Uganda Diaspora P10 puts Mwenda’s hogwash in Context.
Uganda Diaspora P10
In dramatically dispensing his unsolicited advice to the Opposition fraternity, Mr Andrew Mwenda raised pertinent issues that actually exposed him and his kind of corrupted journalism and intellectualism. First, the deliberate target of Mr Mwenda’s campaign is the person of Col (Rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye (KB). The central premise of the message is that the KB is the problem of the Opposition. He goes on to arrogate that Dr KB has failed to mobilise the masses effectively to defend his purported victories have always been stolen by the dictator. Mwenda lavishes the tyrant pleasantries as a master of intrigue, manoeuvre, and sabotage. These frivolous qualities have suddenly fascinated Mwenda!
Mwenda might have raised an issue or two in his diatribe, for instance, that the Opposition demonstrates a weak capacity to mobilise resources, defend its interests and ally on principle to challenge the over 30 years’ hegemony of Mr Museveni. While these are noble observations, one must read Andrew Mwenda carefully and repeatedly between the lines not to miss the grains in his propaganda.
It is important to engage Mwenda in public debate even if he has already framed Pro-KB agents and sympathisers with some uncharitable names while claiming moral superiority for himself. Most importantly, in positioning himself as an authority whose views must sway society, Mwenda needed to declare a conflict of interest, and at the least, display some scintilla of honesty in his analysis of political developments and its bottlenecks in Uganda.
To begin with, Mwenda needed to declare that his mission is not to do good to the Opposition. His mission is to exact public relations strategies intended to portray Dr Kizza Besigye as an incompetent leader; a power angry person with a draconian personality. The aim is to shift KB’s support base and diminish it in totality. In doing this, Mwenda pursues two concurrent objectives; to legitimise the stolen Presidency of Mr Museveni, and to frame KB as the enemy of economic development for donors and foreign investors to cooperate with a regime they despised and shunned since February 2016. If we let Mwenda go away with his travesties, as he has always, we shall have acted as if we are not privy to the slightest moments of the meetings that go on on the 6th floor of Park Royal since February 15th, 2016, and ends up with media bash of KB.
In regards to the political posturing of Dr Kizza Besigye, Mwenda has no authority to dismiss KB as if it is Mwenda who determines who is effective in Opposition politics or not. Even in his dubious claims that KB should leave the scene for another performer, Mwenda fails to single out any Opposition figure who has the temerity, courage and charisma in the proportions of KB. Neither does Mwenda offer himself to take charge of the Opposition! In exposing his dishonesty, Mwenda fails to recognise that nobody quit the political scene for KB to enter and dominate, and therefore, anyone better than KB must break the political ceiling solely on accounts of merit, and nothing other.
In 1999 when KB released his famous Memo that catapulted him as opposition leader, the Opposition was literally dying out. Dr Kawanga Ssemogerere had tried to unseat President Museveni in 1996 in vain. Dr Ssemogerere’s leadership was wanting, and yet he was the best bet that the Opposition was left with. Like KB and JPAM, Dr Ssemogerere also broke ranks with the dictator. In Ssemogerere, power started shifting to old turks like Ssebaana Kizito and rogues like Nasser Ssebalagala. There were a vacuum and KB filled that vacuum as we know that nature abhors a vacuum.That kind of leadership and the ever-shrinking opposition is what Mr Museveni thrived on to become increasingly indifferent to change messages.
Even within DP, when Hon. Norbert Mao emerged as a leader, he was not ordained into leadership as Mwenda suggests. Hon Mao Left Makerere University and contested in bitter and yet dramatic campaign against seasoned politician and DP stalwart, the late Andrew Adimola. The two contested against each other twice; for the CA and the subsequent Parliamentary seat. When Mao defeated Adimola, the latter conceded and retired. Everywhere one goes, political space has never been conceded willingly. It is pressure, from either internally and externally that forces an establishment to change structurally, vertically and horizontally in ranks and files. To say with such infantile absurdity that KB must leave politics for others to manage is indeed a dishonesty and betrayal of natural justice.
It is important to note also that since the legal notice #1 of 1986, and the subsequent banning of political party activities in Uganda, outside of the Party Headquarters, using the draconian articles 269 and 270, political parties lost their roots in the countryside that NRM inherited. Opposition Politics remained active in Kampala where Party headquarters were during those years and still is. This pattern persists nearly two decades since the removal of Party ban. The dysfunction within Opposition groups, therefore, is not the making of KB as a person. It has roots in the design and galvanising of political space by the NRM to benefit the tyrant.
The KB kind of politics, therefore, is reinventing grassroots political mobilisation through a non-violent defiance and people are responding. People are now starting to relate to the mainstream politics after being reduced and curtailed to the local council politics for decades. The lack of civic engagement partly explains the pervasive corruption and lack of political accountability in the country. Mwenda does not factor historical and social development of the last three decades in his strange advice to evade scrutiny. In his obscurity, Mwenda evades explaining how historical forces outlined conjure up to shape the political space that KB and his FDC people occupy today. And, the challenges awaiting his miraculous KB replacement.
An important aspect of our politics is its infatuation with militarism. Mwenda knows that President Museveni is firmly in power because of his personalised army commanded by son, in-laws, and relatives. The 2016 Presidential elections demonstrated the disenfranchisement within the army itself where we saw a significant section of the army voting openly against the dictator. The forces that shape politics within Uganda and in FDC have played out similarly. When Muntu was elected to lead FDC against Mr Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the main issue was about his military rank, history of service, and reputation as an incorruptible leader. While Mafabi was the better choice to transition FDC from militarism to civilian leadership, another confounding factor played against Mafabi – Regionalism. In Uganda, the power centre is firmly skewed and planted in the West. The West is also the place where enormous national resources (wealth) have accumulated in the past three decades to influence political power.
The aforementioned forces make Besigye and Muntu formidable and appealing forces within the Ugandan political space. Had it been for traditions, one would expect that since the formidable forces that ever challenged the leadership of Mr Museveni came from within his ranks, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi could have performed much better and sent KB into oblivion. In fact, the whole essence of the TDA formation was to galvanise the political space to deny KB the support of traditional political forces within the Opposition ranks. What we saw during and after the elections, should have taught Mwenda that by comparing KB’s political styles with that of Mr Museveni is like comparing apples and bananas. We also saw how the moribund anti-Besigye political forces under TDA were humiliated under its umbrella organisation of TDA. If Besigye is irrelevant or an obstacle, then why did JPAM’s candidacy collapse so miserably on its face given that JPAM led an opposition group separate from KB and FDC?
One could explain that JPAM with his TDA vehicle gathered the old battered political forces that many Ugandans are conditioned to despise and fear given the bedevilling done on them by NRM. The truth is, Ugandans have moved beyond the traditional Parties and a new ideological attraction is needed. KB remains a formidable bridge to this post-Museveni future of non-violent, demilitarised politics. The other question that Mwenda never answers is why Besigye gets the votes that he always gets, and why the NRM always steals Besigye’s votes. It was established that 52% of the voters including serving military officers, Police, and civil servants, voted for Dr Kizza Besigye. This is the basis of the demand for electoral and vote audit which Museveni cannot fathom. Why does the NRM become fidgety and nervous whenever we approach elections and organise rigging if KB is an ineffective leader as Mwenda wants us to believe?
Before I make a conclusion, it is important to note, and rightly praise Dr Kizza Besigye on two accounts. One such is being consistent; the second is choosing defiance, a non-violent civil disobedience campaign to challenge all facets of the tyranny in Uganda. In comparing the zeal and motivation of KB and Mwenda, one sees a measured character in the former, and a troubled soul in the latter. My readers ought to understand that KB stands between a potential genocide and a civil peaceful movement for change in governance. Dr KB’s change formula does not entertain a thought of smashing the pillars of the state. KB professes that Uganda has a political problem, not a military one and refuses to use force to bring about change. KB plans to systematically transform and revitalise the pillars of the state so they become subordinate to civilian rule and the rule of law.
It is important to point that the UPDF and other armed state agents are configured under the command of Mr Museveni to commit genocide beyond what was in Rwanda, DRC or elsewhere in the world. Mwenda knows this well. Given Mwenda’s dishonesty, albeit deliberate as a spin-doctor, he continues to provoke KB into touching a button that will change the contours of Uganda’s political life through bloodbath for eternity.
We must be grateful to KB for his consistency, sharp mind, and courage to suffer on our behalf. I can tell you that even before his assassination; Martin Luther King, Jr was not a famous man, especially among those Negroes whose comfort he destabilised, and the dominant white, whose powers he challenged with the words of hope and endurance.
In conclusion, Andrew Mwenda is a cheap mercenary who deserves neglect and contempt. Mwenda is trying hard to obscure the wounds created in our conscience by the February 2016 fraudulent elections. If the political space in Uganda is ripe for contestation, Darwin’s, and not Mwenda’s law should suffice. A competent and highly organised person with a more convincing message and strategy should rise up on his or her own merit to challenge the status quo, without ordaining. Further, the kind of Mwenda journalism, now popularised as Mwendaism signifies the kind of rogue journalism bereft of objectivity and that, which panders to paid interest of the highest bidder is immoral. In as much as Mwenda would like us to believe that KB is a political problem, it is, in fact, the flip-flops, scoundrels and avaricious clowns like Mwenda known for Statehouse-to-Statehouse-to-street bidding. Let Mwenda volunteer himself to lead the Opposition, or at the least, form his own Party, even if a briefcase one to contest in 2021. Otherwise, many Ugandans are silently satisfied, confident and in complete solidarity with Dr Col Kizza Besigye in this struggle.
Written by UG-P10 Publicity team