Verbatim: Besigye’s speech that has stirred a storm

VERBATIM | On Friday, Opposition leader Kizza Besigye addressed FDC Kampala leaders conference. He fielded several questions, including one on which he had to address the issue of tribalism in politics. Below is the video recording of his speech and the transcribed version.

“There is a lot of propaganda by the regime, to first destroy and annihilate those that have opposed the regime for long, and thereafter, deal with the rest.

The propaganda in overdrive, nowadays, is also partly, to drive a tribal nationalistic agenda. If we don’t deal with it in it’s initial stages, it could become a national problem.

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This propaganda, also partly, targets my person on the basis of my origins, to suggest and insinuate that Besigye and Museveni- because they are all from Western Uganda- are the same. You have heard and you know who are propagating this form of propaganda. This form of propaganda has gone far and wide.

The propaganda is unbearably too much but no one is concerned about it. That Besigye and Museveni or any other person from Western Uganda is the same as Museveni. That people from Buganda have been used and exploited for too long. You have heard them.

You hear phrases like Foolish Galatians (Abagalattiya). Who are the foolish Galatians they refer to?

You hear other coded messages like Mweebereremu. Baani? Baffe!

These are coded messages that are used casually and leisurely but with potentially tribal nationalism agenda. If we don’t minimise them, there is a likelihood of danger in future; they pose danger to the unity of our country.

Somalia of today didn’t become a collapsed state because it didn’t have intelligent people. No. There are intelligent people in Somalia who fell victims of tribal and religious identity.

Matters of identity are complex. If anyone manipulates your identity, either by religion, culture or tribe, it can be dangerous!

So it’s not true that all people from Western Uganda are the same as Museveni. We must judge people on the basis of their actions and not ancestry (origin). If someone is bad, he is bad because he is bad, not because of where they come from.

In 2017, we mobilised posho for starving people of Ankole, where Museveni comes from. Of course all people from Western Uganda are perceived to be like Museveni, but when People of Isingiro were starving, they were less of Ugandans?

Let me also tell you this. In the whole of Uganda today, Museveni faces greatest opposition in Western Uganda. Today, Museveni is more unpopular in Ankole than anywhere.

I can also tell you that the opposition and resistance Museveni faces in Mbarara, Rukungiri, Kabale, Kasese is bigger than he is facing in Kampala. Those people in Western Uganda today, fight harder and more resolutely than people of Kampala.

The problem is that Museveni put a lot of effort and resources demobilising Kampala and Wakiso than any other parts of Uganda and we penetrated those areas. But it is also because cost of living in Kampala makes it impossible for people to stay fighting for years while faced with many financial challenges. Some give up.

But it’s also true that most corrupt people in Uganda today, are from the Western Uganda. But we know these people. Why can’t we confront them as a unit and fight them together instead of relating with them by identity?”

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