The country is smarting from a highly contested General Election conducted about two months ago. While the country has had experience of holding many elections over the past years, several actions witnessed before, during and after the January 14 elections leave a lot to be desired.
The presidential election was littered with many sectarian undertones, which is uncharacteristic of a country that has moved this far in terms of achieving democracy, religious and tribal tolerance, rule of law and general respect of gender and human rights.
The NRM leadership has over the years embraced participatory politics and tolerated divergent political views. The President’s cabinets, for example, have been all-embracing and broad based, drawing members from the NRM, traditional political parties and other shades of political life.
In the presidential elections, the Opposition presented several falsehoods of rigging, which they failed to prove and ended up withdrawing their petition filed in the Supreme Court.
They also kept flaming talk of tribalism on social media, which they failed to prove. While such Opposition actions threaten the country’s harmony. In this article, I will focus my attention on the threats to the legacy of the ruling NRM party and President Museveni who since taking over power has preached and continued to preach several institutional reforms that were first outlined in the 10-Point programme, which has since expanded to include more programmes.
Some of the reforms included the decentralisation of power to local governments, election of people’s representatives to the national legislature, affirmative action for women and other marginalised groups, establishment of the offices of ombudsman and Human Rights Commission, pacification of the army, allowing civil society to organize freely, and writing a new constitution among others.
These grassroots institutions further enhanced the President’s earlier assertion that power belongs to the people.
The President’s democratic principles are anchored on the values of patriotism and pan-Africanism, free education, free healthcare, good infrastructure the monetisation of the economy, and now the emphasis on social economic transformation of his people, among others.
It is important to note that the President has been consistent in preaching and implementing these principles in his last 34 years in power, The method of work has been by priotization .
The President’s fundamentals for the country can be equated to what Mao Tse Tung achieved for China and what Lee Kuan Yew did for Singapore. While challenges exist, I take issue with many members of the NRM whose behaviour is putting the President’s legacy at stake. Several party individuals misuse their power and are engaged in corrupt tendencies.
They steal party funds with reckless abandon and will do everything they can to enrich themselves irregularly. Some party leaders, right from the centre to the grassroots, steal party funds meant for building party structures.
Even in the recent election, some party leaders were charged with theft of cash meant for mobilisation for party flag bearers.
Some youth leaders have even reached an extent of embezzling funds meant for different youth activities.
Such actions have ended up leaving many party members discouraged, with some even joining the Opposition or contesting as independents during the elections.Also, the intrigue, divisionism and scheming within the party is a threat to the General’s legacy.
Many party members have on several occasions met the President and presented budgets or project proposals claiming to have plans of building the party structures. But when the President, who is often enthusiastic about development, supports their projects, such individuals often disappear and then use the money for their own selfish interests.
To me, such NRM members are as worse as those people who fan sectarian tendencies in the Opposition. Therefore, for the party to build and sustain its achievements, it must work on such internal weaknesses or else our founding father’s legacy is in jeopardy.
Mr Kefa Mafumo is the presidential aide in-charge of youth.