UGANDA: Talks between Bosco and Kefefe revealed
Museveni-Besigye MoU details leak
Top on the agenda is an audit of the 2016 presidential election results; which, people on both sides knowledgeable on the matter, said divided the parties from the outset and stymied progress.
Details of a Memorandum of Understanding that the duo signed in February 2017, which this newspaper is publishing for the first time, show that President Museveni and Dr Besigye signed up to discuss the state of rule of law in the country; a people first principle encapsulating human rights, corruption and governance; pan-Africanism and East Africa integration; and, any other business.
The principals agreed on Sweden as a broker of the intended talks, with the European country’s state secretary, Ms Annika Söder, as facilitator.
She flew into the country last year for “exploratory” conversations with both the President and Dr Besigye, and the visit gave a momentum to the shuttle diplomacy spearheaded by Ambassador Adonia Ayebare, Uganda’s permanent representative to the United Nations.
Our investigations show that the two sides named their negotiating teams, handpicking a mix of young turks and senior ideologues, and a place for the talks was proposed outside Kampala.
It had been planned that the principals would hold a one-on-one talk and have a joint media briefing to preview the cardinal issues, as well as a photo opportunity, to set the tenor of exchange by their emissaries.
The nomenclature for the signatories, individuals familiar with the process told this newspaper, was deliberate to restrict the discussions as an undertaking between the two leading candidates of the last presidential ballot.
NRM protagonists argued that Mr Museveni had won the election handily and he had been sworn-in as President while hawkish elements within the ruling party questioned altogether the rationale of him talking with a group that had been defeated in an election.
“The 2016 election over which we demanded an audit (since I had been under illegal detention and not able to petition court) is now in the past,” he wrote in response to our enquiries.
“We are presently focused on other mechanisms to bring NRM/Museveni junta to an end as soon as possible.”
“As far as we are concerned, the minister Annika-led process is on course and if there is any significant development, we will communicate it to the public,” he said.
The optimism about the initiative seemed at odds with the assertion by Dr Besigye, the only other principal, that he did not know the “circumstances under which chairman Birigwa” resurrected the subject.
Mr Birigwa told the August 27 press conference that the talks were crucial to pull the country from the precipice “so that our children do not go into exile or lose their lives.”
“…We should sit immediately and draw an agenda that is agreeable and take our country forward,” he said then.
Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga, while condemning what he said was state-directed brutality against unarmed citizens, called for principled dialogue. After the immediate post-2016 vote civil disturbances appeared to have petered out, political tension has again been on the rise in the country in recent weeks, manifesting in heavy military deployment on city streets and soldiers showing up to brutally suppress demonstrations that police has the responsibility to handle.
Several civilians have been shot dead or injured, bringing misery and anger to individual families and shadow boxing between Opposition and the government.
One initiative of the Elders Forum led by retired Justice James Ogoola collapsed like another championed by the Uganda Joint Christian Council while similar efforts by the Women Situation Room, a civil society group that monitored the 2016 ballot and seek to prevent conflict, did not go anywhere.
—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: September 05, 2018 at 04:09PM