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Opposition in a Quandary as NRM Limps On

By Ofwono Opondo
April, 18, 18
Two years ago President Yoweri Museveni, and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, swept nation-wide elections in presidential, parliamentary, and local government leaving the combined opposition, and its allies in sections of the civil society and media so badly wounded and crying foul. In that aftermath, and disputes, the main casualty, Dr Warren Smith Kizza Besigye Kifefe then launched a “defiance” movement, in an attempt to discredit President Museveni and NRM’s victory, legality and legitimacy before Ugandans and hopefully the international community by declaring himself a ‘peoples president’, leading a ‘peoples government’.
Besigye’s angry call to FDC MPs-elect, and generally to other opposition leaders who had been elected to boycott their new seats fell on deaf ears, as all of them took up the coveted positions with the accompanying perks, leaving Besigye as the lone sulking man. The political intransigence through civil disobedience to make Uganda un governable and fanned mainly in the media and Kampala has since proven a still birth.
But it saddens, that  NRM which enjoys a massive majority in parliament, many of its MPs appear unable to see around corners, and are being drabbed both by the opposition and media on almost all fronts including the ongoing  debate on tax bills tabled before parliament whose main goal is to raise government revenue Uganda so badly needs. Both in and outside parliament, NRM doesn’t seem to have a robust, effective and disciplined strategy as we recently saw during the constitutional amendment, in Jinja East by-election, and many analysts doubt if Rukungiri by-elections will be different. Already, NRM has left the opposition to frame absurd, false and negative narratives on the donations President Museveni made in Rukungiri this week as if other districts haven’t benefitted from his magnanimity. 
Besigye now postures that the money should have been sent to northern Uganda, cleverly avoiding to mention NUSAF and  PRDP programs where close to700 million US dollars has been sunk, and indeed good progress is visible on roads, water, education and health facilities. It seems to me, that as the liberation and revolutionary zeal wanes, NRM support is now more being pitched on patronage, which if not checked, could destroy NRM.
And while NRM limps on, the boastful FDC leadership is in a quandary and leaking, facing defections among its ranks, although some of the defectors may be of questionable political probity. Never-the-less, as former US president, Richard Nixon (Tricky Dick) once said, it’s still better to have your opponents inside your tent peeing outside, just in case they have to.
The fall of former FDC president, Gen. (rtd) Greg Mugisha Muntu who was seen as a stiff oak tree unable to bend in the storms, brought in Patrick Oboi Amuriat, who too has been as a boring spectacle to watch leading any charge. Both Muntu and Amuriat have exhibited mechanical public style, lack easy empathy, aren’t quick on their feet on any issues or platform, don’t inspire, and this is being compounded by the fact that they are not in parliament to whip the few troops at hand, leaving opposition MPs on free range grazing. They both show no ability to change or even any desire to do so, and are remote cultural throwbacks from home Counties. Their limits are being ruthlessly exposed by each passing day, and political events.
Thus, as Muntu was treated, Amuriat too is being seen, politically speaking, as a dead man walking. His authority is generally regarded as shot, his certain fall a matter of time, and almost no one believes Amuriat’s claim that he will lead FDC and more generally the opposition into victory the next election, due in 2021 or whenever the moment comes.
Having faced that uphill task, the same groups have for the last two years tried to discredit most of government policy initiatives often relying more on speculation to frame absurd and negative narratives in order to create opposition, resistance, and apathy among Ugandans. Sadly for them, the majority of Ugandans hasn’t been as gullible, and continues supporting President Museveni and government policy programs because they know that Uganda has travelled a long distance since 1986 from a failed state with an economy on its knees to a very promising one that it is today. 
Also, many Ugandans unlike some leaders in the opposition understand quite well, that transforming Uganda is a hard and collective job that can only be achieved with sustained efforts over a long period of time and dedication. Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising when the same political quislings and naysayers mount ridiculous opposition against the proposed revenue enhancement measures tabled before parliament in the various tax amendment bills. These groups, shamelessly do all these, without even bothering to offer viable alternative policy directions. It is critical for the NRM MPs and their allies to close ranks on budget issues and build consensus around robust reforms and measures to broaden the tax base that is fair, equitable, and sensible as in order to raise sufficient government revenue to fund Uganda’s many needs, which will then help consolidate national independence.