Over the past year, Uganda has had a roller-coaster political atmosphere with the out-of-the-blue emergence of Hon. Robert “Bobi Wine” Kyagulanyi, a young, vibrant and ambitious musician-miraculously-turned Member of Parliament. For a while, I have wanted to comment on the strategy that the good MP is taking, not as much as a sympathizer, but more as an onlooker.
You see, African politics is the way it is because everyone who sees a problem always believes they are the solution. This is partly right. I do believe that the ability to cite a problem gives one an advantage in contributing to the solution. Much of Africa’s troubles are due to the fact that those supposed to cook up solutions are unaware of, or are in one way or another, detached from the problems in the first place.
Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine
For example, rarely will an individual feel the pressure to fix a broken road if; 1. They never use it, or 2. When they do, they are in a car with amazing suspension engineering, such that they never feel the discomfort of a single bump. It gets even trickier when that car was not purchased by the individual, but is a benefit that comes with the job title they hold. In such a case, the car holds little financial value and the pain of using it on a broken road is minimalized.
One who has experienced a problem is usually more passionate about finding a solution. However, we find ourselves with another problem if everyone wants to be at the helm the solution. We cannot accomplish anything this way. Africa must learn to rally and organize for progress.
During the Uganda political season of 2001, Al-Hajji Nasser Ntege Sebaggala declared his intention to run for the highest political seat in the land. At that time, I was just a boy but I do remember that the Electoral Commission, after due diligence, found a little flaw in the good Hajji’s academic documents which disqualified him from running. Sebaggala then did what few African politicians can (although still, he was forced to.) He backed up another political candidate, Ret. Col. Dr. Kiiza Besigye. I remember how much Besigye’s support skyrocketed from that move by Sebaggala.
Fast forward, 2017-2018… Hon. Kyagulanyi employed a similar strategy against the ruling party’s representatives during parliamentary elections. During campaigns, Hon. Kyagulanyi was instrumental in rallying people behind a particular candidate and solidifying the opposition against the ruling party, the National Resistance Movement (N.R.M.) This strategy worked in a number of constituencies.
The Americans have a saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If it is not broken, do not fix it. Why should you forfeit a working strategy? A united opposition is indeed the only viable way to beat a united ruling party during national elections. It only makes sense, right?
It also makes sense that it works to the advantage of the ruling party to have a divided opposition. Why is the opposition divided? Simple! Greed! As mentioned before, everyone wants to be the one. As a result, they don’t notice that in addition to running against the sitting candidate, they are also running against each other and spreading themselves thin. The population at the grassroots only sees a bunch of power-hungry individuals bickering, not for the nation, but for their own satisfaction.
Al-Hajji Nasser Ntege Sebaggala
I had never really been a Bobi Wine fan, but the first time I watched him during a TV interview, I remember noticing how intelligent this guy was as an artiste. I was quite impressed. When he started rocking the Uganda political scene, I saw that he had potential. However, what will choke this potential will be the greed I mentioned earlier. If Hon. Kyagulanyi manages to keep the greed at bay, he is well on his way to a bright political future.
There are millions in Uganda who do not think that Hon. Kyagulanyi has got what it takes to run this country. We are entitled to our opinion. This opinion was especially cemented after we watched that Straight Talk Africa debate between Hon. Kyagulanyi and the Ugandan ambassador to the U.S, H.E. Mull Katende, in which the ambassador floored the honorable, hands down! However, a good percentage of non-Bobi supporters are still not in favor of the ruling party for their own reasons.
Kyagulanyi’s strategy should lie in presenting himself as the unifying factor. Instead of getting up and saying, Vote for me. I am the answer to your troubles – word it as he may, he should look ahead to 10 years. If instead of fronting himself, Bobi Wine backs up another candidate, he will have done what nobody else has done. If he hits the campaign trail to say, Look, we are on a bigger mission here than self-gratification. I appeal to us all to vote for so and so. He has a firmer grip on these things and is a better chance for our win, but he can only do so if we all cast our votes for him… If he does that, Bobi Wine will appear a saint in the eyes of the population.
He will paint a picture of detachment from greed that most politicians appear to be attached to. Whether the candidate he backs up wins or loses, the move is a winner. That move would give him time to grow his understanding of politics and the trust of those of us who were disappointed by the Straight Talk Africa debate. It gives him the opportunity to redeem and make himself more astute in matters of policy – matters which caused the bloody nose and black eyes that the ambassador gave him in the earlier mentioned Straight Talk Africa debate. It would give him time to sit under tutorship and mentorship in preparation for a better more prepared comeback.
If after doing that, Kyagulanyi runs in 2026, his support will be overwhelming.
What if the candidate he backs up wins and later on attempts to take him out? It is a possibility he must consider and take measures to mitigate, should it arise. Also, if the attempt should happen, it saints him even the more. The N.R.M is not in the habit of eliminating political opponents, so should the candidate he backs up lose to the N.R.M, he is assured of his safety, I think, yet still, he has painted a favorable picture for us, the voters.
Honorable, my advice is, look further ahead. Use the platform you have now to win people over for later. You just have to make sure you remain relevant throughout the next term. This is the mistake that Ugandan political aspirants make. We only hear of them during political season. Either they are plants to divide the opposition or the grief of loss causes them to slip into hibernation after elections.
For example; Where is Prof. Barya? Where is Maj. Gen. Biraro? We don’t see much of them on the political scene. They are probably waiting for 2020. You don’t do that! Stay vocal. Stay newsworthy, then you can expect a sweep in 2026 or even 2031. But 2021… I advise, honorable, that you consider this strategy. You do not want to replace Dr. Besigye – always within reach, but never really attaining.
Disclaimer: Regardless of how this post may sound, it is in no way a reflection of the writer’s political preferences and inclinations. For God and My Country!!!