URBAN YOUTH, OF THE YOUTHFUL POPULATION. YOU'RE LOOKING AT A COUNTRY WHERE THE MEDIAN AGE IS 16. THAT'S A LOT OF ENERGY. AND IF THAT... IF THIS ELECTION CAN BE SPURRED TO THINK ABOUT WAYS OF MORE INCLUSIVE GROWTH THEN THE FUTURE FOR UGANDA COULD BE A LOT MORE POSITIVE THAN WE'VE SEEN FROM THE LAST FEW WEEKS AND MONTHS.

Nam says GERALD, YOU KNOW, WHAT WHAT... WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE UGANDA IN FIVE YEARS?

A montage shows Amin and Museveni side by side.

Gerald says I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE COUNTRY, OF COURSE, TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY. IT'S MY HOPE. BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN. THE FUTURE FOR UGANDA IS QUITE UNCERTAIN. IN FACT, RIGHT NOW THERE IS A PETITION IN THE SUPREME COURT THAT IS CHALLENGING THE OUTCOME OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, AND THE SUPREME COURT ITSELF IS OF COURSE HIGHLY STOCKED BY JUDGES WHO ARE SYMPATHETIC TO THE CURRENT REGIME. SO THE HOPE FROM THE SUPREME COURT IS ACTUALLY VERY, VERY LOW FOR MANY UGANDANS. AT THIS POINT THE FUTURE OF UGANDA IS VERY, VERY UNCERTAIN. WE EVEN DON'T KNOW WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN IN THE CASE, FOR EXAMPLE, PRESIDENT MUSEVENI, WHO IS NOW ALMOST OVER 75 YEARS OLD, IN CASE HE DROPS DEAD, RIGHT NOW THE SEGMENT OF THE UGANDAN ARMY IS CONTROLLED BY THE PRESIDENT'S OWN SON, WHO IS NOW THE COMMANDER, AND THERE ARE ALREADY TALKS IN THE RULING PARTY AND INSIDE MANY UGANDAN POLITIC THAT THE PRESIDENT IS POSITIONING HIS SON IN CASE ANYTHING HAPPENS AND HE CANNOT CONTINUE TO RULE THE COUNTRY.

The caption changes to "Producer: Preeti Bhuyan, @PreetiBhuyan."

Nam says THAT'S ALL THE TIME WE HAVE. DEREK, WE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR BOOK COMING OUT IN MARCH. GERALD, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ALL THE WAY FROM KAMPALA, AND RITA, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR INSIGHT. THANKS FOR MAKING TIME FOR US TONIGHT.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

The guests say THANK YOU.

Watch: Uganda: 50 Years After Idi Amin