By Bobi Wine:
Yesterday, I was very delighted to address the Ugandan Diaspora who are gathered in Boston for our first Annual Retreat, being held under the theme “Strategy for Sustainability.”
My communication focused on the following:
1. Sent greetings to the participants at the event and thanked them for organising and attending the Retreat, the first of its kind.
2. Yet again apologised for my inability to be personally present, but promised to visit their different states as soon as possible.
3. Appreciated them for the protest event dubbed #UgandaActionDay they held outside the UN Headquarters a day earlier during the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly attended by most world leaders. I emphasised that the objective of such protests is to show the world that it is both immoral and unacceptable for the world to look on while a regime rigs elections, murders people, and does other heinous crimes.
4. Appreciated countries of the world which are standing with oppressed Ugandans. I recognised that while we are grateful to those countries, we believe they can do more to call out Gen. Museveni’s regime of blood and national shame.
5. Appreciated the Ugandan diaspora for a great job done since the #PeoplePower movement started. The activism, the networks and above all the support they have rendered have been phenomenal. For the first time in many years, the diaspora is directly and massively involved in liberation efforts.
6. Emphasised that #DictatorMuseveni is very scared of the role of the diaspora because he knows its potential. In the 1980s when he was fighting, he relied on the External Wing of NRA to demonise Obote and mobilise against him. Unfortunately, he has turned out worse than the Obote he demonised all over the world.
7. Told the meeting that the role of the diaspora in a liberation struggle cannot be over emphasised. A lot of what we have achieved so far is because of the work done in the diaspora- fundraising, supporting foot soldiers, raising voices, etc. That is why the regime is investing millions of dollars now to pay lobbyists to cleanse its blood stained image. That is why they are doing everything possible to infiltrate, disorganise and interfere with our diaspora leadership. That is why regime sponsored propagandists have emerged in different parts of the world to demonise our struggle and openly discourage people from continuing the course of the revolution. That is why the regime has deployed spies in major places to monitor diaspora activities. I called upon everyone to be alert and vigilant while courageously defending the cause.
8. Reassured our people that we won the January 14th election, but Gen. Museveni using the EC, the military and all state organs usurped the victory of the people. Was this not expected? Definitely. But using abductions and the November killings, he suppressed the people and prevented them from being able to demand their victory.
9. Reminded all comrades that struggling against a dictatorship is not a sprint, it is a marathon. We must be mentally prepared to go all the way. In terms of tactics, we should do everything possible for the dictatorship to fall today. But in terms of strategy we must look not only at today, but the future as well, encouraged by the fact that few movements or causes have been able to weaken and expose entrenched dictatorships in the same manner as we have done in a short time. This is not the time to give up or be discouraged. This is a time to dust ourselves, rise up and continue moving.
10. Told our people that to give up would be to submit ourselves into the hands of a brutal, cold despot. To give up is to give in our children and their children to be ruled by Museveni, his son and his grand children. It is now clear to everyone that Museveni is building a monarchy and an empire in Uganda. The abductions of our people, the torture, the arrest of Ssegirinya and Ssewanyana, the killings in Masaka, etc are all geared towards the establishment of a monarchy. The suspicious death of prominent people, including religious leaders needs a careful thought.
11. Told our people to be careful and resist temptation to be compromised. Gen. Museveni and his family are now on a shopping spree. Using money borrowed on behalf of Ugandans as well as money squeezed from our poor people in taxes, they are trying to buy and co-opt anybody that is willing to be bought from singers, academicians, civil society actors, religious leaders, etc. It is such a shame that many people are willing to sell the future of their country for short term benefits, but it is critical that the real revolutionaries resist this. The assurance we have is that the ordinary citizens of Uganda, who are more oppressed by the system are on the side of change.
12. Emphasised the critical importance of the retreat, and encouraged an open exchange of views and ideas. We need to see where we have come from, where we are and what we must do to progress from here.
God bless you. God bless Uganda.