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THE LAST WORD: The logic of Besigye’s claims

What psychology tells us about FDC’s claims to have won last year’s presidential election

By Andrew M. Mwenda

This column is a logical thought experiment. Recently, opposition presidential candidate, Dr. Kizza Besigye, claimed on a television show that he won the last presidential elections and that he has evidence to prove it. This was a very vital revelation, which Besigye has actually made many times in the past. I was surprised the moderator did not ask him to table his evidence.

Indeed I have always wondered why Besigye can possess such critical evidence and keep it to himself. He claims he was blocked from presenting it to the Supreme Court last year. Fine. He can give it to the media. Well, he could say the media have been “bought” or are intimidated (or both) by the state, which is presided over by his rival, President Yoweri Museveni. Although this is an absurd claim (since most media houses and journalists are very critical of Museveni and openly biased in favour of Besigye) let us also accept it – at least for argument’s sake.

There is social media where Museveni and the state have little or no influence. Besigye can post his evidence on his Facebook page, on the FDC website or on a blog or website of one of his friends and allies or better still post it on a What’s App group chat and it would spread like wildfire (in today’s language, it would go viral). Why has someone who won a presidential election, is also in possession of evidence of his victory, spent the last one year making this claim but has not presented the evidence to the public?

It is possible that Besigye knows that he lost the election and has been looking for a way to spin his loss in order to please his supporters. That would be understandable. Yet whenever I watch him, I get the sense that he is sincere in his assertions. I learnt from psychology that if you tell yourself a lie very many times you grow to believe it. Therefore, the logical conclusion from this is that Besigye is a victim of his lies i.e. he is delusional. But given that delusion is not a virtue, this would suggest that Besigye lacks the basic qualities that make an ideal leader.

Here is where psychology astounds us in its analysis of politics. While being delusional is a sign of poor qualities of an ideal leader, it is a basic, if not necessary, quality that makes a successful politician. To lead people, one has to convince himself that he is a person of exceptional leadership ability i.e. he/she must be egotistical and delusional. One has to listen to the “Yes We Can” speeches of candidate Barack Obama in 2008 to see what I am talking about. But this is not a criticism of Obama alone, but most politicians.

The evolutionary psychologist, Robert Trivers, makes this argument in his book, `The Folly of Fools’. He argues that the worst victim of your lie is yourself. You have to lie to yourself first that you are a truly great leader. It is only when you have internalised such a lie that you can transmit it to others in a convincing manner. This is because you will speak with total, complete and absolute certainty, a factor vital to convince the hordes that you are the guy. Most voters look out for confidence in a candidate. So delusion is the stuff that makes successful politicians.


  1. Mwenda. It is really surprising to realize that you keep promoting the claim that Besigye has never realized the 2016 presidential election to back up his claim. This is not true. The results were realized by Besigye in the Red Pepper sometime back. I know Besigye ignores your stuff but you can ask Rugyendo or the Red Pepper Editorial Team to confirm about the results. However, if you missed such important news, maybe you don’t bother looking out for what is in other newspapers .

    • the reason they give in the RED PEPPER is more based on inference and not tangible figures. that Colonel lost to the General.

  2. Warped reasoning
    So M7 is better leader because he can hold on to power!!

  3. ejakait engoraton

    Mwenda conveniently forgets to mention that M7 went to war in which lots of people died on a claim for which he had no proof that the elections had been rigged.
    This even when he himself was part of the system that conducted the same elections.
    Atleast Besigye is not going to war, and even when he wanted to atleast go to court and challenge the outcome, we all know what happened

  4. 1.KB is fed up of himself he has become an opposition dictator.
    2.If KB’s parents had a great historical profile like Kenyetta and Odinga’s parents, then we would excuse him for dying to be a president but the guy comes out of the bule coz of his bigheadedness and wants to stampede us to vote him into power.
    3.You all saw how the new French president made it on his own(i personally would want this to happen in ug) Emmanuel Macrono had no political party this, has proved to the world that there may be a shift from the traditional , boring and nagging political styles of electing leaders to individual merit
    4.I thought we had moved after the results of the 2016 elections.
    5.I hope the likes of Adhola ,Rajab and Musinguzi have seen what Ivory coast is going thru;Africa can do with or without term limits.

  5. But KB was arrest on 19 one day after elections, so what if kiggundu announced him a winner, how was he going out of his house? So u were not in Uganda not to know his arrest

  6. In Latin American states like Cuba and Venezuela,the citizens there tend to hold on to their deceased presidents (Casrtol and Hugo) partly coz of their catholic background the Catholics believe a lot in saints.

    Thank heavens that the traditional political system is slowly phasing out coz the young generation is used to refined ideas that are simple to understand an 18 year old cant stand ideologies of Marxism thats why extremists like the terrorists abduct children when they are young coz they are easily indoctrinated.

    KB has learnt is trick that’s why he normally has no manifesto he jazzes about everything during elections.

    If high profile Ugandans like Muhoozi,Natasha can have IDs how about the Rajabs of this world?Just look at the Ugandans without IDs 100% of them look like those who have nothing to do.

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