Age limit consultations are a painful exercise!
I won't argue much over the wisdom of Museveni going through parliament to promote his life presidency instead of just declaring himself a life president to save our money. As we all know, blank illegality and coups no longer sell on the international stage. A president would, therefore, rather rig elections than just declaring himself a president. Similarly, a president would rather bribe MPs than declaring himself a life president. Let's just say that it makes things easier especially on the international stage. That's why the army that has taken over in Zimbabwe is not calling it a " coup" yet it's a coup.
However, you have to grit your teeth through this every day, because I don't think it's worth spending shs. 29m on each of the 426 MPs over something that's believed is going to be passed, anyway.That money could do a lot at constituent level if Museveni wanted the wananchi to appreciate him as their leader. For instance, when we were fundraising for Kangulumira health centre, we needed shs. 8m for painting and renovations( which we never got), we instead spent shs. 800,000 on buying blankets for the centre from the money donated. The average annual cost of running the smallest health centre ( HC 11) in Uganda is about shs.50 millions. That means two Mps who received that money could make one HC "smile" for a year. The average annual cost of running a big hospital like Namirembe is about shs. 790m. Imagine how many Ugandans around Kampala would appreciate Museveni, at least, for a year if that money went to one of the hospitals than MPs. This definitely would be better than telling a group of adults to queue up for just shs. 500 each.
The "Togikwatako" team( the team opposing the removal of presidential age limits) has already made the NRM MPs look like selling platers. They have no idea how to sell Museveni's life presidency to Ugandans. Even the few NRM achievements cannot be easily sold as there's little to sell to fit in the damn 31 years Museveni has been in power. That's why some have resorted to posting pictures of traffic lights in Wandegeya and few places around Kampala, because they don't know what to sell to the public.
Basically, the problem isn't with the numbers in parliament as NRM are the majority , it's that they don't appear to have any cohesive plan while selling Museveni's life presidency. It's all haphazard, relying on the likes of Gen.Otafiire, Gen.Tumukunde ,Dr.Ruhukana Rugunda et al, who have made it worse. The PM was recently quoted threatening religious leaders for speaking against the life presidency. Tumukunde and Otafiire could be blamed for their honesty and arrogance as they see no use in " Togikwatako " campaign. The duo rightly claim that Museveni has already " touched " it as he has got the numbers in parliament. Hon.Magyezi is celebrating being a new celebrity but at the same time afraid for his life. While Kibule and Anitte prefer to sell " gikwateko" while being lifted up in the air.
There is no pattern to how they take the game to the opposition, and seem reliant on only steps taken by Museveni only. Unfortunately for them, Museveni only knows two things: bribing those standing in his way, or making life difficult for them.
Opposition, on the other hand, have had much practice on how to deal with Museveni's violence through the police and army. Some MPs like Bernard Atiku, Ayivu County, have practiced attacking drills, actually: primarily whacking at an inaminate object (otherwise known as Ibrahim Abiriga - like a lamppost with elbows). However, some like Beti Nambooze and Zaake have not been lucky as they have ended up on the treatment table after some kicks from the army men in parliament.
It's difficult to find an equivalent of a Beti Nambooze among the NRM MPs. Those who try a bit have been branded as NRM rebels, and I sincerely sometimes mistaken them for opposition. That's why im not surprised that Nambooze had been put out of action almost throughout the age limit campaigning. She has a way with words , and that would have damaged the life presidency sales to poor Ugandans.
If a well facilitated team cannot (and dare I say, will not) go out to beat a small team (and do so), then what does that mean in the general scheme of things? It usually means that the manager is shit and needs to be sacked.
Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba
"In tribute to the United Kingdom and the Republic of Uganda, two bastions of strength in a world filled with strife, discrimination and terrorism."