Museveni’s self-promotion as a nationalist and pan-Africanist is now commonplace among Ugandans. In private, he is mortgaging the nation to win Americans and Europeans’ hearts and minds in exchange for legitimacy and financial backing, while publicly accusing them of meddling in the internal affairs of African countries.
It has become commonplace for governments to employ highly compensated white people for image-making while torturing, killing, and violating the human rights of their citizenry. To safeguard its reputation and win US military contracts and financial aid, the Ugandan government funds lobbyists, law firms, and public relations businesses.
The regime has actively sought out outsiders to help construct the narrative of Museveni as a regional stabilizing force in order to counter the unrelenting opposition voices and cries of human rights campaigners rather than relying on career diplomats abroad to do the regime’s work.
Lobbyists are required to submit reports to the Department of Justice every six months under the United States Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
Uganda is listed as one of the nations that pays top price for these services on the financial disclosure forms of foreign lobbyists.
This occurs at a time when our nation’s public debt has reached a record level of over US $21 billion and debt repayment and servicing consumes 16% of the national budget.
The Museveni administration instead spends billions of Uganda shillings annually in Washington, D.C., alone, to improve its image rather than using the little money to meet the needs of Ugandans.
The Whitaker Group, directed by Rosa Whitaker, a former top official for African affairs from the Bush and Clinton administrations, was one of the first notable companies tasked with cleaning up Uganda’s bad reputation overseas. It was paid $350,000 almost 1.3B ugx per year.
Uganda hired Joseph Szlavik from Scribe Strategies and Advisors, Inc. in 2015 for a $250,000 annual salary. According to the FARA disclosure report submitted in September 2022, this registrant recently cancelled his contract and is now suing Ugandan tax payers for unpaid payments of $141,000.
The “dictatorship” also used Q-Cyber Technologies, a foreign cyber-intelligence company, as part of this arrangement. The Museveni administration hired Robert Leverett Smith II, a government relations expert, in June 2021 to contact the US federal government and other organizations.
Museveni goes to great lengths to buy influence, as seen by the fact that the lobbyists listed here only represent a small portion of the actions going place in Washington, DC. When you take into account the lobbying that goes on in Europe and elsewhere, it becomes clear how the government misuses and wastes tax money.
These are funds that may be used to upgrade the standard of social services as well as our hospitals, schools, and infrastructure.
In addition to other financial favors, lobbyists buy influence on behalf of the Ugandan government through contributing to the political campaigns of American politicians.
In exchange, the NRM regime receives a clean bill of health, escapes punishment for the mass murder of Ugandans, and receives military contracts from the US Department of Defense.
Reaffirming the value of black people, the fight for equality and rights, realizing the promise of independence, and the need for opportunities to prosper as a people are all part of the spirit of pan-Africanism.
Instead of upholding these principles, the Museveni administration has sown the seeds of despotism throughout the nation.