Opinion: Opposition in Uganda remind me of twitter feminists


If we are to go by the polls released by Research World International posted in early May this year, asking if Ugandans were to go to the polls then, incumbent and NRM (now declared) sole candidate already; President Yoweri Museveni would score 32% of the total vote.

A new political player was introduced in this survey; Bobi Wine. Shockingly to others and not so shocking to some, the question on who would people prefer as President, was put to all 2,042 respondents across the country and it showed that Bobi Wine would edge out Opposition strong man Kizza Besigye, by polling 22% of the vote, while four-time presidential candidate Col. Dr. Besigye would walk away with a 13%.

Now that’s not the point I want us to focus on, the same survey showed a whole 20% of the voters were undecided. Whether that has changed between May and now, we don’t know.

But if we are to go by Wakida’s polls conducted in May, a big portion 20% who are undecided, is significant enough to change the political landscape by giving Ugandans a new president if they decide to vote against President Museveni. In this case, if the 20% crossed over to Bobi Wine, he would be in position number 1 with 44% above Museveni and Besigye. If the 20% crossed over to Besigye; he would lead with 33%, an inch slightly above Museveni. Either way, if this chunk is swayed to any of the opposition leaders in the polls, they would thrust Museveni.

In the same spirit, if the 20% is swayed to Museveni, he would be very far away from his opponents, giving him another 5-year term of service as President. NRM unlike other political parties, because of so many factors like a strong financial muscle, deliberate recruitment, the party has the highest representation on local level of every district across the country, like it or not, this is an important factor in a presidential election because it guarantees vote protection and influences numbers during campaigns and on election day. NRM’s candidate; President Yoweri Museveni has also gone ahead of his would-be competitors in 2021 and toured major parts of the country in tours he dubbed wealth creation tours but dominated with a lot of politics and more regions ‘declaring him’ sole candidate for 2021.

This also gives him the chance to sway the undecided 20% to his yellow corner. This puts potential presidential candidates as seen in Wakida’s polls; Bobi Wine and Besigye at a huge disadvantage. They don’t have this luxury.

Question is; had they had this chance, would they use it to consolidate their constituents and sway the undecided 20% to their red and blue corners? The rise of digital politics in Uganda is quite interesting, and this can be seen by the level engagement on topics that have to do with politics, but also on politicians’ personal social media accounts. Even with this only arena left to their disposal, something strange is happening; those arguing for the case of either FDC or people power see no need to recruit more people in their camps.

They’ve created a case of ‘Us Vs Them.’ This political attitude does not seek to recruit anyone, win over arguments for the sake of expanding their constituencies. Political contestations should not be a war, but rather bouncing off of ideas because numbers matter in decision making either at the parliamentary level or national level. Isn’t that the core principle of democracy anyway? Unfortunately, we who seek to advocate for democracy are not its agents. We are in a jeopardy!

This reminds me of feminists online today. The war raged on Pastor Bugingo over his comments on wife, Teddy is something that has caused a huge public reaction. The intentions are well deserved but I’m afraid the protest by women in an act of throwing pads, cotton to him is just not deserving. I totally condemn Bugingo’s actions and agree with what the feminists’ case is.

They do have a strong case. Patriarchy is a systematic problem that needs to be brought down. But shaking centers of patriarchy, yes is a war, but then requires a meaningful conversation. The feminists two days ago carried out a protest and decided to carry pads and cotton to throw to Pastor Bugingo. Those who did not participate in the physical protest, were active online did not carry pads and cotton to throw at the pastor, but carried along with them heavy words, insults condemning the pastors’ actions for shaming the wife publicly, amidst a church congregation.

Feminism is not be defined by gender but rather a collection of well thought through ideas. That is how the position of feminism is attained. These well thought through ideas may not have any impact if the mode of communication of these ideas is not well thought through too. What is the main objective of feminism?

To define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. Is it possible to actually achieve this without involving the main perpetrators of patriarchy? The men! How do you recruit men in this movement without making them understand these very ideas that form the things we stand for? Apart from helping other girls realize and recognize what their rights are and why they should rise and fight for them, why is there no need to win over more and more men to join or contribute to the movement? Why is it a total silencing of those who would be change agents but they can’t be because those who would make them agents see no need to?

Not sure the opposition has a clear strategy to find a niche --- whether it is a constituency, a message, or mode of engagement, so is the latter.




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