The Other Side of the Coin
With Paul Waibale Senior
AFTER living for about 18 years in self-imposed exile in near-by Zambia, twice ousted former president of Uganda, Dr Apolo Milton Obote, has suddenly ignited the overtly bankrupt theory that there is a plot to kidnap him and members of his family.
According to the theory, the kidnappers, of whom no indication of identity has been volunteered, plan to torture Obote and his family members and then dispose of them.
If the story were a mere fairy tale, it would have provided hot material for literary idlers to pass time, but as a piece of information for an informed public, it has little prospect of passing the credibility litimus test.
It is common knowledge that Obote is living alone in Zambia. It is also known that members of Oboteâ€™s family live in different countries outside Zambia. Given that state of affairs, even Osama bin Laden would find the exercise of assembling them for a kidnap as the final family re-union a detestable uphill task.
But fortunately for those who adore the former Uganda dictator as a political idol, Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda forces do not have the remotest inclination to expend time or resources on the extermination of a transparently expired politician.
But that does not mean there is no class of political opportunists who nurse the imagination that Oboteâ€™s complete departure from Ugandaâ€™s political scene would precipitate the situation suitable for appropriate action in the appropriate direction.
In fact, the main groups of candidates for such a plot are within his own party, the Uganda Peoples Congress, of which, for all intents and purposes, he has consigned himself life president.
The first beneficiaries of Oboteâ€™s flight into the next world are those who have been struggling to achieve the UPC leadership but have been blocked by Oboteâ€™s refusal to quit. These are fighting from different fronts, but they share one common denominator, that their success depends on finding somebody courageous enough to tie the bell in the catâ€™s neck.
The other group in UPC ready to chant â€œhalleluyaâ€ when Oboteâ€™s death knell rings are the partyâ€™s middle class, whose clamour is for enhancement of UPC support across the country to pave the way for the partyâ€™s â€œthird termâ€ in state power. These are aware of two important election strategies in Uganda.
Firstly, that the UPC has been unable to compete with the Movement in the capture of votes in all polling exercises, because the voters link UPC to the Obote I and Obote II brutal administrations.
The voters fear that a vote for any UPC supporter is a vote for Oboteâ€™s return to power and that is the last thing the Uganda voters could ever like to see.
Secondly, they are aware that the electoral status quo will remain as long as Obote is the man calling the tune in UPC.
Thirdly, they have been in UPC long enough to realise that Obote regards UPC as â€œmy partyâ€ and can never ever envisage a situation where he has to step down for another person to busk in the glory of the congress of the people.
If Obote opts to come out at this point in time with an apparently wild allegation that somebody is after his blood, he has to look for the most likely suspects within his party.
There is nobody outside UPC who can gain any advantage from the death of somebody called Dr Milton Obote, who, after living in nearby Zambia for about 18 years, has never scored even a disallowed goal against the powers that be in Uganda.
If I were Obote, I would have just appeased the interests of the frustrated groups in UPC by emanating a thunderbolt from the blue sky transmitting the news of immediate departure, for good and all. Next time his henchman Dr James Rwanyarare reads a statement for him for Ugandans here, let it include something about the day when UPC will cease being Oboteâ€™s â€œmy partyâ€ and once again at least have the spirit to whisper to the ailing and ageing Apolo Milton Obote: â€œIt is time to go.â€