By Saasi Marvin
I watched you yesterday on Facebook clarifying the circumstances of a leaked recording in which you’re heard criticising my leader Bobi Wine. While I have no moral authority to respond to the private issues you raised about him, let me dispute the general comments you made about our struggle as the opposition, and about Mr. Museveni whom you credit for your success ‘because he did not bring war to the city’.
For starters, it is perfectly fine for anybody to criticise leaders if the criticism is in good faith. The importance of this democratic right is not lost on me when I see Bobi Wine, Hon. Nambooze and Hon. Zaake walking with either clutches, scars or permanent disability because when they criticised Mr. Museveni, his boys ‘fixed’ them. Unlike Museveni who’s made sure his critics pay with their limbs or lives for exercising their freedom of speech, People Power is here to reverse the trend. So I disagree with those attacking you for expressing your opinion. Unfortunately, with all due respect, much of the criticism you directed at our struggle yesterday is based on a naive and misconceived view of the situation Ugandans find themselves in.
I heard you confess that you were pained to sign a contract as Kenya’s Tourism Ambassador, moreover signing the deal right here at Sheraton in Uganda where we have our own tourism industry to promote. That should have been a reality check for you. The regime you are defending at the risk of your career neither recognises nor rewards the talent of people like you Kenzo. That’s why it took the intervention of foreigners for you to realise your value.
Isn’t it curious that while you won the BET award in 2015, Museveni did not invite you to State House or call to congratulate you until 2019 when he conveniently hosted you at a time he was fighting to ensure he separates big-name artistes like you from Bobi Wine his nemesis? Isn’t it curious that despite your huge contribution to Uganda, the regime abandoned you to rot in Ivory Coast for the last 4 months when Covid-19 struck? Because if it really valued you as an outstanding Ugandan, Museveni’s regime would have arranged a chartered flight to return you home no matter the uproar your preferential treatment would have raised among other Ugandans stuck elsewhere – just like it did for tycoon Ben Kavuya’s family.
If this regime really rewards talent, why is famous footballer Andrew Fimbo Mukasa living like a destitute? Where is Moses Kiprop? Dorcus Inzikuru? Shouldn’t they be occupying Cabinet positions in the sports department? Why are schools like Namasagali College which introduced MDD in Uganda now a shadow of its former self? Bobi Wine may not regularly respond to your messages, but I bet that he cares about you more than this regime will ever do.
I heard you justify your ‘respect’ for Mr. Museveni by reasoning that you’ve succeeded in the City “because he ensured there are no wars”. I can tell you without any fear of contradiction that Mr. Museveni has not prevented wars in the City so that the Kenzos of this world succeed, but because it’s in the best of his personal interests to do so.
Am sure you’ve heard rumours of the multiple businesses ranging from real estate to hotels, banks and arcades etc that his proxies allegedly run for him in the city. Having witnessed the fall of Gen. Tito Okello’s Government in 1986 when he brought his NRA war to Okello’s doorstep in Kampala, Museveni knows that neither his regime nor businesses would survive if the city went up in flames.
That’s why his cabinet recently passed a resolution banning boda bodas from the city centre even when he knows that several unprivileged families of ghetto dwellers – like you once were – survive on this industry. Museveni irrationally fears that these bodas may “bring the confusion of Bobi Wine” to Museveni’s territory and ‘mess’ things up for him, and so he’s determined to sacrifice families that depend on this industry to protect his personal interests. The claim, therefore, that he’s ensuring calm in the city so that people like you Kenzo succeed is false.
While there’s no physical war in Kampala, Museveni’s regime is waging a psychological war in the hearts and minds of many unprivileged citizens who are trying to earn an honest living in the city. The day you attend a Court session at KCCA Court and witness a Magistrate sentencing a poor hawker to six months in jail or a fine of UGX 400K for ‘unauthorised hawking’ despite the hawker’s business capital being worth no more than UGX 50K, is the day you’ll understand that presence of calm does not necessarily imply the presence of peace.
I also heard you wishing that the opposition could “go back to the times of Dr. Kizza Besigye” before Bobi Wine joined politics. That statement falsely suggests that opposition supporters were ‘more peaceful’ then, and that as such the regime treated them better than it does now. You also indirectly seemed to suggest that the People Power movement has eroded that ‘peace’ thereby justifying the regime’s current persecution of opposition leaders and supporters in general. Well, you’re wrong.
Opposition supporters have been largely peaceful during both Besigye’s and Bobi’s time but the regime has always treated them like terrorists. During the 2011 walk to work demos organised by Dr. Besigye and his allies; and the 2009 Buganda demo, both of which were largely peaceful, the regime reacted by shooting dead over 45 peaceful protesters and jailing hundreds of others. You think these 45 were murdered because they had used social media to ‘insult’ Museveni?
However peacefully Dr. Besigye and Bobi have conducted themselves, the regime has always responded by meting unbridled brutality on them. It did in Besigye’s time. It does in Bobi’s time. People Power’s Yasin Kawuma, Ritah Nabukenya and others whom regime forces shot dead recently were neither acting violently nor holding guns but they still faced the same brutality Museveni has consistently served those who oppose him. And yet despite the provoked anger that has been growing among citizens every passing day, have you ever seen Bobi or Besigye rallying their supporters to resort to violence?
You said you want to meet Museveni again to ‘peacefully’ tell him about the plight of suffering Ugandans so that he can do something about it. Do you honestly believe that Besigye, Bobi, etc have made no effort to ‘peacefully’ tell Museveni what’s wrong with his regime? The scars you see on them are the fruits of their peaceful attempts. That’s how Museveni ‘acknowledges’ the message of those who dare to bring injustice to his attention. Or you think it’s because they had first ‘insulted’ him on social media and then went with rioters to talk to him at State House? What in the Bizonto’s skit or Kiweewa’s song was violent that justified their arrest?
In reference to Bobi’s associates such as Eddie Mutwe, Dan Magic and others, please understand that these people do not lose their right to freedom of speech just because they associate with Bobi. They may post things that look ‘inappropriate’ to someone like you, but they have every right to do so. If they ‘attack’ you on social media, that doesn’t mean they were sent by Bobi. Just like the comments you made about Bobi do not necessarily mean you were sent by your associate Museveni.
Be that as it may, it’s good you acknowledged the courtesy that Nubian Li, Manager John and other close associates of Bobi took to amicably reach out to you after your audio leaked. This should show you that Bobi has clear-headed people around him who go out of their way to do the right thing and advise him appropriately. He may not be perfect, just like you, but he’s certainly taking steps to improve and surrounding himself with the right people.
Deputy Team Leader
People Power Youth Wing
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