26 September 2018

Uganda: We All Can Harvest Bob, Red and People Power

Photo: Mugisha Muntu/Facebook
Gregory Mugisha Muntu statement.
opinion

The country has spent the last 43 days discussing the outcome of the August 15 by-election in Arua municipality and it is not about to stop.

If the members waiting Mr Museveni to leave were a size of a goat, his personal reaction to the alleged stoning of his vehicle grew them into an elephant. It is this elephant that Museveni must deal with.

It is this elephant that Museveni must deal with. It is Museveni who ordered that MPs, including Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bob Wine together with what he called ringleaders, be arrested. It is his guards from the elite Special Forces Command (SFC) that executed the order with precision.

You all know the outcome; Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake is still hospitalized and Kyagulanyi has just returned from a medical trip in the USA. Hundreds of other hapless souls in Arua are still recuperating from the wanton torture from Museveni's guards and a couple of families are staring at fresh graves in their compounds.

Single events like the one of Arua have the effect of rewriting nations' history. The overthrow of Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ignited by the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor whose merchandise the authority confiscated.

Public outrage forced the president who had ascended to power one year after Museveni (1987) to step down in 2011. Arua has produced many fruits for those of us who want to free ourselves from Gen Museveni.

It has metamorphosed into a young people revolution PEOPLE POWER - OUR POWER. It has cemented the use of red colour, which we all embraced last year (2017) as we fought to stop Museveni from changing the Constitution to remove the age limit clause.

Arua has also established Bob Wine as a key leader of this young people revolution. The three things; BOBI WINE, PEOPLE POWER, and RED COLOUR are what people wish Uganda well must now carefully harvest. In fact, even Museveni can participate in the harvest.

Adapting to new situations is what has kept the opposition in Kenya going. It is also the reason the name of their collective platform has changed almost every election.

Don't you remember National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) in early 2000, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), National Super Alliance and most recently National Resistance Movement (NRM) that swore in Raila Odinga?

For us in FDC, we like our motto One Uganda, One People the same way DP people like DP Egumire, which is the reason we must read the signs well. I know there are FDC people who are genuinely worried about the People Power revolution.

They fear it might, as Gen Muntu put it in The Observer, swallow our party. I think these ones should be consoled by the reasons for which the FDC itself was established. The FDC in fact as I understand it was and is supposed to be a vehicle, and not a destination itself.

It is people who want to turn it into a destination that are inviting its disintegration. There was a time when I was accused of being and promoting Ssuubi in FDC meetings. Those who used to accuse me are now regular visitors of Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze.

They have known over time that Ssuubi was just another branch of the same tree. And that is how I view Bobi Wine. I think even Museveni shouldn't be worried. What is unfolding in the country should only prepare him for a quick exit.

Ugandans are very forgiving and I know if Mzee announced his departure, we will even throw a party for him.

Trouble is that what remains in him is energy to wrestle a goat but he is provoking war with a leopard just because they are relatively of the same size. If there is anybody who should benefit from the rise of Bobi Wine, I think it should be Jajja Museveni.

I think Museveni seized power when Bobi Wine was about four years old. Bobi is now 36 and Museveni 74. Museveni should feel ashamed of quarrelling with his grandchildren over a banana like a friend of mine put it recently.

But most significantly for Museveni is the fact that when you don't announce your departure and participate in debating the future, someone else will do it. I think few expected Bobi Wine, including himself, to be a factor in the Ugandan politics about two years ago.

If we had concluded a deal on Museveni's departure in 2017 or early 2017, I think Bobi Wine would even never have attended the meeting.

Today he will receive an invite even ahead of me. That is human nature. Museveni must very quickly discuss his departure with people he knows before those he doesn't know come on stage. They might be very difficult.

For example, those of us he has beaten, imprisoned and humiliated know him and can treat him with mercy and respect. The young people won't give him that luxury.

Isn't that the reason some threw stones at him? The more he delays, the more difficult it becomes for him.

Instead of walking to Bwaise slum to distribute money, Museveni should be convening meetings at Serena to discuss his departure. Let him not worry, we shall sort out Bwaise.

The author is Kira Municipality MP and opposition chief whip in parliament.

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