The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party yesterday marked 35 years of unbroken hold onto State power in the country. This particular celebration is significant in many ways. First, it comes in the wake of another contentious General Election.
Two, the NRM Liberation Day was celebrated amid claims of another rigged election, with a spectacular incident near State House Entebbe, involving soldiers grabbing voter registers from Electoral Commission officials (See: Daily Monitor, January 26).
That previous protests against claims of dim acts in 1980 allegedly forced our current leaders as young men and women into forming the National Resistance Army/Movement (NRA/M). They then fought for five hard years in the bushes of Luweero Triangle to reverse such scandalous acts.
Deplorably, 35 years into their uninterrupted and extended leadership, which was framed as a fundamental swing around, the country is back to full circle of poorly organised elections. Soldiers have been camped at leading Opposition figurehead Robert Kyagulany, aka Bobi Wine’s home, despite court order to immediately stop their seize (Daily Monitor, January 26.
Such political intolerance and violence against opponents, including torture in a manner worse than common criminals and killings, have marked our political seasons.
Not less are manipulation of voters and poll results. Yet, the No. 1 agenda on NRM’s 10-Point Programme, the irreducible goals that drove them to the bush, is democracy, and ushering in a new and better future for all Ugandans.
Regrettably, as things are, several of current practices run counter to the concluding sentence of NRM’s 10-Point Programme on democracy, which is categorical that “unless the political question is amicably resolved, there will be no economic recovery in Uganda.”
Sadly too, for the 35 years of NRM rule, national consensus has eluded us with Opposition figures never gracing national celebrations presided over by President Museveni.
Precisely, this is why there is urgency to rethink the agenda of the Luweero Bush War. Some of the prevailing dishonour demand that the NRM leaders take a hard look into their political souls. Let them all sit up and look back on this day 35 years ago, reflect and rediscover the spirit of the Bush War, which anchored the dreams of a free Uganda.
Let the NRM march into its 40 years of ruling the country reawaken its leaders - President Museveni and his deputies - to the sticking issue of political intolerance – the key reasons that drove them into bush war.
The architects of the Bush War should rethink their unique mission as self-professed compasses, to give national direction and create a Uganda with open political spaces for all.