Many Ugandans (including me) had always believed opposition presidential candidate for life, Kizza Besigye, is a very courageous man. Now I’ve realized this is not entirely true. Here is why;
Besigye has built his brand by presenting himself as the tough guy who can take the Museveni bull by the horns. Because of the beatings he has endured on the streets, tear gas, jail and pepper spray, and yet remained true to his views, Besigye has become an icon in the eyes of many.
However during my discussions with him I realized that this external show of bravery and belligerence masks a deeper personal insecurity. Besigye is now terrified to enter hold talks with Museveni even for the good of the country because he fears that his fanatical extremist supporters will see this as selling out.
Besigye may not be afraid of Museveni’s militarism but he is terrified of his radical fanatical base’s extremism. So courage in confronting the state is only matched by cowardice in facing his radical extremist fanatics. Besigye is now a hostage of his fanatics who control his every word and every move.
The label of sellout hangs on the head of every Museveni critic who tries to build a middle ground for the good of the country. It takes enormous courage for a Museveni critic to stand firm and say: I don’t agree with the president but on this and that he has done a great job.
It also requires a lot of personal integrity to credit a leader you have spent so much time criticizing. Sadly Besigye lacks both this kind of courage and integrity to even dare credit Museveni with anything. He is simply a coward. He cannot take on radical extremists and face their wrath the way we have done on this page.