Opposition Power Sustained only by Falsehoods

By Ofwono Opondo

Oct, 18, 17

Sometimes in politics, it is said that one dies more than once, and so the FDC since its founding on high sounding rhetoric in 2003, mainly on the presumed failures of NRM and disagreements with President Yoweri Museveni, has failed to increase its numerical strength in parliament and country.
In these times of political incompetence, the much hyped age limit removal debate, first in parliament, then to the public and hopefully back for a decision in parliament, has been a good convenient distraction from the fledging FDC campaigns to change its president. Clearly, the age limit debate brought by Igara West MP, Raphael Magyezi has drowned the rather dull FDC campaigns, and that should surely say something about the party and those who run it.
Consequently, rather than face an embarrassing political situation, the FDC leadership has sought, although unsuccessfully, to instead instigate and sow countrywide discontent over the constitutional amendment process as an illegality orchestrated by President Yoweri Museveni and NRM, solely to perpetuate a ‘life presidency’ as if when the age limit is removed, there won’t be any more elections in Uganda. It’s false for the opposition to claim that Uganda’s violent past was because of presidents ‘over-staying’ rather than bad governance.
Some people are even tempted to compare FDC to a party that has someone having full-blown epileptic, still being assessed as fit to drive a crane that Uganda is. The FDC, DP and UPC leaders and supporters have argued loudly that changing leaders is good for an organisation and country, but shy to state if indeed they are today vigorous and viable parties as a result of the multiple leadership changes they have had.
For starters, FDC has changed its president from Kizza Besigye to Mugisha Muntu, both with historical roots in the NRM and UPDF, but hasn’t improved in building a credible policy platform, capable organisation or leadership, and hence its numerical performance at all elections have been dismal and continue to dwindle. Also, FDC has been in charge of the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP) docket, which has changed four times now from Prof. Ogenga Latigo, Nandala Mafabi, Wafula Oguttu to the current holder Winnie Kiiza. Am not sure many Ugandans even remember what each has achieved on the policy front except the personal financial perks they take home.
Whenever asked if they would want to be in government, opposition leaders often reply that they would do an excellent job than NRM and President Museveni, which can’t be true because let us face it, stop reading my column, and look around you. Each of the opposition parties is now like a wounded antelope trying to bring down a wounded buffalo by which they believe being president is an excellent job and they would happily want to have it through any tricks. And yet, no doubt, we all know that as rivals, they will work with each other only if considered to have some temporary usefulness like when a bank robber in a movie holds up a dead body in the front to soak bullets from the pursuing police.
And how enlightening to exist as opposition leaders Besigye, Muntu, Norbert Mao, and Asuman Basalirwa, or as ‘elders’ James Ogoola, Samuel Wambuzi, Henry Kyemba and Prof. Apolo Nsibambi at this moment in history. To live while still dead, must surely give one an almost Buddhist level of insights that you couldn’t put on table at younger years. These ‘elders’, and I doubt for whom they speak, have been here very long enough to make Uganda great especially by attending meetings, plan and give great speeches and advise, while avoiding the tough questions of the day. But to now turn up as vertical cadavers that can propel furious nothings is really being unserious.
And then you may ask why so many Ugandans are fooled by these ‘elders’ waking up in the twilight, as if the public has the memory span of an abused dog offered bones. These ‘elders’ cannot stab anyone in the back because their knives were cremated years back. But again are the ‘elders’ perhaps saying their advise is not particularly born out of fidelity to good reasoning because of their advanced age, although I know that James Ogoola often tries to bolster his intellectual heft by quoting Shakespeare and other Victorian comedians, writers and even vagabonds.
Some of the demands of these elders who while still in government had pitchy management styles not very different from those employed on shop floors is reminder to Ugandans to scrunch their bottoms up when some people tell them about their worries. The opposition now exists largely to misinform the public, and to convince voters struggling through hard economic times that they have the same interest or indeed have easy answers to the most difficult and complicated questions of the day like socio-economic transformation, un-employment, and effects of technology. Despite the deflating campaigns of discontent, the collective opposition probably still feels that they could soon miraculously win a majority, although tragically they firmly hold at about twenty percent.