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Month September 2018

Bobi Wine is like Ben Kiwanuka:From village boy to Prime Minister!


Benedicto Kiwanuka with his family

By G.H.K in Paris, France, via UAH forum

I’ve seen Mr Abbey Ssemuwemba’s points and the accompanying comments. And I’m grateful to all this effort!A previous posting cites names of those men who rose from nowhere to become leaders. I add on the name of the Great Benedicto Kiwanuka,orphaned at 11 her mother had no fair means to pay the school fees he needed to go to Namilyango College where he had been admitted after his junior secondary school studies at St Peter’s SSS Nsambya. He stayed for some years in his native village in Masaka doing ordinary farming until he was enrolled in the KAR to fight in World War II. After this he received a clerical job at the High Court in Kampala. He made some savings and got married. Then after he sponsored his way to Southern Africa in Lesotho (then known as Basutoland) where he enrolled at a newly opened university to do the intermediate ( equiv A-Levels). Had a lot of financial difficulties to complete the course! Fortunately his efforts were crowned with great success when he passed with flying colours and was admitted to do law at London University where he passeed with honours and was admitted to the bar. Subsequently on joining politics in Uganda he was elected to head the DP and he won the 1961 general elections and became Uganda’s first Prime Minister.

From village boy to Prime Minister! Now when people, in particular the numerically very important youth look at Bobi Wine they see in him what we’ve seen in these people who rose from quasi-ghettos to become leaders. And this is where Bobi Wine is drawing support not only in Uganda but also on the international scene. He has succeeded to rise to the highest and be a real threat to Museveni whom he has humiliated in many things including a debate at Makerere and the by-election wins where Museveni’s presence in campaigns was rather unnoticeable in the presence of very charismatic young politician who articulates issues correctly to the point of winning huge applauses from his numerous attendance! He’s a politician without a party! But he has proved that he can move forward thanks to his brilliant approach and contact with the many who matter in the country.Likewise he has succeeded to create a national global constituency already rooted in the philosophy of the deep-seated influence acquired through his musical tones that could draw masses to his audience. And the philosophy of his action lies here : the effort to rise from nowhere to somewhere, the effort to broaden an air of contact at national and international levels, and the effort to to invest all these experiences in his political action. This is where he has won international prestige and respect.

In this case he isn’t a loner but a mobilizer of a following. His motto : People Power : Our Power comes at a very ripe time when another celebrated motto, TOGIKWATAKO,launched by Norbert Mao and group, has already prepared good ground for his work! And everyone knows how the country will move and to which direction it will steer if Bobi Wine and others will be voted to lead Uganda. And their programme can be anticipated in advance from all aspects of the country’s national life. It’s clear the programme will have nothing to inspire from the failed NRM with Museveni at top for over 30 years! The youth as well as the abandoned and the marginalized will be the key beneficiaries.

It’s true Bobi Wine or any other leader who will come in after Museveni won’t need to follow anything to do with an ideology. Very true, it’s only the actions and the sense to rehabilitate the country and the yearn to push forward will be the creators of anything to do with ideology which in this sense will be the urge for positive action in every sector of the country’s national life!

Does Bobi Wine need to talk and negotiate with Museveni as some rumours have indicated? If anything, it’s Museveni who must and who has been advised to show humility and apologize to Bobi Wine! Bobi Wine, in my view, wouldn’t be expected to go and sit face to face with somebody who is quite oppressive to any opposing view. Let’s judge the situation as it is now. On the one hand we see a 74-year-old person, in pôwer for over 30 years, and now at the sunset of that power which is presently being cursed globally for the many mistakes done to the people including changing the constitution to continue clinging to power! And is surrounded by age-mates who only just listen to his views without formulating any argument on them! And on the other hand we can just see a very young brilliant up-to-the-minute statesman enjoying wide support in his country and abroad where he has been reckoned as
one of those who will contribute to the advent of a new spring in Uganda.He’s surrounded by very many serious actors coming from the nation’s much multifaceted global life.And he is a in himself a sort of a symbol standing for the ideas of the many who now see sense in his People Power motto. He’s a multifarious personality tending to gather all currents in one stream. He is in full contrast with the other old man who appears to stand for himself surrounded by a few with hardly any influence remaining on them!

So if dialogue or negotiation, all that will centre on what? Will it be a sort of seeing a Museveni trying to control Bobi Wine’s action with intent on silencing him? Will Bobi Wine accept to submit to Museveni’s harsh-handed paternalism that would in the long run oblige him to abandon what he has so painfully launched aided by opposition politicians and some NRM individuals? If he submits to Museveni’s hegemony how will he be seen abroad and in neighbouring countries where his action is widely and very wildly saluted? And how will he be considered in Africa where the oppressed are now looking to him and his group as a source of inspiration for the launch of the good new days on the entire continent? And his very dynamic and pragmatic action which is mobilizing masses all over the region, should it
be submitted to that NRM decadence which is now seeing a fall in standards on practically every note! There is no need for Bobi Wine to submit to Museveni! It’s Museveni and group who should by any ruse, if possible, try to find through Bobi Wine a safe landing!

Bobi Wine and group have all the cards in their hands! What the NRM regime is now resorting to through the use of force is a very stupid childish venture! Force won’t prevent change from landing in a country that has now won the very much needed sympathy of the entire world community! And world reaction now is in favour of bringing about the necessary change that will usher in improvement in the ordinary Ugandan’s daily lot!

SOPHISTRY AND THE TRAGEDY OF THE MWENDA-LIKE ‘INTELLECTUAL’


By Edward Ssekalo

Sophistry, as defined by the Google Dictionary, is “the use of clever but false arguments, especially with the intention of deceiving.” A person who reasons with clever but false arguments is called a sophist. If you were doing a test and were out of time, you could as well summarise the definition of sophist as Andrew Mwenda. Even if there are a few others like him scattered all over social media, Mwenda is the poster boy of the art of sophistry in Uganda at the moment.

I once admired Mwenda by the way. As a student I followed him with religious devotion, witnessing his transformation over the years from a young journo who moralised, to a more mature commentator who analysed and finally to a former journalist turned businessman that uses his platform(s) to demonise any person who dares to remind us that injustice is a thing to be frowned upon; something to be RESISTED. At other times (most times), his energies will be expended on anyone that presents as a substantial threat to Mr. Museveni’s blood-fuelled hold onto power. Once it was Kizza Besigye. Now it is Bobi Wine.

Yet, I am not here to discuss Mwenda. I will instead respond to some of the fallacious arguments in his “Between Museveni’s frying pan and Bobi Wine’s fire”. First though, I will get one thing out of the way: as expected Mwenda retrieves his anti-Opposition talking points early on, brandishing his much-loved ‘radical extremist’ label which is reserved for pro-change supporters as a tool to blackmail.

As a comms professional, I know the power in disarming the person you are challenging by assigning derogative tags. It is supposed to give you the early advantage. I, however, will embrace that label. If Mwenda believes that by me voicing my displeasure with the state and style of governance of my country I am a disgruntled, talentless, unemployable, radical extremist, I will wear that label he has assigned as a badge of honour.

SO, WHAT DOES BOBI WINE STAND FOR?

The flaws in Mwenda’s piece are first shown up where he argues that “Bobi Wine’s only qualification as an alternative to Museveni is that he is critical of the status quo.” That is a most absurd assumption, because there are hundreds of Museveni opponents on the political stage. Does Mwenda stop to think why some and not others get traction in their campaigns for change? For one that passes himself off as ‘intellectual’, Mwenda should do some thinking, and show evidence of it when he writes.

He continues that “Our ‘intellectuals’ don’t care what [Bobi] stands for, the values he represents, the policy alternatives he proposes, the leadership abilities he has exhibited, the alliances he is cultivating and the organizational ability he has demonstrated.”

If Mwenda isn’t exhibiting willful ignorance, then I would suggest he does a simple Google or Facebook search. It is laughable to impute that Bobi Wine has yet to demonstrate leadership abilities (a man that was so influential even Mwenda’s friend Kale Kayihura turned to him to engage ghetto youth- that was before Bobi was even MP). Mwenda then questions the alliances Bobi is cultivating (he obviously hasn’t heard that Bobi Wine has allied with three different political bases in the last one year and which bases emerged victorious in by-elections in Arua, Bugiri, Jinja and Rukungiri). And then the winner: he dares to question Bobi Wine’s organizational ability. Seriously? A man that swept a by-election competing against an FDC incumbent and a generously-funded NRM candidate in Kyadondo East? Do you start to see the definition of ‘sophist’ in these claims by Mwenda?

Nonetheless, let’s address the suggestion that it is not clear what Bobi Wine stands for. Long before he joined the political fray, Bobi Wine identified himself as one for freedom and justice (political, economic and social), and one whose desire is a Uganda that works for all. Here is one of his quotes from last year: “Our aspiration is to live in a country in which every Ugandan is equal, free and dignified. Where every life is valuable. Where no one is above the law. Where no one can kill a Ugandan and sleeps sound[ly] – knowing that they are protected by the state.”

Bobi Wine does not need a fancy 10-point program, framed, to make these points (besides, we know how well those who came with 10-point programs and blackboards have turned out 32 years later). The millions of Ugandans he inspires know it too. He doesn’t need to identify as Marxist or clothe himself in the elitist “liberal democrat” dress the Mwendas pretend to champion for us radical extremists to agree with him that we need change.

For crying out loud, when Salim Saleh joined Mr. Museveni in their Bush War I bet he couldn’t even spell the word ‘Marxist’, let alone explain the ideology. I would bet the likes of Elly Tumwine and Abdul Nadduli followed Museveni to the bush because they had had enough of the status quo, or, quite possibly, sensed an opportunity to enjoy a life of largesse if their gamble paid off.

If Mwenda were truly the impartial analyst he purports to be, he should at least acknowledge that Bobi Wine has shown an admirable ability to read the political mood and recognize that there is a growing shift from a belief in parties (at least for pro-change Ugandans) to a growing faith in non-partisan/cross-partisan initiatives. It was that vehicle that delivered Kyagulanyi the MP. A similar approach delivered Emmanuel Macron to the French presidency, just saying.

IT’S THE YEARNING FOR FREEDOM, STUPID!

So, like Saleh was in 1982, many 22-year-old Ugandan youth today relate with Bobi Wine’s struggle for their freedom if not to do anything else, at least to WhatsApp and share their nudes in peace, without the unnecessary impediment of OTT tax. That freedom has been taken away by a government that taxes them unjustly, and impoverishes them slowly but steadily by yanking out of their hands the power to make a living as ‘hustlers’ online, or as Mobile Money agents offline.

Mwenda, these Ugandans don’t need ideologies. They don’t need a mastery of macroeconomic policy. All they need is to hear words of inspiration and Bobi Wine provides those, like a good leader does, or should, and like your sugar daddy Museveni once did. If Bobi Wine needs top class economists to guide his policy, Uganda has enough of them, and at least he has shown that he is willing to seek and use expert opinion. That cannot be said of Museveni (anymore). The likes of Bobi Wine signify vanguards in Ugandans’ daily struggles for freedom and justice; social, economic or otherwise. It’s the freedom, stupid!

The one submission Mwenda made that I truly believed was honest (even if it reeked of ignorance) was the one that about Bobi Wine having to reward his supporters with jobs if he became president. If that is an idea coming from Mwenda, it shouldn’t be surprising at all. He has been around Museveni for quite a while now that the only standard he knows is the one Museveni has set, (which is also why it difficult for him to envision a Uganda where security agents don’t brutalise citizens).

But back to the point on jobs; as an analyst, the easiest way to attempt to predict what kind of president Bobi Wine would potentially be should have been for Mwenda to examine how Bobi Wine has run his constituency of Kyadondo East. But who needs the facts on the ground when there is an anti-Opposition demonisation template to feed ‘Bobi Wine’ or ‘Kizza Besigye’ into and hit the ‘Post’ button?

*The cry baby antics about being cyber-bullied were truly laughable though. If one calls you out for the intellectual fraud you are, don’t turn around and claim it is cyber-bullying. Or should we expect that you will advise your daddy to create a division of social media police to whip us (pun intended) into line?

Britain’s New African Empire


Britain’s New African Empire

by Mark Curtis

Companies listed on the London Stock Exchange control over $1trillion worth of Africa’s resources in just five commodities – oil, gold, diamonds, coal and platinum. My research for the NGO, War on Want, which has just been published, reveals that 101 companies, most of them British, control $305billion worth of platinum, $276billion worth of oil and $216billion worth of coal at current market prices. The ‘Scramble for Africa’ is proceeding apace, with the result that African governments have largely handed over their treasure.

Tanzania’s gold, Zambia’s copper, South Africa’s platinum and coal and Botswana’s diamonds are all dominated by London-listed companies. They have mines or mineral licences in 37 African countries and control vast swathes of Africa’s land: their concessions cover a staggering 1.03million square kilometres on the continent. This is over four times the size of the UK and nearly one-twentieth of sub-Saharan Africa’s total land area. China’s resources grabs have been widely vilified but the major foreign takeover of Africa’s natural riches springs from a lot closer to home.

Many African governments depend on mineral resources for revenues, yet the extent of foreign ownership means that most wealth is being extracted along with the minerals. In only a minority of mining operations do African governments have a shareholding? Company tax payments are minimal due to low tax rates while governments often provide companies with generous incentives such as corporation tax holidays.

Companies are also able to avoid paying taxes by their use of tax havens. Of the 101 London-listed companies, 25 are actually incorporated in tax havens, principally the British Virgin Islands. It is estimated that Africa loses around $35billion a year in illicit financial flows out of the continent and a further $46billion a year in multinational company profits taken from operations in Africa.

UK companies’ increasingly dominant role in Africa, which is akin to a new colonialism, is being facilitated by British governments, Conservative and Labour alike. Four policies stand out. First, Whitehall has long been a fierce advocate of liberalized trade and investment regimes in Africa that provide access to markets for foreign companies. It is largely opposed to African countries putting up regulatory or protectionist barriers to such investment, the sorts of policies where have often been used by successful developers in East Asia. Second, Britain has been a world leader in advocating low corporate taxes in Africa, including in the extractives sector.

Third, British policy has done nothing to challenge multinational companies using tax havens; indeed the global infrastructure of tax havens is largely a British creation. Fourth, British governments have constantly espoused only voluntary mechanisms for companies to monitor their human rights impacts; they are opposed to enhancing international legally binding mechanisms to curb abuses.

The result is that Africa, the world’s poorest continent, is being further impoverished. Recent research calculated, for the first time, all the financial inflows and outflows to and from sub-Saharan Africa to gauge whether Africa is being helped or exploited by the rest of the world. It found that $134billion flows into the continent each year, mainly in the form of loans, foreign investment and aid. However, $192billion is taken out, mainly in profits made by foreign companies and tax dodging. The result is that Africa suffers a net loss of $58billion a year. British mining companies and their government backers are contributing to this drainage of wealth.

We need to radically rethink the notion that Britain is helping Africa to develop. The UK’s large aid programme is, among other things, being used to promote African policies from which British corporations will further profit. British policy in Africa, and indeed that of African elites, needs to be challenged and substantially changed if we are serious about promoting long term economic development on the continent.

Mark Curtis

Mark Curtis is an author and consultant. He is a former Research Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and has been an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Strathclyde and Visiting Research Fellow at the Institut Francais des Relations

WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED IN ARUA? MY STORY!



WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENED IN ARUA? MY STORY!
(As narrated by Hon Kyagulanyi/Bobi Wine)

Fellow Ugandans, friends and well-wishers from around the world,

I am sorry, I have taken a bit long to write to you about the trials and tribulations, for which you all stood with me. It’s been tough days, as I recover from the physical and mental trauma I endured. I am overwhelmed by your support and words of encouragement. I cannot repay you in any other way, except sticking to those values which bind all of us together- justice, equality and human dignity.

I will be communicating more in the coming days and where possible send my appreciation to the different individuals and organizations. In this post however, I want to recount what exactly happened to me. I am very grateful to my wife Barbie, and my lawyers who narrated to the world these events, but I also wanted to tell this sad story PERSONALLY. I felt more compelled to speak out after reading the many posts written by President Museveni and other government officials about what happened.

I read the things they were saying while I was in detention, and found them absurd to say the least. I was shocked on how they tried to downplay the atrocities committed by security agencies on innocent citizens.
So let me set the record straight.

It was 13th August and it was the last day of campaigns in the Arua municipality by-election. As always we had a great campaign day. As I left the rally, I was convinced that our candidate Hon. Kassiano Wadri would win the election. So we moved from the rally at about 5:30pm and the people followed us, singing songs of freedom and chanting “People Power – Our Power.” Together with Hon. Kassiano and a few other leaders, we parted with the multitude, bade them farewell and went into Royal hotel where Hon. Wadri was staying.

We watched the 7:00pm news from the hotel lobby as we took tea and took stock of the day’s events. It was of course very exciting to watch that day’s news. The anchor said we were clearly ahead of the other candidates and the television relayed images of the massive rally and procession we had had on that day. Shortly after, I decided to move to Pacific hotel where I was staying so as to rest after the very busy day. It was at that point that I sat in my tundra vehicle, in the co-driver’s seat. The gentleman who was driving the tundra that day is one of our drivers (not Yasin). He moved out of the vehicle to call other team members who were supposed to drive with us. He took a bit long and I moved into my other vehicle (a land cruiser) which was right next to the tundra and whose driver was already seated on the driver’s seat. We immediately set off for Pacific hotel. I did not even see what happened after or how late Yasin ended up on my seat in the tundra. For clarity, he had been driving another vehicle that day.

I had started taking the stairs to my room when this driver came running to say that Yasin Kawuma had been shot. I could not believe it. I asked him where he was and he told me they were parked outside the hotel. We paced down and I saw with my own eyes, my friend and comrade Yasin, giving way as he bled profusely. I quickly asked a team member to take him to hospital and another to call the police. We had not stepped away from that place when angry looking SFC soldiers came, beating up everyone they could see.

As soon as they saw me, they charged saying “there he is” in Swahili. So many bullets were being fired and everyone scampered to safety. I also ran up into the hotel with a throng of people who had gathered around. Inside the hotel, I entered a random room and locked myself in. It is at that point that my media assistant shared with me Yasin’s picture which I tweeted because the world needed to know what was going on.

I could hear the people outside and in the hotel corridors crying for help. I could also hear the soldiers pulling these helpless people past the room in which I was, saying all sorts of profanities to them while beating them mercilessly.

I stayed in the room for a long time. At some point, I heard soldiers pull some woman out of her room and ask her which room Bobi Wine had entered. The woman wailed saying she didn’t know and what followed were terrible beatings. I could hear her cry and plead for help as she was being dragged down the stairs. Up to now, that is one experience that haunts me; that I could hear a woman cry for help, yet I was so vulnerable and helpless. I could not help her.

I stayed put for some hours, and I could hear the soldiers come every few minutes, bang some doors on my floor or other floors and go away. At different times I would sleep off, but was always rudely awakened by the banging of doors and the impatient boots that paced throughout the hotel for the whole night. In the wee hours of the morning, the soldiers started breaking doors of the different hotel rooms. With rage, they broke doors, and I knew they would soon come to my room. I therefore put my wallet and phone into my socks. I also had with me some money which I had earned from a previous music show. I also put it into the socks.

A few minutes later, a soldier hit my door with an iron bar and after two or three attempts the door fell in. We looked each other in the eye as he summoned his colleagues in Swahili. Another soldier pointed a pistol on my head and ordered me to kneel down. I put my hands up and just before my knees could reach the floor, the soldier who broke into the room used the same iron bar to hit me. He aimed it at my head and I put up my hand in defence so he hit my arm. The second blow came straight to my head on the side of my right eye. He hit me with this iron bar and I fell down. In no minute, all these guys were on me- each one looking for the best place to hurt. I can’t tell how many they were but they were quite a number.

They beat me, punched me, and kicked me with their boots. No part of my body was spared. They hit my eyes, mouth and nose. They hit my elbows and my knees. Those guys are heartless!

As they dragged me out of the room, they continued to hit me from all sides. After some time, I could almost no longer feel the pain. I could only hear what they were doing from a far. My cries and pleas went unheeded. The things they were speaking to me all this while, I cannot reproduce here. Up to now, I cannot understand how these soldiers who I probably had never met before in person could hate me so much.

They wrapped me in a thick piece of cloth and bundled me into a vehicle. Those guys did to me unspeakable things in that vehicle! They pulled my manhood and squeezed my testicles while punching me with objects I didn’t see. They pulled off my shoes and took my wallet, phone and the money I had. As soon as the shoes were off, they started hitting my ankles with pistol butts. I groaned in pain and they ordered me to stop making noise for them. They used something like pliers to pull my ears. Some guy unwrapped me and instead tied the thick cloth around my head. They forced my head below the car seat so as to stop me from shouting. Then they hit my back and continued to hit my genitals with objects. The marks on my back, ankles, elbows, legs and head are still visible. I continued to groan in pain and the last I heard was someone hit me at the back of the head with an object – I think a gun butt or something. That was the last time I knew what was going on.

By the time I became conscious again, I was somewhere in a small room with a small window. My legs were tied together with my hands with very tight cuffs. I was bleeding from the nose and ears. I was in great pain. My whole body was swollen. I was shaking uncontrollably.

Two soldiers came in. I can now recall that they were visibly pleased to see that I was still alive. They came close to me. One of them apologized in tears about what had happened. “Bobi, I am sorry but not all of us are like that. Some of us actually like you,” he said. He said that doctors were on their way to treat me. I stayed in the same position and after a few hours, about four soldiers came in and lifted me on a piece of cloth. One of them took a picture of me, (I hope to see that picture some day in my life). As we went out, I read “Arua airfield’ somewhere. I was taken into a waiting military helicopter and taken to a place which I later found out was Gulu 4th Division military barracks. It was at that facility that some military doctors came in and started giving me injections.

At that point I could not even complain as I was not yet fully alert. I was very dizzy and had not eaten or drank anything for many hours. My sight was very weak as well. I spent the night there. Late in the night, I was picked again from this detention facility. With my head covered with a dark cloth that felt like a t-shirt, I was taken to Gulu Police Station where I was forced to sign a written statement by an officer called Francis Olugo in the presence of some other officer who I later learnt is the CID head of Gulu. I can hardly recall what was contained in that statement! I was then returned to Gulu military barracks, put on a metallic bed and handcuffed on it. Very early morning, I was picked from this room and taken to another very secluded and dirty room where I was put on another bed, hand-cuffed again and injected with a drug that immediately sent me into a deep sleep.

The following day I can recall that at some point, Hon. Medard Ssegona and Hon. Asuman Basalirwa came to me. My efforts to rise and speak to them didn’t yield much. The moment they saw me, they could hardly hold tears. I have a faint recollection of what they told me, but their visit was very short.

I was later carried into a hall where I saw soldiers dressed smartly. I would lie if I said I fully appreciated what was going on at that point. I was later told that I was appearing before the General Court Martial!!!

After a short while, I was again carried into a military helicopter.

When it landed, I was put into a vehicle and driven to another place which I later found out was Makindye military barracks.

At Makindye, I was now fully alert and had a drink for the first time after two or three days. I saw doctors come in several times and they gave me all kinds of injections. At some point, I tried to object and these guys would hold my arms from behind and inject me anywhere. If I asked what drug it was, the guy would say something like, “This is diclofenac, can’t you see?” At some point, some guy came in and wanted to stitch my ear which had an open wound. I pleaded with him not to, and he relented. All the while I was spending the day and night with my hands and legs cuffed until a few days later. Thankfully although the scars are still visible, the wound on my ear healed.

It was after some time at Makindye that I was able to see my wife and my brother Eddy Yawe, who came in with some lawyers, some friends and dignitaries from the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC). I will never forget the atmosphere in that room- people started crying upon setting eyes on me. At that point, I could not sit, walk or even stand by myself. I was still swollen and spoke with great difficulty due to chest pains. My teeth were shaking and the headache was unbearable. I am thankful that the UHRC made a report which I later read. At least it captured in part, the state in which they found me. As the government agency mandated to fight human rights violations, I am eagerly waiting to see what actions they will take to ensure that no Ugandan is taken through this ever again. Not even President Museveni. I cannot wish what happened to me upon anyone. Not even those soldiers who violated me as if they were beasts. I remember two other things about that visit. Despite the pain I had that day, I remember forcing a smile when they told me that I had been charged with unlawful possession of firearms.

I was told that three guns had been assembled and said to have been found in my room! I could not believe that the state would torture a Ugandan so bad and then frame him with possession of guns! I did not stop thinking about that for all the days I spent at Makindye. How ruthless, how callous, how inhumane could these guys be? It was also on that day that I was told about the alleged stoning of the President’s vehicle.

The other thing I remember is this- I asked my visitors if we had won the Arua election. They told me we had won with a big margin and I thanked God. That strengthened my spirit because I knew that the people were with us, even in the kind of sufferings and indignities we were being subjected to.

I was very sad as I am today, that they murdered my brother Yasin in cold blood and did not allow me to bury him. They told me about my other comrades who were also incarcerated and I kept praying for them. (Of course every visitor had to speak to me in the presence of military personnel.) Although I was very pleased to see all visitors, when I was released, I read the comments which some of the visitors made to the press (particularly government officials). I felt sad that we have a lot of dishonest, cold people who don’t care riding on someone’s tragedy for political capital. I want to believe that we are better than that, dear Ugandans.

Anyway, while at Makindye I was briefed that I was expected in court on 23rd August, about nine days after I was taken there. Some military doctors continued to come in to inject me, wash my wounds and give me pain killers. At night on two occasions, I was put into military vehicles and driven to Kampala Imaging Centre for scans. I could not object or even ask questions. I am worried because one of the machines seemed very dangerous. As soon as I was placed into it and it was switched on, the doctors ran to a safe distance and started seeing me from a small window. It was there that the radiologist told me how one of my kidneys and back had been damaged during the assault. I was however not given any written medical report by the military.

It was clear they wanted me to appear in better shape at the next time of my court appearance and they did everything possible to achieve that. A day or two at Makindye, this guy was candid. He told me it was in my interest to eat well, take in all the medicine and look better by 23rd or else they would not allow the press to see me and I would be remanded again until I was presentable enough! They even forcefully shaved my hair and beards. When I hesitated, this soldier told me, ‘gwe osaaga’ (You are kidding). Two of them held my hands from behind and shaved me by force. At some point, they insisted I must wear a suit for my next appearance before the court martial and asked me to tell my wife to bring me one. I also insisted that I did not have it. At another point I hesitated to allow some eye drops for my right eye which was very red and swollen. I always wanted to know what drugs I was being given. These guys held my arms from behind and one of them literally poured the entire bottle into my eye! Later, the military doctor also provided me with a crutch to aid me in walking. At that point, I was able to stand up, although with difficulty. When you hear all this you may think that all our soldiers are brutal. Far from that, most of them are wonderful people. There are many I interacted with during this ordeal who were extremely professional and sympathetic. It was hard to comprehend how people serving the same force, putting on the same uniform could be very different in appreciation and approach to a citizen of Uganda.

When I was taken back to Gulu on 23rd, I was very happy to see the people who came to court including family members, comrades in the struggle and lawyers. I cannot explain how I felt when the lawyer for the army said that charges of unlawful possession of firearms had been dropped. I did not feel vindicated. I was not excited. I was not moved. I just cannot explain how I felt. I just remembered what these people had done to me and tears came to my eyes. Shortly after, I was rearrested right in front of the courtroom and taken to Gulu prison. At the military prison, I was wearing a red uniform – this time, I was given a yellow one.

Friends, you cannot believe that you can be happy to be in prison but that day I was. I was very happy to leave solitary military confinement and meet up with colleagues who were being held at the Gulu prison. That night I was taken to Lachor hospital in Gulu- other tests and scans were conducted. At that point I was feeling better, especially psychologically since I had reunited with my comrades in the struggle.

Later that night the prison authorities decided to take me into the sickbay as opposed to staying with the other comrades. The other comrades led by Hon. Wadri protested. I could hear them bang the doors of their cell. The following day I was allowed to stay with them. The following day I was allowed to stay with them. This is when I interacted with the other 32 colleagues who had been arrested in the Arua fracas. Being in the same prison ward with Hon. Gerald Karuhanga, Hon. Paul Mwiru, Hon. Kassiano Wadri, Hon. Mike Mabike, John Mary Sebuufu and many other comrades made it feel like a boarding school. It was not a very happy reunion though. Because of the torture some of our comrades had been permanently injured. I cannot forget the pain which Shaban Atiku was going through. He spent every day and night groaning. The doctors had told him he would never walk again because his back had been permanently broken. Sadly, the world may never know him, but he will never go out of my mind. He would later collapse during a court session at Gulu. When I later met the women who were brutalised, it was very painful to see them and listen to their stories.

Many times we joked about the possibility of being hanged if the regime decided to give us the maximum penalty of the offence we had been charged with! This got many of our comrades silent.

Away from these sad moments, the overall prison leader had a box guitar in the ward and together we sang songs of freedom all night. This was the routine every night until we appeared before the Gulu High Court a few days later, for our bail hearing.

My next communication will be a vote of thanks to the world for the overwhelming support and comradeship. I will also talk about what I think we must do together to continue this struggle for liberty and freedom.

I am glad that authorities finally have bowed to your pressure and #HonZaake has been given bond to travel for urgent specialised treatment and I join the world to demand authorities to #FreeEddyMutwe and other political prisoners. WE SHALL OVERCOME.

PS:
1. Please ignore calls from my phone number (0752013306). It was taken from me by soldiers and am told they’re using it to call my friends pretending it is me.

2. Please ignore any communication from other social media accounts and pages under my name apart from this one (with a blue tick) and my verified twitter account (also with a blue tick).

Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine

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