SPECIAL ANALYSIS: Why Besigye Is Uganda's Next President

dosage geneva; font-size: small;”>History has for a long period of time shown that a strong movement of peaceful and non-violent people have can always challenge any form of leadership, salve however militarily strong it might be. The Egyptians used peaceful protests to overthrow Hosni Mubarak. In Tunisia Ben Ali was kicked out by a peaceful demonstration. Nelson Mandela brought British colonialists to their knees using popular non-violent civil disobedience campaigns. The equal rights blacks are enjoying in the west were obtained after the shedding of Martin Luther’s blood.

this web geneva; font-size: small;”>By desperately restraining Besigye from walking ten yards away form his home simply because they are scared of his ‘walking,’ absolutely underlines the growing fear of a possible regime collapse.

Never before had President Museveni used such drastic force to keep political rivals at bay. He wooed Eriya Kategaya back into the main fold after wandering in opposition waters. On David Pulkol, he uses the media to discredit him. Museveni uses divide and rule and penetration to undermine the credibility of Democratic Party. When it comes to UPC, Museveni reminds the public of Milton Obote’s Luweero horrors. For belligerent army officers such as Henry Tumukunde, Museveni denies them chance to retire for fear of their participation in politics.

However, there is one man that has stood the test of time despite being jailed, harrassed by army and living in exile – Besigye. Analysts concur that Besigye reflects the only hope of a desperate citizenry. This is why whenever he moves, the nation shakes. Whenever Besigye calls for a ‘peaceful’ protest, millions of shillings are wired on accounts of several security units to block him.

Only Museveni knows that whenever Besigye sneezes, Uganda catches a cold. And not only Uganda. FDC officials i have talked to say UK Premier David Cameron is on their side and regularly talks to Besigye on phone. In fact all the office equipment FDC uses at their Najjanankumbi office was provided by Cameron. Whenever Besigye is arrested, The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street journal, Daily Mail, Telegraph and Times magazine pull out their daggers and slice Museveni’s reputation, at times describing him as a tyrant. Only a mad person would ignore such a development. The western world’s attitudes of African countries is determined by attitude of their media houses. Besides, newspapers hugely determine western countries’ foreign policies. How long does it take for Cameron to dump Museveni for Besigye? If NRM top shots think US will be there for them forever, then they need to be reminded that at one time a US president said “we don’t have permanent friends but interests.”

It took a few days for US to dump Hosni Mubarak during the Tahrir uprising despite being a regional peacemaker and supporter of George Bush’s much-dreaded rendition policy (torturing terrorism suspects in foreign countries).

By not allowing Besigye to move 10 yards away from home, Museveni is showing how popular the opposition leader is. And by keeping him in jail when court has ruled that he is free to move and ‘police must be seen to protect than violate his rights of movement,’ Besigye paints a portait of a scared and sinking regime.


Last Thursday, court ruled that it was illegal to keep Besigye under house arrest because his residence was not a gazzetted place. What seems to show the power Besigye weilds is his trust and constant reference to courts of law. Whenever he is arrested, he goes to court and floors state. Remember treason, rape, inciting violence (sale of Lake Kyoga remarks) among others have fallen flat! This makes Kayihura and Museveni complete losers of the political game. People look at Besigye as a victim of repression. They sympathise with him. In sympathy comes solid suppport. By winning a court case, which is always publicised before the entire world, Besigye is scoring in Museveni’s net.

A few friends of mine in governemnt that i have talked to say IGP Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura has for long been making a mistake by publicly saying Besigye and FDC leaders intend to cause an uprising which police and the army can join to overthrow government.

“Kayihura makes every one believe that overthrowing Museveni is possible and that by blocking opposition activists from walking to work, the leadership is scared of seeing the army joining protesters. Saying a woman with no military background such as Ingrid Turinawe that she was mobilising to overthrow the government is absolutely unsellable. It shows how frightened government is,” a friend who has worked in State House since Museveni took over power confided in me. “There are things that Museveni does and you wonder who advises him,” he added.

Political observers say the more Besigye is repressed, the more stone-hearted his supporters will continue to be and rebel against government.


The only way for Museveni to survive this political storm is to cede a portion of power to Col. Kizza Besigye. A Prime Ministers’ job – Kibaki-Odingha style, would calm nerves and buy Museveni some time. More interestingly, Besigye’s demands and walk to work campaign aimed at tackling the rising cost of living, reducing government expenditure and increasing salaries for teachers, which Museveni boldy dismisses as ‘impossible’ are legitimised by government itself.

For example Uganda Bureau of Statistics yesterday announced the soaring of inflation rates from 28.3 percent to 30.5 percent in just one month! This serves to tell Ugandans that Besigye has a reason by walking to work. That there is need for government to act not suppress him. While Museveni thinks it’s because of low production compared to a fast-growing population that is causing an economic tsunami, economic experts say there are other factors such as imported inflation, Arab Spring, Euro Zone, excessive government expenditure and massive theft of government funds by public servants he is ignoring. The corrupt looters are desperately buying land, posh cars, mansions, city buildings etc simply because they are not sure of their political future. This is what is driving inflation.

If Museveni took a close look at Occupy protests now sweeping the world and the recent looting in Britain by desperate youth, he should learn that youths and economically impoverished people are waiting for a day they will rise up to destroy the ‘ill-gotten’ wealth of his cadres. No wonder, during protests, leaflets are circulated in town to attack city mogul Sudhir Rupareilla’s vast properties!

At one time while addressing youth at Colline Hotel in Mukono, former army commander Gen. Mugisha Muntu said the public anger is soaring. “Museveni is sitting on a powder keg,” he warned. The gap between the rich (Kololo/Nakasero residents) and the poor (Katanga, Bwaise, Kasubi dwellers) is growing at a fast rate. The frustration has been worsened by the chasing of vendors from Kampala and demolisihing poor businesses by KCCA without providing alternatives. Aren’t these affected people a potential source of a city revolt? Won’t they try to survive by our pockets?

While Museveni has done wonders for the country (peace and security, water sanitation, education for all, NAADS) among others, he can hardly rule out Besigye as Uganda’s next President. It would not only be surprising but ‘suicidal’ if he dared announced Amama Mbabazi as his successor.

It’s becoming clear that perhaps only two top NRM officials can be tolerated by Ugandans as Presidents and they are -Gen. Salim Saleh and Keinerugaba Muhoozi. But once elections are held, apart from Museveni, there is no one in NRM that can defeat Besigye. And with Museveni now growing very old, it will be hugely difficult to stop a massively popular Besigye from being Uganda’s next President.

Some one put it succinctly on twitter: “Besigye might come out as disruptive and stubborn but he isn’t breaking any law according to the courts. The police have no justification. And since injustice never triumphs the police will come out as long term losers and Besigye will be longterm victor.”


Header advertisement
To Top