The obvious beneficiary of Atuhaire’s reporting was Dr. Kizza Besigye, who, as expected, has disowned the entire 2016 general electoral process as a farce and “moral offence” to Ugandans and the world community! And in turn he is calling for rebelling against the existing political order.
Amb. Kintu Nyago
Although, according to Patience Atuhaire, the British Broadcasting Corporation's local stringer, Uganda's 2016 elections were the most hotly contested and controversial in our history, the facts tell a different story.
And one is conditioned to conclude that her sensational reporting, on this subject, through the powerful medium of the BBC, was intended to bias her unsuspecting foreign audience. For by far, Uganda's 1962 and 1980 elections were more tightly contested and held in more controversial circumstances.
The obvious beneficiary of Atuhaire's reporting was Dr. Kizza Besigye, who, as expected, has disowned the entire 2016 general electoral process as a farce and "moral offence" to Ugandans and the world community! And in turn he is calling for rebelling against the existing political order.
To fully appreciate Besigye's outbursts , we should note that it is part of a consistent well calculated pattern that he has adopted after all the four times that he has contested for the Presidency, since 2001, 15 years ago.
And Besigye's motive, though couched in patriotic language, is premised on a selfish logic. Selfish because his real intention is to monopolise his stranglehold of power within the political opposition. Moreover a position he has attained through the very electoral processes that he has consistently abused and disowned!
Besigye's defiance campaigns are premised on his having studied the Ugandan political context. Historically, before the NRM came to power in 1986, our elections had been marred with state inspired intimidation and rigging, that is in 1958, 1961, 1962 and 1980.
A reality coupled with the post-independence autocracy we experienced under the UPC and subsequent military regimes. This conditioned the Ugandan psyche to mistrust both the state and our own electoral processes.
Today Besigye is Uganda's de facto leader of opposition. A position he only managed to attain thanks to the strategic blunders of Dr. Paulo Ssemwogerere, who in 2001, abdicated in favour of Besigye at Pope Paul Memorial Centre, Rubaga.
Concurrently Besigye also benefitted from Dr, Apollo Milton Obote's misreading of the political realities in Uganda under the NRM. Because Obote, till his death in Lusaka, opted for a UPC boycott of the political processes in Uganda. Hence Besigye inherited the support base of the DP in Buganda and of the UPC in the east and north!
After running under the Reform Agenda ticket in 2001, Besigye strategically opted to retain a firm grip on his newly acquired support base through engaging in post electoral defiance campaigns. And the motive was selfish premised on the monopolisation of personalised power.
These post electoral defiance campaigns, critically keep him in the public domain. And have taken differing forms and sizes. These range from the alleged formation of the rebel shadowy Peoples Redemption Army, his attempted march onto Kampala with an arsonist rampaging mob in November, 2005 when the Malta CHOGM Summit was in session, the suing of the Government and the Electoral Commission in the courts of law after the 2006 General Elections and the more recent 2011, notorious anarchic so called "Walk to Work" attempted insurrection.
If Besigye is to be taken seriously, let him emulate Yoweri Museveni, who in 1981, ordered the Uganda Patriotic Movement pulling out from Parliament. That is, let the FDC boycott the next Parliament and forthcoming district and municipal elections!
In essence, Besigye's so-called defiance campaigns are cynical, self-serving ploys intended to his avoiding Ssemwogerere's mistakes. For this grand old man, after losing the 1996 Elections, sat tight and sulked at Kabuusu. Hence creating the political vacuum that Besigye inherited, in 2001, through Ssemwogerere's anointment! In other words it is a well calculated ploy intended to enable him personalise and dominate opposition politics while ensuring his contesting in the2021 elections!
The writer is an Ambassador and Uganda's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York.