After a section of opposition players led by the Democratic Party signed a memorandum of understanding to work together ahead of the 2021 elections, guns were inevitably turned against Dr Kizza Besigye, the leading opposition light in the last 20 years.
“Besigye does not want unity unless he is the one chosen to lead the effort,” said one former prominent politician, whose attempt at the presidency fell flat on its face in the 2016 race.
In fact, the politician who is famous for telling us that “he will announce when the right time to announce the next political move…is announced”, appeared to be blaming his poor political fortunes in 2016 on the fact that Besigye had not given way.
“So why does Besigye shun other opposition parties when they come together to ostensibly remove Museveni? Is he a coward?” an opposition activist asked The Rogue, trying to provoke me into an argument I was not prepared for.
Hesitantly, I told him that is was tough question to answer, off head.
I first reached for the dictionary and looked up the meaning of the word “coward.”
A ‘coward’, according to the Oxford dictionary, is a “person who is contemptibly lacking in the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things.”
After I had absorbed the definition, I then tried to trace Besigye’s political steps over the 20 years or so that he has been in the trenches.
I told my activist friend that from Besigye’s actions over the years, referring to him as a coward would be a gross misrepresentation.
May be the right term to describe Besigye, I said, should be cautious.
Besigye, I told him, could be cautious of what the eloquent and highly gifted DP president, Norbert Mao, termed as “Meal Card Politicians.”
To rephrase Mao’s words, “Meal Card Politicians” are people who join politics to get a meal card to enable them eat their next political meal. They treasure the meal card and will do anything to safeguard it.
And there is no lack of choice of food when it comes to politics in this country.
There is the “Posho and Beans Politics” which is very common on the opposition side of our political terrain.
This politics is tough and rough.
Most political players under this type of politics are usually poor, without any meaningful jobs or work.
Like the Marabou Stork, they scavenge for anything that will give them their next meal.
Then there is the “Chips and Chicken Politics” dominated by players on the ruling party side.
These have excess when it comes to resources and can easily bait the “Posho and Beans Politicians” to join them and have the “good life.”
But remember at Makerere University we used to have students who had found a way of using the same meal card to eat “double” especially on Thursdays when they used to prepare chicken at lunch time.
My suspicion is that when some of those students graduated into politicians, they took this bad “Lumumba sijuyi Nsibirwa Hall” practice to the national stage.
These are not afraid to be seen eating “Posho and Beans” at lunch but at dinner time, when the sun has set, they will munch “Chips and Chicken ” while putting a veil over their heads.
They eat “double.”
They are also quite vocal because sometimes to qualify for the next Chips and Chicken meal “you have to be seen to be working”.
Increasingly, they have become so prevalent on our political scene and one has to be careful if he or she is going to deal with them.
Besigye has certainly dealt with so many meal card politicians that the names are too many to enumerate here.
But three names stand out in the recent past.
Mama Mabira, Uncle Mahogany and Mukyala BONK.
I will just dwell on two.
Uncle Mahogany became a critic of government the moment he was chased off the Chips and Chicken high table.
When Besigye attended the last funeral rites of his mother, Mahogany described him as a “true freedom fighter.”
Thereafter Mahogany joined the opposition and made noise about his son being killed in a staged accident.
After another shrewd politician lent him his political party, he joined the race to become the opposition flag bearer under the platform of Total Disunity Alliance (TDA).
When he was not selected he cursed other members of TDA , went to his knees and pleaded with the Chicken and Chips group to have him re-admitted. They accepted and threw him a couple of drumsticks. He went quiet.
The second is Mukyala BONK who before she joined the Chips and Chicken table had a pending court case hanging over her head.
BONK, in a newspaper article alleged that of alleging that nani…comes from a neighbouring country.
BONK had a pseudo political platform and she too was critical of the politicians on “Chips and Chicken” table.
Somehow, she made it to the Total Disunity Alliance and for a moment, she was under consideration as the opposition flag bearer for the 2016 elections.
Yet after her failed parliamentary bid, she turned against her fellow Posho and Beans eaters.
She complained that some of them including Besigye wanted to dominate the dining table and were taking the bigger share of the Kawuukumi infested beans.
All of a sudden, she started praising the Main Chef on the opposite side. That at least he knew how to mix the ingredients and accommodate other people.
Her praises did not go unnoticed. Before long, she was invited to the Chips and Chicken table in a senior capacity. In fact, mbu she is the one who counts the pieces of chicken before they are put on the plate.
With the 2021 meal being prepared, many Posho and Beans politicians are hovering around the kitchen with their meal cards.
Some have tucked the cards in their shirt pockets, others in their stockings while I have seen a few ladies who have kept them in their bras.
Some have formed alliances to make themselves more visible to the other side and to increase their bargaining power.
From experience, Besigye has already spotted some of them.
He knows they are just waiting for the bell and the call to dive into the food. Nice Week!
THE ROGUE is a satirical column that runs once a week on The Nile Post.
Contact the writer on +256-788179369/256-752195226.