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Besigye’s Imprisonment Helps more than Hurts the Opposition


Besigye has been detained at Luzira Maximum Prison on charges of treason. A huge sect in the opposition feels dejected and beaten, that the heart of their passion has been plugged out and thrown into a Prison cell.

For many in the opposition, it is as good as dead without Besigye being at the front-line. Think again however, isn’t that the bitter medicine that the opposition requires?

For as long as Besigye continues to take the centre stage, opposition is denied the opportunity to evolve and grow. One, to grow institutions and secondly to nurture new leaders and forms of strategy. Many have argued that the opposition lacks a strategy. However to the loyalists, Besigye’s passion is the opposition’s strategy and as such a clutch unto which they hold.

Now that Besigye is in prison, the opposition is presented a painful chance to outgrow the Besigye cult and rethink their future strategies.

With Besigye in prison, new centres of resistance to Museveni’s rule are likely to emerge. Secondly, this presents the Ugandans disenchanted with Museveni’s rule an opportunity to own their struggle, take up the fight instead of assigning such a mammoth of responsibility to one man-Kizza Besigye. This mere change of who leads the struggle could be the master stroke that takes Museveni by surprise.

For what Besigye has been seeking is a mass-uprising. However, all the times he’s tried to ignite the fires of this, they’ve been extinguished precisely because he’s the fire and the match stick making it easier for anyone to curb his demonstrations.

On the contrary, imagine that the next uprisings in Uganda happen organically without a specific centre of resistance. Imagine a scenario where ordinary Ugandans choose to own their struggle and as such, the over 2 million who voted for Besigye decide to demonstrate. This will make it harder for the anti-riot police to deal with such riots. One, there won’t be key leaders to arrest or bribe off. Secondly, even if violence was metted out to each of the participants, these would be a people too many to contain. The only option would be for the Police and ruling government to ascent to some of the wishes and desires of the opposition.