The general election results is slowly emerging showing the extent of the humbling, if not humiliating defeat of the boastful foursome of FDC party, Norbert Mao, and two retired UPDF Generals Gregg Mugisha Muntu and Henry Tumukunde Kakurugu.
Muntu and Tumukunde are former President Yoweri Museveni’s surrogates seen by many in both the NRM historical lenses as having been rushed through the ranks with favours whose raw ambition made them diabolical turncoats.
It has been soothingly entertaining watching Muntu, and Tumukunde who had falsely boasted of being the master brain of NRM political inroads being crowded in the same league by John Katumba ‘Oyee’. It will be interesting in the coming months to hear which scapegoat FDC, Muntu, Tumukunde and Mao will be giving for their respective electoral performances. But quietly, while they will spread the blame game, it will not be surprising if publicly they point their angry fingers at President Museveni and the NRM.
When he was dropped as army commander in 1998 for failure to end armed insurgency in Northern Uganda, Muntu, previously loyal and seen by many as Museveni’s blue-eyed boy, turned bitter, detached, and politically ambivalent before finally abandoning the NRM. He then dashed into FDC where he became its premier national organizing secretary in 2005. There, Muntu grumbled quietly that he was not given ample space to built party structures and disagreed with the radical wing then promoting violent campaigns of civil disobedience dubbed defiance.
In FDC, Muntu ran twice in futile efforts to upstage Kizza Besigye as president, but finally succeeded against Nathan Nandala Mafabi in an acrimonious contest that left FDC spilt down the middle, and a prolonged internal civil war.
In subsequent contest for control of FDC, Muntu was toppled by Patrick Oboi Amuriat from the radical group led by Besigye. That defeat forced Muntu and his allies to walk out of FDC to form the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) that has now suffered a stillbirth in the just concluded elections considering that Muntu scored a paltry 67,574 votes (0.65%), while ANT came off without a single MP.
Tumukunde, an ever sneering politician who had billed himself a smooth operator pulled just 51,392 votes (0.50%). In reality, most pundits saw Tumukunde more as an arrogant schemer seeking attention and beckon from President Museveni. Others even thought that he was a sly dubious agent sent by President Museveni to infiltrate and disorganize the opposition.
FDC that has rumbled and touted by the local Uganda media a strong party has come down tumbling on its light weight suffering a humiliating defeat after Amuriat came in distant third with just 337,589 votes (3.2%) national vote and only thirty one MPs-elect joining the Eleventh parliament.
Meanwhile Besigye who had earlier sensed FDC’s declining trends chose to keep as far away as possible from the election campaigns so as not to be held liable leaving Amuriat to shoulder his own burden. That score means that FDC has lost its fifteen year position as the Leader of Opposition in Parliament. At the district Local government level, FDC has only managed to get eight chairpersons. Furthermore, FDC was trimmed out in Kasese, Rukungiri, Kampala, Teso, West Nile, and Acholi except Amuru district.
The ousting of opposition filibusters Ronald Okumu (Aswa), Ogenga Latigo (Agago), Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo), Paul Mwiru, Ezati Kasiano Wadri, Robert Centenary, Samuel Odonga Otto, Hassan Kaps Fungaro, the blocking of Alice Alaso and Miria Matembe from regaining parliamentary seat more than compensates for NRM’s loss of Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi. It isn’t clear what Matembe yearned for back in parliament when she has been rabidly yelling that the institution is corrupt, useless and mere rubber stamp of President Museveni.
The ever jocular Norbert Mao making his second attempt to become Uganda’s president couldn’t even go past 57,682 votes (0.56%) nationally, and DP got trimmed to bare skin with only eight MPs-elect contending with the National Unity Platform (NUP) mainly as tribal outfits within Buganda. The results show that it is a misnomer to refer to NUP as national platform. In the run up to the campaigns Mao had suffered desertion when majority of DP MPs abandoned the party for NUP, and then in the midst of his campaigns, party deputy president Mukasa Mbidde standing on DP ticket opportunistically swiped him for Robert Kyagulanyi.
While the NRM so far has a comfortable majority of 336 MPs-elect, pending youth MP election will enable it to pass any legislation and agenda, it is the first time a combined opposition has increased its strength beyond the one hundred, and that should worry NRM because it will be tough handling parliament. This is because apart from youth demographics and numbers, the NRM hasn’t been playing smart legislative politics and public relations.
NRM relies mainly on sheer numbers and President Museveni’s weight to win. To manage better, the NRM caucus must improve its internal consultations to make it exhaustive and effective to defeat various forms of filibuster tactics within and outside to regain higher levels of confidence among Ugandans.
The writer, is Government Spokesperson and head of Uganda Media Centre
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