COMMENT: By Emmanuel Mukama
Why should he expect “stupid and mentally retarded” FDC supporters to be as equally reflective as he?
On the night of December 30, 2016, I received recordings of the 93.3 FM radio Hot Seat talk show hosted by renowned journalist Andrew Mwenda. I listen to these recordings late in the night while in bed as I am huge admirer of Mwenda and he knows it.
Mwenda, albeit with contempt, raises very pertinent issues about opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) stalwart and former presidential candidate Kizza Besigye and what he calls his “stupid and mentally retarded” supporters. This time, he took his views to social media too and thus has been the talk of the town for the last couple of days.
In all, Mwenda says Besigye and his supporters ought to reflect on the means to changing government that they are using and to promote the values they (through their leader) espouse. Mwenda artfully raises statistically reflect-worthy criticisms of Besigye. The recordings end with Mwenda saying“…wasn’t that too provocative?”
Mwenda’s views are possibly provocative. I was tickled to spend more time listening to the audios of his show and also re-reading all his social media posts more carefully. But why should he expect “stupid and mentally retarded” people to be equally reflective?
I have chosen to specifically ignore the obvious facts and statistics that make his arguments and rather respond to essential truths of his intentions; what I think is the greatest mistake Mwenda is making through his consistent vitriol targeting Kizza Besigye, the man, the brand and often, a faction of FDC he calls “extremists”.
Whereas I do not dispute that a lot is generally wrong in the opposition, I despise Mwenda’s attempt to protect individuals who have done so little to consistently pursue the change they espouse. They are survivors. Many leaders in the opposition are what the leader of the opposition Democratic Party (DP), Norbert Mao, calls “invertebrates” or lacking a backbone.
I do not doubt their commitment of such leaders per se, but they appear to me to be in opposition for convenience, not conviction. They pull moderate stunts cautiously to benefit from their electorate (which is disgusted with the status quo) and state agencies for economic and safety reasons. In the end they are everywhere and nowhere. This is the biggest danger to democracy development.