Even common sense would suggest that publically held spiritual assets can/should not be used by individuals promoting their partisan agenda
By Nyombi Thembo
Populism and political opportunism currently defines political opposition world over. The whole of Europe, Latin America and Americas have populism as the major threat to democracy.
With Africa, considering our fragile democracies, most of which are in formative stages-our political actors should be put on notice: populism is slowly trying to redefine the operations of state mechanics for the worse. We have witnessed populism firing up uprisings in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Madagascar.
Liberation theology is being rewritten as we witness crumbling of main stream liberation movements more so in Tanzania (CCM) and South Africa (ANC). South Africa for example is stuck in populism tumult fronted by a former ANC youth leader, the Julius Malema, President of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Party.
Malema is promising Animal Farm like sugar-candy mountains, riding on black empowerment-a travesty that can only destroy South Africa. Like I have urged several times, the political opposition especially in Africa lack ideological anchorage, thence resorting to demonizing personalities in leadership, this now is being augmented by blind populism. It can only be dangerous.
Listening to the ‘Tuliyambala Engule’ song, one clearly understands the real foundation of our opposition politics. ‘Tuliyambala Engule’ can literally be interpreted to mean-an era where all will be perfect, happiness, no toil, no stress but jubilation. The copycat song outlines the challenges facing Uganda but directly blaming all these to the current leadership.
Laughable, but to a socio-economically challenged educated youths, this can be ignition for blind political activism. It is easy to convince unemployed youths that the long stay of Museveni is the cause of their suffering.
These youths may not ask themselves what happened to Uganda that changed top leadership more frequently than any other independent African country.
Before Museveni, our Uganda witnessed more than six government changes-every new government would promise a better Uganda – ‘Okwambala Engule’ (putting on a crown) but what we saw was Uganda being pushed into even deeper political and economic crisis. Our history is so recent for all to refer to.
How I wish our youths who are the target of this fantasy would ask our good ‘Tulyambala Engule’ crusader these questions. How do you intend to fight corruption in Uganda? I would start with himself as an example and ask: assuming you are the next President - can you clearly demonstrate how we can trust you to be our messiah and moral compass, given your history which we know very well.
I would continue: when did you stop to joy in the troubles of people you do not agree with/your enemies, where I will remind the honourable crusader when he composed a song in praise of the errant security guard who shot and injured his arch rival Beebe cool.
How am I supposed to entrust such a sadist with the responsibility of a Commander in Chief?
I would continue my bother to the crusader: you have had a very successful musical career-you own a lot of property, including emperor like residences, can you tell us who among your colleagues, especially those you sing with-backups, instrumental players, dancers who have equally benefitted from your fat pay cheques so that we may be able to confirm that when you are president all of us shall equally benefit from your crown (engule).
I will continue to inform: Are you aware Mr. Crusader that you are not the first successful musicians in Uganda? Why do you think other equally or better musicians in the days before Museveni’s rule died paupers? Don’t you think your success, as you repeatedly tell us, from the ghetto to one of the richest persons in Uganda, suggest that Uganda is a country where hard work and talent pays irrespective of somebody’s political affiliation?
Of course since he is an honorable, I will be polite not to remind him about how his gangerstars had made night clubs a nightmare in Uganda via their numerous fights with “rival groups”.
I would continue: Sir, tell us your philosophy of sharing the national resources. We have a known resource envelop and our problems are known. Let us assume you have fought corruption by employing your Angelic team: Kabbaaya, Mutwe etc. (I mention the two because, I think these are the most known loyal colleagues of our ‘Tuliyambala Engule’ crusader).
Tell us how you will grow this economy to make everybody happy given the resources at our disposal-can we look at your proposed figures. At this point, I may remind him that in Africa examples abound where the likes of him who thought that the overstay of certain leaders was the cause of misery.
In countries like Malawi (Kamuzu Banda), Zambia (Keneth Kaunda), Egypt (Housin Mubarak), Libya (Gaddafi) and DRC (Mobutu) removal of long serving leaders (much as most of these were super dictators) only served to push these countries into deeper political and economic crisis.
Possibly our chief crusader can tell us what is happening in these countries after removing the so called overstayed leaders so that we can confirm the hypothesis that removal of a seemingly overstayed leader leads to a country’s growth and prosperity.
Lacking originality and riding on street emotions, ‘Tuliyambala Engule’ song is a perfect representation of our opposition. You will never hear them talk about serious policy alternatives other than riding on the challenges of the time facing government.
When there happen to be some unexplained homicide - our typical opposition will jump on that with all sorts of conspiracy theories and the next day when there is a school fire our good friends will make this to sound like its government that has burnt the school.
I have followed our opposition since the 1996 elections, you rarely hear them talking policy and how to solve the problems afflicting our people.
On this, Museveni and his team are politically lonely - prescribing a host of strategic approaches to solve our problems and the opposition always at the receiving end to oppose without giving any policy alternatives.
As a result the opposition has created the wrong impression that –“remove Museveni, then everything will correct automatically and Uganda will become a better place for all”. Some of our young people now believe that if the political party of their choice were to be elected into power, goodies will just flow their way. My sympathies.
In addition to reflecting the psyche of our political opposition, the lack of originality on part of the ‘Tuliyambala Engule’ song has some biblical parallels. For some of the biblically unread who have blamed a group of pastors who have opposed weaponising a hymn for political purposes, I refer them to the book of Daniel Chapter five.
In this scripture we are told how King Belshazzar gave a great banquet to his nobles whereupon he ordered to bring the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his farther had taken from the temple in Jerusalem.
He used these sacred goblets to serve his nobles, concubines and wives while they praised the false gods. God got annoyed and the biblical writings on the wall appeared condemning the King and the subsequent punishment. This should be the basis for our pastors to oppose the usage of a known hymn for unholy partisan political purposes.
Even common sense would suggest that publically held spiritual assets can/should not be used by individuals promoting their partisan agenda.
Can you imagine what would happen if an NRM supporter used our National Anthem as foundation music for a song to enumerate the successes of the NRM government – I would oppose it much as I am a staunch supporter of the NRM?
Writer is the chairman, Governance Plus Advisory Services