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“My Civil Protest against Museveni”

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by ByaseL, May 4, 2011.

  1. B

    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    May 4, 2011
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
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    In Summary
    Mr Benji Ndolo, a Kenyan consultant with several Kenyan Civil societies was over the weekend whisked away from a Nairobi hotel where President Yoweri Museveni addressed a forum ‘Mindspeak’ because he had booed the Ugandan President. Below are his reasons for his civil protest.

    “On Saturday 30 April I arrived at the Intercontinental hotel to interact and share with other Kenyan professionals from the private sector, civil society and media. The name of the forum was mind speak an annual event.

    Prior to the president’s arrival, speaker after speaker took to the podium and waxed lyrical about the importance of Kenya getting a grip on its affairs and positioning itself in its rightful place in the world by first getting serious about good governance, clean politics, eliminating tribalism and strengthening the economy and democracy.

    The Swiss ambassador explained that his
    own country faced a similar economic and food crisis a century ago. They had to think hard about what to do to create a just society. A small Swiss minority was fabulously wealthy while a large majority was going hungry at the same time.

    After a coffee break courtesy of Nation group CEO Linus Gitahi who paid out of pocket because it was unplanned for the president to take 3 hours to arrive, Museveni finally walked in accompanied by PNU metropolitan development minister Njeru Githae.

    The president was relaxed and begun his speech on Economic Rights and Social transformation with an analogy about insects and their metamorphosis from egg to pupa, lavae to adult. The president was affable. But it is important to define Museveni.

    After decades of terror and rampage occasioned on Ugandans by Idi Amin Dada and Milton Obote, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni a young soldier fought a guerilla war to power restoring Ugandans’ collective dignity and returning the country to normalcy and decency. But that was 25 years ago.

    Slowly but surely President Museveni has begun his slide back down the path of intolerance and dictatorship. For the past one month, Ugandan forces have systematically and consistently brutalized unarmed citizen’s men and women walking to work to protest against the very high cost of living because of sky high food and fuel prices.

    Of course there is a political component to these protests given that they are even led by his opponent Dr Kize Besigye but does that justify beatings, shootings and spraying human skin and eyes with copious amounts of acidic pepper?

    As I sat listening to Museveni crack jokes and the audience roaring in laughter, I realized that the whole event was too casual and that for a fact a victim of Museveni’s brutality was admitted at Nairobi Hospital 7 minutes drive from where we were sitting, going blind. Our attendance of Museveni’s forum was dignifying him and giving him aid and comfort. Initially, I felt I should walk out. But to just stand up and walk out alone as a head of State speaks, constitutes a security breach and does not say much. Or they would think perhaps because I wasn’t feeling well, or was pressed for a short bathroom call. I stayed calm. But as the president spoke, and paused, I interjected.

    “Mr President, it’s very difficult for us to sit here and listen to you as Kenyans when daily you are brutalizing innocent, unarmed Ugandans. Why are you allowing this Sir…” I was swiftly apprehended by four officers and bundled into a GK land rover outside.
    Several of my friends subsequently called and opined that it may have been better to wait Q&A session and confront Museveni with ideas. But that argument misses the point. The whole point of a civil protest is to necessitate change not to accommodate. I was sending a strong message to the President of Uganda and to the people of Uganda that Kenyans are democratic and won’t stand for human rights abuses.

    We can only move our countries and region forward by embracing dialogue, tolerance, principle and integrity. Not by military violence, propaganda and platitudes. Top on my mind was the fact that the Ugandan president was present at Uhuru Park when we promulgated our Constitution last year, a progressive document which is very strong on justice, fairness and individual rights and freedoms enshrined in Article 33.

    I explained to the police that our president is not perfect but he’s a democrat and doesn’t batter protestors. I strongly feel that President Museveni by battering Ugandans is betraying the ideals of our common humanity, is at odds with principles of Uganda, Kenya the region and the world. It is the same thing Quaddafi stands accused of today in the court of public opinion and possibly soon in a legal court as well.
    The Kenyan police treated me professionally and well. But one senior officer laboriously explained that I shouldn’t try to be “Jesus” as the world is a difficult place and poor people will always be there. Regretfully this may be conventional wisdom in the establishment. After being released without being charged, I watched an angry Museveni berate a stoic and composed Linus Kaikai during an interview where he called the journalist “the evangelist of civilization”. I must say that was some quality journalism from Mr. Kaikai.

    The challenges of the third world are well known and documented and will never be solved by posturing, deceit or cheap tribal politics. Rather it will take selfless leadership, sacrifice and commitment on the part of leadership to inspire Africans, implement good policy and bring fresh ideas to create opportunity and lift the masses out of poverty and desperation.

    I remember after the Madoff trial in New York last year, his wife was informed by a hair stylist that she was not welcome to the salon any more because of all the suffering her family had caused by fleecing citizens. I have no ill will toward the president. I respect him as an elder Statesman and like a father. But we must not tolerate bad behavior from a councilor, governor or president. We must stand for truth, say what we mean and mean what we say. On Saturday, I expressed my displeasure with the goings-on in Uganda. At the risk of irritating comrades in attendance at mindspeak, I stood up for democracy. I spoke my mind. I have no regrets.
  2. Manumbu

    Manumbu JF-Expert Member

    May 5, 2011
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
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    Shame....where M7 has reached! Waafrika bwana, lazima tuishie kule kule....halafu tunalalamikia West! No, guys we have to take stock of what we are and do and not through blames to others all the time. some things tunavisababisha wenyewe kwa kweli