Some of us in the NRM are worried about the opponents we have. NRM needs formidable opponents to up its own workings but now we have to lead both sides.
Take the case of the fast-forwarded delegates’ conference. FDC missed its own last year. They had taken on NRM presumably on grounds that it was carrying out early campaigns.
They mistook their own failure to hold scheduled party activities for NRM’s infringement of laws and panic. Surprisingly, they recently held their conference and nobody blamed them for it.
FDC’s omissions have overtime cost them political mileage. Because they have no programme, unless reflected on the goings-on in NRM, there is open and quiet exodus of its members, high and low. Take Alex Onzima and Beti Kamya, for example.
There was also the former Kabale LC-V chairman, Francis Runumi, who was a member of the Reform Agenda (one of the component groups of FDC) who saw no future in that side and quit for civil service. The rest are members who crossed to NRM in droves and there are many more on the way.
For a party in opposition, the loss of even one minor member is tragic and rather ironical. They always make it seem like they know better and all is well in their camp. Right now, most parties have internal issues to sort out and none should ridicule the other. Most of all, it shouldn’t be opposition throwing the first stone.
FDC heavyweight Kizza Besigye was quoted in the press saying Museveni had crimes for which they could negotiate a safe passage for him. For those who may not be aware, Besigye was not born in FDC. He was a member of NRAM, having been in the bush as a medic soldier. He held various positions under President Museveni and was at one time minister of state for Internal Affairs when DP’s Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere was the senior minister.
In 1993, members of DP attempted to hold a rally at the then City Square (now Constitution Square). That ill-fated rally was quashed by police with the two men above being in charge of the ministry where police falls. There was a chopper to carry tear gas, batons and other tools of force.
It is for such acts that Besigye and others hold Museveni responsible yet he gave them jobs to do their best. Is that why they want him charged or they are self-incriminating? They should prepare to appear with him in the dock.
The same goes for Gen Mugisha Muntu. He was the army commander when the war in northern Uganda raged and he failed to control it. People died, others were maimed, raped, herded into camps, yet the president had tasked him to ensure security of all Ugandans.
It was not until he was removed and generals Jeje Odongo, James Kazini and Aronda Nyakairima were appointed that the war was won. Muntu has never apologised for failing to excel in the position he held. Now he is on a self-imposed demotion.
Did he have to first cross to the opposition to learn the weight of responsibility? What will happen if, together, they win power and face bigger responsibilities like Museveni’s? One can guess they will have more excuses to present.
The opposition should find a programme on which to base and articulate their plans. When it is time for a conference, they should hold it if it is time for mobilisation, they should go out to the countryside than remaining in Kampala while imagining that support will bounce off Museveni and latch on them. Museveni is magnetic. Ugandans who understand him are loyal and cannot be moved just like a tree on the riverside.
Only a few non-voters listen to such stories about one individual when issues affecting Uganda are a result of the failings of many people, some of whom jumped ship to shift blame. Even then, FDC members, for instance, require accountability from their leaders as much as the nation requires accountability from NRM.
FDC leaders should not dodge that and appoint themselves as the Fatou Bensoudas or Luis Ocampos but exhibit transparency within the smaller party community if they are to be groomed for work at the national level. Such versatile and g leadership is what NRM needs to feel useful competition. Right now, it is boring.
The author is a presidential aide on media management.
Source : The Observer