Last week, Andrew Mwenda wrote in his Last Word Column arguing the case for Museveni’s retirement. He further argued that this would be the best way for Ugandans to correctly evaluate his legacy. Not only that, he argued, that should Besigye ascend to power, he will quickly be washed clean of his utopia and off he would descend into the abyss that is the reality of running a poor country and trying to run it democratically.
It is clear that from Mwenda’s argument, Besigye almost takes on the personality of Brutus in William Shakespeare’s play; “Julius Caesar.” One of the reasons Brutus gives for killing Caesar is that he (Caesar) was ambitious. And Brutus did not kill him out of hate but out of love. That he loved Caesar so much, he saved Caesar from himself.
The following is the speech that Brutus gave at Caesar’s funeral;
“Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my
cause, and be silent, that you may hear: believe me
for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that
you may believe: censure me in your wisdom, and
awake your senses, that you may the better judge.
If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of
Caesar’s, to him I say, that Brutus’ love to Caesar
was no less than his. If then that friend demand
why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer:—
Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved
Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and
die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead, to live
all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him;
as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was
valiant, I honour him: but, as he was ambitious, I
slew him. There is tears for his love; joy for his
fortune; honour for his valour; and death for his
ambition. Who is here so base that would be a
bondman? If any, speak; for him have I offended.
Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If
any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so
vile that will not love his country? If any, speak;
for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.”
It is clear that should Besigye become Ugandan president, he would make a similar moving speech while endorsing Museveni’s movement to Luzira for ‘crimes’ committed in his presidency.
Yet we wonder, will the Ugandans after sometime be able to re-evaluate Museveni’s reign? Would they be able to plug away from their biases and objectively pass judgment on his achievements and his failures? Would they perhaps also realize that many of the weaknesses attached to his regime were not his own making but a making of his trials to adjust to the realities of power?
Perhaps then, some sane Ugandans will take on the role of Marc Anthony and say;
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, give me your attention. I have come here to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do is remembered after their deaths, but the good is often buried with them. It might as well be the same with Caesar. The noble Brutus told you that Caesar was ambitious. If that’s true, it’s a serious fault, and Caesar has paid seriously for it. With the permission of Brutus and the others—for Brutus is an honorable man; they are all honorable men—I have come here to speak at Caesar’s funeral. He was my friend, he was faithful and just to me. But Brutus says he was ambitious, and Brutus is an honorable man. He brought many captives home to Rome whose ransoms brought wealth to the city.”
For the story of Museveni and Besigye is in tandem with the tales of Julius Caesar and Brutus. It is a story of a former personal doctor who sets out to save a country from the ‘evils’ of the man he helped nurse while in the Bush. Let not the future prove this true. For such a moment will try men’s souls.