Augustine Ruzindana

We need a forum to debate and agree on national issues

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By Augustine Ruzindana

Posted  Thursday, April 3   2014 at  19:24

In Summary

The reason we advocate for a national conference is to have a forum where a national agreement could be made with arrangements, mechanisms and measures to ensure that no victimisation or extra-legal revenge will take place. This would give assurances to regime pillars that regime change is not the end of the world

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According to Joseph Nye, “Success depends not only on whose army wins, but also on whose story wins.” I am returning to this theme because as we witness the tribulations of the life-presidency project and its promoters, those of us who stuck out our necks against it are gradually getting vindicated.

Last time, I covered patronage, corruption and repression as some of its consequences but at the time repression was of the opposition outside the regime.

Patronage continues as the means to secure loyalty or at least acquiescence in the schemes of regime survival but repression has spread to erstwhile regime pillars and supporters.

I am sure many of the apostles for the possession of a vision by one man, who have since fallen foul of the sole visionary, now appreciate the veracity of the line in John Bunyan’s “The Shepherd Boy’s Song…” that “He that is down needs fear no fall, He that is low no pride” and that “He that is humble ever shall have God to be his guide”.

Some of these apostles are yet to find their footing as they continue to cling onto the NRM with discordant voices, while others have found their way to an unwelcoming opposition as it is difficult to believe that they are genuine because of their immediate past and their message that is already stale.

The opposition needs to assess the situation correctly in order to be able to take advantage of the gradual disintegration of the regime. All monolithic regimes are bound to develop opposition from within.

That is inevitable. It has started within the political class but it will increase within the security agencies and the military, the business community and even those currently inspired by alleged “divine” visions to support the regime.

Already, in the west of the country support is seriously eroded because of the realisation that the longer the regime continues in power the more it becomes an existential threat to the ethnic groups in the region and thus internal dissent is more likely to come from the West.

Therefore, the opposition needs to seize the opportunities offered by the fissures opening everywhere within the regime. For example, rather than gleefully watch the repression of those who are promoting an alternative NRM candidate, the opposition must defend their freedom of expression and to organise.

Rather than cast doubts on the genuineness of Generals David Sejusa, Biraro and others to the extent of even calling them Museveni agents, they should be welcome as any addition to the opposition is tantamount to a weakening of the regime, especially by symbolic figures like generals, former vice presidents or prime ministers and bishops

The opposition should avoid falling into the trap of condemning whole institutions, like the Judiciary, the army and the police instead of condemning specific actions and specific officers for excesses or errors of commission or omission.

There are some good people trapped by circumstances in all these institutions who are opposed to regime excesses. They must be made to feel that regime change is not a threat to them otherwise they will fight ferociously to defend the regime.

The reason we advocate for a national conference is to have a forum where a national agreement could be made with arrangements, mechanisms and measures to ensure that no victimisation or extra legal revenge will take place. This would give assurances to regime pillars that regime change is not the end of the world. Change will certainly come, but change must be good for all in order to meet least resistance.

Mr Ruzindana is a former IGG and former MP