Whether knowingly or unknowingly; fortunately or unfortunately, President Museveni has perfectly cloned himself. It is an evolutionary process that has lasted 15 years. The sad fact of the story is Museveni doesn’t recognize a Museveni in Besigye neither does Besigye realize that he’s evolved into a Museveni.
The more Museveni has continued to escalate violence against Besigye, the more he’s moulded a version of his later self. And it’s been a self-reinforcing scenario. A scenario where Museveni applies more force to correct the image he sees in Besigye, only to further magnify that image, then more force applied and the cycle continues. Here’s the challenge, Museveni doesn’t like what he sees in Besigye. However, were he to sot down and reflect, he would realize that he’s not fighting against Besigye, he’s fighting against himself.
The two characters of Besigye and Museveni are not any different. If at all they are, they are converging towards a common point. We can thus expect that in the event of Besigye succeeding Museveni, he would be forced to act in a similar manner as his tormentor did.
James D Smith writes interestingly about Liberia’s Ugly Past. He notes that Freed slaves in Liberia had evolved to act in a similar inhumane manner towards the Africans. “Instead of being guided against such inhumane treatment they suffered at the hands of their former masters, they took on the characters of the slave masters and began to treat the Africans in similar manner as they encountered in slavery,” he explains. “The same kind of injustices that America had subjected the ex-slaves to were imposed on the Africans: The Africans were denied education, they paid taxes without representation, the state denied them all benefits available to its citizens.”
We shall henceforth assume Besigye to be the freed slave and Museveni, his American Master. Museveni has continuously jailed Besigye, trumped up all sorts of charges against him, denied him liberties and freedoms. As a result, Besigye has acted in a similar manner, he defied police orders, has a disdain for authority and this month, swore himself into power. The actions that Museveni has meted out against Besigye have been neutralized by the reactions of Besigye. It’s the case of two equal forces pulling in different directions.
Museveni has also established Musevenism in Besigye and has influenced the internal organization in FDC. For four times consecutively, opposition has fronted Besigye as the only suitable candidate against Museveni. There have been no structures set up in the party. One’s rise in the FDC party has been hinged on how far one goes to prove one’s loyalty to the founding father-Besigye. This could imply standing by his side during demonstrations or posturing with him at press conferences. The case is not any different in the NRM party. Museveni is the Alpha and Omega of NRM. Besigye is the Alpha and Omega of FDC and the opposition at large. The succession question in both camps has not been clearly answered.
Museveni and Besigye face a moral dilemma, it’s an internal conflict that must be bothering them day and night. What is the right course of action? They are trying to solve a political puzzle; “if you try to kill him, you become just like him.”
So then, should Besigye go ahead and counteract Museveni’s forces? Should Museveni let Besigye’s defiance acts win lest he creates a mirror image of himself?
Museveni has convinced himself that he’s doing this fragile nation a favour by containing this demagogue named Besigye. Besigye had also deluded himself that he’s making a sacrifice by trying to liberate Uganda from this tyrant named Museveni.
The battle lines have been drawn, the divides set up, yet none recognizes that there isn’t a difference in the camps, it’s two sides of the same coin. One is a reflection of the other yet each hates what they see. The problems of political philosophy have never been so real, so hard and so within our midst.