Why Bobi Has Failed And Why He Needs Besigye Now More Than Ever

By  Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba, UK

NUP’s president, Kyagulanyi aka Bobi isn't doing Besigye any favours by working with him or inviting him at the opening of the NUP offices. He is simply gradually abdicating the responsibilities handed to him by his supporters after the 2020-21 elections. He has unceremoniously dumped most of his responsibilities to various degrees and left most of his supporters in a state of shock and disarray. A lot of the stuff that’s happening right now, you can’t even make this up a year ago. Almost everything I predicted about Bobi has come to pass.

There are benefits to being the top guy in opposition leadership, but the overall burden outweighs the benefit. So, it needs to be shared right off the bat. You see, being the “top leader” means that you must be the “counterparty “in times of crisis, the “counter-cyclical lender” of political and financial capital to almost every emerging politician in the country. When opposition leaders or supporters are fighting, you try to bring peace. When the international community needs a powerful response on a major issue, like homosexuality, inflation, political murders, etc., you are supposed to come up with one, especially if the government has a worse position. When friends in the struggle go bankrupt, you invest in them to bring them out of the hole.

Bobi initially thought that being the top guy was only about posting on Facebook, posing in photos with some leaders, doing press conferences, turning student hostels into party offices, etc, but I'm sure he has discovered that it's more than that. I also believe that the " donor " community has realised that he isn't up to the role. So, he has been advised to start working with Besigye and other progressive leaders in opposition.

As a result, Besigye has been active this year. According to FDC’s Ronald Muhinda, Besigye has ‘’ hosted Guillane Chartrain at Katonga months ago and later visited EU offices on Hannington road. He is quite active. I hope he means well for Uganda’’.

It isn't a case of Bobi saying to Besigye," how about we take turns to sit on the big chair?" No. This is about Bobi saying," I’m kind of fed up with all this, and I believe I can have a bigger slice of cake if I let Besigye take over in certain areas. This is your old-fashioned robber-baron mentality.

So, some Nupians are not happy, not because Bobi seems to be walking away from his obligations, but the way he is walking away, in such a piss-poor manner. Doing everything unilaterally in the first place, without any prior consultation, and being part of those that weakened Besigye, was bold but a bad move for the opposition.

Bobi has never had success with street protests in the country, like Besigye did several times. Besigye led from the front and the police were always kept busy. The NUP leaders espousing “martyrdom” are never talking about their own martyrdom, but about the people whose lives they put at risk, from a safe distance. They remind me of the WW1 generals living in the luxurious chateaux twenty miles from the trenches, quaffing champagne, and breakfasting on Fois gras, whilst happily ordering thousands to their deaths for their strategy game.

So now what you have is some Nupians standing up and insulting Bobi - except they are in a bit of a mess themselves right now. They don't have a better alternative apart from clinging to more of the same in Allien Skin, another musician of similar background to Bobi. Of the top four opposition parties, FDC is in disarray, UPC is a walking corpse, DP is walking with one leg in government and another one in opposition, NUP is arguably a government created party, and it’s absolutely being controlled. That leaves Besigye and a few individuals, right now, to develop a somewhat rational plan of what to do about it.

It is heard everywhere that there must be a credible opposition for a healthy opposition. Everybody seems to parrot these words and are lamenting about the poor performance of the opposition camp. I also think the definition of opposition needs to be well defined. It shouldn't be just to oppose every damn thing that the ruling government says. The strange thing is the current main opposition party, NUP, doesn't analyse any big schemes that the government implements.

Personally, I think Bobi hasn't failed because other Ugandans haven't done anything; he has mainly failed because he doesn't know what he's doing.

1. 57 NUP members of Parliament cannot do anything to change anything in government.

2. Participation in the 2020-21 elections didn't change anything in our politics.

3. Heavens will not fall because Bobi is meeting Ugandans in Boston or elsewhere and fundraising for the " struggle”.

4. Insults, online petitions and protests abroad have never changed any government in Uganda.

5. Propaganda (2017- 2021) against Besigye and FDC didn’t change the government. Propaganda affects mostly ignorant people.

6. Bribery for NUP tickets before the 2020-21 elections didn't bring change.

7. Having official party headquarters isn’t a magic bullet for any change in Uganda.

Bobi was never ideal enough to be an opposition leader. He has degraded the opposition completely. We must not be fooled with his verbal dexterity recently in Luwero — he has acquiesced to political polarization and does not hesitate to peddle lies to make himself appear more credible. For instance, the blatant lie that when he's abroad, he's working to bring political change in Uganda. He's mainly just hanging out with friends and doing his business.

When he first trended because of his music, most youth were fawning over his conversance with " Ghetto " Luganda and English — not his points specifically. Since then, he has become more of a comedian in his speeches. For instance, his European speech last year of " I heard bullets go like pwa pwa... " was a disaster. The opposition basically needs serious prayers at the moment.