Saturday, August 12, 2023

The ongoing civil war in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is on purpose announcing Warren Smith Kizza Besigye’s return as the doyen of opposition politics in the run-up to the 2026 general elections with a desperate expectation to topple President Yoweri Museveni who will be aged 82 with 40 years under his belt as president of Uganda. With 23 years in opposition but without much discernible success, Besigye is running desperately impatient, and so he wants to get either power or money. 

Matters are not made any better when they see that the two foremost political parties, Democratic Party (DP) and Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) hitherto narrow-minded opponents to President Museveni and NRM have recently capitulated with some of their leaders joining cabinet.

And then there is Muhoozi Keinerugaba, still a serving UPDF General, angling probably to gain leg-room ahead of everyone which is rubbing salt in opposition deep wounds who seem to interpret the loud silence within NRM probably as a betrayal where everyone is only guessing what the game plan could be although the high stakes are well-known. It seems to be a stratagem to pull the rug from beneath hoping for endorsements at some point, come rain come sunshine. But it’s however wrong for anyone with the ambition to lead Uganda to project an image of invulnerability, and the fallacy of youths, as the recent Nigerian presidential election proved otherwise. The NRM has weathered many violent storms in the past five decades, the reason it’s still the ship with steady sails.

When you have a pattern where Vice Presidents in the past haven’t had a shot, but usually left the scene almost forgotten, you have to pity the current holder when they are barely mentioned except as footnote on delegated assignments. So, under these circumstances, Besigye and his newfound cohorts believe that it’s their historical duty and obligation to do the heavy lifting, but hopefully the rock doesn’t smash their tiny political toes as has been since 2001 when he embarked on this journey to nowhere.

In reality Besigye has more than once in the past proved that he can be a hired gun supported by two neighbouring governments to distabilise President Museveni through elections, and the “walk-to-work” violent street riots after he lost the 2011 elections. I guess many people remember police running battles with hoodlums burning old car tyres around Kampala as Besigye mounted civil disobedience to make “Uganda ungovernable”.

Besigye, a double-faced liar has run shameless and corrupt election campaigns in past during which he never publicly questioned the sources of the money he used. In fact he protected his protégés accused of gang-pressing government accounting officers and profiteering from chairing parliament committees claiming they were being character assassinated by the NRM ‘junta’. On these pages we have before raised the matters of Bugisu Cooperative Society and Kampala Capital City Authority Land Board among other which for years have been under FDC leaning leaders that are used to funnel illicit money into FDC activities.  

In 2010 we tracked 900M that Besigye paid in cash to a public relations firm owned by a guy then working for a local newspaper to conduct for him an aggressive public relations campaign laced with lies and hate speech against Museveni. In was a pattern from 2001 and 2005 by the same media guru. In 2011 we tracked 100M paid for manifesto writing which turned out to have been plagiarized from the UK Tory party for which FDC was heavily ridiculed in the media which led to fallout between Besigye and the flamboyant manifesto man. So I guess Besigye ‘s call for forensic audit should start from 2001 when he entered election politics so that his whole money trail is established.

Besigye built FDC as his personal fiefdom where he installs puppets until now when Patrick Oboi Amuriat (President), Nathan Nandala Mafabi (Secretary General) and Geoffrey Ekanya (Treasurer General) have apparently short-changed him. The claims that Besigye is miffed by ‘dirty money’ he says without proven evidence to have come from State House is a smokescreen to disguise his true intent. And when your spouse was endorsed for an international job by President Museveni, surely shouting ‘dirty money’ is like shedding the proverbial crocodile tears. When you have courted Joseph Kony’s LRA to help you win power, then ‘dirt’ shouldn’t apply, although it’s heart-warming that Besigye who accuses Museveni of strangulating the State and NRM is doing the same to FDC.

In a half-clever effort to isolate Nandala and Amuriat as sellouts to Museveni, Besigye has inadvertently exposed himself as a charlatan whose greed is making him run wild. The revelation and admission by Besigye that he received and kept 300M from Nandala to abet tax evasion to the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) yet he ostensibly campaigns for transparency and public accountability has left sewage splashed all over his body. It is an indication that Besigye and FDC have dubiously used politics for suspect criminal enterprise to enrich themselves.