Walk-to-Work: Ugandans Trample Dictator Museveni

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[Black Star News Editorial]

Violent crackdown against Uganda's Walk-to-walk campaign has garnered global coverage, worldwide outrage, and shaken the confidence of U.S.-backed dictator Yoweri K. Museveni.

The campaign has also commanded the attention of the highest levels of the U.S. Administration and a reaction is imminent.

Gen. Museveni had gambled that he could steal Uganda's elections of February 18 and get away with it. After all, he just had to remind
Washington that he had stationed 8,000 Uganda soldiers in war-torn Somalia to prop up the unpopular U.S.-favored regime there.

Uganda's withdrawal would result in quick collapse of the government which only controls the State House in Mogadishu and a few city blocks. The silent question Gen. Museveni posed to the Obama Administration: Would you prefer to deal with al-Qaeda filling the vacuum in Somalia or to allow me to steal the elections in Uganda?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must have given the nod to an election theft as preferrable.

Earlier Clinton had expressed her misgivings. Clinton had issued two damning reports, literally repudiating the Uganda election almost a year before it was held. But then Clinton sat on three of the five Congressionally-mandated reports on Uganda's elections that she was supposed to have produced, paving the way for Museveni's theft.

Of course the vote was stolen.

Pro-democracy groups and human rights organizations in Uganda documented the bogus voters roll days before the election. Before the "result" was published this newspaper published the outcome, using information from a government insider who was upset with the proposed rigging. The Black Star News revealed that Gen. Museveni would win by gave 67.2%; his hand picked electoral commission working closely with the rigging unit gave him an extra .8% for a 68% margin a day later.

The BBC, an arm of U.K. foreign policy, makes a fool of itself by constantly quoting the Museveni margin of "victory."

Yet the opposition, to their credit, did not cooperate with the theft. They rejected inducements and bribes from Museveni and formed a united
front. They denounced the fraudulent outcome of the vote. They announced peaceful civic campaigns to resist the dictatorship. The Walk-to-work is one such campaign. It coincided with the dramatic rise in the price of food and fuel in the landlocked country.

Dr. Kizza Besigye, leader of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Olara Otunnu, who heads the Uganda People's Congress (UPC), and Norbert Mao, of the Democratic Party (DP)--all have participated in "walk" campaigns. Besigye was shot and wounded and manhandled. He was thrown in jail as was Mao. (After his release April 27, Dr. Besigye was again violently arrested April 28 by Museveni's secret police and soldiers).

All of them potentially face "treason" charges, a development top U.S. officials have scoffed at.

The regime reacted with unmitigated violence towards civilians who supported the campaign and marched in solidarity--firing live bullets at
protestors, as the resistance took on a national character, with protests in Central, Eastern, Western, and the Northern part of Uganda. Scores were killed, including a two-year old child named Nalwanga. People were revolted by the child's brutal murder, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

People around the world question what kind of despot could outlaw human beings from exercising their right to walk? Would the dictator soon
ban eating or even sleeping without his authorization?

Even though the regime acted ruthlessly, attracting the attention of the International Criminal Court, Ugandans have shown a level of bravery that
comes with having reached the limit--they are simply fed up and taking risks never ventured during Museveni's 26-years of supreme autocracy.

This time Clinton and even the Somalia card may not be able to save dictator Museveni.

He should have listened to Clinton's critique in her first report last year when she denounced the fact that he had hand picked the country's election

Now the dictator has reportedly invited the opposition for a meeting next week. He wants to pacify them in time for his multi-million dollar "inauguration" on May 12.

The opposition represent the aspirations of Ugandans who have suffered tyranny for over a quarter century. They want to see the democracy
uprisings of Tunisia and Egypt spread elsewhere on the continent.

Should the opposition leaders meet Gen. Museveni their demands must be clear: New elections with an independent election commission;
international monitors for the vote; protection and security for all candidates; equal access to media and campaign resources by all parties; a caretaker government in the interim, and; restoration of presidential term limits scrapped by the dictator.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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