So, as the rest of the country was busy celebrating the passing of 2011, it emerged that the political colossi who have for the past decade filled our every space with their fights were planning to give us the perfect New Year gift. President Museveni will soon meet Dr Kizza Besigye for talks.
After a three-round battle that left both parties visibly bruised, these talks might just after all be the right thing to happen to both principals. But talks between men who have in the past vowed not to meet, let alone wave at each other, is something that must be handled with great care. It is because of this sensitivity that we, residents of Kireka, are offering the following itinerary for successful talks.
Where these talks take place will be very crucial to their success. President Museveni and Dr Besigye first met and struck a chord in the bushes of Luweero. Deep in the thickets, a young doctor fresh from a lucrative position in a Nairobi hospital met seasoned fighter with a great vision for his motherland. Theirs was brotherhood at first sight—with the chief fighter decreeing the young doctor stays by his side as a personal physician.
Psychologists will tell you about the impact of nature on human behaviour and we can therefore not downplay the role those bushes had in cementing this bond. Those planning these talks, therefore, should not even think about the five-star hotels that many could be mooting for this historic meeting. The talks should be held somewhere in a bush in Luweero. Of course the thriving charcoal business there has done injustice to the environment but finding undergrowth somewhere should not be such a headache.
This setting will create a sense of nostalgia between the two fighters turned comrades turned foes. President Museveni will remember the times he was down with malaria and Dr Besigye had to offer him Chloroquine jabs. On the other hand, Dr Besigye will also be overwhelmed with memories of a pencil-thin soldier spotting a moustache telling the fighters about the need to persist despite being poorly fed and dressed. “I will lead you to the land of plenty and liberty,” is a phrase Dr Besigye will recall vividly.
With the atmosphere getting relaxed, we should be mindful about what foods are served during these negotiations. Knowing Ugandans and their ability to smell “deals” from a kilometer away, someone must already be thinking of what catering service provider to contact. But three-course meals should be avoided here. Again, President Museveni and Dr Besigye were first fighters before they became the three-piece suit adorning politicians we see today. Just imagine what impact the smell of roasted cassava or boiling cow hooves will have on these two during these talks.
It would also be best if Mama Janet and Eng. Winnie served these meals. We can see them between placing the steaming hot cassava on the tables for their baami (gentlemen), congratulating each other upon ageing gracefully. Wine will be inappropriate here. A gourd of stale milk (bongo) can be passed around.
“This is tasty,” we see President Museveni say as he nods in approval while passing the gourd to Dr Besigye. A round of bushera (porridge) can also do the magic.
No such meeting can be complete without music. And here ladies and gentlemen, we are not talking about Bobi Wine’s Maazi Mawanvu or Chameleone’s Basima Ogenze. Of course we see an attempt by Mzee to have Mpekoni play but with resistance from the Besigye group. Again, we can return to our roots here. Ahead of this meeting, let’s talk to Gen. Elly Tumwine to put together some bush war songs. “Eh moto nawaka watoto wanalia musituni…” can play in the background as the talks proper take root.