THE stamp of approval of the coming referendum to change the political system by Swedish, Netherlands, US and UK governments is a good confidence-consolidating measure for Ugandaâ€™s democratic path.
It is also a hard kick in the mouth of opposition groups that had hoped otherwise, and were advocating a public show of solidarity from foreign missions and donor groups here.
The Dutch ambassador, Stig Barlyngâ€™s advice last week to â€œpositive forcesâ€ to participate in the referendum so as to change to political pluralism was encouraging although belatedly because some â€˜donorsâ€™ had sent false signals to critics.
Britainâ€™s announcement extending 50million pounds in budgetary support in the 2005/6 financial year has also dumped opposition crusade to malign, isolate, derail or even estrange the Government.
They had had a short-lived celebration when Britain withheld 5m pounds out of the 40m pounds at the end of 2004/5 financial year!
To cap it, the decision by G-8 to cancel all Ugandaâ€™s foreign crushing national debt to multilateral institutions is a string of proof that opposition conspiracy gambles are not succeeding.
Their only hope now is to continue down the path of inflammatory political statements and actions to provoke over-reaction from zealous government and security officials, so they can claim persecution, intimidation and harassment in the run-up to the 2006 general elections.
But since their calculations are now known, it is crucial for RDCs, the Police, the army and intelligence services to maintain a cool approach in order not to grant them any visible excuses for their defeat in the elections.
On policy issues, the best the opposition groups have so far done is to ruminate over and criticise the Government, but without offering viable alternatives. Instead, some claimed that the Government plagiarises their works, as if they will invent the wheel!
Now, there has been or still are apprehensions as to whether the Movement leadership has taken the â€˜rightâ€™ direction to propose opening the political space for multipartyism, especially from supporters, which is seen as the panacea for stability.
Internal skeptics ought to realise that it is in the Movementâ€™s best interest to rid itself of unhealthy and opportunistic internal frictions and re-consolidate past achievements into the NRM organisation. The NRM is taking shape now through mobilisation, recruitment, membership registration and its campaigns during the referendum.
It is also a blessing in disguise that the old opposition groups, DP and UPC keep a low profile during this campaign to return multipartyism because their overt advocacy can enlist a negative response particularly in the east, central and west, where they are abhorred yet happen to have high voter density.
The reasons DP, UPC and FDC give for their boycott like high monetary cost are selective and insincere, used to serve their interests, because they will participate in the general elections, which are more elaborate and expensive than the referendum.
Arguments that it is the Movement, which vilified political parties for the past 20 years and therefore ought to undo its â€œmisinformationâ€, are nothing but an attempt by UPC and DP to sidestep their obligation to act responsibly in the open political arena.
The above notwithstanding, records show the Movement has managed to change institutions previously known to be bad like the army and the Police, to become pro-people with nearly everyone wishing to be part of them.
It is now the Movementâ€™s determination as a vanguard system to lead and, hopefully, decisively influence political party management to a positive trend and never to be feared again!
The main issues in this referendum shall to be to rid the Movement of internal political nuisance and settle the question as to which political team holds sway in Uganda. Analysts believe that while the change is relevant, the leaders marketing it and methods used are even more important.
Preliminary indications are that most Ugandans will support the proposal to pen the political space to let those who feel conscripted opt out of the Movement and compete for power separately. Also, President Yoweri Museveniâ€™s leadership is trustworthy and skillful in political marketing.
And an examination of the invitees to todayâ€™s Movement NEC meeting at Speke Resort, Munyonyo gives an insight into the strategy to enlist a broad consensus on changing to pluralism.
The meeting will have its formal membership, which includes 85 MPs, 56 district local council chairpersons, elected with popular mandate, and representatives of the youth, women, workers, people with disabilities, the army, the Police, prison and national chamber of commerce.
Prominent and influential observer guests will include the Vice-President Prof. Gilbert Bukenya, Premier Prof. Apolo Nsibambi, Speaker of Parliament and his deputy and the executive of the Local Council Speakersâ€™ Association, who are crucial in obtaining popular endorsements at the district and lower levels.
Opposition conspiracy gambles are failing