This week, Uganda marks 50 years since gaining ‘flag independence’ from Britain. The leading opposition figure Dr Kizza Besigye of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has taken part in yet another public confrontation with the Museveni regime. The campaign is entitled “Walk to Freedom”, a slight amendment on the previous “Walk to Work”:
Personally, I’m sceptical of Besigye’s motives. I mean, he knows that the Police have placed a ban on public demonstrations this week. And he knows full well how they will respond when provoked. These scenes are a virtual re-run of several previous stand-offs, especially in post-election period last year. Thankfully, at least this time round, Kizza Besigye did not get such a ferocious battering.
I wonder what these kinds of tactics are aimed to do besides getting some publicity. I admit that perhaps I’m not in a position to comment being thousands of miles away from Kampala. But it seems to me that these confrontations always blow over with no substantive achievements.
The regime of Yoweri Museveni would have no choice but to introduce radical reforms and/or step down if it was faced with an genuinely mass popular movement. Despite being the main opposition party, the FDC doesn’t appear to have the ability to organise the masses Uganda. This may be due to a general political apathy among Ugandan people. Or it may be due to the fact that the FDC do not appear to offer much of an alternative to Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM).
Anyway, I hope I’m proved wrong, but I anticipate that this will just be another flash in the pan and things will return to normal until the next organised publicity stunt.