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People Power shall overcome


By Charles Kamya Sentamu

Hundreds of thousands of Ugandans were particularly unhappy this Easter Weekend.

But others share the feeling in millions; those who have once again borne witness to the way our security organs are being misused to serve the ends of a panicky regime, as it continues to clutch at straws to see another day. Not for long, hopefully.

The hundreds of thousands I am referring to are those Ugandans and foreigners living here who had bought tickets to attend the musical show of opposition popular MP cum musician Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine).

The show was to be staged at the MP’s One Love Beach, Busabala on Easter Monday. He had initially been asked for a number of requirements by police for the show to be allowed. The organizing team worked 24/7 to comply.

Initially they were given the go ahead by the Uganda Police’s head of operations, Asuman Mugyenyi. But as they embarked on the final preparations, the same man, in a letter delivered to the Bobi Wine camp on Easter Sunday, rescinded the permission.

But this was not a political rally. It was a show like hundreds of others that Bobi Wine has staged over the years, as one of the best musicians of this country. This is the trade Bobi has known since he was a child and on which the livelihood of his family and thousands of others who are employed at such events, have depended.

But all this was before he accepted the bidding of his fans, who, enthused by his musical lyrics that carry educative messages, urged him to test the political waters and run for political office.

Running for political office was fully his right, under the Ugandan constitution. Initially, he was dismissed by Museveni and his cabal as a passing wave. But he did not only trounce Museveni’s preferred candidate, with the entire state machinery at their disposal, he also went on to deliver wins for several like-minded candidates that he campaigned for in subsequent by-elections.

That is where Kyagulanyi’s troubles with the regime began, as everyone will know. He had touched in the leopard’s a**s as dictator Museveni so shamelessly stated, on TV.

Subsequently Wine became a target of the state machinery and with less than two-year in his political career, he has been arrested, beaten up by security forces – the police and the notorious SFC – among others. Wine has been given “the full Besigye treatment”. He has had trumped-up charges thrown his way. He has suffered torture. And about 124 of his shows have been cancelled by the regime.

Ugandans now see the signs of a regime in panic mode. Museveni, the power-hungry man he is, perhaps senses that power is slipping out of his hands should he allow any youth waves to grow. He will move to crush the most prominent symbols of youth uprising.

He will stop at nothing to see to it that he remains in power. But Bobi Wine represents the cusp of a revolution to which all Ugandans can identify with. “Jajja will then escalate violence against the people’s representative. His Gestapo-like security operatives will step up another gear.

They will continue to harass, torture, and even assassinate those he perceives to be enemies, meaning anyone he sees as a threat taking away his power. They have actually tried to assassinate Bobi Wine.

That was last year during the by-elections for Arua Municipality when Museveni’s SFC gunmen shot and killed Yassin Kawuma, the MP’s driver as he sat in his employer’s car. The assassins thought it was Wine sitting in his vehicle.

As of writing this, the regime’s repressive mechanism has abducted Kyagulanyi.

But, according to observers, history is on the side of indefatigable fighters like Bobi Wine. It is on the side of all Ugandans who are finally coming to the realization that we have been conned enough by this regime.

All signs are that sooner or later all Ugandans will unite towards the common cause of uprooting this regime which has only ever served to advance the interests of Museveni and his cronies. That has the man spending sleepless nights.

Any observer will say history is on the side of Ugandans because of the waves of people-centered movements that we have been seeing over the years, in such countries as Algeria, and most recently Sudan.