Remain United As We Fight For Freedom-aspiring Kyagulanyi
I bring you greetings in the name of the almighty God, who gives us strength and confidence everyday to continue fighting for freedom in our country Uganda.
Even in the face of many challenges, we soldier on knowing that God is on our side. I salute all of you for your resilience as we face this unprecedented Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In Uganda's case, the effect of the pandemic have been worsened by the effects of bad governance. The majority of our people are hungry and simply desperate.
In the coming days, together with fellow leaders, we shall come out to give direction to the nation on the way forward. Today, I want to address the issue of persistent flights and public spate between the people who profess to be fighting for freedom and democracy.
I have noted with great concern, comrades who are always fighting and attacking each other on social media. Some comrades have gone ahead to use social media to attack everyone within the forces of change, they are always promoting division and suspicion amongst the comrades in a very unprincipled manner.
Some have gone as far as saying that People Power is full of spies working for Museveni regime. They have deliberately tried to demoralize and demobilized our comrades, through targeted propaganda. We all know that, this only benefits the regime and yes, it greatly affects our struggle.
So, my question to these comrades has been and continues to be, "Who are you working for?" As I have said in the past, everyone whose actions speed up the fall of the Museveni regime is a comrade-no-matter, which political formation they belong to.
And yes, everyone whose actions help the Museveni regime stay longer, must be seen with suspicion and their intentions must be questioned. By now, I would expect all of us to understand that, a dictatorship like that of Museveni survives through promoting divisions amongst the forces of change.
Why is this not obvious to those comrades? All dictators use the same trick. They always plant people to bring confusion in the opposition. They might be pronounced pro-regime people, but they may also pretend to belong to the opposition.
In our case for example, they will attack everyone around the leader except the leader. And the intention is that, they want the leader to see everyone around him with suspicion. And of course, if the leader is to fall in that trap, the it could be very dangerous for the struggle as a whole.
We must judge everyone by their actions. Until someone declares himself or herself to be against the people of Uganda, it's not our place to declare them spies. Why should we demoralize a comrade who wakes up every morning to mobilize against the dictatorship by calling him or her a spy?
Question, am I then saying that the regime will not plant people in our camp? Of course not. All dictatorships survive because they use public resources to compromise people within the struggle.
They also use violence, they co-opt the elite, and they unleash propaganda and capture all the institutions of the state. Just the way, it is happening in Uganda. It's not a secret that, Museveni has survived by buying off and compromising people with the forces of change over a time.
As leaders, we have a mechanism to know, who amidst us might be working with the enemy but I request that, the same way you have trusted us with leadership, you trust us to deal with these individuals.
We all know that, dictators are always in the market and those who make themselves available for sale, will be bought. Some are bought expensively, whilst others are bought cheaply.
It's like slave trade where the negotiation is for human beings, except that in this case, the dictator not only buys the bodies but also buys the souls of those people.
President Museveni is not bothered about this because he never uses his personal money anyway. He does not sell his cows to buy off his opponents. No, he uses taxpayers’ money, our money.
The money that, you and I work so hard for is what he uses to buy off a few of us hoping that he will silence the loud voices yearning for change. For example, the money that he charges Ugandans to use the Internet every day is more than enough to buy off so many opponents.
In financial year 2018-2019, UGX 49.5bn—approximately US $13.1 million—was collected from the OTT tax. Now, assuming that he was to pay UGX 100 million per person, he would be able to buy off 495 people with this money. Of course, there are some people, who think that their freedom is much cheaper than that, therefore, the dictator has enough funds to spend on patronage and bribing.
In any case, one of the first things a dictatorship like that of Museveni does, is to make the people very poor. He makes sure that, he is the only one left with real money and therefore, after eating to his satisfaction, he's able to throw a few leftovers to the opponents who are available for sale.
That is how dictators keep power before they fall. The Museveni regime has excelled in evil and I’m sure the years to come, historians will study about it as a classic dictatorship, which used propaganda to turn the oppressed Ugandans against each other.
But of course, they will also study about us who fought it and brought it down. After stealing trillions and giving a few millions to some opponents, he uses some of those opponents to claim that, they quit the struggle because they were not being given money.
In my case for example, the same regime that has blocked most of my sources of income, uses people to say that, I have a lot of money which I am not giving out. My fellow Ugandans, let me repeat this again, so that it sinks. The Museveni regime is buying people using your money.
Those people who refuse to be bought will be harassed, intimidated and some will even be murdered. So, please don't be scared when you see all this. What we are involved in is a real war.
We are struggling to get our country out of the hands of a clique of people who forcefully and illegally took over our country in 1986 and they now believe it is their personal property.
They have turned all of us into slaves, and we must fight to free ourselves. We are fighting to dismantle an empire. There will be casualties, there will be defections. There will be people giving up.
There will be sellouts, there will be betrayals. You will be with someone in the morning and by the evening the person speaking a completely different language.
All this should be expected. But like the scripture says, those who persevere until the end, will be saved. What gives me comfort is the knowledge that those who sellout were never meant for the struggle.
Those who choose today's bread over their country's future were never meant for the struggle. Those who choose personal comfort over the suffering mothers and children were never meant for the struggle.
Those who drive new cars over the graves of the murdered comrades- vehicles donated by the regime in appreciation for selling out, they were never meant for the struggle.
The struggle, however, shall be won. It shall be won by those ordinary women and men of Uganda who understand that good has always and will always win evil.
We shall win in the end because people of Uganda are on our side. We shall win because history is on our side. We shall win because the law is on our side. And yes, we shall win because God is on our side. One falls off, the rest of us must move forward.
Freedom is coming soon and it will be our prize. Therefore, comrades, keep your eyes on the prize. No matter how dangerous and scary these dictatorships have been, they have always fallen in the end.
We shall overcome.
Robert Kyagulanyi, is a Member of Parliament in Uganda, representing Kyaddondo East Constituency.