By Amb. Henry Mayega
In order to end the impact of the horrendous tide of violence and dissension of the pre-1986 period and spur national reconciliation, Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s best president, has over the years reached out to many of his opponents both armed and the purely political elite.
Before 1986, lack of rule of law, veritable usurpation of judicial authority by the executive arm, coups as well as take overs had conspired to, almost, turn us into a failed state and the level of citizens’ estrangement had reached fever point.
To spur reconciliation and national unity, yet many did not have similar qualms as Yoweri Museveni about that propitiation, he has over the years taken the following tread-boards:
First, right from the origination of his administration in 1986, he formed the broad-based government to calm the nerves of nationals who had suffered the brunt of insecurity for far too long ; that brought together politicians of all stripes drawn from UPC, DP, CP, monarchists, communists et al to work with his administration.
That cohabitation, one of Yoweri Museveni’s finest knacks, remarkably unheated the tempers of oligarchs from independence parties who had been pulling our country apart and for the very first time UPC and DP found themselves on the same side of the political aisle!
Secondly, Yoweri Museveni’s efforts to reconcile country men and women can be traced to the time when several fighting groups sprang up in parts of the country after 1986; including the UPDA, UPA, LRA, UNRF, Kirimutu’s rag-tag and Itongwa’s rebels etc.
Remnants of those demented and unhinged fighting groups were integrated, for re-schooling, into, initially, the NRA which later morphed into the UPDF; the alternatives would have been dire. This president, meticulously, took tread-boards to negotiate with those groups yielding the desired effect; for the first time guns went silent in the country.
Kiiza Besigye and Bobi Wine (a man who can’t explain basic economic concepts like inflation) whose job it has been to de-calibrate the president’s reconciliation initiatives should not be begrudged though because such propitiation by the president triggers tremors amongst their rank and file. Never did our country have such a fresh start at reconciliation since independence in 1962.
Thirdly, some less studious upstarts have failingly tried to down play the role of the LC structures in reconciling nationals of divergent political views; those structures, first applied in the bush war of 1981 – 1986, were particularly instrumental in pacifying the country by mobilizing nationals to co-exist.
The youth, women, workers and the disabled were brought to the fore of politics and got integrated with the other segments of the political elite drawn from all shades of political opinions and together they worked to preserve peace and reconciliation.
Fourthly, the New Vision of July 20, 2020 reported thus, “President visits Paul Muwanga’s family,” and earlier, the same paper had reported a meeting between him and “rebel MPs.” By meeting those MPs, he exhibited determination to preserve the culture of tolerance in the public sphere and validated the Biblical verses about lost sheep in Luke 15: 3-7.
Besides meeting former Vice President Paul Muwanga’s pedigree, he has reached out to genealogies of former heads of state; including the Mutesas, the Obotes, the Amins, the Okello Lutwas no matter whether they, politically, agreed with him or not. So, the slow-witted and hare-brained tumult, from some that this President does not value reconciliation as imputed by a one Daniel Kawuma who stays in the US, simply validates the dictum that a “far-away stick cannot kill a snake.”
The Bobi Wines should, without jaundiced eyes, look into the past when regimes would bludgeon their noisy and nauseating opponents to death and dump their bodies in Namanve thickets; which is, in these splendid times, an industrial park! I have heard Bobi Wine referring to President Museveni as a dictator, hopefully he comprehends the meaning of that locution!
Amb. Henry Mayega
Deputy Head of Mission
Uganda Embassy, Beijing, China