An article written in the Redpepper this week by one Dalton Kaweesa about how filthy rich Besigye was, has infuriated a lot of Ugandans who question the motive of such an article from one of the respected journalists in the country , at a time when the opposition are fighting for the rights of the poor. Dalton Kaweesa exagerates Besigye’s wealth and also compares him to some of the rich NRM politicians that have been implicated in corruption scandals over time but retained in the government by president Museveni.
One Ugandans At Heart member called Christopher Muwanga said that it’s imperative to compare Besigye’s wealth to that of Museveni who was poor with just a small piece of land in Rwakitura before he became the president of Uganda but now he is among the richest political leaders in the world. Muwanga said:”He( Museveni) was born in such circumstances that he had to benefit from a ‘refugee’ scholarship [the records attest to this and it is too late for his admirers to delete them]. On proceeding to high school, he was cared for by what we may say are ‘forster parents’. By his own admission, M7 is the first in the first person in his family, if not in his clan, to work for government [previously, the best source of better, steady incomes].
Museven’s parents were so poor, even by pastoralist standards, that they never owned cattle. His “dad” grazed the cattle of other people and his day-to-day needs were met by ‘wages in kind’ plus the casual vending of milk, at least, from the mid 1960’s, delivered to the customers by one little ‘Akandwanaho’. They never owned any landeither.
After his HSC, M7 taught as a licenced teacher [where/when he admitedly taught future Gen. Tumwine]. It is the money he got from his salary as a ‘long-vacation teacher’ [it was Sh. 246/= in some districts] that M7 bought the family’s first lot of land [current Rwakitura for Sh.200/= in his own word (?)]. His ‘dad’ then transferred there and used it as base [till now] on his grazing errands. It is for this and other reasons that the other Banyankole pastoralists used to redicule M7, in the early days of his regime, till he ‘bribed’/uplifted them with development and other public ‘goodies’.
By 1979 [if not by 1986], M7 never owned an own house. Museveni has never built a house from his sweat. He and his likes, let alone his ‘financial engineering’ “brother” Akandwanaho, have acquired their riches from public resources and ownership through proxies, through Asian and other Ugandan business persons. To them, privitisation [of GoU pool houses, government ranches like Katonga, Kisozi, boards like Produce marketing Board, Uganda electricity Board, Post office, etc] was a godsend. Same with land and other properties and shares in companies. ”
On the other hand, Muwanga said:”’ It is common knowledge that as a primary school pupil, Besigye used to man the family shop. He has told us how, because of that, he infact enrolled at the then Uganda College of Commerce, Nakawa so that he could run the family business later (except that later, he felt he ‘did not belong there’).
On his mum’s death: We have learnt that, Besigye learnt of his mother’s death from the shop where he had gone to releave her as (she) had been taken ill with a headche that was at first thought not to be serious. Besigye’s dad had worked for Uganda governement from the colonial times. He therefore could not have been a begger.
Besigye and siblings went ahead to continue their successiful education thanks to the family business, bequeathed to them by the parents. So, ‘riches’ and money are not new to Besigye. If you want a recent example: recall his assassinated brother Musaasi: he was a successiful businessman despite government harassment, who had never worked in Government. His sister, Olive Kobusingye, is a successful medical doctor, like Dr.Besigye, and she recently wrote a book before the 2011 elections that must have made her a lot of money. Besigye’s wife, Winnie Byanyima, comes from a known rich family in Mbarara and she has been in big-income generating jobs for most of her life.
Muwanga concludes by saying that Besigye’s family knew money from the beginning.So, when one talks of the riches peole own today, one should just look 30 years back behind each person and then one will know the real person one is dealing with. Even the most rabid defenders of M7 should have the courtsy of admiting the sour truth about him.”
Another Ugandan called Jude Mayanja added:”There is no law in Uganda that stops people from becoming rich. The only legitimate concern is how such wealth was acquired. KB(Kiza Besigye) may not be a very strong investor but maybe he got alot of donations from his friends. If Museveni or Saleh or so acquired wealth not from the tax payers or from donations meant for all, I would have no problem with them.
One reason why the ruling regime in Uganda has imposed herself on leadership is because the subscribers are damn rich unfortunately from the tax payers money. If KB used tax payer’s money to acquire the wealth he has, I will cease to support him unless when he comes up and apologizes to all Ugandans for such an act.
Kawesa could not survive the wave of change ushered in by Museveni, Museveni has gained support of almost all journalists in Uganda either through bribes or threats. Kawesa has equally lost his sense of reasoning thus those who are financially fine should never fight for the poor. I hope that is not part of the capitalism theory.
If KB and other opposition politicians have been able to use the economic crisis in Uganda to push for their political agenda, I personally see no cause for alarm for they are not targeting the church leaders but the political leaders whose partial mandate is to ensure the well being of all Ugandans. If Museveni and his group can not offer the best to the people of Uganda, let the opportunity go to the opposition.”
Dalton Kaweesa defended himself by saying that his intention was to tell the world that although KB is damn rich, he mourns with the wretched of the earth that cant afford a meal.