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In new Covid world order, opposition must comply and power will act as pleases

Opposition doyens Kizza Besigye and Bobi Wine

Opposition doyens Kizza Besigye and Bobi Wine

We will definitely need a new language to theoretically make sense of Covid-19 in the times ahead.  It is not your usual pandemic nor ordinary natural disaster. 

It is close to a world war, but not in the exact sense. World wars, hurricanes, earthquakes or landslides never shut down entire worlds by closing down all borders. Neither do these apocalyptic disasters categorise persons/professions into “essentials” and “non-essentials” at the macro level. 

The old Marxist models of classifying societies around workers and capitalists will need revising to put Covid-19 in context.  A hitherto innocent term such as “scientific” has moved from being used in reference to “technical,” things or approaches to “symbolic” gestures or simply “small number.” It is also currently a term of control and power. “Scientific” has become the new language of control.

Words such as “quarantine,” which hitherto signified exclusion to control contagion, is now “punishment,” bordering on “imprisonment.”

More importantly, it is also the language of “creating space” for illicit engagements. The saboteurs will have to be quarantined. Again, power and control.  And so is the concept of “lockdown,” which is now simple exhibition of power.

What we know for sure is that Covid-19 has created a new world order, not necessarily with new centres of power – at least for now – but with new ways of exercising power, especially in our god-forsaken banana republics.  In Uganda, the mantra is, phrased poorly, “the opposition must comply, and the NRM and its associates will do as they please.” Let me demonstrate this more vividly.

If there is anything we could learn from the arrest and torture of Francis Zaake for distributing food to the “poor and vulnerable” in his constituency, it is that Covid-19 safety regulations and related presidential directives applied to only him – and others like him. It is classic Orwellian world.

We now know that since distributing food to locked-down persons actually had political capital, social distancing directives applied selectively.  Even if it meant starving entire populations, food distribution had to be centralised so that there is a singular benefactor who should be singularly thanked. 

It wasn’t about social distancing that MP Zaake was arrested; otherwise, all of them – Hanifa Kawooya, Lydia Wanyoto, etc.– had to be arrested As it unfolded, those identified as opposition had to comply with the directive, while those aligned with the sitting government would only harvest support under state protection.

Perhaps I exaggerate. There were other opposition politicians that loudly boasted of giving out food to their poor and vulnerable and were not touched. MPs including Semujju Ibrahim Nganda and Asuman Basalirwa even wanted more money for this project claiming the poor and vulnerable were spamming their phones with messages asking for food.

What is interesting is that they not only attended to people coming to their homes – never went into the streets – and had to keep in the public domain for public security. I could not reckon politicians including Col Kizza Besigye, or Bobi Wine walking the starts with vehicles distributing food. We know how this often ends.

There is a related story: while many Ugandans were locked abroad for public safety, an NRM friendly businessman, Ben Kavuya got special clearance for his three family members to return home.  They were also cleared to quarantine at a place of his own choosing, a fancy hotel – and not the dungeons that my friend Dr Spire Ssentongo and co. had to brave. 

In truth, Mr Kavuya can never be alone. He is the only case that came out in the public domain. There must be many wealthy and regime-blessed Ugandans – and non-Ugandans – who actually received special clearance to return or exit the country for fancy reasons including medical trips to places such as Nairobi. Again, the opposition must comply with the directives.

I set out to write about the forthcoming “scientific election,” but went through that stretch to ease my way into it. First of all, those campaigning or hoping for a postponement of the election will surely be disappointed. 

Elections in Africa are not held for the “natives” but, rather, for those in power to get the “mandate of the people.” It is only with this mandate – earned through elections, no matter the details – that African governments can borrow/receive money from the IMF, World Bank, and other major donors including the USA, EU and UK. 

But as we move into this scientific elections – whichever way the directives go – on what to do and not to do, the opposition will have to comply.  I’m confident NRM legislators will be on the road visiting houses and campaigning. Well, the government has to continue functioning.

yusufkajura@gmail.com

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

Comments

+4 #1 Kalibbala 2020-06-24 22:32
There is a related story: while many Ugandans were locked abroad for public safety, an NRM friendly businessman, Ben Kavuya got special clearance for his three family members to return home...'#..Yusuf my Bro!

The Question here is Why and How did we Stoop this LOW!?? Answer being that :Uganda was robbed from its owners by a Group of Blood thirsty Hounds in the name of Notorious Robbers Movement/Army to the extent of taking Ugandans for Granted!

We are only to be Killed or Imprisoned at Will..No case to Answer!! The Almighty God from Butare decides who has to live or Die!! It Will take us All Bravery to Demand our Country Back by paying a Blood Toll!

They the Bacweezi do not Care..theirs is Green!! They are Aliens..that is Why you See Interahamwe LDU Shooting to Kill..with Orders from Above..
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+1 #2 Akot 2020-06-25 14:33
[We will definitely need a new language to theoretically make sense of Covid-19 in the times ahead. ]

Agreed!

This is why Ugandans MUST bring down the tribalistic system NOW, UNITE to BLOCK & show Museveni way out! Then & only then, will there be chance to a new start & handling of covid-19 & the tomorrow Ugandans have a duty to, for the sake of their children & grand kids!

Museveni MUST be thrown out in UNITY & NOW!

Where is the so so needed National Leadership Ugandans so so need?

In the absence of UNITY, why are tribal leaders not making tribal lands Independent States, to give their people chance to organise, prepare... to face challenges like covid-19, poverty...?
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0 #3 Akot 2020-06-25 14:48
[World wars, hurricanes, earthquakes or landslides never shut down entire worlds by closing down all borders. Neither do these apocalyptic disasters categorise persons/professions into “essentials” and “non-essentials” at the macro level.]

Thanks!

Do Ugandans still believe Museveni is there for them, will finally serve them & are 34 years of Museveni not long enough?

Developed world finally understood Museveni rules through a tribalistic system, so won't say a word against him because it's Ugandans to whom tribal lands belongs, keeping him in power!

So,

- will Ugandans finally have a National Leader to UNITE them to get rid of Museveni,

- form independent tribal states, or

- lock themselves with Museveni for +30 more years?
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0 #4 Akot 2020-06-25 15:53
Dr Besigye, Bobi Wine, you'll only be helpful, useful to Uganda/Ugandans the moment you call tribal leaders to stand down & to UNITY! Then Ugandans will have to come out & block Museveni to leave him no other option, but surrender!

Then army/police will have no choice but take Ugandans' sides or Museveni's, as is always the case with National Uprising for change!

Which tribal land will give Museveni base to fight back from this time?

Ugandans UNITED against Acholi to bring in Museveni & this ended without war, right?

How will UNITY against Museveni today be dangerous?

Dr Besigye, Bobi Wine, Ugandans need NATIONAL LEADERSHIP to UNITE them then to BLOCK Museveni & this MUST be before next fake election that the demon has already won, so there is no need for you 2 to talk about it & help Museveni rig in peace!
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-1 #5 sula 2020-06-29 22:27
Hmmmm! I like the Presidential candidates so far :
Mugisha Muntu - Kiruhura/Ntungamo.Kaguta Museveni Kiruhura /Ntungamo, Tumukunde /Rukungiri,Rwomusana -Rukungiri, Bobi Wine -Gomba
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.Uganda Oye.
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0 #6 Akot 2020-07-03 19:47
Kalibbala, understood, but,

The question to be asked is "why is the tribalistic system still standing ensuring tribal allelgience, thus division, to let Museveni rule for yet +20 years"?!

As it is Ugandans are waiting for Museveni, in power since 1986 (34) years, to finally serve them!

USA president Trump is fighting so hard to get second 4 year term, yet even with this, migrants still prefere USA to their own countries!

T.May couldn't finish term in office, B.Johonshon had to call early election, yet migrants still prefer UK to their shitholes with long time rulers!

Face to uprising of tax payers, French president inoffice for 4 years has chaged prime minister, reshuffled cabinet, is fighting for reelection already!

But Museveni in power for 34 years is assured of continuity, yet tribally divided oppressed not served Ugandans go on in peace, waiting for him to serve them!
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0 #7 Akot 2020-07-03 20:04
[opposition must comply and power will act as pleases]

Understandable!

There is no opposition to UNITE Ugandans as ONE against Museveni but Dr Besigye & Bobi Wine are ensuring the next fake election takes place, even knowing this is dangerous as Museveni is the only candidate & winner!

Dr Besigye & Bobi Wine must form a new political party with just 1 of them as leader.

Then that opposition leader will have to call tribal leaders to stand down & to UNITY to blocked & froce Museveni out!

This is the only means/power Ugandans have face to migrant Museveni who should not be given chance to rig another election & go on!

It's time Ugandans Reform the Republic or Independent Tribal States & there is no excuse, unless our people have become self destructive tribalists for good & prefer Museveni to their own FREEDOM!
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0 #8 Akot 2020-07-03 20:24
[I’m confident NRM legislators will be on the road visiting houses and campaigning. Well, the government has to continue functioning.]

So, what will they be defending & want to continue ruling for?

It's easy for NRM to defend their destructive rule as there is no opposition leadership, no UNITED people to ensure they are out!

Neither Dr Besigye nor Bibi Wine or any other from a tribal land will replace Museveni, unless the tribalistic system he cleaverly put in place is brought down first!

But of course, tribes with leadership can break away & be Independent out of Museveni's Uganda!

Why not start with Acholi being Independent State, as this won't bother the other tribes who brought Museveni in?

What are Acholi expecting form Museveni who ensured they are NOTHING; serve them, give Amuru to Chinese?

What is going on in Uganda makes no sense!
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