Is Uganda’s Opposition part of the mass line?

Wednesday January 20 2021
By Guest Writer

While the President was passionate about selling the so-called “mass line” in his victory speech, he at the same time lamented about the Opposition sweeping slots, especially in the central region.

But is the Opposition part of the mass line the President talked about or not? I could understand where Mr Museveni was coming from, but I think he fell short of distinguishing between party and the nation, at least in as far as his body language was concerned.

As the political party in power, the NRM was genuinely aggrieved for having lost key positions in Parliament, including more than 20 ministers. But then, the President needed to clearly show his willingness to work with all people’s chosen MPs in order to drive the mass line agenda. The President’s belief that those on the Opposition are lost and useless, is not good for nation-building.

I have much respect for the youth who exercised self-belief and determination to oust erstwhile revered old guards who were too comfortable in their positions.

Vice President Edward Ssekandi was, for example, a centre of ridicule on social media for much of the previous years, as many people felt his contribution wasn’t easily visible. For him to have been defeated was a silent show of people’s power.

This way, life balances up somehow. I later heard the NRM vice chairman Moses Kigongo on a talk show, also suggesting infrastructure in Kampala is lacking because the city is in the hands of the Opposition!


Again, this defeats the “Mass line” ideology. My understanding of “mass line,” if well-intentioned, is that despite our political, ideological, tribal, religious or social differences, we are all Ugandans and deserve to enjoy our country equally.

The President needs to emphasise his idea in this way so that political differences do not necessarily warrant sections of our society to be deemed as “useless” and therefore undeserving.

Kampala may be in the hands of the Opposition, but in a situation where there is good will, the government should be able to establish public relations lines with the Opposition in as far as achieving common good is concerned. Therefore, what ought to be done for the good of the city should be done irrespective of who is holding whatever political position in the city.

I also understand and appreciate the NRM’s contribution in bringing peace and all its achievements. However,  I disagree with the idea that only NRM people should be elected into positions , if services are to be provided. Let us try to guard against political suffocation, and allow a situation where every Ugandan enjoys equal rights.

It shouldn’t be a bad thing for a 38-year-old to try his chances at leading the country if they qualify. Yet on the campaign trail, I heard echos of NUP’s Robert Kyagulanyi being underrated for being a musician from the ghetto, as if that should make him less of a credible candidate to lead the country.

In the Mass line, we should be seeing one another as different branches of the same tree., each playing some role.

Deo Tumusiime,