I would like to differ from Abbey Semuwemba who said that an internal revolt cannot get rid of Museveni without foreign help. For people who have studied the science of non-violence mechanism of regime change, there is no doubt that Ugandans can effectively cause regime change though non-violence; there are a few ingredients that need fine tuning and that “invulnerability” of the regime will be exposed. As some people points out, just one trigger at the right time will make people overcome the fear that has sustained the Kampala regime; only one trigger will send our “powerful” guys scampering for safety abroad or bunkers, just watch the trend of events, we are surely moving in that direction.
Can you imagine Gen. David Tinyefunza who had threatened to arrest the KCCA Director, had to quit when public uproar reigned on him and the NRM regime? That is the kind of sustained non-violent protest, soon Mabira Forest give-away will not take place because of persistent protests; if people can sustain the protests in their varying forms, positive results will be achieved. If Tinyefunza can shallow his own words, and he is intelligence overall commander, tell me how the regime can stay in power if people give the same kind of resistance that was shown to Tinyefunza.
Meanwhile, members should examine carefully how the Tunisians, Egyptians and now the Libyans were able to overcome the fear they had nursed for decades in order to shake the most powerful regimes; Uganda is less comparable to Egypt or Libya in terms of military prowess, once people overcome fear, the guys will go! People should ask themselves for how long they will keep begging for their rights without getting them, and who gave those in power the right to abuse the population through their corrupt tendencies and poor service delivery?
True, regime change through nonviolence is very likely once the right triggers come that make people overcome their fear. Nonviolence is possible if people do exert their determination. There is one thing that we have to remember, nonviolence requires determination to produce desired regime change. However, if we go for nonviolence but don’t expect to be beaten or denied venues for protests, then we really don’t know what we are faced with.
Take for example when a pregnant woman was shot at the stomach with intestines coming out during the ‘walk to work’ protests, then the Masaka child innocently killed, then the beating of Dr. Kiiza Besigye by police in broad daylight moreover in a major street, and the public reaction to it, we see a population that is not united, those three incidences were a real test for Ugandans, and sadly, the government got its way.
Now look again at events that unfolded at Makerere University: a public university is closed by word of one person lecturers are threatened with expulsion, students have been sent home for no mistake of theirs, and what is our taxpayer doing? Nothing, some have joined the government in blaming lecturers, nobody is trying to come to the core of the matter by asking what caused such a situation; the lecturers are asking for their money which was taken, instead of helping the lecturers to recover the money, they have been accused, and we members of the public continue with our business as though nothing has happened. We are going to receive public servants who have not completed stipulated course requirements then we shall cry that there is poor service delivery when the problem began long time ago when those occupying offices did not get thorough preparation while at school; some people will argue that they will be given a crush program to complete course units that were missed during the strike; yes, crush program, and that is where the problem comes; no time for good research as required in good universities!
Nonviolence requires participants to discard fear and know their rights; see what sparked outrage in Tunisia that showed government exit; just one wheel-burrow pusher started it all! Ugandans must learn to identify with each other in order to fight for their rights otherwise they will continue to cry over suffering meted out by the government without end. Unity if strength, we are often reminded.
Peter Simon Okurut