The latest military overthrow in the Central African country of Gabon is not a new thing but rather a familiar trend in Africa’s political environment.
And yet the overthrow of President Ali Bongo of Gabon, has become the favorite subject of discussion for many political activists in Uganda.
Many Ugandans have drawn parallels between the fallen political dynasty in Gabon to the one in Uganda, and openly expressed the view that something similar is not impossible in Uganda despite assurances from the regime that president Museveni is unshakable.
Retired Col. Kizza Besigye, reminded his Twitter followers that the deposed Bongo was touted as “Standby Generator” until 2009, when his father Omar Bongo died, after 42 years in office!
In Uganda, the term ‘Standby generator’ has been used to refer to first son General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, whom many argue will succeed his father, who has ruled Uganda for the last 37 years.
Museveni’s long stay in power and his apparent plan to have his son suceed him, has got many activists.
Jeje Odea, a Ugandan lawyer, opined that: “The Gabon coup should be a lesson to M7 that even if he uses state resources and influence to transfer power to his son, there will be a day when citizens will rise up to reclaim their power.”
Kampala Deputy Lord Mayor Doreen Nyanjura explained why the situation in Gabon has a lot in common with events in Uganda.
She said: “The situation in Gabon is of much interest to Ugandans because of the following;
-The transfer of dictatorial powers from father to son essentially established family rule
-The continued staging of sham elections to mask the dictatorial misrule and oppression of the people of Gabon by the Bongo family.
-The impunity exhibited by Bongo in the management of the sham elections by switching off the internet and decapacitating the opposition in all ways possible.
“These make Gabon look like a mirror image of Uganda. The philosopher named King Solomon said that there is nothing new under the sun and indeed it appears as though the despot in Uganda and his son have been reading from the Bongo playbook hence the tag ‘standby generator’ by the sycophants that are propping the son in Africa’s latest imposition of family rule on the oppressed and poverty stricken people in Uganda.”
But Nyanjula quickly warned those wishing for a coup to happen in Uganda might end up with what she termed an an opportunistic change of power where insiders organise a mere change of guard but in fact nothing changes.
“The coup in Gabon must have sent chills down the spine of the Ugandan father and son dictatorial duo, but we must not lose sight of the fear it arouses amongst their own relatives in the military who might be forced to stage a coup in order to hijack the liberation struggle of the Ugandan people in a bid to protect their loot. Uganda’s history shows us that we have traveled down this path before when the Okello brothers staged a coup against the Obote II Government in July 1985 after realising that the NRA and other rebel groups had greatly weakened the UNLA aided by the ethnic divisions that rocked it.”
“This should therefore be a wake up call to all pro democracy forces in the Ugandan struggle to watch out for any opportunistic coup plans by the dictator’s son or their other relatives within the military establishment,” said Nyanjura.