Enough with Mwenda’s mercenary propaganda

Morris Komakech

At his 2016 inaugural speech, Museveni assured the nation that he would terminate all opposition by 2021.

Since then, Andrew Mwenda has gained reputation as the man on this mission by exploiting that window of opportunity to make fortune. By promising to eliminate opposition, many understood Museveni to have meant containing the influence of Rtd. Dr. Kiiza Besigye, his arch political nemesis.

The 2016 elections was the climax of election rigging mixed with a coup – military operation code named Fagia Uchafu, a swahili term to mean clean the dirt, or the unwashed from claiming power. That coup defined what should constitute politics of electioneering, quite discernible from democracy – a contested concept in the political discourse of Museveni’s Uganda.

This article is not about democracy or obvious lack thereof. The purpose is to bring a spotlight on Andrew Mwenda’s violence. We have watched and read the violent verbal and psychological assault that Mwenda launches on our conscience, and against the opposition leaders with their organizations without countering.

Mr. Mwenda is a senior journalist, a political and economist hawk, at times presented as a strategist obscurantist. Mwenda might have legitimately earned his position in society as everything he claims to be, and he is within his constitution and human rights to exploiting his this capital for his own end.

I have taken the liberty to review some Mwenda articles written since Museveni’s 2016 swearing in speech and it is obvious that both Mwenda and Museveni have targeted Dr Besigye and FDC for immobilizing.

Until the rise of the youthful Kyadondo East MP, Hon. Robert S. Kyagulanyi, Mwenda’s violent and virulent attack concentrated on Dr Besigye and FDC. The attacks were so intense that it attracted a rebuke from the amiable Hon. Norbert Mao (Read Daily Monitor 01/11/2017: The Hazzard of Besigyeism in Opposition: Has Mwenda got a point?).

The manifest contents in Mwenda’s numerous articles were consistent, persistent and strategically aimed at framing Besigye as a symbol of commotion, uncertainty, fear, extremism; FDC as the vehicle upon which these Besigye traits and that of his avid followers were festered and cascaded in society. His conclusions are the same – that KB and FDC Party agents were worse that Museveni and even more violent given their street activities, threatening societal stability.

These narratives formed the basis of self-doubt and feeding into the ego of the opportunistic elements within the opposition parties. Within months, Judases had emerged to sellout Besigye and Peterses heard the crow thrice to deny and distance themselves from Besigye.

Some randomly selected Mwenda articles could affirm his propaganda narratives and agenda setting, such as “The future we must fight for” published on 11/10/ 2018; A frank memo to Uganda’s Opposition” (published on 20/11/2017) in Independent, and; Uganda’s deluded Opposition posted on Mwenda’s Facebook on Dec 15, 2017, and amplified by regime friendly fake news channels.

Upon subjecting these to critical reading, they reconcile Mwenda’s positions on all his utterances on television, radio and what he writes. In all these articles, Mwenda recasts the Museveni violence onto the Opposition, and more with an artsy obsession with Besigye and FDC.

Themes from a cursory discourse analysis reveals sustained themes of violence as the main framing against the opposition. According to Mwenda, all sympathetic opposition elites are ignorant and emotional; deluded; extremists.

Mwenda creates adversarial image of elites in opposition dismissively to obscure the brutality of his masters in power. On the mission of Opposition, Mwenda paints Opposition as the same or worse than Museveni, a powerful symbolism of disaster at the cusp. Mwenda’s strongest onslaught came through his “A Frank Memo to Opposition”, where he rubbishes the search for good governance as “a cliché”, “a delusion” since Uganda is underdeveloped.

Mwenda’s obscurantism emerges through his pettiest recommendation – the problem of Uganda can be solved by creating real forces within society to check those in power. Mwenda neither explains how this can be achieved, nor recognizes that the purpose of opposition in any healthy democracy is for creating that real force in opposition and civil society to check those in power. Mwenda presents many internal inconsistencies, but his target has remained clear – obliterating Dr. Besigye and stifling nascent Bobi Wine.

In analyzing these articles, the explicit content of Mwenda’s text and words are more damaging than an atomic bomb thrown on an innocent population.

In part, the splintering of New Formation from FDC, and the subtle quisling within opposition seems partly to be an impact of Mwenda’s mercenary propaganda. Let me give Mwenda credit so those who self-doubted themselves after listening to Mwenda to feel dumb enough!

Curious scholars will refer to Mwenda’s articles in future to study devices of mercenary propaganda. In many of Mwenda’s writings, he applies techniques such as bandwagon -broad  brushing opposition with one stroke as extremists; use of loaded language to frame opposition as unworthy of governing Uganda, violent; and normalization of the Museveni’s brutality. On his TV shows, you witness a lot of snob appeals. The most powerful tool at Mwenda’s disposal is his false image as an authority in what he discusses. We have heard enough of Mwenda’s garb already!

Mr. Komakech is Social Critic. Can be contacted via mordust_26@yahoo.ca