By Odaka Asuman
According to Nicole Machiavelli, “Only those with capacity to cause war have the right to talk peace”. But peace is not merely the absence of war but largely the uncertainty to have it tomorrow…”
Both the regime in Kampala and the keen observers of Ugandan politics have never come real close to the uncertainty of peace after today than since Gen Omar el Bashir got booted out of office.
Bashir was a Field Marshall, his army was 8 times stronger than the Ugandan one, better equipped, better remunerated, with better insurance policies, housing and large in numbers.
Bashir was much more ruthless to the population but provided better health, education, infrastructure and social security services. The standard of living was much better than the Ugandan.
Bashir appeared even more popular amongst the ordinary Sudanese at least publicly. But he was booted unceremoniously.
My contention is that his presidency only as long as the Sudanese were willing to oppose him within the legal and institutional framework he created, became possible.
Many opposition leaders including the charismatic Al-Tourab died trying to cause change but failed simply because they were doing it using the framework and institutions of Mr. Bashir. When they broke the chain, today the students are the ones manning roadblocks right outside the headquarters of the formerly feared army barracks.
This, however, came to an end when they decided to work outside the dictator’s institution. They soon knew that even the mighty Sudanese army is weaker when confronted by a resolved People Power.
This example is everywhere, where there has been an overthrow of oppressive regimes such as in Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Zimbabwe, etc.
Where overthrow didn’t happen, the right to talk peace had to follow a scenario to prove that one can cause trouble.
In South Sudan, not until Riek Machar demonstrated that he had capacity to cause the absence of peace, did he get the right to talk peace.
In Kenya, Jaramogi Raila Amolo Oginga Odinga had to demonstrate over time that he can be a stakeholder of both peace or the absence of it to have right to negotiate.
Our own Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, from whom we are now struggling to disentangle ourselves from his claws had demonstrate his capacity to cause the absence of peace before he got a right to talk peace in Nairobi.
This has been my personal problem with my leaders in activism. We announce to oppose a vicious regime but still maintain to oppose him using his own institutions and framework he set even when we truly know that he doesn’t play by the very rules he set.
We complain why police beats us even when we know its a regime police, we get angry when Bart Katureebe led judiciary unfairly favours him even when we know they are cadre judges, we get surprised when Parliament turns into a rubber stump even when we clearly remember that he told people to vote anything as long as it will vote in his favor in Parliament, we get disappointed when the electoral commission announces him winner even when we know that he singularly select who he wants to run it.
We demand that national institutions work the way we think they must perform even when we very well know that they are constructed not to work for the whole country but the way “above” wants them to work.
We demand and hope for democracy from very undemocratic regime.
It’s this mentality that largely explains why change of regime has taken this long.
As an activist, this is where I agreed with Dr. Kizza Besigye on the creation of people’s government separate from FDC structures.
This is also where I will never advise Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi to register a party. Mr. Museveni knows and has the software of managing political parties.
In fact all the political parties in Uganda today are pure institutions of the dictator from where change can’t be brought. Museveni controls all these parties either directly or indirectly.
This brings me to the capacity of Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi. Am convinced that he has capacity to cause the absence of peace in this country which ultimately would win him the right to talk peace. It becomes much more if his capacity is joined up with that of Dr. Kizza Besigye.
This regime brutalises, humiliates and belittles our opposition leaders because it knows non has verifiable capacity to cause the absence of peace.
The day they prove that, they will forever be treated with respect and dignity.
In 2009, the regime tried to do the same to Kabaka, the reaction literally grounded the regime. To date, the Kabaka will always be treated with respect.
I think the public should begin a national pressure to the two men ( Bobi Wine and Kizza Besigye) to join forces to a achieve the singular revolutionary agenda.
According to the celebrated South American revolutionary fighter Che Guevara, revolutionaries never have an objective more than removing the oppressive regime. The rest shall be handled as they come.
In our own case, the singular objective is to remove the regime, who becomes President is a matter Ugandans can still decide but not before the regime has gone.
In fact, anybody who wants us to talk about post Museveni business now is diversionary. That must be a talk not for now.
I hope the extremist on both sides begin realising that we are not fighting to be leader of opposition but to chase an oppressive system.
Back to my brother H.E Bobi Wine, I heard that he intends to petition the UGIGP Okoth Ochola on the police brutalities against him.
Does anyone want to believe that what is happening is a handwork of IGP OMO? Of course the opposite is true. But most importantly, what does Bobi intends to achieve by going to police or Court, or Parliament? My opinion is that he will get nothing, because all those are institutions of the regime.
My candid advise is that if Bobi Wine wants to have the freedom to sing in any part of the country, he should announce a concert at the CONSTITUTIONAL SQUARE in the middle of Kampala city.
For some will think its a radical move or even an impossibility but I will tell you that its the only best and workable framework which will either cause the regime to reconsider its actions or ultimately cause the exit of the regime.
Either way, he will have gained the right to talk peace. This he can do, of course not without costs but I hope every one sees that all peaceful engagements have been closed not just on him but on all Ugandans.
This is fast becoming not a struggle for civil rights, its now a fight for survival.
My personal excitement about Bobi’s entrance into politics is that he brought with him two critical constituencies which actually cause change; the international community and the ghetto. It’s these two groupings that cause change, not the elites….
For now, I wish to dictate to you my dear readers a Lucky Dube song “…..Do you rather be a well fed slave or hungry free man”…
That writer is a Prospective MP, Tororo Municipality 2021