Dear Col. (rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye,
In your interview with one of the local English papers, you insinuated that in my earlier interview with the same paper, l was trying to speak on behalf of President Mugisha Muntu, yet I am not his spokesperson, and that Muntu is competent to speak for himself.
I’m writing this letter to you directly to let you know that l gave my views in my personal capacity. I hold no position in FDC but l have views based on experience in leadership on a fairly long period of reading, observing and in some cases practices.
You stated that in 1999, you approached some of us to leave the Movement and when we failed; you decided to start the work of ‘heavy lifting’ to remove the dictatorship and that you left the Movement for that purpose.
For how long will this ‘heavy lifting be a personal obligation and mission? The fact is that you did not leave the Movement; you just run for the office of the President under the Movement system.
There were some members who moved a motion that Mr President be declared a sole candidate in 2000. Some of those movers are now victims of that thinking, some of us openly opposed this move and argued that you were free to stand. We even advised against the efforts to have you arrested and victimised. Your ‘entasiima’.
By the way, to refresh your memory, just 10 years earlier in 1989, you led a team to draft a resolution for a constitutional amendment to extend NRM rule and hence the leadership of President Museveni for an extra five years which was passed.
Then you were the most trusted confidant of the NRM leadership. Only a sole voice, Omulongo Waswa Ziritwawula opposed this move and resigned his seat in Parliament in protest.
If you had joined him to fight the nascent ‘dictatorship’, perhaps the course of history of this country would have been different.
We may recall that when the Constitution was being amended to remove term limits, there were many clear voices in and outside Parliament who opposed it and some paid and are still paying a price.
Not everyone succumbed to money offers. This was before FDC was formed. And FDC was not founded by a single individual or group. It was a culmination of efforts by several groups and tendencies, to forge a common home for a common effort and purpose.
You may recall my long discussion with you in South Africa in 2004. Many others did visit you. Learn to appreciate that there were other strugglers before you then and there are many others now.
The issues that concern you that I raised in that interview and which l still hold were;
- You had turned on your word as recorded live on NTV and many other forms of media.
- That you had not supported your successor Gen. Mugisha Muntu
- That you had set up parallel structures and centres of power.
I can now add that you don’t easily tolerate different points of view and you don’t genuinely welcome and accommodate those who hold a different point of view.
Case in a point, during the Namboole delegates conference in 2010 that elected you for the second term as president, Hon. Wandera Martin was publically announced that he had been appointed unopposed as secretary for labour.
Later on at the first NEC meeting at party headquarters, a meeting you chaired, it was raised that actually there were other people who had been nominated but papers not presented.
To cut the long story short, Wandera was dropped and replaced by another person. The real reason, he had supported Muntu. Wandera is alive.
My brother Besigye, you are free to change your mind and you are entitled to run again, but if you do so, say so and why, rather than attacking people who raise that issue as you did in the interview referred to above.
You actually state in the same interview that you stood because of the trust voters have in you that is not transferable to another candidate of the same party.
You also pointed that there was a deficit in that trust in your absence and that there was insufficient resolve by leaders in your absence to fight for reforms. Did you really think through this? If you did and it’s true, then your style and content of leadership raises concern.
Please learn to respect and appreciate the contribution of others however small or insufficient from your point of view…If it’s personal to you as if new voters have not come on board and some in the old voters register passed on, then this is in itself failed leadership.
When you stepped down, I told some leaders at that time that you had stepped down tacticfully in order to come back with a bang as flag bearer. So your coming back was not a surprise to me, what surprised was the spurious reasons you advanced.
You started a parallel sect dubbed ‘activists’ from the top to the districts level. I will not delve into its activities. My view is that a leader’s role is to reconcile and harmonise different points of view in order to advance a common goal and purpose.
Styles of struggle will always be there in any organised society. We should also learn to tolerate different points of view and respond to them without insinuations.
Finally, let me make it clear to all concerned that whoever gets elected and in spite of the attacks and labels put against me by some of your ardent supporters and campaign handlers, we shall support the party and its leadership at all levels.
Amanya Mushega, the author, is a former FDC vice president
Letter first published and curtsey of The Observer