Political debate a good approach
Posted Tuesday, February 12 2013 at 02:00
It does not pay to jail or beat up an opponent just because you disagree with their views just like inciting the masses to make a country ungovernable over political differences is something we reject.
On Page 26 and 27 of this edition, you will find a 2,400-word article by former leader of the Forum for the Democratic Change, Dr Kizza Besigye, in which he responds to President Museveni’s article which we ran last Thursday.
President Museveni’s write-up was a response to an interview the Sunday Monitor had conducted with Dr Besigye as part of our coverage of the NRM Liberation Day.
Watchers of Uganda’s politics will realise that this is a totally new trend in engagement between these two principals, who have dominated our political discourse and space for the past decade.
From the moment Dr Besigye, in 1999, authored his critique of the NRM system, which kick-started his journey out of the party, his interaction with President Museveni has largely been defined by acrimony, violence, accusations and counter-accusations, and all manner of ills one can imagine in a political contest. At some point, these differences have threatened to tear this country apart.
It was, therefore, refreshing when President Museveni decided to respond in writing to issues Dr Besigye had raised in the Sunday Monitor interview.
Gathering from our readers’ feedback, there has been a general consensus that the President’s move is laudable.
We believe the contest for power must be a contest of ideas and executed in the most civilised manner. It does not pay to jail or beat up an opponent just because you disagree with their views that incite the masses to make a country ungovernable over political differences.
We laud President Museveni and Dr Besigye for adopting a more sober approach to articulating their disagreements—and as we see—backed with fact and figures. Of course as a newspaper, beyond offering the platform for this debate—it is our duty to interrogate these principals’ assertions and guide our readers. That we promise to do.
For now, we hope this engagement marks the start of a new political chapter in this country and hopefully, like it was in Kenya last night, we can have these actors one day sit on the same dais and explain their differences to Ugandans.