King Solomon, Kutesa and Kaguta 

Sunday October 25 2020
By Philip Matogo

In the biblical tale of Solomon’s wisdom found in 1 Kings 3:16–28 of the Good Book, we find two mothers who live in the same home. They both have infant sons. However one of their sons dies. Each mother then claims the surviving son as her own. 

When this dispute is presented before Solomon, he calls for a sword. Then he decides that the baby should be cut in two with each mother receiving half the baby! 
One mother nods her assent to the ruling. However the other mother begs Solomon not to cut the baby in two. Whereupon she says, “Give the baby to her, just don’t kill him!”

Mr Godfrey Aine Kaguta ostensibly defeated Ms Shartis Musherure Kutesa in the September 30 Sembabule district National Resistance Movement (NRM) party primary. Kaguta garnered 17,343 votes (46.3 percent) while Ms Kutesa got 16,104 votes (42.1 percent). 

However Ms Kutesa contested the outcome by raising the Pro Forma hackles about widespread vote rigging and voter disenfranchisement. 

That’s when the ruling NRM garbed itself in the robes of Solomon and swung its sword to decide that there will not be a party flag bearer in the Mawogola North constituency.

  The party’s highest organ, Central Executive Committee (CEC), thus rejected Mr Godfrey Kaguta as winner. 
Then, in a peculiar twist, both candidates were nominated as Independent candidates even as both candidates still belong to the NRM.
Tellingly, and quite unlike the true mother of the baby in the biblical tale about the Wisdom of Solomon, the two candidates agreed on cutting party support in two. 
In so doing, they both displayed the mother’s instincts of an abortion. By neither of them being the bigger person in this dispute, they’ve shown that the NRM is an arena for political expedience directed towards access to State resources, at the expense of party growth.


The institutional fragility of a highly fragmented NRM is due to the party operating in a quasi-formal framework that is out of joint. Because it has no unifying ideology beyond the pursuit, maintenance and use of power. 

So there is no consensus within the party to resolve political conflicts short of an open split.  Again, if NRM political actors feel disadvantaged by the party, and if they are strong enough to operate outside the party, they will be only too ready to do so and thereby by become Independents. And thus imperil the party’s existence in the process.  

This reality, by extension, bodes ill for the country. Because it places individual above institution. Which not only contradicts multiparty democracy but also particularizes party platforms based on posture instead of policy. In turn, this trickles down to a growing politico-cultural perception that Uganda is merely a geographic expression not a nation. 

So there can be no nationalism to serve as a factor of production which energizes entrepreneurship and labor while mobilizing capital and land recourses towards to nation building

Furthermore, without nationhood the country’s conflicts, as with the NRM’s, may spiral into an impasse which could spell war. Within such a context, everyone will fight their corner instead of fulfilling their patriotic duty. Thereby leaving the country torn apart by rival warlords with individualized fiefdoms. 

That’s when the country’s disintegration will remind us to place others over self, but it may be too late. 
However it is not too late for either Ms Kutesa or Mr Kaguta to rise above their petty interests to safeguard the NRM’s, and our future as Ugandans, by allowing the baby of nationhood to live as they both decline their candidatures until our electoral system is fixed. 

Mr Matogo is the managing editor Fasihi Magazine.