Besigye, Presumed Winner Of Uganda Vote, On American Tour As Museveni, U.S.-Backed Despot, Clings

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Dr. Besigye -- claims he won (Main Front Photo: Edward Echwalu)

[Black Star News Editorial]


Dr. Kizza Besigye who many Ugandans and International Election Observers believe won Uganda's February 2016 Presidential Election is on a U.S. visit beginning this week -- he is scheduled to speak to American audiences, Ugandans, and Diaspora Africans. His first appearance is at the New York City Bar Association on Thursday, September 1, from 6PM to 7.30PM. The Bar Association's location is 42 West 44 Street in Manhattan -- Dr. Besigye's lecture is billed as "Fighting for Justice, the Rule of Law and Democracy in Africa: Lessons from Uganda." The event is open to the public.

In Uganda, Dr. Besigye is on trial for treason and was permitted to travel by a judge; tens of thousands greeted him when he was granted bail even as police indiscriminately whipped his supporters.

Dr. Besigye was in London last week where he spoke before a large audience of U.K. citizens and Diaspora Ugandans. "Change is going to come," he told the gathering.

Dr. Besigye drew huge crowds in the months leading to the Feb. Elections in Uganda while Gen. Museveni had to bus in "supporters" who were promised money and food. No one believes Uganda's Gen. Yoweri Museveni won; not even the dictator himself. Dr. Besigye is believed to have won the last three Presidential elections in Uganda; Gen. Museveni has simply compelled his hand-picked Electoral "Commission" to announce a doctored result and declare him as the winner. Gen. Museveni controls all elements of Uganda's U.S.-trained-, equipped-, and financed-, armed forces. 

Dr. Besigye, who has in the past endured numerous arrests and vicious beatings by Gen. Museveni's security forces under the command of Gen. Kale Kayihura, has launched a defiance campaign that has taken root in Uganda that includes weekly prayer meetings and acts of civil disobedience. During the election campaign

Dr. Besigye highlighted the collapse in Uganda's infrastructure, roads, education system, and social and healthcare services.
He visited hospitals where women took turns delivering babies on the same blood-soaked beds; hospitals without medicines; and, hospitals without electricity and the ability to sterilize medical equipment. The Ugandan media also reported on Moroto Hospital where bodies of dead patients remained on beds for days, forcing other patients to sleep outside having been driven away by the stench of decomposing corpses.

The Museveni regime stationed troops outside most hospitals to prevent Besigye, a trained medical doctor, from more visits.

Dr. Besigye has successfully galvanized Ugandans who now support his defiance campaign. While he has said in the past that Ugandans have a right to end dictatorship by every constitutional means, the non-violence campaign he's spearheading has so far eroded Gen. Museveni's legitimacy. The dictator has been in power for 30 years and has been backed with billions of dollars in military and financial support by successive U.S. Administrations since Ronald Reagan.

Dr. Besigye was candidate of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) in the Feb. 18, 2016 elections, which the U.S., the Commonwealth Observer team, the European Union (EU), and Ugandan election observers all said was not free, fair, or credible.

During the election Gen. Yoweri Museveni's regime presided over: state-sanctioned attacks against opposition party officials, candidates and supporters by militias called "Crime Preventers" commanded by the country's Police Chief Gen. Kayihura; the regime blocked access to Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp; the regime arrested Presidential candidate Dr. Besigye on the day of the election and then subsequently placed him under house arrest for several months with over 200 troops surrounding his home; and, the regime's Electoral "Commission" whose members were all hand-picked by Gen. Museveni declared the dictator as "winner" on the same date that the international and domestic election observers denounced the election process.

Dr. Besigye's FDC party claimed tallying from its own agents showed that he was leading at the time the militarist-regime blocked access to social media and prevented the ability for poll watchers to independently and quickly report results from precincts throughout the country.

Dr. Besigye was sworn in by a judge as President of Uganda on May 11, 2016. He was promptly arrested and charged with treason which is punishable by death in Uganda. Gen. Museveni himself, who was been Uganda's ruler since he seized power by force of arms in 1986 was also sworn in as President on May 12. During his swearing in ceremony the U.S. ambassador to Uganda Deborah Maloc and an assistant U.S. Secretary of State both walked out from the event when Gen. Museveni referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a "bunch of useless people." Delegations from EU countries and Canada also all walked off.

At the event was also Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who laughed heartily when Gen. Museveni ridiculed the ICC. Gen. Bashir himself has been indicted by the ICC in connection to war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by his armed forces in the Sudan's Darfur region. Separately, in 2006, the ICC also launched an investigation into alleged war crimes by Gen. Museveni's armed forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and a worried Museveni urged then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to block the probe as The Wall Street Journal reported.

Uganda's and Rwanda's multiple-invasions in combination with the carnage unleashed by militias sponsored by the two countries have caused the deaths of an estimated seven million Congolese over the past two decades. Yet the U.S. continues to sponsor Gen. Museveni's regime. (He's also the same dictator who once signed into law an anti-LGBT law whose earlier version was labeled "kill the gays" law).

Dr. Besigye during his visit will speak about U.S. policy towards Uganda and how he and his supporters plan to affect a peaceful transition of power away from Gen. Museveni's militarism and 30 years of dictatorship.

The U.S., which is dictator Museveni's primary sponsor must do the same thing it did about 21 years ago when another U.S.-client president in Africa had been overwhelmingly repudiated by his citizens. On that occasion the U.S. told then Zaire's Mobutu it was time to go.

For Museveni in Uganda, that moment has passed a long time ago. Prolonging his regime will only mean his departure will one day be messy and invite bloodshed.

 

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