Why is DR Kiiza Besigye resisting Dictator Yoweri's Sectarian plan? Very few, apart from the insiders, can really tell why that fight has reached such a devastating magnitude.
The greatest rivals, presently, were once intimate comrades especially during their guerilla struggle in the 1980s against Milton Obote's administration. Besigye was Museveni's personal doctor, which precisely means for most part of the struggle, Museveni's life was in Besigye's hands.The 'medicine-man' worked in different capacities in Museveni's government until in the late 90s. Besigye also wed Winnie Byanyima, a former close ally of Museveni in the 90s.
What is bothering the whole world even the Bush administration is why the two are at each other's necks?
In 1992, about seventy two (72) prominent Bahima allegedly met at Rwakitura, Nyabushozi, Ankore. The notable component of discussion was to rule the country for a minimum of 50 years. The minutes of the meeting were later published in Entatsi, a Kinyakore newspaper in 2000. Early this year a replicate document of what was published was smuggled to Parliament for tabling. Unfortunately or fortunately, government blocked it. President Museveni's home is at Rwakitura. A very high ranking leader in the country chaired that meeting.
The indigenous people in Ankore are Banyakore, who comprise of Bahima and Bairu. Bahima, who are the royal group in Nkore are historically pastoralists and the Bairu, the subjects are cultivators although the transformation of the economy has intertwined their livelihood.
As the saying goes 'When you follow the path of your father you learn to walk like him'. The 1992 meeting reflected, quite a lot, the traditional conflicts between the two groups. The attendants discussed widely on the strategies they would use to retain state power and in the same vein economically handicap the other groups.
'To agree is to make progress' They (Bahima) agreed to have their children head all security organizations above all intelligence departments. It is over 10 years since that meeting was convened and the cream of all security organizations, now, is comprised of Bahima. To join the Presidential Guard Brigade, the security organ responsible for Museveni, priority is given to Bahima from well known families. The issue of excellence is secondary.
They emphasized equipping their children with the best education skills. In other words they agreed to send their children to the best schools and institutions (at whatever cost). A project, headed by a former member of parliament for Nyabushozi County, was thereafter designed to send Bahima students abroad.
Before Museveni's government, a good number of Bahima detested formal education despite owning several herds of cattle. It is after that meeting that they started selling off part of their herds to educate their children as a Hima policy.
In addition, the controversial state house-sponsored bursary scheme was initiated. The scheme has been criticized to no avail. The critics claimstate house only identifies Bahima for sponsorship at the university. Two secondary schools; Kanyaryeru and Ngabo both in Mbarara district were exclusively established for Bahima students. The state aids those students.
According to the same meeting, Bahima would gradually take over all sectors of the economy. The participants projected that Bahima in the shortest period would infiltrate all levels of the economy. Several other issues were pointed out.
However, during the meeting, someone close to the first family suggested that only the Basiita clan among the Bahima should rule. Museveni's family is allegedly from that clan.
In essence, only Museveni's family had the mandate to govern. That issue led to major disagreements. Actually, some sections claim it is the reason some of the attendants later defected to the opposition hence the birth of Reform Agenda, Besigye's pressure group-and subsequently the Forum for Democratic Change, whose current presidential candidate is Besigye, again.
Before he fell out with Museveni in the late 90s Besigye had criticized the latter's government of nepotism and sectarianism among others. It is possible that Besigye identified the conspiracy at its earliest stage, and that could be the very reason he stands to be liquidated. Museveni could have known Besigye would spill the beans during the presidential campaigns.
Even in his 2006 manifesto, Besigye says: "FDC will re-establish the culture of public service best practices, and ensure that all appointments to public offices are based on merit rather than on sectarian interests and political considerations." So it could be true Besigye knows numerous state secrets so holding him in jail is the paramount alternative to seal his mouth.
At close analysis, the fight between Museveni and Besigye is a smokescreen of the ethnic conflict between the Bahima and Bairu that is yet to explode. Besigye, notable analysts insist, is just a scapegoat. The fact is that this ethnic conflict has not started with Museveni and Besigye. It is as old as mankind.
According to research by Nelson Kasfir in 'Uganda Now' early class stratification in Ankore gave social and political dominance to a tiny minority consisting of cattle herders who were ethnically identified as Bahima and who ruled cultivators, the Bairu.
However, the introduction of the demands of a cash economy undermined these arrangements. By the Second World War, Bairu owned as many cattle as Bahima and by the 1970s owned two-thirds of the cattle in Bushenyi (a district in Ankore).
At independence Bairu leaders had effectively taken political power from the royal Bahima family and its followers though the new notables were themselves fragmented by religious and other factional divisions. The turbulence of post-independence Ugandan politics has resulted in the eclipse of one group of political notables after another.
Before 1975 a relatively small portion of the land in each district could be bought and sold as freehold, which included native and adjudicated freehold. The former consisted of about 270 square miles of land that was given to the Omugabe (king of Ankore) and his chiefs as part of the Ankole Agreement of 1901, and later extended to reward various chiefs during the 1920s.
Though the amount of land alienated in these schemes was relatively small, it reinforced important political and social conflicts between fractions of the rapidly forming dominant class. Each faction was doing what its members could to gain control of Ankole kingdom.
In particular, conflicts over the schemes deepened the sense of identification and cleavage between Bahima chiefs who had been the recipients of the Mailo estates and their main opponents, the protestant Bairu political notables.
Furthermore, the firm party control that the UPC imposed over the chiefs after 1980 ensured that patronage for notables would play an important role in determining who acquired control over the land. These chiefs were drawn from the small fraction of the Protestant Bairu who threw their lot in with Obote (deceased president) on his return to power.
The competitive use of ethnic characters to gain advantage in control over land led to dominance by Bahima notables in the protectorate period, which then gave way to control by one and then another predominantly Bairu-defined fraction after independence.
To lend credibility to this argument, Museveni recently warned the judiciary against 'biased' rulings over land cases. Of course one would wonder why Museveni should particularly be interested in land issues even though a whole Ministry of Lands in addition to district Land Boards and Land Commissions exist.
'Suffering teaches the wisdom of the ancestors' is another saying Museveni must have taken heed of. In his "The Mustard Seed" he clarifies, in circumlocutory, that he waged a guerrilla war not because the elections of 1980 in which he contested as a presidential candidate were rigged but rather to liberate his 'people'. Bahima, as pastoralists, no longer had sufficient land for grazing. This was as a result of the interference of the Obote politics. During Obote's administration, Protestant Bairu were awarded large junks of land at the cost of Bahima because the former in return overwhelmingly supported the UPC government.
As I have earlier stated that Bairu were cultivators, in December 1957, a cooperative union in Ankore was started to boost coffee production and marketing.
Banyankore Kweterana, made up of over 40 cooperative societies in Ankore, was formed with the help of colonialists. It was the economic bull that the Bairu used to milk.
Coffee farmers would harvest their produce and sell it to the cooperative. At times the farmers, even before the harvesting period, would seek financial assistance from the cooperative management in difficult situations like paying school fees for their children. The union would bail them out with promissory notes which were presented to school administrations. It is against this background that the Bairu, who were the cultivators of coffee, are the most educated in Ankole.
Banyankore Kweterana was-even to date-associated with Obote's UPC party. Undeniably, Obote had overwhelming support in Ankole.
In fact when he returned from exile in Tanzania (1980) to lead the country the second time, he came through western Uganda and first stopped at Bushenyi where he knelt down and said, "I will die here".
Bahima, as pastoralists, therefore benefited little from Banyankore Kwetarana. Majority of them, because of their Catholic attachment, supported the Democratic Party (DP).
When Museveni came to power in 1986 it was obvious he would fight Banyakore Kweterana, anonymous staff of the union have persistently noted. After all, they claim, the union had developed the other fraction of Banyankore at the expense of Bahima to which he belongs.
Either by design or default, Museveni's liberalization policy he introduced soon after he became president dismantled Banyankore Kweterana immediately. The Coffee Marketing Board, the apex purchasing body, started buying coffee direct from the farmers rendering the union useless.
During the guerilla war, Museveni's National Resistance Army fighters, according to Banyankore Kweterana chairman, Kesi Kabakyenga, looted coffee stocks and destroyed factories and other property worth three billions (Uganda shillings). Museveni's failure to compensate the union led to its collapse in the late 90s. Later on Museveni's brother Salim Saleh bought off some of its assets at a give-away price.
At a general perspective, Africans have adopted capitalistic consumption skills other than productive ones. Therefore, the fight for state power is juxtaposed with theft of resources that can sustain them in leadership. In that respect, which ever tribe or clan rules Uganda may be no exception to that sin.
Museveni once said, "the problem with Africa is that not only has its society not metamorphosed, it has actually regressed."
He went on to say that in Uganda, both the feudal and artisan classes after being wiped out by colonialism effectively regressed into an almost exclusively peasant society.
One reputable Ugandan historian, Dr. Joshua Muvumba, has pointed out why classes in society have been created to amass wealth.
"Nevertheless in a rapidly changing world, Africa's classlessness is not static; on the contrary, the overriding desire of Africans today especially among the elites, is to change as quickly as possible from being classless to a class society through accumulating, amassing and stockpiling wealth as instantaneous as possible; by any means," says Muvumba.
Like the other saying goes 'Do not insult a crocodile before crossing the river. Probably Besigye has insulted the crocodile but a Mauritanian chips in with a different saying 'Dust on your feet is better than dust on your bottom'. So let the medicine man pursue the struggle, the end will justify the means. Otherwise the 50 year-rule by one group of people is unjust.
Furuma’s brother narrates ordeal while in Uganda
He stayed in the same safe houses with dissident Major Alphonse Furuma in Kampala, Uganda; and heard proposals of coups against Kigali by top Ugandan military officers...
Egide Mupenzi, 30, a young brother to Maj. Furuma, returned to Rwanda early December from Uganda, where he says, he was held hostage in several discreet military houses better known as safe houses, for over two years. During his stay in the safe houses, he was not mistreated but was denied freedom and eventually succumbed to pressure, a sickness he had never had before, says the professional lawyer, who was a member of Rwanda Police Force at the time.
Mupenzi, who left Kigali for Kampala in January, 2001, through Gatuna Border Post to visit Furuma over what he calls ‘family matters’, told The New Times on Wednesday, that on arrival, he was instead led to a safe house by Ugandan military intelligence agents against his wish.
“I left in January, 2003, to meet my brother (Furuma), who had asked me to find him in Kampala. We had just lost a brother (Captain Theoneste Rutangwa alias Tallman) and thus we needed to sort out some issues.
“While still in Kigali, I had called asking him to come but he told me that he had no plans of returning and instead convinced me to find him in Kampala. I went and when I called him on arrival someone told me to find him at a restaurant called Fang Fang. But when i reached, I didn’t find him there as I had expected, instead someone who seemed to be a military agent received me and drove me to a safe house in Ntinda (a posh suburb in Kampala),” Mupenzi said.
He says the man who received him at the restaurant left him at the safe house with another soldier who apparently, was the housekeeper. “I started suspecting something then. I had not seen my brother yet, and it appeared that these people were expecting me.” Mupenzi said, adding that the next day he told the housekeeper that he wanted to see Furuma or be left to go on his own.
“He responded that Furuma was around, but when I pressurized him, he made a call and the other man who had received me at the restaurant, came and drove me to another nearby safe house, also in Ntinda, where I found him (Furuma),” Mupenzi adds.
But, he says, he met a brother who had completely changed heart on his motherland. “He had a new line of thinking; I did not share his politics.” He says the house was heavily guarded by soldiers from both Ugandan military police and the Presidential Guard Brigade (PGB). The environment was more militaristic, he recalls.
“I asked him about the soldiers, and he told me that he disagreed with the establishment in Kigali and informed me that he wouldn’t return. He told me that he wanted me to join him, arguing that I would not be safe in Rwanda.
“I disagreed with him and asked him to let me go back but he said he had no powers to release me. Apparently, he also had no control over himself,” Mupenzi said. He said his brother told him no precise reason for his decision.
He said besides Furuma, he also met a Rwandan girl, one Fidelite Uwimana, then a student at the National University of Rwanda (UNR), who sources say, was Furuma’s girlfriend. He had already started a long journey in the hands of Ugandan elite military, which held him since January, 2001 until March, 2003, when Maj. Furuma was relocated to the US.
“That is when my nightmares started. I spent countless sleepless nights; nobody was concerned and Furuma was a brother with whom we were at loggerheads. He knew I was opposed to his line of thinking and I would frequently tell him that I want to return home, to no avail,” recollected Mupenzi.
However, some sources in Kigali dispelled Mupenzi’s assertions, saying he had deserted the Police to join his brother, who had expressed intentions to wage war against the Rwandan government. The sources added that Mupenzi’s decision to come back was known after by the collapse of his brother’s plot.
He said while there, several people visited Furuma. Most were senior Ugandan military officers including Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire (Minister for Lands and Environment), the then Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), Brig. Noble Mayombo, Maj. Muhozi Kainerugaba (son to President Yoweri Museveni), one Maj. Nuwe, among others.
He recalls that they made frequent visits and discussed with Maj. Furuma. Asked about the kind of talk between his brother and the Ugandan officials, Mupenzi said, he did not participate in the discussions but agreed he had overheard Mayombo asking his brother about a possibility of a coup in Kigali and establishing Ugandan spy machinery in Kigali.
“He asked him whether a coup against the current administration in Kigali was possible, and Furuma responded that it was impossible because there was no internal dissent of a nature that could lead to a coup,” he recounted. He said all the Ugandan visiting officials discussed politics, but most of the time, wanted to listen to Furuma.
He said Furuma instead suggested a political battle against the Kigali leadership elections, ‘but he did not have a practical roadmap to that’. “He used to say the government could only be challenged through elections. However, he had no concrete plans for that as well,” said Mupenzi, who is a lawyer by profession.
While at Ntinda, he says, a friend called Steven Mbabazi, who was also a policeman in Rwanda at the time, joined him without knowledge of the situation.
The quartet stayed in Ntinda until April the same year before they were shifted to another safe house in Bweyogerere, another Kampala suburb. After persistent pleas for freedom, Mbabazi one day jumped the fence. The soldiers ran after him, arrested and imprisoned him. But he was later released and he too, returned to Rwanda a couple of weeks ago. “Security there was tighter,” he added.
Besides the Ugandans, Mupenzi said Furuma was also visited by a group of Western diplomats, who he said were brought by Mayombo.
“I heard the diplomats, who I believe were British and other western diplomats, proposing to relocate him to a third country, and him trying to convince them that he was safe in Uganda. He sort of tried to make a case against Rwanda to them,” he said.
Some Rwandan dissidents, who were in other safe houses, joined them. He mentioned Maj. Frank Tega, Maj. Frank Bizimungu, one Sasita and a pilot, a Second Lieutenant whose names he could not recall. He said the Ugandan military took away Bizimungu several months later.
Later in October, 2001, they were again transferred from Bweyogerere to Makindye, where they stayed until March, 2003. While there, he said he developed several sicknesses including pressure. The Ugandan military, however, provided some medications to him. He says two doctors, a Cuban and a Ugandan lieutenant colonel, treated him.
Furuma’s relocation to a third country was a result of a series of the UK-brokered talks between Kigali and Kampala. Similar relocations were held for Ugandan dissidents who had fled to Rwanda at the time.
Asked about what he felt when his brother, Maj. Furuma bid him farewell, Mupenzi said, “There was nothing like emotion. We were no longer one. All I needed was to get out of the nightmare I had experienced for years.” He said he and Uwimana, who had then been abandoned by Furuma, took to different directions after they were released.
After his release, he said he sought assistance from a relative in Kampala, who helped him rent a house in Ntinda and started arranging for him to return home through the Rwandan Embassy in Kampala.
“It was a challenge to associate myself with Rwandans even in Kampala. They looked at me as a dissident, as someone who had joined Furuma’s line of politics,” he said. “However, I kept explaining my ordeal to them.”
He says even after his eventual return to Kigali early December, 2005, he was greeted with suspicion by his friends. “It is still a daunting task to integrate in the community. But I am glad that I have reunited with my family. I am now at peace and secure,” says the man, who is the last born in a family where Maj. Furuma is the first born.
Mupenzi said many Rwandans are still holed up in Uganda’s safe houses, the largest being in Bweyogerere in Kampala which houses about 200 Rwandans including dissidents Colonel (rtd) John Gashugi, Maj. Tega, Sasita and one Captain Banga.
Source; Rwa times