Do NRM shirts evoke sunshine or crime

Author: Alan Tacca. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

‘‘ We half-idiots wonder by what method Gen Muhoozi will rise  to presidency”

Perhaps eager to retain their privileged positions after the 2026 general election, President Museveni’s circle have already parked their tanks to ring-fence the presidency for the incumbent, or (in a God-forbid event) for one or other in his family.

A stranger would marvel, the election being three full years away, and the country staggering like a barefoot drunkard.
Spare yourself. Uganda is not a normal country.
The three years will certainly be a period of great pain. Chattering about the election diverts some of the attention from the pain.
The misery of NRM achievements, with reference to their current manifesto, will recede. Instead, the intrigue around raw power play will dominate debate in the public space.

Meanwhile, powerful players will be racing to steal more billions through procurement and other mechanisms. And their apologists will heighten castigating the Opposition for ‘politicising’ government development programmes.
Abusing public money clearly affects the wellbeing of the people, which is the very stuff of politics. But to shield incompetence, corruption and impunity, our thieves always characterise ‘politicising’ this abuse as negative.
When Kampala’s Lord Mayor queries why a piece of land in swampy Kisenyi or the construction of third-rate City tarmac roads cost the sort of billions that shock intelligent people, a City minister instantly turns, twists and squawks with his usual irritating mannerisms against ‘politicising’ Smart City developments. 

If filed invoices suggest that an estimated five thousand people at a government-funded funeral drank 50,000 bottles of mineral water at Sh6000 per 500ml bottle, do not complain. Why; because we Africans bury our beloved with dignity. Querying such invoices is to ‘politicise’ funerals, to ‘exploit’ death; or even to rejoice that the official died!
So low has reasoning descended in NRM-led thought, and there is no NRM-led redemption in sight.
Contemplating this state of affairs, or the frustration in Health, or the policy-making incompetence in Education, or the plunder in every department, you may feel anger as a serious citizen.
But you can also pause and look for some comic relief.
Take yellow; just a colour. Yellow is hardly the favourite of anyone with highly cultivated taste.
In a woman’s colourful wardrobe of one hundred dresses, only two or three may be predominantly yellow.

A man’s wardrobe of 20 jackets, 30 trousers, 50 shirts and 20 ties may not include a single yellow item.
With a yellow car, you may be mistaken for a lunatic or an idiot. Avoid parking it like you are hidden somewhere in a bush toilet.
In great art, yellow features prominently in Vincent van Gogh’s famous sunflower masterpieces. Otherwise even the boldest 19th and 20th century colourists usually used yellow sparingly.
Functionally, yellow’s high visibility makes is suitable for different kinds of sportswear. Then, road markings, signs and so on.
Similarly, yellow works with prisoners’ uniform.
When dangerous convicts go out, say, as slave gangs, they must stand out against ordinary citizens, in case some try to flee. So, Uganda’s prisoners wear yellow.

Symbolically, yellow is often associated with sunshine, and, by extension, enlightenment, or knowledge.
When NRM leaders adopted yellow as their colour, they were probably thinking of this symbolism.
Trying to shine, one NRM legislator has proposed that the prison system (not NRM!) change its colour.
You would think the lady was making a fool of herself. But, on reflection, she could be warning her superiors that people may start identifying their party shirts with escaped convicts.
Shouting ‘Wuuyo! Thief… Thief… Fugitive!’ could deliver many NRM cadres to a lynch mob.

Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.
[email protected]


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