Ugandan renegade General David Sejusa, chairman of Free Uganda, said regime change in Uganda can only come about from within, not another country or through social media.
Sejusa returned home late last month after a brief self-imposed exile in 2013.
His lawyer, David Mushabe, said the general believes those seeking regime change must be seen enduring the same suffering that ordinary Ugandans experience on a daily basis.
“The general’s position is simple. Nobody causes a regime change from Europe or America. Real change must emanate from the masses, and the real influence must be done from the ground. You cannot influence the masses via [the] Internet or Facebook. You have to be on the ground. People have to see that you are enduring the same suffering that they are enduring,” he said.
Mushabe described most opposition Ugandan politicians as “jokers” who he said do not quite understand the environment in which they operate and, as a result, have failed to bring about meaningful political change.
“What we have here in Uganda, most opposition politicians have been jokers and most of them have made a career in opposition. And, to make matters worse, most of them have been part of the old stock. To that extent, the current opposition that you want to call opposition has lost credibility,” Mushabe said.
In 2011, long-time opposition leader Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change launched his “walk to work” movement to protest Uganda’s high fuel and food prices. Security forces arrested Besigye and other opposition leaders.
Besigye also contested the presidency three times against Museveni and lost. He blamed widespread irregularities and fraud.
Mushabe said Besigye’s “Walk to Work” campaign failed because the Ugandan masses were not prepared enough to risk their lives. He said Sejusa wants to see a new approach to bring about regime change in Uganda.
“What the general is saying is let us have a paradigm shift. Walk-to-Work will not cause a regime change. A lot of talking will not cause a regime change. You must go back to the grassroots, deprogram and reprogram the masses. Make them ready for change,” Mushabe said.
Sejusa went into exile after claiming President Yoweri Museveni was grooming his son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, to be the next leader. The government has repeatedly denied any such plan.
Mushabe has described as a “conspiracy theory” a suggestion that the former Museveni security chief left Uganda to spy on critics of the government.
“The general has stated time and again that he had gone to the UK on an official visit. He was blocked from returning to Uganda. Having done whatever he did in Europe and the US, he realized that he had mobilized enough. But, that alone will not cause regime change. To cause a regime change, you have to be on the ground,” he said.
Mushabe said only Africans can change Africa, not Europeans, Americans or Asians, and they must change the continent with a new strategy.