DEAR Dr. Besigye,
I will not talk about the outcome of the 2016 Uganda presidential elections. The winner is obvious to any perceptive person who has eyes and is willing to see.
Instead, I am writing to you for an entirely different reason: to acknowledge the tremendous sacrifices you’ve made to your country and us the citizens over the years, but most especially since 2001 when you first contested for presidency.
Thank you for being the voice for the voiceless. For the politically oppressed. For the poor who can’t access justice. For the victims of state violence. For the local investors suffering under the weight of an over burdening tax regime, when foreign investors are welcomed with tax holidays.
Thank you for being the voice for the unemployed youth, most of whom are the products of an education system oblivious to the demands of the day. For the downtown traders inconvenienced everyday through inhumane evictions by an overzealous city administration and greedy yet untouchable politicians and tycoons; their only crime being the search for a day’s honest income.
Thank you for fighting to improve the welfare of the very police and army personnel who have played a key role in terrorizing and indignifying your person over the years. You are one of a kind indeed.
Thank you for looking state-sponsored injustice right in the face and saying “Enough is enough!”. Thank you for never abandoning the struggle to liberate us from the ‘liberator’, a struggle for which you and your family have had to pay dearly.
Thank you for being one of the few and too few indeed senior politicians of Uganda if not Africa’s post-independence period that have exemplified to us the African youth a perfect example of what leadership should be all about: Selflessness. Sacrifice. Courage. Perseverance. Determination. Accountability.
Thank you for keeping the country’s flame of hope burning despite the odds. Hope that things can and will get better. That the leadership can and will get more accountable. That infrastructure can and will improve. That service delivery can and will improve. That state sponsored brutality against its own subjects can and will end. That forced disappearances can and will end. That poverty can and will reduce. That the poor too can and will access justice. That discrimination in public service on account of ethnicity can and will end. Hope that everything can and will get better.
Thank you for inspiring an entire generation of youth to always put the good of others before our own. And for showing us that there is more honour in fighting for a cause you believe in than sitting down and resigning to your fate, or choosing to bootlick your oppressor.
Thank you for having unconditional faith in humanity. Faith that regardless of what is and has been done wrong, those responsible can have a change of heart and do the right thing. Faith that we as a nation can get over our historical differences, unite as one and act for the common good. I have no doubt that yours is faith that will be vindicated.
As I write this you are under arrest, but take heart. They may take away your liberty. They may take away your dignity. They may deprive you of every right you have, but take heart. Take heart that they will never take away from you the honour that your actions have brought upon you in our eyes. Posterity world-over will remember you as a martyr who fought for human rights, rule of law and social justice in a country where doing so was treasonable.
As a nation, we are indebted to you. We shall never forget your sacrifices, and may your family never lack anything. May God Bless you endlessly.
You are a hero.
3rd Year Student of Law,
DISCLAIMER: The thoughts expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily or collectively reflect those of Campusbee, it’s staff, editors or proprietors.