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The revolution will not be led by politicians, but ordinary people

The story goes that during his campaign for the Kyadondo East parliamentary seat, Bobi Wine approached Betty Nambooze for support.

The story continues that the eloquently gifted legislator from Mukono municipality asked for Ush 10 million for her to make the journey to Kyadondo. She never pointed to her membership with the Democratic Party, which had also fielded a candidate. 

She could have announced a conflicted position as Kizza Besigye did. Instead, her support was merchandise in the marketplace. The story ends that Bobi Wine refused to pay. And as the cliché goes, the rest is history.

I am not telling this story so as to throw Betty Nambooze under the bus, and perhaps portray Bobi Wine as a saint among devils. Neither am I elevating Bobi Wine over those who opposed him. 

Instead, I am saying, it is a waste of time and resources to rely on these opposition fellows who are simply sketching an existence – as the opposition. Politicians never fight for change; ordinary people do.

Rumours that our many God-blessed opposition stalwarts – Kizza Besigye, Norbert Mao, James Akena, Abed Bwanika (and several others, active for over a decade and are sworn to carry on) – have pocketed Museveni’s money are commonplace. Nobody is innocent. 

And why should we not believe these rumours if these fellows have turned activism into a career – imitating the fellows they claim to oppose! (By the way, I have pocketed Museveni’s money too; I once merchandised my editorial skills to a PR firm directly working for the NRM).

Neither are your columnists pristine – they only represent no political constituencies. But if the fire-spitting and principled-sounding opposition figure Betty Nambooze could choose to merchandise her support to a budding newcomer on the scene, surely there is more she and co. have done under the blessing of darkness.

To this end, it is not true that Uganda’s so-called opposition politicians are disunited: these fellows have been united in money making, camouflaging, and endlessly debating Museveni’s brutality, which unwittingly (although I also believe knowingly) only serves to legitimate Museveni’s credentials as a democrat. 

They have been united in their pursuit of a good life as career opposition politicians. They have been united in their showy fights and innumerable contradictions – just like the man they seek to dislodge. 

They quickly learned to cherish their wealth and fame, and have learned to cherish their big salaries.  Instead of mobilising their constituencies, they are endlessly and meaninglessly debating and whining. You will see them sulk lazy and pretentious that Museveni has made it difficult for them to mobilise. 

Like he were supposed to roll them a red carpet to oust him (as equally-conflicted journalist Andrew Mwenda often scolds them). If challenged, they arrogantly shout back asking the challenger what they are doing on their part.

Surely, the revolution will not be led by this current crop of opposition politicians. Aware that they will sanctimoniously claim the reins after Museveni has been overwhelmed by the masses, we need to blow their covers.

This is why I have maintained that a confused, disunited, in-fighting opposition is good for Uganda. Because infighting both brings out their true selves, and also enables the masses to see through their fakery.

Bobi Wine’s meteoric rise is partly – and a big part – thriving on the general disgruntlement with careerist opposition politicians who have created the perfect ground for him to thrive – as one genuinely interested in changing the status quo.  He is also a recognisable member of the downtrodden. People have been searching for leadership while our careerists enjoyed their comfortable lives.

Again, this is not cultist support for Bobi Wine. Not at all. But Bobi Wine symbolically represents a time of the return of the ordinary folks into active politics. This is not only because he is calling them to do so – through his otherwise accurate slogans such as ffuna endagamuntu or twebereremu.

He simply found the ground ready for him to do exactly what he is doing.  It could have been somebody else – as long their CVs and packaging enabled them. There is no explanation why current DP and FDC politicians are now hobnobbing – quite opportunistically though – in the direction of Bobi Wine if there were no moral challenges within the parties to which they still belong.

The people now chanting People Power were once [choice-deprived] supporters of Kizza Besigye, Norbert Mao and Betty Nambooze.


The author is a PhD fellow at Makerere Institute of Social Research.


0 #11 Akot 2019-04-20 00:15
sula, agreed.

The moment tribal leaders stand down & Ugandans UNITE, Museveni will have no ground to stand on!

Once UNITY throws Museveni out, Ugandans MUST go for the kind of governance they want & streight away!

Museveni is maintained in post by divisive tribal/ opposition leaders & especially a docile people who have surrendered their power & country formed by the tribal lands they pay allegience to!

Power to bring change lies in the people's hands & not on opposition leaders, especially the divisive ones in Uganda who only bolster Museveni.

Either tribal leaders stand down to give chance to UNITY & NOW or they form Independent Tribal States!

Museveni is going no where as only Ugandans who are keeping him in post, can throw him out & only in UNITY!
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0 #12 Isac 2019-04-22 14:36
Yusuf, "I am not telling this story so as to throw Betty Nambooze under the bus, and perhaps portray Bobi Wine as a saint among devils. Neither am I elevating Bobi Wine over those who opposed him."

What are you try to impress upon us? There is nothing wrong for you to throw Betty under the bus and at the same time for to have the view that Bobi Wine is a saint.

No matter what has to be done, Ugandans need a leader or leaders who will lead them to get rid of bad leadership. Its quite normal to have different views of how to achieve that goal and it is inevitable for the opposition to fight among themselves because that is what happens when it takes so long.

But the most important thing you should point out is that Museveni is busy dishing out money to Tom, Dick and Marry to buy cheap popularity. Including cultural and religious leaders.

Then they come out and openly support Museveni. No change is going to come out of that, not even form the ordinary people as you claim.
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0 #13 Akot 2019-04-22 16:42
noah, understood.

If Ugandans didn't want Museveni, the divisive tribalistic system keeping them divided & powerles would not be standing by now!

33 years & Musevnei has made it clear it's him & no other to rule, but this does not bother Ugandans who have the power through UNITY, to thorw him out!

- Ugandans ensure tax money Museveni uses as he pleases in peace.

- parliament is there only to blind the outside world, but Ugandans go on electing mps payed for doing nothing to develop constituencies.

- Museveni's has placed his son in top army post to ensure transision after his death.

- Plus 1 opposition leader help Museveni further divide an already tribalistically divided & ruled powerless Ugandans!

Yet with all this, Uganda is the most peaceful country in today world where people want a say in how they are governed, for how long...!

Ugandans have the ruler they want!
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