MATSIKO GODWIN MUHWEZI
The Age Limit ruling, especially the sum-total of its implications on Uganda’s electoral process delivered a blow to several political optimists.
Having confirmed the removal of the presidential age limit, the Constitutional Court’s historical discourses and intellectual dissection of Parliament’s actions did little to assuage the displeasure.
Ultimately, it was confirmed that Parliament can kowtow with the Constitution amidst public outcry and the courts are effectually powerless against the onslaught.
It remains to see how the legislators will appease their voters if, and when they require re-election.
The President expressed discontent with the Justices for partially disemboweling the Constitution in not fully ratifying Parliament’s decisions.
A few weeks ago, at a lawyers’ workshop, retired Chief Justice Hon. Wako Wambuzi alluded to a previous quip by the President some years back that judges should focus on “chicken thieves” and leave politics to the NRM.
If the President finally “does away with Parliament” as he says, we could finally jettison the present illusion of separation of powers, checks and balances; and independence of the judiciary.
Evidently, sabre rattling is second nature to the NRM legitimacy and we do well to keep that in mind.
Until an appeal to the Age Limit Question, kicks off at the Supreme Court, many Ugandans will have forgotten about the ruling, tucked it in some mental archive and gone about their living strains, same ole.
In the meantime, a whirlwind of “People Power” slogans pervaded the country starting slowly and gaining momentum with every bye-election.
In the wake of the Arua scuffle, it gained cult status and almost paralyzed business in major city centers.
On to the global scene, Bobi Wine was miraculously jerking out of a comma and tearing through steel doors of daytime television and talk radio like a knife in butter in a matter of days.
It did not take long for this feat to expose the local music star turned politician; to microscopic scrutiny of who his funders were, where from the wave of benevolent benefactors hailed and what interests they had.
The powers that be, could easily nod to his music success, self-made image and with a footnote to his purportedly lucky Jacob stunt at the Kyadondo electoral seat in a bye election but could not vouch for a seamless suave manoeuvre to the very top.
He might be a stuntman with bye elections but the NRM will need the hand of God to believe he can take State House on their watch.
Everybody against torture and gagging worked to a degree, but Bobi Wine’s eloquence to key governance questions will be required occasionally to prove him ready to hack it at the highest levels of the real game.
I sit on the fence with panoramic reflections on our political improvisation.
The NRM or essential fabrics of its core tapestry have been involved in liberation struggles since the early 1970’s long before the 27 guns breakthrough.
After 1986, any semblance of opposition politics has been a remnant of the Tanzania league of Obote and Amin dissidents who felt they could still outmuscle the NRM bigwig in an electoral process.
It bears repeating that every kite flown in that direction has been mercilessly shot down by ballot results!
With the last of those bowing out, we have had to choose from a fruit salad off the same platter, NRM proteges tired of waiting on the sidelines or renegades of a system they once sweated plasma for.
I do not see NRM voluntarily bequeathing rule and reign to People Power.
Arguably, we hope no one pushes the NRM to remind the country how efficient they were in the swamps, hills and valleys of the Luweero Triangle.
People Power thrives on the resounding rhetoric for a change but either lacks leadership beyond the change of guard or is an ill organized Katogo of Anti-Museveni sentiments.
It does not help matters that FDC, the leading opposition outfit for a while frowned on the fast-tracked hoisting of someone outside their ranks despite purportedly having similar objectives.
With the dice rolled on General Mugisha Muntu’s future outside FDC, the awkwardness of Rt. Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye being a lifetime front of a party whose actual leadership is incognito, the miles converted in opposition politics may have receded a couple.
The narrative that the current President should retire has been beaten, black and blue and it has not been enough to deliver the holy grail.
It will therefore take a better organized system, more than sheer luck momentum of the recent attempts to succeed the melody line of Uganda’s post-independence sound track.
It will require a more accommodative and less antagonistic leader outside the establishment to absorb the simmering sentiments in the country.
Our history is checkered by violent power shifts and vengeance, but I reckon we all stand to lose more than our forerunners did if we tread that infamous path.
Yes, a totally fresh face, but doubtless one not among the present cast of flamboyant superheroes on our political scene. The write is a Lawyer and Author