Still smarting from an epic loss and licking their wounds after a bruising constitutional amendment process that set bars in their path of trying to have an easy ride to power at the next general election, the Opposition is both in disarray and rabid like a wounded lion. I don’t see why they can’t come to terms with the consequences of their haphazard planning and poor public relations.
Unable to cope, now they are on a revenge mission, after politicising official work. Bukedea Woman MP Anita Among, is one among those who have tasted the vindictiveness and witch-hunt. She was ejected from COSASE chaired by Mr Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda. As a chief whip of the Opposition, he would be expected to act better. Ms Among’s “crime” is that she hobnobs with President Museveni, the national chairman of NRM.
Meanwhile Ms Betty Anywar, an independent MP for Kitgum Municipality, tasted the wrath of fellow MPs, who have decided that politics stands in the way of blood relations; that they have the right to decide for others what they must abide by without question. Ms Anywar voted “yes” to amendment, thereby flustering the ego of political extremists yet she knows her constituency. Not so long ago, the very people were in full support of her campaign against Mabira giveaway, lauding her as “Maama Mabira”.
Therefore, hating those who disagree with one’s position on particular issues is not the solution. Rather, it is part of the problem. It is an indictment on the ability of the “hater”. Instead, sitting down and talking it over is the answer. Ms Anywar is an independent legislator, which means that she doesn’t espouse one particular political line of thinking. She chose to be “free” and it is that freedom that she excised to decide in the interest of her voters, whom she consulted. Consultations registered varied outcomes for different MPs because constituencies are different. If it was a position of a party, those who disagreed would explain their side to the respective caucus. It’s not up to individual MPs to claim moral authority to isolate others. I have not seen a “yes” person behaving like that because it would not have been possible to have the same decision pattern.
One side had to carry the day and it happens to be the “yes” side. That Ugandans didn’t come out to protest points to popular agreement with the decision. Ms Among is not in Parliament because of them. Some of them saw her for the first time when she joined Parliament. They don’t know her story and she is qualified to decide who she associates with and why.
Both Ms Anywar and Ms Among are hated for being close to Mr Museveni. Ms Agnes Akiror also decided to quit the mockery long ago and has since worked with Mr Museveni as a minister. She was an asset to the Opposition but was mistreated. I know more, who have withdrawn their support after realising that the other side would be fanatical if they held the power reins. They are literally running away for their lives and careers. For MP Odonga Otto, President Museveni commiserated with him and his family when they lost their father. It is also known that when some Opposition leaders have personal issues to resolve, they run to the President and he graciously lends them an ear because he is a leader for all Ugandans. By hounding Ms Anywar, does Mr Otto suggest that he too should have been kicked out when he associated with Mr Museveni in those circumstances?
Recently, he was being grilled by his FDC party for coming out to question programmes in the party. In short, he was given a dose of his own medicine. As a veteran legislator, Mr Otto should be a good example to new members, promoting tolerance and use of proper forums to address issues. This justifies, the wisdom of extending terms of service of national leaders and expunging term limits because “induction” in the science of leadership is a time-consuming affair. It’s not enough to hold elections and churn out novices each time.
Ms Babalanda is a senior presidential advisor- political /personal assistant to the national chairman NRM.