Facebook has been an active platform for political debates but the recent barbs between journalist Andrew Mwenda and FDC supporters have brought the inner feelings of disdain from both sides, writes BAKER BATTE LULE.
Andrew Mwenda's not-so flattering reference to supporters of Dr Kizza Besigye as mentally-retarded has continued to draw strong reactions on various social media platforms.
Many FDC supporters accuse Mwenda, a journalist and media owner, of being a President Museveni sycophant, paid to discredit opposition strongman Dr Besigye.
"Andrew Mwenda is a merchant of noise, praise-singer of dictators, who has a twisted mind, and his ware (the noise) is more of scarecrow purpose than intellectual content," Tom Voltaire Okwalinga (TVO) wrote on his Facebook page, which has a following of close to 100,000 people.
The elusive TVO even dared to impute that Mwenda is gay and is bitter because he was dumped by an American lover. This description seems to have prompted Mwenda to post a picture of him cuddling a purported girlfriend probably to demonstrate his sexual orientation.
"Since they [FDC supporters] have hit back at me with vitriol, it's time to clear the air. They have accused me of being gay. I accept this honor. Not only that, to avoid all future exposes, let me also come clean and say all the evil about me: I am bisexual, transsexual, a defiler, a rapist, a serial murderer and a cannibal..." Mwenda said sarcastically.
Some social media users like the renowned social science researcher, Dr Stella Nyanzi, who had earlier launched a scathing attack against Mwenda, denounced the gay tag.
"I hate Museveni's gross mismanagement of Uganda and I am inspired by Besigye's defiant opposition, I am not a homophobe. If Mwenda is gay or bisexual, that is his private issue. It is not his homosexuality that insulted Ugandans, mocked Besigye, or called his supporters the most stupid people.
It is not Mwenda's homosexuality that stole our votes, misgoverned our resources, militarized our institutions, and sucked Uganda of its marrows. Instead, it is his cold, calculated sycophancy; deep avarice and shrewd manipulation that make him spew non-stop shallow propaganda against Dr Besigye and his supporters," Nyanzi wrote of Mwenda.
Despite the harsh criticism, Mwenda maintained that Uganda is stuck with President Yoweri Museveni largely because the opposition is stuck with Besigye.
"Besigye sees FDC only as a vehicle for him to become president of Uganda. He has focused all his energy on this singular objective believing [actually deluding himself] that once he captures the presidency, all the problems of Uganda would be solved by him alone," Mwenda writes. This, he says, is what has stunted the growth of FDC in parliament and local councils.
But Abbey Kibirige Ssemuwemba, the founder of the popular Ugandans at Hearts (UAH) platform, disagrees.
"Besigye's shoes are too big for anybody in opposition to fill...I think people should just work with him instead of attacking him out of frustration! The argument that Besigye is more of a weakness for the opposition than strength is so lame," Ssemuwemba said.
But Mwenda maintains that through police harassment and intimidation of opposition leaders at the local level, the NRM party has scared many potential opposition leaders into silence.
"As a result, only the most radical people willing to withstand state intimidation stand in FDC elections and take control of its party structures," he said.
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