Ugandan opposition icon Bobi Wine returned home after receiving treatment in the US for serious injuries that he said were inflicted during his arrest last month for treason.
The popular singer-turned-politician has become a role model for the country’s majority-teenage population but was recently accused of participating in a violent attack against a presidential motorcade, though his supporters claim that the state is harassing him because they see him as the greatest threat to long-serving and elderly president Yoweri Museveni’s ambitions to stand for a sixth term in 2021. The reality is a lot more complex than Wine being either a so-called “freedom fighter” or a “treasonous terrorist”, but before getting to that, a few facts need to be mentioned.
The first is that Wine is openly supported by the US, as documented in detail by Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher Tony Cartalucci in his recent piece for Journal NEO, and that he’s more of a typical Color Revolutionary demagogue than a serious politician with a clear vision for the future. For better or for worse, Wine and his supporters lack the political experience necessary for managing a country with such serious developmental, political, and security challenges as Uganda, though his appeal is partly due to him being the polar opposite of Museveni.
The incumbent leader came out on top in the country’s civil war and has prioritized a security-centric domestic policy since then, which he claims has kept Uganda stable while his detractors allege that it’s turned it into a “dictatorship”. Another point is that Museveni was one of the US’ primary proxies during the disastrous Congo Wars that ultimately killed upwards of 5 million people but established Uganda as a regional military hegemon.
This makes it superficially strange why the US would turn against its trusted ally, but the reality is that Museveni has been trying to “balance” the US with China over the past decade and is poised to play a pivotal transit role in the East African Silk Road through the possible extension of Kenya’s Chinese-built Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) into his country and beyond to Central Africa. Another point is that the US has an interest in preemptively guiding inevitable leadership transitions just like it did in Egypt and Tunisia when it betrayed its two trusted partners there, so it’s not unprecedented that it would do the same in Uganda, too.
As such, Bobi Wine has become the US’ Color Revolution figurehead in Uganda, but that doesn’t mean that anti-government sentiment in and of itself should be discredited because the people have more than enough legitimate grievances against Museveni. The most troubling aspect about this, however, is that most of Wine’s supporters are teenagers, and manipulating them into carrying out acts of violence against the state could lead to the police being forced to turn their weapons on what are legally classified as “children”, thus potentially prompting a public relations disaster for Museveni that might be exploited for sanctions purposes.
The post presented is the partial transcript of the CONTEXT COUNTDOWN radio program on Sputnik News, aired on Friday Sep 28, 2018:
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.
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