Old wisdom: The greatest swordsman does not fear the next-best swordsman. The two men follow the rules of their craft. The greatest swordsman only relishes a contest with the number-two to prove his supremacy.
The man the greatest swordsman really fears is the bold amateurish maverick, whose unorthodox moves are unpredictable and, therefore, potentially very dangerous.
At the risk of earning a ‘Kyaligonza’ for distorting Shakespeare, the famous line, “A man must know his enemy, or he will slay him”, should read: “A ruler must understand his rivals, otherwise they will topple him”.
Now, assuming Uganda’s Gen Museveni is not too preoccupied or too damaged by his acidic conversation with Rwanda’s Gen Paul Kagame in 2021, the conqueror in the ancient Luweero Bush War will fight (again!) for Uganda’s presidency.
In the arena, there could be any of the following potential contestants: A certain Bwanika, one Amuriat, Nobert Mao (if he is a registered voter), Akena something, Beti Kamya (if Gen Museveni annoys her more than Col Kizza Besigye annoyed her some years back), Amama Mbabazi (if all the other potential Opposition candidates agree to be deemed dead), Olara Otunnu (if you believe in resurrections), Asuman Basalirwa, as well as the lady or gentleman who replaced John Ken Lukyamuzi as CP chief. A roll call of damaged and obscure goods Museveni could sweep off the board without breaking a sweat.
I have not forgotten Gen Museveni’s perennial adversary, Col Dr Kizza Besigye, the fighter who has left Gen Museveni with so many moral wounds, and who seems ready to add a few more bruises.
But Gen Museveni understands the colonel reasonably well. He knows where Besigye tends to hit. He knows where to hit Besigye. He knows when to whip and tear-gas him, and how to tweak the electoral figures a little bit to reflect a Besigye ‘defeat’. He also knows that when Besigye vows to rain fire in retribution, often only tears come.
Enter Bobi Wine, whom the cautious insist on calling Robert Kyagulanyi, just in case a schizophrenic electoral authority begins to see apparitions of Bobi as three different demons.
During the first quarter of 2019, Bobi Wine has appeared more dignified than the two old adversaries.
Rather like the swords-maverick, it seems the thought of Bobi Wine does not allow Museveni or Besigye to sleep properly. They kind of jump out of bed, or their handlers drag them out, and they do desperate things.
In this first quarter, Mr Museveni took the NRM top dogs (or the dogs took him) to a national park, Chobe, and got himself declared the sole NRM presidential candidate for 2021, and possibly for any subsequent election until he got ‘tired’. Pure desperation.
During the same quarter, Dr Kizza Besigye announced a strange people’s government. With or without a noble cause, the move left Besigye looking jittery.
Meanwhile, Bobi Wine just played it cool, got more composed. Problem is they do not understand his game plan. So they comfort themselves that he has no game plan.
In desperation again, some of Museveni’s people are said to be plotting a switch from a direct presidential election to a parliamentary majority party system. Bobi Wine does not look alarmed.
Okay, whatever the system, and regardless of the taxpayers’ billions the NRM controls, and regardless of the guns, what if Bobi Wine – or anyone else – persuaded millions of Ugandans that to vote for anything that moves in NRM colours in 2021 is to be a traitor?
Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.