Besigye On How Museveni Turned His Family Against Him

Col Kizza Besigye speaking earlier today at the (ICJ-Kenya meeting in Durban (Courtesy Photo)

Former four time opposition presidential candidate Col Dr Kizza Besigye on Thursday charmed a group of Kenyan jurors at a conference in South Africa, check taking them though his years of struggle to take power in Uganda.

The jurors under the Kenyan branch of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ-Kenya) are meeting in Durban to discuss and reflect on democracy in Africa.

Besigye while speaking at the conference, information pills on Uganda’s political journey from the pre-independent area today, recalled how at one point President Museveni attempted to use some of his family members and close friends against him.

This he said, happened in the early 2000s when he had officially broken ties with regime through a daunting dossier that exposed the rot in the government he had helped bring to power.

When the document came out, Besigye told the meeting, Museveni ordered for him to be court-martialed because he was still a serving officer of the UPDF and the document was considered subversive.

“So, we started mobilizing politically to challenge that Court Martial. When he (Museveni) realized that he would face more problems in the court martial, — and we had prepared to expose him maximally in there — he organized my relatives and elders in my village to come meet him and plead for me,” said Besigye as the house erupted in laughter.

“Without my knowledge I heard that all these relatives and important people in my village were in town to meet Museveni. Some expected that I knew so they told me that they had come to intervene on my behalf.

“So I asked them (before going to State House), to meet me first and I explained to them how what I had done had absolutely nothing that could incriminate me and cause me to suffer under the law.

“I told them to let me go to the Court Martial because I was not scared.”

Besigye says however, that his relatives were not moved and insisted on him apologizing to the President before things could get worse.

“They told me, ‘You know, we have listened to you and we agree with you, but we want to tell you in our wisdom as elders, that a creeper cannot argue with a machete. Even if you are right, this is a situation where you must be humble because the machete will maul you down. Please accept, go and apologize to him; we have come to help you do that.’”

Besigye says he nonetheless “respectfully disagreed with them there and then.”

“I told them that while I agreed with their proverb, what I didn’t agree with was that I am the creeper in this situation; because the one who is right cannot be the weak one.”

During his lecture that lasted more than an hour, the former presidential candidate said that like his relatives and village elders, Ugandans had been culturally accustomed to being servants to those occupying office.

This he said went back to the time of the British imperial rulers and that even when they left in 1962 and leadership positions were taken by fellow Ugandans, this order did not change.

Dr Besigye has since 2000 been fighting without success to overthrow the now three decade rein of the NRM and President Museveni.

He currently faces treason charges for declaring himself winner of last February’s Presidential elections.


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