Can Rwomushana build Bobi Wine’s ‘deep opposition’?

Sunday July 26 2020


By Alan Tacca

At 10am every Saturday, Simba FM hosts a panel of about five people discussing politics. Because the programme, Gasimbagane ne Bannamawulire, is in Luganda, the expression of ideas flows more easily than at some of our talk shows, where the struggle to put things in English can be pathetic.

Although one of the Simba Radio panellists, Charles Rwomushana, hails from western Uganda, he articulates his arguments in Luganda with exemplary clarity.
Rwomushana has now picked up forms to start the journey of a 2021 presidential candidate.
Short of a very unusual event, or a miraculous change of heart, President Museveni will be seeking (yet!) another re-election.

The generalised weariness of the public with Dr Kizza Besigye, as well as the related rifts in his Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) may hound the veteran Opposition icon out of contention.

Scores of other people have picked up forms. They have different motives. Typically, some will sell their support for hard cash to the more credible candidates before the election. Some will be promised fat jobs. At best, they will appear on the ballot paper as minor candidates.

I have a vague impression that Rwomushana will not rise above this category. He will either have the tag “for sale” printed on his back, or soldier on with a long staff bearing the banner, “Vote for Rwomushana, interpreter of deep state politics”.
Then there is Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi, or Bobi Wine, the musician cum politician who seems to be Museveni’s most feared challenger.

Perhaps I do not understand Rwomushana. But my thinking is that Rwomushana finds it hard to accept that a novice in politics like Bobi Wine has captured the imagination of so many Ugandans who (in Rwomushana’s eyes) should be looking higher.


Rwomushana presents his arguments with the precision of a very analytical observer. Bobi Wine presents his positions with the intensity of a very sensitive participant.

Rwomushana seeks to engage you with his mind; or to hear from your mind. Bobi Wine seeks to share with you his heart; or to feel what you feel.
Rwomushana is in effect still practicing what he was doing as an (analytical) intelligence officer in Museveni’s government.

Bobi Wine is still communicating (his feeling) as he was doing in his music.
They are both now presidential hopefuls. And Rwomushana does not like it that it is Bobi Wine who is taken more seriously, who is in front. The brain that peels and eloquently describes the layers, the conspiracies and menace of Uganda’s “deep state” is trailing behind the heart that charms the masses.

Whether ahead or behind, President Museveni cannot be amused by a contender like Bobi Wine featuring so prominently in the race. And goons of the State will use existing laws and Covid-19 ‘guidelines’ to handle Bobi with a meanness verging on fascism. Can Museveni opportunistically benefit from (or even pay for) Rwomushana’s attempt to destroy Bobi Wine?

Is Rwomushana an agent, a double agent, or a triple agent (perhaps inadvertently!) working for hidden masters? Or is he an independent operator who seriously wants to take power?

Rwomushana struggles to extricate himself from these questions more than Bobi Wine struggles to live with the demons of his ghetto past and relative inexperience. Yet the two men are asymmetrical brothers. So, what if Rwomushana volunteers to help Bobi Wine construct the ‘deep opposition’?

That way, Rwomushana’s fear of gang violence in the wake of a Wine storm would be mitigated – if Bobi Wine can take the risk of trusting Rwomushana!

Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.