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Besigye’s Q&A on NTV Uganda | ‘It’s a Monarchy, not a Presidency

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Posted October 8, 2014 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Inside Politics ~ 1,941 views

     

Besigye

Appearing on NTV on Thursday October 2nd 2014, Col Kizza Besigye discussed the Amama Mbabazi-Museveni fallout and the president’s grip on power. Besigye revealed that he parted ways with the NRM leader in 1990, long before he penned the highly-controversial 1999 missive titled: “An Insider’s View of How NRM Lost the Broad-base”, which precipitated his departure from the ruling party. Deo Walusimbi, captured the first 30 minutes of the show. Below are excerpts. 

You authored a document in 1999 detailing what was going on in NRM; is history repeating itself in 2014?

Well, you are right that history seems to have a [tendency] of repeating itself in this case obviously; it’s not surprising because what happened in 1999-2000 did not cause significant changes in the way the Movement was structured and run. It remained exactly the same and fortunately, thanks to the people who are being affected now… and in fact, it has worsened.

The personification of power, the personal control and personal rule of Mr Museveni over what is supposed to be the institution of the NRM has intensified and, therefore, anybody seeking to challenge his authority or suspected in this case, I think it is purely suspicion because the only thing we have heard from Mr Mbabazi’s mouth quite frequently is that he has no intention to contest against his boss.

So, it must be just a suspicion… certainly considered as subversive.

This is an institution [NRM] that Museveni has progressively transformed into his personal legacy. He forgets that when NRM was formed, it was led by Professor Yusuf Lule.

So, Lule was the leader of Museveni, but, I think if you have been following what Museveni has been saying, he traces NRM to his days in Ntare [school] when he was in high school. In other words, he doesn’t consider that NRM was formed in 1981 and that therefore, those people who were there were founders of NRM. He traces NRM to himself… and so, he sees all others as appendages to his work.

So…all those who have presidential interests within NRM are practically in the departure lounge?

Absolutely; he views this whole thing as a personal enterprise; in fact I was entertained by someone on Facebook who was saying that it is the father, son, and wife. No, it’s not even father, son, and wife; it’s a father alone. It’s a monarchy.

[But] there is an element of a leader with a lot of believability; let me give you as an example; when you were at the helm of FDC, it was vibrant more than it is today…

Don’t get me wrong; I am not suggesting that Mr Museveni has no attributes as a leader. He is actually charismatic; that is why he attracted us, to regard him as our leader, but that is completely different if you are leading a political institution… We are talking about a country and power belonging to the people, not to the king.

But I have seen you and your colleague [Gen Muntu] at the helm of FDC and all of you seem to be building the system…

Even when I was at FDC – and I thank you for the compliments that I was doing well – but it cannot be me; in fact the reason why you may have that impression is precisely because of the very participatory nature of the institution that I was overseeing.

We had meetings every week and people would complain that there are too many meetings and these would be very participatory. I would not be the one to say this is what happened or the final word. No, quite often I would be overridden by my colleagues, but whatever was said, there was a system.

Mbabazi talked of the famous queue within the ruling party after you came out to announce your candidature; you spent many years in the bush; in fact you were his [Museveni’s] personal doctor and if I may use this word, you were his blue-eyed boy [because at a youthful stage] you became the national political commissar; could it have been that you were naïve then and maybe Mbabazi has found himself in the same situation?

That I was naïve?…

To follow the man to that extent…

Well, first of all, you know in my case, I think it’s precisely the reason why we fell out quite early. In fact, by 1990, we were done, that was only four years into the administration when I left government, I left government in 1990 and we had serious disagreements, but I would like you to appreciate that we had been struggling in a completely different environment when we were in the bush.

We did not have the challenges of running government, policies, administration; it was just managing the war and basically survival in that environment. Now, that did not call for intricate situations as you find in government, [where] participatory mechanisms are required in a public-democratic dispensation, and where you can indeed be required to account.

Because in the military it is a command structure; everybody takes orders from the top; but in government, you have to account at various levels and it’s participatory, and certain functions have got their constitutional mandates.

When we came into government, some of these problems that I pointed out in 1999, started cropping up quite early because we had set up some structures; we had the national executive committee of the NRM which was the policy organ, we had the national resistance council which was the Parliament and we had the secretariat of the movement and so on and so forth.

These organs, if they made decisions that Mr Museveni did not like, he would just ignore them and continue doing what he would want to do. And if we tried to assert ourselves, then he would not call the meetings because he was the chairman of all of them.

Again, the question of lack of checks and balances comes in [because] he was the speaker of Parliament, he was the chief executive, and he was the head of the secretariat. So, he was the head of everything, and that is where some of these problems started arising.

In fact, it’s sad that what I wrote in 1999, has never been discussed in the Movement because as soon as it came out, Mr Museveni penned a letter to Gilbert Bukenya who was then the head of the NRM caucus in Parliament and said that it shouldn’t be discussed because Besigye acted in the wrong forum; so, he was against the way these issues were brought into the public arena.

So, when these people kept their heads under the sand when those issues were there; they are now in problems. Things were pointed out that the Movement had lost its way; it’s no longer democratic; it’s now a dictatorship; it’s corrupt. I was pointing out why I believed [in all those issues]. So, it’s not surprising that history is repeating itself now.

The scene which played out in Kololo at Mbabazi’s home where guards were being changed in front of television cameras; was this in your view meant to send signals?

Obviously, and the message is simple. The message is what Mr Museveni has been saying all these nearly 30 years: that this is a military regime he heads, that is why whenever there is a controversy, you must have noticed, he always appears in his military fatigues in all places where you would not expect a military fatigue to arise, he would be there in it.

As a commander-in-chief… and I have even seen it across the border; Uhuru Kenyatta also puts on his five-star…

But you see, a commander-in-chief in fact, according to Uganda, must be a civilian, not a military person…

But he does that precisely to put a stand on everybody’s mind that this is how I got here; I used the military. So, he wants to show Mbabazi that he is nothing; ‘I am sending my generals to show you that you are a pretender.’

He has constructed a presidential monarchy, he views himself as a sovereign, he has all the power and all the authority unquestionable and that is why he has destroyed all the other organs [because] there is no Parliament: it has gone. The Judiciary has spent two years without a chief justice, no deputy chief justice, there is nothing….

Rtd. Col. Kiiza Besigye’s Q&A as captured on NTV’s on the Spot.

Source — Weekly Observer


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

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