Dr. Kiizza Besigye, a four-time former Presidential candidate, has fervently opposed the use of firearms to dethrone President Museveni and his NRM party from their ruling position.
Dr. Besigye, once a soldier during the NRA war in the eighties, contends that employing violent methods against Museveni is ineffective. Despite Museveni’s past ascent to power through armed means in 1986, Dr. Besigye argues that relying on guns is not the answer to combating issues like dictatorship.
“Using guns to seize power only leads to new troubles,” Dr. Besigye stated firmly.
The Path from Rebellion to Regret
Museveni and his supporters turned to rebellion following their defeat in the 1980 elections. Dr. Besigye himself was a part of the NRA rebellion that ultimately brought President Museveni into authority. He now expresses remorse for resorting to violence and apologizes for their militant actions, acknowledging the necessity to unite in combat.
“Though regrettable, violence was our chosen avenue of engagement. We united for the fight,” he reflected.
A Quest for Good Through Struggle
Dr. Besigye explained their shared conviction that overcoming the power-holders through forceful means would restore the common good, previously withheld by those wielding guns.
Speaking at the Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere Legacy Conference in Kampala, Dr. Besigye was among the featured speakers, addressing a gathering that included prominent figures such as Dr. Ssemogerere’s widow, Jemima Namatovu, and other influential personalities.
Unity vs. Electoral Battle
While critics suggest that opposition’s inability to present a unified front contributes to their failure in challenging Museveni’s dominance, Dr. Besigye counters that even with a united opposition candidate, defeating Museveni through ballots would remain unlikely.
He emphasized, “Striving for unity to counter violent power using the means endorsed by violence would be detrimental.”
Challenges Blamed on Leadership
Dr. Besigye assigned the majority of the nation’s problems to President Museveni and his associates’ failure in ensuring the common good. He criticized the rise of self-centeredness and disregard for communal well-being as a widespread phenomenon.
“The neglect of common interests in favor of personal gain is wrecking our environment,” he asserted.
Honoring Legacy and Pursuing Unity
Dr. Besigye echoed the sentiments of Kampala’s Lord Mayor, advocating for preserving Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere’s legacy by championing the accomplishments he made within the legal framework.
“Embracing the common good necessitates collective effort. Unity in diversity isn’t just logical; it’s imperative,” Dr. Besigye stressed.
A Tribute to Dr. Ssemogerere
Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere, known for his persistent pursuit of multipart rule, is remembered for his dedication to fostering unity amid diversity. His idea of different political parties, including the ruling NRM, collaborating for effective governance persisted through the years.
Muwanga Kivumbi, a former Uganda Democrats member and National Unity Platform representative, acknowledged that the political elites pose a challenge to unity. He urged the opposition to devise strategies for handling these elite figures in the realm of politics.
“Without addressing this issue, our endeavors will falter,” Kivumbi warned.
Unity for Progress
The notion that President Museveni actively encourages disunity among major political parties has circulated. However, Kivumbi noted that the current challenges compel even President Museveni to seek a united front to confront pressing issues.
“Even President Museveni needs this unity more than anyone; he’s grappling with economic challenges,” Kivumbi revealed.
A Farewell to Dr. Ssemogerere
Dr. Paul Ssemogerere, who passed away in November 2022 at the age of 90, was lauded by many conference speakers for nurturing young individuals in the realm of politics.