By Asuman Odaka
I have been actively engaged in the politics of Uganda since 2004 and very close to the centre of the organize opposition.
I have also been in the informal but legal political activism as provided for in article 38(2) of the Ugandan constitution.
This article is therefore my personal opinion informed by a personal experience but also by surprising episodes unfolding in the opposition political contestations.
With experience and political “weathermanship”, I will confidently tell you that the activities of the un organized, informal and unstructured political activities are by far effective against the Museveni hold to power than the organized opposition parties.
This is the reason People Power is much bigger threat to Museveni than all the 25 registered and almost 50 under registration combined.
I will tell you that W2W, A4C, 4GC, W4P, Y4HR, NAFFE, NAU etc. were taken a bit more serious in terms of power game that these political parties.
Below are fifty (50) reasons why I think the organized opposition parties cannot take power from Mr. Museveni as of now;
- Activities of regime Prophets. According to Karl Marx, Regime Prophets normally pose as opponents of the regime; they will criticize it and the regime may sometimes treat them with brute. Some will even form or even take at the centre stage of the legitimate political and professional opposition. Their criticisms are however only limited to reform the regime or at worst for themselves to come to power. They are critics of the regime until there emerges a real force that threatens the continuity of the regime and their position as the official critic of the regime. When the eminent defeat of the regime become obvious, they will “intelligently” criticize the new force and make the regime appear a better evil than the new force. They will also construct outfits to divert attention each time the dictator seems pressured up to cause disharmonious environment within the forces of change with a intention to expose opposition as a disorganized group that don’t have capacity to manage power/government at critical moment of Transition.
- Pedestrian arguments. Since #HEBobiWine came to the scene and more so when it became clear that he would challenge Mr. Museveni with very good chances of trouncing him, I have seen and heard people who I previously knew were genuinely fighting for change of government turn guns against #HonKyagulanyRobert making very pedestrian arguments intended to destabilize and demobilize the forces of change instead of mobilizing for.
- Mindset of History
The fact that there has never been a peaceful transition of power from one party to another in Uganda a strong point of discouragement for the political pundits , this has been propagated to the benefit of Mr. Museveni because the justification is that after all he will not be the first one to refuse handing over. This propaganda is so grounded in the minds of the opposition parties that whatever they say doesn’t actually reflect what they believe. This partly explains the reason why despite a popular believe that opposition actually won 2006 and 20016 elections, not much could force the regime the regime to hand over. This political stigma reduces opposition parties to just participants other than competitors and yet as of now, I don’t see anybody portraying the capability of forcing Mr. Museveni to transcend this mindset of history apart from the youth
- Historical Baggage of the Major Actors
Most viable political actors have constrains and historical baggage including very stronger ties to the regime. It’s not a crime to have history with the tormentors after all Paul was at one time Saul. The problem with our Political Pauls in Uganda is that many have only changed address but not their actions. Some are actually still working for the regime. This makes the works of the regime propagandist easy to discredit creating almost no difference between them and the regime. Since the unsophisticated human are resistant to change, the common saying of “the devil you are accustomed to ……. Becomes the basis for decision making
- Legal Software
The recent call by some people calling upon HEBobiWine to register PeoplePower as a political party is a very strong proof that the makers of our laws gave Mr. Museveni legal software as a weapon to control political parties his advantage. He controls their expenditures in campaigns, restricts sources from where to fundraise. Even at registration, its Mr. Museveni’s handpicked person who gives them legality to exist, audits them and has power to apply for their deregistration.
With the unlimited power of incumbency in the hands of despotically ambitious Museveni (according to Norbert Mao) is to hope for impossibility.
- Using the Institution of the Dictator
The Ugandan opposition wants to win power from the undemocratic system through the institution of the dictator. How on earth can a dictator set up institutions that will get him out of power? Is it even logical in the context of Mr. Museveni? Museveni’s electoral commission organizes election, his police/Army will beat the protestors, his courts will validate his victory and his media will propagate it. Unfortunately the organized opposition is hoping against hope that electoral commission will declare them, police defends their victory and the court too will do their roles. My take is that the only way for opposition to have anything different from what they have been getting is to try to work outside those institution. The Museveni of 1980 is a perfect example
- Unwarranted Competition amongst selves.
The fierce competition amongst the opposition parties themselves is bad enough to make them unable not just to manage power but also to get it from Mr. Museveni. They throw insults at each other, malign, defame, spread rumor and black mail one another. It’s this competition of opposition supremacy that Norbert Mao once described as prisoners each competing to be a “katikiro” of the jail. I can only liken it to two pigmies all claiming to be taller than the other.
- Failure to Distinguish between Election and Liberation Politics
Election politics is the contest of ideas, policy positions, and manifest/platform in a free, fair and democratic environment. On the other hand liberation politics is about survival, it the nearest to a war. In liberation politics, all conditions for war are present although the actor deliberately refuses to engage in acts of war as a means of removing the regime. Because people are aware, they now begin searching for a rallying point, this rallying point is many times the universal face of the struggle and the crying slogan e.g. (read #PeoplePower).
Unfortunately the opposition in this country seem unable to differentiate between electoral and liberation politics. This inability to differentiate lets them down on which strategy to employ. All they do is running around wasting people’s time. ……………….To be continued……The writer is an activist from Tororo municipality, WhatsApp: +256753195384