By Moses Atyekwo
It’s crucially important that the agitating youthful Ugandan generation should impress it upon themselves, to internalize the content of the recent missive authored by president Wrn Kizza-Besigye dubbed the Second libertarian struggle.
I am 100 % in agreement of what perspective he is making his submission from. That is, it’s useless to have authority when in actual sense you don’t have the inherent power to accomplish your goals. Let me put it in another way, it’s easy to wrestle power from a strong man, however, what capacity have you built to retain the power?
I will give a case study of the Egyptian uprising which eventually deposed the long-time president Hussein Mubarak. One of the key players in the uprising were a group or a sect that Mubarak had tormented for years and that was the Moslem Brotherhood members considered as moderates in the classification of Islamic extremists.
However the toppling of the Egyptian strongman was a united front , which surprisingly included the army, the liberal, the secular and some elements of extremist. Now this was considered a very fragile alliance between progressives and hardliners as it is it eventually fell apart, and Egypt was left under the influence of army chief Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
Greed, fanaticism, revengeful motives was the beginning of the reversal of all the achievements of the uprising. Why because the Moslem brotherhood felt that they survived under the terror of Mubarak and therefore it was their time to reign in terror. The epitome of their dominance was when one of their leaders, Mohamed Morsi, was democratically elected president. Unknown to them, they were greatly mistaken the power was largely still concentrated in the hands of the generals.
Morsi ruled with the misconception that he possessed the ultimate powers, after a year in office, in which he was seen as increasingly undemocratic, he not only threatened the balance of power in between his group and his other coalition partners. They became increasingly power hungry and started to impose their values on every secular society. This time the Egyptians were not ready to ratify a rise of another strong fanatical leader, millions of protesters called on the army to oust him – which it readily did.
Now here was the beginning of a protracted standoff in between the army and the Moslem brotherhood, which culminated to the massacre of 800 brotherhood members in Rabaa in one day.
In the aftermath thousands were rounded up and sentenced to death -The movement was also banned and had its assets seized before being declared a “terrorist organisation” by the government. You see they found themselves back to Mubarak era when they were outlawed. You can soundly say they themselves killed the revolution because of their fanaticism, they alienated the other moderates who would have ideally protected their rights during their clamp down. Instead they watched on without empathy as the army was mowing them down with machine guns.
So back home, here is the lesson Dr. Besigye is trying to convey here, without an empowered and prepared citizenry its extremely difficult to hold unto power. If you read his missive it’s well structured and it layouts out the systematic process of democratizing Uganda. For example putting in place the transitional government, truth telling and finally organizing a genuinely free and fair election.
He explains that in order to tackle the junta regime we should unite and move as a block rather than the young blood pitting themselves against the previous generations. Short of that, we might find ourselves in the situation of Egypt where we become distant observers when the junta is violently truncheoning one tribe.
Let our impatience not sabotage the struggle, let’s move together methodically. Uganda needs to be rebuilt by the young, the middle aged, the senior citizens, the security etc nobody should undermine the efforts of others because of tyranny of numbers. Finally let no selfish politicians destroy the goodwill of the people in this country because at the end of the day, like Egypt they will end up watching you being mowed down and defend the actions of the state against our own. I hope you guys understand the fragility of the situation we are dealing, it’s not a game.
If you don’t, I am afraid we are heading to that direction again. In fact it’s not new here; we have a culture of silence and dismissal of other people’s sufferings which continues to bedevil us. Museveni has discovered Ugandans are never united in condemning his atrocities, during the war in the north and east, the other regions didn’t care less about the human rights violations in those areas in most cases they brushed it off as the government dealing with animals not knowing really it was real people’s lives being destroyed. When it was Kasese’s turn the culture of silence continued, therefore it is not about to stop unless otherwise we begin to treat all tribes as having equal rights and respect in this country called Uganda. If we don’t stop name calling you’re at risk of being watched by others while you’re being slaughtered.