About me.

Andrew M. Mwenda is the founding Managing Editor of The Independent, Uganda’s premier current affairs newsmagazine. One of Foreign Policy magazine 's top 100 Global Thinkers, TED Speaker and Foreign aid Critic

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Bobi Wine’s dangerous duplicity

What the evacuation of his family from Uganda before elections reveals about Uganda’s musician turned politician Kyagulanyi

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M MWENDA | In 2018, I appeared on Frontline program of NBS television with Bobi Wine. In the heat of the debate he said that if there were chaos in Uganda, I would be the first person to board a plane and run to exile. He said for him he has nowhere to go because his only home is Uganda. Right? This week Bobi Wine evacuated his entire family to the safety of America. Please note that he did not send them to Kenya or Rwanda or Tanzania, who are our immediate neighbours. He sent them to far away America. Why?

Bobi Wine is not a Ugandan or African project. He is a foreign project to impose a particular set of values on the people of Uganda. Why has Bobi Wine shipped his family to America before the election? Does he know something most of his unsuspecting supporters and others Ugandans do not? No presidential candidate in Uganda’s history has ever done this: not Yoweri Museveni in 1980, not Paul Semogerere in 1980 and 1996, not Kizza Besigye in 2001, 2006, 2011 or 2016, no one. Why Bobi Wine and why now?

There are two reasons: first I have intelligence, most of it collected independently, that Bobi Wine and those close to him are plotting mass violence if they lose the election. They have convinced themselves that they have already won. That January 14th 2021 will just be a confirmation of this, their victory. They are therefore not ready or willing to accept any outcome other than victory. So they will either have to be declared winners or President Yoweri Museveni will have stolen their votes. And they have decided they will resist such theft by a mass insurrection. It is because Bobi Wine knows he has set in motion a series of activities of chaos and wants to save his family and his family alone.

Whatever criticism of Kizza Besigye and his FDC, there was some moral restraint in that party

There is a second strategic risk to Uganda from NUP in regard to post election violence. Whatever criticism of Kizza Besigye and his FDC, there was some moral restraint in that party. Around Besigye there were at different times powerful mature people who could exercise restraint on him and his more militant youth supporters. Such men as Mugisha Muntu, Sam Njuba, Richard Kaijuka, Wafula Oguttu, Augustine Ruzindana, John Kazoora, Morris Ogenga Latigo, Ronald Reagan Okumu, Kasiano Wadri, Abdul Katuntu, etc. always acted as pillars of restrain.

This is not the case with NUP. The entire organisation is led and dominated by young, aggressive, immature, inexperienced angry youths most of them with little or nothing to lose. There are no such powerful figures as I have mentioned above to provide breaks on the actions of the group. Thus when planning to incite violent riots, NUP lacks mature minds to advise and restrain its militants to exercise caution or restraint. This is a toxic mixture of youthful exuberance and inexperience that presents Uganda with a serious security risk.

One point is clear though: for all his claims to care about the people of Uganda, he has only taken care of his family. But what does Bobi Wine think about other Ugandans whose children cannot be evacuated as he has done his? Does he think only his family deserves safety? Don’t other Ugandans, especially those who are supporting him, with families deserve protection? If he thinks elections are such a danger, why involve so many Ugandans in them?

Even before being elected, Bobi Wine has mapped himself as being special from other Ugandans. There are other presidential candidates who have not chosen the escape route. There are myriads of his supporters who have no such luxury of taking their families abroad. Is it not his responsibility as their leader to ensure that they and their families will be safe? Only by keeping his family in Uganda would Bobi Wine have demonstrated his confidence in the future of this country, a future which he claims to be fighting for and is asking everyone to sacrifice for. And only by keeping his family in Uganda would he show that he is in this fight with all Ugandans.

NUP activists seek the total destruction of their opponents, real and imagined

What we now can see is that Bobi Wine does not care about Uganda or Ugandans. Bobi Wine cares only about Bobi Wine and his family. If he had a grand vision of Uganda and the people of Uganda, he would no organize to burn down the country if he loses an election. And he and his confederates are organizing to burn down Kampala in the aftermath of electoral defeat. Indeed, many of the young people who surround him are not democrats seeking freedom for Ugandans as they claim. They are power hungry politicians looking for an opportunity to put their fingers into the national till to loot it – just like the NRM they criticise. That is why they are intolerant of any criticism of their boss.

In a democracy, the opponents seek to defeat not to destroy each other. NUP activists seek the total destruction of their opponents, real and imagined. Indeed, they see their opponents as enemies. Never before has our country ever experienced this kind of radical extremism. In any case, NUP activists do not mind forging, lying, bullying, and doing every dirty thing to get their way. And they are quick to employ psychological and physical violence against their opponents.

The good news is that Bobi Wine has exposed his true colours (selfishness and cowardice) to the people of Uganda by evacuating his family. But it has also exposed his plans to wreck havoc and instigate chaos. Bobi Wine claimed if there is trouble in Uganda I will be the first to run to exile. Well I am in Uganda and I will stay put in Uganda. I will not evacuate my family, including my little grand kids from this country. I will stay put because I don’t have anywhere else to go. This is the only country I have.

But also, I choose to stay in Uganda because I trust the capacity of the state of Uganda and contain the chaos and violence that Bobi Wine and his surrogates are planning. On January 14th, and contrary to Bobi Wine’s plans, not a single stone will be thrown in Kampala. Whoever dares knows or should know the evil that will be visited upon them. Uganda has built sufficient political and security infrastructure to neutralise the plots of NUP activists.



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