Events in Algeria and Sudan where long serving presidents have been toppled in quick succession many people have sent many tongues wagging with excitement within the opposition, and suppressed trepidation among some NRM supporters worried that the trend could soon sweep through Uganda. It is important to analyse what appears to be the common threads in Algeria and Sudan, namely ideology, social and economic deprivation, lack of democracy, longevity and age of the presidents, to understand if Uganda is similarly fertile for a popular mass insurrection.
By Ofwono Opondo
Following last week’s events involving the kidnap and eventual rescue of an American female tourist, Kimberly Sue Endicott and her tour guide Jean Paul Mirenge, in the Queen Elizabeth National park’s Ishasha sector in Kanungu district, frenzy, anxiety and cynicism descended into the local Ugandan media. The frenzy and anxieties were understandable because of the potential ramifications on Uganda’s economic progress, stability and image as a good destination for investments, trade and tourism.
Weeks of peaceful protests, that forced Algeria’s president for twenty years, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, to abandon running again for office, and on Tuesday culminated in him relinquishing power with immediate effect has re-ignited Dr Kizza Besigye, back to ‘life’ swinging his political pendulum aimlessly. Bouteflika suffered a stroke in 2013 and has rarely been seen in public.
Opposition political groupings are reported to be mulling over whether to work in alliance towards 2021 elections supposedly to defeat the NRM, but perhaps more precisely, to dislodge President Yoweri Museveni, whose longevity gives them sleepless nights. But, so far, the deep cracks are evidently visible, as each accuses the other of being a mole working for President Museveni. And although each of them claim, without much evidence to be fighting for ‘Ugandans’, it will be quite hard for them to dismantle NRM’s record.
Uganda and Rwanda have had so much contact spanning centuries, the greater part under colonialism, backwardness, and mass murders by governments we jointly stopped for which each side should be grateful for their respective roles. But following so much opprobrium accompanied by pettiness flowing under the bridge from across Uganda’s southern border in the last one month, it is prudent that the renewed frostiness is put into perspective.
National Resistance Movement (NRM) members of parliament are at the National Leadership Institute (NALI), Kyankwanzi for a one week retreat under the theme “Industrialization for job creation and shared prosperity,” which will review progress over the last three years. Going by the first two days, engagements have been vigorous, and hopefully, MPs will return wiser, ideologically energized, cohesive and committed to a higher sense of purpose.
Two weeks ago all the two hundred and four Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) and their deputies who were appointed in mid 2018 completed their induction at the National Leadership Institute (NALI), Kyankwanzi into government service with expectations that their individual and collective performance will be better, much more visible and consistent with the laws. In addition, the ministry for the presidency has embarked on regional joint engagements with district leaders to deepen their appreciation of the key priorities of government.