On returning to Uganda, Museveni’s staying power and the significance of Bobi Wine

ecently I returned to Uganda, for the first time in nearly 20 years; and since I am almost 40, it is no wonder that felt like almost a lifetime ago. Much had changed since my last visit, and much had not. I had heard much about the country’s economy had been thriving in my absence, and so when I arrived at Entebbe Airport I only wondered where the politicians had been investing all the money.

As I landed, affluent Ugandans were coming home with the fruits of shopping trips in the Middle East, the conveyor belts laden with suitcases full of luxury goods; yet this modest influx of just three flights was so overwhelming for the staff that it took us over two hours to pass through customs. Outside, much of the terminal looked as if it hadn’t been painted since the early 1980s.

The early 1980s: that’s the reason I was back. I hadn’t been to my father’s village in 35 years, and the last time I was there, aged four, I had buried him. It was therefore about time, my family thought, that I paid him a visit. Before heading north, a long drive that would take me close to the Sudanese border, I stopped off in Kampala; which was, as ever, was a place in a hurry.

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