By Ronaldo Kalangi and Andrew Irumba
Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine on Friday caused a stampede in Masaka Town as he joined other opposition leaders for Democratic Party retreat at Masaka Liberation square .
As the speeches were going on ,when the crowds heard that Bobi Wine had arrived, they started chatting and singing people power slogans which disrupted the programme. The organisers had to halt their communication until Bobi Wine got where to sit. At some point,the crowds made it hard for Bobi to penetrate through the ‘thick’ crowds to his intended seat,police had to come in to create a small path for him to pass.
Later Police and the army intervened to make sure that the whole of Masaka town was free from any riots.
The reunion was attended by several opposition bigwigs like former DP President Paul Kawanga Ssemwogerere, Gen Mugisha Muntu, Paul Mwiru, Mukasa Mbidde among other leaders.
Below is Bobi Wine’s Speech
The President General of the Democratic Party,
Fellow leaders at different levels,
All the dignitaries Present,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am much honored to speak at this reunion event, and grateful to Hon. Mao, the Democratic Party leadership and the UYD leadership for consistently inviting me to address our people who gather at such events.
This is my first opportunity to address a public gathering after the Arua events. I am very grateful to God for enabling me to stand before you today. I do not take it for granted. As you all know, I could have died in Arua if I had not left that seat. I would have taken the bullets which took our comrade Yasin Kawuma. If I had not left that seat, I wouldn’t be here today. Therefore I am grateful to God, for, I believe it was by His purpose that I left that seat. There must be a reason why my life was spared. I do not think it was just a coincidence. There must be a reason why I did not die as a result of the vicious torture and beatings that I was later subjected to. There must be a reason why I did not die in the several military prisons I was taken to. It is for a purpose and I will seek to fulfil that purpose whenever I get opportunity. This is why even when I have not fully recovered, I decided to come and interact with you here in Masaka, comrades in the struggle.
Before I move away from Arua, I want us to pause and reflect on what lessons we have individually and collectively learnt. The lessons are many and we shall continue to reflect on them. However, at a personal level I learnt that I must always do what I must do whenever I have the opportunity to. As Martin Luther King told us, the time is always right to do what is right. Many times I meet young people who are passionate and patriotic. Who are fully aware of the problems of our country! They are even passionate about playing a role in redeeming our country. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, or for no reason at all, they decide to postpone their involvement in the struggle. Often times, we decide to postpone to next month or next year. What happened to us in Arua taught me that today is the day. Not tomorrow.
Because friends, we cannot tell what will happen tomorrow. As I left my home for Arua two days earlier with our comrades, we thought we were only going to campaign for our candidate and return in one piece. But events took a different turn. Let me encourage all of you not to wait any longer. Do what you have to do to build a new Uganda. My friends the professionals, those in the informal sector, those who are unemployed- let us all play our role when we can. Before you go to sleep every day, as you take stock of the day’s joys or sorrows, as you think about the profits or the losses, also ask yourself what contribution you have made towards our struggle for freedom. I am hopeful than ever that we are closer to victory than we have ever been. The balance of forces is in our favor. Soon and very soon, the people shall win. And yes, the people shall govern.
We must remember that it will not come easy. As Nelson Mandela said, there is no easy walk to freedom. Our struggle will not be different from the others in the past. Some of us have already paid a price and we are ready, if it means paying more. Because I am convinced that freedom does not come to those who cry, but to those who struggle for it. And those who struggle for it must be willing to sacrifice.
Today we meet seven days after the commemoration of the Democratic Party founding father’s brutal murder by the Idi Amin regime. On 21st September 1972, Benedicto Kiwanuka was abducted from the High Court building and murdered by the regime of the time. Those who killed him thought that they had achieved it all. I am sure that day, they congratulated themselves for the work well done. Just like President Museveni has been congratulating some people for torturing us and killing our people. But the fact that we gather here today is evidence that ideas do not die. He was killed, but what he stood for could not be killed. Benedicto Kiwanuka envisioned a united country built on justice, democracy and equality. Today we are here speaking about those principles which he cherished. Those who killed him are long gone. I have no doubt in my mind that those who oppress us today will one day go and Uganda will be free. Our generation is called upon to step up and act.
What we must do is reflect those values which we want to see. I call upon all of us to live exemplary lives. As we fight injustice we should practice justice. As we condemn greed, we should shun it. As we fight against dictatorship, let us learn to build consensus. As we wage war against self-seeking leaders, let us be selfless as we conduct ourselves whether there are cameras or not.
I will repeat that People Power is for all of us. Far too long I have made it clear that it is not about me. And while I am willing to take on the mantle and play my part in this struggle, we must understand that I cannot do it alone. Neither can Hon. Mao, Dr. Besigye or Gen. Muntu. Neither can FDC, DP, UPC or Jeema. No political party, no political leader, no organization will achieve this victory alone. We must work together as Ugandans or continue to be chewed together. I will reiterate this- we must unite. At least we have some fruits to look at. When we united after the Arua events- when we spoke with one voic-, you saw how they started panicking. The regime is on its knees. That is why at the sound of People Power they bring out all manner of weapons. Because friends, those who we fear actually fear us most.
As we grew up, our parents used to tell us interesting stories. One of those stories went like this. Once upon a time, the cockerel was the king of all animals. At the time, it ruled over the lions, the tigers, the leopards, the elephants, etc. You can imagine a mere hen ruling over the animal kingdom. But what was its secret? It deceived other animals that its red comb was too hot. It made sure that propaganda was spread all over that if you came close to it, you would immediately burn. All animals feared it and for many years it ruled over them and made them do whatever it wanted. It oppressed them. But one day, there was rain and it became too cold. All animals wanted fire but they hand no place to find it. So the rabbit organized a meeting and called all animals. It asked to be paid so that it would go and get fire from the cockerels’ head. When the animals had paid it, the hare went into Mr. cockerel’s house in the deep of the night. It moved very slowly and put a piece of wood on the comb of this cockerel. To its disappointment, the thing was as cold as ice. And as the story goes, that was the end of the cockerel’s kingdom. The day we understand our power, and the deception of those who rule over us, we shall free ourselves from oppression.
I thank you all for listening to me.
God bless you, and God bless our country Uganda.
People Power –Our Power.