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07.11.2010 Uganda

'The Correct Line' Is an Eye Opener to All Ugandans

By Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba
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Dear Ugandans,
It has taken me just six hours to finish reading Olive Kobusingye's 'The Correct Line', and I wonder what the fuss over the book was all about when it was impounded at Entebbe Airport by the state. There is nothing in the book that was not already known to the public apart from the fact that it may be helpful to people who are still bathed in Musevenism and anti-Besigyesm.

Safe Houses
I was mostly touched by three chapters and one them was Chapter 9 which talks about 'safe houses' and how people are treated while down there. It can make one very angry and at the same time so disappointed with the current government. The kind of inhuman treatment people are subjected to; speak volumes of the Nazism embedded in African politics in general. How can any human being subject another human being to such appalling level of torture just because one has been ordered to do so? The case that particularly drove me almost to tears was that of a lady called Kesanyu who ended up with pus coming out of her private parts while in a 'safe house', simply because she was a Besigye supporter in elections in Rukungiri and therefore someone arrested her on tramped up charges. Her story is so touching such that one can only find it in one of those nasty films we normally watch on TV.

Chapter 11 is another one that needs to be read by anybody who thinks that Besigye merely lost the 2001 and 2006 elections and, therefore, does not deserve another shot at the presidency. In this chapter, Olive acknowledges the role played by Beti Kamya in Reform Agenda in 2001-2004. The ordeal the Besigye family has gone through is also mentioned again, particularly on how they were all forced into exile at some point; how Khidu Mukubuya misused his position as Attorney General to try to keep Besigye's face off the 2006 ballot papers; but most importantly the chapter shows how the 2006 elections were rigged.

Basically, Dr.Kiggundu Commission produced its own results in 2006 according to this book and as of now, I have lost total respect the EC Chairnman. How can any principled man remain in that position after what the world witnessed in 2006? It's disgusting and hurting at the same time. No wonder some people I know are not going to waste time voting in these elections.

Death of Besigye's brother
Chapter 15 will make anybody feel for the Besigyes or Kifefes as Dr.Olive Kobusingye describes the ordeal her kid brother, Musasizi, went through in prison before his death. There is a particular statement in this chapter that caught my eye and it goes like:' anyone who wanted to know what it was like to oppose Museveni need never wonder. And having a young brother die in this manner seemed so much a part of that wretched role'.

The Besigye family don't know me but let me hope that it's not too late for me to send my condolences to Dr.Olive, Catherine ( Musasizi's wife) and her family. Where is the humanity left in our leaders today after this experience? I'm also so disappointed in the professionals at Mulago who kept refusing to write a medical report such that Besigye's brother could get bail and possibly better treatment. They left him to the dogs and it was so sad.

Media and Elections
The Newvision has always been pro-Museveni and this is not going to change in this year's presidential elections. But I suspect that they will try to give fair coverage in these elections to 'state friendly' candidates such as Mao, Bidandi and Kamya whose message has been anti-Besigye and IPC even before the campaigns kicked off.

According to Kobusingye's 'The Correct Line', The Newvision got their story wrong on Okwir Rabwoni's defection to the the Museveni camp during the 2001 elections. This story itself simply shows that Newvision are always used by the incumbent as a PR machine. According to Kobusingye, it seems Ameria Kyambadde and General Tinyenfunza were the brains behind the Okwir Rwaboni defection story such that she(America) was disappointed when Rwaboni did not show up at a youth conference at Ranch on Lake Side Hotel. Newvision had already gone with the front page about Rwabwoni's defection to the Museveni camp yet he (Rwaboni) spent the night at Kiza Besigye's house dining with their family.

Tramped up charges
Lastly, I request Ugandans not to believe so much what you read in papers, particularly the Newvision and Bukedde. Some of these papers are used to stitch up the opposition activists or candidates .Some of these stories are meant to make someone look too bad which I find to be the lowest point of journalism in our country.

For instance, according to Kobusingye's 'The Correct Line', two members of parliament from Northern Uganda were arrested and put in prison over tramped up charges. An opposition activist, a certain Peter Olaya Yumbe was arrested and later killed in prison. Basing on these experiences, we should read FDC 's Godi story with a pinch of salt because you never know what this government is capable of.

I'm not siding with anybody but I'm merely pointing out that the NRM government is very good at stitching up people from the opposition. As it is pointed out in the 'Correct Line', an NRM chairman, Alfred Bongomin, was murdered in 2002 in Gulu by unknown people, but the government went an extra length to stitch up some people in the opposition for this murder. If you can also remember, MPs : FDC's Reagan Okumu and Michael Ochura were also once upon a time arrested over the murder of the same NRM chairman in 2005 before their acquittal some time later.Besigye has been arrested and tried by the same government over tramped up charges before he was finally acquitted of the treason charges this year by the constitutional court.

So maybe there are those who never got as luck as Besigye,Okumu and others to be acquitted by courts, and they are still rotting in prisons. In the same vein, we cannot be sure of the accusations being laid against MP Gudi because the pointing finger cannot be trusted. Yes, there is a possibility that Gudi might have murdered his wife but how can we be sure of this if he is being tried in a system that is capable of stitching up anybody for crimes they never committed.

All in all, those who can afford should buy this book and send it to their friends and family as a Christmas present because it's worth reading.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

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