Self-inflicted wounds by political leaders

Starting at the top, there was no need for President Museveni and his supporters of the NRM to orchestrate a scheme where he would be paraded as a single candidate for the 2016 elections. Most Ugandans believe that even with numerous Opposition parties against him, he will still win.

The NRM brand of governance, hatred of anyone proposing alternative policies or declaring to stand against its own chosen candidates, will have already inflicted fatal political wounds on all its opponents and critics. The 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections will simply be a mopping up exercise.

Then a young novice Member of Parliament edged on by ambition and unscrupulous leaders within her party spoilt it all by agreeing to be the flag bearer of the campaign for the unconstitutional and undemocratic single candidate scheme.

Readers may recall that when Amama Mbabazi was elevated to premiership, this columnist predicted that he will not make it to the presidency because non- executive prime ministers are rarely permitted by their bosses or parties to become presidents.

At one time, Ndugu Ruhakana Rugunda was asked why he did not sign the resolution of the single candidature for 2016 and he rightly pointed out that the Constitution of the NRM-O party does not provide for such a method of choosing its flag bearer.

With such a view, quite unusually for Ndugu, being heard, the President did the next best thing to stop Ndugu’s independent thinking and appoint him as a replacement for Amama Mbabazi.

As if to maintain his independent mind and sanity, Ndugu did something few, if any ministers or cadres of the NRM-O would dare do. At the first available opportunity, the new Premier gave his predecessor, the now NRM-O leadership disgraced cadre, a lift in his vehicle to attend a function at which President Museveni was chief guest.

Many people must have seen ghosts and got confused. Ndugu’s acts of generosity and loyalty were applauded by many people.

Then, many Ugandans have witnessed acts, conflicts, animosities and defections of Opposition party members who at one time or another were thought to be alternative national leaders of government parties in waiting. Initially and almost incredibly, they and their supporters have become lame ducks and un-elective to office.

At first, the single candidature idea surfaced as a slogan for popularising the President. Later it gained momentum and credibility to the extent that it forced the then only credible NRM internal rival for the 2016 presidential race to get entangled into all sorts of webbed political wrangles.

While most MPs hailing from the Switzerland of East Africa, Kabale District, refrained from joining the bandwagon of MPs who signed the single candidate policy resolution, David Bahati and Henry Banyenzaki, the only credible and popular Bakiga MPs, willingly supported President Museveni as a single candidate.

The exposure of this undemocratic and unconstitutional move did not please most Ugandans who believe that it is only by abiding by the Constitutional order that good governance and welfare of the people will be effectively catered for.

It would appear that the ever popular but generally less perfectionist Ndugu of the yes cult. Ndugu did not on this occasion join the band wagon of the single candidate supporters. By the standards and methods of work now perfected by the NRM-O Party, Ndugu’s wise decision is likely to deprive him of the presidency if ever he or his supporters dreamed of it. The further away Opposition parties have become impoverished in ideology, money and popularity.

For most villagers, the only well-known leaders of the Opposition are Ssemwogerere, Bataringaya, Oda. Gen Mugisha Muntu, the leader of FDC, is still regarded by some villagers as the army commander of a rebel group that continues to oppose the legitimate government of UPC.

Recently, I thought I was dreaming when I read in the press the headline “300 NRM supporters cross over to join UPC.”

Well! Well! Well! UPC. While still on this subject, does anyone know where Norbert Mao is or where he went? Does anyone remember the song, “Don’t cry for me Argentina” and the book of South African writer Alan Paton, Cry, the Beloved Country? I do!

Prof Kanyeihamba is a retired Supreme Court judge. gwkany@yahoo.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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