Balaam to Nambooze: Iam Proud to use my marketing skills to convert supporters for NRM, My Party

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Balaam Barugahara Ateenyi

Dear Hon. Betty Nambooze,

The great Napoleon Bonaparte, once said that never interrupt your enemy when (s)he is making a mistake, but because we in the National Resistance Movement (NRM), do not view the opposition as enemies, I will this one time seek to correct and perhaps share a one or two tips about political marketing with my sister, Hon Betty Nambooze.

First of all, I must say that Hon Nambooze is entitled to her own opinions about me and the freedom of speech that has been jealously defended and protected by the NRM government guarantees her that. As to how true or factual those opinions are is a totally different matter.

Contrary to her views, Balaam Barugahara is not a politician. I am a hands-on marketer- and an experiential marketer at that. I have built a successful business and reputation in building especially Ugandan brands- ranging from entertainment, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs), and even government brands, but again that is a story for another day. What I am here to do is to proudly profess my undying support for my party, NRM. I am extremely proud to lend my marketing skills for the benefit of my party and I am glad the opposition is noticing- because our strategy is working.

Let me teach Hon Nambooze and the rest who think like her, a few things about marketing and political marketing for that matter. In the life of every marketer (insert politician if you like), there are three audiences i.e. allies, neutrals, and adversaries/opponents. For every party that wants to remain relevant and sustainable, its lifetime goal must be winning over as many neutrals and opponents to become allies and then re-deploying the allies (both new and old) to win over more opponents and neutrals. It is a lifetime activity.

And this is the strategy of the NRM. Unlike the opposition, we don’t abuse, fight, witch-hunt, or label our opponents. We win them over. Winning them over is not a one-day event, it is a process and it involves a strategy- identifying, approaching, convincing, and converting them. And we do not just convert them into mere supporters, we also seek to convert them into our brand ambassadors, so they can become living testimonies of how inclusive and tolerant our party is and in the process, win us more converts. If anyone is in doubt about this strategy, the results of the recently concluded Village Youth Committees should prepare the likes of the Namboozes, what lies ahead for them in 2021.

And speaking about strategy, strategy involves analyzing the core of a challenge or problem and then proceeding to build a unique, powerful source of leverage that is overwhelming to the challenge. But a good strategy is not complete without proper execution. In experiential marketing- we all know that any good execution must be compatible with all of your human, financial, relationships, assets, capabilities, etc., but more importantly, timing is key.

For anybody familiar with NRM, it is not a secret that one of the greatest assets that the NRM party has, is our Chairman- H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. His wisdom, humility, and political charm is legendary. Many of his opponents, who have had a chance to meet with him, have all testified about how fascinated by especially the way he handles those opposed to him. The likes of Nambooze often love to think that it is about money- but this is far from the truth. But even then, how the NRM party uses its resources to run its political programmes, is purely the business of the NRM party.

I could go on and on, but we have an election to win and I know better than spending all my time teaching Hon Betty Nambooze on how to convert opponents because she doesn’t seem to have the humility and or patience needed to deal with her opponents. This is probably the reason why she has run away from the Democratic Party, a party that helped her become who she is today, to a recently formed National Unity Platform.

Who knows, maybe in 2026 or sooner, she will be with the NRM, once she disagrees with her newfound platform?

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Balaam Barugahara Ateenyi is the Chairman & MD at Balaam Marketing and Promotions Agency

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