Bobi Wine and NUP are bigger than a ‘wave’

Sunday January 31 2021
By Alan Tacca

Many years ago, an educated man named Son-of-Ruhanga described Baganda as condoms. Forgive me for such a dirty opening sentence, but the derider still swaggers about in high places. He hails from Ankole.

Assuming that future leaders would be principled ladies and gentlemen, the 1995 Constitution makers arranged that we would have a different president every five or 10 years.

Of course, Mr Museveni, or Kaguta, or Tibuhaburwa, or Yoweri; the great name juggler and constitutional engineer has made it 40 years. So, not many people can get an opportunity to be president. The President also happens to hail from Ankole.

There are two things here: under NRM rule, insulting Baganda did not (and does not) prevent Mr Son-of-Ruhanga from enjoying the juiciest fruits Uganda provides for the luckiest of her privileged citizens, whether in the public or State-feather-bedded private sphere.

Secondly, under NRM rule, unprincipled fiddling with the Constitution is perfectly all right, even if it means that political power in effect remains in one household, one extended family and one ethno-tribal group for 40 years.
Human beings are very far from a perfect species when the matter on the table is social justice. We are not much better than mongrels when the issue at their favourite garbage heap is a meaty bone.

So, if people who share their identity with Son-of-Ruhanga are more assured of retaining their game advantage under Mr Museveni than under a contraceptive rubber-like primate, it is not surprising that they have rushed to forestall themselves against attack by accusing the primate and his supporters of tribalism.


Over there, at some distance, I see disreputable creepers and hangers-on who will steal anything from Gavi funds to Covid-19 food. They hope that if they parrot the cheap anti-Opposition propaganda about tribalism, their future as regime loyalists is secure, and their access to Uganda’s dark wealth assured.

Regime beneficiaries and its propagandists deceive themselves that Bobi Wine and his NUP are just a ‘wave’. The idea is that NUP’s followers are emotional, excited Baganda (and perhaps Basoga) young people carried by Bobi Wine’s personal momentum during a charged election period. After the elections, the momentum would relent, Opposition disillusionment would set in, and the NRM would show that NUP had no depth, no true strength and no lasting popularity. Hence, a passing wave.

This interpretation by NRM bigwigs and sympathisers comes from the arrogance that tells them that only Museveni, and only the NRM, have a right to lead Uganda. The hundreds of people who have been abducted, or wrongly imprisoned, or gunned down are of no value.

Their beloved ones and their communities must glance at the victims and accept that they had suffered or died in situations where the State was doing the right thing. The survivors have no legitimate reason for supporting the Opposition.
If the bereaved insisted that death was such a big deal, then they could be given some money, and that would settle the matter.

Indeed, the citizens who hail from Buganda must also ignore the greed, the corruption and all the other NRM evils and vote for the NRM. Otherwise, they are traitors, or triflers, or tribalists.

With this arrogance, the belief that NRM owns Uganda, and that principled constitutionalism, human rights and the quality of governance are not issues at all for the electorate, the party’s talking dogs cannot accept that Bobi Wine and NUP could be a substantial political force they might have to contend with far beyond the January elections.

Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.