Veteran journalist Andrew Mwenda has said Bobi Wine and his supporters presents a major threats to Uganda democracy. Mwenda who has been long time critics of opposition leader Dr. Kizza Besigye said much as he sympathise with the Bobi Wine for tortured he endured during his arrests, he does not believe in people power movement as a way of liberating Uganda.
He added that what Bobi Wine stands for in not known apart from being critical of president Museveni rule.Below is Mwenda full statement
Uganda has a new hero: Bobi Wine. He is being presented to us domestically and internationally as the symbol of our struggle for democracy, freedom, liberty and social transformation. Even some of our “intellectuals” are treating him as an alternative to President Yoweri Museveni. This is the pathway to disaster.
I sympathize with Bobi Wine having been brutally tortured by a cruel state security apparatus. However, this cannot blind me to the strategic risk he and his radical extremist supporters pose to the values of liberty and freedom that I treasure. And neither is it lost to me that he lacks even the most rudimentary understanding of our politics and economics.
Bobi Wine’s only qualification as an alternative to Museveni is that he is critical of the status quo. Our “intellectuals” don’t care what he stands for, the values he represents, the policy alternatives he proposes, the leadership abilities he has demonstrated, the alliances he is cultivating and the organizational ability he has exhibited.
Museveni government has dictatorial tendencies, exercises brutality against its opponents and sold off our economy to multinational capital. So there is a need for change. But such change needs a broad coalition of Ugandans who believe in liberal democratic ideals and who feel that we need to give our citizens a bigger role and voice in our economy. Bobi Wine and his radical extremists are not what we need.
Yet this is not the concern of Ugandan “intellectuals.” They want Museveni to go and hope political freedom and economic prosperity will work themselves out with “iron necessity” (to use Karl Marx’s expression). They do not think about the nature of the alternative. This is the tragedy Uganda faced in 1971. Milton Obote had abrogated the constitution, abolished kingdoms and jailed opponents. So our elites embraced Idi Amin with tragic consequences. We are on the same road again.
African elite always argue that our continent has been cursed by bad leaders. Yet these same elites exhibit the worst irresponsible behaviour when selecting leaders. They embrace demagogues shouting empty slogans against incumbent governments without making any effort to assess the leadership qualities of such characters. When these new leaders come to power and repeat the blunders of their predecessors, the same African elites take to media and elsewhere to complain that the problem is leaders. But these elites are the ones who select wrong people in the first place.
Every government promotes policies that reflect the interest of its social base. So what is Bobi Wine’s support base? It is not manufacturers with a vested interest in industrial transformation. Neither is it large scale commercial farmers with the vested interest in the modernization of agriculture. They are not traders who seek policies that promote free trade. Instead they are largely less educated or inexperience and unemployed or underemployed angry youths looking opportunities for salaried employment. At best therefore, a Bobi Wine government can only produce Museveni’s patronage politics without the president’s finesse.
If Bobi Wine became president, he has to reward his riffraff supporters with jobs. But they lack basic skills or experience for professional jobs. He cannot force the private sector to hire them. Neither can he recruit them into the state’s professional jobs. The only place he can hire them is in security services – army, police and intelligence organisations – which are always the dumping grounds of the lumpen supporters in poor countries. This brings us to their values, which will be reflected in their work.
The Bobi Wine supporters I encounter online are radical extremists – uncouth, antidemocratic, intolerant of dissent and heavily reliant on their prejudices and rumours for “facts” to guide their political decisions and actions. They dominate social media where they indulge in unrestrained cyber bullying – forgery, slander, blackmail and lies.
If they can terrorize their opponents with the little power they have on social media, what would happen if they gained control of the state’s powerful instruments of repression like the police, the army and the prisons?
Now under HE Bobi Wine, these lumpens will be the men and women in charge of Internal Security Organisation, police and army. They will be the ones collecting and analysing intelligence. President Bobi