3 December 2017

Uganda: Towards a New Theory for Ousting Museveni

Photo: PPU
President Yoweri Museveni, left, in discussion with the parliament’s legal affairs committee led by Oboth Oboth, second left.
opinion

Museveni appears to be bent on a life presidency and yet the Opposition rather than consolidating its strength is getting more fragmented. Ironically, Museveni's current stance of defying the will of the people is the glue the Opposition needs to build a united front.

With the last straw being the machinations to lift the constitutional age limit, Museveni has pushed Ugandans too far and betrayed the revolution which elevated him. A revolution means you are conscious of the existing reality and you fight to transform that reality into something totally different.

By lifting the presidential age limit, Museveni will have undressed himself and joined the league of all the past leaders he never tires of lambasting. It will be the final nail in the coffin of the NRM revolution and thus a most welcome curtain raiser and a call to arms for the next revolution.

In that situation, how should the democracy seeking forces act? First they should find a solution to the fragmentation that has dogged its efforts for decades. When your house is burning you don't chase rats fleeing the flames. You focus on putting out the fire. The Museveni regime is a big fire burning our dreams for a better future and turning them to ashes. Insulting Museveni will not do. Just like insulting a fierce fire does not reduce its intensity. We have to join hands.

The democracy seeking forces also need to organise both overtly and covertly. They should disabuse themselves from the false dichotomy akin to the one we witnessed during the recent FDC presidential elections. Tactics are complementary. As long as they serve the same strategic objective. Campaigns of defiance against a lawless state must go hand in hand with better organisation. We cannot compromise on the pre-eminence of organisation. At the same time opponents have to be confronted. An army is not for parades. It is for war. And war means finding the enemy wherever he may be and attacking him with the aim of overwhelming him.

We must make our people hear, feel but above all see the imperative of urgent action aimed at ousting Museveni.

In addition, it should be understood that organisations are the sum total of the individuals in them. Invariably however, organisations also take the character of the leaders, that is to say the dominant individuals. The Opposition has many individuals who can lead. However, unless they find common ground Museveni will continue to deploy the divide and rule technique against them. There is no glory in being a headman among slaves. When slaves unite the Red Sea of oppression will part.

In that way any individual who agrees to lead must be an instrument of the common will of the united Opposition. The FDC elections brought to the fore an intense debate about Col Kizza Besigye as a polarising figure and suggestions that he would, therefore, be a worse leader than Museveni. That is utter nonsense. There has never been and there will never be a Ugandan president who has abused power more than Yoweri Museveni.

But there is another battle we have to fight. That battle is the one against our own internal weaknesses. External appearance depends on internal characteristics. The contradictions we externalise are an express of our internal contradictions. But the primary contradiction is the one between the people and the Museveni regime. We, therefore, have to paint a better picture of the future than Museveni.

In doing that, the words of Amilcar Cabral are instructive: "Always bear in mind that people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone's head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children."

Uganda

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