Tororo politics: The good are not good, the bad are not bad

Map of Tororo. Courtesy UBOS

By Asuman Odaka

It’s true that there were calls from some of our readers that we suspend our series so that we focus on COVID-19. To date, however, many of you seem to think that Coronavirus message should not completely crowd out equally vital issues.

And the appeal is that we can only reduce the frequency but not completely suspend. Because this isn’t about me but the collective benefit, I oblige. Instead of weekly, we shall be publishing them monthly.

How Bukeddi (Tororo) leaders’ failures to read signs of the day will always cost us

Uganda is a construction out of the many traditional nations (which the white man decided to stigmatize by calling it tribes) agreed to group themselves into 14 extended sub regions, each with a headquarter district named after the most prominent town within that sub region. I come from TORORO, the headquarter district of Bukeddi

By extension this means that the politics, economics and social life of Tororo will directly have influence on the lives of Bagweri, Samia and Bunyole counties. 

It must also be noted that the determination of interest of any of the 14 sub-regions will largely be proportional or equal to the consciousness, preparedness and the evolvement of the centre (headquarter district). 

Equally, the poverty of thought, of strategy, of determination, of evolvement, of consciousness and the intransigence of the leadership there will directly translate into the same in other constituencies.

Tororo is without doubt with semblance of leadership, however shabby. With Pull-Him-Down mentality, some of them may be conducting themselves. 

We have the political leadership led by the elected leaders, the state representatives led by the RDC, the religious leadership led by respective sect leaders and cultural leadership led by the Tieng Adhola Cultural Institution.

Their differentiations are only in terms of narrow social interest but the bigger interest remains in its widest former self-greater Bukeddi. 

The tragedy, however, is all these proliferated leadership structures have turned out to be simple cocoons of self-praise, aggrandisement  and self-enrichment to some without any show of concern over strategic issues shaping and  taking place around them or those likely to affect them, their areas or the future of their descendants whether social economic or political.

Circumstantially, Uganda finds itself in a situation similar to the pre independence time or the pre Moshi Conference times. I see many organised communities engaging into political reconfiguration, economic repositioning, social renewal and strategic thinking to make their current generation not only meet the needs of the near future but also be part of the new owners of tomorrow.  

In my view, the current political contestations between Bobi Wine, Kizza Besigye and Museveni is simply a contest of ambitions of  Ankole sub region to continue their supremacy on the politics, economic and social life over Ugandans versus the rest of Ugandan communities (this, I appreciate is a complex matter for some to understand out rightly).

But whereas this is so, the question of who serves our interest as people of Bukeddi and Eastern Uganda is one among others which must occupy and inform the decisions of those we call our leaders and all of us. 

Unfortunately, what would hold and inform the central mobilisation and decision making infrastructure has become an extra leg of political maligning, defaming and rumormongering. 

I still feel pained when a person who my King delegates to perform a noble function on his behalf comes out to my face and says he only works with political leaders who have gone through. In other words, those who are yet to go through and those who never thought of being elected leaders don’t meet his considerations of the true subjects of Kwara. I also feel pained when the same is working strictly under the instruction of the divisive political elites without due consideration to the greater good.

In the circumstances we now find ourselves, where is our interest catered for in the new political reconfiguration, whether in terms of Ankole versus the rest of the country, or in terms of the National Conference, the expected constitution review commission, or in case of change of government or even in case of transitional political scenarios.

Are we guided to ally with group(s) likely to cater for Tororo’s interest, or are we as the Tororo elites now subsumed into fighting each other because of Besigye, Bobi Wine and Musevni even without knowing who of those has something for Tororo. Or how Tororo benefits from the matrix. Is the politics chessboard so complicated for us to understand, or are we so simple to be neglected?

I want to recognise that Tororo is a unit within the Ugandan larger problem but we cannot forget about the local content, interest, need and issues.

It’s so disheartening to see all political elites from Tororo drawing lines, insulting each other and promising to teach each other a lesson merely on the basis that the other is a supporter of “HE” Bobi Wine or of Dr Besigye or even of Mr Museveni. 

Even more disgusting is that these arguments are not at all based on policies, interest or facts but on emotions.

My conviction is that we can change this; our forefathers avoided engaging in the real political game at the formative stages of its configuration and that is why we are all at the peripheral to date. 

I personally think this is a great opportunity and I thank God to make me live when fundamental settlements and negotiations for who takes what and where in the matrix is the discussion at hand.

It’s in times like this that groups, regions, social but most importantly cultural groupings guarantee their position and interest in the bigger and diverse unit, in this case called Uganda.

National cakes are not distributed after the struggle, its determined in times like this. In times of configuration and realignment, in times of sweat, in times of involvement and it’s the moment.

It’s true that as people from Bukeddi and Eastern Uganda generally, we had missed out on many settlements since the formation of this geographical space called Uganda but fate being a double cruiser has just presented us with another opportunity and chance in form of the current contestations.

The current contestations are not only political. It’s also of nationhood, state restructure, resource redistribution, re-identification of talent, realignment of interest and repositioning of both the individual’s and the community’s future. Ultimately, it’s of guaranteeing ownership and belonging.

And my trouble is whether anybody in the leadership of Tororo as the capital of Bukeddi and Eastern Uganda in general even realises that these contestations are not just of changing president Museveni to another or one MP to another or one L.C. 5 chairperson to another but of survival of the nation, of recognition, of identity and of interest.

The result of my keen observation tells me otherwise.

We must learn and work according to the rule of human survival. According to this rule, nobody gets what he deserves, people get only what they struggle for.

So in our indifference as Bukeddi and generally as Eastern Uganda, we shall get what spectators get, never what anyone thinks we deserve. 

It’s therefore my humble appeal to the unconscious and the sleeping leadership concerned to wake up to the realities of today.

For now keep safe, follow all the guidelines of government to prevent COVID-9

The writer is an aspiring MP, Tororo Municipality (Next Election)

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