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There Goes Hapless Kizza Besigye Again

By Ofwono Opondo

Jan. 11, 18
On Wednesday this week the World Bank issued its economic forecast on Sub-Saharan Africa in which Uganda’s GDP growth is projected at 5.5 percent this year, and 6.1 in 2019. It follows three earlier reports by Harvard University, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Bank of Uganda all showing the same trend putting Uganda among the top ten performing economies. But the hapless political opposition in Uganda led by Kizza Besigye driven by ill will, won’t acknowledge this fact.
Instead, Besigye and his new sidekick, Patrick Oboi Amuriat, the FDC president, want Ugandans to believe their unresearched and subjective view on the economy. Like Togikwatako, Tubalemese campaign is likely to be a stillbirth. And if the economy is doing as badly as Besigye would like Ugandans to believe, why then does he call for economic boycott as if the only beneficiaries are NRM leaders and supporters. Recently Pope Francis advised poets that “the sound must seem an echo to the sense,” which tags well to Besigye, only if he could listen, more so when he thinks he carries the wise guy torch in our public discourse
Besigye won’t outwork President Yoweri Museveni and NRM because we work twenty hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. This mantra doesn’t easily fit in a car bumper sticker, but sums up NRM from now until elections in 2021, or whenever held, now that MPs have extended the tenure of elected leaders.
That economic projection leaves the scare-mongers in opposition, academics, and ‘analysts’ on the bench writhing hands and gnashing their teeth, the reason they are now calling for civil disobedience, economic sabotage, and lawlessness. With these scares they hope to thwart Uganda’s quest of attracting the much needed 21st century investments and jobs.
Usually, these groups pontificate how NRM government has rundown Uganda’s economy but they don’t provide any sensible alternative policy options that can be applied to boost the economy, or for creating the necessary environment to spur innovation and creativity especially among local entrepreneurs. When they see some misfortune, they talk with so much glee as if they have no responsibility whatsoever in building Uganda except to lambast President Museveni.
While there appears to be so much opportunity on the horizon, political and religious leaders ought to have a message that uplifts our national spirit that it can be done even when it looks hard and bleak. But unfortunately, these leaders are dumb, and offer very little demonstration effect to communities where they live, work or come from. The net effect has been complacency, a growing beggar mentality and surrender.
I know Besigye, and Norbert Mao among others have the right to continuously flay President Museveni as they have done for a quarter century, but surely, many people are getting sick and tired of politicians who only put their fingers in the air to see which direction the wind blows. Wringing, whining, and moaning don’t help the country either.  
Opposition MPs are getting away with barely a scratch for their quiet and tacit support for the term extension. The opposition had called for business shut-down, full-blown violent street actions, sit-ins and knock-on homes of NRM MPs as a way to both intimidate and persuade them to reject the bill which failed because the public wind was blowing in a different direction to what they claimed.
It appears the professional opposition, so derisively called, is suffering from a common grief because of the unity within NRM the reason they won’t stop conjuring doom predictions. The problem for this opposition is that it is a collection of one-issue entity at a time, which they often use for internecine disputes, and fundraising hoping they can thwart any attempts at a progressive agenda.
Constant attacks on President Museveni are counterproductive because there is no ideological disagreement over where resources should be spent as a matter of policy priority. But President Museveni must play a chess game with the elected politicians in parliament because for now they are the ones with authority to allocate public resources and he must soothe their egos including giving them soft money for personal groceries, otherwise they sabotage his good agenda.
Understandably people want quick and bigger spending on such areas as agriculture, health, education, and salaries for health workers and teachers as it directly affects most of them, but also because they have been made to falsely believe that government doesn’t take these issues seriously. And while there are glaring cases of duplication, wastefulness, laxity and lack of coordination, it is important for the public to appreciate that government works within the available resources envelop which includes the manpower with bad attitude and ethics.
What I do know about leaders like Besigye or those walking the corridors of power is that it confers on them some glamour even when they wouldn’t ordinarily be considered intelligent although they feed half truths to the hungry ears of the ravenous press. Policy nerds and political junkies become centres of attention as they pretend to be experts, and Besigye is no exception. As the adage goes, a drowning clings to a straw!