Young Turks Must Respect NRM Elders [opinion]

Whenever I write articles for the press, either of four things happens: one, my views are shelved.

A case in point is an article I sent to the New vision in 2007, titled: “Muhoozi is Eligible for Presidency”.

Had it been published, one would be comparing my predictions then with what has happened so far in regard to Gilbert Bukenya, Amama Mbabazi, Mugisha Muntu and some senior military officers, and now the succession debate involving Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

Two my views are published and met with scathing, almost-denigrating attacks by intolerant readers. A case in point is the article that appeared in the Daily Monitor of August 19, 2012 titled: “Save your breath, Museveni Constitutional term ends in 2021” which was edited to read, “…Museveni Reign…”.

Three my views are highly acclaimed but little comes from those to whom my recommendations are directed.

Four my positions are misunderstood by political leaders as having external political influence behind them, as if I have no brains to objectively analyse and make inferences based on my own judgement! The minority report on the famous Temangalo land saga is one example. I have no regrets, whatsoever, that I objectively defended my party, which had been besieged by the opposition and those in NRM that had personal political scores to settle with Mr Amama Mbabazi and Dr Ezra Suruma, for which I paid the ultimate political price.

Likewise, in 2010, together with a few colleagues in cabinet and Parliament, I co-authored a document revealing to the NRM chairman that the then forthcoming NRM primaries were likely to be sham, confused and unlikely to solve the NRM Independent candidates’ plague if they were to be conducted under adult suffrage.

We also unveiled a mobilization effort by the then vice-president, Prof Gilbert Bukenya, to become NRM secretary general, a position he wanted to eventually use as a springboard to catapult him to the presidency after Museveni. I was, as usual, ignored but now time is on my side. I could never have spared Mr Amama Mbabazi either if I had detected similar tendencies then.

Against that background, let me yet again caution my party, the NRM, about the overzealous young Turks in cabinet and Parliament, who seem to be the shining stars with little or no respect for elders. It is indisputable that in political philosophy, the law of the negation of the negation underpins the fact that the old give way to the new (young).

The young naturally take over from the old, but not unguided. ‘Development takes place when the new does not simply cut off the existence of the old but takes from it all that is positive and viable’. (V. I. Lenin). The new generation should take heed that their succession aspirations are not born in a vacuum. They are founded on solid achievements of the old generation that must, of necessity, be respected.

My contention is born out of what the media reports of youthful NRM leaders such as Richard Todwong, David Bahati, Kasule Lumumba, Jacob Oulanyah, Rose Namayanja, and other officials like Tamale Mirundi, denigrating the NRM Secretary General, Mr Amama Mbabazi.

Whatever his weaknesses or “unbecoming” behaviour and ambitions, Mr Mbabazi is an elder and a historical NRM member. He should, therefore, be treated with the highest respect commensurate with his track record. Although the young generation seems excited by political and military appointments, as obvious steps to handing over power to them, continued denigration of those responsible for the capture and retention of that power could be counterproductive.

The current stand-off between the NRM chairman and the secretary general could just be a manifestation of a bigger problem, namely: who succeeds President Museveni’s generation in 2021 (if the constitution of Uganda remains unchanged)?

Is it the Sejusa (formerly Tinyefuza), Muntu, Kizza Besigye, Fred Bogere, Henry Tumukunde, Aronda Nyakairima, James Mugira, Daudi Migereko, Adolf Mwesige generation, or the Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Leopold Kyanda, Wilson Mbadi, Frank Tumwebaze, Richard Todwong, Rose Namayanja generation? Could it be that Mr Mbabazi was simply aiming at a transitional presidency in 2021 (one term) and hand over to the Sejusa generation and this scheme was nipped in the bud?

The NRM leadership needs to rethink its strategy. At the current rate of flawed strategic political behaviour, the party can easily irrigate a coalition of forces who would gladly reap big in the 2016 polls. Many people are quiet but watching and waiting.

The army and police can menacingly stare but a political dialogue is the wiser pathway. Ugandans can then be spared another embarrassing possibility of a military regime alluded to in the past by a minister of Defence and a chief of defence forces. We have come from far, so far! Dialogue, dialogue and dialogue!

The author is a former state minister for Local Government and former MP for Rubanda East, Kabale.

Source : The Observer

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