Intolerance transforms Sejusa dissent into rebellion and treason
Posted Friday, October 4 2013 at 01:00
Gen David Sejusa is welcome to the opposition as the symbolic effect of a general deserting the system is evidence of a regime in decay and decline. The opposition gets enriched by any member leaving the ruling party and since most politically active people have been or are in NRM, it is the sure way to strengthen the opposition.
Indeed, some of us in the opposition had also been in the Movement for a long time and at fairly senior levels so we are in a position to advise those who join opposition ranks at a later stage that the roles individuals played and their history and conduct will inevitably be examined. The best way, therefore, is to confront this inevitable stage rather than wish it away or give lame excuses of obeying orders or even just leave it to speculation.
So, the direction of armed struggle, which Sejusa seems to espouse, may be cause for skepticism and caution before taking him seriously because this is the mold in which for so long he had cast opposition activities to justify the repression and suppression of the opposition. All the alleged armed groups whose members were and are arrested, tortured and falsely charged, forcing some victims even to eventually apply for amnesty, are testimony to the repression he has been part of.
Therefore, his starting point would have been truth telling about what he knows and by informing the world how opposition members have been framed for alleged engagement in armed rebellion. But the war drums and threats of overthrowing President Museveni could also be considered just appropriate noise necessary to get refugee status in the UK or elsewhere; unless, of course, he and Col John Ogole have acquired some intercontinental missiles to enable them wage war from so far away.
On reflection, if Col Ogole lost the war to a weak guerilla army and Sejusa did not leave UPDF with a division or at least a battalion behind him to enable him start with some liberated territory, how is a combination of the two going to succeed by verbal missiles from across continents and oceans?
The Sejusa rhetoric could create a situation in which so many may be victimised by the repressive system he is so terrified of because he knows very well what befalls those who are unlucky to fall in its not so gentle hands. The media hype of now Sejusa has met so and so; now he is beating war drums to overthrow Museveni, etc., may be designed to provide the regime with the excuse it needs to intensify repressive measures.
After all, war threats by a general must be taken seriously, never mind that he has not had even a platoon under him for a long time. Or perhaps the strategy is to threaten armed struggle in order to be able to negotiate a peace settlement since the regime always negotiates with the armed opposition rather than the peaceful political parties following a constitutional frustratingly slow and rigged path.
Armed struggle is the sure way to be taken seriously in the region and get invited to the negotiating table. Look at M23 and all the other armed groups in DR Congo, which are negotiating with President Joseph Kabila while poor Etienne Tshisekedi who has been struggling politically since the days of Marshall Mobutu and who wields some substantial support but remains ignored.
Take the case of the Ugandan political parties which have been around for decades but instead negotiations were carried out with a reluctant LRA leader Joseph Kony and before him with numerous other armed groups whose members were absorbed into the UPDF.
Meanwhile, the retention by Sejusa of his parliamentary seat has brought out some interesting anomalies. The Speaker wrote to the CDF, General Katumba Wamala, who is an MP and therefore her subordinate, for advice on how to handle another MP who is a coordinator of intelligence, a role not falling under UPDF.
I understand that he may be declared AWOL, but from which military unit or from which military role? The Constitution created “representatives of the army” but where does it provide that they must be active serving officers”? In any case is Sejusa the only MP who has been away for 15 sittings, why the discriminatory treatment? This is just plain intolerance of dissent.
Mr Ruzindana is a former IGG and former MP. email@example.com