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Mwenda's love for Museveni's "good" dictatorship is fascinating!

By Abbey Semuwemba
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It fascinates me how differently many of us see, hear, and react to Museveni's dictatorship.There are democracy lovers here who prefer Besigye's leadership to Museveni's.There are some who find fault with Museveni and Besigye, and would rather have a Kyagulanyi or Norbert Mao. There are people here who do not like politics at all and can sit through shows like NBS-Frontline bored and dry-eyed. There are some, like Andrew M. Mwenda, who do not consider Museveni a 'bad' dictator, and would rather have him than Besigye or Kyagulanyi.I respect all of these opinions, though they are the opposite of mine.They are held by people with far more experience and expertise than my own.Yet I do not understand them at all!

My opinion is that anybody could do at the moment as long as its not Museveni and his family. And, at this moment, Besigye takes the biscuit. He has been remarkable since the late 1990s when he started opposing Museveni before any of the inner NRMs. One thing for which Besigye is not given enough credit, and perhaps it is not credit-worthy, although it is an interesting historical phenomenon, is that he has inspired hope in Ugandans, and he has made a lot of people to become fearless and determined in opposing the Museveni dictatorship. People like Mwenda interpret this determination and fearlessness as 'hooliganism', unfortunately. Since 2001, Besigye and Museveni have been the twin pillars of the political world in Uganda and no woman or man, I believe, has come close to challenging their fame since.And again,as excepted, I think that Besigye was a bigger draw in all previous elections than any candidate, and, I believe, he won the 2006, 2010, and 2016 elections.I think what makes Besigye unique in the modern era (i.e since the retirement of DP's Kawanga Ssemogerere, if not before) is that his fame is universal throughout the developed world and perhaps beyond, a name recognised by just anybody with half a brain and the slightest passing interest in Uganda politics.

As to their comparative contributions to politics, Mwenda may admire Museveni more. Yet for me, the most important measure of one's contribution to politics is how well one leads. When Besigye was FDC president, that party was the most vibrant in the country, the most promising, but he left the leadership to others for the sake of promoting internal democracy within the party. That's quality leadership which you will never find in Museveni. He strategised himself as the leader of UPM before the 1980 elections, and never gave room for the Bidandi Ssalis and others. When Museveni's PRA intergrated with Yusuf Lule's faction, he still kept himself as the omega of everything, despite the fact that Lule was the NRM chairman.

So, I don't really understand how Mwenda, with due respect, comes to look at Museveni's dictatorship as better than a Besigye leadership. In his theory,he is already looking at Besigye as a dictator before he even becomes a president. He has already childishly prophecised that Besigye would never become president.The complexity of his theory is only partly responsible for the fact that knowledge of his ideas is confined to a small group of professional journalists(such as his friend, Timothy Kalyegira) and few elites:some of the blame must be given to a literary style that is often offensive and an arrogance that is easy to confound with fatuity.He calls himself the 'smartest person in the room' with a grin on his face, and I found this so disturbing. Thank God Mao, Hon.Kivumbi Muwanga and others were calm, because that is the kind of behaviour that would not have any place on any TV here in England.

Bobi Wine, on other hand, has the boyish charm that so endears him to the millions watching. It doesn't matter whether Mwenda speaks better English than him. Yes, he is still learning his ropes but he's doing well. I think Besigye would have far and away the best face and name recognition among foreign leaders and majority of Ugandans. Till when Museveni is removed from power, I even see no point wasting time on picking presidential candidates. Let's just boost Besigye's efforts for now, because how do you talk of removing someone through elections who is pioneering a constitutional life presidency!

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