Thought and Ideas
The NRM regime is a shame to Bush War heroes - Besigye
Posted Sunday, February 3 2013 at 00:00
Having retired as party president for Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), and now involved in anti-regime crusades, Dr Kizza Besigye remains a vocal critic and above all a fearless man who has put the government on the defensive. Sunday Monitor’s Richard Wanambwa caught with the former Bush War hero, who fell out with the regime he helped to establish.
Q. Recently, Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga and Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Aronda Nyakairima said failure by politicians to conduct themselves in an orderly manner would tantamount to an army takeover. Similar remarks are allegedly attributed to President Museveni during the NRM party retreat at Kyankwanzi. What is your take on this?
Well, I think, quite obviously they show frustration on the part of Mr Museveni. The NRM regime is a military regime, it is a military dictatorship, it is the military which captured power for Museveni. Museveni was never voted; it is the guns that brought him into State House and it is the guns that have kept him in State House.
So the essence of the current regime is a military regime. However, because of international pressure and convenience, he has tried to create a facade of a civilian regime by first of all retiring from the army or claiming to retire from the army in order to stand in elections and then also organise regular elections.
This is a facade to create a veil as if there is a civilian regime. Now this veil he created has not served him as he wished in the current Parliament. It has started itching him, it has grown horns, it has grown some spikes; the cloth the military is putting on has grown some spikes which are pricking him. And so his statements are really a reflection of frustration, saying “you cloth which I am putting on, if you continue making me uncomfortable, I will pull you off and live without cover.”
The Constitution doesn’t allow a military officer to become a president. That is very clear: if you are a military officer, you cannot become a president. But you see Mr Museveni putting on his General fatigues, which is in contempt of the Constitution, and aims at intimidating not only Parliament but the general public that you know, I came by force and you better know, I still have that force.
People really fear living under military rule and so it is in line with what he has been doing - putting on military uniform.
Aronda cannot take over from Museveni, Aronda is just a lieutenant of Museveni and there is no threat of a takeover because you have the military already in charge.
I think it is good in a way that people are reminded that the regime is not really a civilian regime and that if we really want power for the people, we must work for it because some people who are not really attentive on what is going on can get carried away and think that there is some sort of a democratic dispensation.
Doctor, having worked with the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), and you still have friends in there, do you think there are individuals who can resist manipulation to carry out a coup in case it is staged?
As I have said, nobody is going to manipulate the UPDF. To take over from who? It is the UPDF which is in power. What the UPDF elements who are in power would be afraid of are other elements within the army who don’t like them, but the elements in UPDF who don’t like them are like Parliament which is disturbing them.
They are also fighting them within the UPDF, marginalising them, and frustrating them, otherwise the Muhoozi [Kainerugaba] army cannot take over from Museveni and the main army, the main Force of the UPDF, is controlled by Muhoozi under the so called Special Forces. So that cannot takeover. Very many people who are there are frustrated, disappointed with what this group in power is doing, and those are the ones they have to be afraid of, but those would not take over to fight Parliament. They are on the same side as Parliament demanding accountability from this mafia group.
Are you saying that Brig. Muhoozi is more powerful than Gen. Aronda?
Well, I think that question really goes begging because you should not forget that Muhoozi was in primary school when we came to government in 1986. Later on when he was in Senior Six, he started recruiting people into the UPDF and training them in Entebbe as a civilian and when people challenged his father, Museveni said Muhoozi was acting as an LDU (Local Defence Unit). But LDUs had no right to recruit people into the army. Most of the people Muhoozi recruited are now colonels, a few are brigadiers and they are in charge of the most sensitive areas of the military.
Later on, Muhoozi himself was recruited illegally into the Force. Aronda knows Muhoozi was illegally recruited into the army; Muhoozi never went through the right procedures. So Aronda is an army commander knowing that Muhoozi is an entrant into the Force illegally but in spite of the illegal entry, he is commissioned.
Muhoozi has attended very many military courses, while the people who were officers while he was in primary school have not had the chance to attend those courses. Who has been selecting him to attend all those courses? Having just come at that time as a lieutenant deployed in PGB (Presidential Guard Brigade), was he deployed by the army commander? Why didn’t he go to other fighting units like other lieutenants? And has had those rapid promotions.
A Force has been created for him - Special Forces. It is the first creation for him, nobody has ever commanded the Special Forces except Muhoozi.