Opinion: Freshly ascended MP Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu aka Bobi Wine of Kyaddondo East constituency, has officially been inducted into the hall of Uganda’s political fame. He has been ushered into the league of politicians with all its trappings of pomposity, affluence and verbosity.
This article was meant for the time when Kyagulanyi was intercepted at Entebbe, picked up like a grasshopper near the airport soon after returning from USA but we are busy people and so couldn’t timely file the article-half of it was already written, though. While it would seem as if it has been overtaken by events, the more things change the more they remain the same-different people, different times but all are the same. The article should still get published since the scene has further been tattooed with signings of political games; that Parliament epic brawl.
Life must be rolling so fast that the new MP will soon need time to sit back and rue his days of innocence in music-and bandying words with Bebe Cool. It was not as brisk as it is now- and less of unfortunate, loud bangs at his house that are hardly akin to booms from loudspeakers at a concert that he was used to. Life is certainly taking a twist for the ghetto president, the reason many who are capable of setting foot in the arena have kept their distance.
Now… these things are traditionally associated with macho man Dr Warren Kizza Besigye Kifeefe, who has been picked up a zillion times while cruising a car of the very same model that Kyagulanyi was found aboard. Quite ominously analogous but more in context, Besigye’s position as the chief confronter of Uganda police is at stake. Both he and Kyagulanyi come from the same constituency and undercover there have been suggestions for Besigye to contest for the same seat. There is more to them than opposition to Museveni.
And while Kyagulanyi was away, his absence, at a time colleagues were launching activities and tearing their hair out over the age limit Bill with the Togikwatako brand, was highly noticeable. He was immediately treated to the typical intrigue and malice that politicians, some on the same side of the divide, are known for.
They said he may have been compromised to stay away. They even published doctored photos to allege that in fact he had been sighted in the corridors of power at night. While criticizing the NRM and President Museveni might be fun for some, Kyagulanyi is quickly having to learn that there is no formula to who can be bashed, by whom and why. Everybody has their day on the “guillotine”!
Then we have the issue of Ibrahim Abiriga, MP for Arua Municipality, whose loyalty to NRM and its yellow romanticism is the talk of town. Call him a sycophant or fashion star but he has outsmarted all opposition in terms of loyalty and visual commitment to his beliefs! Attacks on him are envious if not misguided, because nobody has stopped anyone from wearing their green, blue, red, purple, black, orange or whichever color applies to represent their line of thinking. NRM is lucky to have Abiriga for all competitors have failed to flaunt their colors but chosen to try and ridicule him in way that makes them look more ridiculous than they would wish him to be. Politics is art, both visual and intellectual!
Ah…. Now comes Nambooze; the Mukono Municipality MP, rather than turn up all tuned up in DP’s green to counter Abiriga’s yellow instead turned up dressed casually in a sweat suit, red in color with a hood; then she teased Abiriga by tipping his cap slightly as he addressed journalists in full glare of those he was addressing. Then she sprinted into Parliament.
Ordinarily, she would be asked to account for disgracing the Parliamentary precincts or engaging in a misdemeanor but all politicians in Uganda have assumed untouchable proportions of pride. What we didn’t know was that she was planning something bigger with teammates and we all saw the consequences.
But that’s not the issue – about Nambooze. The issue is that the sweat suit she wore had a US flag on one leg of the trouser. Many observers might not have noticed this and those who did may not have attached particular interpretation and context. But Nambooze was trying to make claim to American backing in her (and their) opposition to lifting of the age limit out of the constitution. A similar gimmick was raised by the Poor Youths of Amama Mbabazi at the height of their joke of a confrontation with the state.
They were trying to attract attention from the Americans and to claim that the US was behind Mbabazi. In reality, they sought to intimidate the state to entice them with goodies and to impress their girlfies and boyfies – that Obama knew them. Instead, they were plucked out of their reverie and thrown in Luzira jail till ‘they saw the light.’ Last we heard of them was when they were bargaining to cross back over. This movie that is Uganda’s politics had better not end worse off! The cast is quite impressive.