By Simon P. Opolot
THE latest agitations for presidential term limits from some sections of the opposition groups, including bishops and a minute group within the NRM party, ostensibly appears to be geared towards curtailing President Museveni from a further stay in power.
However, to me, this is a clear sign of limited strategic foresight. This is because it is absolutely misguiding for one to concentrate his debate on an individual office-bearer.
Yet, oftentimes, it is the consensually agreed party (group) policies that are propagated in State governance. In fact one would argue that the presidential term limit syndrome serve better under the ‘‘Movement System’’ of governance where individual merit is the focus.
Therefore, the focus should not be on the individual top leader but on the relevance of the dominant party ideology to the country’s inimitable challenges.
Besides, all will agree that institutional reform and building is more important than a mere individual.
This does not, however, shed off the fact that individuals make up an institution, but it remains pertinent that those individuals must be governed by strong policies, systems and bodies which supersede the individual and whose lifespan transcends those very individuals that constitute them.
On the other hand, over 90% of policy making processes are actually contributed by civil servants who are most often not elected on a limited term basis but rather permanent and pensionable.
Interestingly, term limits arguments emerge on a backdrop where a number of countries, both in Asia and Europe such as India, United Kingdom or France, to-date, do not have term limits for the presidency.
Thus, how come that these countries remain a beacon of democracy and good governance admired by all?
The answer rests with the existence of strong institutions and systems under which the governments/parties of such countries lie.
Now, to the bishops and other spiritual leaders advocating term limits, ought to be reminded that leaders come from God and as long as God the Almighty remains in control, He shall always, at His own divine timing, cause the best of change for all humanity.
The mere fact that you and I, cannot adequately explain the circumstances under which the then young pastoralist peasant came up with a great idea to involve a small number of others with only 27 rifles, operating less than 30kms from the capital city (contrary to conventional tactics of guerilla warfare) afforded to easily and successfully unseat a 40,000 strong, well-equipped armed force with a full budget; tells a lot about the true divine workings of the Almighty God.
Equally, how does one explain the circumstances under which this same ragtag revolutionary and peasant dominated army captured power and be able later on to contain and defeat a myriad of over 30 armed groups; with a number of them obtaining military logistical and financial support from established neighbouring governments.
To me, all these ordinarily difficult circumstances that enabled the NRA/M to thrive to this day, were and are, as a result of God’s inspirational workings revealed through His obedient servant – Y.K. Museveni.
As patriotic Ugandans, let us not be misled by selfish individuals. Let us focus on addressing the development challenges and consolidation of national values/ interests, institutional reforms, economy, while taking what has been put in place by the NRM government for the past 26 years as a stepping stone and a foundation for a divine journey towards a well established democracy, development, modernization and good governance in Uganda.
The writer is a strategic policy and defence analyst
Advocacy for term limits a sign of limited strategic foresight