Trump Getting Advice From Gen. Museveni? Uganda Dictator Skipped His Country's Presidential Debate Too

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Trevor Noah was on to something when during one skit he dressed Donald Trump up like an African dictator in military dress uniform.

The Republican Presidential candidate has something in common with Uganda's dictator of 30 years Gen. Yoweri Museveni -- both have been accused of arrogance and cowardice for refusing to participate in a presidential candidates' debate.

Trump announced that he wouldn't participate in a FOX News hosted debate this Thursday just days before next week's official launch of the race for the White House with the Iowa caucuses for the presidential nomination.  Trump's top challenger for bragging rights to Iowa, Senator Ted Cruz, accused him of being a "chicken." Trump and Cruz are running neck-and-neck in Iowa. Trump enjoys a huge lead in New Hampshire where the contest shifts soon after.

In fairness to Trump, he's already participated in scores of previous Republican debates. He's emerged as the front-runner for the Republican Party's nominee as presidential candidate.  Trump fears being questioned by FOX News moderator, Megyn Kelly. In the first debate of the election season, based on Trump's repugnant comments towards females, she justifiably asked him if his past remarks was part of a "war on women."

Trump went ballistic red.

Gen. Museveni, Uganda's dictator of three decades, on the other hand would have been participating in the country's first ever live-televised presidential debate on Jan. 15. The country heads to the polls Feb. 18.

Given that Uganda has never had a peaceful transition from one president to another in its 54 years of independence there was anticipation throughout the country. Gen. Museveni himself had dismissed his challengers' skepticism  that he would dare debate them. (After all, this is a man who has the power to make people who displeases him die of "sudden" illness).  The anticipation grew when Gen. Museveni himself claimed he didn't fear any of his opponents for the Jan. 15 debate and that he "carried his mouth" with him wherever he traveled.

Yet the dictator got cold feet as the debate date approached. He offered to send stand-ins on his behalf, prompting ridicule and derision on social media. Supporters of his main challengers, Dr. Kizza Besigye and Mr. Amama Mbabazi, accused Gen. Museveni, who refers to himself as a "leopard" was actually a kitten instead.

He never showed up for the debate and his opponents' stock soared while his collapsed.
Perhaps Gen. Museveni needs a debate more than Trump -- then again, his hand picked "Electoral Commission" led by Mr. Badru Kiggundu could still deliver a "victory" for him.

The fortunes of Messrs Trump and Museveni are moving in the opposite direction. The American candidate's poll numbers continue to soar, even after anti-women, anti-women, and racist statements.

On the other hand, after 30 years, Ugandans have tired of Gen. Museveni.  The East African, a highly-respected publication referred to as the region's version of "The Economist" reports that his poll numbers are now at 51%; a plunge of more than 15 points. Even with massive rigging it's unlikely he'll get the 50-plus he needs to avoid a runoff, which he's projected to lose when the opposition rallies behind one candidate.

Analyst believe Gen. Museveni had legitimate reasons to stay away from a debate.

The U.S. State Department, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International have condemned state security forces for election-related violence including killings against opposition candidates' supporters. The State Department also questioned the whereabouts of Chris Aine, a senior aide to candidate Mbabazi. His relatives claim he's been killed by the regime.

For Trump, if he lost his temper during questioning by Ms. Kelly, the worst he could do is say something nasty about the moderator.

As for Gen. Museveni, who knows? He's never been questioned or challenged by a single Ugandan during his 30 years regime. Well, to be more precise, those who have effectively challenged him are no longer around.

If he'd been riled by either Dr. Besigye or Mbabazi might he have been unable to hold back some verbal threat related to his opponents' wellbeing and health?

Gen. Museveni has a penchant of declaring he'll "crush" his opponents and boasting of people he's "killed in the past.

Either way there's no debate about it -- both Trump and Gen. Museveni can't stand the heat.

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