Not breaking news, but the Independent Magazine editor and spin-doctor of the regime Andrew Mwenda published piece called “Thumbs Up for Mao”. That was published today. I will no digest the whole text, but only comment on the pieces that is worthy of discussing. Because, his sort of style is to whitewash and make the government insiders look good. He has become a talisman for the government and this article is no exemption. It is just the good old sort of spin to make the unreasonable look wonderful.
Mwenda’s piece is the norm now and nobody should be shocked. The mannerism and the attacks on Bobi Wine and Besigye is staple by now. The way he describes and goes after the opposition is just what he does. It’s like he has no other technique or abilities to understand their standing. Everyone is just supposed to think and move like he does. Be a government crony and get the kickbacks like everyone else Andrew knows.
The first part which was interesting to me was this one: “The cooperation agreement between NRM and DP is an important political innovation and landmark in our country’s politics. Uganda needs this kind of politics. Indeed, it should be a yardstick for political cooperation among the contending political forces in the country. Other political parties like NUP, FDC and JEMA should seek the same” (Mwenda, 22.07.2022).
Well, we don’t know what sort of deal the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) did. Neither does we know what sort of deal Dr. Paul Ssemogerere did back-in-the-day or anyone else for that matter. Who has gone from being in opposition to working with President Museveni. We also know what happened to the allies of the UFF and UFM. Manhy of them are now gone and only a handful are still around in the upper echelon. So, seeing how Museveni betrays agreements and twists them for his own personal advances. The UPC and DP should know this. The Cooperation Agreement today could be diminished tomorrow when His Excellency don’t need it. The words to the wise of studying history and knowing how your enemy operates. Mwenda should know that NUP, FDC and JEEMA shouldn’t join hands with Museveni. Sooner or later they will end up as relevant as Beatrice Anywar or Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi. Please, we don’t want any of that in 2022 do we?
He continues: “From that experience I came to the conclusion that Besigye is an obstacle to democratic development in Uganda. It is hard for me to really know his subjective motivations. But the objective outcome of his actions impede democratization. This is because he sees all forms of political compromise as capitulation, negotiations with government as selling out. He has adopted an extreme position that there is only way forward for Uganda and that is the fall of Museveni and his (Besigye’s) usurpation of power – and through ultra-constitutional means” (Mwenda, 22.07.2022).
I would have to counter with the words of Besigye himself in the 1999 dossier as he left the NRM to form the Reform Agenda, which later turned into the now known Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). In that he says this: “All in all, when I reflect on the Movement philosophy and governance, I can conclude that the Movement has been manipulated by those seeking to gain or retain political power, in the same way that political parties in Uganda were manipulated. Evidently, the results of this manipulation are also the same, to wit: Factionalism, loss of faith in the system, corruption, insecurity and abuse of human rights, economic distortions and eventually decline. So, whether it’s political parties or Movement, the real problem is dishonest, opportunistic and undemocratic leadership operating in a weak institutional framework and a weak civil society which cannot control them” (Besigye, November 6 1999 Dossier).
Why do I use these words in 2022? Well, that’s the reasons for why Besigye doesn’t believe in compromise and working directly with the NRM now. The NRM haven’t become better since 1999, but its much more ruthless and less concerned about how it portray itself. Mwenda is claiming Besigye wants power, but he wants a proper transition of power away from the guns and to a civilian rule. Because, the NRM today is based on the power of the army and the authorities, which can be used to take total control. So, calling Besigye is just to justify the means to an end for Museveni. Since Museveni usage of force, intimidation and state sponsored violence is legit in the eyes of Mwenda. While being on the barricades to defend liberty, justice and freedom for all is called extremism. That just shows which side Mwenda is on…
“Yet Besigye has ignored the path taken by Mandela and instead embraced the one pursued by Yasser Arafat in Palestine. He has helped nourish a large constituency who reject politics as an activity that might – and should – involve compromise. The battle cry is never to seek any common ground. He and his radical extremist supporters despise any such, seeing it as selling out. Their motto is that we either win or they lose. This zero-sum approach to politics is very dangerous and can only lead to a autocratic government. This is because any government that comes to power without any negotiation or compromise will most likely to rule without any negotiation and compromise. And the reverse is true” (Mwenda, 22.07.2022).
We all know the game-plan here. Mwenda wants compromise to look good and make the resilience of Besigye to look bad. Alas, the main issue with this here and using Mandela as an example. It is not like Museveni wants to promise a new beginning or reform in which his leaving. The white minority rule (apartheid) government made that agreement with the African National Congress (ANC) which lead to a new start in the rainbow nation in 1990s. Something we know that the NRM and Museveni has no interests in. They only wants that prolongs the life of the Museveni era and the NRM clinging on to power. That’s why this sort of mental gymnastics isn’t doing anyone a favour. The dictator and his party would never really negotiate themselves out of office or offer a soft landing for a free and fair election. We know that Museveni would never do that… it isn’t in his character and certainly after 36 years. He will not do that… Museveni will never compromise to the levels of sincere approach or a possibility of losing power. No, his to conning to do that.
He continues: “Mao needs to be applauded for his courage, for leading the way, for breaking this fear that to work with Museveni is detrimental to the interests of Uganda. Museveni and his NRM are a deeply entrenched reality in Uganda’s body politic. They are unlikely to be removed from power any time soon. But Museveni is also a practical and pragmatic politician who is always looking out for opportunities to win over his opponents – or even to compromise them. That should not stop politicians of principle from being pragmatic, recognizing that building Uganda requires some cooperation with him” (Mwenda, 22.07.2022).
I can applaud Mao for showing his true character and lack of spine. His a sell-out and the deal will be breached. Sooner or later the President and his men will see no value in the DP or Mwenda. He will be as valuable as Beatrice Anywar aka Mama Mabira. Calling Museveni practical and pragmatic is joke. When he calls people’s parasites, insects and calls to destroy his opponents. A man who uses either the hook or the crook to go after his enemies. So, calling for pragmatic solutions with Museveni is hopeless. Sooner or later you will be lost and have no way to go. It is just showing the manner of which everyone else is supposed to beg for mercy, but Museveni is allowed to do whatever. Calling him pragmatic and practical. Well, say that to the tortured victims, the political prisoners and the families who has lost political activists in extra judicial killings because of their affiliations. That’s ruthless and not practical. So, Mwenda isn’t sincere here…
Mwenda further states: “Thus Besigye has built this cult that someone cannot compromise with Museveni without being compromised by the president. Yet one can work with Museveni without working for him and recognize the president’s accomplishments without endorsing his failures. This inability to see nuance and complexity leads me to believe that Besigye has despotic inclinations. His belief in the total annihilation of Museveni as the one and only path to Uganda’s democratization and development is dangerous” (Mwenda, 22.07.2022).
When Mwenda writes like this. It is like he has never listened or bother to care about the messaging of Besigye. Because, he has make Museveni look cool or like a likeable character. While demonizing and depict the enemies of the state as the worst. Alas, that is just what Mwenda does here. While not considering the implications of doing so. How can anyone have negotiations between the parties, when the spin-doctor of the other party calls Besigye that? That doesn’t make sense. Secondly, Besigye don’t have power and haven’t been in office of decades… FDC has proven to be a coordinated and a party machine which is ruled by proper protocol. So, why would he be dictator? It isn’t like Besigye is the Party President and a high ranking official there now.
Just to continue my reasoning. Let’s take another document of Besigye. Where in 2017 spelled out what was needed for a transition of government:
“The following needs to be done to terminate the Junta’s control of our country:
1) Intensify the “awakening campaign”, for most Ugandans to become active in the processes of achieving a transition. Everyone has a role to play in achieving this.
2) Forming activist networks to make it possible to act together and to be coordinated.
3)Everyone seeking a democratic transition should take deliberate actions, individually or in concert with others to disempower and break down the Junta. Each one’s actions, however small, contribute significantly towards the desired change.
4) Public servants, including those in the security and military are called upon to join the struggle for democratic transition.
5) In coordination with other political and civil society formations, we’ll soon start various activities that will disempower and bring the, now fragile, Junta to an end” (Besigye, 11.06.2017).
If you read this sort of text it isn’t a script of a demagogue or a dictator, but of a man who wants a public uprising and people power revolution to overthrow the current regime. Where he wants organizations and parties behind who all pull their weight. This is a game of getting all stakeholders to choke the government and stop it. So, it has to cease operation. So, when reading about the compromise. It is just like Mwenda wants to breathe new life into the Museveni government. Instead of actually offer a transition or a proper representation of the general public in government.
He ends with: “Most democracies I know in the world work through coalitions. This means they have to share power with those they don’t agree with. Why not Uganda?” (Mwenda, 22.07.2022).
Besigye’s own words in the 1999 described this: “After some years of NRM rule, some in the leadership began to feel that there was sufficient grassroots support for the NRM, such that one could “off-load” the “broad–based” elements in government at no political cost. These factors were at the centre of an unprincipled power-struggle which was mostly covert and hence could not be resolved democratically. It continued to play itself out outside the formal Movement organs, with the results of weakening and eventually losing the concept of consensus politics and broad-basedness” (Besigye, November 6 1999 Dossier).
When this have been public knowledge for decades and it hasn’t become better. The main problem for the way the government is operating is starting from the top. That’s His Excellency and the orders his issuing. The way of the NRM CEC, NRM Caucus and the way the Parliament is doing it’s business. Therefore, the Mwenda’s of the world speaking of coalitions. The ones who signs off and works with Museveni. Sooner or later will realize that they are being used and will be dropped off shortly. They will not have long shelf-life, unless the agreements signed gives them eternal pass like Gen. Moses Ali. The rest are left astray and without any house to keep. Museveni will not budge or give way. He wants it his way or your got no choice. That’s why calling him pragmatic and practical. Its just ridiculous and utter garbage.
Mwenda should study the patterns and the Leopards Anus. However, he rather try to spin to make the current regime look good. That’s all his busy doing now. Peace.