The little victories as agitation momentum builds up in Uganda
SEE ALSO :Firm to assemble phones in Uganda“We come from a history of intolerance in the political space. For Uganda, the lack of alternative voices in the political field has led the people to identify with revolutionaries in other spheres of life such as music,” political analyst and Makerere University lecturer Mwambutsya Ndebesa told the Sunday Standard. Ndebesa, however, acknowledges that although marginal, the Bobi Wine incident has shifted some ground in the debate for a new Uganda. A day before the charges were dropped, President Museveni had in a letter to his country gone on record to condemn the brutality that had taken place in the week leading to the charges being dropped. Norm for agitators “On the issue of releasing Bobi Wine and the others, the President of Uganda does not have such powers. Once somebody is arrested, charged and remanded, it is only two authorities who can release such people in any way: the courts or the DPP withdrawing charges if the evidence is not enough. Let us therefore, wait for the courts and see what they decide,” said the President in a statement. But why have people coalesced around the arrest, yet for Uganda, opposition MPs are constantly in the cross hairs of the ruling NRM, with beatings and occasional detentions being perceived as the norm for agitators of change? “Our politics have for a long time been coalesced around the idea of a militarised state. We do not have an ideology that the people can coalesce around. But now the people, in particular the youth, who form a majority of the population, have identified heroes away from your average politician,” Ndebesa says.
SEE ALSO :Babu Owino banned from visiting Uganda“He talks about their struggles, hopes and ambitions in his music. The people see themselves in Bobi Wine, his struggles are their struggles.” The 36-year-old politician is on the first year of his first term as MP, going up against an establishment that seems hell bent on maintaining the status quo. “Uganda’s Achilles Heel is the militarisation of the country’s politics,” Ndebesa says. “Until this is dealt with and the grip broken, we shall continue to exist in this space.” For political scientist and the University of Nairobi don, Phillip Nyinguro, a lot more has to give for the country to witness the regime change some quarters crave for. “Successful regime changes in Africa always come with the interaction of both domestic and international pressure,” Nyinguro says.
SEE ALSO :Farmers compete with monkeys for food“For Uganda, the domestic forces just play the role of agitation to give external forces an excuse to intervene.” And, the professor says, these external forces, a critical component for regime change, have been sending mixed signals about Museveni’s 32-year reign. “There is no immediacy in pushing him aside because he has shown himself to be a blue-eyed boy of the west in a region in which having an agreeable head of state is of crucial importance to western interests,” he says. But, the scales might tip. “The recent renewal of ties between Nairobi and Washington might just give the west a reason to intervene as long as they have another dependable head of state in President Uhuru Kenyatta. Until they have Kenya in their grip, Museveni will sit pretty,” says Nyinguro.