A daily of February 19 – 25, 2020 ran a story on page 4, thus “ EC clears 15 presidential aspirants to consult,” and went on: “…Apostle Ben Israel Sseninde, Bob Paul Akileng, Steven Kawesa, Timothy Mugerwa, Elton John Mabirizi and Bobi Wine,” all of them little-knowns, were “cleared to consult” in preparation for the 2021 presidential elections.
That, in my view, evidences the growth of our democracy since we extricated ourselves out of a monolithic political entrapment and reverted to pluralism after the plebiscite of 2005. That we can have as many, though many of them are performing “katemba,” aspiring to be president without being molested, is a complete departure from the debacles 1980 when the political space was largely restricted and ring-fenced for the powerful few. And these numbers will burgeon with time because the perennial presidential candidate, Kiiza Besigye will, for sure, declare his intentions; he has always and superbly choreographed his FDC electoral structures anyway.
In retrospection, Ugandans know that Yoweri Museveni, as incumbent president, has set our national standards higher than the bar, most especially when it comes to the restoration of our country into the international files of honor by maintaining peace, security, stability as well as ensuring steady social economic and political transformation; that is an indisputable fact, which his haters within and without our boarders must contend with. The Ugandan voters will not, as they have always done, gamble and elect flip-flops in 2021, whose character of politics is playing by renegade rules of remonstrations like Kiiza Besigye’s defiance or, indeed, Bobi Wine’s riotous shenanigans. Their admirers too, who are apologists of un-natural and alien behaviors have a stern message here as well.
A survey of the opposition pack that is seeking the office of Uganda’s chief executive office is a mixed grill of perennial losers and upstarts, none has what it takes to effectively shield our country from the insecurities in our neighborhood that simmer incessantly: both the north and the west are bedeviled with insurgent rebellions pulling in all directions and the south, in unhinged behavior, closes boarders. All that diffidence and fragility require tested leadership, which, undoubtedly, Yoweri Museveni has exhibited over decades.
The voters will not elect groups like DP and FDC who, for the most part of their internal discussions resort to fist fights as well as recalcitrant behavior. Electing them would reverse all the democratic gains from 1986 to-date and it would be a re-incarnation of the chaos during the epochal period between 1979 – 1980, a time when Uganda, for five times, changed heads of state: Idi Amin, Yusufu Lule, Godfrey Binaisa, Paul Muwanga and Milton Obote at a whooping cost to human life, property and economic stagnation. Opposition groups have failed to meld their jostling constituencies; they have elected to shout from Kampala’s bully pulpit to supercharge their political batteries and simultaneously punching beyond their weight, all coming to naught. President Yoweri Museveni’s inexplicable and unmatched public commission of over thirty years, his impeccable national and international standing all combine to pale the opposition’s fortunes and bravado, making Ugandan voters averse to that paralyzing polarization.
Kiiza Besigye’s debilitating stranglehold on the opposition, Johnny come-lately Bobi Wine’s intransigence and others in tow, while enjoying their crowded and chaotic political canvass have far, unknowingly, christened that sector as an assortment of stampeders of national progress in the eyes of the Ugandan voter. Their fiendish posturing, though politically satisfying and expedient, comes with a cost: it turns them into moonlight by Yoweri Museveni’s sunlight.
Amb. Henry Mayega
Deputy Head of Mission, Uganda Embassy, Beijing, China