As usual, I emailed last Sunday’s article on the preceding Thursday. I cited a recent newspaper report that said President Museveni had attributed the persistent poverty among our people to the early post-independence leaders who promoted “sectarianism of religion, tribe and gender as well as marginalisation of the youth and the disabled.”
It was such a blatant dodging of responsibility that you might think the President would avoid repeating the argument.
Wrong. Tuning randomly on Saturday morning, I stumbled right into President Museveni’s voice g-go-going on about sectarianism on radio.
My immediate thought was that the station was playing a recording from one of the events where Mr Museveni had made those remarks. My comments on those remarks were to appear in a few hours (the Sunday Monitor is printed and distributed on Saturday afternoon!) I was therefore anxious to confirm (or otherwise) that the newspaper story I cited had reported the President correctly.
No I soon learned that Mr Museveni was actually live on Capital FM’s Capital Gang. Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda and Abdu Katuntu were clearly impatient with Mr Museveni’s thesis, but the discussion covered many other things infrastructure development, Mbabazi, KCCA’s Jennifer Musisi, corruption, and so on.
Very eloquently, Ssemujju Nganda ripped through key parts of the President’s presentation, and Katuntu and Beti Kamya did more demolition.
As expected, at every opportunity Ofwono Opondo flattered the President. But Museveni is good at seeing through fawning functionaries and given the intellectual range of his aersaries on the programme, he did not show any enthusiasm towards Opondo or make a meal of the flattery.
Incidentally, Mr Museveni must be commended for his composure throughout the discussion, and the respect he accorded his opposite numbers. He was very different from some of his disciples who believe you can only shield the President by spewing filth at his critics.
This was the face of Museveni that many people admire.
You almost forgot – almost – that behind this accommodating face was a type of politics gone irreparably wrong that this studio “Gangster” might even be wishing he was not exactly the same Museveni who played such hard ball out there.
But to return to sectarianism what is this disease that Museveni keeps referring to as if he or his NRM are free from the affliction?
Sectarian relates to a particular sect or division, members of which have diverged from a larger group by developing deviating beliefs or practices often with negative connotations, like fanaticism and intolerance.
Balokole (Pentecostals) and Jihadists of different shades, for instance, are sects, although of course in their fantasies each of them thinks they are the big thing.
In politics, the present Kenya is a very good example of ethno-tribal sectarian power play, where president Uhuru Kenyatta can only end as a dinosaur.
The narrow-headedness, the pettiness, the favouritism, the primitive greed, the nastiness of the sectarian mindset are the attributes a victorious 1986 rebel leader called Museveni thought were below him.
He fabricated something so big every Ugandan could fit in the so-called no-party individual merit Movement system.
Yet, even in 1986, Mr Museveni had a camp called “We”. These people also always talked of another camp, “They”, who supposedly believed in political pluralism.
In the 1996 general election, Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere carried their flag and he was treated by “We” as shabbily as bad people should be.
However, the camp “We” soon began to break into conspirators, fanatical Musevenists, multipartists (again!), presidential term limit aocates, thieves, anti-corruption crusaders, now Mbabazists, and of course more thieves.
Who needs this little essay? Anybody can see that all the old narrow-headedness, the pettiness, the favouritism, the primitive greed and nastiness – the very negation of merit – are rampant in the NRM, which of course is now a political party.
Because he is the President, with all the State resources at his disposal, Mr Museveni’s faction can always claim to be the correct NRM. But at the doctrinal level, he may have deviated from the NRM long ago.
If he had just one honest aiser, they would cajole the President to abolish the word “sectarianism” in all his speeches.
Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator email@example.com.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor