Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Zamunda, there was a princess called Nantaba. A forceful personality who was sometimes accused of unprincessly conduct, Nantaba was appointed ‘protector of the lands’.
The Zungululu, which was the kingdom’s parliament, petitioned the king over princess Nantaba’s appointment. The king prevailed (as was expected). But princess Nantaba hid her inadequacies behind her zeal for protecting the landless people. For her zeal as the king’s hardworking ‘protector of the landless’ and the assumption that she had the king’s ear, princess Nantaba was the toast (and wish lady) of many. The king could talk to her regularly about the challenges of the landless.
But as is commonplace with royal court politics, her boldness invited enemies who thought she was endangering their ear-time with the king. Having joined the service of the royal court rather late, the princess didn’t know that there were colour-coded lines in the palace. Sadly for her, she crossed the line colour-coded red. That is the line one crossed to reach the royal heart of hearts (aka the power and glory).
To her detriment, the princess publicly challenged the king’s royal enforcer, a loyal blue-eyed prince who had been on the king’s side of the succession wars. The king engaged his magicians and the next day princess Nantaba lost her sense of speech. She has been immortalised as the matron saint of the kasiru in the Kingdom of Zamunda.
The particulars of this story are that Ms Jacqueline Mbabazi, the consort of Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, claimed she had an audio recording in which the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, was caught playing offside. She threatened to make public the recordings. The tapes were published by Tom Voltaire Okwalinga (TVO), an enigmatic personality known for publishing privileged information on social media. Ms Mbabazi has not acknowledged that the audios trending on social media are the ones she promised (threatened?) to publish; but one of the voices in the published audio is recognisably that of Gen Kayihura.
We don’t want to be detained by the contents of the audios. What we find rather embarrassing is that the IGP (a four star military General) was washed clean. And an embarrassed General is a danger to himself and the interests and cause he serves. Need I say more?
In the circumstances, President Museveni needs to redirect and re-organise the government, otherwise tuswala. A public spat between the wife of the Prime Minister and the IGP is not a small matter.
A man like Chris Rwakasisi would tell you that if vice president Paul Muwanga had been on sight, the unfortunate incident of July 27, 1985 would not have occurred.
However, we recognise the President’s a dilemma. Sacking Mbabazi would not end this saga; it would relieve the good man from Kanungu of the limitations of self-expression that comes with a government job.
And with the zeal his wife has shown in this saga, a sacking would gift Mbabazi with the freedom to do as he wishes (which is what President Museveni does not want). Hardliners in the system may say “but we can always slap charges at him”. But we would advise against repeating the forgettable traumatic experience when the state prosecuted Dr Kizza Besigye in 2006.
Out of a job, Mbabazi (armed with his wife, the spear of his heart) would put Museveni in a more complicated situation.
Yet we know that any leader who has had issues with the IGP has had issues with Museveni. And we think Ms Mbabazi is familiar with the Nantaba legend in the Kingdom of Zamunda.
Mr Bisiika is the executive editor of East Africa Flagpost.