A while ago, this column foresaw the ramifications of the rise of People Power; Our Power. In recognizing the political ascendancy of Bobi Wine, a.k.a., East Kyadondo MP, Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi, it noted:
“Its effect is likely to be felt most in the arena of the Opposition parties; and even within the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party….to take place in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). When Bobi Wine joined the Arua by-election campaigns, he took the side of Kassiano Wadri….” That marked the in-road Fifth-columnist problems and bribery claims in the party that presaged the sacking of the Leader of Opposition, Winnie Kizza.
Hardly two months have gone by than former FDC President, Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Mugisha Muntu, has decided to skip from the party. He lamely explained that it was a result of his earlier cross-country “consultations”, but note that it has only taken him one-and-half months to leave the FDC; after the cataclysms following Arua, where before, he had dithered for more than a year, after losing the FDC presidency to Patrick Oboi Amuriat.
Muntu is now talking of “working with other political organizations” and movements in forming his new party. That is an obvious reference to the People Power movement. It is an attempt to take advantage of the Bobi Wine’s political juggernaut; and his present declaration that People Power, for now, is a movement and not gearing to be a party; and that he is not interested in becoming president – now.
That leaves a vacuum for the likes of Muntu to scramble to step into. But he is not alone in this.
In the up-coming Bugweri Woman Constituency by-election, the two contestants are both struggling to represent People Power, yet they are from different persuasions. One, Rachel Magoola who has been on the NRM ticket, has decided to abandon the NRM and now claims that she is an independent candidate fronting the People Power movement.
The other one is Beatrice Walukamba who had been standing as an independent finds herself being shunted aside, but also claiming that she is the authentic People Power candidate. Each one of them is waiting and hoping that Bobi Wine will pitch in for them in their campaigns!
Even the other main parties: the Democratic Party and the Uganda People’s Congress are not immune. There is an observable implosion being underwritten by the more “sudden” added interest in the holding of the Justice James Ogola-led so-called national reconciliation conference.
That is the unequivocal pull of the People Power movement, that politicians from all sides are unashamedly pitting themselves behind Bobi Wine. It is no longer a pretense at political convictions and/or service to the people, or even exhortations of democracy, but unabashed personal greed and lies to the people.
Following the Arua by-election and its aftermath, the NRM has suddenly woken up from its power-drunken corruption slumber to announce or champion initiatives that try to position economic development agendas. Most of these are targeting the so-called Abazukulu, who are the brunt of unemployment in the 32-year old reign of the NRM regime.
It is both a reflection of the “ghetto” roots that Bobi Wine has emerged from; and the direction at which he is fashioning his political insights – the unemployed youth – who
form the majority of the workable population; and sorting out the economic rut the country finds itself in. Like the two Bugweri by-election candidates, this is where the winning vote is likely to be at – should there be any scrap of “a free, fair and credible election”. But that is still away two years’ down the road.
Meanwhile, in scanning the political horizon, Bobi Wine must be looking at all the possibilities for a resounding winning national endorsement. So far he is keeping most of the cards to his chest: things like, not declaring the formation of a party; and, the present apparent dis-interest in taking the highest office in the land.
A number of Bobi Wine’s critics are saying that he is merely being a populist and just cagey demagogue. They argue that Bobi Wine has neither a political base, nor structure to the People Power; that, it is when he gets to the campaign trenches that he will be bested by the established organs of both crowd bribery and authoritarian militia force.
In reference to campaigning, these critics and their ilk have, and are ignoring that, Bobi Wine has been doing this since his ghetto days through his music. In fact, he does not even need to campaign, as his music tracks are doing that for him – all the time. One only needs to listen to his music blaring from any source; be it I-phone, shop or taxi he/she is happening to pass by. And this is nationwide!
Secondly, when he was campaigning for the MPship, Bobi Wine assembled the youth in his constituency in a wide range of economic activities to benefit the communities. It is the reason he has no shortage of “volunteers” willing to rally behind the People Power; Our Power slogan.