Opinion: Mwenda’s distorted adventure in the land of dissidents

The editor and founder of the Independent Magazine Andrew Mwenda wrote an article or a piece called ‘The Besigyezisation of Bobi Wine’ published today on the 16th March 2021. I will take his piece apart and be as frank as possible. Also, show the missteps and the sort of misguided thinking he has. Not that that’s anything new, but someone got to do it. It just happens to be me.

This will be a long piece. Let me warn you. This is not a short read.

However now he states things like this:

Like Kizza Besigye before him, Bobi Wine seems to have lost faith in the electoral and judicial process. His new call suggests he wants to change government by ultra constitutional means. It is a strategy that will lead him on Besigye’s long trodden path of failure and frustration” (Mwenda, 2021).

The way he says this is really paternalistic. As his saying Besigye have failed, but never understood what he was all about. Now, Bobi Wine is the next generation following in the footsteps of Besigye. They are going into the same grounds, as they are battling the same system and the same overlord. Not like they are working against a vastly different totalitarian government. Therefore, they have to use the same means and the similar fashion to able to fight it.

So, when he says Bobi Wine will follow the failures of Besigye. It is very rich and a poor argument in one way. As his trying to make the peaceful transition of power, which Besigye didn’t succeed in doing. However, Besigye was feared and fought in a manner, which made the State House shake. So, its not like both of them aren’t respected and their popularity is an insult to the Presidency. That is why the state uses its machinery to take away their freedom and liberty to assemble and even use their constitutional rights. Which isn’t ultra, but righteous….

Mwenda continues:

Bobi Wine’s actions, like those of Besigye, reflect the dilemma Uganda’s opposition has faced since 1996 when the government of President Yoweri Museveni allowed electoral competition. Museveni came to power through a military victory. But rather than rule militarily, he chose to rule politically recognizing that overt military rule would be counterproductive. Thus he put in place a constitution-making process that ushered in electoral competition. Yet the aim of these elections was not to ensure genuine competition for power but to legitimize Museveni’s power” (Mwenda, 2021).

It is really not a dilemma, because participating in the elections are a way to prove the discrepancies and systematic wrongs. If the opposition doesn’t participate in the elections. There will only be pawns and paid “moles” to act as a opposition. Which the authorities and the state doesn’t fear or have to intimidate. The government is as military as it was when they took over power. The importance of the army and security agencies haven’t been weakening, but strengthen over time.

Mwenda also slipped the truth out and brought the true perspective. What is semi-wrong is the allowed electoral competition. As the 1996 elections was a “one-party” elections and the multi-party elections was the real deal before 2006. Someone as smart and TED Talk like Mwenda should have these facts straight. Especially, when he wants to undermine the opposition with his tales. When you cannot even set-the-record straight. What else are you not sincere about in your text too?

Mwenda then says: Yet the opposition, especially the most effective one led by Besigye, seems to have lost this insight. They began to see elections purely as a means of winning power immediately not of building an alternative policy platform. Power became an end in itself, not a means to an end. When they could not gain it, and knowing the electoral process was flawed, they concluded that elections are meaningless. Besigye convinced himself that the only road to power is through protest” (Mwenda, 2021).

Here is a real fallacy in his argument. As he states earlier in the text that the elections are just a cheap bargain for the President and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) to legitimize the Presidency through civil elections. It is not done to have free and fair elections. Still, the man expects the ones going through the rigged proceedings not to protest or react to the efforts done by the state. How foolish are you? Shouldn’t the person being robbed report the theft or punish the thief? Is it okay for the state to steal the election and not get any punitive actions for it?

That is what is striking here. The opposition is supposed to accept the gambit of legitimizing Museveni, but not act when they are wrongly announced losers of the elections. Mwenda expects the losers to go on and continue to build political parties like nothing… while Museveni gets everything. How dumb is that? That is just dense…

However, he says this which is a lie:

Opposition leaders denounce the judiciary in spite of the fact that Uganda’s judges have continually ruled against Museveni and the state in the vast majority of cases they have taken to court. Our judges have protected the rights of opposition politicians, journalists and activists. I am a beneficiary of this, our judicial independence. And so are Besigye, Bobi Wine and so many others. The blindness of the opposition to this reality only shows that they only see judicial independence in how it can help them get power. In other words, power has become the only thing they seek” (Mwenda, 2021).

It is really rich that he says that. When the judiciary is weaponized as a tool to keep the opposition oppressed and keep cases running for years. Where it is no evidence or any proof of the wrong-doings, but the opposition leaders are still called for cases stemming near a decade ago. That is why its really beneath his station that Mwenda says this.

Also, when has there been any court orders in favour of the opposition on matters, which is hurting the President or his allies? It wasn’t on the Presidential Age Limit. There was nothing on the Academic Papers on the President and neither other. His allies have been able to run away from corruption scandals and others without any proceedings. Heck, Kale Kayihura case got dropped the other day without any fanfare. Who does Mwenda think he his? Does he think the followers of the opposition is that blind and cannot see?

Near the end he wrote this:

Bobi Wine is under immense pressure from his supporters, most especially the radical ones, to do something, to find a shortcut to power, to express their deep sense of grievance and to nurse their wounds. I suspect he feels duty bound to honor their unrealistic expectations and demands upon him. But while doing so endears him to them, it does not advance his cause of gaining power, or foster democracy leave alone enable the stability of Uganda. Instead, it will lead him, like Besigye, to becoming their supplicant instead of being their leader thereby turning him into a permanent protester” (Mwenda, 2021).

It is like Mwenda is living in a vacuum and above the system that oppresses people. The people are just supposed to suck-it-up and “move-on”. It is just like its cool to live under the suppressive and oppressive self-styled President for Life. That is just a good catch and something anyone wants too. They don’t want to protest or get active to get someone who can truly represent you and be your leader. No, they should just be silent and “hail” the unelected monarch and “patriarch” of the Republic.

It is not about the protests or the activists, neither is it about the role of Besigye or Bobi Wine. They wouldn’t be in their position, if it wasn’t for the prolonged and agonizing reign of Museveni. These folks wouldn’t have grievances and have causes to fight. If the system was free and fair. Alas, the system is built around one man. A man who happens to be the personification of the state.

That is why Mwenda is afraid of the stability of Uganda. Because, the government of Uganda is addicted and only bloodline is pumping through the veins of Kaguta. It is like his the editor for the “I Choose Peace” crowd. Because, there is no reason to demonstrate, riot or civil disobedience. Those sort of effforts are only wasted space in the minds of Mwenda. Since, the building party like Mugisha Muntu is so fruitful… which has less results or proof of changes. Not like Alliance for National Transformation have made any changes. Maybe that’s why you neither voted for him or boosted his cause in the election. Even if Mwenda has said he would do that when Muntu would become a Presidential Candidate. He instead did a political stunt at the National Unity Platform and became a member there. We know what sort of game he plays. It is all to benefit the current regime.

That is the thing about this text too. Mwenda is maybe slipping some truths in there and shows the bitter truths. However, he will do it to undermine the efforts of the opposition he despises. That is why they are “forever” protesters now. Since they don’t do anything good in his eyes. They are just supposed to accept their fate and take the L. That is just the way his master did in 1980 and awaited the next election in 1985. No, he didn’t… he went to the bush and the rest is history.

So, please Mr. Mwenda try a better a argument next time. This is not holding water. It is legit to protest and its constitutional too. A Constitution everyone has praised, even you dear leader has sought legitimacy through it. Peace.

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