Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Uganda: The election is a few years away

Voice of America reports

Uganda Opposition Leader Blames President Museveni for Tension

Ugandan opposition party leader Kizza Besigye shakes hands with supporters before being arrested on September 4, 2012 in Kampala, Uganda.

A Ugandan opposition leader says frustration within the rank and file of the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) is creating tension in the country.

“There is a clear intension of monopolizing the control of the military, which is the source of power, and that is what is clearly being described as the construction of a presidential monarchy,” said Dr. Kizza Besigye, the former leader of the main opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).

It is hard not to give some credence to these allegations. Besigye is a former officer of the UPDF and presumably retains contact with rank and file soldiers. 

There isn't a western leader in the world outside of a few politically toothless monarchs in Europe that are retained  more for tourism dollars than any real governance function that can claim to have been in office for over 27 years. There is no way anyone with even half a brain can call Museveni a democrat he is undoubtedly a Crocodile    although of a more begnine variety than most.

Besigye says President Yoweri Museveni is to blame for the rising tension in the country, which he contends could create instability and chaos.

Having talked to many Africans in the diaspora in New Zealand I think it is reasonable though to give Uganda credit where credit is due. Museveni has always shown tolerance and understanding of the plight of refugees in Uganda. Yes Uganda shares the blame for creating the refugees from the DR Congo.

Besigye on the other hand has taken a populist position demanding the repatriation of refugees a Uganda for Ugandans approach if you like. This sort of stupidity is common in most democratic societies and can safely be ignored on the whole but in Uganda this is a recipe for disaster. Instability and chaos are certainly not only the preserve of Museveni.

“There is palpable frustration in all corners of the ruling establishment.  The whole idea that Museveni is constructing a presidential monarchy I think is grossly unacceptable to a wide range of actors, especially those who were his comrades in the struggle for what was hoped to be democracy,” said Dr. Besigye.

His comments were made after security officials raided the office of the coordinator of intelligence agencies, General David Sejusa.  The general had petitioned the government to investigate rumors of a plot to assassinate senior administration officials opposed to Mr. Museveni’s succession plan.

Uganda media quotes UPDF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Paddy Ankunda as saying “we are investigating the issues that he raised in his letter ... We needed useful information from his office.  The team got documents and [a] computer from his office.”

President Museveni’s alleged plan is to step down and hand power to his son, Brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

Actually I would be surprised to discover Museveni had any real succession plan at this stage. Under the current legislation he is entitled to stand again in 2016. I don't see him throwing in the towel any time soon. 

Critics say the sudden rise of Muhoozi, the first son of the president, to the position of the Special Forces Group commander in the UPDF forms part of the Museveni succession plan.

The Special Forces group is in charge of protecting the president, as well as the country’s oil installations and other institutions.

“Now they see that the military is essentially put under his son, Mr. Muhoozi, who was actually recruited into the military illegally because there is a very well established procedure of how one gets a commission to the UPDF,” continued Besigye, “even before he was recruited into the force he, himself, recruited other young people into the military.  Those people [he] recruited plus himself are now in charge of the military.”

The government denies the allegation.

“The allegation or insinuation that Museveni is grooming his son is completely untrue,” said government spokesman Fred Opolot.  “President Museveni has been at the fore of ensuring democratic progress of the country [and] it is diversionary to suggest that all of a sudden he is grooming his son.”

All in all a bit of a muddle ain't hearsay fun.

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