In every war, there are losers and winners. In every victory, there is defeat.
Those wise words were said by someone whose name I cannot recall but they are instructive in the wake of the unfortunate incident where Dr Kizza Besigye was nearly manhandled by a group of rowdy youth outside the studios of CBS Radio.
Besigye, the opposition doyen, had gone to the radio station for an interview but it appears not everyone was happy.
He had to be whisked away in an Ipsum, that was guarded on both sides by Boda Boda riders.
Some news reports have linked the hecklers to People Power, the pressure group led by Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.
But in a statement issued over the weekend, Kyagulanyi distanced himself from such uncouth behaviour and called for opposition unity.
Some analysts said the statement was not terse enough.
From the TV footage of the incident, some of people who heckled Besigye are known noise makers without any fundamental political values.
They move from one influential politician to another, looking for relevance and money. Today they will jump in bed with FDC, tomorrow they will be singing praises for DP. Next week, they will be moving with People Power before they finally decamp to NRM.
The highest bidder, wins their support, that is their cardinal principle.
On a personal level, Besigye and Kyagulanyi maintain a cordial relationship, at least in public and have stated so several times. How long this image shall be maintained, remains open to debate.
But the tension and friction amongst their supporters is so thick, you can cut through it with a knife.
Be that as it may, a stand off between Besigye and Bobi Wine’s supporters has substantial benefits for a number of people and groups. Here are the main beneficiaries.
Besigye, Bobi Wine
This appears obvious. Isn’t it? Even when they are are likely to deny it, the main beneficiaries of the rift are the two main principals Dr Kizza Besigye and Robert Kyagulanyi.
This rift enhances their name recognition and helps solidify their political status ahead of the 2021 elections.
The worst thing for a politician is not to be talked about. It hurts many. As a journalist of many years, I have encountered senior politicians who will do anything to attract media attention. If it means fighting in public, they will do it. If it means paying a DPC to break up their political rally, they will do it. Some have “kidnapped” themselves. So Besigye and Bobi Wine will definitely benefit from the tension amongst their supporters in many ways, including being major the topic of discussion on TV and Radio Stations.
Second in line are the political activists, also known as catalysers. Political activists are made for such situations. These may belong to the opposition or the NRM, it does not matter. The tensions are going to provide them with an avenue to remain relevant and to make a quick buck.
As I write this, some of them are running back and forth to Besigye and Bobi Wine, “advising” them on how to react and on what to do or not to do.
“Attack him strongly because he wants to take your position on the political scene,” some will advise.
While others may chip in: “Just let things cool off. Ignore them. it is too costly to get mired in a fight with them.”
Some of these activists are well-meaning but most are opportunists.
After delivering their advice, they will ask for some small “fuel” from Besigye before they rush to Bobi Wine and convince him how “Besigye is on the wall and why he should maintain the pressure.”
As a parting shot, Kyagulanyi will also give them something and their day, or week will be made.
The daring ones will move a step further up, compile a report, contact people in intelligence services and feed them with what is happening in FDC and People Power.
They will be given a hefty handshake with promise of more if they keep the information flowing.
These are the ones who have built mansions, educated their children in good schools, own prime land yet they seemingly “have no stable job”.
Look closely, you will identify one or two who falls in this category.
The third group of beneficiaries of are journalists (this columnist included), who will now get fodder to feed their news reports and cover inches of columns with “analyses (I am already doing so by writing this satirical column…Hahaha).
Some journalists are going to pitch stories in newsrooms to their editors on “What the Besigye, Bobi Wine fight means for the opposition ahead of the 2021 elections” (If you read an article with such a headline in the papers one of these days, don’t say I did not tell you). As we are often told by some journalism gurus, conflict sells. A good journalist, knows when to pounce and lives precisely for these kinds of stories.
The fights will also benefit some media owners because they will draw more readers, viewers and listeners of their media platforms. Then they will use these numbers to make a strong case to advertisers for… money.
I can see some people in the Yellow Bus smiling from ear to ear. Some are already chest-thumping with the facial expression that reads: “We told you that the opposition is weak and divided.”
I can see Don Wanyama and Ofwono Opondo rubbing their hands with glee and angling to attack!
Yet seriously, if there was a right time for the NRM to sow confusion in the opposition, now is the right time.
Given their bottomless pockets and machinery, they can easily throw some money at a few “opposition” activists to fuel the fights. Already there is talk that NRM had a hand in the Saturday incident, which they have not vehemently denied.
And since President Museveni is on record as having said that “he will wipe the opposition” off our political landscape, could this be the first step in his mission?
The Rogue is a satirical column that runs once a week on the Nile Post.
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