Kadaga for president? Yes, but not in 2016 please
Posted Sunday, September 22 2013 at 01:00
“...for Kadaga to mount a serious challenge for the presidency, she would have to rally all the political and civil society groups into aggregate national consensus; some kind of social movement.”
Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has recently been enjoying good media. The last time I watched her on TV, she was being praised by fellow Members of Parliament.
The subtle smile with her finger ‘blocking’ the mouth couldn’t completely suppress the self-absorption for the praises. And she took everything in with a sense of self-blessedness as she listened to the praises. Some MPs even asked her to run for presidency in 2016. There are two explanations for this: 1) Her administrative and political actions are tapping into popular sentiments of Ugandans; 2) President Museveni’s stock is ‘going south’ as the Americans would say.
But the thinking of a politically highly placed friend with whom I had a lengthy lunch time chat on Thursday (I ended up missing my lunch), is that Ms Kadaga is a populist who is really procuring the good press. “That lady is a populist who could not even appreciate the incongruity of presiding over a parliamentary session whose main talking point was praising her,” my friend said. Knowing my man, that was a hint on the thinking of the royal enclosure.
But my friend is a radical NRM supporter; he is actually a Musevenist whose observations are always coloured with Musevenist interests. The dispassionate truth though is that Ms Kadaga’s relatively impartial management of Parliament has profiled her as a national leader worth shooting higher.
The question though is: Will she offer her candidature in 2016 to challenge her boss? My answer to that question is NO; because Kadaga (or for that matter any aspiring candidate) can only challenge President Museveni outside the NRM.
And for Kadaga to mount a serious challenge for the presidency, she would have to rally all the political and civil society groups into aggregate national consensus; some kind of social movement.
The best way would even be going the Kenyan way where FDC, DP, Justice Forum (Jeema), CP, would dissolve and create a new political vehicle to challenge for power. Do you see that happening before 2016? No. Then there will be no (serious) Kadaga candidature in 2016. Kadaga has advised herself very well for not getting fevered up by the praise singers; people who are likely not to stand behind her when the moment of truth comes.
There is a general feeling that President Museveni will stand in 2016. And we all know that the biggest political constituency Museveni has is the instruments of coercion (Police, Security Agencies and the UPDF) and the National Treasury.
In 2016, Museveni’s catchword is likely to go thus: Vote for me so that I manage the transition in an orderly manner. It may sound ridiculous, but we have been here long enough to know better. Kadaga will be ‘guided’ to look at the bigger picture with an eye (wink, wink) on the top job when the time comes. She will then be offered the position of Vice President. The ‘offer’ of Vice Presidency though will be a bargain to keep her in the ranks; definitely President Museveni recognises that her candidature could disrupt things. And in 2021, when the time comes, there won’t be a Kadaga candidature because the situation will have been so elephant for her.
I was recently hosted to dinner by Bishop Emeritus Zac Niringiye. At dinner, we went vernacular: He in Kifumbira and I in Kinyarwanda (I am an ‘associate Munyarwanda’, you know). Given his new-found interest in civil activism, we also talked about politics, his arrest, etc. “Why don’t you stand for president in 2016,” I asked?
“Which or what elections? Do you think there will be an election worth the effort in 2016?” he responded.
I didn’t pursue the argument farther.
Asuman Bisiika is the Executive Editor of East Africa Flagpost.