On Monday, I travelled to Mbale to accompany Maj Gen Gregory Mugisha Muntu who is seeking reelection for a second and last term as Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president.
It is in Mbale town that delegates from Bukedi sub-region converged to listen to Gen Muntu and his team led by Soroti Woman MP Angeline Osegge and yours truly.
Manoeuvres by 73-year-old Yoweri Museveni to change the Constitution so he can die in office and efforts to stop him have not only overshadowed FDC presidential elections, but also dominated the campaigns.
Togikwatako, which means “don’t touch it”, a slogan Democratic Party (DP) coined and under which the campaign to defend the Constitution is being carried out, has become an FDC in-house campaign word.
And I think Togikwatako will dominate FDC campaigns till election day – November 24. It is also the reason our public rallies are being disrupted. On Thursday last week, we, Team Muntu, were supposed to address a public rally in Mpigi town but it was blocked.
The Mpigi district police commander had given the rally a green light but his boss, the regional police commander, received orders from above and sanctioned its cancellation.
Tens of policemen and women descended on this small town, even after we had given up on the rally, to ensure it doesn’t happen.
In straight lines, they walked the streets of Mpigi in full riot gear with the aim of scaring the population. I think Museveni has decided that he and his agents will be the only ones to speak to the population on this subject.
You are aware that our joint consultative rallies were illegally blocked by the beleaguered Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura.
As I have done before, I used the early morning ride to Mbale to observe the steady progress Mr Museveni has brought to our country in the last 31 years of his rule.
In all the major towns and trading centres I passed through up to Mbale, tens of people, especially youths standing or seated in some temporary sheds, seemed to be conversing, and not working. In Kampala, they are usually talking about last evening’s Premier League games between Arsenal and Man City or Chelsea and Man United.
Where sports betting halls had opened, the young people had already taken seats, almost in all trading centres. Of course there were also many at boda boda stages while the rest sold mangoes and other fruits.
In some areas like Budaka and Namutumba, pupils were still walking to school as late as 9am. I also saw some children below the age of 12 digging with their parents.
That – youth unemployment and underemployment – is what I went thinking about to Muntu’s meeting in Mbale. The areas around the road to Mbale are fertile: why then do young people flock trading centres instead of working?
That is what the country should be discussing and that is what the country should be investing in. Instead, Shs 13 billion has been quickly found to ‘facilitate’ MPs who are consulting on whether an aged person can still be president.
Not surprising that over 80 per cent of youths, including those with university qualifications, are roaming streets without jobs. The revolutionary leader is busy looking for money to rent support.
Of course he is worried of the army of young people and he is too tired to think of a workable solution. He doesn’t realize actually that he has become the problem himself.
Finally, there was that letter from Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga asking Museveni to explain the September 27, 2017 raid on parliament. People who don’t understand the significance of this letter are criticizing her.
I think attacking Kadaga for doing both the wrong thing and the right thing is a very big mistake. People must remember that Kadaga was never been our target in the first place.
By obstructing us from hitting the enemy, she became a target. We should, therefore, not waste any of our ammunition on her anymore.
Her letter is significant because it is asking the same questions we asked when the monster attacked us. There was an effort by the regime’s operatives and apologists to dismiss Special Forces Command (SFC) involvement in brutalizing MPs as a concoction.
They claimed that it is the Sergeant At Arms that ejected MPs from parliamentary chambers.
That is what Museveni ministers saw. Kadaga, who is the head of parliament, after reviewing video footage, is saying she saw men snaking into parliament from Museveni’s office.
Those men are the reason Betty Nambooze Bakireke and Francis Zaake are still in hospital. Some of us were lucky to escape with minor injuries.
We may not be in a position to hold those who tormented us accountable, but at least we now officially know who they are. That is the significance of that letter. Please celebrate! At least for now.
The author is Kira Municipality MP and spokesperson of FDC.