Besigye is wrongly Reading Uganda’s Political Trends

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Weeks of peaceful protests, that forced Algeria’s president for twenty years, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, to abandon running again for office, and on Tuesday culminated in him relinquishing power with immediate effect has re-ignited Dr Kizza Besigye, back to ‘life’ swinging his political pendulum aimlessly. Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013 and has rarely been seen in public.

In 2017, Zimbabwe’s Robert Gabriel Mugabe, was in a similar fashion also forced out, first, through a creeping internal ZANU-PF party coup later the military. Both Mugabe and Bouteflika are former revolutionaries, who, perhaps overstayed their welcome reaching senility, and became ensnared by cliques that couldn’t keep them in power endlessly leading to being toppled by a combination of local opposition, public protests, and military intervention. 

In Sudan, Gen. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who seized power in a military coup in 1989, has, for now at least, withstood protests initially over bread scarcity and price, but quickly turned into demands for him to leave power. The protest, seem to have sputtered after Bashir resigned as chairman of the National Congress party, made some political changes, and imposed a year-long state of emergency. The emergency decree bans protests, public gatherings, political activities, and gives security forces more powers to monitor and detain individuals, and seize property deemed being used to aid civil disobedience. 

Mugabe’s former vice president, Emerson Mnangagwa, was then installed by the military and a few months later, neutralised opposition pressure by calling for elections which ZANU-PF decisively won at parliamentary level, although his presidential win was razor-thin and disputed. In both Zimbabwe and Algeria, the ageing presidents were accused of letting a cabal of un-elected officials to hijack the authority of the state. 

In Tunisia, Egypt, Zimbabwe, and Algeria, what began as matters of fuel, tuition fees, bread and butter, quickly degenerated into street political brawls, that the ailing presidents, apparently held hostage by cliques, found difficult and unable to handle. The voices of the people who demanded ‘change’ appear to have been short-changed by the military which installed governments of their own choice and convenience. 

These events, appear to be emboldening sections of Uganda’ opposition led by Besigye, whose political pendulum seems to be swinging aimlessly. It isn’t surprising therefore, that opposition groups are falling heads over tails, believing Uganda is heading the same direction. Uganda is a robust democracy, and stable state with an effective President Yoweri Museveni. On Wednesday, Mugisha Muntu, who is still struggling to find his way in the muddle, tweeted “Algerians have had their voices heard. Their resilience in the face of adversity is commendable. The will of the people can be challenged and attempts to resist it can be made, but eventually, as surely as night follows day, change comes!” This tweet, demonstrates a huge muddle!

Two months ago, Besigye announced to the world, that 2019, was the year of political “action” in Uganda, to topple President Museveni before elections scheduled for February 2021. Presumably, the last two decades Besigye has spent in active opposition politics including four times as presidential candidate have been trial matches, build