My quarrel with NRM ruling elite

Raymond Mujuni

What you need to know:

  • What Kakwenza did, in essence, was an invitation to intellectual battle. It was, a line-in-the-sand moment to which, the response for fair and democratic societies would have been; debate.

It is possible that if you look at novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija’s tweet dispassionately and with good intellectual rigour you can shake it off of the hubris of its author, charge at it with logic and whip it apart with a better and more logically sound argument that locks it up in perpetual irrelevance. 

It does, after all, fall into the centuries-old body-shaming corner that has come to be associated with toxic and insecure masculinity but it also suffers multiple flaws of logic – again, if looked at dispassionately. 
The first of these logical flaws is that it is an ad-hominem attack levelled at the person of Muhoozi Kainerugaba and less at his abilities as a soldier – or graduate student of a prestigious military academy at that. 

The second is that it is, in fact, an appeal to probability; a statement that takes something for granted because of a high probability that it would be so. It isn’t impossible to have a sedentary figure and still be fit – or athletic. It also isn’t a requirement, at a certain level in military doctrine to have physical stamina because command positions, the kind Muhoozi holds, rely more on mental stamina and strategy. If you thumb down history books, one of the greatest military generals of all time; Genghis Khan, who conquered empires from as far as Asia to Africa, was a burly man – far heavier in description and picture than Muhoozi. 
And maybe, even finally, the charitable manner in which Kakwenza uses ‘obesity’ can also be contested logically for it is a very scientific term that requires knowledge of the amount of body fat in relation to health risk – information that I doubt was at the disposal of Kakwenza. 

But what Kakwenza did, in essence, was an invitation to intellectual battle. It was, a line-in-the-sand moment to which, the response for fair and democratic societies would have been; debate. 
What he got, instead, was brute macabre violence the kind, even generals at war would questionably run away from. What he got was the epitome of the power concentration of Uganda’s ruling elite; a grisly insecure form of military power that relies on the masculine projection of violence as a tool in a civil challenge. 
He, in his torture, exposed the dearth and purge of the ruling elite of its intellectual faculties for military might. 

Make no mistake, this place, where we are in the state of governance, isn’t accidental. It is why all people that ask the question; ‘How did we get here?’ to the pitfalls we sink in deserve a curl by the lip. 
The NRM has systemically purged itself of intellectual weight shedding wise fat for the skeleton and bones of its military might. It can almost be forgotten that 23 years ago, the NRM responded to its first intellectual challenge by Kizza Besigye (a dossier), with brute force, a scale that has only increased ever since.
You can always count on the leader of the ruling party to mention ‘ideology’ in any speech but throw an even heavier bet to watch him act in italics when its application is due. Where, for example, he preaches free-market ideas in the morning, in the dead of the night, he writes to banks to forgive loans on their books, or orders ministers to assign contracts to specific companies. 
Where he preaches democracy as the pre-eminent ideology of the party, the first of the 10-point programme, you don’t have to wait long to hear him praise those who physically lynch his opponents and grant them rapid promotions within the army. 

The problem of campaigning in poetry and governing in poorly written prose is that some people will point out the grammatical slips in ideology, some will be angry at it and others, as Museveni knows all too well, will just abuse you and your kin to “go and eat your mothers ‘something-something”. And when this happens, your army of defenders can be an intellectual elite, who, rich in ideology will push back with debate or, if you shed them the way NRM did, the bone and skeleton of your founding; brute, violent force. 
It probably should interest the NRM why, many of the revolutionary civil war political entities that captured power, build public libraries and keep their brightest close to the throne.