It was the court ruling on the formula of electing members to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) that bought out another example of how obsolete the concept of political parties continues to elude in Uganda. I will propose that we do not have political parties in Uganda, what we have is self-seeking “politicians” wearing political “wools”; they share nothing in common and will never work along the party lines they pretend to belong.
The jockeying by political parties for positions in the EALA was comical at best and an attempt to extend our dishonorable brand of politics to the East African Community, it must not be accepted.
It is generally accepted that Parliament is a place where people who accumulated vast knowledge of, and experience in, their areas of “knowledge” are chosen to represent the ordinary men and women in discussions of policy and make law.
In the Uganda of yesterday, these used to be retired civil servants, judges or senior citizens. Because to them, it was not a job, but a service to their communities, a community they would expect to honour their legacies and hard work on their behalf.
But all that changed when President Yoweri Museveni introduced gutter politics to Uganda and it has been the livelihood of public domain since 1986, we have turned our Parliament into an assembly of school debaters and self seekers, who think that, it is a debating society and a place to make plenty of money.
At the height of "operation freedom" – 'bringing democracy and freedom to the people of Iraq' – the then US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, when asked if democracy and freedom had been achieved in Iraq, said; "there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know."
This has been the state of political parties in Uganda. The NRM and the sets of democratic principles they subscribe to, have remained an enigma; and in Rumsfeldian speak, ' unknown unknowns-the ones we don't know we don't know.'
I have already said this before but I will repeat for a second time that for a society to politically progress, that society should first understand its own system of governance. The problem with Uganda is that political parties have never understood the NRM/A ideology; and the "political arena" in which they were coerced into and continue to practice today.
Politically, nothing seems to have changed since 1986 but for some reason poltical parties run along with this charade; the Movement maintains its organs and continues to practice as it always did. Parties on the other hand, are reduced to practice like “castrated bulls” in a kraal with only one abled aggressive dominant bull.
So in today’s Uganda one has to wonder where political parties and Uganda are headed.
The answer is simple: judging from the past, it is conceivable that President Museveni will remain at the helm of affairs long into the foreseeable future until he “appoints a successor or heir apparent”, who many already suspect is likely to be his son Col Mohoozi Kainerugaba or his wife Mrs Janet Kataha Museveni.
After all the hue and cry about how the NRM has plundered the nation's treasury and formally instituted corruption and cronyism, Ugandans will continue to vote the NRM, because they have put in place a system that will always favour the NRM.
Its no wonder the sycophants as usual keep reminding us that; they are revolutionaries who fought for what they enjoy, and so should not be intimidated to leave power. How can they when they “single-handedly discovered oil in Uganda,” which they must ensure that it has been drained out of Uganda, before they can begin to think about leaving power.
Ugandans need to be reminded that in his last publication titled Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), George Orwell, when writing about the Russian Revolution observed: “a revolution seeks power entirely for its own sake…” It leaders said, “we are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."
Political parties from the very beginning romanticised with the Movement in confronting the 'visibility' of the democratic ideal with the singularity of the NRM/A revolutionary ideology, centred around personality cult, individual merits, put above and beyond the development of democratic institutions. Effectively, helping in the diminishing of democracy to mere "voting" every few years, giving "democratic" legitimacy to the ideological Movement rule, thus separating the idea of voting from the complementary idea of rule by and for the people.
After nearly 27 years, political parties have not sobered up and have failed to realise that a leopard never changes its spots; they will continue feasting on the carcases of the leopard’s kill; many of them have end up under claws of the leopard.
According to Aristotle a democratic coin is minted with freedom as one and equality as the other face. "If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost."
Although freedom and democracy are sometimes used interchangeably, democracy is a set of ideas and principles about freedom. In short, democracy is the institutionalisation of freedom; its preconditions. There is no doubting that, this is not what democratisation meant for the NRM opening up of political space.
As long as the “people’s revolution” lives on, democracy will always be defined by the NRM/A. Never mind that, the political parties have bought into this façade and posturing. If the people of Uganda truly want change, they must have realised by now that they cannot rely on the opposition parties, there are no opposition political parties in Uganda; but “opposition” politicians who conveniently continue to complement the NRM for their own survival.
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