Saturday, September 16, 2023

What passes for the National Unity Platform (NUP) opposition political party is emerging as rogue tribal sectarian outfit whose impudence, bullying, mob mentality and crude arrogance at the national level must be knocked down if Uganda is to maintain stability and social cohesion. Last week’s public rally in Luwero town where its leader Robert Kyagulanyi called for the expulsion of alleged non-Ugandans accusing them of myriads of transgressions against the Baganda went beyond a healthy discourse and bordered incitement to criminal violence. Unfortunately from their blaster, it appears NUP intends to double down, have violent confrontations than have self introspection. While police legitimate security concern, it’s prudent to let NUP public meetings continue to expose policy bankruptcy. 

Trying to denigrate President Yoweri Museveni as having been a pauper when he matched into Kampala in 1986 betrays Kyagulanyi’s utter lack of historical information because Museveni had already been a minister of Defence, and later Regional Cooperation which he abandoned to launch a guerilla war. And Museveni had other wealth including land and thousands of traditional Ankole cattle to which he returned in 1986. Peddling other wild conspiracy theories is akin to a false tongue that cannot convict an innocent person, but doesn’t come as a surprising that Kyagulanyi was a run- away child who emerged from ghetto life to the success he is today.

Clearly, Kyagulanyi and NUP are lying to themselves if they believe that they can overrun Uganda with mob mentality and disrupt the hard won democratisation and progress that Uganda is today. It would appear that NUP puppets and puppies who claim to enjoy external audience and support are trying to test NRM government soft approach. They also seem to believe that President Museveni’s patience with provocation is a sign of weakness in leadership. NUP leaders and activists need to be advised to calm down because politics can be ruthless, the future a rough tumble, and merely being a youth doesn’t confer on them unrestrained rights and legitimacy.

It is imperative that we continue to expose NUP to the public for what it will become in reality if left unchecked. From its political narratives, slogan, dress code, insignia, and public conduct, NUP is following the footsteps of former Germany Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s youth brigade (Sturmabteilung), also known as the “Brown Shirts” of the 1920s after the First World War. Among others, the Freikorps (storm troopers) was, over time fashioned along fascist paramilitary lines.

To this end they typically wore military style uniforms including boots, army fatigues, ties, full ranks, insignia and medals to create organizational and command structure for the total control over its members who they employed  to intimidate rival groups, people who didn’t agree with them and to perform other operational tasks.

These NUP uniforms being used at their offices, functions, political meetings and on daily public display as already noticed have no standardization except the swastika armband worn on the left. Like Hitler’s youth brigades, NUP activists share the same agenda in the belief and identity by costumes, intimidation, intolerance, violence, bigotry and other fascist tendencies. In doing so doing NUP supporters imitate military formations including burly bodyguards for no other useful purpose than to spread intimidation, harassment and fear.

NUP employs a rubble-rousing strategy to lure unsuspecting youthful population especially in Buganda that has got consumed in hate politics and falsely believe that Kyagulanyi can run through any obstacle however hard. But as the old adage goes, the hand that wields the dagger never wears the crown, and NUP leaders need to take a very cautious approach to political struggles and matters of public discourse if they truly want to be successful beyond a whirlwind season.

So far NUP has succeeded in bullying all opposition groups including the hitherto flamboyantly bellicose FDC, and Uganda Young Democrats the militant wing of Democratic Party who are now unable or unwilling to openly criticize NUP but instead massage NUP mischief. On social media and other public platforms, NUP deploys impudent activists who spread terror including threats of physical harm against whoever takes a contrary line on any matter, and it’s extremely stressful to engage in a meaningful discourse with them however polite one maybe.

The misguided NUP leaders so far appear to have learnt nothing useful from Kizza Besigye’s brand of the failed Reform Agenda of 2001 that morphed into Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) in trying to bolster their platform through spreading disinformation and subterfuge. Since its formation in 2020, NUP has proven to be nefarious actors operating from the shadows probably knowing the local media is either incompetent, unprofessional and isn’t up to the task to expose their dirk art. 

It should be recalled that during the 2021 election campaigns Kyagulanyi actively urged NUP supporters to ignore every measure instituted to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and as a result they constantly locked horns with police which served them well as they cried victimhood for which NUP won votes especially in Buganda mainly on tribal considerations.