Opponents consumed by Hate and Anger over age Limit Judgment

By Ofwono Opondo

Aug.02, 18
Predictably, the political opposition and its allies in the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), media and academia passing as the only genuine nationalists and patriots are all responding with extreme arrogance, anger and anguish sometimes threatening violence over last week’s Constitutional Court ruling in which in a majority of four to one, judges decided that the lifting of age limit was done within the realms of the constitution and procedures of parliament. While they are entitled to their often lopsided analysis, this judgment is also a well deserved diversion from the electoral they suffered, and shall continue engaging them with civility, exposing them as the charlatans they really are.
Pretending to be the only legal experts on  constitutionalism, these opponents have sought refuge more in the preamble of the 1995 Constitution and Uganda’s bad historical past, rather than the provisions that provide for how the Constitution can be amended whenever necessary or when so desired by generation after generation. And so like American author Oscar Wilde once wrote “technicality is the refuge for scoundrels.” None of them ever say how much democratisation Uganda has made, the fact that indeed our institutions work including the courts they vilify whenever they lose a case, and will stop dictators from emerging. Instead, they continue to spread propaganda through scare mongering, listening to their own false echoes that President Museveni seeks to be president-for-life, as if he cannot be defeated in an election as has happened elsewhere, were the so-called political ‘strongmen’ reigned.
Judging from the reasons often regurgitated from old arguments they made prior to, during and in the immediate aftermath of the age limit amendment in parliament in December last year, it is evident that the opponents are now being consumed more by political hate and anger, rather than logical or constitutional reasoning. And this ruling coming as it did alongside massive electoral defeat at the village, parish and new municipality parliamentary elections, the opponents are finding it very had to gaggle the poisoned chalice they have been spewing for almost a year now. They are frightened from discussing those elections as demonstrated by FDC president Patrick Amuriat Oboi and party spokesperson Ibrahim Semujju Nganda who this refused to answer questions from journalists during their weekly media briefings because it is an embarrassment to the hubris they had raised.
To the opponents, each loss either at election or in courts can only be as result of fraud, bribery, selfishness or intimidation usually by President Yoweri Museveni and the National Resistance Movement (NRM), even in certain instances like in this particular one, President Museveni and some NRM supporters to have their own grievances with the court ruling. The fact that President Museveni may be unhappy with aspects of the ruling and judgment, doesn’t mean that he will not abide by the court decision. Unfortunately, the opposition and their allies believe that they are the only ones with the right to dispute the judgment, and even claim without substantiating that the judges were either bought or intimidated into making the judgment as they did. All of a sudden, Justice Kenneth Kakuru, who was once in the defunct Reform Agenda and represented Kizza Besigye at the Electoral commission during the 2001 presidential elections has become the only legal star on the Constitutional Court, while the others are minions. There is perhaps a little fact that many people may not know which should be brought to light today. I knew Kakuru because while he represented Besigye, I represented President Museveni and the Chairperson of our joint committee then, was Archbishop Metropolitan Jonas Lwanga of the Orthodox Church. Current Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob OulanyahL’Okori represented the ebullient and flamboyant Aggrey Siryoyi Awori, while Wasswa Lule was for Francis Wazarwahi Bwengye. In fact I used to have frequent political burst-ups with Kenneth Kakuru each time his side made unreasonable allegations against our side including one time when Louis Otika (RIP) claimed that we had ferried three million Rwandese from Rwanda to come and fraudulently vote for President Museveni.
And so when Justice Kakuru went into calculation of those numbers of Ugandans who MPs consulted over the age limit amendment, which he claimed were so insignificant, it took me back to those alleged, although non-existent Rwandese ‘voters’ because it was such an absurdity and trash as one needed forty-two thousand eight hundred fifty seven busloads to bring them into Uganda. Each bus carries a maximum of seventy passengers, and in fact, that meant a third of Rwanda’s total population of approximately nine million at that time.
While we admit that NRM leaders haven’t been right, fair, noble, and objective on many occasions, like president Museveni argued this week, the unfair ganging up and vilification without any pretence against each of the NRM positions by a tiny group of elites, ought to drive NRM MPs and supporters into closing ranks. NRM leaders must work diligently, more creatively and vigorously because history, the future and an overwhelming majority of Ugandans are on their side as demonstrated over the years even when the going appeared and uncertain.