We hold this truth to be self-evident, that for all its achievements, the NRM government is infested with corruption and nepotism. It is a truth that leaves many of us embittered and desperate for a better Uganda.
Unfortunately, this desperation has made us susceptible to people who sell deceptively easy answers to complex problems. And who can blame us? When one is drowning, they clutch at anything, even a straw. And yet, as appealing as it can be, a straw cannot save us from drowning. That is why we must scrutinise those who come to ‘liberate’ us.
Many of them demand our blind trust. “Take a risk,” they say, “How can you know until you try?” In truth, we can make reasonably accurate predictions using laws of probability. For instance, if something rattles and hisses like a snake, is it a snake, or do you need it to bite you first?
Using similar logic, we can predict the nature of a government even before it takes power. One just has to look out for the requisite seeds.
Consider how most People Power supporters react to criticism or questioning. Already, we see the seeds of intolerance, suppression of descent, generalised hatred, and indiscriminate punishment.
Some say we shouldn’t blame Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, for the actions of his supporters. And they have a point. But then, people who love alcohol do not go to Mecca for holidays. Why is it that people who like to insult others show a proclivity for Bobi Wine, not ANT’s Mugisha Muntu? It speaks of the man.
Others say that People Power supporters are peaceful people who have simply been provoked into uncontrolled anger by a brutal regime. If that’s the case, why retaliate against innocent people like Zari, who are merely asking for clarification?
Why not retaliate against the responsible government officials? If they are genuinely peaceful by nature, why is their punishment indiscriminate and disproportional?
As a voter, I feel apprehensive about People Power. If the people seeking my support are quick to insult me when I ask for explanations, what are the odds that they will listen to me when they have power?
Already, I can see them insulting me and asking, “Why aren’t you focusing on NRM’s excesses?” Well, should we ignore smaller criminals because we haven’t arrested the bigger ones yet?
In other words, should we leave the village murderer alone because LRA leader Joseph Kony is still free? Certainly not! Fighting impunity in the NRM should not blind us to impunity in People Power. Small crimes, left to flourish, can grow into big ones.
What Uganda needs is an improvement, not a mere change. People who say all that matters is regime change might as well support Kony because he, too, is fighting for regime change.
Except, regime change is not all that matters. The values of a’ liberation struggle’ are equally important, and we see them by observing actions, not words alone.
Museveni may claim to hate corruption, but the corrupt operate with impunity in the NRM. Bobi Wine may claim to fight for democracy and freedom, but the intolerant and uncouth rein free in People Power.
One can, therefore, predict that corruption will thrive under Museveni’s rule, while intolerance to dissent and abuse of power would thrive under Bobi Wine’s rule. Choosing between the two is akin to a woman having to choose between a cheat and a wife beater. Most women, ceteris paribus, choose the former.
Mr Kibudde is a sociopolitical thinker
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @kkaboggoza