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THE LAST WORD: On Museveni-Besigye talks

How the opposition leader has blundered on the chance to promote his political project – if he has any

By Andrew M. Mwenda

Media reports have recently indicated there are attempts to organise talks between the government and the opposition. For such talks to be meaningful, they have to involve President Yoweri Museveni and his main rival, Dr. Kizza Besigye. Even before anything tangible could materialise, however, Besigye was already bragging that “the dictatorship” is weak and has, therefore, approached him and his people “begging” for talks. The government, meanwhile, was denying involvement in any talks.

It is possible Besigye could have been approached because there are many people who would like talks and would suggest them to Museveni. Knowing him, Museveni would most likely agree – if only to explore possibilities as he plots how to use them to his advantage. If this is true, then Besigye is acting irresponsibly by bragging. It could explain why the government denied approaching him.

I personally suspect the government approached Besigye for talks. But contrary to Besigye’s view, Museveni would be open to talks because he is in a strong position. He is president. He has 82% of parliament to pass any legislation he wants. The army and police are loyal. Diplomats of all nations are paying homage to him. The economy could be faltering and the people angry, but there is no serious risk to Museveni’s power. Besigye and his supporters pay taxes to the same government, which Museveni uses to train and equip the police to keep them in check.

Museveni prefers to negotiate from such a position of strength. Throughout his political career, he has fought many enemies. However, it is only after defeating them on the battlefield does he use such victory to enter “peace talks”. The defeated enemy is often either given political leadership, including positions in Museveni’s cabinet, integrated into the army, or paid money to retire.


  1. I think talks would compromise FDC..

  2. But Andrew,

    If “all others – armed rebellion, electoral contest, and popular insurrection (defiance) – have failed”, what does that tell you about the necessity to change the status quo? Must we have it for the sake of doing so?

    In the natural and applied sciences where I come from, if your statements are true, then we are in a state of stable equilibrium at this point in time. To seek change against these odds is to necessarily invite instability. I know you guys in the media and “Arts” would enjoy that – but where does this lead the country?

    It might be safer for all of us if the opposition realised their current limitations vis-a-vis M7’s current strengths and time effects of nature on his stranglehold on power. Then, they should work to mobilise the younger generation to replace him when he weakens in any of the areas you mention above. This will happen at the ‘right’ time in the not far future whether we like it or not. Meanwhile, they should have spared no effort to study his methods and attitudes since his school days: for any serious power contender cannot ignore the methods that have made him as solid as he has been these 5+ decades.

    Dr. Eng. Kant Ateenyi

    • Well said Dr. Eng. Kant Ateenyi,

      At this stage, time is the strongest tool the opposition have at their disposal. The only hinderance to its utilisation is the potential self-interest that opposition lead figures have. A battle arises between, Seek and enjoy the fruits of power NOW vs Invest in a longterm project that will exploit the weakness of the current Museveni-centric setup.

  3. Miracles are OK except that they don’t happen these days FDC is waiting for a miracle to happen so that they can be in power but it will not happen.The social situation in Uganda is so fragile in that the country is more comfortable with M7 in the steering wheel than Besigye besides that there is no African country that is performing exceptionally well coz of adhering to presidential term limits .

    Peace talks in Africa are normally arrived at during war but the one initiated by KB appears like an accountability/audit for the bucks they received during elections honestly is UG BADLY OFF ?

    The death of Kaweesi makes extension of M7’s rule legitimate just imagine what could happen to M7 after he has left power peacefully who will guarantee his security and that of his family and those who have been close to the establishment?Ugandans are not ignorant they know what to expect and not to expect.

    Real friendship once ended cant be mended KB’s plan to one day rule Ug is conceived in bad faith.

    Ugandans should register their phones again i was shocked to learn that some Ugandan buy second hand sim cards yet the new ones cost the same price why are we not comfortable purchasing new items?Secondly,why should someone have 3 phone lines in this poor nation?You find for example, the only calls Musinguzi receives are from wrong numbers but he has 4 lines.

    The idea of limiting the number of lines a Ugandan should have is a food for thought for Kayihura and UCC if anything,there could be about only 400 Ugandans who deserve 2 or 3 phone lines coz there are many cheaper ways of communication like whatsup,Email,Twitter,Instagram.

    Kaweesi was killed using a silencer gun otherwise all the sound of 80 bullets would have woken the village.

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  6. Winnie my sister, I have been gone for sometime now. Just chill

    • We (Winnie and I) cannot afford swallow Andrew’s cocktail of ideas without your critical analysis of the same. You better come to our rescue otherwise he will deceive us with impunity.

    • How did you then read the comment you allude to? Maybe informed by Kakyama.

  7. Mwenda wrote: “I personally suspect the government approached Besigye for talks. But contrary to Besigye’s view, Museveni would be open to talks because he is in a strong position. He is president. He has 82% of parliament to pass any legislation he wants.”

    To the contrary. Museveni is like the Chinese proverbial paper tiger. He looks menacing until your pierce it and find it to be hollow. What I am saying is that it is Museveni who needs the talks. He needs a guarantee of immunity beyond State House. It is fear of what will happen to him after the presidency and the presidential immunity is gone which makes him hold on to the presidency.

    • @ Adhola give us a break with your wickedness! 1st of all you are a part time Ugandan when did you last step in Ug?You love comparing your self to M7 you are a nobody compared to him you casually think M7 wants presidential immunity by the way from what? what wrong has he done the man stands for elections and is voted and sworn in without any incidence. you and the paid activists from the diaspora earn a living black mailing him who does not know that he has pacified most of Africa? Africa badly needs him whatever you allude to is just smoke and Mirror.

      Do you understand the world anymore?let me tell you the current threat to all nations is terrorism a terrorist will celebrate when he hits Ug so M7 needs more time to fix terrorists as well.

      You are the very chap who says govt should adhere to the rules in the Constitution when MPs vote to lift term lifts isn’t it justified and legally binding?Just review the rules in democracy & governance otherwise its current form may appear unfair to those who are dying to come to Power like KB.

    • So in your view Besigye is the sole guarantor of M7’s immunity beyond state house?
      You are either ignorant or simply want to ignore obvious facts. Look, it is not by accident that M7 allowed his son to serve in the army and hold the rank that he holds now.

      It is not by accident that his young brother has the military and financial influence that he holds now.
      It is not by accident that M7 has many states and heads of state that he can call on in times of trouble. Surely, if you think Besigye poses any threat to M7 you are misled

  8. James jones bantu

    As a self appointed mediator, I will seek a number of clarifications from both parties involved, especially kb and his cult. 1st I need to know what kb can do what m7 has failed, and how he intend to achieve so? I also what to question his ability to lead ugandans and what future plans does kb hold for ugandans? and what platforms does Mr kifefe intend to utilise for uganda to reach its potential?. But also need a viable explanation why m7 can not live power and yet the country belongs to both of us, no one should be above others or forcebly dominate them. My recommendation will be kb to go back to luzira with a recommendation of 10 lashes each mornin, m7 should go to black bitch in equitorio gueane and mwenda to take over the throne from m7.

    • If KB was as sincere as he portrays self and company, knowing and seeing men and women 10 years older than him still carrying out surgical operations to needy patients, the fellow would be shuttling between rioting and the theatre. KB is a self-serving (or mercenary) egocentric selfish person (and formerly he wasn’t) who is being influenced by some force which if neutralised, he will again be the good professional gentleman that he was not so long ago. Lodge in Murchison bay a certain woman and a certain man for 5 years and KB will be a saint. But politics being politics, maybe M7 needs a sparring partner.

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