He is contesting his third presidential election and is the face of the democratic reform agenda in Uganda but Dr Kizza Besigye is very much an accidental politician who could have easily ended up in a hospital ward, not at a campaign rally, writes DANIEL K. KALINAKI
If someone had said, say in 1989, that Dr Kizza Besigye would become the face of the political reform agenda in Uganda and would run thrice against President Museveni, that person would have been led gently but firmly into Butabika Mental Hospital, locked up, and the keys thrown into Lake Victoria nearby.
Dr. Besigye was one of the architects of the no-party/umbrella 'Movement' political system that the NRM unveiled when it took power in 1986. Dr Besigye abandoned his medical practice in Nairobi and joined the National Resistance Army guerrillas in June 1982; he went on to become Mr Museveni's personal doctor, a minister at 28, and the NRM's National Political Commissar.
In fact, Dr Besigye might have gone on to pursue his medical career had he not been arrested by some over zealous security agents for belonging to Mr Museveni's UPM party.
As NPC, Besigye would defend the idea of an umbrella 'Movement' government from critics who saw it as a poorly disguised one-party or no-party state. He was also an army delegate to the Constituent Assembly, which etched the 'Movement' into the 1995 Constitution.
Besigye, who is described by a close associate as "an authentic, old-fashioned patriot with a great sense of right and wrong" soon started feeling uncomfortable at what he and other historical members of the NRA/M saw as the slow derailment of the revolutionary train.
Politicians from the old political parties of DP and UPC who had been brought into the 'broadbased' government were slowly being shunted aside, nepotism was slowly taking root and many Bush War heroes had abandoned their Spartan lives and Maoist ideas and embraced a capitalist penchant for cars, cash, cognac and cigars.
The privatisation process that was underway at …