By Frank Kirunda
Uganda’s opposition has tendencies of wizardry (obusezi). They enjoy what has gone bad (bagala ebyononese); other people’s pain and tears are their joy. The coming of social media has made them bolder and daring to an extent that a day without posting sadistic news is a loss to them.
Take the case of the recent loss of the Archbishop of Kampala Archdiocese, Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga. What were “wizards” saying? I am sure all news savvy people heard what they had to say, including, of all people, a senior opposition leader like Dr Kizza Besigye, who later apologised.
But it was not the first time that someone’s dead body is used to score political points. Every death and sickness is blamed on government, including that of prominent people in government. Is government killing itself? People even announce the living dead so as to make government look bad. NUP fellows pronounced their own councilor, James Mubiru of Rubaga dead whereas not. Even Bobi Wine has been announced dead “a thousand times”.
We have reached the extent of someone dying of natural causes or an ordinary accident and their death is attributed to government or particular individuals in government. Is NRM so powerful now that is has power over life and death, and everything in between? Was there no death before NRM came to power? Is NRM the ruling party in other countries where people also die like all mortals?
I think there is too much free in this country that people are getting tired of it. But they will not tempt NRM to act like them or to advance policies that will cut back on the freedoms of Ugandans at large. The few “mamba eaters” will carry their cross of curses from the dead whose memory they insult by engaging in heedless speculation. Death is a great mysterious equaliser which nobody can tame.
And it seems to be a trend everywhere; recently when President JP Magufuli of Tanzania died, some people there celebrated. They slaughtered goats and had fun as the rest of the country-and the continent- mourned the passing of a promising son of Africa.
The “wizards” were arrested for their absurdity but the message was already sent-there is no opposition in most African countries. Just angry and shameless fellows looking for relevance!
We can fight and play in politics but when it comes to the demise of a citizen, we are all called to extend humane eulogies and also allow experts to follow up any doubtable circumstances surrounding a person’s death. Ignorant speculation sows confusion and brings unnecessary distress among bereaved families. Kindly, let this habit of celebrating death or capitalizing on it for political points stop before the gods begin striking hard.
In Uganda, the busezi culture is partly watered by absence of influential, mature and cultured parental figures in the opposition that can cultivate and impart deep ideology among their following.
Leaders on that side are like hit men, only out to soil NRM’s name and try to sow hatred against President Museveni by making very outrageous allegations about him in the hope that Ugandans will hate him. Why not go for facts that can be substantiated? If there are none, sit down and wait or admit that there is nothing to say to Ugandans about NRM except to support it!
Politics of hatred and mudslinging is unsustainable and continuously losing place in Uganda. Those who still believe in it will soon be surprised how irrelevant they are. Then at some point, they will have to answer for their sins individually.
Ugandans are already punishing these unserious people by refusing to vote them. It would be disastrous if they were handed the reins of power.
During the campaigns, they did all they could to cause bloodshed so that they would have some live cases to sell; they succeeded in a way but the grand plan was foiled. It is unfortunate that lived had to be lost that way at all.
You know, after determining that they had little chance against NRM with no policy alternatives to market, they decided that it was best to put the lives of Ugandans in direct harm’s way so that they would gain sympathy from their patrons whose eye they thought would be moved by the sight of blood and bodies strewn all over.
Instead of working for the safety of Ugandans whose votes they needed, they chose the populist route of staging scenes and even piecing together fake images and videos alleging massacres and targeted hits.
Some images were from as far away as West Africa and others from Uganda of the Amin and Obote eras. Of course, these schemes didn’t work as it ended in tears for the spreaders and funders. But I know that they are not about to stop and reflect on what value they are adding to the politics of the country. What change are they promising if they are raw and “unchanged” in themselves?
Some need pastors to pray for them while others need NRM to come in and rescue them from being (mis)used.
The author is the Presidential Assistant in charge of Media Management.