You can't reverse the NRM 's 34 year old monopoly by waving at people - Commentaries | NTV

You can't reverse the NRM 's 34 year old monopoly by waving at people on your way to and from funerals!

By Mohamed Kimbugwe

Friday August 21, 2020

NRM Chairperson and President of Uganda, Kaguta Museveni (Daily Monitor) 

The overwhelming success of the NRM in the recently concluded special interest groups elections, although obvious, has got many talking. Even more interesting is that a lot of opposition supporters are surprised by their underwhelming performance, following expectations of a neck-to-neck contest with the NRM. How on earth do you expect a neck-to-neck contest, in an electoral process where you didn't have candidates in 80% of Uganda's villages?

The frustration of opposition supporters is understandable, considering that they've been fed on the false hopes and promises of a quick fix for almost two decades. Misleading rhetoric like "Omusajja agenda", "Tsunami" and "Our wave will sweep them" has for so long drawn for opposition supporters, the image of a lion in the place of a pussy cat!

People like Besigye and Muntu know this! They fought the war that brought NRM! They co-created the plan that killed political parties and ushered in individual merit! After leaving the NRM, they've over the years struggled to field candidates in all elective positions or have at least one polling agent at every polling station in Uganda!

While they have always sought to portray the NRM as a weak party, in fact, one that doesn't exist, they fail to tell you that the NRM is strong, well structured, has access to resources, strong and professional armed forces and of course the luxury of underhand tactics! You can't wave away a party that dominates village leadership. An L.C I Chairperson is in close contact with about twenty households, understands their problems, celebrates with them and goes through tough times with them. At village level, the L.C I Chairperson is the kingmaker. You can't win mass support until you have a reasonable share of village leadership.

Need I also add the presence of RDCs, their deputies, their assistants, as well as the DISOs? The bigger and more widespread the NRM structure is, the bigger the number of beneficiaries and influence base. Matters get even more interesting with underhand tactics like creating new districts, cities and constituencies which may not result into tangible progress in relation to service delivery but widens the list of beneficiaries.

Everything that one needs to keep a firm grip on power, the NRM has! All this has been attained over 34 years and before one tickles you with promises of defeating the NRM in one general election, they must convince you about their strategy to have a known agent or mobilisor in every village in Uganda.

This, I believe, is what inspired Mugisha Muntu's talk of strictures. Unfortunately, our opposition seems to be a place for those that best understand the business of riding on the back of popular sentiments. For example, Bobi Wine doesn't have the time to embark on constructing solid grassroot structures because before he knows it, another popular chap may overtake him.

The conflict therefore, rests between being a Mugisha Muntu and try to build structures or being a Bobi Wine and enjoy the fame while it lasts, before another famous person shows up and our opposition jumps on his wagon.

Bottomline is clear.

Our opposition politicians and supporters must embark on building strong political parties that are in touch with grassroots. Of course they'll be frustrated by career opposition politicians that are simply looking for a vehicle to political office as well as the crippling environment created by the NRM but that's where the defiance should be. This is a longer route that doesn't guarantee the removal of Musevni but it guarantees a future shaped by sustainable political institutions.