The NRM primaries have caused a resurgence of the long-existing anomalies in our system. When the Labour Minister Mwesigwa Rukutana reportedly shot at civilians, we were made aware of the looming electoral season.
The electoral rituals in this country are reflective of our barbaric nature. Although democracy has evolved in the African pearl, the tools that aid it are still subjected to our rustic reasoning.
The NRM had a decade to achieve political momentum at a price of the demonised multiparty politics. Although Uganda was a ‘no party state’, many candidates were recruited to its philosophy by its money and good will. When the multiparty system was resumed, the NRM was a Goliath without a David for measure.
Today, NRM has grown to comprise of members whose entitlement rivals that of the Party Chairman. These are the Rukutanas whose minds cannot perceive defeat. Several reports were made of violence and assault resulting in death. Candidates allegedly paraded militia and announced themselves as winners. The NRM Secretary General Justine Lumumba cried out to her Party Chairman to discipline the rogue members.
The Chairman in turn vowed to handle the impunity with an iron fist. He made mention of numerous charges including murder and assault. Of course, it’s the DPP’s duty to charge and prosecute. Currently, Rukutana has since been remanded. Truly, making a charge like attempted murder stick with his facts as they are, will be difficult. Assault would be a better charge coupled with the maximum sentence.
Back on track! The collapse of democracy in the NRM reminds me of a particular claim. When Dr. Besigye was reluctant to pass on the FDC mantle, he attracted negative sentiments. It wasn’t reflective of democracy. His failure to give room for another to bear the FDC flag translated, for many, into his inability to be democratic.
Similarly, the failure of the NRM party chairman to curb the impunity of his members is reflective of the many failures in state administration. Over the many years of Y.K. Museveni’s rule, we have seen blatant and discreet abuse of constitutional principles. For most, the Age-limit (amendment) Act comes to mind. Though, the content of the Act wasn’t unconstitutional! Yet, the nation felt betrayed by its enactment. All in all, the incumbent’s administrative idiosyncrasies are reminiscent of a dictatorship.
The police force is fond of operating with acute aggressiveness. Under the previous IGP, numerous people were subjected to torture without justifiable cause; let alone the fact that the Constitution does not recognise any such cause. Torture is considered to be illegal in any context. Yet, it was administered to civilians in Nalufeenya for years. Despite the dismissal and charging of Kale Kayihura with heinous crimes, irreparable damage was done.
The pandemic exposed government inefficiencies. More than ever before, the government exhibited a high level of incompetence! Last year, Y.K.Museveni drew up a campaign to walk against corruption. This was symbolic of his failure to manage the problem in his own administration.
The idea that the person best suited to handle maladministration was claiming inability to do so is appalling. The office of the President has the best tools and resources to create positive growth in the public service sector. Yet, here was the man essentially announcing his failure to utilise state resources to eradicate corruption and embezzlement.
When Y.K. Museveni responded to the call for action, he made it clear that the impunity had shocked him as much as the rest of us. In fact, he had an exasperated tone about him. Like a parent that had been tolerant and was now pushed over the edge into bitter love. Such a reaction from Uganda’s longest serving president signifies a peculiarity.
For many years, we have blamed him for the blatant disregard of the law by his crew and affiliates. To us, there was a direct correlation between him and their behaviour. However, after the NRM primaries, I am pushed to believe that the man is innocent of it all in a way. At most, he is an enabler of this impunity.
Tamale Mirundi often claims a presence of mafias whom the president has failed to control. They are the people that have robbed the country of all its value. They are the reason many have lost the spirit of patriotism. Unfortunately, the same have a great influence over the president. They nudge him in their right direction. They are behind our misery!
Further, claims have been made that these mafias are the reason for Y.K.Musevni’s failure to address national issues. If such issues are addressed, it spells trouble and tremendous loss for these people. Although it is difficult to believe such a claim let alone ascertain it, given the level of state intelligence, the NRM primaries have shed a different light.
There is a great possibility that the NRM national party chairman is unaware of the levels of impunity in his party. He is in fact incapable of knowing everything about his people. He can be shocked by their incompetent and puerile behaviour. It is possible that his knowledge of it all was little.
Is there a possibility that the electoral rituals do not sit well with the president? How likely is it that his inaction is out of indecision? Like an equally thirsty and hungry donkey caught between equally distant water and hay! Should he condemn the police brutality, he will upset numerous forces which would be a threat to his political campaign. Or perhaps, the negative elements about him justify the electoral rituals to him!
Essentially, the ignorance that exonerates him equally exhibits his incompetence. His shock at the behaviour of Rukutana is reflective of his loose administrative methods. He expects the police to handle such electoral misconduct. Yet the police was perhaps in a fit of confusion! Often, the target is clear; the opposition! What should they do when the fighting is in-house?
The impunity of the NRM candidates is not new to the country. However, it is new to the incumbent! The incapacity of the police to handle the matter reflects the partisan practice that has become its training.
Now, even the kind of elections that shouldn’t be worrisome have developed the violent feature. The privileged NRM politicians are the strongest ones and most primitive; incapable of civility!
- Joel Kenneth Ndawula is a Student of Law at Uganda Martyrs University Nkozi. He is an inspired writer, the editor and author here; a blogger of sorts.
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