KAMPALA —What I don’t understand is,” said my wife as she picked up the remote to change the television channel, “why would God allow such a man to continue as President after all he has done to us?”
It takes a prudent man not more than two or three weeks of marriage to work out the simple verity that just because a woman has asked a question doesn’t mean she wants an answer. Especially, your answer. So I, like a prudent man, kept my mouth shut.
The TV news had been full of gory tales of what has lately come to define Uganda: violent abductions, gruesome tortures and merciless killings of Bobi Wine’s supporters. Heartbreaking pictures of family members wailing helplessly, aware that, humanly speaking, there’s nothing they can do about the injustices that the Museveni administration is meting out to them.
Just when many of us were hoping to see the back of Mr Museveni, he magically turned out winner of some sort in the 2021 general election; ferociously and with no trace of shame, treading an inglorious path strewn with bodies and stained with blood, to the winner’s podium.
The worst election in Uganda’s history has been followed up with even more horror, visited upon a helpless population. Neither national nor international opinion (he’s happy to lose friends or make enemies) has succeeded in making Mr Museveni shy or afraid to unleash trepidation upon the people he took oath to protect.
There’s no new thing under the Sun, the Bible tells us. The question posed by my wife last week was exactly the same question posed three or four thousand years ago in Egypt. Just when the Israelites were getting excited that Moses had come to rescue them from four centuries of captivity, their hopes seemed dashed on the rocks when Pharaoh doubled their workload and multiplied the violence against them, making the Israelites weep more than they had ever wept in their history.
God appears to have rather strange methods of work; hard to understand, much harder even to like. He hardened Pharaoh’s heart with the purpose of finishing him off. The heart of the king, the Bible says, is in the hands of the Lord; like the rivers of water, He turns it whithersoever He wants.
Same thing happened with King Saul, when he was about to lose his kingdom to… (hello, hello, good people!)…a young musician, half his age, with a cute young wife from Saul’s own house. Ring a bell?
When David was anointed King of Israel, he didn’t take power immediately. In fact, from the moment he was anointed, things only looked good for a short while, before his world turned upside down, as Saul unleashed the might of the military machinery against him.
He hounded, he hurt and he annihilated those who tried to help David. The musician’s path to the throne, it turned out, had never been meant to be easy. God hardened Saul’s heart, and gave him a new obsession: complete obliteration of David, the young musician that the whole kingdom had, for no proper reason (Saul’s view), fallen in love with.
Jealous, angry and embarrassed that a boy from nowhere was on the brink of taking his throne, and horrified that his own son Jonathan would never be king after his father (…folks, are we together?…), Saul invested state resources and structures to bring David down.
God hardened the hearts of both Pharaoh and Saul, made them more callous and vicious than before; the standard operating procedures when the Lord is about to give an unrighteous ruler a fitting end – a very hard fall from high up. Same pattern: a reign of error, then a reign of terror and finally, the end of an era.
An older Swahili pater familias, bless his soul, used to caution me, “mwenda safari ndefu hafanyi uadui njiani” (a man on a long journey does not make enemies along the way). When you see a man no longer afraid to do so, and you’ve never known him to be keen on the bottle, then the only explanation is that the end of his journey has begun.
Mr Tegulle is an advocate of the High Court of Uganda [email protected]
OPED adopted from Daily Monitor