The story in the Observer about Besigye and Museveni planned talks is more like a replay of what happened between Zanu-PF and the MDC in Zimbabwe a few years ago. You remember those talks that were mediated by then South African president,Thabo Mbeki. The difference here is that Mwenda and Conrad Nkutu seem to be the big players in this whole thing which is a bit strange. I know Andrew Mwenda is a bit influential in the Museveni government but he is also someone who is not in good books with Besigye at the moment. So, anything where he is involved may raise suspicions.
It is also obvious that the story was intentionally leaked to the press to see the reaction from both camps: Besigye and Museveni’s, and the elites who read such stories published in English. So far, both sides have remained silent about it which confirms that something is in the pipeline. Even the big ‘mouthed’ Tamare Mirundi has not come out yet with his ‘bullets’ to shoot those ‘Nagendaising’ the situation, which shows that this is a big thing in the corridors of power in Uganda. The story has appeared both in the Newvision and Observer newspapers.
However, the whole exercise of these talks is a misdirected effort because the majority of Ugandans would be happy if president Museveni offers a quick time frame to step down from the presidency, but this is not something we expect from these talks. Museveni is not ready to give up power to anybody soon despite the recent Daily Monitor headline of ‘I will not stay in power forever’. The man has no intention at all to give up an inch of power, and I’m sure Besigye is aware of it, and we assume he (Besigye) is bothered by it .So what will be the basis of these talks, I wonder.
On the other hand, senior FDC officials are increasingly aware that there is a need to start planning for a political future after Dr.Besiggye, but do not quite know how to achieve that end. Besigye has already announced his intention to stand down from the FDC presidency despite his undoubted popularity among Ugandans. So, why involve himself in political deals he may not be there to supervise and see to it that they are fully implemented? Let’s say, for instance, Museveni agrees to a power sharing interim government, what will be Besigye’s and the new FDC president positions in the new government? Who will be the superior decision maker in the new government? This whole thing may ultimately weaken FDC if not handled properly.
Seriously, I don’t have a problem with the idea of talks between the opposition and Museveni government, and it is indeed encouraging to see that some people want it to happen, but there is a lot of water under the bridge at the moment- which makes it a bonehead idea at the moment.
A lot of people are in prison or exile because of the fights that have been going between these two guys, and I’m wondering if they have got any stake in these talks. Will there be an unconditional amnesty granted to all those perceived to be enemies of the state? Will all political prisoners be pardoned and let back on the street to do whatever they want before or after these talks? What about other stakeholders, such as the Mengo administration and Ssubi, which formed an alliance with Besigye in 2011 elections to see that Buganda achieves its demands from the central government? Will the Kabaka be involved in these talks? What about the religious leaders who are tired of corruption in government offices and would like the government to also get tough on homosexuality? What about those who just want to see the back of president Museveni for good as soon as possible and Besigye was seen as a representation of such feelings?
That’s why I think that the idea of talks between ‘Ajja Genda’ and ‘Mpekoni’ or ‘do u want another rap’ guy makes very little sense. Yes, looking for the “good”, or looking for the “truth” both proceed by talking and also by investigation and neither, in and of themselves, result in the creation of a sustainable political climate. However, looking for good as opposed to truth is precisely what has led Sub-Saharan Africa to its present downward spiral. Instead of recognizing truths which require little study and even less talk, western governments, media and academe have consistently tried to see good at the expense of recognizing such clear and obvious truths. The damage that this has done is just as evident and all in the service of a corrupt concept of natural equality.
If, therefore, we are to have meaningful talks between the government and opposition, president Museveni must publicly state that he is going to resign from the presidency at a specific date. Short of that, we may as well say that Besigye has betrayed the people who put too much trust in him. All the truth about everything evil this government has done must be put on the table as enough reason for the president to hang his boots as soon as possible. Truth is truth and looking the other way helps no one.