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Mengo makes their Big ”Political” Statement since their fall out with NRM

By Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

We should not get overexcited over the joining of politics by former Mengo ministers till when we see some changes in the Badru Kiggundu Electoral Commission (EC). NRM will still win big in Buganda and other parts of the country in 2011 as long as the EC remains as it is. Several people are going to be forced to stand on NRM ticket in Buganda basically because this is the only way they can go to parliament despite the fact that they don't like NRM. For instance, two former Mengo ministers: Mr.Muyingo and Mr. Nsamba are standing in Bamunanika and Baale County respectively on NRM ticket yet their intention is to fight for Buganda interests in the next parliament if they get elected. There is also a lady, whose first name is Faridah, intending to stand as MP in Ntenjeru South as NRM yet she is believed not to like NRM, but she was told that she could only go through if she stands on NRM ticket.

NRM will still have the majority in the next parliament and President Museveni will remain president after the 2011 elections as long as the EC remains as it is. All those in the IPC,DP,PPP,………….. know it, and that is why they are putting their bodies on line almost daily to get some reforms in the EC. Unfortunately, the state has unleashed the police and the army on them to ensure that the status quo does not change. I really feel for those IPC women, like FDC's Ingrid.T, who are harassed by the police every time they try to demonstrate against the EC on streets. Eventually, they will give up because of pressure from their husbands or partners. Ingrid, for example, is a mother and wife, and I don't think her husband is happy to see his wife being humiliated by the police daily. Nobody wants that.

A friend of mine in Uganda once told me that Nambooze won because they (NRM) let her win, but it will not be the same in 2011. Actually, I watched Ofwono Opondo on NTV-YouTube after the Mukono South elections saying almost the same thing. The fact is that if there are no changes in the EC, it's going to be difficult for the opposition to protect their votes in 2011. That is a given. DP- Mao is also likely to de-campaign the DP candidates willing to work with the IPC, and Nambooze falls in that category. They have already started a smear campaign against them.

All I know is that, when the Kabaka asked people a few weeks ago to go and register, it raised a lot of eyebrows among the NRM camp, and I think that was the beginning of Mengo's involvement in the 2011 electoral process. The crossing of the former Katikilos to the IPC and the formation of the Ssuubi organisation was just an icing on the cake. I heard that there were a lot of people queuing up to register after this mobilisation by the Kabaka and this kind of scared the rigging machine and I suspected that Dr.Kiggundu would not give any more extensions after this, whatever the situation on the ground. The IPC leaders are also partly to blame for telling people that they will boycott the elections such that people became reluctant to register in time after that announcement.

The most important thing in all this is for the opposition to combine their forces together before 2011. Candidates from Mengo need to work with the IPC if they want to achieve something in 2011. IPC must think of various ways of counteracting the rigging machine because everything so far shows that NRM is again ready to rig this election. In other words, I cannot see the numbers changing in the next parliament that much if the opposition remains in this fragmented state where Mao's DP faction is now campaigning against fellow DPs, IPC and Suubi instead of NRM and Museveni.

Lastly, there is nothing like a”no go” area for any political party in Uganda. FDC was created in 2004 but it's so far the largest political party after NRM, with several candidates in different parts of the country. DP was formed in 1954 but it has only got candidates in Buganda region. NRM was formed in 1981 after Professor Yusuf Lule joined the then UPM headed by Museveni, and Lule became the chairman and Museveni his vice, but NRM has now got candidates in almost all parts of the country including the north. It also replaced DP and UPC in the west among the Bahiru and Bahima.

DP will remain strong in Buganda as long as there are few Baganda in FDC because people still look at FDC as a party for westerners, yet this is not true. You could say that NRM is also looked at in the same way but because they are in power, they can attract a lot of 'NFUNILAMU WA?” (Selfish and greedy Ugandans) into their party. Once NRM are out of power, that will be the end of them. They have committed a lot of mistakes such that if anybody is to write a big book about them in areas of elections rigging, corruption, murders, tribalism and nepotism, it can sell like a hot cake, and trust me, people will do.

So basically, some Baganda still look at DP as a Baganda party because all their leaders ever since it was formed have been Baganda till recently. The election of Mao as the DP president is likely to force some DP supporters in Buganda to vote for the IPC candidates rather than those fronted by Mao. Some of these IPC candidates who may benefit from this situation are likely to be DP (minus Mao) or FDC. So we are likely to see some FDC candidates in Buganda in the next parliament. Secondly, I don't think DP have got strong structures in all constituencies in Buganda such that any party is capable of benefiting from this. FDC have now got structures in almost all parts of the country, but most importantly they have got money to sponsor all their candidates if we are to take Besigye's announcements seriously.

I think Ugandans do not elect people basing on their parties but they do so because of their personalities, tribes, qualifications, and religion. As such, Ssemujju nganda will stand in Kyandondo on FDC ticket but people will only vote for him as Ssemujju Nganda not because of his affiliation with FDC. This will be the same for every candidate who intends to stand as MP anywhere in the country. Multi party politics has not yet sank in among Ugandans but we shall eventually get there. If FDC can source out strong Baganda candidates to stand in Buganda, then they will do just fine in Buganda. There is nothing like a ”no go” area in politics. I had a dream the other time when Lango had become an NRM stronghold, and i think one day Lango will be switched to another party other than UPC.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba