By Frank Tumwebaze
Last week the Daily Monitor led with a story of Dr Kizza Besigye telling the public in Luweero that “an unstoppable people’s revolution was imminent” and that neither the police nor army would save President Museveni and the NRM government from collapsing. Whereas this narrative from Dr Besigye is not new and therefore not worth responding to, it is important, however, that the perspective in which he indulges in these empty prophecies is explained for all to understand his illusions over the years. That is the thrust of this article.Frank Tumwebaze (in yellow) with his boss President Yoweri Museveni at a recent function in Kamwenge. He has called on Besigye to quit politics of doom
It is important for Ugandans, especially those that have backed Dr Besigye for the three times he has offered himself for presidency (and failed), to ask why despite his endless threats, predictions of a political tsunami and prophecies of doom, President Museveni’s government instead moves from strength to strength while the opposition grows weaker by the day.
To understand this, one must understand Besigye the person. He is a man consumed by the crave to be President at all costs, a crave that now drives him to engage in daylight dreaming.
When Dr Besigye authored his paper in 1999 that gradually led to his exit from the NRM a year later, it came off as an outcry by someone who felt ill-treated and marginalized, yet even then he didn’t offer substantive arguments about his claimed marginalization. It was mainly his outbursts about being on “katebe” and how “chicken was being unfairly shared” in the Bush etc. These certainly couldn’t be any grand ideas of a dissenting and aspiring leader to talk of, and as to be offering alternative leadership. Whereas there was an attempt to cloth it as a critique of the NRM then, and how it had veered off its ideals, it was clear that this was a scape goat to use and project himself into national political limelight and launch a political career that has instead turned into a journey of frustration and disappointment.
His ‘famous’ paper then, was devoid of correctional measures, if at all anything had gone bad in the NRM but also the fact that Dr Besigye ignored NRM’s internal platforms for dialogue, hierarchy of leadership (some called it jumping the queue) and opted to go public over his concerns (and later presidential runs) pointed to a person driven by ambition to achieve one thing—becoming president as opposed to pushing for genuine reforms in a political group one belonged to. While having ambition is not bad and indeed not a crime as some one said recently, misguided ambition however without a clear justifiable cause can be disaster and frustrating.
Dr Besigye’s initial presidential bid signature political trade mark was the hammer, and to Ugandans who had for long endured a history of violence and anarchy orchestrated by leaders of wrong ideologies, couldn’t buy into this outfit of his, erroneously cobbled as “reform agenda”, when actually there was no “reform” to talk of , but just his sole individual ambition “agenda”. Ugandans discerned this from the onset and rejected him. This resounding and successive rejection from Ugandans was the beginning of Dr Besigye’s frustration and anger. Any keen follower of his actions, speeches and tone of bitterness, infantile prophecies of doom against President Museveni, would see a man deeply frustrated.
Dr Besigye to date continues to leave in denial. He cannot believe that the country continues to make great political, economic and social strides despite his loud pronouncements of doom. His attempts to shamelessly and falsely portray Uganda as a failed state have instead earned him more and more resentment from the citizens, and his support has kept on dwindling.
Frank Tumwebaze has invited Dr Besigye (in the pix ) to shun his politics of reactionary ideology and return to this realm of clean political discourse. This is what the NRM believes in
As a fresh graduate and a keen youth activist in the late 1990s, beginning to deepen my understanding of political issues, I paid keen attention to the person of Dr Besigye. His rather emotive and exaggerated views about what was obtaining in the country was also shocking. Even with his deep-seated anger visible, and lack of a track record as a reformer in government despite holding key positions, I still sought to understand what informed his world view. I wondered what motivated his passion for vengeance against a leader and liberation movement he had participated in. Whether he felt betrayed because of any deviations from the core tenets of the NRM struggle by President Museveni or whether it was his own personal feeling and belief that he was unfairly treated was an issue for observers to judge and understand. But the answers were all there for one to see. He was simply petty and only pursuing personal vendettas without offering sensible reforms. He was frustrated and driven by an exaggerated ego. Having understood his background, I disagreed with him from the on the set. And I wish to respectively tell Besigye that leaving in denial over issues that are widely seen by the majority of Ugandans is not only engaging in futile ventures but also self deception. Ugandans of all status, are able to understand and differentiate between the politics of form and substance. The politics of the answer and politics of the anger as Tony Blair used to say. The politics of revolutionaries and reactionaries, as well as the politics of Pluralism that are anchored on contestation of ideas. I therefore invite Dr Besigye to shun his politics of reactionary ideology and return to this realm of clean political discourse. This is what the NRM believes in.
In his text of dissent, Dr Besigye has always fallen short of speaking the language and articulating the issues that matter most to the common citizenry. Issues that affect peoples’ livelihoods. One either expected to hear from him articulating strong alternative policies on how to manage the macro-economics better or even give a clear policy strategy on relevant livelihood sectors like land use, agriculture reform, efficient health care and may be also talk about citizenry empowerment in all aspects. To the contrary, his was all set out to be nothing else but a rabid hate agenda against an individual called Museveni. It’s this campaign of hate that Besigye wanted to recruit Ugandans into, Albeit unsuccessfully.
Counting His Endless Doom Pronouncements
Right from the year 2000 and throughout the successive periods of his campaign, Dr Besigye did not only Demonize president Museveni as a dictator but also engaged in heavy and emotional exaggerations (hyperboles) about the situation of Ugandans. His famous threats and prophesies of doom aimed at threatening Ugandans into submission were dramatic. From claiming 90% army support that never was , Besigye promised of how the Museveni government would collapse in just months. He prophesied of a tsunami coming soon to sweep the NRM, promised Masaka residents that they would line the streets to see President Museveni return to his Rwakitura farm after a humiliating defeat, etc , etc. So his latest one that the army and police will abandon Museveni just simply adds on to his long list of illusory pronouncements.
Uganda’s Progress Unstoppable
The story of the remarkable progress uganda has registered under the Museveni administration can never be erased or re-written. That we can now finance our own development needs at over 80%, construct over 3000kms of Tarmac in 3 years and achieve almost rural electricity and water coverage almost in every sub-county of both urban and rural Uganda, in addition to the many other developments, all being done with our own domestic resources and yet again still have the likes of Dr Besigye preaching pessimism, Ugandans can never accept to be taken for a ride. Whether Museveni stays longer as president and the aspiring ones like Besigye have to wait a little bit longer, is not an issue to give Ugandans any sleepless nights. What is crucial, is not who occupies state house and for how long, but rather who can diagnose correctly the livelihood ills of all and can fix them. This is the bitter truth Dr.Besigye and company must first comprehend and later come to terms with.
The writer is Kibale County MP and Minister in Charge of the Presidency and Kampala Capital City
Frank Tumwebaze, MP
Minister in Charge of the Presidency and Kampala Capital City, Government of Uganda