UN Envoy Cited In M7- Besigye Talks
By Pepper Intelligence Unit
A United Nations (UN) top envoy has been identified as the secret force behind the planned talks between President Yoweri Museveni and his fiercest political nemesis, Col. Kizza Besigye, Red Pepper can exclusively report.
FDC sources have confirmed to PIU that the recently appointed Ugandan Permanent Representative to the United Nations (New York) and formerly with the African Union, Amb. Adonia Ayebare, was agreed upon by both sides late last year as the mediator of the talks aimed at bridging the increasingly widening gap between government and the opposition.
“The ambassador has in fact already met both leaders on several occasions to lay groundwork for the talks,” our source added.
Impeccable sources from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party have told PIU that that it took the party some time to believe the new go-between. This partly explains the recent denials by government officials of the imminent talks.
“We were initially skeptical about Amb. Ayebare but as time went on, he became a credible emissary,” the source said.
“Now with the issue of the mediator solved, the country might soon be shocked when the two rivals, who have politically fought each other since 1999, meet with their respective teams to start the talks,” a source added.
ABOUT AMBASSADOR ADONIA
Amb. Adonia has a rich experience in mediation having played a key role in restoring the icy relationship between Uganda and Rwanda and also worked with various mediators on the Burundi Peace Process such as Presidents Nelson Mandela and Jacob Zuma. He also advised President Yoweri Museveni on Burundi when he was appointed chair of the regional peace initiative on Burundi.
To confirm this new initiative, these sources further insisted to our skeptical PIU desk that the existence of the planned dialogue is the very reason both men have not personally denied any moves to have them sit on a table and discuss their differences.
“Col. Besigye in particular told the media that there were many initiatives and once one of them materialized, he would tell the country,” one FDC source told PIU. Various attempts to reach Amb. Ayebare were fruitless by press time as his phones went unanswered.
HOW THE PROCESS STARTED
FDC sources tell PIU that after the presidential elections in February 2016, three attempts were made to have the two men consider dialogue.
The three initiatives were: The Elders Forum headed by Justice James Ogoola, a Religious Leaders Forum and the Women Situation Room that were being funded by western governments to initiate mediation talks between the two men.
There was also the Conrad Nkutu and Andrew Mwenda initiative, which collapsed on its face.
Our FDC sources tell us that all these attempts failed to bring the two leaders to a round table, with many of its members being accused of bias. For example the Women Situation Room that had people like Prof. Maggie Kigozi was accused of being pro-Museveni by the FDC side.
However, with the support of the International community, the three groups have been making many attempts with no much success.
But with this new initiative involving Uganda’s Ambassador to the United Nations, the sources say an important step in the road to achieving a genuine dialogue has been made.
President Museveni and Col. Besigye were comrades in the bush war that brought Museveni to power in 1986.
The two men fell out in 1999 when Besigye authored a dossier accusing the NRM revolution of veering off its original path.
Besigye went ahead to contest against President Museveni in 2001 but was defeated, forcing him to run to exile in South Africa from where the Ugandan intelligence accused him of paralyzing the country by launching an armed struggle.
The accusations did not hold water and Besigye returned to contest again in 2006 but again, lost to Museveni.
He has since contested twice in 2011 and 2016 but still failed to defeat Museveni. Despite this constant defeat, Besigye’s following has been growing every election and he has used this excuse to launch defiance protests, paralyzing government activities and normal life in the urban centres.
It is now believed that a genuine dialogue might be the ultimate solution for the 16-year-old feud between the two men that has cost the country so dearly.
WHAT THESE TALKS MEAN
Should these talks succeed, Ugandan will experience a change in its political landscape resulting in electoral reforms plus other touchy political reforms.
Secondly, there could be a possibility of a government of national unity.
Thirdly, those who have been making a living off the feud between Museveni and Besigye, letting the country down in the process, will finally be disappointed.
Fourthly, the talks will raise investor confidence in the country and help boost economic incentives for the county.
Lastly, the success of this initiative will form the basis for a national dialogue comprising all political players in the country.