Ugandan President Gen (Rtd) Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni, in a recent interview with the BBC, has signaled a remarkable shift in his approach towards collaboration with opposition figures Dr Kizza Besigye and Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine.
Despite a history marked by political discord, President Museveni expressed his openness to offering significant positions and fostering cooperation with these prominent leaders from the opposition.
Having maintained his grip on power since 1986 following a challenging five-year bush war, Museveni acknowledged the crucial roles played by both Besigye and Bobi Wine in shaping Uganda’s political landscape.
Dr. Besigye, who once served as President Museveni’s personal physician during the aforementioned bush war, transitioned to opposition politics after holding ministerial positions and leadership roles within Museveni’s party.
Bobi Wine, a charismatic pop star, gained political prominence in the 2021 election, with his National Unity Platform (NUP) overtaking Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) as the primary opposition party. Despite Bobi Wine’s electoral challenge and his NUP party claiming victory, Museveni secured another term.
President Museveni’s outreach to opposition figures extends beyond his previous collaboration with Democratic Party leader Norbert Mao, whom he appointed as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Minister after the 2021 election. Museveni expressed his readiness to provide similar opportunities to Besigye and Bobi Wine.
Responding to inquiries about working with these opposition leaders, Museveni remarked, “No problem [giving Bobi Wine and Besigye jobs and working with them].
I was working with [Paul Kawanga] Ssemogerere in 1996. He is the one who left us,” referring to past collaborations. However, both Bobi Wine and Besigye have previously outlined conditions for engaging in discussions with President Museveni, hinting at potential challenges in reaching a consensus.
The president’s willingness to engage in dialogue and collaboration represents a notable development in Uganda’s political landscape, opening up possibilities for increased cooperation and inclusivity.