Why Besigye must go — Andrew Mwenda


Good morning friends. We have over the last week ignited a heated debate on the crisis in the opposition especially the leadership of Dr. Kizza Besigye. You have made his page the largest newspaper in the country. I have read the comments on the debate and I am impressed by how many Ugandans actually feel frustrated with the status quo in the opposition. But I am disappointed by many who sympathize with Besigye, like my son Ivan Okuda.

All the reasonable (and even the extremely unreasonable) defenders or Besigye tend to lament. They give long winding reasons on how M7 has made it difficult for Besigye to succeed etc. Is M7 supposed to make it easy for Besigye to remove him from power? This attitude of justifying failure instead of looking for opportunities for success has crippled the opposition.

My argument is that M7 is a difficult nut to crack because he is a master strategist and tactician. Besigye is all courage and energy but little strategy. His leadership has been tested for 16 long years and it has not produced the change he has always promised. The opposition need to try a new leader with a new strategy. It is that simple.

The NRM has no reason to change M7 because he took them to a struggle and they captured power in five years. He has kept them in power for 30 years. Why change a manager who keeps winning and winning. Besigye has promised change and only delivered M7’s continued rule.

In 2001 Besigye got 28% of the vote and claimed his votes had been stolen and his security compromised. He ran to exile and threatened to launch armed rebellion. Nothing materialized. In 2005 he returned and made the best bid at the presidency getting 38% of the vote. He said his votes had been stolen and threatened a tsunami. Nothing came of it.

In 2011 he claimed to have vote protection brigades that would neutralize M7’s rigging machinery. Instead his share of votes fell to 26%. He claimed he had gotten 68%. But he was unable to rally such a majority to make Uganda ungovernable and force M7 to talks and power sharing as has happened in Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Just before the 2016 elections Besigye called a press conference and told all and sundry that any attempt to rig the vote would be neutralized. When the results were announced he had 32%. Not a single stone was thrown to defend his claims that he had been cheated.

So Besigye wins, M7 steals his votes and Besigye does nothing. Why should people continue to vote for a man incapable of protecting their hard won victory – not once, not twice but four times? I am sure in 2021 Besigye will call upon his supporters to show up and vote for him and promise their victory won’t be to no avail and again it will be to no avail.

This is not a problem of Besigye. It is the utter gullibility and stupidity of his supporters. Otherwise why do people continue to support such a leader with such a horrible record of promises that are never met? Mugisha Muntu warned Besigye during the FDC presidential debate to stop making bellicose threats that cannot materialize. Seems the colonel does not listen to generals.

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