Bobi Wine to M7: Ugandans have no guns, May be feeling as oppressed as you felt in 1980

A police officer struggles to keep hold of a box containing voting materials(AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
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By Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert-Bobi Wine

President Museveni, I have read your article dated 10th July, 2017 on the recent by-elections. I thank you for congratulating me on my victory in the Kyadondo East polls. For emphasis, it is not me who won but rather the ideas which I presented to the electorate. It was especially a victory of a people determined to get involved in how they are governed.



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While I agree with some aspects of your article, I don’t agree with many of the conclusions you draw.
Our society has moved on and new issues are emerging. The generation of the 1960s and 1970s had to respond to challenges of that time and we are grateful to those of you who rose to the occasion and played a role. However, the challenges of our time require a new kind of ideology and approach.
We are talking about a generation where technology is evolving at a terrific speed. A generation which must struggle with the effects of climate change! Today’s generation has to deal with complex issues in science and technology. Young Africans must find out what economic models work best for their times and work hard to improve the living conditions of our people.



We are talking about a generation where technology is evolving at a terrific speed. A generation which must struggle with the effects of climate change! Today’s generation has to deal with complex issues in science and technology. Young Africans must find out what economic models work best for their times and work hard to improve the living conditions of our people.
As someone who has interacted with so many of these young Ugandans, I know that they have great ideas on how to get there or at least have some idea which simply needs an enabling environment for it to blossom. I do not think that Ugandan youth or Africans generally have a gene for slowness or stupidity.



As someone who has interacted with so many of these young Ugandans, I know that they have great ideas on how to get there or at least have some idea which simply needs an enabling environment for it to blossom. I do not think that Ugandan youth or Africans generally have a gene for slowness or stupidity.
As someone who has led an African country for over three decades, you might be better placed to explain why youth on other continents are inventing and innovating useful products every day, for which we pay a lot of money.
Part of the problem has been that the NRM views money as the solution to everything in itself. Only God knows how many funds you have put in place for innovation, prosperity, etc. only for them to fail flat. In any case most of that money is lost through corruption. We must rethink our education system. Those UPE and USE schools might not help the situation in their current state.



Now, almost all these young people were born when you were President and they unfortunately have to put up with a system which tries to respond to challenges of the 21st century using the approaches of the 20th century! Their ideas are viewed as disruptive and discomforting. They are not understood by the leaders most of whom are out of touch with the world reality.
This is why we have been saying that the government is not in touch with the people who they claim to work for. For example, every day I interact with those ‘slum dweller’ youth you talk about. Despite lack of advanced education for most of them, these are people with great ideas. They have ideas for innovation and transformation. They have a proper ideology!



But they have been left out completely.
No one listens to them. In supporting me massively, those people were just yearning for a voice so that they could also be heard. They could no longer afford to see government only through its officials who drive through the ghetto in their expensive, guarded vehicles with tinted glasses, moreover paid for by tax payers.
They need a leadership which works for them.
Mr. President, those who govern us today should first of all appreciate the fact that the TIMES HAVE CHANGED and involve young people in making decisions for their country.



This ‘lack of proper ideology argument’ has been used far too long to keep them outside.
This is a contradiction given that in the initial years of your government, most people in leadership were just over 30 years of age. Key government positions were occupied by young men and women who in their prime were able to do a lot of good things for the country.
Most Ugandans would find it unbelievable that at only 36 Suleiman Kuggundu (RIP) was Governor Bank of Uganda, Gen. Mugisha Muntu was Army Commander at 31, Dr. Kiiza Besigye was deputy minister for internal affairs and national political commissar at 30, Dr. Crispus Kiyonga was minister for finance at 34, etc.



I am mindful of the contribution of those who were slightly older and society needs both the old and the young.
Elders are capable of providing wise counsel. However, younger people with vigour and fresh ideas should be given opportunity to take the lead. Therefore rest assured that many young Ugandans are able and in fact ready to steer their country forward.
It would be better if they are given the opportunity, PEACEFULLY, and without requiring the country to go through turmoil whenever one generation has to pave way for another.
It is for this reason that I join most Ugandans to request that you stick to your promise and not tamper with the Constitution to remove the age-limit provision for presidency. The country will be grateful for your service when you retire peacefully and let a new breed of leaders with generation-relevant skills and ideas take charge of the affairs of our mother land.



I might understand that your frustration with the generation is born out of the nature of leaders you mostly interact with. Our society is unfortunately dominated by two kinds of leaders.
The first category is the hardliners whose stance is that everything about Uganda is wrong. I do not subscribe to that notion because in seeking a way forward for a better country, we must be willing to talk to each other, being aware that all of us have our failings.

The other category are those leaders who come to you only for monetary favours, whether they belong to the ruling NRM or the opposition. As a result, many politicians are viewed as buyable and unprincipled.
Uganda today does not need these two kinds of leaders. It simply needs principled leaders who engage with respect for each other and only for the good of the country and not for their own benefit. There are very many such Ugandans. We should only give them opportunity.



On the question of our supporters heckling you at Zirobwe Road junction
Mr. President, you must also note that some of this conduct comes out of deep seated frustration and anger by the people about how they are governed. A powerless, suppressed people may heckle a Head of State simply because that’s the only opportunity they ever got to have their leader listen to them since the government is very far from them.
Many years ago you justified your going to the bush thus, “If you have a government has closed off all other channels of peaceful change, what else could we do, except to surrender, to resign ourselves to slavery? And we couldn’t do that as long as people were willing to fight.”
I think that is the message you should read in those people who heckled you. Today they have no guns but many feel as oppressed as you felt in 1981. A tired people using whatever tool with in their power to express their discontent.



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Hopefully we can rethink these things and all of us strive to build a better country. As it has been put before, it’s time to focus not on the NEXT GENERAL-ELECTION but rather on the NEXT GENERATION.
The writer is MP Kyadondo East

Editor’s note: A slightly edited article by Bobi wine titled: response to president Museveni’s article on the recent by-elections.

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