Europe, America breeding African dictators, says Besigye

Besigye being airlifted by Uganda police to Luzira prison [Daily Monitor illustration]

Uganda’s opposition figure Kizza Besigye has accused European countries and United States of America of nurturing and soothing African dictators who in turn subject their people to immense suffering.

Besigye who has stood against President Museveni four times and lost them all, was on Wednesday commenting on Kenya opposition leader, Raila Odinga’s withdraw from the repeat poll.

Besigye said like in Uganda where Museveni exploits the majority ruling NRM party MPs in parliament to pass bills that favour his overstay in power, President Uhuru Kenyatta too sought to hinge on jubilee majority to pass unfair electoral laws.

“It’s shameful for Museveni to talk about numbers when he went to the bush with the support of only one MP,” Besigye told journalists at his home in Kasangati Wakiso district.

He said those who had numbers [Milton Obote] later lost. It showed that majorities were manufactured. “That’s why we have a problem. MPs fearing their own constituencies. They have security to guard them from voters.”

“Some [MPs] have a pickup of guards like Raphael Magyezi. And you say we have numbers. Which numbers. Nonsense we should be humble in how we manage political process.”

So far over five NRM MPs have survived being lynched by angry voters in their constituencies who accuse them of supporting the presidential age limit bill.

Besigye says those who control power when they are not a majority use force and coercion to do so. They won’t give it up easily. That is why there is a struggle.

“But how that struggle is managed is also important. It should not be a source of destruction. Leaders in power must respect the decision of the people. That is where there is a deficiency within the management of transitions in Africa.”

Besigye then turned to the role of international community in African politics which he described as negative.

“This is quite unfortunate. It [international community] has taken a view that stability is the primary factor to consider in a political process. They translate it to mean supporting the one who already has power to keep the status quo.”

To him, sustained stability can only come with justice. “You can’t have stability with injustice.”

He said after the August Kenyan election, election observers made strong statements before the petition was decided on. They asked the Nasa alliance to concede the election making judgements before the court decided.

“I have had the same issue with them here in all the elections. It needs to reflect the whole question of sustainability of stability.”

Besigye quoted Museveni who says Uganda is secure today. He says in 500 years, Uganda has never been this secure. Besigye says this is time Ugandans are more insecure because security is not absence of war.

“Hunger, joblessness, no housing, no social security is a source of insecurity. You cannot have stability in such a situation. Uganda has never had these levels of unemployment before, hungry people, displaced communities, people living on streets…how we translate these phenomena that we have in the county.”

He said despite all this, the international community will hail Museveni for being effective in oppressing Ugandans. “It’s wrong. It harmfully interferes with the processes that can restore justice in the country. They bring in funding to support for dictatorships.”

Besigye says this is not new, in the Cold War it was worse with Europeans and Americans supporting dictators all over the world. “They claim to be doing it in the interest of their people. But I do not think so. I’m not very happy about it.”

He says reforms in Uganda mean having a political dialogue—a struggle he says will not be easy.