It is the most tantalizing “what if NUP”, a party which I hear aspired to govern us “had existed during the 1970s and the early 1980s,” would have its apparatchiks been spared obliteration after meting out their grisly violence on then government supporters.
The unabated violence NUP goons are meting out on real, perceived and those lacking sympathy for their party wills now ball into pogroms if it is not nipped in the bud by security forces. To bring Ugandans to speed, as folks were attending the burial of Jakana Sulaiman Nadduli, son of venerated Mzei Abdul Naduli, in Nakaseke on October 25, 2022, NUP goons bludgeoned Ivan Kamuntu Majambere to near death and made off with his body guard’s weapon.
In stark contrast, it mind-boggles sane souls that whereas in the yonder past of the 1970s – early 1980s, it was government functionaries that bludgeoned its opponents, in this time and age, it is the opposition that clobbers and nails together the hands of NRM supporters. Not surprisingly though, the opposition-leaning media, human rights watch and lecturers from the west have been conspicuously silent about those acts of savagery and hooliganism; there’s so much implicit bias amongst that trio smacking of a tragi-comedy.
Before the Nakaseke ordeal, similar scenes of savagery by NUP goons had occurred in other places including one at the burial of the father of musician Walukaga in Masakawhere and when presidential adviser, Catherine Kusasira and artist Big Eye, were chased from the funeral; elsewhere, both Bebe Cool and Big Eye have braved another form of NUP goons’ repugnant savagery; the duo has been gruesomely pelted with bottles during their shows. During the last electoral period, scores of NRM supporters had their limbs fractured by the same blockheads; the chorus about arrests of those offenders by security has been as deceptive as it is deafening; those busts have been dubbed “abductions” by some of the hare-brained dregs.
Worryingly, the pluralistic democracy ushered in by the Yoweri Museveni administration is the reason some hoodlums are abusing the opened-up space in these splendid times; the available liberal latitude has simultaneously reared the ugly head of illiberal sentiments mostly from the uncouth corner in the central region; false stories abound about how NUP goons abduct and incarcerate themselves to blame it on government. Relatedly, stories are cooked about how NUP repatriates stranded nationals abroad; NUP has been waylaying returnees at the airport claiming to have funded their return. Those lies intended to blindside the truth loom over a huge heap of reality; security personnel will rightly continue to pick anyone with wayward behavior irrespective of whether they are borne from Magere or not.
The question is, who would tempt the gods by beating up government supporters in the 1970s and 1980s and they walked away unscathed? Nobody during those times ever tried to do so and if they did, that would have been their solicited waterloo. Some have even celebrated the death of others like in the case of General Elly Tumwine and the two children of Hon. Ronald Kibule; the African culture inhibits out fluxing of hate against the dead; it is an act of wizardry to do so, instead death cultivates unity in times of bereavement.
The Uganda Human Rights Commission issued a muted statement on the bludgeoning of Majambere; it failed to name NUP as the culprits yet the offenders wore NUP regalia and sang corresponding songs. In cases of excesses by elements in state security agencies, the UHRC has always roundly named them; that body ought to call a spade a spade; their muted statements cultivate more impunity. From the clips that went viral, it was abundantly clear that NUP goons were culpable and their actions bordered on attempted murder and firearm theft. Everyone also saw NUP leaders cheering those despicable acts as if to confirm the saying: what walks, swims and quacks like a duck is also a duck.
Thirdly, Uganda’s security services must rise to the occasion and bring those NUP delinquents, who most times seem to be high on the weed, to book; their hooliganism must not be allowed to germinate, grow and blossom because the offenders are not residing on planet mars; they are amidst us.
Elsewhere, our esteemed human rights defenders including human rights watch should rise to the occasion and document those acts of savagery or else in the future they shouldn’t come to Uganda brandishing their yearly reports.
Could their subsequent annual reports also include the shrinking space for the media in the western world where Russia’s RT and Sputnick media houses have been banned because of the Ukrainian debacle?
Ambassador Henry Mayega
Uganda Consulate, Dubai, UAE