By Morris Komakech
Can Museveni’s Ofwono Opondo or any NRM spokesperson be honest and keep their job?
The nearly 30 years of the NRM rule has made us apathetic to two jobs over siasa – that of organisational spokesperson, and political commissar. The NRM government has taught us that these positions require unconscionable individuals who should lie, manipulate, dupe, disrespect, and deceive people without remorse.
And, it is increasingly conspicuous that the NRM self-perpetuates by adherence to duplicitous means. It nourishes its cadres with falsehood and the attendant cover-up strategies and makes them spokespersons. That is what the tightly controlled NRM media and public relations are all about. Their job is to procure legitimacy to the false ideology that, unfortunately, has found itself webbed-up in catastrophic contradictions.
Ofwono Opondo exudes these traits in his articles that are predictable, flat, boring and with little value to public debate because it lacks authentic contents.
Opondo appears either malicious, falsifying, condescending, or coercive like a headmaster. There is nothing straight and truthful that he can utter. Everything that comes out of his nib is twisted, or an abridged form of reality. Distortions.
Opondo’s recent article titled, “Besigye and Muntu should be honest” (Read: DM of January 11, 2016) is in such light. In that article, Opondo exemplified his characteristic derision, and natural ability to always dump the reputation of anyone who disagrees with their deceptive politics into a greasy political sink, forgetting his own, in his closet.
And in the article, his usual subject of ridicule was presidential candidate, Kizza Besigye. His vain attempt was to deliberately mislead young readers that Besigye personally banned political parties in 1990, whereas it was not. In fact, the important question that we should be asking is, can Ofwono Opondo and his boss, President Yoweri Museveni ever be honest to Ugandans?
Ofwono wrote: “By the way it was Besigye as NPC who on October 3, 1990, addressed a press conference and issued a written statement ‘banning’ political party activities in Uganda, and as one of his political officers then, I have kept that statement up to now.”
In this piece, he was being malicious, and blackmailing. The truth of the matter is that no individual in a government, can come up with such a major decision to “ban” political party activities in a country without a consensus from the ruling Party. The banning of the political parties was a fundamental mistake that this country has not yet recovered from. It laid the foundation for the sham electoral processes, commercialisation of elections, and permeated it with violence leading to the endemic corruption in society and failures in government. The root of that decision lies in the falsehood of the NRM ideology and can be traced back to President Museveni’s early desire to become Uganda’s ruler for life.
From inception, Museveni argued that the major problem of Uganda was sectarianism based on politics that divided Uganda into religion, tribes, chauvinism etc and NRM, as an organisation, came up with a spurious solution – ban political parties, install individual merit.
By banning political parties, the NRM as a whole planted the false perception that multiparty politics was the cause of conflict in society and yet Museveni has been the most active ingredient of conflict in our society. NRM ensured that parties were restricted and it ruled under a single party democracy. This was the basis of the draconian law, Article 269 of the 1995 Constitution that effectively restricted political parties to Kampala headquarters.
It is therefore, a falsification of pathological proportions to attribute “banning“ of political parties, a major turning point in Uganda’s political development, to a single act, of a single bearer of the Office of National Political Commissar.
The truth is that, President Museveni is petrified of fair competition. That is why he has absconded from the presidential candidate debates. Museveni despises democracy and is averse to the truth and rule of law. He evades any moment of public scrutiny and hides behind “peace and security” sloganeering.
Ofwono Opondo, and his colleagues have made a very bad reputation for the job of Spokesperson. They slaughter the truth without the requisite decorum! Opprobriously!
Morris Komakech is a Ugandan social critic and political analyst based in Canada. Can contact via firstname.lastname@example.org