A fractured opposition will lose by historic margins in 2021

Col (Rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye and Mugisha Muntu have parted ways. Courtesy/File photo.


By Patrick Odongo Lango

Lira—27, August 2020: One of the abiding lessons of history is that the skill in cobbling together alliances is one of the greatest marks of statesmanship. With an alliance, nations and political parties can marshal their forces and defeat their enemies.

This is a lesson that seems to have been lost on the collective Ugandan opposition. Whereas NRM, the Ugandan’s longest-serving political party, is increasing the size of its tent to accommodate more members, the opposition is splintering into tiny unviable outfits that, by themselves, cannot challenge the disciplined NRM juggernaut.

During the recent NRM CEC elections, the party faithful voted for a mixture of fresh blood but also kept experienced hands like President Museveni, House Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, and Al-Hajj Musa Kigongo to balance out the team but also to ensure that institutional memory is not lost.

The trajectory the party is taking is towards the younger demographic group by bringing in a new crop of enlightened leaders like Dr. Chris Baryommunsi, Deputy House Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, Singh Katongole, etc. As I stated over the weekend’s talk show on Radio Waa 89.8 FM in Lira, if you yearn for change, then NRM is the party of change.

As all this is happening, the opposition is in total disarray. The four-time presidential election aspirant, Dr Kizza Besigye, waved the white flag and called it quits. To save face, he has been whimpering about a “Plan B” of using unorthodox methods.

The government of Uganda can meet and defeat any asymmetrical fights that Besigye will bring. You will recall that the perennial election loser once promised a tsunami that did not materialize. I am of the view that the latest shenanigans Besigye is talking about will suffer a similar fate — a stillbirth.

The Democratic Party (DP), led by the acerbic Norbert Mao, suffered a body blow that left the Oracle of Gulu reeling. Ten DP Members of Parliament, all from Buganda, left and joined the National Unity Platform (NUP), the briefcase organization that was bought as a special purpose vehicle by Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, the musician turned politician.

His head swelling because of the coup he made at DP, the MDD graduate was, however, put in a place of bother by the troublesome city lawyer, Male Mabirizi, over his academic records. It seems Robert Kyagulanyi’s papers are not in order.

Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), the Grand Old Party (GOP), led by former first-son, Jimmy James Michael Akena Obote (JJMAO), has decided not to field in a presidential candidate and has elected to concentrate on the down ballots, strengthening their representation in parliament and at local government levels.

This is a smart move that not only strengthens the gentleman’s agreement between UPC and NRM but also enables Akena to bide his time, consolidate his forces, and play the long game. It would have been foolish for Akena to enter into a race when he’s well aware of the internal weakness that a convalescing UPC has.

Major General Mugisha Muntu and his Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) is the only party that, despite their late entry, brings a breath of fresh air to the political arena. They represent what a true opposition party should look like  —  balanced in their criticisms of the ruling party, moderate in their language and rhetoric but large in alternative governing ideas.

As Muntu says, ANT is a party of the future. I was lucky to debate their Lango sub-region coordinator — Ayena Okello — and was struck by his level-headedness.

But when all is said and done, the 2021 general elections will be for NRM to lose.

The writer, an NRM cadre from Minakulu in Oyam District, is a public commentator on political affairs

Facebook: Odongo Lango,Twitter: patrickodongosn

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