Intelligence And The Two Top Great Men In Uganda Politics

By Abbey Semuwemba

Dear friends,
They call it the fourth turning. Historical events don't just happen. They are set into motion by great men, generational personate. And each one of these unleashes a turning that lasts about 20 years, more or less, and evert four turnings is a saeculum, just about the length of a human life. And at the end of each, there's a crisis. In Uganda's case, the crisis is usually a war or some bloodbath, though we are all hoping for a peaceful transition for the first time in our history.

Uganda's most recent Fourth Turning began with the Luwero war of 1980-86 and climaxed when Museveni’s former personal doctor stood against him in 2001. Besigye and Museveni are among the great men that have dominated our politics for years.

Actually, it has been a nice few days seeing Besigye back on the roads, radio stations and TVs again unhindered. It doesn’t matter if he still has support on the ground – I’m just happy to see a great man lecturing us on various issues like he used to – his speeches have always been sumptuous. While being the main opposition leader is never an ideal situation, he has been adding value to the opposition for years.

Based on my own reading of intelligence, Besigye’s autodidacticism speaks volumes about his high intelligence. He seems to have taught himself the history and the economics Uganda. I recently watched him on his Saturday programme explaining the inflation in Uganda in the simplest of terms, and i was amazed. He is a medical doctor by profession, by the way.

Much of Besigye’s reading into politics, statecraft and political parties seems to have focused on: understanding Museveni as a politician, colonialism and disempowerment of the nationals; how Ugandans continue to be under gun rule before and after independence, how using a gun to reclaim power is a bad idea, etc.

Yes, he has made some mistakes in the process of opposing Museveni’s government, and it has cost him and the " struggle". For instance, he should never have underestimated the propaganda unleashed on him in 2018 –2020 by Bobi and his supporters.

Besigye once said while addressing FDC MPs and leaders: “Twebelelemu is a sectarian term.” He at the time didn't give a damn about how he was perceived, not weighing his words carefully the way a politician usually does, and Nupians used that as part of their propaganda to turn Baganda against him. But then again, that was Besigye. There was a context, of course, but context is often lost when the media gets whipped into a frenzy.

Some Nupians account of Besigye is pure slander up to now. He has been the most slandered of all the politicians in the last 5 years. He has been unfairly derided over the years by many who simply ignore the bigger picture -- Without his efforts, even the few human rights Ugandans are enjoying now, would probably be a pipe dream.

Anyway, all people, including those of the highest intelligence, make mistakes. In fact, some of the most intelligent people make the most egregious mistakes. That doesn’t, however, detract from their intelligence. While Forrest Gump is famous for saying “stupid is as stupid does,” in reality, making mistakes doesn’t make someone stupid. Even, if their mistakes sometimes make them appear that way.

Basically,whether you love him, hate him or don’t care one way or the other, there’s no denying that Besigye changed Uganda politics forever. His influence is still being felt today. The magnitude of his impact isn’t something you can really understand from just books and old newsreels; as the saying goes, you had to be there. You must have been around to see him when he was like a "Tsunami" on Uganda streets.

I could actually make the same kind of argument for Museveni, too -- he is definitely smart, he has an excellent memory, but he's also skilled at fooling people into thinking he's smarter than he is.

Smart people can read humans like a book and can predict outcomes very easily -- It’s like figuring out how your dog is going to react to something -- Museveni has that intelligence. For instance, he knew exactly how Ugandans, particularly the Baganda, would react to the entrance of a popular Muganda musician into politics. He directly or indirectly used Bobi to destroy FDC and Besigye. He had all the means to stop him from standing for presidency, but he let go and also protected him, and it kind of helped him to legitimise the 2020-21 elections. Mabilizi 's Court cases against Bobi weren't allowed to go far, and I think he( Mabilizi) is now in prison over something.

Museveni, despite all of his demons, not only overcame a variety of daunting challenges to acquire power in 1986, but even managed to resolve challenges that had hamstrung Obote earlier, many of whom came from the highest strata of human society. For instance,1- it has been difficult to get power through a coup since he took over,2- the Buganda kingdom has been systematically weakened instead of sending the king in exile, like Obote did in 1966 – again Bobi has been one of the weapons used to weaken the kingdom in the last four years by detaching the youths from the kingdom.

He has been characterized by many as an academic failure -- that he didn't finish his degree at Dar es Salaama University, but Museveni actually read voraciously and widely on his own, and its reflected in some of his speeches and writings. In the course of which, he developed remarkably nuanced opinions on a wide range of topics. He reminds me of Hitler, and how people viewed him in the same way.

Some of his opponents are essentially gamblers, who repeatedly staked everything on a throw of the dice -- gamblers always lose in the end. The French philosopher, Joseph de Maistre, claimed that “every nation has the government it deserves.” Uganda, alas, appears to be a case in point.

Bobi Wine came in 2017 on the scene, and his fake news and propaganda tracts, have contributed to his narrow and parochial world view, although many of his supporters regard his arguments as well-informed, well-conceived and even compelling.

My own opinion about Bobi is that he's just a fraudster, liar, good actor playing well with human emotions (as Andrew Mwenda rightly explained), and the lowest human instincts, the only subject he's familiar with and understanding very well. He was also the best gift God gave to Museveni before the 2020-21 campaigns. Basically, without Museveni’s help, we wouldn't have had a Bobi in our politics, and there would be no Bobi now.