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Museveni Is A More Democratic Leader Than Besigye And Bobi Wine – Andrew Mwenda

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Journalist Andrew Mwenda has said that he finds Museveni a more liberal and democratic leader than his critics.

Through his Facebook page, Mwenda said, “Bobi Wine and Kizza Besigye have consistently refused to stand for liberal constitutional values that make democracy work best. Instead they have consistently stood for grabbing power at any cost and in disregard to liberal values.”

Below is Mwenda’s submission:

Last week, police using heavy-handed methods stopped the MP for Kyadondo East, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, from holding a concert. Even President Yoweri Museveni agreed that the brutality police employed was uncalled for. To make a bad situation worse, the Uganda Communications Commission then ordered television stations to fire reporters, programmers and producers who were involved in the live coverage of this event.

There was public uproar from Uganda’s chattering elites on how Museveni has continued to “suppress democracy” and entrench a “dictatorship.” It is cool to denounce Museveni these days, the very reason many Ugandan elites are addicted to it. Naïve-minded diplomats from Western embassies (who have taken over Bobi Wine’s cause) plus media and human rights groups abroad will applaud your “courage”. All these groups look at people like Bobi Wine and project them to be fighting for democracy.”

He added “This structure of incentives has created an uncritical embrace of intolerant extremist individuals and groups seeking to grab power and establish their own fascist dictatorship. Bobi Wine and Kizza Besigye have consistently refused to stand for liberal constitutional values that make democracy work best. Instead they have consistently stood for grabbing power at any cost and in disregard to liberal values. In spite of these actions by his government, I find Museveni a more liberal-democratic leader than his critics.

Thus in their pursuit of power, Bobi Wine and Besigye have mobilized groups that are intolerant of dissent, violent and uncouth. They do not recognize honest difference of opinion. Anyone who disagrees with them has been bought by Museveni and therefore has lost his/her conscience and sold his/her soul. In pursuit of ideological purity, they have suppressed every dissenting voice in their ranks.”

He continued “Armed with a suffocating self-righteousness, they descend on their opponents on social media with fanatical zeal. They indulge in unrestrained cyber bullying: hurl insults and abuses at real and presumed enemies, preach hate, promise revenge and destruction and spread false accusations to inflict psychological terror. They intimidate and physically assault everyone who disagrees with them. If they can act like this out of power, what would they do when they gain command of the repressive instruments of the state – the army with its tanks, the police with its teargas and water canons?

I appear on television often and criticize the government and the opposition. I give government credit where it is due, and credit opposition leaders like Nobert Mao and Mugisha Muntu whom I feel hold liberal values. In response, the supporters of Bobi Wine and Besigye launch petitions to the owners of these stations to block me from appearing there. It is of course their democratic right to make such petitions. But it also suggests that when in power and in control of the state, they will not allow their opponents any rights.

One could argue, perhaps innocently and/or ignorantly, that Bobi Wine and Besigye cannot be responsible for the violence and intolerance of their supporters because they have little or no control over them. Such a person can also argue that Museveni, on the other hand, has direct command and control of the behavior of the police. But Bobi Wine and Besigye have one great power they can exercise: they can consistently and loudly condemn these acts in their supporters, insisting that such behavior violets their values. And I know both encourage and organize these tyrannical strategies. 

There are many Ugandan intellectuals whom I hold in high esteem. However, I have consistently been frustrated and disappointed that while they exhibit extraordinary courage in denouncing Museveni’s dictatorial tactics, they have exhibited saddening cowardice when it comes to the opposition. They dare not speak out against obvious evidence of intolerance among these opposition activists for fear of being “misunderstood” by opposition activists as closet Museveni sympathizers and then be denounced. May be Museveni’s dictatorial ways create so much sympathy for his victims that this blinds such people from condemning the obvious?

I cannot understand how anyone who believes in liberal values that are critical for a functioning democracy can stand silent when those claiming to be fighting for freedom deny it to their opponents. Muntu has repeated this many times: you cannot give what you do not have. Bobi Wine and Besigye cannot give Uganda tolerance of divergent views when they get into power when they do not have it now. The conclusion I draw from this experience is that there is a struggle for power in Uganda, and no struggle of liberal democracy.

For all his faults, I find Museveni to actually hold deep liberal democratic values at heart, even though his desire to retain the presidency forces him on many occasions to violet them to protect his power. I grew up as a journalist critical of Museveni. I exposed corruption and human rights abuses of his government not to mention his own nepotism. Yet throughout my career, most especially when I was at The Monitor, Museveni would call me to express disagreement on an article I had written – on the facts or the logical consistence of my argument. He even appeared on my radio show.

Of course on occasion he sent me to jail, clearly demonstrating that life is more complicated in reality. But he would invite me to state house for discussions or call and talk to me on phone. Museveni has always been consistent in ensuring debate. In the 1990s he used to call into radio talk shows to argue his case. He visits radio stations and appears on radio and television talks shows like Capital Gang where he debates his opponents. Few presidents in Africa do this.

As I have grown older, I have become more reflective of this reality and developed what I think is a more realistic view of the political terrain in Uganda. Democracy (which is largely about the procedures of acquiring and maintaining power) can be dangerous when not underwritten by liberal values. Liberal values guarantee individual rights such as the right to property (which opposition activists promise to confiscate), administering a fair court system, protecting the rights of minorities and equality before the law.

There are many weaknesses in Uganda’s regime of property rights and the judicial system. However, Museveni largely respects these rights. That is why his opponents’ properties, including Besigye and Bobi Wine, cannot be confiscated. His opponents need to exhibit similar convictions for us who believe in liberal democracy to trust them. For now, the “dictatorship” they claim to fight is more democratic than their own proven behavior.”

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NATIONAL

Attorney General Defends Appointment of BOU D/Governor, DPP, URA And Prisons Boss During Lockdown In East African Court….

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L-R: URA's Rujoki, BOU D/Governor Dr. Antingi, prisons boss Byabashaija and the new DPP justice Abodo

The Government of Uganda through the Attorney General (AG) has defended the actions of President Yoweri Museveni to appoint the new deputy Governor Bank of Uganda, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Commissioner General Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Commissioner General of prisons and his deputy during COVID19 lockdown in the East African courts of justice.

In his response to the suit filed by city lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi, the Attorney General denied all the accusations and asked that the suit be dismissed with costs.

In his suit, Mabirizi claims that it was illegal for the president to appoint Jane Frances Abodo as the DPP when she is a judge at the High Court.

He protested that the appointment of Abodo will create unfairness against the accused because she knows all the judges and can easily access them something the accused cannot do.

Mabirizi further protested that by the time Abodo appointed the DPP, she was under the Judicial Service Commission yet the law is very clear that for a person to be appointed as DPP, they must be recommended by public service commission. He wants the regional court to declare that Abodo was illegally appointed.

The controversial lawyer also protested that the appointment of John Musinguzi as the new URA Commissioner General was illegal since his name was not recommended by the board to the president as required by law.

He also objected the appointment of the Commissioner General of prison Dr. Johnson Byabashaija and his deputy James Mwanje, the appointment of Dr. Michael Antingi Ego and the deputy Governor Bank of Uganda by the president during the COVID19 lockdown arguing that Ugandans were denied their right and opportunity to raise their complaints against the newly appointed public officials before being approved by parliament.

He asserted that because Ugandans were not allowed to move during the lockdown, when he attempted to go to parliament to raise his complaint against one of the appointees, he was seriously clobbered by security operatives in uniform at Wandegeya a Kampala suburb.

He added that he tried again to challenge the legal declaration of the lockdown without a legal statuary instrument signed by the Minister of Health but his case was removed from the court records on orders of Dr. Andrew Byabashaija the head of High Court Civil Division which was also illegal.

In their defense, the Attorney General insisted that the president has powers to appoint a person to hold or act in any office in the public service of Uganda at the rank of head of department or above including their removal.

He insisted that  Abodo was appointed by the president on the recommendations of the public service commission and with the approval of the parliament. He told court that the person is not qualified to be appointed DPP unless he or she is qualified to be appointed a judge of the High Court.

While defending security forces for stopping Mabirizi, the AG argued that the function of the security forces is to cooperate with the civilian authorities in emergency situations and by stopping Mabirizi, they were implementing the presidential directives against COVID19.

He told court that the President issued the directives to control the spread of COVID19 under the statutory instrument issued by the health minister under the public health Act.

 

By Sengooba Alirabaki




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NEWS

We Have Not Sent You: Buganda Youths Warn Promoter Abtex On Leading Demo To Gashumba’s Home Over Attack On Katikkiro Mayiga ….

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Kasolo Walusimbi (R) and Abtex (inset)

Buganda youth under their umbrella ‘Bazzukulu ba Buganda  international’ have warned events promoter Abbey Musinguzi alias Abtex on his planned move to demonstrate at the home of city businessman Frank Gashumba over his misunderstanding with Buganda premier Charles Peter Mayiga.

Speaking to his fellow Bazzukulu at Mengo, Kasolo Walusimbi, the chairperson of the association said that they will not accept non Baganda to be used by some kingdom officials to use Buganda Kingdom name to fight their personal battles.

He challenged Musinguzi to reveal the names of Baganda who asked him to fight on their behalf.

“We are tired of people who are facilitated by our oppressors to frustrate Buganda interests, we don’t agree with the way Gashumba responded to Katikiiro because he is a leader of the kingdom but we also condemn the way the Katikkiro attacks and embarrass Kabaka’s subjects publicly,” Kasolo said.

He further revealed that the reason why Musinguzi is fighting for Mayiga is he wants to be given back the contracts to organize the kingdom’s festivals like Enkuuka and Masaza cup tournament which were given to National Resistance Movement (NRM) party mobiliser Balaam Barugahara.

Kasolo added that the people of Buganda have suffered because of strange agreements signed between Mayiga’s administration and the central government without thorough consultation from Buganda people.

When contacted, Abtex rubbished Kasolo’s allegations adding that he is no longer interested in organizing Buganda festivals.

He said that since he is a Munyankole living in Buganda, he is grateful with Buganda hospitality and he cannot just sit down and look on when the likes of Gashumba are humiliating the kingdom’s administrators.

He declared a war on Gashumba to put him to order.

He revealed that preparations are in high gear to storm Gashumba’s home this Wednesday.

He boasted that he has worked so much for Buganda unlike people like Kasolo who want to make a name for themselves by attacking him.

 

By Sengooba Alirabaki




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CRIME

Fire Guts Ntare School Headteacher’s House, Destroys Car…

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Mr. Jimmy Turyagyenda and the car which was burnt

Mbarara police is investigating the cause of fire that gutted the house of the Ntare School headteacher, Mr Jimmy Turyagyenda, destroying his car.

There was a fire outbreak in the school at the headmaster’s residence.

Rwizi region police spokesperson Samson Kasasira said that the head teacher’s vehicle, a Toyota corolla, which was in the garage that is connected to main house and other household property was destroyed in the fire which started at around 2pm on Saturday, May 23.

The Mbarara fire team put out the fire that had gutted the garage that is connected to main house.

Cause of the fire is suspected electric short circuiting from the car battery.

Mr. Kasasira said police preliminary findings indicate that the fire could have started from electric short circuit in the garage connected to the kitchen.

Mr. Turyagyenda’s story

 

By Sandra Mukisa




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