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    OPINION: Bobi Is Great In Character Not Thinking; How Did M7 Terribly Lose In Buganda If He Rigged Votes? – Andrew Mwenda…

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    Journalist Andrew Mwenda

    Bobi Wine is without any doubt a great guy. His greatness does not lie in his thinking but in his character. And that could be the problem. A little over three years ago, he was largely known as a weed-smoking Rastafarian who sings good music often with strong political undertones.

    Then by one stroke of political intuition, he transformed himself into a major national political figure and international star, totally eclipsing Dr. Kizza Besigye, the principled, courageous but belligerent leader of Uganda’s opposition.

    He then took on the indefatigable President Yoweri Museveni by the horns for the presidency and gave him a real run for his money.

    How did this singer turned politician come from nowhere and stage such a brilliant political coup? Many people, including me, grossly underestimated the power of Bobi Wine’s appeal. His bid for the presidency exposed the soft underbelly of the Museveni electoral coalition. First it proved that our hitherto invincible president could be defeated in an electoral contest in his Buganda base. Second, and as an insight from the first, that the much talked about rigging machinery of the NRM is actually a myth.

    If Museveni is so good at rigging, why did he lose Buganda so miserably to this upstart? Where did his rigging machinery go? Why did he lose the North in 1996, 2001 and 2006 by huge margins but do well there in 2011? Why did he in 2016 lose Rukungiri and Kasese in Western Uganda? How come he has often lost Kampala and Wakiso? What does the opposition do in all the areas that they can transplant to other regions?

    This is where the rigging mantra fails to add up. If it exists, this shows that with good support and proper organization, it can be beaten. Period.

    Yet Bobi Wine, perhaps because he was carried by his emotions as opposed to his insight, failed to see the blow he had delivered against Museveni.

    Like Besigye before him, Bobi Wine saw the trees but missed the forest. He is a man of tactics, not strategy. He retreated to that old and tired mantra that has blinded Uganda’s opposition of the possibilities in front of them – allegations of rigging.

    So Bobi Wine refused to concede defeat and regurgitated the claims that Museveni stole his votes. Once you lock yourself into this echo chamber of opposition activists’ victimhood card, you lose sight of all the opportunities before you.

    Museveni’s electoral coalition has always been based on holding his Western base, keeping Buganda under his thumb as the Mecca of his revolution and being competitive in the East. Museveni has always been willing to lose the North.

    In 1996, 2001 and 2006, Museveni was badly beaten there, but he never lost any sleep over it. Then comes Bobi Wine and by one stroke redraws the electoral map by literary chasing Museveni out of Buganda. What a feat! Does he see this? Do his handlers see its significance?

    What if in 2026 Bobi Wine kept Buganda, took the North with the margins Besigye had and became competitive in the East, what would happen to Museveni? Bobi Wine is not a tribal chauvinist as his NRM critics allege.

    I don’t even think he has much attachment to his Buganda identity. Bobi Wine grew up in the ghetto in Kamwokya. That is his real tribe where his true feelings of belonging lie. At worst he is a ghetto chauvinist, selecting many around him based on their social-economic background than their ethnicity. If Baganda voted for him in large numbers, it is because they saw him as their son more than he saw them as his kin. They were opportunists who sought to cling on his brand.

    The real danger Bobi Wine paused in central Uganda is that by his sheer charisma, he was able to win over two very powerful social institutions at the heart of Museveni’s political survival – Mengo (the seat of the powerful Buganda Kingdom, home of Uganda’s largest tribe) and Rubaga (the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, Uganda’s largest religion).

    The shortfall is that his bromance with Rubaga did not go beyond Buganda, but he has the potential to take it across the country.

    Bobi Wine also suffered a demographic deficit in these two social institutions, with many elderly people not seeing him as presidential and thus opting not to vote.

    Yet this is only a short-term handicap, if Bobi Wine sought to play the long game. He can rebrand himself and by 2026 (who knows?), he can look presidential.

    But Bobi Wine is focused on the here and now (tactics) and has missed tomorrow (strategy). There were many irregularities and some rigging.

    But anyone serious enough to look at the numbers would see that Museveni would have won anyway. In fact I think the torment by security services against Bobi Wine played into his hands. It gave him free prime time publicity on radio and television where he had been blocked. By election time, his brand awareness was above 90%.

    For Museveni to hold Bobi Wine’s momentum towards 2026, he needs him to reject the electoral results. This is a signal that Bobi Wine wants his supporters to challenge the results on the streets i.e. stage an insurrection. It is this suspicion that justifies the security cordon around Bobi Wine.

    So for the next five years, he is going to be tightly monitored and controlled because his every movement around Kampala, like Besigye’s before him, will be attracting large crowds supporters demanding action to reclaim “people power.”

    These efforts are emotionally gratifying but not politically productive. They play into Museveni’s security-and-stability hands.

    The constant street battles with the security services will leave Bobi Wine psychologically and physically exhausted. This will take away the energy and focus he needs to build his brand in the north and east where he has good chances of growth if he can win the Catholic Church there. Now that is the long game I am talking about.

    What should Bobi Wine do?

    He should concede defeat, even though pointing out the many irregularities in the electoral process. He should tell his supporters that: “we know Museveni and expected all these irregularities. We entered the race factoring them into our electoral equation. But now we need to move on and focus on 2026 and I appeal to all of you my supporters to follow me on project 2026.”

    To calm Museveni’s nerves further, Bobi Wine would not do anything in Buganda – not for now. He has it already. He would begin with West Nile, move to Lango and Acholi, ignore Karamoja and focus on Teso, Bugisu and Bukedi. He already has Busoga.

    Museveni is unlikely to mount serious charm offensives because he is old and tired. And many around him don’t believe in his vision anymore. They believe in their individual survival.

    By 2026, candidate Bobi Wine could surprise us big time and shutter the myth of Museveni’s electoral invincibility. All Bobi Wine needs is faith and the ability to look beyond the immediate and play the long and quiet game.

     

    The writer, Andrew Mwenda is a veteran investigative journalist, Political analyst and founder/owner of The Independent News Magazine.

     

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    CRIME

    Ssegirinya, Ssewanyana Lawyers To Challenge DPP Abodo’s Plan To Hide Witnesses, Mabirizi Wants Trial To Be Halted Over Constitutional Court Petition…

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    Lawyers representing embattled Kawempe North Member of Parliament (MP) Muhammad Ssegirinya, Makindye West’s Allan Ssewanyana and other accused persons are set to put up a spirited legal fight against the Director Public Prosecution (DPP) Justice Jane Abodo’s plans to hide the State witnesses in the main criminal trial before the Crimes War Division of the High Court.

    On Thursday, Justice Abodo, through her Assistant Lino Anguzo, the lead prosecutor in the trial told the pre-trial presiding judge Justice Elizabeth Jane Alividza that they have filed an ex-parte application to allow the state to protect the witnesses from the media and the public when they are testifying.

    Lino told Court that the witnesses they want to protect are very instrumental in their case and they will play a strong part to help Court to deliver justice to the accused persons and the deceased.

    However, speaking to theGrapevine, Geoffrey Turyamusima, one of the lawyers representing the accused persons insisted that they have agreed with their clients to challenge the witness protection application.

    “No, we are going to challenge that application, they have disclosed to us the witnesses who are set to testify against our clients and we have been seeing some of these witnesses in the media.

    “They are the family members of the deceased, friends and security personnel. Now, what do they want to protect?” Turyamusima wondered.

    Court has not yet set the hearing date for the application and other applications including the human rights enforcement application and the bail applications of all the accused persons.

    Other accused persons on the file are; Jackson Kanyike, Jude Mugerwa, Bull Wamala, Mike Sserwadda and Jude Muwongo.

    They are all together with the legislators battling murder, attempted murder and terrorism charges.

    State alleges that the accused persons were behind the Greater Masaka panga wielding goons who killed over 28 elderly people.

    LAWYER MABIRIZI WANTED TO HELD THE TRIAL

    In a new development, controversial incarcerated city lawyer Hassan Male Mabirizi has applied to the Crimes War Division of the High Court to halt the pre-trial of the accused persons until the determination of his Constitutional petition against the Attorney General.

    In his Constitutional petition, Mabirizi insisted that Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana are being politically persecuted by the state and the additional criminal charges brought against them are unjustifiable.

    However, Turyamusima told theGrapevine that they will oppose Mabirizi’s application to stay proceedings of their clients because he doesn’t want them to rot in prison given that the Constitution Court is going to take a lot of time to determine his Constitutional petition.

    Turyamusima added that what they want as per now is a speedy trial for their clients because they have established that the state doesn’t have evidence against them.

    He emphasised that the only application filed by Mabirizi, which they will support is the one where he calls for merging of the two files, one at the Crimes War Division of the High Court and the other at Masaka High Court.

    Recently, the accused persons applied for the merging of both files and the presiding judge promised that their matter will be handled in the pre-trial process.

    Early this year, Justice Musa Sekaana, the head of the High Court Civil Division Kampala sentenced Mabirizi to 18 months imprisonment on charges of contempt of Court.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    AFRICA FOCUS

    UPDF Commandos Join Deadly Operation To Hunt Top Ugandan Terrorists Who Escaped From DRC Prison…

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    Commandos of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) have joined the deadly operation to hunt for and arrest top Ugandan terrorists who escaped from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) prison early this week.

     Brig. Gen. Felix Kulayigye, the UPDF spokesperson confirmed the development and explained to theGrapevine that the reason why they joined the DRC’s army FARDC was after establishing that among the 822 prisoners who escaped, there were top terrorists who were recently arrested.

     “Since we joined the operation, we have already arrested more than 150 prisoners who escaped from a government prison in Butembo town. We are very sure that all of them will be arrested because them being out there is a threat to the entire region’s security,” he said.

     He added that preliminary investigation established that ADF terrorists were involved in the attack and their top aim was to help their friends to escape and join them to continue terrorising the entire region.

     DRC government also claims that the operation, which took only 15 minutes was masterminded by ADF terrorists. The prison was allegedly raided after ADF learnt that their friends who were arrested by the security were set to be evacuated to other big government prisons.

     Captain Anthony Mualushayi, the spokesperson for the operation hunting for the escaped prisoners revealed that the attackers come from Mwalika valley and were 80 in number.

    They used their weapons and machetes to open the prison doors to help their own including a one Kizito and other 12 deadly ADF terrorists from Uganda to escape.

     Capt. Mualushayi added that over 8 people were killed in the operation including five assailants, two policemen and a prisoner who was killed by the terrorist when was resisting their orders.

     He said that by the time reinforcements came, the terrorists had fled the place.

     However, they managed to trace their tracks and arrested two of them with AK47 guns and several rounds of ammunitions.

     UPDF decided to join DRC to hunt DRC for ADF terrorists after they made several attacks on Ugandans that left some victims dead.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    CRIME

    Speaker Among, Top Parliament Staff To Be Quizzed Over MP Kagabo’s Shs40m Bribe Allegations; Legislator Risks Losing His Bukoto South Seat…

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    MP Twaha Kagabo (L) and Speaker Anita Among (R)

    Detectives from the office of the Inspector General of Government (IGG) are set to record statements from the Speaker of parliament Annet Anita Among and other parliamentary staff on the allegations of giving Shs40m bribe to Members of Parliament.

    Ali Munira, the spokesperson of the office of the IGG revealed that their detectives have widened their investigations and a number of witnesses will been summoned to record statements over Dr. Twaha Kagabo’s bribe allegations.

    She declined to confirm whether speaker Among will record a statement.

    However, multiple credible sources in the IGG’s office confirmed that Speaker Among will record a statement on grounds that she is a subject matter in the allegation.

    Kagabo claims that in July this year, he received a phone call telling him to go to Nakasero at the home of speaker Among and pick his gift. When he reached Among’s house, he was given Shs40m and told that it was a package from parliament administration prepared for legislators.

    Sources at the IGG’s office divulged that Kagabo has recorded two statements and was ordered to report to the IGG’s office every day to establish how far the investigations against the allegations have reached.

    Sources added that among other people the detectives want to pick statements from are officers from Uganda Communication Communication who will help to verify the owners of the phone numbers which were used to call Kagabo to allegedly go to the Speakers home, to pick his gift.

    The Investigators will also rely on the evidence of the CCTV cameras at the speaker’s home around Nakasero to establish whether the legislator was seen at the home of the speaker at that particular time.

    Among denied all the allegations and recommended that the legislator be taken to Rules, Privileges and Disciplinary parliamentary Committee and be investigated.

    Sources in parliament revealed that the speaker will also testify in the Committee to defend herself.

    However, Uganda’s representative in the East African parliament and a renown senior legislator James Kakooza told theGrapevine that Kagabo is in big trouble and he cannot survive losing his Bukoto South parliamentary seat.

    He explained that the Leadership Code is very clear that when a person holding a public office receives a gift worth more than Shs400,000, he or she has to declare it to the IGG within 24 hours which he failed to do.

    He added that it will be hard for Kagabo to place Among on the scene of crime because there is no touchable evidence since he didn’t sign anywhere when he was given the money and the speaker herself was not the one handing him the bribe.

    “I think my young brother was playing politics and he is finished. Now, what we want the investigators to tell us is, who gave him that ‘kanyama’ (bodyguard) who was carrying the bag which contained the money. I established that my young brother was under captive and the Kanyama was the one ordering him to do whatever he did,” Kakooza said.

    NUP’s president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alis Bobi Wine praised Kagabo for following his advice and returning the bribe like he advised his legislators unlike his other colleagues who received the bribe but refused to return it.

    He pleaded to IGG and other investigation agencies to investigate the matter with care instead of victimising the legislator.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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