Interestingly, Mubende’s representation in the four successive NRM governments was not only undermined but it never correlated with the vote
By George Kalisa
All the seven Mubende legislators for the 10th Parliament and district chairperson are NRM flag-bearers, a trend sustained since Uganda shifted from movement to multiparty politics in 2006. About 90% of the vote here is NRM. When some Ugandans allegedly spread tales of fear, looming insecurity, uncertainty last February, Mubende voters were celebrating President Museveni’s victory.
Interestingly, Mubende’s representation in the four successive NRM governments was not only undermined but it never correlated with the vote. Thus, the grievance Mubende nurses to date stems from conviction that the Government takes its popular support for the ride, which makes the district so fragile that the opposition can easily overrun it.
This parlous situation is basis for fear by local observers that Mubende might succumb to the opposition, if pre-emptive measures are not in place. They wonder if the district is too barren to produce RDCs, ministers, diplomats and senior government officials.
In the same vein, voters call on President Museveni to stretch the search for leaders to Mubende where politicians have demonstrated passion for NRM in order to end years of widespread discontent over the criteria for appointments. They also wonder whether the overwhelming support and loyalty Mubende accords to NRM can ever translate into a deserved political share.
Commenting on Mubende’s marginalised place in the NRM government, Mbwatekamwa Gaafa MP-elect for Kasambya County says Museveni should make the district a priority for the new government. He adds, “Reference to Mubende as an NRM stronghold over the last 30 years while it is politically distanced is double tragedy and treachery”. Gaafa is the most vocal political analyst and proprietor of Tropical FM a local radio station.
Observers say blind loyalty to the government has partly meant denial of the right of Ugandans in this area to participate in the country’s administration and nation resources management. They argue that this could be the very reason why the locals are still trapped in poverty despite numerous government interventions.
Why NRM lost in Kampala
The opposition gainfully took advantage of NRM’s oversight to utilise the special organs that have remained faithful to the ideals in the 10-point programme. Instead, NRM politically caressed those who allegedly joined it at the ‘City Square’ only a decade ago, some of whom are wanting in the party’s fundamentals. That is partly why some candidates dared to stand as independents after losing in the party primaries – a factor that gave the opposition a win on a silver platter in some constituencies.
True, some NRM cadres deserve a credit for past contributions. It is equally important to appreciate the fact that they have outlived their usefulness and are now self-seeking politicians. They can no longer make a resourceful counter attack on the fire spitting media savvy opposition-inclined journalists and politicians.
The NRM cadres should be those gifted with verbal fluency to profoundly articulate issues in media, who cannot be cowed into fear to celebrate NRM’s landmarks. I, thus, think recruitment of the new brand of leaders who would add value to the party is long overdue and they’ll hopefully stifle the opposition. CEC used to recommend to NEC candidates for national leadership positions – a duty they have consigned to oblivion. NRM lost to opposition in Kampala mainly because the cadres had failed to articulate the roles of Jennifer Musisi as a technocrat – a scenario which the opposition took advantage of to distort facts and present the KCCA Executive Director as NRM machinery planted to fight Erias Lukwago and oppress Kampala residents. They politicised her activities with intent to demonise NRM.
Now, a similar scenario in Mubende could make the district porous for opposition to penetrate. It is capitalising on the government’s oversights to question the rationale for the continued popular support NRM enjoys and challenges its relevance in the district largely inhabited by deprived citizens.
The five-year term Ugandans have endorsed could, however, be another chance for NRM to remember Mubende.
The write is a journalist