And how it is killing opposition to Museveni
On Feb.2, Kizza Besigye, the former Presidential flag bearer for the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), called the press to announce a new pressure group he is calling the People’s Government Network.
Besigye called on supporters to be representatives of the network in their communities and help build pressure against President Yoweri Museveni’s government.
For the unveiling, Besigye chose the headquarters of Activists for Change (A4C), another pressure group he co-founded with other opposition politicians in 2011.
Like A4C, Besigye said the new group is to operate outside FDC.
That the opposition leader chose to announce his first planned course of action in 2017 at a venue different from his FDC party headquarters could indicate his determination to work more with the radical fringe of the party. This speaks volumes as FDC is slated to hold its usually acrimonious party presidential elections. The FDC party President, Mugisha Muntu did not attend.
Besigye’s latest breakaway move comes at a time when a major debate is raging about whether such actions undermine or strengthen the FDC.
Besigye was flanked by former Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Wafula Oguttu, party mobiliser Ingrid Turinawe, party chairman, Wasswa Birigwa and Allan Sewanyana. All these and others who attended are his diehard followers. Other Besigye diehards, like FDC Spokesperson, Ibrahim Semujju Nganda, and Secretary General Nandala Mafabi did not attend.
Besigye’s latest move comes when FDC, which is Uganda’s largest opposition political party, is at crossroads. It needs to rethink both its strategy and the continued role of its de facto leader, Besigye.
There are many people saying FDC needs to change from Besigye’s leadership because his strategy is wrong.
I will use the lessons of military strategy to demonstrate this. If he were a good strategist, Besigye would know that the first principle of command is “selection and maintenance of the aim”.
In this case, Besigye appears to have selected the wrong `aim’ for FDC. Today, Besigye’s aim and that of FDC appears to be to remove President Yoweri Museveni from power. But if this is the wrong aim for Besigye and his party, what should the correct aim be?
In my view, this main aim would be to build a “democratic and prosperous Uganda”. This would have three aspects. First would be political reforms to ensure free and fair elections, which Besigye has always emphasised. Second would be introduction of administrative reforms in Uganda to improve accountability and the ability of the state to serve the citizen effectively and efficiently. Third would be economic reforms that build a dynamic economy especially in agriculture and manufacturing to create jobs to increase incomes of Ugandans.
So I want to think the main aim of Besigye, FDC, and indeed the opposition generally should be “to build a democratic and prosperous Uganda”.
There are several ways to achieve this main aim fully or partially. Capturing the presidency from Museveni is just one of them, and is, in fact, an ineffective one. The other is winning many positions of district chairpersons and town mayors. This would enable the opposition to use local governments to set an example of how accountable, efficient and effective it is at governing.