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25th August 2018 - It takes two camps to tangle!

Wednesday night I dreamt Uganda’s President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni had been lied to, concerning the behavior of some politicians.

Two of these came from Buganda: the very well-known pop singer, Robert Kyagulanyi (nicknamed Bobi Wine) brand new to Parliament, and Francis Zaake, Mityana Municipality MP. I’ve known Mityana well since my paternal grand-father, Regent Festo Manyangenda, had been Ssaza Chief there in the late ‘40s. Now Zaake and Kyagulanyi had been so badly mauled by Government peacekeepers, following the Arua Municipality elections that they might not live! (Someone had already been shot dead while protesting Zaake’s treatment: it was that kind of time!)

My dream aside, pictures of Zaake, in hospital, showed an inert, swollen-faced bundle, which, a day later, was reported to somehow have fallen out of the bed  (how?!) but was still breathing. Of Kyagulanyi there were no available pictures but those who had seen him, including his wife, a very alert, well-spoken lady, feared for his continued existence. Of him, the President’s people had led their Boss to announce that Kyagulanyi was well and untouched! Imagine how this falsity imfuriated the sorrowing public! Next day I saw, and was somewhat reassured, a very bright man interviewed on TV, named Medard Lubega Segona; Bobi Wine’s lawyer.

To those like me who had found Museveni a golden gift from Heaven to a sorrowing Uganda when he first arrived on the scene, and then, with the Movement, wrought miracles of recovery for over a third of a century, our dumbfounded shock now can only be imagined. Speaking for myself, in my dream I had gone, not for the first time, to a glittering State Dinner, only to hear the groaning of the wounded (and perhaps dying) lying in disarray on the floor among the tables. Glory turned to hell!

The bad blood this time started in Arua near the South Sudan border, during an election which ironically Government lost: a notable event because it usually won, fair and square. However, judging by what afterwards followed, including in Kampala where wars are raging: might not overwhelming Movement victories turn the stomachs of voters, towards consequent defeat? What we’ve seen, of cane-wielding, and gun-firing official peacekeepers surely might, unless swiftly stopped, bring the Movement to ruin! How rapidly might the stream turn into a torrent!

President Museveni has always preferred to rule strictly by the Constitution, for example with the statutory Elections for the last six times, five years each: to wit thirty years (plus two years into the current one).  I believe each to have been fairly earned; bar the odd human error which can bedevil the best human intentions. Now people are going to say (nay, have already started to say) that things ran smoothly because the Movement Government always mostly won; that it is, at heart, a dangerously bad loser. And point to what is currently happening. Indeed, notoriously bad losers, like the one who has lost each one of all the presidential elections, have shouted so in every case! 

All they did was await another chance. Then they upped the ante a little bit, and we fell for it: hook, line and sinker. The Baganda say: Kyewayagaliza embazzi kibuyaga asudde! (For what you wanted an axe the wind has felled!) This wind might well prove bitter in the extreme!!

But this is where we must show our mettle, and, at this level, the chance doesn’t come twice. We can employ bombast, and vanity, or show we are aware we took a wrong turning. Actually, by which course we take, will we show who we really are, and whether we deserve continuation. Are we saying brute force is the only way? Then we are, or have become, brutes! But what if, on the other hand, to honour our warriors, alive or dead, we set the wheel of negotiation in motion?

I’ve been reading and watching the media on this matter more than usual, inhaling what we have been going through and what lies ahead. Capital city Kampala is burning, and so are many other places in the country. Not only here: news from Nairobi, London, Toronto (mentioning but a few!) shows that even internationally Uganda is starting to smell. We’ve got to come off our high horse right away.

The Museveni I know and trust (and it all comes down to Museveni), is humane, though often stubborn; and often too trusting, especially of those who cower before him. When told by them that Bobi Wine (Hon Kyagulanyi MP) had not been extensively roughed-up, he immediately and wrongly, took it to heart and used it to run him down. Couldn’t he ask to look at him? This was jujitsu: they used the President’s power to fell him! 

Apologies to the victim are greatly in order. These cases of innocent victims should always be brought to civil courts: certainly not military ones, unless they deal with military personnel. Now they must be swiftly concluded. Let such measures enable the Movement Government, and the people of our Nation whom it looks after (and has looked after for three decades and counting) return swiftly to the heady days of the mid ‘80s, when miracles descended to us all! For God and the great Nation of Uganda!

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