Now that the political pressure group of Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, has undergone a metamorphosis into a political party, the National Unity Platform (NUP), it is important that it is appreciated that, that is the smallest part of the task.
There are more significant things that need to be taken good care of for NUP not to end up as just another one biting the dust.
To become viable for the long haul, Bobi Wine will have to seek advice on how to infuse a corporate culture into NUP.
NUP should separate politicking of the party from the organisation and management of the party. The management of the party should supersede the political actors, however popular they are. They should be subordinate to it. There must be goal-setting.
Everything to be done must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
The temptation to parrot loud platitudes should be discarded for it is only good to the ears and emotions. The problem with Uganda’s political parties is that they are simply about crowds and the noise that they make.
If a candidate shows up at a rally and is welcomed by huge crowd, the former starts ironing their suit in preparation for the swearing-in ceremony.
They will be found wanting if you asked them who in that crowd will protect their votes and report on ballot box stuffing or who in the crowd is a registered voter or just a fun-loving follower.
NUP should reserve and keep their best brains out of elective politics. A strong political party needs well-paid, non-political actors or professionals who are not in search of popularity for elective office. They do not even have to support the party per se. They should sit back at party headquarters and craft, perfect plus guide on the ideology of the party.
What it stands for and what is expected of those who claim to follow it. There must be clear guiding principles and people charged with ensuring that they are followed must be empowered. There should be rewards and sanctions for following or disregarding them respectively.
These include researchers, psychologists, historians, accountants, legal brains, statisticians, marketers, media professionals and intelligence/security operatives.
They should come up with perennial fundraising to ensure that the party funds its programmes and does not have to depend on the contribution of MPs. They should keep a tab on everything that goes on in the country and map a way forward on how the party responds or takes advantage of it.
They should be in position to identify and document the party’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Keep registers of members and interface with them regularly.
Give those at the grassroots responsibilities, identifying their roles clearly. There should be remuneration and accountability for their services to the party. The volunteer is risky in that you may not hold them accountable in case they do not work.
Second, Bobi Wine should be aware of opportunists on the prowl, who want to take advantage of his popularity. This group changes allegiances at every election, taking piggy back rides on popular politicians to gain paying elective offices.
When NUP is making lists of their numbers, they should put this group on a separate list as quasi members ready to flee at the next opportunity. They should know and deal with them specially.
The success of NUP will be determined by the way it treats people perceived as enemies within or ‘moles.’ As Niccolo Machiavelli says in The Prince, “Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer.”
As you build the party, stability is very important. NUP will not need to have too many entries and exits all the time. Find a way of working with the enemies as you consolidate the true followers. Then you may jettison them with time.
Because politics is not a tea party but a realm in which one deals with the devil’s disciples, NUP should also adopt the habit of having paid ‘assets’ in other political parties, especially NRM, to keep a tab on what is going on and react accordingly!
The political prostitute is in abundance the world over. Then it will also be important to hope for success, but also expect failure. In fact, NUP may capture very many elective seats countrywide, including leading the Opposition in Parliament, but Bobi Wine may not be announced winner of the 2021 election.
What will define the character and the future of Bobi Wine and NUP is how they deal with this setback. Will they remain together or some will be ‘realistic’ and work with the ruling party and its money bags?
Will they, Bobi Wine inclusive, give up their birth right for a meal and accept political appointments to ‘implement their manifesto and fight within NRM’ as is the wont with opportunists?
Especially Bobi Wine should know that at the age of 38, it is still early days for him. He can afford to sit back, consolidate the party and wait for another five years. This will require resilience, serious focus and clarity of purpose in going the long haul.
If he touches Museveni’s money or favours, his political fairy tale will end.