Philosophically, it is like putting democracy and NRMO in the same sentence. These two cannot add up at all! Besides that; having Hajjat Rehema Watongola in the same sentence with education is a quadratic equation one can fail to solve precisely!
But, even though she has questionable academic papers, the truth is that she has support on the ground. I mean Kamuli Municipality. After the papers scandal, she went ahead and sat for last year’s Advanced Certificate (A’ Level) and obtained it. Whether it is correct or not is a story for another day but the truth is the margin between these two politicians.
She polled 8,726 votes against Salaam Musumba’s 5,773 votes. The margin is indeed 2,953 votes. That’s a big one and it shows a clear aspect that Salaam’s political career is at cross-roads. It is between retiring from the dirty game or wait for EALA elections come 2021 or rather join the eating club in the country.
What went wrong! or identity politics? Let’s look at these issues one after the other. Watongola is a popular personality in Kamuli district in general. She has been a politician for a while through serving as a councilor to the district in the same town. That alone adds much to her political platform besides the NRMO ticket.
The mere fact that she appeals to the school dropouts and indeed the uneducated class of citizens in Kamuli, in my view, they had to vote their own. She’s not good in raising political arguments but the truth is that, people easily identify with her other than Salaamu.
Salaam was the darling in the early 2000s but we need to remember the voting or electoral trends in Busoga. There is this common slogan in Busoga of “Tumuwe yeena ajye alyeku”. This literally means that; “let him/her also go and eat”. Many Ugandans know very well that politicians only work for their personal gain other than their society. It is the only reason that they always vote the opposite as people definitely have lost hope in them (politicians). To some people that is a kind of joke but the truth is always witnessed on the voting day.
Salaam might have been the so-called best candidate in the race but the worst is that; did she measure the same to the people (voters)? The answers are scanty based upon which camp you listen to. For those in the yellow bus, they think and believe that there was a leveled ground! They can shamelessly have nearly 1,000 soldiers and policemen running around the municipality! That alone can intimidate many.
When you land into the blue camp; they will confidently assert that there was no leveled ground even though Salaam earlier in the day was found with a ‘bow and arrows’ in her car on the voting day! Yes, she can reason as being security conscious but has she ever been known for being a traditional security guard of sorts?
I have seen the best candidates always fall like Salaam Musumba and Asuman Kiyingi back then as well as Maurice Kibalya and Kiyingi again in Bugabula south polls. Talking to people who hail from these constituencies (Municipality and Bugabula South), the voting patterns have always been ten (10) years and then another one is voted in office even when the other has been a great performer or even a minister at that.
Now, tracking back to Watongola’s popularity, the truth is that people like to associate with her just like the past late (R.I.P) Kaugu Kawoya Mugaino. They all knew the truth that he had no papers but the truth was that he was a performer in the district.
Since then, there has almost no serious performer in Kamuli. Salaamu played her part but rather stepped on many political toes; therefore, maybe Mr. Thomas Kategere will do some great work with time as the governor of the district. It is therefore a matter of identity politics at play here.
How about the blame on Isaac? For the first time I saw Salaam annoyed like never before about her husband campaigning for Watongola. She was visibly rattled at that and left with feebly feminine words only; nothing political left. There was nothing political left in her at that.
It was indeed emotional to see Salaamu comment on that unexpected political impulse in support of her opponent. The family which once had two leading politicians in the district was shuttled into an atom-split and it is no more. Any reasoning and sane Ugandan can reason with her but for a critical thinker; that’s part of the political game. What a hell was she or he thinking anyway?
The truth is that we need to understand how democracy works. It is not just electing leaders or telling others that we need to vote good leaders but leaders at her and his restitute must observe maximum understanding of democracy, good governance and how they work in society! In the first aspect both have their political rights and how they feel about their political affiliations or parties at that.
It is a free world that they have managed for a longer time to live their political lives differently and never to involve that in marriage. Salaamu insinuated that Isaac was forced into campaigning for her political opponent but the challenge she forgets is that he also has a choice to support her party. I liked the mix that end by the way. Religiously, Rehema comes from the same religion like Isaac who has an ardent practicing Roman Catholic within the names of Salaamu Musumba. That was one factor which can socially close the gap between Isaac and Rehema.
Besides that, the moment you hear such things in politics, then you know that even those we take for granted to know how democracy works are still learners at it. If you had the free-will to choose your own political party; why do you feel disowned by your own hubby at the critical political time? Besides that, what about the arrogance of Salaamu? I personally like her for that.
She argues well on that and defends herself so well that she cannot be convinced to bog-down on either an innate or her personal benefit matter. She stands taller and dwarfs many on that. That personal behavior is both good and bad because “Basoga people” in general are a complicated society even though they are good at freely discussing everything.
On that note, the yellow campaign team used that as a catch phrase that, she’s not approachable, annoyingly stubborn and indeed disrespectful to the school drop outs and the poor. Indeed what happened yesterday is a manifestation in simplicity of hate speeches and the polarizing factor to Watongola was her uneducated-ness and her easy identity to those who never or dropped out of schools. That polarizing and identity politics easily made her the MP seat.
And the unexpected Isaac Isanga Musumba as a chief campaigner beyond President Museveni sealed Watongola’s win as he unleashed the political bomb to his wife’s political aspirations. Back in the 2000s, this was the family in Busoga housing two MPs and indeed the other was selected by the current regime as a minister.
Of course both have a right to support whoever they wish too because they follow in the differing political camps. This article calls the political parties as camps simply because they are all baseless on political ideology and have been snatched from the political understanding of multiparty democracy to straight individualism either in FDC or NRMO.
What about the money? Yes, it is a known story that the NRMO and the monetization (vote buying) of politics are phenomenon identical twins. Much as Salaamu wanted this badly, the truth is that, the other camp had the money! From the supporters’ crushes on the voting day and the people getting involved in the mini-scuffles; it clearly shows the cash importance. Those in the yellow camp believe in vote buying because people are indeed poor. They cannot vote the one who has not given them something.
On top of that; the loaming hunger scares in the Eastern region and the country in general can be blamed. If one promised them or gave them some money; then why not take it and do the needful? I know many of you might think that, they can take the money and vote the different one; but the major problem here is that what you think is not what they think. Look at the patterns and variations in understanding issues as humans philosophically.
As Watongola celebrates her second straight political win against her main opponent Salaamu Musumba, the truth is that she will be the same Watongola nevertheless. The NRMO members of parliament together with their performance between the 9th and this 10th parliament have always been dismal and therefore, she will be just an addition to the numbers there. Enjoy your Easter Holidays.