On Tuesday this week, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni received a unanimous endorsement within the NRM as its national Chairperson, and presidential candidate, in the forthcoming general elections slated for January 2021. He is holding this mantle for the fifth round and although still early, it is apparent that his road is well-paved. The stiff challenge that had been promised by the collective opposition has flattened and spattered. But well, NRM should not under estimating its competitors and the national tasks ahead. Many pundits believe that opposition groups will be left, like scavengers, to fight over the rotting spoils.
Museveni, and NRM;s path is clear, objectives are discernible, and mission is embraced by a popular majority regardless of what the opposition may be shouting about. People who have been clattering over the last three years should keep their peace, be the inconvenient and nuisance voices in the wild political space. We extend appreciation to NRM leaders, general cadre and membership, and majority of Ugandans for staying the course, remaining loyal and mobilizing for NRM, President Museveni and other party candidates despite the negative pressures from many angles.
Going by the numbers that have so far picked NRM nomination forms for members of parliament (970) and for district chairpersons (420), it is clear that NRM continues to be the most popular, attractive, and favoured platform on which to represent Ugandans and by this, victory is assured.
Together we should examine the drawbacks in the implementation and delivery of the 2016-21 election manifesto ending with this election so as to improve in the next phase. Unfortunately, in spite of a clear majority that NRM has enjoyed for in a long while in parliament and in the country, it saddens, that many of its MPs appear unable to see around corners, and are being drabbed both by the opposition and media on almost all fronts. In this election campaign President Museveni should avoid recommending to voters to return sleeping MPs who simply wake up to vote NRM positions even when they haven’t understood it and therefore unable to explain or defend.
NRM leaders, cadres, candidates, members, supporters and well wishers ought to leave their comfort zones and come out to engage with the public ad potential voters especially through various media platforms of radio, television, digital and social media to articulate NRM achievement and mission.
And on account of NRM’s overall good performance over the last three decades in security, stability, unity, socio-economic evolution and progress, Museveni’s leadership is well regcognised even by those who loathe his personality and long stay at the helm. They however sound so ridiculous each time any of them try to dismiss him without according him the statesman that he is.
Those that are seeking NRM leadership, hold its flag for various elective positions in and outside the party must this time round disabuse themselves of bad political behaviours especially being the sources of election violence, voter bribery and general malfeasance. The opposition should be squared to the floor in ways that their complaints won’t have sympathy and credibility before the public.
Those that are trying or hoping to use intimidation, violence and political mudslinging should be told that they cannot and will not be able to harass the NRM, its members or the public and get away with it because the rule of law prevails in Uganda. The people power movement and FDC radicals must fold their tools of intimidation and ill-talk. We should all participate in civil politics of constructive engagement of building Uganda and not seek to destroy.
Meanwhile in the opposition, due to untamed ambition, lack of strategic direction and overall indiscipline they appear to be in continuous disarray, making it difficult for their supporters to trust them, and hence the change they yearn for so much is unlikely to come any time soon, least not in 2021 elections. In the opposition parties their candidates are being handpicked rather elected, and they seem keener to pick from each other than from the NRM.
Evidently, there is political con job going in the largest opposition party FDC where political acrimony is reaching its crescendo with each dissenting leader being shown an easy exist even where magnanimity would dictate otherwise. In the slumbering DP, matters are not any better as its prominent leaders especially from Buganda seem to be taking a tribal tangent against Norbert Mao.
With the opposition so thoroughly out of step, the NRM should have no more excuses why it cannot launch and deliver its new phase of deepening progressive reforms, socio-economic transformation and spread national wealth equitably by expanding opportunities. In addition, NRM should during the next term complete the transfer of national leadership to a much younger and capable generation.
NRM must maintain a robust and disciplined strategy as it enters this election campaigns and not permit the stiff oak trees that cannot even bend in the storms to define the narratives. The limits of opposition leaders have ruthlessly been exposed by each passing day and political events.
The writer, is the Government Spokesperson and head of Uganda Media Centre