MPs say Museveni is panicking
Kampala, Uganda | IAN KATUSIIME, FLAVIA NASSAKA | With opposition politicians currently traversing the country chanting ‘Togikwatako’- the brand of the resistance to the constitutional amendment aimed at removing the presidential age cap of 75, the campaign appears to have engulfed the nation.
Ibrahim Semujju Nganda, the Opposition Chief Whip in parliament and MP for Kiira Municipality, is excited about crowds in NRM strongholds that are turning out in support of the “red ribbon” campaign of the anti-constitution amendment camp. He says it helps to highlight the campaign as it is not just opposition MPs against Museveni’s overstay in power.
He has since branded himself in Togikwatako colours donning a red jacket, cap, or suit whenever he is in parliament or addressing crowds in his constituency.
“I have never seen Museveni in panic mode like he is now,” he told The Independent, “There is nothing that has ever divided the NRM like this.”
He says panic is the reason the president is picking fights with Kyaddondo East legislator Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.
“He is the face of the new wave of youthful politicians who appeal more to the majority youthful electorate,” Ssemujju says, “the Museveni camp is panicking because he has realised that his message of fighting in Luweero to bring peace has since become obsolete and a new generation of politicians – the youth have taken over.
“Even the elderly are realising that the 1986 agent of stability is now becoming a threat to that stability,” Ssemujju says.
He adds: “Togikwatako is a campaign about the future; it teaches Museveni one lesson: that if he doesn’t allow a peaceful transition we will all be victims, but most importantly he will still leave power.”
Semujju who also took part in Walk-to-Work protests says Togikwatako has a lesson for the opposition too- “that ideology is bigger than presenting individual faces”. He says this is the first unpartisan demonstration and has achieved results even at the basic level of seeing religious leaders and non-governmental organisations joining in the struggle.
The opposition appears to have won the battle of the campaign stump, but it may amount to nothing. In the end, the winner of the Togikwatako versus the Tugikwateko battle will be decided by MPs in parliament where Museveni has the numbers. But can the opposition wring something out of the national consciousness that Togikwatako has aroused in the 2021 campaign?
“If the opposition was serious, we would go to the 2021 polls under the Togikwatako umbrella” DP Vice President Fred Mukasa Mbidde told The Independent on Nov.03. He said even if the constitution is eventually amended, the protests have already achieved 90% of its impact in exposing what the people’s view is on Museveni’s overstay in power.