Since the sacking of prime minister Amama Mbabazi, I have been asked so many questions about my thoughts on the matter. Let me deal with one angle so far missed by analysts. In the early 2000s when some of us came out to oppose the emergence of the life presidency project as the primary objective of the NRM, many people did not appreciate what was at stake. Some people blamed us then for making a mistake of getting out of the NRM rather struggle from within. We explained to them that there was no “inside” within which to struggle because the NRM had become a one man organisation and this is more evident today.
Whereas it is true that we have experienced some inconvenience at personal level, we are nevertheless gradually being proved right in our analysis and in our political direction. It is clearly not possible to achieve the original objectives of serving the people because the primary objective has changed to regime survival and all state resources and activities are directed to that end. Similarly, any activity conducted within the NRM, that is not in promotion of the life presidency project, is obviously misplaced. Therefore, the activities of the agents of secretary general Amama Mbabazi promoting his candidature for the post of chairman and flag bearer when there is no vacancy in the foreseeable future, are not in sync with the current NRM and action against him was inevitable.
So, there is no surprise that he was sacked precisely because he no longer subscribes to the NRM life presidency project. Is it then possible for anyone to remain a member of NRM when not in agreement with the primary tenet now couched in terms of a single candidate for NRM chair? Yes, it is possible by just keeping quiet, which is what most people do, or just serving personal interests and then let the country go to hell. Again, this is what most people are doing. That is why with the biggest budgets rising every year, the quality of service delivery is deteriorating at an alarming rate. Just do not disturb the progress of the project and you can do whatever you want to serve your personal interests.
What is Mbabazi’s place in this situation? He is secretary general of a party which envisages no succession and yet he believes in a succession programme. He will be replaced but while still holding the post he will be so circumscribed that he will not be able to carry out the responsibilities of his office. His reaction will be important. He will not be kicked out of the party because the repercussions would be strengthening of the Opposition whether he joins any of the existing parties or not and even if he does not form a party of his own.
In the early 2000s, the song of “bagende, bagende” (let them go), which led to the formation of FDC, will not be repeated. Lessons have been learnt. However, clearly, the Mbabazi situation amounts to opposition to the life presidency project and that places him within the ambit of the collective Opposition. He will, however, limit his possible impact if he remains marking time within the NRM.
Where then is the country heading? The NRM has never been weaker than it is now, and the MuseveniMbabazi split does not improve matters. NRM could go the way of the Labour Party in the UK after the acrimonious split between Blair and Brown. The Labour Party has yet to recover from that split. To survive in power, NRM will need to engage in more malpractices, mischiefs and “dirty tricks”.
Mr Ruzindana is a former IGG and former MP. firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: Daily Monitor