Inside NRM move to continue engaging former opponents to serve, a ray of hope to Democracy &Β  Human rights

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Gone are the days when many senior politicians, top government dignitaries or even wealthy people were forced into exile just for opposing the sitting government.

In Uganda today, the story has changed to the extent that even those who goes in self proclaimed exile usually return home Uganda without being persuaded unlike before.

A few years ago, FDC founder Dr Besigye , Gen Tumukunde, NUP leader Bobi Wine among others did this gymnastic but soon died in their own movies.

Since 1966 when the then former executive Prime Minister, late Dr Apollo Obote fell out with the Buganda kingdom , until 1986 slightly before the new regime of NRA was rushed in, going into exile was the only available option to many Ugandans just for opposing the siting regime.

Notable names mainly from the violent opposition parties including UPC,FDC,DP and even rebel groups like LRA (North), Uganda Peoples Democratic Army (North) of former RDC late Col Walter Ochora , Uganda Peoples Army of late Peter Otai and Minister Musa Ecweru among others have remained serving in NRM.

(R) Former Minister Betty Bigombe with the then LRA top Command during one of the peace talks on the directive of President Yoweri Museveni in mid 2000.

To date, NRM has carefully maintained many former enemies in government including Betty Amongi, the daughter in law of former President Dr Obote, Gen Moses Alii former leader of TheΒ Uganda National Rescue FrontΒ (UNRF) in West Nile, Minister Musa Ecweru, the former commander in the then UPA rebel group in Teso among others.

Others are Ambassador Joy Ruth Aceng to Ottawa, former UPC diehard, deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa, former FDC guru, speaker Anita Among, former FDC prominent leader, Ambassador RebeccaΒ  Otengo, former UPC and FDC stalwart from Lango, Minister Beatrice Anywar, former FDC, and Daniel Omara Atubo, former lands Minister among others.

Minister Betty Amongi with husband Mp Jimmy Akena Obote, the current UPC leader.

Some of the Museveni’s former enemiesΒ  including the family of former President Tito Okello Lutwa whose son Henry Okello Oryem senior Minister in government as a senior Minister, Taban Amin , the son of the former President Idi Amin, Mp Agnes Linda Auma from Lira District, The daughter of former UNLA Commander late Gen David Oyite Ojok, have all remained in government.

Minister Henry Okello Oryem the son to former President late Gen Tito Okello Lutwa

As if this was not enough, President Museveni in 2005 Β funded the cost of repatriating the body of late Obote from Lusaka where he had died from.He then did the same to late UNLA Commander Colonel Ogole who had one time shot him during his five year bush war in Luwero but the deceased family remained hesitant.

President Museveni is further on record to have extended special support to various families of his former enemies.

Despite all these spirited attempts to talk peace and reconsider certain decisions of known opponents so as to serve the National interests, some opposition leaders have remained adamant.

What is strange in all this peanut resistance against NRM regime is that, the hard-core perpetrators are all safely living and have continued doing businesses in Uganda probably better than those in government.

Top on the list of known NRM opponents who are safely living in Uganda with big and vibrant business are NUP leader, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, DP leader Nobert Mao, UPC Jimmy Akena Obote, FDC leader DR Kizza Besigye, Rtd Gen Mugisha Muntu of ANT party, Cecilia Ogwal of UPC/UPC among others.

It should also be noted that NRM leader has since 1986 been rooting for the National reconciliation that saw various peace talks and clandestine political negotiations with opponents held across the country.

In 2007, LRA and government of Uganda engaged in a peace talk that never yielded but still government maintained commitment to restoring peace in Northern Uganda. To date, several former LRA rebel commanders and fighters have been incorporatedΒ  into the mighty UPDF and other intelligence services.

For a few years now, some selfish political actors in Uganda have remained blind to NRM peaceful approaches to dealing with divergent views as oppose to assassination as recently claimed by a one NUP leader Julius Katongole in Kampala.

For a moment, I wish to remind Katongole that whereas his hatred for NRM may be far from ending, Ugandans who have ever disagreed with NRM have remained settled in the country with may be extreme circumstancesΒ  some have faced arrest, detention and trial and Amy be released.

Like this same Katongole whose criminal record is clear including the recent one where he was arrested and later released over a reported rape case and even when he was accusedΒ  by his fellow NUP officials of pocketing money that he had collected to support some party members, NRM never followed him.

In 2009, NRM leadership engaged various Cultural leaders who had opposed the regime including Kabaka of Buganda HH Ronald Mwenda Mutebi but he was never assassinated neither was he arrested instead President Museveni rewarded Mengo by giving some of their property back.

On August 3rd , 2021, President Yoweri Museveni and Kabaka Ronald Mutebi held talks at State House, Nakasero.

β€œHeld a meeting with His Majesty the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II at Nakasero State Lodge. His Majesty was in the company of Owek. Charles Peter Mayiga and Prince David Wasajja. We discussed matters of mutual interest,” President Museveni said after the meeting.

When HH Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II paid a courtesy visit to President Museveni at State Lodge Nakasero in 2021

A section of religious leaders who had remained wild against the regime have often been engaged on peace matters by NRM system, none of the them has even been arrested on grounds ofΒ  opposing NRM.

Recently, I read with astonishment the shocking scandals of Julius Katongole, a prominent mobiliser of the National Unity Platform party-NUP that had been exposed in the local media.

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