Besigye on Museveni threats to crush opposition protests: Don’t forget you broke the law to get power

Uganda's veteran opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye and President Yoweri Museveni. Courtesy Photos

Veteran opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye has reacted to President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s threats to crush opposition protests, reminding the 76-year-old former bush war commander he broke the law to ascend to power.

On November 29, Museveni used his address to the nation to comprehensively speak about protests that erupted over 10 days ago following the arrest of Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.

In the November 18 and 19 protests, 54 people were killed, 32 of them rioters, according to a report from Museveni received from police CID director Grace Akullo.

Museveni warned that his government would defeat any opposition plan to overthrow him from power.

He reiterated his claim that the protests were planned, with opposition forces only using Bobi Wine’s arrest as a ruse to execute their plot.

Making a mockery of democracy, Museveni reviewed video clips from the protests condemning protesters.

He cautioned against a repeat of the violence that happened just over 10 days ago, reminding Ugandans that the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government was strong on the security and defence fronts.

He further assured Ugandans nobody would destabilize the country, adding that those who thought security just meant Uganda Police Force (UPF) would be in for a shock.

But veteran opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye, who has contested against Musveni four times, quickly reacted to the president’s threats, accusing him of forgetting that he had used non-democratic means to ascend to power.

Besigye reminded Museveni that protests were less violent than guns that Museveni used to win power after the 1980 election which he had lost.

“Mr Museveni’s selective memory doesn’t allow him to remember that he came to power by breaking the law for five years; not rioting with stones but guns!” said Besigye.

Between 1981 and 1986, Museveni commanded a bush war that left hundreds of thousands dead. Besigye was part of the war, and served as Museveni’s personal physician.

He is not the only one to have fallen out with his former boss. In the 2021 presidential election, Museveni is facing his former bush war comrades: former army commander Maj Gen (Rtd) Gregg Mugisha Muntu of the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) and former security minister Lt Gen (Rtd) Henry Kakurugu Tumukunde.

Besigye is, for the first time in two decades, off the ballot. His party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), is fronting Patrick Oboi Amuriat as Besigye embarks on Plan B which reportedly involves rallying Ugandans to rise up and remove Museveni from power without waiting for an election, which the party believes won’t be free and fair.

The former FDC leader says it is possible to remove Museveni, who has ruled Uganda since 1986 and is now seeking to extend his rule to four decades, from power using non-violent means.

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