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Tuesday,October 20,2020 09:11 AM

Besigye won’t lead Uganda

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd November 2005 03:00 AM

UGANDA has gone through very many painful phases since its existence as a geo-political entity in 1900. It went through the birth pangs of colonisation which left many scars, some of which bleed occasionally.

UGANDA has gone through very many painful phases since its existence as a geo-political entity in 1900. It went through the birth pangs of colonisation which left many scars, some of which bleed occasionally.

By Tarsis Kabwegyere

UGANDA has gone through very many painful phases since its existence as a geo-political entity in 1900. It went through the birth pangs of colonisation which left many scars, some of which bleed occasionally.

Many canyon-size cleavages were created. The Christian message meant to be universal divided the followers of Christ into sometimes very hostile camps, initially with ensuing war and later on, as power sharing became an issue, with independence sectarian politics was born.

The 43 years of independence have been years of many agonising experiences for all Ugandans. The jubilation of 1962 did not last as the constitution lost its valve only five years later. Democratic elections were suspended only to re-appear in pale form 18 years later in 1980. The overthrow of Obote in 1971 and the coming in of Amin, followed by eight years of terror, showed that Uganda had jumped from a frying pan to the fire.

A very promising transition appeared to set in with the Moshi spirit and UNLF. I am one of those who watched and participated helplessly in keeping Uganda together, trying to heal the wounds only to realise that the umbrella was not strong enough to withstand the political ‘sunami’ that negative forces represented. The people were ignored. Power, like fire, is difficult to steal and keep in the pocket. It surely burnt those who stole it but at a big cost to society.

Obote returned was Obote weakened, if strength he had. He was a king made and not a king-maker he sought to be in his first leadership trial. The tragedy climaxed with his second removal from power by his Generals. General Lutwa and his ilk Bazilio Okello entered a game they knew not how to play.

History is with us today. For the last 20 years, Uganda has had a formula that has worked. Compare the first 23 years from 1962 with the latter 20 years of our years of independence.

The differences between the two really stand out. Among the most outstanding difference is the fact that Ugandans have a voice. They speak loud and clear. They have learnt to know what they want, how to demand it and, when they get it, how to use it. Their vision of tomorrow, in my assessment, is focused on peace, stability and development. What formula can keep them focused beyond their fears is the critical question of the moment.

Dr. Kizza Besigye is an incomplete equation in keeping Ugandans focused on their vision because of the following reasons:

The years Besigye has been out have made him lose something about the tempo of change in Uganda. Uganda today is different from the Uganda he left when he ran into exile. He is an outsider in two senses: With Reform Agenda (RA), the apparent message was that NRM needed reform and Besigye was the reformer – a change agent within the Movement.

However, with FDC he is an outsider. FDC purports to be a different entity, a new party and therefore cannot claim the legacy of NRM except defectors from it. This is a different kettle of fish. While RA was in a way a product of NRM, FDC is a foreign to it. There is no way FDC can use NRM idioms and capture the audience.

Besigye is an outsider in another sense that he is actually new to FDC. The founders of FDC may accept Besigye to be their leader but he cannot be the leader as he was of Reform Agenda, his brain child. He has a social distance to cover and may well have problems to discipline his mentors. Like Obote on his second coming, Besigye is a king made and cannot be a king-maker. Above all, time is not on his side.

  • Apart from the composure or lack of it of FDC leaders, FDC has disadvantages it cannot overcome. Besigye is already talking of one term if he can get it but the bigger problem is whether he can get the one term. He will surely stand for president. In the unlikely event that he got there, will he have enough muscle in Parliament to be an effective President?

    Can Uganda from next year work out a system where a person wins a national popular vote and manages a Parliament that is overwhelmingly opposed to him? Does FDC see itself winning both the presidency and a majority in Parliament to run an African multiparty democracy?


  • Neither Besigye nor FDC can meet the challenge of providing a formula that will keep Ugandans focused on peace, stability and development.
  • The imperative and logic of history seems to me to be saying that Besigye and FDC are an incomplete equation for Uganda's transition.

    Rampaging the political landscape will raise unnecessary dust without providing the direction that is so critical at Uganda’s current stage of development. Clouds of dust will merely obscure the horizon but not change it. Uganda will be led by someone else, not Besigye.

    The writer is Minister of Local Government

    Besigye won’t lead Uganda

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