It happened in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. It has happened in Algeria and Sudan. All the ousted Presidents of these countries had served in their respective countries for decades.
President Museveni has served for three decades and wants more.
Sincerely I don’t see any sign of mass demonstrations against him in the near future.
The difference with Museveni is, he has not suffocated the mass with dangerous information. He allows us to talk, and write to air out our grievances even if he fails to work on them. That little freedom of expression kills the anger as those who talk and write feel great that they have poured out – ‘Twamugambyeko.’
In all the other countries where mass demonstrations have removed the regimes, that little freedom of expression wasn’t there.
Secondly General Museveni is very careful about people who go into exile. He will keep you here even if you are a big stone in his political shoe. There is nothing bad like keeping your political opponents in exile. It will be easy for them to get financial and moral support to disorganise your government. Strong Kagame is facing it rough with his former comrades in exile.
More important Museveni doesn’t entertain political prisoners. You disturb him, he will arrest you for some hours or days, take you to court and release you on bail. With that process you internationally become a political asset other than a liability to him (Museveni). Today Besigye and Bobi Wine are his political assets.
In Uganda people are just annoyed but not yet angry.
The Oxford English dictionary explains ‘annoyed’ as slightly getting angry.
People will seriously demonstrate, or pick arms to fight regimes when they are fully angry. Annoyance will develop into anger when you deny a person to air out his/her grievances hence suffocating them with words. At the end they will burst out and fight or demonstrate without fear. Something we saw when Kabaka was denied to enter Bugerere.
I don’t think Gen Museveni can repeat that mistake
‘Divide and rule’.
It is in Uganda where you can find a peaceful family which sit on a same dining table but politically divided. For example the wife can be an FDC, the husband an NRM and the children in People Power movement. You can’t expect a mass demonstration in such a society. It will be crashed before it starts.
Amin and Obote suffocated people to act as they did. People talked in whispers. That is how ‘Radio Katwe’ came about.
It was to pass dangerous information against the governments of Amin and Obote. We also had Radio Tanzania which broadcasted in Luganda. Those who were present as Idi Amin was fought out, remember the propagandist Mr Majwara on that radio. There was no talking openly. Today, people talk on more than 100 radios and televisions which dot the country. Plus on social media.
Others have even opened up online channels to talk. Even nonprofessionals, we all talk as journalist.
President Museveni knows it that words don’t kill (Ebigambo Tebitta) nor can they remove government. He will let you abuse him as you want, allow you demonstrate a little but disperse with teargas and pepper spray as it is done in the Western world.
There he will rule indefinitely.
The only group of people which I see in Uganda that is angry today, are Moslems. They have been continuously annoyed and they fear to talk for fear of being the next victim. And on the international scene Museveni appears a hero for arresting Muslim terrorists.
Take it or leave it fellow Ugandans, you are just annoyed but not angry.
But Take heart. Allah bless you all.
Dr Ashraf Simwogerere is a veteran artiste, playwright and social media critic
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