Our politicians need to shun their old ways and dirty political tricks.
By Michael Woira
In a democratic dispensation, especially a parliamentary democracy, the Government and opposition are two sides of the same coin. In fact, opposition is government in waiting.
Both are supposed to give top priority to promoting wellbeing of the people and serving the national interests, even when pursuing the agenda of their respective parties. But unfortunately, in our country, the opposition parties have invariably acted in contravention of the established and internationally recognised norms of parliamentary democracies.
For them being in the opposition essentially means denigrating government policies whether good or bad and trying to pull it down by all means to grab political power. That, unfortunately, has been the bane of democratic dispensations, interspersed by dictatorial rules.
Regrettably, there seems be no end to this self-destructive phenomenon. It is said that wise people learn from the experience of others and fools learn from their own. Our politicians have neither learned from the experience of other democracies and nations nor from their own unenviable and checkered history. Politicking remains the norm for them.
Instead of focusing on reforming the system that has in-built avenues of corruption and which encourages a culture of graft and entitlement, they are still preoccupied with their obsession of creating issues out of non-issues with the one-point agenda of having a dig at the sitting government and see its premature exit from the corridors of power, nullifying the mandate of the people. They do not even hesitate from misleading the public to achieve their narrow political ends.
The case in point is the issue of the sanitary pads, Bills on land laws etc.
Ironically, political parties that are demanding for the sanitary pads, preaching land grabbing and all sorts of chaotic informal debates around have myriad skeletons in their own cupboards and some of them are also owners of shell companies, Estates, NGO's and large numbers of hotels around the country but they keep their voices high shouting that Ugandans are very poor not appreciating the fact that themselves have worked and got the money they have in Uganda.
Irrespective of the fact whether the monies invested in these companies are legal or illegal, the fact remains that the Government has even never investigated where funders of these strikes, riots and campaigns are or even audit the funds that they always give out to all political parties to help deal with running party activities.
Those who are making noise about the sanitary pads, Park Yard and Nakivubo issue know this reality and know how the various procedures and agreements were reached at, but still shout to get political attention and support.
They continue to use this as a punching bag with the false hope that they can embarrass the Government and possibly stoke it into a cause for agitation against the Government, as is being threatened by some components of the combined opposition.
Nothing is going to come out of it except wasting nation's time and scuttling the ability of the Government to tackle formidable challenges confronting the country and jeopardising opportunities that have come our way in the form of the East African community to change the economic profile of the country.
My take on the issue is that if political leadership, especially the opposition is sincere in eliminating corruption and improving governance in the country, it must unite with the ruling party to reform the system of governance and set up a permanent constitutional anti-corruption body to deal with issues pertaining to corruption and misuse of power instead of indulging in typical witch-hunts that serve their narrow political interests.
What they are doing is sheer politicking and not something aimed at promoting the wellbeing of the people and national interests. Let the bygones be bygones and adopt a futuristic approach.
Our politicians need to shun their old ways and dirty political tricks. They owe it to the nation to strengthen democracy and give the country a system that is based on economic, social and political justice, that protects fundamental rights of the people and that establishes the rule of law and a system of indiscriminate justice. They also need to stop encouraging fissiparous and divisive tendencies.
We often talk about other countries that became independent at the same time as us, but have gone far ahead and even become economic giants on global level not because they have a lot of money but because political parties work together for the betterment of the country and that seems awkward for our strike loving comical opposition supporters and leaders who always want to take the local people as their followers for them to gain economical and financial empowerments from their funders.
The writer is a patriotic Ugandan