Fact: Yoweri Museveni’s 26-year-old government is so spent, so riddled with corruption, so obviously incapable of delivering the most basic services to the masses, so irretrievably dysfunctional that only a change at the helm will bring about any change.
Fact: Unless the challenger to Museveni’s rule comes from within the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), no one from the opposition parties can unseat Yoweri Museveni because the odds are stacked too high against them even if they had a coherent message.
Fact: The people of Uganda are so tired of their government but are wary of throwing it out because the opposition, due to factors best discussed on another occasion, offers little in the way of viable alternatives.
So, what’s the solution then?
A hitherto untainted but credible candidate from within the ruling National Resistance Movement itself.
That’s where Rebecca Kadaga comes in.
Highly educated and feisty, Speaker of the House Kadaga has found the perfect platform to run for the highest office in the land. She was given the nod by the current Museveni administration in the hope that it would be business as usual, with Parliament merely rubber-stamping everything Museveni sent them. Museveni immediately regretted having offered his support. Kadaga and Museveni’s Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, have clashed openly and so ferociously that the president has had to intervene to separate them a couple of times.
She has already shown that as Speaker of the 9th Parliament she isn’t the fawning poodle her predecessor was. At this point, she is the most visible and outspoken NRM personality there is after Museveni so she has a lot going for her. All she needs now is to deliver a really significant parliamentary blow to Museveni and she will really ride high.
She may have been given such an opportunity by the clash she had with Canada’s Foreign Minister, John Baird, and we might as well see Kadaga pushing for and achieving the passage of the anti-gay bill that had lain dormant until John Baird helped revive its embers.
Once the NRM get used to it that Museveni is vulnerable, Kadaga’s candidature will begin to look really credible. Then you will see the most almighty battle to try to get rid of her – which should lend her even more credibility. Remember Museveni and his crony, Mbabazi, have tried twice already to pull her down a peg and both efforts backfired when she their machinations became public and Kadaga won the public’s sympathy. She is quite astute in the way she denies this and that and then asks pointed questions in forums where she will be quoted liberally.
She has locked horns with Museveni over how much say Parliament should have in the passing of the budget. She has already drawn her line in the sand and we are now waiting to see if Museveni will blink.
Only the other week Kadaga held up the swearing-in of a new cabinet because one of the nominated ministers, IdahNantaba, had questionable morals. Rumors abounded that Nantaba was Museveni’s mistress. Kadaga walked away from the skirmish and Museveni got his woman, but with Parliamentary procedures circumvented. The point had been made, however, and no one will now look at Nantaba as anything other than another Museveni skirt.
The evidence is in all the papers that the man some had touted as a possible successor to Museveni, Amama Mbabazi, can’t run a bank, or his own ministry where more than $60 million of donor money was embezzled on his watch. So how can he run a country? He is damaged goods and he now serves one purpose – to parrot whatever Museveni orders him to. Vice President Edward Ssekandi is a laughing-stock all over the country because it is widely accepted that he needed help to steal his parliamentary election in February 2011 (he couldn’t even pull it off on his own). Even if he was presentable enough, Ssekandi is an old style, crooked-deals-in-a-smoky-room administrator who has no scruples or principles as his unsuccessful interference in KCCA’s demolition of an illegal structure in Kampala showed.
Yes, yes. Museveni’s son, Muhoozi is being touted as a possible shoo-in. So is his Museveni’s wife, Janet. While those two can’t be written off given Uganda’s putrid dish politics, they lack the political credibility, and so would have to be imposed. It’s inconceivable that Muhoozi, a totally unknown quantity whose meteoric rise through the military ranks can only have been engineered by his father, could go out on the hustings, campaign for office and win.
Janet Museveni believes that prayers will solve all Uganda’s problems – something that is patently ridiculous, and which most Ugandans understand to be so. She thus also lacks credibility. Besides, she has been at her husband’s side over the 26 years the country has meandered from one corruption scandal to the other, 26 years that have not seen a single public school, hospital, road built or repaired to an acceptable standard. How come the prayers she so believes in haven’t worked?
On almost every issue that gets a politician elected in Uganda, Kadaga is saying what the majority want to hear. Her political antennae are serving her very well indeed. Yes, even on the LBGTI issue which is the latest political hot potato Kadaga has had to deal with, she has passed the test with aplomb. The activist LGBTI side will not like how she has reacted but she deftly played the political card Canada’s John Baird handed her. She wouldn’t have been a politician worth her salt had she reacted any other way. Baird’s boo-boo will hopefully be a salient lesson to the human rights agitators out there who tend to forget that they are in a war that must always take into account the political realities of the recipient countries.
Kadaga’s chances for 2016 look very bright indeed and, you know what, whether or not the Bahati Nazi anti-gay bill passes on her watch, this gay man likes her … a lot.
- Canada’s Baird gives Ssempa and Bahati a new lease on life (sebaspace.wordpress.com)
- Kadaga (Uganda) 3 – Baird (Canada) 0 (sebaspace.wordpress.com)
- Ugandan Parliament Speaker Pushes For ‘Kill The Gays’ Bill (thinkprogress.org)
- Abolish the Ministry of Ethics and Integrity, silly! (sebaspace.wordpress.com)
- Museveni, Kadaga clash over Nantaba (monitor.co.ug)