By Morris DC Komakech
Trends in opposition victories show that Inter-Party candidates have had better chances at victory at the polls
As we enter 2015, there is need to call for a stronger and united opposition to prepare adequately for a reorganised NRMO. Many cynics appear ambivalent in accepting the gruelling environment in which opposition actors operate.
Opposition politics is laced with thorns and treacherous hurdles to overcome, requiring lots of resources and meticulous organising. By nature, the opposition must be dynamic in ideology to succinctly capture the emerging problems of society with pragmatic responses.
Most of our societal problems are generated by instability resulting from the 1995 Constitution which has become the instrument of expression of the aspirations of the dominant group in power. No amount of effort or methods can succeed in advancing alternative ideology using the Constitution given the numerical disadvantage of opposition in the legislature and at local governments. Instead, the opposition should play the politics of domination by ideas and find those sets of ideas to effectively attract the youth population.
Uganda’s different opposition groups have problems that are similar, but not as galvanizing as those pressed by malignancies of colonialism. These are problems created by stooges and agencies of imperialism whose objectives are driven by innate greed for power.
African leaders, like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Yoweri Museveni are setbacks to Africa’s civilization. They have forcefully dominated productive space by maintaining regressive ideologies which have stifled evolution of progressive ideas through generations. Therefore, one can say that the persistent problems of post-cold war African are three; leadership, lack of clear post-independence ideology, and uncritical and unresponsive masses.
The case for Uganda’s Opposition is unique, complex and deserving of attention. The dominant Opposition forces in Uganda appear subsumed in ideological aberrations, leading to conflicting loyalties among its cadres, and subsequent intra-organisational confusions. Such a problem makes it difficult for the masses to clearly identify a unique trait that is discernibly different from the establishment.
For instance scholars have identified that the FDC has retained among its ranks elements that are sympathetic to the bush-era NRM ideologically. And it is problematic in many ways. It compromises the ability to project its own distinctive, enduring, and effective mobilising ideology.
Pioneer reformists such as, Rtd Col. Dr Kiiza Besigye and Maj John Kazoora have maintained variedly that the NRM ideology was flawed from its inception. They pointed out that the organisation was always characterised by inequities and corruption engendered from within its top leadership right from the bushes into government.
At this stage of its existence, the FDC should cultivate a distinct ideology that is exemplary in all its facets and whose stance on corruption and obscurantism are concrete.
Further, this Party is tested on the ground, has deep roots and should lead in the negotiation for possible single interparty candidates in all elective positions come 2016.
The liberation frontlines have long shifted to a youthful population with better education and technological sophistication. Traditional parties, such as UPC, DP, and CP appear stunted and blunted in ideology to appeal to the liberal mind-sets of the youthful generation. I may be dead wrong on this, but unless these parties accept a political merger, they will remain an obstinate inconvenience in the opposition politics going forward. In the mind of the youth, these Parties are the caricatures that symbolise the distant past of Uganda, given the 30 years of uninterrupted NRMO misrule.
Most importantly, we can scientifically collect evidence from past elections to demonstrate a growing empathy towards Inter-Party platforms. Trends in Opposition victories from direct and by-elections shows that Inter-Party candidates have had better chances at victory over the well-financed NRM machination. It is also true that when Inter-Party candidates prevail, the celebration ignites a national rhythm creating the prerequisite impetus for social change. These patterns are imperative given the numerical and financial advantage of incumbency. The population appears attracted to a stronger, united, and mature Opposition that is not obsessed with past glories, internal bickering, betrayals. The population wants a focus on social transformation beyond NRMO.
Morris Komakech is a Ugandan social critic and political analyst. Can contact via [email protected]